This day has become the unofficial beginning of the summer, even though it won’t truly be summer for another month. But the weather is getting nice enough to get away to the hills, and the extra day off gives a lot of people the time they need to shake off the winter blues.
You may have already spent your three-day weekend out at the lake – possibly enjoying the extra elbow room compared to years past, because only Wyoming residents are allowed to camp in our state parks this year. Or maybe you spent the days camped deeper in the backcountry, though it’s still pretty chilly for that.
Fishing is always a popular activity on Memorial Day. I think there are several reasons for that. For one thing, it’s easy. Unless you’re planning a multi-day fishing trip, you don’t have to work out a place to camp, figure out what you’re going to do for meals, and all the other considerations. All you need to do is throw a few rods and some tackle in the truck, and find a stretch of water that might have some fish in it.
And there are just about as many ways to fish as there are people who like to fish. Some people like to fish from a boat, so they can get out to the spots that hold walleyes. This is a popular weekend to get the boat out for that first run of the open-water season, thanks to that extra day off. Other people prefer to fish from a riverbank or on the shore of a lake. Or maybe even get in the water with a pair of waders, so they can get some extra distance on their backcasts. No matter how you fish, Memorial Day is a great time to do it.
And the other reason I think it’s such a popular choice for Memorial Day is that fishing is a great activity for thinking while you’re doing it. Whether you’re drowning worms, dragging spinners or beating the water with flies, fishing lets you forget what you’re doing for a little while and let your thoughts turn inward. It’s a perfect opportunity to think about those who gave their lives so you and I would have the ability to drag the occasional brook trout out of a mountain beaver pond.
Then again, if you’re like me, you’re probably being forced against your will to use your day off to rototill the garden, fix the corral gate, and replace the tin on the mower shed. Granted, it’s my own fault for not getting those things done before Memorial Day weekend – or even on Saturday or Sunday. Maybe I can get all that done quickly and still make it to the beaver ponds this afternoon. Happy Memorial Day to you, no matter how you spend it. But no matter what you do today, remember those who fought for your freedoms while you’re doing it.