“Sure, you can use the boat, but we are going to have to find it first,” my friend Jared said with a slick grin days leading up to the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament.
“Come again?” I replied, thinking perhaps he was joking and maybe forgot where he left the boat in the fall. Jared proceeded to tell me that the boat was somewhere in his backyard, he thought, but was concealed in a few feet of snow. “Bring a shovel” are words I normally would not expect to hear in late April when preparing a boat for the season.
I arrived to Jared’s place on a stony gray afternoon. His son Everett was bundled to the gill in bright yellow winter attire and was teeming with excitement for a boat treasure hunt. Wasting no time, we all high-stepped into the backyard, trudging through the wet, thick snow. Jared pointed to an area he thought the boat was located, an area that looked no different than the remainder of the snowy landscape. We poked and prodded with the ends of our shovels until the empty thud of aluminum was heard.
With some effort, we finally unveiled the Jon Boat from its snowy shawl, gripped the cold metal handles and dragged it down a small hill. Everett, large chunks of wet snow and frozen leaves all hitched a free ride until we reached the driveway. Preparing for open water fishing in 30 inches of snow was a new experience for me.
And then, just like that, in a few short weeks, everything was different. With my eyes closed, rays of sunlight pulsed red on my lids, and the wooden decking was hot and smooth beneath my bare feet. Warm, soft breezes seemed to come from all directions, moving my hair around as if trying out different styles.
Choruses of frogs were going wild: with spring peepers and toads singing soprano, while the occasional bullfrog thudded out his bass notes, and the rapid knocking of a downy woodpecker acted as the metronome.
I found myself near the edge of a pond not too far from my house. Shiny green reeds and grasses are shooting up, building cover for the small turtles that navigate between the clumps. Out toward the middle, a rusty crane stood motionless, and the water wiggled slowly, freed from its icy lid.
The sky was so soft and blue, and except for the bare brown trees, one could pretend it’s June. On the smaller trees and bushes, there were lots of chartreuse buds, and the fledgling yellow forsythia showed brightly against the dull background of last fall’s leaf litter. Walking the mushy woods around the pond, I saw rows of shiny skunk cabbage, just starting to unfurl, and clumps of buttery marsh marigold. I sat down on a large felled trunk and closed my eyes again. Each breeze carried a different smell: the mustiness of decaying fall leaves, sweet new grasses and buds, sharp herbal cedar, and just, well… warm earth. I could feel my pale face starting to get color, and without further ado, winter was over.
In the Midwest, every year we play a waiting game we have no control over. It can be long, teasing, and even sometimes maddening, but sitting there, in the middle of its spoils, I was happy to play and to wait.
Your weekend forecast
Great news, no snow; the weekend looks to be spring-like and sunny. After a cloudy and rainy week, drier conditions should prevail once a high-pressure ridge claims the Midwest. There is a slight chance for rain on Saturday but there are significant weather model differences this weekend into early next week, so confidence is low in timing and location of any rain, if it arrives at all.
Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 63, with a low around 40
Saturday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 55, with a low around 37
Sunday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 55, with a low around 39
All weather predictions are based in science with information gathered from the National Weather Service, and are subject to change depending on the weather.
Growing up in Michigan, Ryan Heise began keeping a fishing journal detailing the weather conditions and can still recall his hometown weatherman’s name. His fascination with weather has never wavered and began to heighten when planning surf trips while living in Florida. Now proud to call Door County home, he has found a new fascination with the unique microclimate of Door County.