Melissa . . .

Melissa . . .

Melissa . . .

If anyone was looking for me in my office on Wednesday, March 21, they may have deduced that I was playing hooky. Unlike Ferris Bueller, however, I had fully disclosed my plans to my boss and fellow co-workers.

I was spending the first full day of spring fishing on the Mississippi with my parents. While it was raining when we left home, by the time we reached La Crescent, the rain had stopped and the skies were looking brighter. We had stopped in Caledonia and Mom had purchased a rain poncho for me - so I credited her for our rain-free day.

As we joked, "The fishing was great, but the catching was not so good."

We had arrived at the bait shop before it opened and decided to buy bait on the fishing float we were going to be on. The only bad thing was that the owner does not sell minnows there.

So, while we were fishing with our night crawlers and red worms, other fishermen around us were reeling in the big fish with their minnows.

Of course, our lack of catching was due to having the wrong bait.

Well, my mom went around to see if any of the fishermen had an excess of minnows and scored us a couple of wiggly ones. I cast out my line, hopeful that the fish would immediately start biting.

I waited . . .

and waited . . .

and waited . . .

Finally, I caught a fish but I didn't know what kind of fish. Dad told me it was a sauger and it was a keeper. After another 15 minutes or so, I caught another. Then, I had a BIG fish on the line and I cranked it in, with the end of my pole bending with the weight. It was so exciting . . . until I pulled in an ugly sucker. He was quickly released and pushed back into the water.

But, my big fish was not the ugliest fish seen that day. Another fisherman caught a sturgeon. It was the first time I'd ever seen one of these fish and I actually thought it was a small crocodile with no arms! It was the nastiest thing I'd seen in a long time. It was a small one and he too was returned to the river for more growing time. I hope he doesn't bother to snack on my bait anytime soon!

It was a lovely day out on the river. Considering it was March, I was not anticipating the sunburn I got or being too warm in a T-shirt and jeans. My feet were screaming to be freed from my shoes and socks, but I didn't think the other fishermen would appreciate my bare feet swinging in the river.

Mom caught the most fish, with a too-small walleye, two perch and a sucker that she threw back too. Dad caught a too-small walleye as well so he didn't get credit for any keepers - but that was OK since I sent mine with him.

It was a great day to be playing hooky and I enjoyed some quality time with my parents, floating on the river. It was relaxing and just what I needed during a very busy time at work.

So, next time you come looking for me and you don't find me in my office, don't be surprised if I've decided to run away to the river for another day of fishing.

Melissa . . .

Melissa . . .

Melissa . . .