August 17, 2008

Dog Days

Whoever came up with the term "dog days of summer" anyway? Apparently it was the Romans and Greeks in reference to Sirius, or "Dog Star", and the period of its heliacal rising. Thanks Wikipedia. Swedes and Finlanders often referred to the period as the "rotting-month" due to the tendency of perishable items to spoil in the high heat. With the advent of refrigeration I doubt that this phrase holds much cultural significance anymore other than meaning that it's damn hot. American interpretations of the phrase are often more literal (folk etymology), relating more toward the behavioral tendencies of dogs to be lazy or "doggedly" during periods of high temperatures and humidity. Regardless of the origin of the phrase, it is hot and humid here in northwestern Minnesota.

The only thing spoiling right now is my mood and my t-shirt. I hate sweating. The winter climate here in northern MN definitely suits my tastes. It's days like these that I wish I could be pulling up to my favorite fishing hole on my snowmobile, portable fish house in tow, ready to ice some ciscos through three and a half feet of ice. I know some people marvel at the act of ice fishing, heck some people don't even believe that you can actually drive out on a frozen lake. And don't let the makers of Ice Road Truckers fool you either. That program is so sensationalized that even Nanook would be afraid to venture out on the ice. Yes, there is no such thing as safe ice, but with a little common sense (which most people seem to lack these days) 5" of ice can easily support the weight of an angler and a snowmobile, 8-12" for smaller vehicles, and 16"+ can support the weight of a full-size pickup truck. The winter ice typically tops out at around 36-48" around here. It was around 42" last season (even under the thick cover of snow), the same thickness as the plowed ice roads on the Arctic Ocean featured in Ice Road Truckers. I could go for a bent ice rod right about now.

Not much in the means of angling excitement going on around here lately. I've got another couple weeks to seek refuge from the heat on the cool North Shore of Minnesota. I have three more shots at bringing home some lakers and salmon this week, and finally a return to some fly rod action with a shot at some carp and buffalo upon returning from vacation at the end of August. I look forward to ringing in the cooler fall airs of September. I even noticed a few of the leaves starting to change color along the canopy edges last week. Right on time. We are just about past the hump of warm weather, with relief in sight. Before I know it, I'll be dusting snow off the windshield of my sled, hooking up the portable to the hitch and heading out to the lake. Until then, don't turn off the AC.