October 15th was the last time I touched a trout. It was also the last time that I hiked a stream. With Minnesota opening the state parks to off-season fishing I could have fished quite a bit but I enjoy and prefer this short separation. I spend more time with my family and make up for some of the days where I let the good weather and trout get the best of me. When I started angling for trout years ago the regulations didn’t allow for fishing for trout anywhere in southeast Minnesota. The two and a half months between the close of catch and release in October and the opening again in January became this sacred period of time where I tied all manner of flies, read about trout and drove past water thinking of where I wanted to fish on the 1st. These were the days when the “pink lines” existed. Anyone else remember those? Segments of specific creeks designated for winter fishing, come the third week of March I was pulling my hair out, this angler can only fish the same water so many times. Now we get all the water on January 1st and the park season before, yet I still find myself not all that interested in fishing for trout in the months of November and December. Other things to be done, hunt for venison, button my house up for the winter, play with my daughter, the list goes on. Those are all excuses, I have been known to drive to Iowa to fish for trout in November but that isn’t the same. As much as I enjoy trout the time off makes me want it that much more. It makes January 1st important for a reason because it’s January 1st! Ask my wife what my favorite day of the year is and she’ll say January 1st. Winter season. This year I have big plans and the wait will have been well worth it.