There's just something about whizzing by floating logs the size of a Toyota Tacoma at 40 mph that makes you feel alive - which is why I decided to venture out on Lake Champlain last weekend, despite the fact that it remained more than two feet above flood stage with debris bobbing everywhere you looked.
Seriously, The Big Pond was littered with more land mines than my backyard dog run after the winter snow melt - the water clarity was about the same color too, making it feel like you were casting into one of those mud pits the Jay Fire Department builds for their summer oozeball tournaments.
Funny thing was, the fish didn't seem to care. Somehow they found our lures through the mucky haze - and we were rewarded with some dandy lakers and salmon.
Surface temps ran very close to normal for this time of year - we marked a range of 48-52, ideal for running planer boards and fishing shallow with downriggers. We caught fish consistently on both, and definitely ate well all weekend.
The issues with launching and all the debris in the water, however, certainly emphasized the rationale behind the Coast Guard's warning on recreational boating.
Which is why the decision to call off the Rotary Fishing Derby for the first time in its 28 year history was understandable. Definitely sad, though - as if the region isn't suffering enough economically without Mother Nature giving us yet another boot in the derriere.
That also made me question wether the LCI Father's Day Derby - billed as the oldest and largest fishing derby in the country - might also be forced to reschedule, if not pull the plug altogether (pardon the pun).
I spoke to LCI Executive Director James Ehlers about it, though, and he hesitated not at all saying the derby -scheduled for scheduled for June 18-20 - is definitely a go.
"Fish swim and boats float," Ehlers said.
"Unless they drain the lake there's going to be a Father's Day derby."
Ehlers said there are more access points open than closed and said those who are hesitant to be on the water can still fish from shore.
"We don't require boats," he said.
This year's derby features more than $750,000 in cash and prizes, including the $300,000 "Mystery Fish" three Starcraft boats rigged with Yamaha outboards, and $3,000 guaranteed to each of the first-place finishers in the seven species categories.
The basic registration fee is $40. This year's event kicks off June 18 at midnight and continues through 4 p.m. June 20, with a dozen weigh stations scattered throughout the lake. People can register at outlets around the Champlain basin right up until the start of the derby.
Other prizes include GPS units from Lowrance, Gas Grills from Gander Mountain, gift certificates from Traxstech, Able, and Big Jon, as well as over $12,000 worth of lures from makers like Sebile, Eppinger, Challenger, Mooselook, Lhur Jensen and Grizz Baits.
For more information on the LCI, such as registration and weigh-in locations, visit www.mychamplain.net.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at email@example.com.