Wednesday, May 8, 2002


Local songwriter celebrates fishing opener

Winona-area resident Bret Hesla is the author of the unofficial song of this year's 2002 Minnesota Fishing Opener. The governor's office has invited Hesla's Twin Cities-area singing partner Larry Dittberner to International Falls to sing "The Big Fat Walleye" for the governor's fishing opener party this weekend.
In 1987, Bret and a friend went on a 29-day wilderness canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota. In an effort to lighten the food packs and make portages easier, they intentionally brought less food than they needed, hoping to make up the difference with fish. Bad idea. By day nine, these novice fishermen had caught no fish. Worse, they had lost every one of their lures to submerged logs and were desperately putting duct tape on treble hooks hoping to land anything that might possibly complement yet another supper of "fish and rice sans fish." Hard times in the woods can strain friendships, but they are also fertile ground for songs. On day ten these hungry paddlers finally landeda blues classic.
Recorded in 1992 by Dittberner and Hesla on their own label, "The Big Fat Walleye" has since become something of an anthem for all desperate anglers. The song is also a huge favorite in many Minnesota schools, including Lake Country School of Minneapolis and Ridgeway Community School of Winona, where Larry and Bret respectively teach. For information, lyric sheets, or recordings, contact:
Larry Dittberner: 651-228-0756 or Bret Hesla: 507-454-8841.


Big Fat Walleye

(by Bret Hesla)

Early in the morning, I load up my canoe.
Only one thing is gonna break these blues.
I want a Big Fat Walleye.
I want a Big Fat Walleye.
I've got a sinker on a spoon,
And I'm trolling from the morning
To the late afternoon.

Got my boat. Got my gear.
Got my buddy Larry.
Only one thing isn't here
(and that's a Big Fat WalleyeChorus)
All day gray, all day drizzle.
Don't mind getting wet
If I get to hear the sizzle
(of a Big Fat Walleye.... Chorus.)
Tossin' and a-turning
All through the night
I didn't sleep a wink
Cause I was dreaming of a fight
(With a Big Fat Walleye Chorus.)
Don't want beef, no chicken, no pork.
Don't give me no tofu on my fork. (Chorus)
(new verse)
Don't want to see the president
Don't want to see the pope
Don't want to see the "guv"
But I want to see the body
(of a Big Fat WalleyeChorus).
Words and music ©1990 Bret Hesla 507-454-8841.
All rights reserved.

How to develop your own landscaping plan

The Winona County Master Gardeners and Habitat for Humanity will be offering a free landscaping workshop "How to Develop a Landscaping Plan for Your Own Home" on Saturday May 18th from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. The workshop is open to the public and will be held at the Habitat for Humanity office, located at 108 E. 4th Street, Winona.
The session will be presented by Winona County Master Gardener Terry Litvan. Topics to be covered will include: analyzing your site, inventorying your family's personal needs and preferences, drawing a base map, developing a Master Plan that can be broken down into phases, and actually implementing your plan. There will be ample time allotted for questions and answers from attendees. For purposes of showing exactly how this all comes together, we will be using the actual site of Habitat's nearly finished home on the east end of Winona. Participants are encouraged to bring pictures of their own property to further stimulate discussion.
Materials for the workshop will be presented by the Winona County Master Gardeners and is jointly sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and the SEMCAC RSVP program under the umbrella of "Habitat University". Future workshops are being planned for the summer and will include topics of interest to new and existing homeowners.
People interested in attending this workshop should contact the Habitat for Humanity, Winona County office at 507-457-0003 or e-mail us at

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