Back from the North Woods

Here’s what my field of vision has looked like for roughly the last ten days. A tight line, a clear northern lake, lots of trees, eagles overhead…ahhh. I’m pretty much in paradise wherever they have bait shops that look like this:

What did I catch? Crikey, a lot. The weather was cold but the fish were up in the shallows spawning. We stayed in a cabin on a small lake, right on the edge of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, up in Phelps, Wisconsin. There was a pier right out the front door where the girls could catch bluegill aplenty. I was reeling in a nice one when this bruiser here came out of nowhere and hit it like Kim Kardashian on a cinnabon. Boom!

I tried to bring in both the bass and the bluegill, but without a hook in its mouth I couldn’t keep the bass on the line. The bluegill popped out of its mouth and it swam away having literally lost its lunch. The girls reasoned that we needed a lure that looked like a bluegill, so off we went to the bait shop. A few casts later that sucker was ours.

Otherwise the walleye fishing was outstanding. My last day I caught over a dozen, not one of them under 17 inches. I caught a 22-inch northern as well, though I confess I don’t much care to deal with those slimy things.

I saw several muskie but none cared to jump on the line, which was probably just as well since I was using extremely light tackle. Overall it was a very successful week away. The little Pastrys got to see a part of the country they’d never seen before. We saw dozens of deer plus otters, beavers and about 20 different species of birds. We found wolf and bear tracks but never managed to glimpse any, much to our disappointment. The mosquitos were as big as light aircraft.

We’re a little blue to be back, but there’s plenty of summer left and I’m sure we will stage several other minor escapes before it’s over. This was a great start.

12 thoughts on “Back from the North Woods”

  1. Sounds like a little piece of heaven on earth. Thanks for sharing! Glad you are back we missed you!


  2. You were definitely missed–even if I was also on vacation last week and too busy to check all my blogs and such. That is a gorgeous area. One of the things I loved about MN and WI but you are also right about those mosquitoes…one of the things I do NOT miss about MN/WI. I hear northern are quite the fighters but good eats. Definitely the walleye are good eats. Did you do a lot of grilling of fish or are you a put them back kind of fisherman?

    1. I love fresh fish, but I was on a lot of catch-and-release lakes, so, most of them had to go back.

      As for northerns, I think they fight about like walleye, pound for pound, which is to say pretty well. They have a lot of odd bones in them which makes them hard to clean, at least for me. Plus they have that extra thick layer of slime on them…”snot rockets” is what we used to call them when I lived in Minnesota. The name fit!

      – Joe

      1. Wow…lived in MN for 17 years and never heard snot-rockets…if that name fits…I wouldn’t want to catch one. Catfish in the south were bad enough. I’d also heard you had to be a bit careful with those teeth they have.

        I went to the coast of Oregon and got to have some fresh fish (though I didn’t have to catch them). I agree it is very good and a nice change! Salmon is caught a lot around the Portland area but I’m not a huge fan though I hear if you ever eat it fresh you will not think it so strong as what you get less fresh. Sure looks like a beautiful area. I was up in the Apostle Islands area once in WI but otherwise except when I took Hwy 2 across from MN to MI I didn’t see much of the northern section but both states are beautiful there..if you like bugs. 🙂

      2. yeah, those “Y” bones make fillets a pain. I usually run the knife down the bone so that you end up with 2 strips of meat & no bone in between. Northern is as good as walleye for flavor & texture.

        1. That’s a good idea…I know several people who like to pickle those long strips of northern. Talk about some serious Norwegians! They swear it’s the only real snack for hockey or winter football.

          – Joe

  3. “… like Kim Kardashian on a cinnabon.”

    That’s a great saying. You ought to see Kourtney and a popover. We were trying to honor her privacy as she had lunch at the Neiman-Narcus cafe and didn’t take a picture… but it was a sight to behold!

  4. p.s. That’s a really nice collection of ichthyoids… looks like a really fun time. Welcome back!

  5. What a great vacation – nice pictures! I’d like to spend more than a day in Wisconsin sometime (part of that hurricane evacuvacation a while back). Those fish look good too. The last time I went out, I kept catching this one gar – there’s a bony, toothy fish for ya. I definitely did not want the thing, but he seemed to want me.

    Glad you’re back and posting.

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