Scott had some time off in September and we planned to do some fishing in northern Wisconsin for a few days last week. It felt a little funny leaving my wife and Cam at home but Monday morning came and off we went. The weather was suppose to be nice the first couple days and then turn as a big cold front moved in. We arrived Monday afternoon and the weather was already iffy. Storms were swirling around the area as we headed out to our first lake. We tried for some bass throwing spinnerbaits and senkos but the fish weren’t cooperating. I was disappointed because I had talked this lake up as a good bass lake that Cam and I had done well on earlier in the summer. Besides that clouds were brewing and the launch was quite a distance away. We decided to pack it in a hit another lake. By the time we had the boat on the trailer it was raining. This was suppose to be one of the nice days. So far we only had a couple small bass. We decided to spend a bunch of time on Lake Tomahawk as that is a lake we both have a lot of history on. The rain let up and the temps were still warm as we started poking around. Almost right away we started catching a few more small bass. We were happy to have the bites.
The weather continued to swirl around us but didn’t chase us off the water. And then the highlight of the trip happened. A huge rainbow started to form right over the lake. There would be no way to discribe how beautiful and how amazing this was. I began trying to get a few shots with my new phone. They were ok but didn’t really do it justice.
And then Scott used his phone and got this unbelievable shot. It was awesome!
We knew Tuesday was going to be the best weather day and we wanted to take full advantage. We were on the water early and looking for muskie. Now Scott is not a muskie guy but he knows I am so he was being nice. An hour in on a topwater he got a low 30 incher to blow it up. It was a brief encounter and our only one all morning. I was disappointed but happy to get the chance to chase skis. We picked up, moved lakes and went back to bassin. And we caught some fish. Included in our catch besides bass was a few northerns and a couple of confused walleyes. By the time we got in you could tell the weather was changing. The prediction was for heavy rain, big wind, and 40 degree temps.
When we got up most of that prediction had come to pass. Maybe it wasn’t heavy rain, but it was pelting. Oh and I haven’t mentioned to this point that I had hired a muskie guide for half a day for the afternoon and we weren’t to excited about the prospect of paying someone to go out in that weather. We started the day with one of Scott’s favorite rainy day activities, a trip to the St. Croix Factory in Park Falls. We left without buying which was pretty weird. It was about to get weirder. As we headed through town we passed over a river and I saw a little park. I saw the water was flowing pretty good and I told Scott I thought he should pull over by this shelter I saw across the bridge. I told him how easy river fishing is and if there were any muskies one would be sitting right in this eddy I could see. Now remember, it was raining sideway, the wind was blowing 20, and it was 42 degrees! The day before we were fishing in short sleeves. So I started putting on all my warm weather and rain gear and I pull out a muskie rod and a bucktail and I head for the water. I’m feeling pretty silly until Scott joins me. He’s throwing a senko. You can imagine the bow in his line as he was trying to cast that around! Now were talking and freezing, and wondering how we are going to survive 4 hours in a boat with a guide this afternoon when my bucktail stops! I hooked up! I lean back on a muskie. I think I say at least three times: Scott, I got One! I wrestle it near shore wondering how I’m going to land it without a net when it come off! BUMMER!!!!!!!! And so I stand there, defeated again by a stupid fish I never expected to contact. Wow. We got back in the truck soaked, fished a couple more shore spots on the way home, and got back to the hotel. THANK GOODNESS the guide called and said we could cancel if we wanted. We did. That was the best news of the day.
Thursday was suppose to be a little nicer and it was but just a little. We were bundled up and trying for muskies again. Worked out the same. Nothing. Got back to bassin and fishing for whatever else would bite and again caught enough fish to reach double digits each, the same as the other days. I got surprised by the fish of the trip when the nice 19 1/2 largemouth jumped on my bait and really gave me a tussle. You can also see by my gear that it was cold!
And so we finished up, got a good nights sleep, and headed for home Friday morning. While it wasn’t our dream trip fishingwise, being up north is something Scott and I always appreciate fish or not. Both of us can’t wait for next time.
After Green Bay almost any fishing was going to seem good. That experience just didn’t go well. Sometimes trips are like that. Cam and I got back to doing what we know and that got us back to catching muskies. For the most part its been a bucktail bite most of the summer for us. I generally like to throw crankbaits which explains why Cam is getting a good percentage of the good fish this year. But in August I’ve done a little catching up.
We had a real nice day on Cam’s last day of summer vacation when he boated a 38 1/2 and a 34, and I got a 38.
With Cam back in school I got back to fishing by myself. Of course I don’t enjoy this nearly as much. And it has other drawbacks too.
Still, every so often I’d find a few cooperative muskies.
Last weekend was the end of August and the holiday weekend. We knew people would be out in droves so we decided not to fish much. We played some golf, which Cam is just getting into, but we did get out for a couple hours in the fog one morning and Cam leaned back and hook up with this bruiser in the fog. He measured at 40 1/4. What a great way to end the month.
So I mentioned we were going to finish off summer in grand style with a guided fishing trip for giant muskies on southern Lake Michigan near Green Bay, Wisconsin, arguably one of the 3 best big fish destinations in the lower 48. On August 5, we set out with high hopes around 7 am. We had a 6 hour guide trip scheduled with Brett Alexander and the plan was to get Cam a 50 incher. An hour an a half in, around East Troy, Wisconsin things would begin to change. A terrible noise began coming out of the back end of the van. I thought it was the hubs on the trailer. I got off to the side of the road. Smoke was coming out of the back left tire. Not good. I limped to East Troy and called a garage I take had done my brakes just a couple weeks back. They said it would be under warranty but that wasn’t much consolation. Fortunately I found a garage and they said they could fix it. 90 minutes later we were on our way. It seemed like a miracle. We were still going to make our trip. Then in Milwaukee the vibration and noise started again. It really shook the van and was scary in city traffic. Again I got off and found a Monroe Tire this time. This time I wasn’t so lucky. They said the driving I did burned up the fluids and damaged the front brakes. They could do the work but it would be over 800 dollars. The first stop I had already dropped almost 200. And now it didn’t look like I’d be able to get to Green Bay on time to fish. Wow, did this suck. These guys were really nice and got us going as quick as they could. It seemed like if we hustled maybe we could fish from 4 till dark. Brett was ok with that so we started down the road again. And you guessed it. The van started shaking and shuddering AGAIN! Did I say these guys at Monroe were nice? They drove out and found us, took the boat off, and then started figuring out what was wrong besides the brakes. It was in the transmission! It took another 3 hours but they got us going. We called Brett and told him we couldn’t make it. We set up the next day with an associate of his Drew Grissman. We met at Geano Beach Resort and did a 6 hour trip. Here’s the only picture I took. I guess I pretty much freaked out and that included not taking any pictures.
It was amazing to see so much water and consider that muskies were swimming around in there. Drew set us up with rubber. I threw a big tube. Cam threw a bulldawg. After going out into the lake for what seemed like forever Drew throttled down and told us we were on the spot. We would be fishing a large rock/sand shelf that came up as shallow as 5 feet. We lobbed our baits and pulled, did our figure 8, and then did it again. About 8:30 I got bit. I leaned back hard and the rod doubled up on what seemed like a good fish. Immediately we saw it boil on the surface and then it was gone. Bummer. I hate rubber baits and that’s why. It can be hard to get hooks in a fish. And that would be it. We worked hard through a number of spots and then did do a little trolling. We wanted to do this to see the process since our plan was to do this on our own in the afternoon and the next day. As we set up it was clear that the area was full of floating weeds and trolling was going to be next to impossible. Not only that but the wind direction was perfectly wrong and our little boat was going to have a heck of a time out there on such big water.
We finished up at 12:30. Drew was great. Once again I took out a guide and didn’t get a fish. This just seems to happen to me over and over. We launched our boat and wanted to start by trolling a bit. We set up but the wind and the weeds got the best of us pretty quick. We settled for getting back up on some of the casting spots we had learned earlier in the day. We fished hard but had no action.
The motel I picked wasn’t too nice and Cam and I weren’t too sure we were feeling ok. We thought maybe there was mold in the a/c or something or maybe it was just the stress of the trip with all the van nonsense. Anyhow, we launched, fished, and stuck out. Still pretty cool to be fishing Green Bay. I wish I’d have taken more water shots. Watching some of the guys work across these huge bars throwing those bigs rubber baits in the early morning light was something. I was stressing about the van so we called it early and headed for home. It was one of the longest trips i can ever recall but we did make it. I wanted to kiss the ground when we got home. But mostly I was disappointed the trip was so negatively impacted by a vehicle that had been nothing but good to us for its whole life!
Sometime this fall we hope to get back up there and maybe then we’ll get another chance at one of those giant Green Bay muskies.