Posted on

An Outdoorsman’s Journal - Walleyes on the Wisconsin

Walleyes on the  Wisconsin
Mark Walters sponsored by
Walleyes on the  Wisconsin
Mark Walters sponsored by

An Outdoorsman’s Journal

Hello friends, This week’s column is a go for it, try to catch some walleyes out of a canoe, freeze my butt off and make it home kind of a story.

Tuesday, March 26 High 36, Low 22

I was going to head to the Oconto River and fish walleyes out of my canoe and all of a sudden I had a brain storm. Why don’t I go to Nekoosa and fish walleyes on the Wisconsin? Nekoosa is only 30 miles from my house, and I have not done anything in the area all winter, so that is what I did.

First I want to thank my good friends Jeff and Patti Rouse, who recently gave me a 17-foot aluminum canoe. Mine is close to shot and could even be called suicidal, so thanks Jeff and Patti.

The following was my plan as I geared up my new rig at Jim Freemen Memorial Boat Landing at Nekoosa. I was going to fish a variety of ways as in paddle trolling, jig and minnow while anchored, throwing crankbaits, and soaking a minnow on a floating jig. I had several conversations with fishermen at the landing and all reports did not include much fish catching.

I would have to paddle up river about 1.5 miles and I would be pulling two crankbaits as I started my journey at 3:30 p.m. while wearing chest waders and lots of clothes as there was a stiff north wind blowing a steady snowfall. Here is my answer to a question so many people ask me. “Why don’t you use your War Eagle with the 90-horsepower Yamaha?” Here is my answer. I get bored easily, have to be physical and enjoy living on the edge. There will be plenty of hours spent in the big boat.

I make it close to the dam, drop anchor, was wishing the weather was not so nasty, at least not this early in the adventure, put out a floating jig with a fathead and start tossing a 3/8-ounce jig with a fathead. Ten minutes later, it’s fish on with the jig and I landed a 21-inch walleye, which in these waters gets released as there is a 20-to-28inch slot. It was kind of cool for the first fish out of my new rig to be a slot. The first few hours of the evening it was steady fish catching for me with either the blue chrome Husky jerk or the floating jig offering plenty of activity. Hour by hour the weather kept beating me up.

About dark my stepson Travis Dushek shows up in his boat and he tells me that his brother Joey would be arriving in a bit. Let me tell you about these kids who are now 30 and 32. They are excelling in life in all ways, and I do not know anyone that could out fish or hunt either of them. They grew up in a house where, to put it simply, we hunted, fished and camped as a way of life.

Long story short, Trav and Joe kicked butt tonight, fished until after midnight and both made it to work just after sunup the following morning. So, the boys leave and I am the only human on this part of the Wisconsin. It is 22 degrees, the wind is nonstop and my feet are beyond frozen. I had caught maybe 20 walleyes of which they were either in the slot or undersized and I was stuck on four legals. At 1:30 a.m., I was living in the moment as in my feet were not very functional, my balance after 10 hours in a canoe was not exceptional and I was in a lot of pain from kneeling for most of the experience.

I paddled back to my truck, did a warm up which took a full 30 minutes for any parts of my feet to tell me there was life and, at sunrise, started over.

I thrive on these challenges, which goes back to the “why don’t you use your boat” question and I really had a challenge today as there was a lot more water coming down river today. It took me two hours of pulling hard on the paddle to make it close to the dam. There was only one other boat on the water and the bite had virtually stopped. My belief is an 18-inch rise in water level and a 25-degree drop in the temp, all in 24 hours, were the culprits.

I put another seven hours in the canoe and did not have one thing happen as far as catching fish and that was all that I needed to know to realize that 30 miles away was a wood stove that could be fired up and a body that said please go home!

Challenge yourself, Sunset Whiz Kids Basketball Camp recently concluded its second annual spring program, aimed at introducing the fundamentals of basketball to first and second grade boys and girls in Medford. The camp, held on three Saturdays in March, provided 64 future Raiders with a fun and engaging opportunity to develop their skills on the court while fostering teamwork and sportsmanship. Whiz Kids Basketball Camp was sponsored by the Medford Booster Basketball Club and was conducted with help from parents and booster club coaches.

Medford Booster Basketball will host the Medford 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament on Saturday, April 13 at Medford Area Middle School. More than 70 teams from throughout the state ranging from grades 3 through 8 are registered for the day-long tournament.