Good times on Big Chetac

Last weekend, everything went perfectly in the life and times of Mark Walters. Please keep reading for details of a really fun fishing trip.

Friday, Jan. 8

High 15, Low Minus-7

Paul Bucher owns The Cumberland Advocate, loves to fish and is a good buddy of mine.

Every winter, we plan a little getaway where catching fish and blowing out the fun meter are easily met goals (catching fish is not always easy).

This year, our plan had us staying at a good friend’s cabin that is located on Big Chetac Lake which is 1920-acres and located in southwest Sawyer County.

We would be fishing out of my four-man portable shack and targeting whatever wanted to bite, with an emphasis on panfish with a jig pole and northern pike and walleye with tip ups.

As has been the case for every one of our winter excursions, it was very cold out. We were able to drive our pickups from the cabin to our intended fishing spot and that was good news.

About the time we got on the ice, which was mid-afternoon, a third member of our party joined us. Chris Schiefelbein, who actually has a home on Big Chetac, fishes a lot and knows how to have a good time.

My portable shack was up in no time and then it was time to set out tip ups.

I have a brand new toy, I mean tool, and that is a three-horse Jiffy STX ice auger. New tools are always fun, especially when they are quality.

After I had my tip-ups set up, I entered our base camp for the weekend and my fishing partners had a big smile on their faces (the smiles never left all weekend). One of the reasons that they were smiling so much was that they already had a mess of crappie and bluegill on the ice.

Paul Bucher and Chris Schiefelbein are not your typical ice fishermen. I found that out a few years ago. My pals from the northwest do things that generally create success for fishermen. They fish a lot and they are very technical.

When I say technical, I mean they use their Vexilars as if they are as important as their jig poles. We were fishing over about 20 feet of water and when a school of crappie or bluegill would cruise below us at 5 feet off the bottom, these guys would position their glow jigs just above the school of fish with the proven theory that hungry fish will come up to a jig.

That theory worked about 75 times today and tonight, and folks I am telling you that we had about as much fun as three guys can have in an ice shack.

I had about 8 pounds of scalloped potatoes and ham that was quite frozen in a cast iron pan. I started heating it up about 8:00 and I received lots of verbal abuse about the amount of time it took to cook my masterpiece.

About 9 p.m. we iced our 75th crappie, pulled our lines and joked around until just before midnight. We were mildly surprised that everyone else was off the lake.

Saturday, Jan. 9

High 14, Low Minus-9

How do you repeat having as much fun as we did yesterday? Easy, go back to base camp, start fishing and throw another “yahoo” in the mix.

Today, Ron Wesolowski became the fourth man in our shack and we actually blew up the fun meter.

I almost forgot to mention that Paul Bucher iced a 35-inch northern pike yesterday and it was really cold while he was playing tug of war with the big, fat gator.

The crappie and bluegill were not quite as hungry today but we still ended up with about 50. Glow jigs that were frequently “freshened up” by putting them next to the light of the propane lantern were the hot ticket.

During daylight hours, spikes were the hot meat on the glow jig. After dark a change was made to minnows.

I reconfirmed a long time personal belief! I, Mark Walters, enjoy winter much more then summer.

Does anyone know where they sell fun meters?


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