Bluegill on Marsh-Miller

Mark Walters • OUTDOOR COLUMNIST

I think it was 15 years ago that I fished on the Marsh-Miller Flowage and stayed at Birch Point Resort (715-568-1525 or www.birchpoint@yahoo.com) for the first time.

I had heard there were big bluegills and lots of them. That first year I fished with my stepson, Kevin, and we had a blast and I have not missed a year since.

I have stayed at this working man’s resort which is located in Chippewa County between Bloomer and Cornell with probably 20 different people, but the last few years my steady partner is my 14-year-old daughter, Selina, who always brings a friend.

This year Selina invited 14-year-old Mikayla Newlan of New Lisbon. Mikayla, like Selina, is a very avid outdoorswoman and a lot of fun.

Friday, May 29

High 77, Low 47

The season of spring for an outdoor writer/hobby farmer is one of 100 things to do and only time for 80. Getting ready for this trip, putting in lots of garden, attending Selina’s track meets, and clearing and fencing a piece of property. It has about pushed me to the point where three days of sitting in a boat and watching bobbers is a requirement.

Last night the girls and I arrived at 11:00 and this morning we took our time before we hit the water. There was a cold spell forecast to hit tonight that was going to literally drop the highs and lows 20 degrees and that is generally bad news when trying to catch bluegill in shallow water.

This morning, as soon as we anchored on what has always been my favorite spot on the lake, the bobbers were going down and we were having a hoot catching beautiful bluegills that I measured, and the ones we kept were between 7.5 and 8.5 inches.

Mikayla Newlun, like Selina and their very good friend Tess Bigalke (who is also 14), has a bear tag this year and it will be very interesting to see how that plays out. All of them will be hunting in Juneau County and both the baiting season as well as the nights on the stand are guaranteed to create memorable stories.

I have a tag myself and rarely even think about my hunt.

This morning, Mikayla was using a pink horizontal jig with a very small piece of crawler on it and let me tell you folks, that was the hot ticket in our boat.

The action was pretty much nonstop for two hours and in that time we kept 37 beautiful and extremely tasty panfish.

When we headed in for lunch I did not feel like cooking, so we went into the lodge and it was great to see my good buddy Paul Maire who owns this place. Anyone that spends time in the lodge will tell you two things: it’s fun and the food is incredible

Tonight, we fished until after dark, got rained on and, due to the cold spell hitting, only kept 17. It was pretty cool to see how these girls braved difficult conditions and still enjoyed themselves.

At night I am the fish cleaner, the girls help with cooking and the dishes, and play lots of board games.

Saturday, May 30

High 54, Low 34

The wind was strong and it was cold today and that saved the lives of many a panfish. Generally, this lake has a lot of boats on it on a Saturday in late May but the cold spell and whitecaps kept most people on shore, and the fish simply were not feeding.

We put nine hours in the boat over two outings and kept 26 gills which in these conditions was very respectable.

The last couple of years the gill’s size average was down and that had a lot of people concerned about this fish factory. I honestly believe that the bluegills that we were catching this year were an inch larger and that bodes well for the future.

In my travels, I hang my hat in many places but there are very few that I return to every year. For Selina and me, Marsh-Miller and Birch Point are always home away from home.

Sunset


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