Living large all over the map

Mark Walters • OUTDOOR COLUMNIST

March 12-19 will see me lodge 1,200 miles on my Chevy pickup.

I started out this major multitasking week at McFarlanes in Sauk City where Fire and I were greeters at their 53rd annual “Customer Appreciation Days.” To all of the folks that came to say hello and say nice things, thank-you, it means a lot.

After the trip that I am about to write about, I took Fire down to Beaver Dam where she will be staying at Steve and Tina Hopps for a “love visit.” While dropping Fire at the Hopps, she met up with her old pal “Duke” and they decided to start a family.

As I write this, the wind is blowing steadily at 20 mph, it has been pouring for 24 hours and when this column is complete I will be jumping back in the truck and heading to the Mississippi River for three days of walleye fishing.

The day after I get home I will be heading to Stevens Point where I will be meeting with KAMO (Kids And Mentors Outdoors) members from all over Wisconsin for our annual state members and then board of directors meetings.

Sunday, March 13

High 56, Low 31

I am pulling my enclosed trailer and with my Polaris “Sportsman” ATV. In the bed of my truck is ice fishing and camping gear. My brain and body are tired and the truck is pointed in the direction of Lake Metonga in Forest County.

I fished and camped on Metonga in January with my “old” buddy, Jeff Moll, and we kicked hiney on 19-24-inch walleye. My good pal, Ed Smith, out of Crandon was our informant and I told Ed I would be back for Metonga’s perch in March.

The pup is along as usual and when I hit Lions Park in Crandon I unloaded the ATV, hooked the trailer to it, loaded my cabin on wheels to it and went looking for Mr. Smith.

Part of the reason for my fatigue is I started cutting firewood for next winter this week and at 54, kicking butt with a saw, and loading and unloading lots of oak is hard work.

I found Ed, who I might add, is an addicted outdoorsman. Whenever I get the report, he is either bow hunting or had been, or fishing or going fishing, etc. Ed is fishing on top of 41 feet of water and as my luck would have it, the bite was slow with four perch in the 8-9-inch range in his bucket.

Metonga has become highly respected for its truly jumbo perch and good numbers of them, and that is why I had picked this 2,200-acre beauty to celebrate my seventh and last ice camping trip of this winter.

So I am sad because I hate to see winter end. I am tired and the fish are not hungry but I have high hopes for the evening “prime time.” My ace in the hole is that I have a cot, an enclosed trailer, a sleeping bag to put on that cot and a plan on lights out by 8:30 and a simple supper plan – homemade salsa and chips.

At dark I had caught one perch, which I let go. When I went to eat chips and salsa I realized I had bought Fritos instead of salsa chips and such is life.

Monday, March 14

High 53, Low 30

Oh what 10 hours in a bunk can do for a man’s body and brain! I just knew that I was going to catch a limit of 15-inch perch today because I had a great night’s sleep.

By 11 a.m. I had caught one perch which I let go! My “old” buddy Ed had a call from his old buddy “Marv” and just like that I am packing gear, hooking up to the “cabin on the ice,” heading to the Chevy pickup and then driving over to Pelican Lake in Oneida County.

I have always wanted to fish this 3,500-acre body of water which after today I guarantee I will be returning to. When I make enough money in this highly lucrative way of life that I have created, I will be buying a cabin somewhere in this area.

Pelican Lake is the 30-incher of walleyes and the 12-pointer of whitetails. The crappie hit both sides of the five-gallon bucket.

The view is incredible, the homes and people are genuine up north and I sucked at catching fish but saw some dandies caught by a fella that made his owns rods and did not use electronics.

So, this story is coming to an end, it is pouring, the wind just blew my stack of hay bales over and I am headed to the Mississippi River to live the life of a king (my kingdom is a rock island in Antarctica and I am the only inhabitant).

Live large!

Sunset


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