Summer Days on the Wisconsin River

Hello friends,

I asked my 17-year-old daughter Selina Walters what she would like to do for her next outdoor adventure and she told me something with the boat, camping on an island or a sandbar, fishing, and with the dogs.

My plan was something on the Mississippi River but since most of the islands and sandbars were underwater that plan changed to the Wisconsin River just north of Portage in an area that is quite remote and has well-known quality fishing.

Monday, July 16th

High 85, low 55

My 18.6 War Eagle that is pushed by 90 hsp E-TEC would be our watercraft on this adventure and we would find out the hard way on several occasions that it is a bit large for this shallow water section of the Wisconsin River.

I have canoed through this stretch of the Wisconsin at least 20 times but have not put a lot of hours running an outboard here. Today when Selina and I launched the War Eagle at the Pine Island boat landing we headed north. We had a goal of finding a campsite with water that was deep enough right at camp to fish from shore, but also had some slow water for our favorite pastime on this trip and that would be doing a whole bunch of nothing, like swimming and hanging out with Fire and Ruby in the water.

It was very difficult finding our goal as we headed north so we headed south and on more than one occasion the War Eagle became grounded in shallow water and we had to wade and push, which really was not a big deal.

We found paradise about two miles south of the landing as we had both a deep water and shallow channel right next to our tent. We did not have a whole lot of daylight to build camp and at dark there were a whole lot of mosquitoes but we really did not care.

Selina scraped two holes in the sand under the tent for our bodies, and after an excellent meal of steaks we hit the tent and both Ruby and Fire were loving life as they got to sleep right next to us.

Tuesday, July 17th

High 82, low 51

This would be one of those trips where you are always barefoot and don’t have a care in the world.

Today started out pretty cool as Selina caught a 6-pound channel cat from shore, and I caught a walleye.

My plan was to have a fish boil at camp tonight and we were both excited about that.

Before we headed out in the boat Selina and the pups would have to spend a bunch of time lounging in the water. Just before we left we set up a screen tent which, as we were pushing the boat off, started to blow into the river but we caught it just in time.

Our boating/fishing experience had mixed ratings. I was having an electrical issue which was easily fixed when I got home but today I had no lights, aerator or graph. We anchored over several deep water holes and fished with crawlers and leeches. I was really excited to catch some walleye and small mouth bass. Unfortunately the fish were not hungry and in reality we did not care because all we really wanted to do was a whole bunch of nothing at camp.

Bad luck did come our way when, even though I was going very slow, we hit something with our prop - which is only one year old - and pretty much destroyed it.

Back at camp with lots of sunscreen on, Selina brushed her dogs, swam, we played frisbee and she took a nap on her float in the river. I put an anchor on it so I did not have to worry about her floating down river and fished from shore for hours (until well after dark) but the fish simply were not hungry.

More bad luck came our way when the knot that I had secured the catfish with came undone at its mouth and it swam away.

I taught Selina at a very young age that when you miss a duck or a deer or a fish gets away it is a good thing as it gets to live another day and that is exactly what she said when we realized our fish boil was not going to happen but her catfish would live another day.

Tonight we had the screen tent and a campfire so mosquitoes were not an issue at all. One more year and Selina will be off to college. These trips get harder and harder to do as Selina has three jobs so finding 48-hours to get away is a challenge.

One way or another as we always have, we still go camping!


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