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Mark and Selina bluegills

Mark and Selina Walters show off their nice catch of bluegills from the recent fishing trip to Barron County.

Hello friends,

Last June, when my daughter Selina and I were fishing in Canada during our annual 7-day getaway to Shultz lake, Selina told me that she would probably not be going to Canada during June of 2018 because she thought that she would be selected to be one of the representatives from Necedah High School for Badger Girls State. Badger Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion and is a leadership and government conference, and yes, Selina was right, she will not be going to Canada.

Realizing that Selina, who officially became a senior this week, is on the fast track to an adult life, I scheduled a short 48-hour fishing trip for the first three days after school was out. I gave Selina the choice of going to Green Bay for walleye, or going up to the Cumberland area where we would camp, fish out of a canoe and try to catch some bluegill.

Selina chose the canoe, with both of her pups, a campfire and bluegill!

Wednesday, June 6

High 76, low 54

Both Selina and I knew that we were going to have a great time as we headed north with two very happy golden retrievers in the back seat of my Chevy pickup. The lake we would be camping on is in Barron County and the camping is hike-in only, and it has very nice sized bluegill.

As is always the case, we built a complete camp and then with about four hours of daylight left, hit the water. I cannot tell you how cool it was to be on the water with Selina. She has three jobs, a ton of friends and is always scheduled. Then there are the extras like Badger Girls, DECA, and later in the summer, another three-day leadership conference in River Falls.

We anchored in about 8 feet of water. The mood was great, and just like that, Selina was catching 8 ½- to 9 ¼-inch bluegill, and her dad was not catching a thing. In no time at all, she had five on the stringer, while good old dad didn’t have a bite.

Our first outing was actually pretty funny, because I do know how to catch fish, and before long it was 11-2, and Selina was kind of making fun of me.

At dark we paddled into camp and both Selina the pups and myself knew that life was perfect as we sat by the fire, listened to the loons and the owls. None of us had a care in the world.

Selina’s first canoe trip was in April of 2003. It was just her and I, and we were on the Chippewa Flowage. Selina had just turned 2. She learned how to use a porta potty on that adventure and fell in the Chippewa Flowage while attempting to paddle our canoe. I had a rope tied to her life vest and she did not let out a cry until she was back in the canoe and saw her paddle floating away, which we quickly recovered.

Thursday, June 7

High 74, low 55

Today, Selina, myself, Ruby and Fire were total pros at doing as little as possible. We slept in, and we had the best bluegill fishing that I have ever witnessed for very large bluegill. Later we took a first-rate nap and then I filleted the bounty of our harvest while Selina made a campfire dinner.

Dinner was potatoes, onions, bacon and venison backstrap that was wrapped in aluminum foil, set in a cast iron pan and cooked over the fire to perfection. I predict that there is not a human walking this earth that would not enjoy that meal.

Being well aware that Selina’s free time, especially with her dad, is now going to be in 36-hour segments, I am going to plan some short but sweet trips throughout the summer. I honestly believe that these outdoor experiences are the reason that she wants to go to UW-Stevens Point and be a wildlife biologist.

Best advice that I can give parents, do things in the outdoors with your kids. You will have no regrets!