What can I tell you about Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay? Considering that I lived in Ashland County for most of the 90s, I am embarrassed to say I do not know how to fish it, cannot identify many of the fish in it and geographically cannot remember which island is which.
As you are about to find out, in another whirlwind story, much of that would change this past week.
High 27, low 18
Lodging, bait and much of my information would come from the River Rock Inn and Bait Shop in Ashland. This is a good place to stay, purchase gear or get information. I also give kudos to Anglers All in Ashland.
My fishing partner would be 54-year-old Rick Miotke, who is the president of the Baraboo River Chapter of Kids and Mentors Outdoors. Rick has worked at Sysco Foods for 33 years and is very active in his church. Rick and I go back a long ways.
After purchasing bait, tackle and moving into our room, we headed towards Washburn with my Polaris Classic 550 in tow. This is my first snowmobile with an electric start, is fan cooled and has reverse. The Classic is a 2005 with 1,200 miles on it.
Our informants said head to Houghton Point, which is just under 4 miles from where we took the sled off the trailer in Washburn.
We pulled two fully-loaded sleds over some rough ice and had a little bit of bad luck when we reached our destination. We unloaded everything, and I could not find my rod and reel bag, which contained my five jig poles. I wasted no time and went looking for them with no luck. They had fallen off and in a very short period of time someone else found them.
I put out two tip ups and Rick put out two JawJackers, all baited with lake shiners. We were fishing in 19- to 44-feet of water with the hopes of catching a brown trout, splake, walleye, northern pike or anything that would make us feel like we were doing something right. Day became night and we headed back towards the truck.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
High 23, low 17
You have free articles remaining.
We got new information into where to fish today and would fish from dark to dark. The trip on the sled was greatly reduced, and we met three really cool guys from Marshfield, who we would fish next to for the next two days.
Joe Sinn, John Zeitler and Terry Poehnlt are 70, 70, and 62. They do multiple three-day trips a winter up here, and they are seasoned tough guys that are a lot of fun. They also have read this column for a long time, so we were friends from the get go.
These guys use a UTV and fish maybe 100 yards apart from each other. They spread out two tip ups a piece and jig in their shacks with their other line, and they like natural bait.
Meanwhile, back at the Mark and Rick show, it was noon and we had yet to catch a fish, when Rick finally caught a very small perch. Then Rick caught another. Next, he caught an 18-inch walleye.
Then I caught a couple of decent perch. Dark came and no trout, but we were learning.
Thursday, Jan. 30
High 28, low 21
Have you ever done something wrong because you did not want to make waves? I did on this trip. Rick just purchased an 8-inch electric auger. We had my 10-inch Jiffy propane auger along, and like a dam fool, I left it in the truck.
At noon today, I had a flag and I had me a big brown trout on the other end. Five times I got it to the hole, and five times I could not turn it up the hole. Long story short, the brown got away. Without hesitation, I took the sled to the truck and got the 10-inch auger.
Rick got the second and only other chance for a brown, and after a solid 20-minute fight with the JawJacker jig pole, and with the assistance of Joe Sinn as our gaff man, he caught a 31.25-inch trophy.
We had no idea that this beauty from the cold waters of Lake Superior was such a dandy, but when our buddies told Rick that he had to mount it, and that none of them had ever hit the 30-inch mark, the decision was made.