Marsh Miller bluegills

Selina Walters and Reece Frase show some of the bluegills they caught on Marsh Miller Lake.

Hello friends,

There are a few places where my travels take me where I am at complete peace from the time I arrive until long after I return home. Birch Point Resort in Chippewa County near Bloomer is a place that I love to visit. My pals, twin brothers Paul and Dave Maire, have been running Birch Point for 26 years, and this year this historic resort and restaurant turned 100.

The fishing there is incredible for panfish. The food is home cooked on weekends by Elaine Stuckert and her staff, and the tavern is well run by the Maires, as well as Steve Kiesow, Colleen Lorenz and others.

If you come here, you will have an immediate thought that you have gone back in time to 1955, where everyone is fun and nice in a setting where just about every building is older then me, and in some cases much older.

Friday, Aug. 9

High 81, low 57

Just because we love it here, my daughter Selina and I arrived at 10:30 last night after a big day for both of us. Selina wanted to go on one more trip with me before I take her to UW-Stevens Point in two weeks and become an empty-nester for the first time in 25 years. Selina, without hesitation, chose Birch Point for our adventure, as she has been coming here since she was 6 months old and everyone seems like family here.

Today would be our very casual day. We did not start fishing until I cooked a good breakfast and then I launched the boat and we hit the water. We used to anchor and fish with bobbers and standard hooks, and would catch plenty of fish, mostly which were bluegill. About five years ago, like many of the fishermen here, I began drifting with ice fishing jigs in the deepest part of the lake, which appears to be about 9 feet deep.

This method is brainless, productive and lots of fun. One pole a person is simply lowered straight down. Another pole has a bobber on it and the person in the front throws it forward and the person in the back throws theirs to the rear. Hopefully there is a wind and all you do is enjoy the view.

Over the course of the weekend we used red worms, wax worms, small pieces of nightcrawlers and Gulp on the jigs. It did not seem to matter what we used, we caught fish.

Saturday, Aug. 10

High 79, low 54

Selina and I have a long-time friend here and his name is Reece Frase. Reece is a senior at Fall Creek High School and his parents have a permanent campsite here at Birch Point. I met Reece when he was a very young boy fishing from shore in front of my cabin. I always treated Reece and his friends like family and also tried teaching them a few things.

Fast forward 10 years, and Reece is a very skilled outdoorsman both fishing and hunting wise. Reece and Selina are really good friends. They stay in touch year-round, and Reece would spend the last 30 hours of this trip with us.

Along with our dogs Fire and Ruby, we drifted in the WarEagle for two days and had a hoot as the bluegills and crappie added up in the livewell. We had a snapping turtle that was big enough to eat a baby that seemed to be following us. We told stories and laughed a lot.

Reece has been working for his father in his septic tank installation business as well as the family’s tree business, and that is what he plans on doing after high school.

Like everyone else, Reese has lots to think about, and a serious knee injury during his homecoming football game last fall has him asking himself if he should be playing a sport he loves this fall.

On the first night, Selina and I ate at the buffet in the restaurant overlooking the lake and I just kept thinking about the first time I talked to Paul Maire back in 2001, and the incredible experiences that I have had with so many people here the last 18 years.

We arrived home on Sunday night. I was crazy tired. Selina had several friends waiting for her to get home, and I thought, “this has been a good and honorable experience raising a girl to become a young outdoorswoman.”


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