WALTERS COLUMN: Big gills make for lots of fun

WALTERS COLUMN: Big gills make for lots of fun

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Big Bluegill

Paul Bucher caught and released this 10 ¼-inch bluegill.

Hello friends,

This past week I have had a lot on my mind, as at first I had bad news, which was followed up by a fun camping and fishing trip with my good buddy Paul Bucher. Paul owns and manages The Cumberland Advocate, and the week ended with good news.

Friday, June 12

High 77, low 44

I was driving on Interstate 94 and then 53. The same roads I would have been on if, as if like the last 38 years, I was heading to Canada with the gang on this same date. This was supposed to be the day we went to Red Lake, Ontario. Due to COVID-19, we changed that date twice, and two days ago received word that our final choice was not going to happen due to the border being closed.

In reality, I was really bummed.

Paul Bucher and I have been slaying big gills in early June each year, and I camp in northern Barron County. This year Paul would camp with me, and we had two casual days of fishing and two nights around the campfire.

Both days I would spend some time hanging out at Indianhead Sport Shop in Cumberland, which is a fun place to shoot the bull with lots of very cool people.

We built our camp and headed over to a lake in Polk County with Paul’s 17.5 Alumacraft Competitor in tow. This weekend I would have it made, as I would be fishing with the best panfisherman that I know, and I would not have to drive the truck or the boat.

The lake we would be fishing is one that we fished last year, and I am not lying when I say that we caught some 10-inch gills.

Unless you have been living on your couch the last six months, you are aware that it is frequently colder than normal and almost every day there is a heck of a solid wind. Paul Bucher does not like to anchor when bluegill fishing. What he likes to do is drift and control the boat with his electric motor, as he works the shoreline and drop offs.

Today, like every day I fish with Paul, it seemed like I was a spectator and I watched the live fishing show put on by him. The hot ticket was a pink Genz Worm, and his technique was to put a wax worm on it and jig off the bottom. Like last year, a 10-inch bluegill was caught and it was released to grow to 11 inches.

Saturday, June 13

High 71, low 44

It became quite chilly last night, and the fly blew off our tent while we were sleeping. Today we started out fishing a Barron County lake, and we put a lot of time into it, but all we could catch was small gills and at least 20, 12-to 15-inch bass.

In mid-afternoon we headed over to a Polk County lake and we had a hoot on the sumo gills. Neither Paul or myself will keep a medium-sized gill, and when I cleaned our catch, they were all 8.5 to 9.75 inches.

Tonight, my mood was excellent, and two good buddies sat around the campfire and had a big time doing nothing but cooking burgers, enjoying a few beers and laughing at unimportant things.

I forgot to mention that the Canada Gang had put me in charge of finding a good lake and lodging in the lower 48, and to hopefully get the dates of roughly the 3rd of July to the 10th.

I was driving home on the same interstate when I had a brainstorm. I have some friends that love to fish Lake Gogebic in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I made some calls (thanks Josh and Ed) and was told Gogebic is an excellent option. That night I had a long talk with the owners of Timbers Resort. Three nights later I met in person with The Canada Gang and we have us a plan that is 100% centered around having a good time.

Keep thinking, keep moving!


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