by Mark Walters
Back to Birch Point
One of my annual trips is to my friend Paul Maires, Birch Point Resort on Marsh Miller Lake near Bloomer (715-568-1525). I return to Birch Point each spring for the quality bluegill fishing that Marsh Miller has to offer and to stay at a resort that absolutely reminds me of stepping back in time to the 60’s and 70’s.
Tuesday, June 4th – High 71, low 48
Reality is a forecast that says it is going to start raining when you arrive for your three-day trip and end when you leave!
Reality is feeling so attached to the resort you are staying at that you feel a bit bummed out when you pull in the driveway because you know that you will be leaving from your annual trip in two days.
Reality is looking at your pal that you met in the military 32-years ago and being well aware that both of you are no longer kids.
Jeff Neitzel and I launched his 17-foot Lund and we were both wearing rain gear and enough clothes for a January ice fishing trip. This winter’s, I mean spring’s, extremely wet and cold conditions are having difficult affects on northern Wisconsin’s tourism business and that was brought to light when Paul Maire came to our cabin to say ‘hi’ and light the furnace for our cabin (it never shut off during this trip).
Marsh Miller had ice on it for opening weekend of fishing and the large campground at Birch Point is like a ghost town, both of weekenders and permanents.
Both, Neitzel and myself, are the type of people that go with whatever the conditions offer and for the last four hours of daylight we fished in the rain, and my buddy gave me a constant hard time about the amount of hooks and bobbers I kept losing when I would try to bring hungry bluegills through lily pads from Point A to Point B.
About all I can say about the rain is that it was almost constant and that it appeared that we were the only people fishing on this lake tonight.
I chose to wear neoprene chest waders for this 3-day trip and wore them every minute that I was fishing.
P. S. We returned to camp at o dark thirty in an excellent mood with 35 very pretty gills in the livewell.
Wednesday, June 5th – High 61, low 42
The plan was to be on the water by 6ish and that plan was washed away by a very steady and cold rain. Instead we drank coffee in the cabin and talked about a ton of memories that we have created on our outdoor excursions over the last few decades.
About 9, we hit Marsh Miller and of course it was raining! At first we could not find hungry gills and we kept moving in hopes of finding what we were after. Our goal was met and the gills were in 1-3 foot of water. To keep things interesting I used an ice fishing rod (I called it “The Sporting Rod”) with a spinning reel on it. Ever try casting a 24-inch rod? I could chuck it out about 40-feet and that rig was a blast; an eight-inch gill seems like an 11-incher.
When we realized it was time to clean fish and cook some lunch, we headed back to our cabin and did just that. Our late day fishing experience was once again in the rain under very gloomy skies. When we pulled anchor, it was dark, the cooler had a beautiful catch of gills in it, and we had nary a care in the world as we idled back to camp and lived in the moment.
Late that night we enjoyed an awesome fish fry, the next morning a stiff wind was blowing out of the north and as usual, we went fishing.
On the ride home we were driving through Abbotsford and at 1:00 in the afternoon the temp on a local bank said 49-degrees.
I highly recommend Birch Point Resort for a simple and inexpensive escape from reality.
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY: Cedar Country Cooperative.