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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 11-12-2014

by Mark Walters

Forty-Eight hours on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage

Hello friends,

This week I am writing to you about one of the most reliable, total getaways that I know of in Wisconsin and that is the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.

When I was nine years old, my dad took me to the Flambeau where we camped on an island and fished for walleye. That first adventure and the next 45-years worth of great experiences has made it so that I have no choice but to return at least once each year to one of Wisconsin’s true wilderness getaways.

Sunday, October 26th
High, 57, low 32

My goal was to bowhunt, trap muskrat, fish musky, and hunt ducks! Reality says that when you leave your house at 6:00 a.m. on a Sunday and have to be back at 4:00 p.m. on a Tuesday that the drive, launching the boat and canoe, building camp, and then reverse the process to get home you better just pick two forms of pleasure out of that awesome menu.

I chose musky and ducks and picked up three suckers on the trip north. As luck would have it, today was perfect for a bowhunt or sitting on a lawn chair but not so much for musky fishing, as bright sun and zero wind is my excuse for not catching the musky of my dreams.

With three hours of daylight left I went exploring by my canoe, which was loaded with decoys, a 12-gauge, and my golden retriever Fire. When there are ducks, I know where they like to hang out and I was pretty excited about my evening hunt.

On my journey, I paddled by dozens of muskrat houses and kept thinking how much I wanted to try my luck at catching some muskrat and maybe making some extra money.

Though my hunt was a trip down memory lane as I watched the skies for flying objects, I did not come close to getting a shot at a duck. Less then a week earlier I had caught a wolf in a trap in west central Wisconsin and that experience still has me on a super adrenalin rush.

For about five years my buddy, Jeff Neitzel and I camped and bowhunted here and we personally watched, as in this immediate area, a pack of wolves either ate or pushed most of the deer to the outer boundaries of their range. On one hunt, I only saw a single deer in 7 days, it was a doe and she ran right underneath my tree, I am not exaggerating when I say that 50-yards behind her was a large wolf.

That was on day six and pretty much took the wind out of the sails of that hunt.

Monday, October 27th

High 53, low 32

When I was a kid and all through my 20’s, I had numerous “old timers” tell me that there would come a day when “harvesting” (ducks, deer, fish ect.) would not be so important as the quality of the attempt and folks, that has happened to me.

Today I started my day by soaking a sucker and casting a Suick for musky. There was no wind and bright sun. I knew catching was going to be difficult but I was once again swimming down memory lane.

Five years ago, I was camped on the same island that I was for this trip. I was musky fishing and bowhunting. I had caught a beautiful 40-inch musky earlier on the trip while doing a figure eight with the same Suick as I was using today and I was fishing the same area that I was fishing today.

A couple of days later on a beautiful afternoon I was on my way by boat to a bowhunt when I thought I would throw that same Suick in the same area. On one of my first casts a rock grabbed the Suick, then the rock started swimming.

That rock ended up being a 47-inch musky, I tried releasing it, I even waded in the flambeau with it but she did not survive. Instead of a bowhunt, I headed to Mercer and found a freezer and now that beautiful fish lives on my wall.

Later this afternoon, I found a new spot to hunt ducks and my pup Fire once again proved to me that she can sleep until the birds fall out of the sky but then she loves to swim out and fetchem to her daddy!

Create the experiences and live on the memories! Sunset

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Co-operative