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An Outdoorsman’s Column – 12-31-2014

by Mark Walters

An Expriment on Lac Vieux Desert

Hello friends,

I am going to be all over the map with this week’s column so hear goes!  I want to start doing more fun outdoor activities in the far northern and northeastern part of Wisconsin.

Last week I made a ton of calls, and looked at a bunch of websites, and in the end my buddy, Jeff Moll, tells me about a coworker, Tyler Nolan who fishes on Vilas Counties, Lac Vieux Desert and for the last 30-years his family and friends have stayed at the family owned Hillside Resort gofish@hillside/resort

After speaking with Tyler, I called Rob Andersen Sr. (the co-owner of Hillside) who set me up with his son, Rob Jr.

I did not actually talk to Rob Jr. until the trip north this morning, but I knew I was in good hands as soon our conversation was over.

Here is where I get all over the map!  This is my test trip for the 9-foot enclosed trailer that I had made last spring.  I had a window put in it a side door, rear drop door for loading four wheelers and snowmobiles, jacks for the rear end, 15-inch tires and of course it has an aluminum frame.

I haul feed, calves, and gear in it and always have a dry home when it is needed.  Today, I had my Polaris “Sportsman” 500 in it and my plan was to pull my home on wheels with the Sportsman to the honey hole that my new buddy, who I had yet to meet, was going to show me.

So I pull into Phelps and I am at the local mini mart dropping a hundred dollar bill on bait, beer, and fuel when a fella walks up to me and says “ I know who you are” we shake hands and I meet Mark Curtiss who is a local fishing guide and good friend of Rob Jr.’s and Mark is going to fish with us.

It is windy and snowing when I reach Hillside Resort which has ten cabins, what I hear is a really cool restaurant and bar and a place I am betting I will stay at in the future.

Soon Rob Jr. pulls up on a snowmobile, I unload the Sportsman, hook it up to my trailer and three fishermen and two dogs, my “pregnant” golden retriever, Fire and Rob’s, 12-year-old red/yellow lab Bailey make the mile or so journey to a place that we hope to catch some walleye and that I will call home until the middle of the next day.

The first thing that these guys did was tell me that they wanted to run my Jiffy “Pro 4”which is operated on propane and a true joy to use.

I soon learned that Rob and Mark have this down to a science, at least kind of as they do not use GPS’s and had not fished this spot yet this year. What they did do was drill holes and use their Vexilar to find a weedy drop-off on a sand bar.  Ten-feet was too shallow, 12-feet was what they were looking for.We strung out 9 tip-ups baited with medium golden shiners and when I was setting my second one down a fish took it as I was setting the flag.  It sure seemed like a walleye but we will never know as it got away.

Long story short we caught a whole mess of small northern pike and talked a lot while I prepared my home for a night on the ice.

Late in the day I had the pleasure of meeting Rob’s wife, Laura Anderson, as she came out on the ice by snowmobile with her 9-year-old daughter Brook. I also was able to fish with 3-year-old Cody and his 7-year-old brother Nason. Nason actually caught our first walleye which was a beautiful 18-incher.

Last Sunday, Cody caught a 28.5-inch walleye all by himself with a tip-up, which is pretty incredible for a 3-year-old.  I watched this young family on the ice and had vivid memories from when I was helping raise 3-boys and a daughter and living on the ice.

Tonight it was just Fire and me, I was concerned that after 30-days of nearly zero belly growth she may not be with pups but her belly grew 3-inches in the last 14-days.

The trailer worked perfect, I put a cot and a Coleman lantern in it, left the door open all night and lived the good life on the hard water while consuming some homemade chili with all veggies coming from my garden and the burger from a deer my daughter had harvested.

Life is good, we could use more ice!   Sunset