by Mark Walters
Pups and Gators on Puckaway
This job is all about having fun in the outdoors, in a whole bunch of different ways, while traveling all over the upper midwest and then writing about it. This week I pegged out the fun meter and watched our golden retriever Fire, give birth to ten pups.
Thursday, January 15th
High 29, low 16
Selina had just gone to bed and, as usual, her pal Fire was laying next to her. About a half hour after we said goodnight, Selina came down to the living room and said “Dad, Fire is having her pups”. That was about ten o’clock. The first was born in her bed; the next nine were born in her whelping box in the living room. There are seven males and three females. As of this writing, I have three males left. If you are interested in one of those pups get a hold of me ASAP.
Saturday, January 17th
High 38, low 23
Five days ago my brother, Mike, gave me a call and asked me where I thought a good place would be to go winter camping and ice fishing? I was planning on bobcat hunting (that has been challenging) and so I figured I would do some recon for Mike, his 13, year-old-son Dylan and my brother-in-law, Dick Schuster.
My thoughts were my buddy Captain Justin Kohn who runs All Season’s Adventures (920-229-3494). I gave Justin a call and not only did he say fish Puckaway but he told me that he just put a shack on the ice that these guys could sleep in.
A new and fun twist came to this adventure when the cat hunt was cancelled due to a lack of snow and I was able to join, Dick, Mike and Dylan.
Yesterday was Dick’s birthday so of course we would have to celebrate and the fun began about 30-minutes after our arrival. Mike, Dylan and I put out 8 tip ups rigged with 12-pound fluorocarbon leaders, number 12 treble hooks and medium golden shiners.
Dick put out two tip ups and jigged with his 3rd line. The birthday boy had not been at it long at all when his jig pole started bending and the line was peeling off his reel at a rapid pace. Dick had a large fish on and it was very obvious. I would be the “gaff guy” which can be a real losers job. After a good ten minutes the gator was at the bottom of the hole and I hit it with the gaff (extremely worn out, junk gaff of Dick’s) and was pulling it up and out of Lake Puckaway when the hook on Dicks gaff straightened out and what would be a 35-inch trophy was off and running. I gave up on the gaff and used two hands and Dick was now winning our gator contest in a solid way
Today would be a very casual day for the four of us. Temps in the high 30’s a steady bite with the tip ups and as always, lots of laughs.
On Puckaway you can keep one northern pike and it must be 32-inches. Some people fish this lake for years and never catch a “legal”.
This day our group was very fortunate as I caught a 36 that was a true pigasauras and unfortunately for my brother-in-law now put his trophy in second place.
Late in the day it was brats on the grill and a first rate birthday party and just before dark Dylan had a flag and did an excellent job of landing a 33-inch gator.
We fished until the wee hours of the next day and when we went to bed our ambition was a little lacking and instead of putting up our cots we just crashed on the floor of the shack.
At 6:10 a.m. our phones started making noise and our buddy Cole Koepp was on the ice looking for us.
I must of had the flu or something cuz I felt terrible.
Anyways one more legal gator was caught and our simple getaway almost has to become annual.
Someone throw Dicks gaff away! Sunset
THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Ormson’s SuperValu