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An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 9-2-2015

A Column by Mark Walters

Back to Beaver Dam Lake

Hello friends,

Back in the early 70’s my dad, the late Robert Walters, was into catching and eating bullheads. At the time he was a single parent raising my sister Lynn, my brothers, Mike and Tom and myself.

When we first moved to Poynette, dad would take us on camping trips to a farm field on Beaver Dam’s (Dodge County) Beaver Dam Lake. We would stay in our canvas tent. Put out a whole bunch of lines and watch the bullheads add up, which in the end would be consumed all winter.

Fast-forward 44-years and I am at my nephew Riley Schuster’s bachelor party (yes there was wrestling, Riley you need to eat your Wheatie’s if you think you are gonna take Uncle Mark). I get a call from my buddy, Steve Hopp out of Waupun, Steve has just limited out on perch with many of them in the 11-13 inch range.

Steve was fishing with his son, Steve Jr. on Beaver Dam Lake and wants me to come fishing with him, as it was his second day in a row of doing well.

Friday, August 21st,
High 73, low 52

Until yesterday, the upper Midwest was experiencing brutally hot weather. Now the weather is pleasantly cool but the swimming season has taken a big hit. Beaver Dam Lake has a max depth of 7-feet covers 6500-acres and cold spells can have a rough affect on the bite.

This morning, Steve and I would be fishing in his 1775 Lund Pro V, which is a very sweet boat. The wind was harsh which can make fishing vertically over the boat with worms and crawlers difficult but today was our day to fish together so we dealt with it.

The first couple of hours that we fished all we caught were two bullheads (ancestors from our my days back in the early 70’s).

Steve is into moving around and we headed north, found about 30 boats and immersed ourselves among our comrades. The second Steve dropped his jig down, a 12-13 perch gobbled it up and even though it fell off the hook as he was swinging it in the boat we knew that our luck would improve. Long story short, we did not kick butt, but we kept 10 perch, which I filleted up and cooked for Selina and myself that night.

Saturday, August 22nd
High 65, low 48

Here is the plan! After running our bear baits, which is a pretty good-sized job, Selina and I are going to make the two-hour drive to Beaver Dam Lake and fish out of my boat until dark. After that we are going to sleep in The Chevy Hotel and load up on perch again the next day.

There is one problem and it is a big one. It is very windy out and as I was driving I knew we were in trouble as far as fishing goes. So we get to Edgewater Park in Beaver Dam, which is just about as sweet as parks get. Nice and spread out with people fishing from shore and having picnics.

It is 5:00 p.m. and I cannot see a boat on the water and the lack of vehicles with empty boat trailers tells me that the wind truly is every fisherman’s enemy today.

At 6:30, Selina and I launch our rig and give it the best try that we can. At dark we have caught two bullhead and no perch.

Both of us are exhausted and we need a good meal. We go exploring with my trailer in tow and find and excellent restaurant called “Walkers” I am wearing sandals, Selina is wearing knee boots. Both of us agreed this meal was a trip saver.

So after eating we head back to a secret location and Selina spreads out the sleeping bags in the Chevy Hotel while her buddy Fire (her golden retriever) patiently waits for permission to dive into our bed.

Because the bed of my truck had been literally loaded with tons of bear bait and cooking oil the last 60-days, there are lots of flies

After Selina falls asleep and she does not know this, I can hear a mouse chewing on granola and corn, directly under Selina’s sleeping bag for the entire night.

All night long the wind blows hard. At 5:00 a.m. a storm blows in! At six, I have Selina look at the weather on her smart phone! Each hour there is supposed to be a sustained 20 mph wind.

We wait until 11:00 am and then give up on our mission. A new plan is formed, let’s go back to school shopping on the way home! I do not enjoy shopping but the mission is accomplished.

Best tip of the week. Beaver Dam Lake has nice perch, most are 6-9 inches but many are larger. Sunset.

THIS WEEK’S COLUMN IS SPONSORED BY: Cedar Country Cooperative.