An Outdoorsman’s Journal – 3-8-2017

by Mark Walters

A Great Trip on the Big Chip

Hello friends, 

Last week’s trip was with a canoe on the Mississippi, looking for ice, fishing and not catching much.

This week I did something rather unique in that I went to Lakelinks, which is a fishing website in which fishermen give reports about the fishing and conditions on lakes in Wisconsin and other states. I was looking for solid ice and a fish bite and I literally hit a gold mine when I checked out Tom Boley’s post on fishing the Chippewa flowage.

Tom Boley is 24, from Hayward and is a full time fishing guide I saw Tom’s posts and pictures and then some from his clients and thought, I gotta give this guy a call.

I talked to Tom and he told me he would hook me up with a shack to sleep in, where I might catch some crappie and bluegill.

Wednesday, March 1st
High 27, low 12

March came in like a lion and about killed me this morning as I headed up Highway 13 with my trailer containing my atv in tow. The road was covered with ice, it was foggy and then the perhaps the scariest whiteout conditions I have ever seen were created with a heavy snowfall. There were many bad accidents in the Abbotsford area and I literally wanted to go home.

The Chevy pickup made it to the Chippewa and I met my new buddy, Tom Boley, who was actually busy guiding clients on another lake. Tom unloaded his atv, as did I. Tom hooked up to an 8x 6 foot fish shack on ski’s, I loaded my Otter Sled with gear and we then began a 3-mile trip to paradise.

My crazy 9-month old golden retriever pup, rode on the atv at first and then decided she wanted to run, I wore her out big time as she did the last 2-miles on her own.

Tom drilled some holes for the shack in the area and then had to get back to his clients. I would put out a tip down outside of the shack and use a slip bobber with a minnow in the shack, as well as a tungsten jig with waxies over 21- feet of water.

Ruby and I were sleeping out here tonight and I was loving life when I had my first bite and just like that reeled up an 11-inch crappie. From noon to four, I kept 14 crappie and bluegill that were all very respectable fish.

At four, my slip bobber vanished, as did the four-pound test line on the reel. For the next 20 minutes I had the best fight I have ever had on a jig pole. It was a big northern pike “gator”; I did not have a gaff and could not turn it up the hole, which was over 20-inches of ice. I got lucky and caught my trophy, which turned out to be a 35-inch pigosaurus. 

Tom told me there was not a night bite on the Chippewa flowage and he meant it, not a hit did I have during primetime, at 8:00 p.m. my slip bobber vanished and I did catch another 11-inch crappie.

Thursday, March 2nd
High 22, low 10

All night last night the ice on the flowage never went more then a minute without making thunderous explosions as it expanded underneath me, I love it when that happens.

I was fishing at 5:45 this morning and did not have a bite until 7:30. The only thing better then yesterday’s 11-inch crappie is that today they were 12-inches and holy moly were they hungry. 

I will tell you something about my HUNTING dog. Though shore, which is heavily wooded and desolate is a couple hundred yards away she spends all of her time over there exploring. This morning I heard her barking in the woods and then running back and looking back and barking and then doing a whole bunch of barking when she made it back to camp, my guess is that she got away from some wolves.

I limited out this morning and I think you will be seeing Tom Boley in this column again. The kid had a work ethic and he knows what he is doing.

Must find ice! Sunset