Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson
For May 25th, 2007 Edition.
The assembled multitude that congregates at the Anderson Compound for the annual open water-fishing season increased in numbers once again for the 2007 opener. What for many seasons was a one-boat excursion has now swelled to a five craft armada, which this year contained 12 anxious anglers.
This, my 57 season opener in Wisconsin, was the first for newcomer Steve DeJardin of Green Bay and somewhat of a homecoming for Ed Petras of Holmen, who let 24 seasons slip by since his last opening day in the northwoods!
The warmly dressed mob invaded Wolf Pack Café at 6:30 a.m. and after a hunger suppressing breakfast the five vehicle convoy headed for a small, “area lake” to continue an ongoing and a growing tradition.
No two opening weekends ever seem to be the same, which is something that can be said with utter confidence concerning the fickle moods of Ma Nature and the weather she tosses at the north country. And I personally like variety in most everything, including the weather. If every day turned out to be nearly identical one might as well live in some boring location like Hawaii or the Caribbean.
Most distasteful was the raw easterly wind that seemed to be practicing for the perfect storm. White caps soon appeared on the tiny lake whipping up frothy foam with gusts approaching gale force. Hats blew off anglers heads, windblown casts went astray and even double anchors failed to hold boats in desired locations. But I heard no complaints.
Tom Tilkens and Steve served up a non-traditional shore lunch consisting of shredded bar-b-qued pork on fresh croissants and home made baked beans. Duke Munger provided the dessert, a yummy tray of lemon bar squares that made everyone ohhh and ahhh to the last crumb.
The morning stringers, which contained very modest numbers of fish, needed to be added to if our traditional evening fish fry would be a success. Thanks to the members of Chris Anderson’s boat, which included the man on the oars plus my daughter in law, Linda, and long time pal JR DeWitt, their afternoon harvest was more than sufficient to feed the 17 hungry mouths that would swoop upon the fish, French fries and assorted snacks later that evening.
By 3:00 p.m., as one by one the boat loads of anglers began to call it a day, the afore mentioned trio had a stringer containing a double brace of nice sized walleye and six northern pike, including one by JR that tipped the tape at 32 inches and a dandy 26 incher by Linda. The resulting finished product turned out to be more fish than the starving mob could consume.
By 6:00 p.m. the Anderson kitchen was bursting at the seams with a wide assortment of nibbling type yummies and numerous varieties of internal body stimulants of the iced variety.
After crisping three pounds of smoked bacon for appetizers, I began converting eights pounds of raw potatoes to crunchy French fries in my propane cooker. At the other end of our deck Tom began turning the floured fillets to a golden brown in his propane deep fryer. Paper towel was passed around to those who waited and watched to wipe the drool from their lips during the waiting period.
Once the main entrées were served, an eerie quiet settled over the area. All that could be heard for nearly a half-hour was the smacking of lips and an occasional “oh, it’s sooooo good.” Mr. Food would have been pleased.
As the feast progressed the diners were entertained by our resident flock of six eagles that kept up a steady patrol of Lost Creek, which this spring simply trickles by our front deck. Extremely low water conditions were making the annual sucker run a bit difficult for the small males who where the advance units of the spawning run due to begin shortly. The eagles were likewise having a fish-feast, frequently swooping down to pounce upon a struggling sucker attempting to slizzer across the shallow gravel bars in the creek.
By 9:00 p.m. after the mess was reasonably cleaned up, the partygoers began to head for home for a date with dreamland. By 9:30 only the normal night sounds of the north floated on the evening breeze. Once again, life was very good!
Those who had slept in campers and our RV assembled in our great room for early morning coffee. Today, the second day of the opening weekend, my boat would be the lone craft chasing finny creatures. The remainder of the opening day gang opted for options other than fishing on Sunday after the weatherman promised another day of strong, gusty east winds. Tom, Duke, Steve, Ed and Marilyn would be heading to their respective homes after morning coffee. Chris, Linda, JR, Craig and Shelly, all local yokels, would be taking the day off to work on domestic chores. That left Chicago based natives, Don and Bob to fill the two passenger seats in my old 16-foot cedar strip Sheboygan Falls.
But the assembled early morning coffee sippers had one more surprise in store for them, one orchestrated by good old Ma Nature herself!
It was Bob who spotted the surprise visitor in our front yard.
“Hey”, he yelled, “there’s a bear!”
Sure enough there was big old Bruno, a scant 15 feet from our living room window standing 7 feet tall helping itself to the sunflower seeds in one of our bird feeders!
The mad rush to locate cameras was unsuccessful, as Belle somehow sensed the intruder was about. She jumped up on the couch, took one look out the window at the big black monster and sounded her barking alarm. Bruno slowly sauntered towards the swamp, took one sour looking glance at the staring mob at the window and bid us a fond farewell.
I guess one could say it had indeed been a memorable opening weekend!
Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin. Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean, both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide. Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.
Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here
Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger
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