Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For June 5th, 2009 Edition.

Based on past performances, the weatherman sure outdid himself with the weather he dished out for the recent Memorial Day Weekend! Hardly a cloud in the skies for four days, temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s plus winds that allowed anglers to fish just about any body of water they wished! Who could ask for anything more?

Our long time friends from the Hoosier State totally enjoyed their annual Memorial Day vacation up north. The Pete Mironenko family have selected Vilas County for they frequent fishing and relaxing trips for over four decades and show little signs of slowing up. Pete's wife, Caroline, plus daughter Tiffany and son-in-law Don spent three fun filled days fishing with our son, Chris, and yours truly adding considerable memories to an already long list of enjoyable and unique experiences.

On Friday prior to the official beginning of the north's tourist season our fishing expedition set it sights on largemouth bass. A somewhat remote landlocked lake provided the two boatloads of nimrods with continuous action from roughly 7:30 till 4:00 with a relaxing noontime shore lunch tossed in to break up the day.

Dozens and dozens of chunky bass were carefully released, but fresh fish fillets were still enjoyed in abundance by way of blue gills and rock bass that volunteered to provide the main entrée. Deep-fried potatoes and two cans of Bush's grilling beans topped off the menu, along with cans of what made Milwaukee famous for wash and home made chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Ah yes, roughing it in the wild is tough!

I still occasionally run into someone who suggests rock bass are not fit to eat. As to why one might think so I do not know. As members of the bass family they contain the same firm flesh, bone structure and tasty flavor as blue gill, sunfish and are even better table fare than crappie. 'Gills and rock bass cooked together in the same pan with the same breading taste the same - and if you don't believe me just ask any member of the Mironenko Family!

Saturday, being the opening of musky season, called for a different battle plan. Stella Lake was selected as the body of water we'd attack, a lake that has become one of Pete's family favorites.

Just one year ago on Sunday of the Memorial Day Weekend the same cast of characters visited Stella Lake and experienced an action packed day of fishing topped off by Pete's 38-inch musky, which he released. However, our group just made it off the lake in the nick-of-time and avoided being caught out on the water by one of the worst hail storms in the history of the north. Some readers may recall my Dodge Dakota suffered $7,600,00 worth of damage from a twenty minute pounding by hail up to the size of tennis balls! But 2009 did not offer a repeat performance as sunny skies and gentle winds helped to provide us with nearly perfect weather.

This year it was Tiffany's turn to catch Musky Madness! Just prior to quitting time she skillfully landed her first legal musky, a 40-inch beauty, on eight pound test line and an open face-spinning reel! Chris held up the whipped battler for several quick photos and then helped the old girl recover her strength prior to releasing her back to her watery home!

Our noon feast was similar to that of the previous day, the only major difference being crappie, perch, sunfish and northern pike provided the golden brown fillets. And which specie was the hands down favorite you might ask, - the pike!

On Sunday our group's plan was modified to include but a half day of fishing and climaxed with another mouth-watering shore lunch. Pete suggested we try Lost Lake, an old favorite of his that he had not re-visited since the 1970s. Once again we were on the water shortly after seven, our bellies filled with breakfast goodies provided by Wolf Pack Café.

Today our quarry would be crappie and on this outing what we sought were not difficult to locate. The highly popular pan fish were schooled up in reasonably shallow water preparing for their annual spawning ritual and eagerly accepted twister tails in an assortment of colors attached to 1/32 ounce jigs.

It was a morning to remember! Often all three anglers in both boats would haul in a silver sided crappie at the same time. Other anglers of all ages were likewise enjoying a genuine feeding frenzy as crappies were being caught from docks, piers, and numerous other boats all around the lake!

By noon the body count exceeded 100 fish in each of our groups boats. Everyone had bragging rights! Chris and I cleaned 15 slabs for the main course and later cleaned another 30 for our friends to take home to Indiana for additional feasting at a later date.

More photos of smiling, contented anglers were taken to augment the fond memories of another successful trip to the northwoods! By 1:30 our guests were back at their motel starting to pack their bags for an eventual return to their respective homes.

Early Monday morning I delivered a bag of frozen pike and crappie fillets to Rustic Manor Motel, which would be part of Don and Tiffany's baggage. We said our good-byes and I wished them a sincere safe trip. Tiffany assured me a package of photos would be forthcoming.

Pete and Caroline stayed an additional day to roam the vast St.Germain Flea Market and finished off their spring vacation with a causal cookout on Wifee Poo's and my deck Monday evening. We preceded the dining with a brace of cocktails interspersed by conversation as only old friends can converse.

Grilled venison Italian brats, potato salad and assorted veggies provided a perfect end to a perfect Memorial Day Weekend.

As I waved good-bye to our departing pals my parting words were, "Drive safe - see you again on Labor Day Weekend."

Ah yes, life is good!

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:  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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