The story today is about a lot of fish that were caught on a couple of different lakes. It’s also about Big River Rich catching the biggest “fish” of his life.
Big River Rich and I started bright and early in the morning on Bone Lake. It’s a great piece of water in Polk County, Wis., and is best known as a musky lake. Since I am a musky guy, it was a pretty great place to start. It was a sun-splashed morning, perfect in most ways except for the most important one: we didn’t catch any muskies. We did catch perch, crappies, sunnies, a largemouth bass and even a shiner. Turns out that it was a pretty good start to a variety catch kind of day.
We fished for a couple of hours, switching back and forth between musky and panfish. We had planned to spend the entire morning doing that but some rain quickly moved in from the north. A check of the weather channel indicated that the rain delay wasn’t going to last long so we decided to move to another lake farther south to avoid the squall all together.
A quick load and we were off to Squaw Lake. Before we dumped the boat into that lake, I chucked the big landing net onto the back cover of my pickup and told Big River Rich that we wouldn’t need it because there weren’t any muskies in the lake.
“Lock this in the back of the truck” I instructed him to do before he pulled the truck and trailer out at the landing. Since the landing parking area was out of sight, I trusted that Rich would do exactly that.
Once in the boat we eased away from the landing and in the first spot we started picking up some crappies. Remember that variety I was telling to you about earlier? Well in no time we were boating bluegills, pumpkinseeds, smallmouth bass, bullheads and then what would be the second biggest catch of the day: a three-foot-long northern pike. It was about that time that I was wishing I hadn’t told Big River Rich to lock the dipnet in the truck. After playing the big pike out, we were able to handle it without anyone getting hurt and that includes the fish.
We fished on down the shoreline and gave the right-of-way to a couple in a boat who were bass fishing. After exchanging pleasantries, the gentleman in the front of the boat asked: “Say, you’re not driving a Silverado, are you?”
When I answered yes to that question, he asked one more: “Do you know that you left your dipnet on the top of your bed liner cover?” I looked at Rich and got the “oops” look from him. We didn’t have much water time left so that was a good reason to call it a day.
I dropped Rich off and he headed up the hill. When he came back with the truck and trailer the net was gone.
“Sorry about that,” Rich said, driving the hooks in a little deeper. I was a little mad but didn’t want to overreact. I was thinking about how soon I would need to get a replacement and when I would have the time to do it. Instead of going fishing on Wednesday, my time would be spent shopping for a new net. I felt like I was working myself up more and more and I didn’t want to be that guy and go there.
I opened the back of the truck to throw in a couple of boat cushions and saw my musky dipnet. That’s when I realized that Big River Rich had just landed a 190-pounder: me.
What to watch for this week: Our days are now officially getting shorter. The good news is that we can see the fireflies sooner since we are getting into their peak season. Get those canning jars and punched lids ready as the season extends into July and August.