Mark Walters, Contributor
Follow along each week on the adventures of Mark Walters, a syndicated outdoor adventure columnist who lives in Necedah, Wisconsin. He began writing his column, An Outdoorsman’s Journal, in 1989. It includes hunting, fishing, lots of canoeing and backpacking. He currently writes for around 60 newspapers on a weekly basis. He hopes you enjoy reading about his adventures!
This week’s column is all over the map. My plan was to trout fish in Florence County and sleep in the bed of my truck at night, simple, inexpensive, and adventuresome. I had obtained some information from some very good friends of mine and my plan was to fish Woods Creek and either the Pine or Popple River.
Friday, May 14th
High 73, low 31
Woods Creek would be my first destination, I had been told good sized trout and plenty of them. My plan when I arrived in midafternoon was to park my truck and go exploring with my golden retriever Ruby without a fishing pole and find water for the late day bite.
On the first trek the water was very shallow and lots of brush, my next two hikes were bigger failures as I did not find the creek but my 4th hike, I did find some decent cut banks and a few holes that were created by dead falls. In reality the real problem was that there is a lack of water and small streams are very shallow.
So, the last three hours of daylight I sat on Woods Creek in the deepest section I could find and caught brook trout in large numbers with the biggest being 11-inches. I was using a crawler; Ruby was hanging out with me and life was good but not great. Here is the problem, the brookies were for the most part 6-8 inches and I was very concerned about the mortality rate of some the fish that I was releasing.
Shortly before dark I started the hike back to my truck and on the trail met my very good friends Dwaine and Ann Drewa These folks have been good friends of mine since 2007 when I started Kids And Mentors Outdoors. Dwaine has been Vice President of The Northwoods Chapter, which is the Florence area of KAMO since the beginning and the members of this chapter just voted to say goodbye to Covid 19 and are back at getting kids into the outdoors. Their first event will be held on Saturday July 10th and it will be their Kids Hooked on Fishing Day on Lake Emily.
The three of us and Ruby talked until 11:00 pm. under the stars and then they went home and I climbed in the topperless back of my Chevy Hotel and slept until 4:30 and I have to admit it was a bit chilly when I woke got up and went fishing.
Saturday, May 15th
High 64, low 31
There was frost on the pumpkin when I started fishing a deep hole in Woods Creek and I immediately caught a fish, unfortunately it was a bullhead as was the next. Then I caught two brookies and then I headed to the Town of Fern’s town hall where my friends Dwaine and Ann and about eight other people had gathered for their annual cleanup day. In other words, I was going to walk down a road and pick up trash for a couple of hours, have a very nice lunch with this group, and hopefully get some new intel on a trout fishing spot.
I did get some excellent info and it was Little Bull Falls on the Popple River, actually the entire area, the drought has not been long enough to have an effect on it and even if I did not catch a fish the scenery was incredible.
My first two hours of exploring was not overly successful but then it got closer to prime time and I made a bold move and waded across Little Bull Falls which was pretty scary especially with a dog to keep alive as well.
I set up on a beautiful rock outcropping and the only thing I could hear was water and everything was
perfect in my world. At first the bite was nonexistent and then someone hit a light switch and it was brook trout after brook trout. A half hour before dark they quit which really surprised me and at dark, I did the very cool hike back to the truck but wading the falls was diaper filling scary.
When I made it to the truck my friends Dwaine and Ann had once again found me and we had a very nice visit.
The next morning I was up at 4:30, did the hike, caught some trout, kind of told myself no more wading the falls and did the hike back to the truck.
When I got back to the truck, I met a trout fisherman who saw the KAMO sticker on my truck and now wants to join the Northwoods Chapter.
This fella showed me some pictures from earlier in the week of some huge brookies and told me the bite had stopped on Friday, the day I arrived.
All’s well that ends well!
P.S. Checkout KAMOKids.org we do good things!
Check out previous weeks’ columns at: www.outdoorsmansjournal.com