Thankful Outdoors: Back on the Water

Photo Credit: Scott Hopperdietzel | OnFocus

OnFocus – The boys and I got around to getting the boat out on Saturday. It felt good to get back on the water. It sure is nice that the boys have reached that age of getting the boat and gear ready; this allows me to get some other things done around the house.

That afternoon, we headed to one of our favorite Taylor County Lakes; the dark water basin-type lakes scattered throughout Taylor County produce some of the best-looking black crappies. The no-wake lake is always a peaceful drift with no wake from other boats to worry about boat position.

Panfishing in Taylor County.

We would apply our standard technique on this lake which was drifting and trolling using a 1/16oz jig head with homemade twister tails. We spent a solid hour trying to locate the crappie; we only picked up a couple of 10-inch crappies along with few smaller ones that were released to grow bigger.

These fish were found in drifting over water depths that ranged from 21 feet to 17 feet of water. The water temps must be keeping them from moving into the shallows yet. They didn’t even seem like they were staging to make that move yet.

We decided to load the boat and head over to the Miller Dam Flowage to see if any fish were moving into the shallows. After making a friend at the boat landing, I put together an idea of where to start fishing. The fish were moving into the stumps, but they were going to scattered about yet.

The results of our fishing effort looked like a baseball game score which was only six heading home for the freezer. The water temps were pretty cool yet and just haven’t allowed the action to be fired up yet to catch high numbers.

Mother’s day – spent a few hours with Mom, the boys headed off to spend time with their mother as well. What else was there to do on Sunday other than to hit the water again! Sunday evening on the Flowage was high winds and really tough fishing conditions. Only one fish went into the livewell!

At this rate, it’s going to be a bit before there is enough fish back in the freezer for a fish fry. Confident that things will soon turn, and the bite will turn on real shortly.

Wednesday night – Bryce and I headed over to Mosinee to fish the river. We were hoping that some keeper walleyes were sitting in the little section that we drift every year. It wasn’t long, and the first walleye was caught. Bryce found that his pink-colored jig head tipped with minnow would out-fish Dad that night. The walleye were all too small to keep that night. Bryce landed five, and I landed three of them. The lesson I was trying to show to Bryce that evening was that sometimes the color used does make a difference in catch rate. I had started with a chartreuse/orange jig head and then switched to an all orange. At the same time, Bryce had stuck with the pink all night long.

Bryce and Scott’s walleye catches near Mosinee.

I had pointed out to him that he out-fished me, and it was because of the color he used. It’s times like this where I don’t mind at all being outscored. Seeing my kids smile is more of a reward than any fish that I could ever catch.

Wednesday night was a reminder that my fishing partners will be out on their own shortly. When I first bought that boat back in 2011, it often had been the four of us out fishing; Jared graduated from high school and moved to the Appleton area, Connor started working now that he is 16, two more years and Bryce will be 16 also and out working.

The Ultracraft boat has taken us on many adventures, the stories that boat could tell! Every year I look forward to the new adventures planned and thinking about the new lakes to explore. One lake that I have been planning on is the Willow Flowage. It’s been on the bucket list for years, and I never get around to fishing it. Too many lakes to fish and not enough time to fish them all!

In closing, I hope you find a way to get into the outdoors, create your adventure and memories, but most importantly, find a way to “Celebrate the Experience.” Go check out for more content and share your “Celebrate the Experience” moment with us!

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Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.