Thankful Outdoors: Outdoor Journal Week of July 19th through July 25th

July 19th –  Lemons into Lemonade

Our trip was one of the more frustrating adventures that the boys and I have taken this summer. We did find a way to take a lemon though and make lemonade from the day. The original plan was that we were going to fish Waupaca Chain O’Lakes. I had fished it a couple of times before and wanted to show the boys the beauty of this water. It’s one of those clear bodies of waters that have excellent visibility depth. I find these clear body of waters challenging to fish and often struggle on them, but wanted to give it a try again.

We got to the usual boat landing that I use, which is one of the lakes called Columbia, that boat landing was full though, off to Miner Lake Landing the same result, Dake Lake Landing was full as well. I wasn’t aware of any other landings to try, so I used a handy app called Fishidy to locate another landing. We decided to try Knight Lake Landing since it was the farthest landing out from the usually busy area, thinking it might not be as full. It turns out that landing is meant for kayak and canoes only. Excellent access point if you are using that type of watercraft.

As you can imagine by now, the level of frustration was high, I stopped and got advice from a helpful lady at the Cenex Station. She told me to use the Taylor Lake Landing, as we got to that landing, I could see people parking their trailers and walking a good half mile back to the water. I thought, oh boy, this is going to be interesting. As I got near the landing, I could see it was all clogged up by a boater who had no etiquette about how to use a landing. He had it backed up four rigs deep.

I decided to wave the white flag and told the boys this trip wasn’t going to happen. It was lunchtime, so we drove to Taco Bell in Waupaca; of course, not much is allowing for dine-in, so we sat in a parking lot of a local business trying to decide where we were going to get on the water.

We decided to head back towards home, and on the way, I remembered ice fishing with Connor on a little lake near a small town called Bevent. So we adjusted our course and headed that way.

Many hours later, we finally were on the water, and it didn’t take long for the first fish to get in the boat. I breathed a sigh of relief as I watched the boys who were looking defeated turn smiles on their faces as they started to catch fish. We spend the next couple of hours working the edges of lily pads catching little crappie, bass, and sunfish. They were really tiny, but at least we were getting some action now.

This outing was one of the lemons turned into lemonade!

July 20th – Roberta’s first fishing trip

After wrapping up a full day of work, it was time to hit the road again with the boat in tow. Tonight’s trip was going to be another special trip. I recently have met and brought into my life a wonderful lady who doesn’t have much experience in the outdoors. She is a trooper, though, and wanted to give fishing a try. They say you will do a lot of things for love and I guess this was her way of showing that! She had said just be patient with me as I don’t know much about this stuff. My response was I have raised three boys and have taken them on many outdoor outings, so my patience has been tried, tested, and have grown over the years.

As we got to one of my favorite lakes, I had noticed a significant change in the lake. It was no longer that clear dark color water that I’m used to seeing, it was now a hazy green lake. I didn’t overthink it as we motored across the lake to start the evening of fishing.

The fishing was slow, and I had told her that I’m not this terrible of a fisherman. After many casts, she was able to land her first fish as usual Boone was there to celebrate the catch. We didn’t land many fish that night, Roberta did get a chance though to land a few fish.

Did a create the next diehard fisherwoman that evening, I don’t think so, but I did get to share some insight into what it’s like to get out on the water and just relax from the crazy busy world we all live. We do look forward to sharing more moments in the outdoors and will see what other kinds of adventures Roberta is up for trying with this crazy guy from Thankful Outdoors!

July 24th – New Water and Challenge with Jeff from Real Life Fishing

If you have been following along with the weekly adventures of Thankful Outdoors, you may recall a few weeks ago where I had an outing with a friend who recently has started a YouTube Channel. One of the things that Jeff does with his channel is created these fishing challenges for us to do. Yours truly was the victor in the first challenge; tonight was going to be unknown water and two different scented plastic options. It was the battle between Anise and Garlic scented twister tails that Jeff made during the week.

Being on this unknown water, we decided to take the approach of trolling for the panfish until we found them. We picked out likely productive spots and trolled our way to those locations. Along our route, we started to pick up a few fish here and there. It took quite a bit of effort to find some that were worthy of going into the live well. If you are interested in seeing who won this challenge, click here to watch the episode.

July 25th – Float Tube fishing for bass

Thanks to the crew at Chasing the Midwest, which is an outdoor related page that I follow on Instagram and Facebook, they had shared a recent post of fishing from a float tube. These are sometimes referred to as belly boats. As I looked at a post they shared, it brought back memories from over 20 years ago when I used to fish from one. My setup was still tucked away in the closet, as true outdoorsman never get rid of anything, right!

I had a few extra hours on Saturday, so I loaded up the Dodge Ram with the tube, flippers, and bass rod. As most of my adventures go, the Ram was pointed north on Highway 13, and I soon found myself in Medford. Sad to say, but for a guy who makes his plastic lures, I didn’t have any worms or senkos lying around. I decided to stop at the new sporting goods shop north of Medford, AK Outdoors. I bought some 3/0 bass hooks and a couple of packages of plastic. I continued north to just outside the town of Whittlesey, where I was now at the boat landing.

As I unpacked the tube and refreshed my memory of how it all went together, I realized I had forgotten an essential item. My portable pump to inflate this large tube. So I had to inflate the tube the old fashion way and started blowing into the valves. It didn’t take me long to get light headed and I needed to take a break.

I was soon in the water and enjoying the coolness. As I propelled myself with the flippers, I could hear the bass slurping in the lily pads. I just knew I was going to have some luck today. With my confidence high, I started to pitch the plastic senko and dragging it across the lily pads and letting it drop once it reached the edge. I had fished about a 200-yard section with no bites. I decided to switch over to a worm. It wasn’t but ten casts later, and I had my first blow up in the pad. If you have ever fished in heavy cover, you know the thrill and excitement that this creates. It’s often why so many bass are missed because most people set the hook way too soon. I had mentioned in my earlier comments, my patience has grown over the years, and today was an example of that. I didn’t do my usual reaction to set the hook and let the fish take that worm before I did the power sweep. In full disclosure, though, it took me two times of doing this before I had landed the first bass of the day. He was just a little guy, but it brought back memories of the many bass that I had caught from that tube a long time ago.

I took a picture and released him back into the water; I soon had another bass that I had three attempts at trying to land. I had two things working against me at this moment, though. One was time, I had another engagement in the afternoon that I had to get home for, and the other one was that I had learned that one of the floats in the tube had a slow leak to it. I was losing air, and the tube was starting to sink quite a bit in the water. This outdoorsman doesn’t always make the best decisions when it comes to pursuing game, but I realized that this was a moment that I shouldn’t push my luck and more and kicked my way back to the boat landing.

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!

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

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.