By Scott Hopperdietzel (OnFocus) – 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. Each week he will be sharing his outdoor adventures with OnFocus!
Tuesday, July 7th –
After getting done with the day job, it was time to run an hour north to one of my favorite Taylor/Price County lakes. The drive time is right around an hour from Spencer. This outing was an evening of helping a fishing buddy out as he is starting up a new YouTube Channel. Jeff started a YouTube channel called Real Life Fishing, and he wanted to do an episode of having a fishing challenge of trying scented plastics vs. unscented plastic challenge.
Of course, when a friend throws out an offer of ‘let’s go fishing in my boat, custom made plastics, and an evening out on the water,’ how can I turn down such an invite? Plus, I got to get some fun footage from the GoPro. The result was 16 fish caught on scented vs. 14 on unscented.
In our few hours on the water, we rapidly fished the shorelines as we searched for panfish in the depths from 8ft to 10ft of water and submerged timber.
The last two seasons on the water, I have started to use custom plastic baits that have been scented; my preference is anise, but this challenge, Jeff wanted to start with Garlic. Our next challenge will now be Garlic vs. Anise.
Click here to see the YouTube episode, Unscented Plastic vs. Scented (Garlic)
Friday, July 10th –
Instead of heading out for a fish fry at the local supper club, I often find myself on the lake trying to catch some fresh fillets for a homemade fish fry. This Friday night, my partner in the boat was my four-legged buddy, Boone. It had been a couple of weeks since Boone has been in the boat with me. As usual, Boone was excited to head out in the boat. Sometimes I wonder if he forgets that he is supposed to be a bird dog and not a fishing dog.
I decided to start the evening off by hitting a timber-lined shoreline that I had not fished before; it was about 200 yards from an excellent catching location. When I go out to known waters, I always try to add a spot or two of new areas to try out. This way, I can learn more about the lake and not burn out the known places.
This section that I tried did not offer any luck as being a “new” hotspot; the crappies just were no place to be found in that shoreline. I do have it stored away, though, as a potential musky location to try out at a later date.
As I got near the known timber that has held crappies all year, the action picked up, and Boone was happy to give each of the crappies a good puppy lick before they were released back into the water. At one point Boone also tried to drive the boat with the trolling motor as his paw hit the speed dial on the trolling motor control pad, he kicked the boat into drive. Based on his first attempt at driving, I don’t think I need to worry about signing him up for the next boater safety education class.
The night eventually was ended by the sounds of the mosquitoes buzzing in the woods, just waiting to draw blood. The Elk River ultra-light rod was stowed away in storage. I fired up the Evinrude and motored across a beautiful sunset lake that had water smooth as any glass. This moment in time just made me pause to realize what a great evening and a fantastic way to start the weekend. Oh, in regards to bringing fresh fillets home for a homemade fish fry, that didn’t happen that evening, all fish were released for another day.
Saturday, July 11th –
No boat, no fishing gear but still going to head to the lake, today’s adventure is a road trip to Devils Lake State Park, in Baraboo, WI. Because it’s a state park, there is an admission fee for entry. If you are a conservation license holder, though, like me, you can go online and print your entry permit before heading to the park.
I had seen pictures and heard how pretty this lake was; it gave me high hopes that this was going to be a day of taking in some impressive scenery once again right here in my home state of Wisconsin. With the current state of events related to COVID-19, the park did an excellent job of allowing people to be outside but yet still provide means for social distancing. There were controlling levels of parking.
If you didn’t want to drive directly into the park, you could pay a $10 parking fee and make a 7-minute walk to the park. My partners this day were Boone and Roberta. As we walked near the park and beach area, the smell of people grilling took me back to the feeling of being at opening day at Miller Stadium. Oh, I how I missed being able to experience the traditional opening day experience with friends Rick and Scott.
The rock scenery was terrific as well as the clear water. The park has kayak rentals, pontoon pedal boats, and there is also a boat landing area where you can bring your boat or kayak. One of the goals for the day was to get Boone in the water. Roberta watched from shore as Boone as I played in the water. Boone is not a big fan of the water, but we are working on his swimming lessons. He did a great job swimming that day. The goal is to have him ready to retrieve ducks for the upcoming fall season.
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 www.thankfuloutdoors.com for more content.
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