Thankful Outdoors: Small River Fishing Brings Back Memories

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – Last Saturday, Jared, Lexi, Angie, and I planned to head to Arnold’s Strawberries in Rudolph. Those plans got washed out with rainstorms. Along with those rainstorms came more rain throughout the weekend and the start of the week.

Trying to get the lawn mowed this week has been a challenge; the standing water is so high in many yards, I still tried to cut where I could. I kept an eye out, looking for any warden that would be coming by to see if my lawnmower was registered as a motorized watercraft!

Bryce and I celebrated our birthday together by having brats and ice cream cake. With family over visiting, Craig asked if I wanted to go musky fishing Thursday after work down by Cherokee Park.

Thursday evening was a beautiful evening to be in the outdoors. Craig and Mike had arrived on the river first; they were already ripping baits in the river. I grabbed my homemade tackle box, fishing pole and headed down the trail along the river.

As I headed down the trail, I remembered being a young boy who would pedal his bike down to the park and fish in the same waters. The gear I carried is much more advanced than I had used then; my footsteps were more of a heavy thud of an aging man instead of the quick steps of a young boy. None the less I felt like I was ten years old again, heading down that trail!

I try to remember the boulders along the way where rock bass was caught along with an occasional follow from a musky. As I glanced down to the stream, trying to find an opening to cast, there perched a giant ole snapping turtle. I wondered if I may have seen this turtle as a young boy, and he still lived in these waters enjoying his best life!

Watching and reading a river is like being hypnotized; the river flowed fast due to heavy rains, it drowned out all sounds from the forest that surrounded me. I continued to poke along the river, finding spots where deeper eddies were hoping that a musky lay in those waters.

After a while, I saw a flash of Craig and Mike heading down the trail, and it reminded me of watching my brothers come bounding down that same trail 30 plus years ago as we spent the afternoon fishing. It was often a sign that they had something exciting to share or it was time to eat some peanut butter jelly sandwiches.

Craig and Mike worked their way back to the swimming hole; I continued upstream for a bit more. I was later surprised by a visit from Mom and Dad as they decided it was a lovely evening for a walk, so they wandered down to see how our evening of fishing was going.

As the sun started to drop in the sky, I made my way downstream to meet up with Craig and Mike at the swimming hole. As I arrived, they told me to cast out by a rock on the far shoreline because they had seen a musky surface in the water. I had pushed my casting skills and wrapped my lure around a stump that I could not navigate around.

It hurts when you lose a musky lure; they start at about $25 bucks on the low end. I cursed a little and said to Craig and Mike that I think I have shed more tears over lost musky lures than I have over women that have broken my heart over the years. Hanging with the guys, you can talk smart like that!

As the sunset, we decided to have a Bud Light; I smiled as I looked down the bank and seen three men who at that moment were just three kids at heart! The evening only produced a crawfish that somehow I managed to catch on a musky lure.

It was a perfect way to end the workday and a great way to kick off the upcoming weekend!

Be safe over this holiday weekend, and happy July Fourth to everyone!

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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.