As many families do in the summer mine recently returned from our summer vacation. I can
certainly appreciate as I get older my own childhood family vacations, simply because of how
much work it is for the parents to pull off a good family vacation. In past articles I have
mentioned my love of the North Woods, and as you would expect, that is where this summer
vacation was spent. If you love the outdoors then the woods and waters of Northern Wisconsin
is a destination you have to try.
This year’s vacation was full of the usual fun; camping, hiking, four wheeling, swimming, and of
course fishing. For the past 3 years we have stayed on a small off the beaten path lake. The
first two years we did a lot of pan fishing on this lake and have done very well. This year I
decided that I was going to really focus on fishing for Pike. I had noticed the last couple of
years that we caught some nice Pike while pan fishing and I felt if we focused on Pike we could
get some really big ones. Let’s talk about Pike for a little. Pike have become one of my favorite
fish to catch. Not only are they very aggressive, but when fillet correctly, down right tasty.
My 5 year old Jake is becoming a very good fisherman and this year stepped up to a spinning
reel from his Zebco 202.
Fishing for Pike gave him the opportunity to learn what the strike felt like and how to set the hook.
This is due to the aggressive nature of the Pike which it seems is always willing to eat (at least
on the lake we were at). My wife was also able to catch a few really nice Pike which for me was
awesome to watch! Pike can get very big and it gives anglers the opportunity to possibly
catch the biggest fish they have ever caught. This was the case for both my wife and my son
on this trip.
Fishing for Pike is pretty simple but there are a few things I would suggest. While the traditional
method includes a steel leader I used 30lb braided line which performed very well. We used
spinnerbaits mostly but also caught Pike on in-line spinners and buzzbaits. My son loves to use
a white beetle spin and this also took several nice Pike during our trip. A medium heavy
6’6” or 7ft rod is plenty of rod to fight Pike with. We used spinning reels in medium size with
plenty of spool capacity.
I can’t say enough about the Hayward area of Wisconsin for family fun. Down town Hayward is
full of shopping and good places to eat or have a cold one. My family always goes during the
World Championship Lumberjack festival which many of you have probably seen on ESPN.
This is a great time and very entertaining. I highly recommend that you visit this event if in the
area during that time. The fishing fresh water hall of fame is also in Hayward and can
mesmerize any fishhead for hours. While in the area I also suggest a quick trip to the
Minong area which is home to Jack Link’s jerky. The local grocery store has some excellent
prices on jerky!
While in the North Woods this year we had very good cell reception which is not the norm.
Sitting at the camp fire one night listening to my daughter play guitar and sing, I received a
text from my Mom. Included was a picture of my Great Grandfather who was an avid fisherman.
I never had the chance to fish with him but he also loved to fish in the North Woods and
specifically Northern Wisconsin’s Hayward area. The picture she sent me was of him in
1965 holding two nice Pike! I felt as if he was with us on this trip. Funny how the more things
change the more they stay the same. 50 years ago my Great Grandfather was sitting in the
North Woods after a successful day of Pike fishing enjoying an evening fire. Reaching into
the cooler I twisted off a cap from my Leinenkugel and said “This one’s for you Otto”…..
Be prepared Be positive Be successful