Diary of an Outdoorsman: Climate Change on the Petenwell Stream | Columns

Since 1989 I have been doing a weekly outdoor adventure and writing about it. I usually camp, and my trips are all over Wisconsin, sometimes in UP and often much further afield.

My home is located 1.5 miles from the Petenwell Flowage which is the second largest lake in Wisconsin.

I haven’t ice fished or winter camped on the Petenwell in over ten years and this week I did during a very cold spell, and really had fun on a body of water that had excellent walleye fishing this winter.

My life has had some really positive twists and turns lately, so I wasn’t going to leave a forecast of minus 22 without the wind chill bothering me. This trip would be cool from the get go, first reason I only had to drive seven miles to where I drove on the ice. As the crow flies, my house was perhaps five miles away.

Michelle Chiaro accompanied me at the beginning and later in the trip. Today she got another reality check into my lifestyle. It was cold and windy and once before dark and twice after dark Michelle hoisted flags on her tips. Mostly after dark, she was beaten, but in each case, after a very long fight, she landed a catfish in the six-pound range.

I watched this girl almost literally freeze her fingers and trained her in every fight. In our mind until the fish was seen, we hoped it was a walleye.

The last cat was caught around 8 p.m., its tip wrapped around and the fight went on for a very long time. After the catfish was caught she was declared catfish queen and I had the biggest mess of frozen 50 pound Power Pro line I have ever tried to reel in on the ice and very frozen .

I spent 15 minutes outside working on it and felt like my fingers could fall off. I brought it into the shack, worked doggedly on it for half an hour and got it. I also caught two walleye and shortly after saw a very nervous woman from Arkansas driving her car from the lake to the shore in the dark.

I love this weather; I hope we make 30 inches of good ice this winter and people can snowmobile and ski as much as they want. In the spring, let our lakes and wetlands replenish and our crops grow healthy. Last night I could see by their tracks that a pair of coyotes came within 10 feet of my cabin. Coyotes work the ice in winter and go to every frozen hole in search of minnows that fishermen have thrown away. If you want the yotes to catch the minnow and not the crows, put some snow on it.

The following is a method that helps me catch fish with an upward point. For walleye I use a #14 treble hook and on one hook I put a medium minnow on another going the opposite way I put a rosey which I believe is a big orange head. This duo swims erratically and I believe the rosey orange and minnow flash can be quite effective.

Here are some tips that I encourage anglers and women to follow. When you catch a fish that you are going to release, don’t let its eye freeze, think about the miserable existence of that fish because it was blinded. Here is another very important piece of information. You catch a slobasauras, maybe a northern pike, walleye or bass. Your intention is to release it after a shot. A lot of research has been done that shows that a fish that has been held vertically instead of horizontally for a picture will die. Their internal organs can’t stand being held that way when they’re out of the water.

Just before this trip, my daughter Selina, who is a junior at UWSP with a double major in water science and fishing, informed me that she had taken a very cool internship near Eureka, Montana this summer.

This information triggered this thought on my part, I need to go visit Selina and I need to apply for a big game elk/deer license for this fall and do scouting when I go to visit her. Soon I will find out if I managed to get a bear tag for this fall, I think I will and that means a summer of baiting.

I used to hunt elk until I became a single parent. I want to go alone and I can’t get rid of it.

Love ice cream, love the outdoors! Sunset.

About Ethel Partin

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