Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors May 2009

Make This a May To Remember In Fremont
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

The world has changed a great deal in the last decade, so have the places where I grew up and lived prior to moving to the Wolf River Country area. The expansive areas of Brookfield, Elm Grove and Menomonee Falls where I roamed, played ball, learned to drive and lived with my wife Tammy are now quite different. But those places and my early fishing memories are intertwined and go back to when I was 6 or 7 years old. I remember the lilacs blooming bringing a sense of excitement to the household as fishing reels were greased and new line strung. My Dad knew that the blooms in our yard, were buds in Wolf River Country, that meant white bass. For a number of years I’d get a new rod this time of year as I had outgrown or wore out the previous model. Heck, I learned to fix rods at a young age because they got a lot of work. By May I’d have already gotten a “soaker” while fishing at one of the local ponds or from Ruby Creek. I always had a fishing hole within a easy bike ride and learned quickly how to catch the resident bluegill, perch or bass. I never carried much of a tackle box, still don’t. Just enough to complete the game plan. But the big excitement in May was not found at the local pond. It was found in Fremont Wisconsin.

My Dad introduced me to Fremont when I was very young. We would stay a few nights with the Allie family at Wolf Ridge Cottages and usually fish with local guide Bob Vandervelden, maker of the well known Muskie lure called the “Bobbie Bait”. We’d eat at the Bridge Bar or Hotel Fremont after catching enough fish to satisfy even a fishing machine like myself and take home the countless white bass fillets. My Dad always gave them away to elderly friends and family or held a giant fish fry. Weekends were crowded on the river but we would find other things to do if my Dad didn’t want to deal with the boats. Golf, ice cream, supper clubs, antiques and rummage sales were always on the list. We’d go “exploring”, taking country roads and county highways toward the horizon. It’s the same way I found “The Golden Nugget” a few weeks ago. There’s a small bend in the road west of Poysippi where county E and county H meet, called Pine River. The “Nugget”, housed in a century old former mercantile store, dance hall and meeting place, served a fish fry that was out of this world in both price and quality. Family style seating and the long bar made it an experience in all senses. We imagined the history of the building while enjoying our beverages and marveled at the plates of fish, rye bread, cole slaw and potatoes that were being delivered.

May is prime time in Fremont. As the month starts, walleye fishing is usually very good and the white bass are getting going too. Walleye can be caught drifting and jigging the flats and areas off the main current. They can also be caught in low light periods by casting small crank baits towards grassy shorelines and shoreline cover. Lake Poygan also starts to turn on as May progresses. Some catch them trolling while others like to cast to shorelines or work the emerging weeds with crank baits or beetle spins dresses with a small leech. White bass will be moving in to the system and schools of fish can be found throughout the lower end of the system working shorelines and sandy areas heated up by the days sun. A simple red & white jig pitched in to these areas will catch fish. When cold fronts or boat traffic drive them deep a Wolf River rig with a small fly on the snel is what I like to throw at them. As the month warms the water, faster presentations like spinners, Cotton Cordel Spot Minnows and other small crank baits will work. They can also be caught below a simple slip bobber in the shallows once they get close to spawning. That’s the beauty of white bass fishing, there are so many ways to catch them.

Catfish, bass and crappie are also quite catchable in May. Water level lays a key in their location, but there is miles of good fishing available. The northern pike season also opens and there are some good fish to be caught. Lake Poygan and the channels in the lower end of the system can be very good for pike with fish over 40 inches not uncommon. All in all, Wolf River Country is one of the best places in the country to fish for multiple species of fish and May is prime time to be there. I encourage readers to start their own white bass tradition or skip the Canadian vacation to enjoy the world class walleye fishing so much closer to home. The Wolf River and towns like Fremont, Winneconne, Weyauwega, New London and Shiocton are all waiting with open arms and plenty for you to do.

Living Wild Outdoors Festival Sets Sight On New Event In Iola

When Ducks Unlimited and the Great Outdoors Festival announced their decision to stop coming to the EAA grounds, a group of local outdoors enthusiasts got together and decided to work together to continue the tradition of bringing the outdoors to the masses. They thought the value of a hands on venue where people could ride an ATV, shoot a bow, learn about the training of hunting dogs and network with others who loved the outdoors was too much to let slip away from the area. A place where a family could spend a day in the outdoors, bring the dog and learn about camping or see the latest in hunting or fishing equipment. Where a kid can learn how to tie a knot, take a picture with a trail cam or see one of the best antler displays ever assembled. Well that place is the Living Wild Outdoors Festival slated for June 20 & 21st, 2009 at the Iola “Old Car” Festival grounds just north of Waupaca. Supported by the National Bow Hunting association and numerous other local and national outdoors groups, the show should be considered a must see event if you enjoy hunting and fishing. Seminars, work shops and experts in all fields of hunting and fishing done in the area will be available. Booths full of vendors will provide food and beverage along with everything from bows to dutch ovens. There will be cooking demonstrations and plenty of what you might expect from an outdoor festival designed to teach and promote the outdoors lifestyle.

Information on the Living Wild Outdoors Festival along with the fishing in Wolf River Country are available on my web site at Joel “Doc” Kunz is free lance Outdoor Writer & Photographer and Field Editor for Midwest Outdoors Magazine. He is a 2005 MWO “Readers Choice” award winner, a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers and a member of the Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association.


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