Friday, May 29, 2009

More Wisconsin Pictures

Thank you all for reminding me that some of you haven't seen this area of the country. I sometimes take the vistas, lakes and towns for granted. May I not do that again!
These are some pictures of Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin, as we passed through. (You may click on the picture to make it bigger). The lake is 30 miles by 10 miles and you can not see across it. It is similar to looking at one of the great lakes. The day we were there, there was a storm front moving in and the lake was glass. It would have been a great day to fish, my brother-in-law lamented.

Sometimes my relatives will get ready for a day of fishing at 4:00 a.m., gather gear and food, and drive to the lake. At the top of the big hill leading down to it, they will see that it is very rough. Winne's white caps can be seen several miles away. They turn around, go home, and go back to bed.

Speaking of fishing, this is a picture of my brother-in-law's ice shack. It is parked in the back of his property during the other seasons of the year. Some people purchase space from farmers to store their houses. We saw one place that had ten in a row behind the barn. You can paint your shanty any color that you wish and there are many many Green Bay Packer ice houses on the lake in winter. His orange stripe gets repainted annually so that it glows in the dark so he can find it. When Lake Winnebago is frozen over, he will trailer this ice house, drive it over to the lake, and set it in the sprawling city that appears on the lake every winter. He can leave it there until the ice starts to melt in the spring. It is equipped with a heater, radio, and some will get as fancy as putting in a small lofted bed. I will try to take some pictures of the ice "town" next winter. This is a big deal. Many people spend a great amount of time and money fishing in the winter. But the big event is the sturgeon spearing in February.

A sturgeon is the most ugly, biggest fish I've ever seen. It is speared through a hole in the ice from these shanty houses. The fish swims along the bottom and if it passes across your hole, you better be ready! It's a 2 by 4 foot hole. If you bring in a young child, you tie them to the side. The kids can move around, but if they fell in, you'd have a way to get them out in a hurry. The water is COLD.

The fish swims underneath. Your spear is mounted on the wall or is in your hand. They sometimes call this watching W-TV. If you hit the head, the spear will just bounce off. If you hit it in the body, the spear head detaches from the shaft, and there is a rope attached so you can bring it back up. Imagine five feet of fish, the minimum is sixty inches and over one hundred pounds of angry bottom feeder!

The sturgeon are most wanted for their roe, the eggs, from which is cavier is made. It is not uncommon for 10,000 cars and 9,000 ice houses to be parked on Lake Winnebago during the ice fishing season. Expansion cracks on the ice are bridged. Many cities along east and west shores plow roads on the icy surface and people bring their post-Christmas trees to mark the roads. These trees will be left to fall in the lake at ice out; they make excellent hiding places for small fish.

I am not an ice fisher. But I have heard many great tales of winter fishing and eaten both sturgeon and cavier from Lake Winnebago!


  1. Thanks!

    The fishing tales take me back--my father was a very enthusiastic fisherman, unfortunately kind of enthusiastic to the point that both my sister & I would just about rather do anything these days but fish! But I remember those 4:30 a.m. starts, & ice fishing-- except my father didn't have a shack. Of course, there was no 2-foot hole, because he was mostly catching perch. For years my dad & mom went every Christmas Eve day until well into the evening-- my mom was/is a trouper!

  2. fascinating! i look forward to the winter pics. thanks


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