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Will Maines

Trails & Tales

Will Maines is a native of the North Woods and an avid outdoorsman.
He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Time to harvest wild crops
By Will Maines

IT LOOKS LIKE this will be a bountiful year. For anyone who reaps part of the yearly harvest from Wisconsin’s North Country, the crop looks very good indeed.

Whether you pick blueberries, raspberries or blackberries; whether you put northern pike, panfish or walleye in your freezer; whether you hope to bag a deer, turkey, duck or grouse; this looks like a bonanza year.

From a personal standpoint, I have already enjoyed my fair share of the summer harvest, but what has me excited is the fact that much of the best is yet to come.

The year got off to a great start in May when I killed the first

Tuesday, August 13, 2013 5:15 PM
It’s good to revisit history
By Will Maines

THERE IS AN oft repeated quote used mostly by politicians and teachers that — to very loosely paraphrase — says that in order to understand where you’re going you have to occasionally look in the rearview mirror.

Last weekend I spent some time revisiting a few of the places where my personal history was made, and when my adventures were done I concluded I could repeat history and be happy that I had done so.

I have spent the better part of this summer, actually all of this summer, avoiding doing anything that requires aerobic exercise, with the end result that I am facing the beginning of hunting seasons and later on the American Birkebeiner with absolutely no body of work to

Tuesday, August 06, 2013 4:25 PM
The fire still burns fiercely
By Will Maines

THERE ARE THINGS in this world that are dead certainties, two of the most famously quoted being death and taxes.

For guys like me you can add a third; a passion for ducks and duck hunting.

I think for most duck hunters the planning, the dreaming and the waiting for next year’s season doesn’t really kick in until a few weeks before the actual opening day.

For those of us with a passion for ducks that burns

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 3:06 PM
Lucy the loon is a moocher
By Will Maines

IF I’VE SAID it once, I’ve probably said it a million times, yet every time I say it I am proven wrong. When I say I’ve seen everything, invariably I see something new.

Boy, was that ever the case last Sunday when I spent a few hours fishing with the grandchildren and daughter of good friends John and Dee Burlingame, whose family has owned property on Big Muskellunge Lake for 80 years, give or take a few.

Daughter, Becky, knows which end of the rod to hold

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 5:15 PM
A million things to do outdoors
By Will Maines

WEDDING receptions make for a good time to eat, drink and be merry, celebrate the start of a new life for a young couple and spend time talking with good friends.

Last weekend, at the outdoor wedding reception for our neighbors, Graham and Cally, I did all of the above, including talking with good friends.

With some of the guys I traded the same fishing and hunting lies we’ve been exchanging for years, all of them miraculously finding a new twist or turn.

With others I talked about flower gardens, comparing

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:38 PM
Fish, fish and more fish
By Will Maines

IT’S A TOUGH job, but someone’s got to do it.

Most of the time I complain that I don’t get enough time to fish. Last week I almost — not quite, but almost — complained that I had to fish too much.

It may have been a tough job, but as it turned out, being the one who had to do it wasn’t such a bad thing. Several things made it an enjoyable job, not the least of which was the good company I kept.

It started early in the week with George,

Tuesday, July 09, 2013 2:22 PM
I could have been a TV star
By Will Maines

IF YOU ARE of a certain age you probably remember Art Linkletter, a congenial television personality who hosted a show called, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.”

On the show Linkletter would surround himself with little kids, ask them questions and listen to their answers. Most of the time their answers were hilarious.

The funny thing is I and the characters I hung out with as a teenager should have been on a TV show too. Ours would have been, “Teenagers do the Stupidest Things.”

As examples I cite not only Exhibit A, but B and C as well. I could

Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:50 PM
May the court have mercy on me
By Will Maines

THERE OUGHTA be a law.

Oh wait, there is a law. It says that if a person fishes on a given lake and can’t keep the fish from attacking his hook, and then that same person takes a friend to the same spot on the same lake with assurances that the fish will be snapping, by official decree it is mandated that the person of the first part and the person of the second part — his friend — will catch absolutely no fish.

There is even a sub-clause which states that if two or more people clobber the fish on any given lake, that a return trip to that lake one day hence by one or more of the successful party will result in a fish-less outing.

As examples of the above law and its clauses,

Tuesday, June 25, 2013 4:22 PM
Don’t get shorts in a bundle
By Will Maines

IF YOU STOP to think about it, it’s amazing how people will find ways to get their shorts in a bundle.

Take walleyes, for instance. This fish, long renowned as table fare — though northern pike are vastly superior for eating — is arguably the fish that has been the magnet for out-of-area anglers since tourism began in the North Woods.

It used to be all harmony and bliss when it came to walleye, as they were relatively abundant in many of our lakes, and fishermen coming here specifically to fish for them were able to keep five a day of any size and take home 10.

I enjoy fishing walleye, and not to throw a controversial subject

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 2:30 PM
Man, dog and fish a good mix
By Will Maines

IT TOOK A while, but late last week we finally found some sunshine to smile down on this north Wisconsin country of ours.

After a period of time that seemed like it might not ever end, a spell of cold, wind and rain let up and gave us a wonderful weekend in which to play outdoors.

Before I could get in on the playtime, there were a few chores to be done, but with my flower beds finished — except for mulching — for the season, foot-high grass mowed for the first time this year (no sense in jumping into things too early) and assorted other little tasks done, it was time to go fishing Saturday evening.

My lovely wife was off carousing somewhere —

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 3:04 PM

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