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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. .

Here’s my two cents worth
By Will Maines

SOME DAYS ARE diamonds; some days are coal. Last Saturday was a diamond day for me and two fellow fishermen as we sought out action from feisty smallmouth bass.

As we fished, we did as most fishermen do; we discussed the vagaries of Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fish management policies on our North Woods lakes.

Put 50 fishermen together and you’re likely going to get 50 different opinions on fish management, and on that note here is my two cents worth on several current fisheries regulations governing those of us who fish Wisconsin waters.

Let’s start with muskies. Let me preface this by saying

Tuesday, August 26, 2014 10:49 AM
Things have to get better
By Will Maines

I SELDOM COMPLAIN, but if the first eight months of 2014 never come around again it will be too soon for me. Quite simply, so far 2014 has been perhaps the worst year for me in memory.

It began last February when I decided three torn muscles in my shoulder would be fun, fun that would include surgery and a year of big time rehab. A month later I lost my dad, although at age 91, even in losing him I could celebrate having had the opportunity to spend the first 64-plus years of my life with him.

Later in the spring my daughter began a bout with blood clots in her lower leg,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 11:05 AM
Back between the oars again
By Will Maines

IT’S ONLY BEEN a few months since this year’s open-water fishing season began, but it seems like it took forever for me to get back between the oars.

Back in March, a few days after a surgeon put my shoulder back together with a good deal of slicing and dicing on my labrum, biceps tendon and rotator cuff, I felt like it indeed would be forever before I could even lift my arm again, much less swing a pair of oars.

In fact, for several weeks there I thought

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 10:54 AM
My dog is a common thief
By Will Maines

WHEN I?RUN for president of the United States and people who don’t like me start searching for skeletons in the closet, I’m afraid they’ll need look no farther than my formerly faithful golden companion, Molly.

What they’ll find is that she — and probably in the resulting political spin talk, me by association — are nothing more than common thieves.

What’s more, Molly — and me by association — are the worst kind of thieves, berry patch thieves.

The two of us spent a good part of last weekend looking for berries,

Tuesday, August 05, 2014 12:55 PM
Back in the boat again
By Will Maines

LIFE IS GOOD when people think you are crippled up.

Okay, so my major shoulder surgery is over four months in the rear view mirror, but I am finding it still comes in mighty handy in getting people to treat you with kid gloves.

When it comes to loading a boat in the truck, unloading it, doing all the rowing and doing all the other work associated with a North Woods fishing expedition, I found out last week that describing your infirmities in great detail, perhaps enhancing upon them just a bit,

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:49 AM | Updated ( Tuesday, July 29, 2014 10:50 AM )
Such is the price of sacrifice
By Will Maines

THERE ARE TIMES when a man has to do what a man has to do. Sometimes that means doing something for the greater good of mankind, even if it poses a grave threat to one’s own manhood.

I found myself in that position last weekend, and like a true American I sacrificed myself to the altar of yuppie tourism, treating my lovely wife to a weekend in Lake Superior country, specifically the towns of Ashland, Washburn, Bayfield and La Pointe, mainly the latter two.

Not realizing it was Bay Days in Ashland and Bay Fest in Bayfield,

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:38 PM
The joy really is of cooking
By Will Maines

IT IS A refrain that is unoriginal and oft repeated, but I’m going to say it again because it is a refrain well worthy of being repeated. One of the best things about hunting and fishing is the eating of the wild game and fish that comes after you bring the fish and game home.

Decades ago my dad hunted and fished to put food on the table for his young family. Sure it was a lot of fun hunting and fishing, but there was more importance attached to “bringing home the bacon” than there was oohing and aahing over the joy of the outing.

Don’t get me wrong, my dad would not have hunted

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 11:25 AM
87 days to reach heaven
By Will Maines

I KNOW THERE are still 87 days until the opening day of North Dakota duck season, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait 87 days to go to bed dreaming about it.

Duck season, in case you haven’t figured it out, is to my way of thinking Christmas, Easter, Fourth of July, my birthday and every other holiday of the year rolled into one.

As a matter of fact, I could miss any one or all of those other holidays without so much as a tear dribbling down my cheek, but take away duck season opener and you might as well take me out behind the barn and shoot me.

It has been thus even before I took part in my very first opening

Tuesday, July 08, 2014 1:28 PM
Sunsets are to be treasured
By Will Maines

IT’S FUNNY HOW taking a few minutes to enjoy one thing can, with some tiny little stimulus, lead to a wandering mind and thoughts of something completely different.

The other evening I was out tidying up my flower beds, deadheading a few spent gaillardia blossoms here and pulling a weed there when I got distracted.

While I was standing a few steps back from a bed which contains a giant clump of goat’s beard in full bloom, I looked up and noticed a beautiful sunset in the making.

With a few soft, thin clouds floating above the western horizon,

Tuesday, July 01, 2014 10:45 AM
Who knew? A surprise from dad
By Will Maines

JUST WHEN YOU think you know a person they throw you a major curveball.

I thought I knew everything there was to know about my dad, but a couple weeks ago while my sister was rummaging through my dad’s odds and ends hunting and fishing drawer she found something he had done that neither of us would have ever guessed he was interested in.

One thing we did know was that my dad immensely

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:02 PM

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