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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. .

Life is a smorgasbord of fishing
By Will Maines

LIFE IS A smorgasbord of fishing. If a fisherman spent his entire life looking, I do not believe he could find a place offering more variety and better quality of fishing and fishing lakes than what we have right here in the north country of Wisconsin.
As Exhibit A I present last weekend, a weekend I enjoyed to the fullest with expeditions on three different bodies of water fishing for three different species of fish.
I began my weekend of fishing with an outing Friday afternoon on a small lake somewhere up in the Manitowish Waters country looking for largemouth bass.   I slid the Old Town into breeze-rippled water several miles from the middle of nowhere and spent the next two hours serenely drifting from one end to the other of a small lake mostly surrounded by pines.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 1:51 PM
The path to glory and girls
By Will Maines

WHEN?I?WAS a little kid living in the boonies of the North Woods, there were only two means of transportation.
You could walk a mile to your nearest neighbor’s house, which in my case was Uncle Neal’s house, but once you attained a certain age it wasn’t very cool to walk.
To be cool you had to have a bicycle to get from one place to the other, preferably a bike which could and did jump stumps, rocks and trees, with varying degrees of success.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:41 PM
These five are tops with me
By Will Maines

READERS OF THE Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports section have a unique opportunity to participate in a fun survey each week in which they get to pick a top five of all time in one sports-related topic or another.
Recently the topic was all-time greatest female athletes. My top-five list, interestingly enough, differed by only one woman from the list chosen to be printed by the editors. Mine included gymnast Mary Lou Retton, basketball player Cheryl Miller, speed skater Bonnie Blair, sprinter Florence “Flo-Jo” Griffith-Joyner and the woman I consider the greatest of the greatest, Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:22 PM
We will never forget our heroes
By Will Maines

THE MILWAUKEE Brewers played a baseball game Sunday. I watched a few innings as they lost — again. Big deal.
Indy cars roared around the famous brickyard in Indianapolis at 220 mph Sunday and stock cars ran around a track in North Carolina at 200 mph Sunday evening. Someone won both races. Big deal.
On Monday, at communities all over the United States, people gathered at cemeteries and monuments to honor the servicemen and -women who sacrificed everything, including their lives, to give us the freedom to enjoy watching baseball players and race car drivers do their thing. That is a really big deal!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 6:25 PM
My junk will be your treasure
By Will Maines

IN THE time-honored tradition of the North Woods, this weekend I will be joining hundreds, nay thousands, who will either be selling or buying at garbage — er, garage — sales all over the countryside.
I won’t be buying, as someone else’s junk is seldom my treasure. Instead I will be selling, trying to convince as many people as possible that my junk is their treasure.
Since I am committed to a garbage sale, I figured it would be a good thing to start getting a few things together which would make a treasure for someone. My little classified ad states that I will have fishing tackle, so right now I am concentrating on figuring out just what it is I can bear to part with from the 14 tackle boxes and 17 five-gallon pails I have filled with invaluable fishing “stuff.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 2:51 PM
Blame it on a phone call
By Will Maines

THIS MAY SEEM like a strange time to talk about snow and cold and skiing but, hey, it’s only mid-May; who knows if we’ve seen the last of the white stuff?
Okay, so it’s pretty unlikely we’ll see any snow until at least September but, despite that fact, there is a good reason I’m thinking about snow.
Blame it on a phone call. This phone call came from someone about 9,000 miles away who has had far weightier things on his mind for the last nine months, and is just now finding time to think about things like snow and cross-country skiing and the American Birkebeiner.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 2:54 PM
The case of the missing opener
By Will Maines

YOU COULD CALL iit the “Case of the Missing Opener.” As mysteries go, it wouldn’t amount to much, but a movie of that name would explain how I managed to miss an opening day of the Wisconsin fishing season for the first time since Hector was a pup.
While countless other people enjoyed a great day of sunshine — unexpected —and fish catching — expected — on the water, I settled for working all day and doling out about 4 gazillion dozen minnows and a large number of worms, crawlers and leeches.
I could have gone fishing in the evening, which I had every intention of doing, but about the time I planned on going my wife and several good friends put a rope around my neck and dragged me off to the Sayner Pub.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 2:59 PM
A classic cudda, shudda, wudda
By Will Maines

HAVE YOU EVER heard the classic line from losers — cudda, shudda, wudda?
As a hunter who has experienced plenty of those through over 50 years of hunting, it should come as no surprise that it happened to me again last week.
It began last Wednesday when a North Woods gobbler avoided becoming smoked turkey breast on my platter when an ill-timed interruption of another hunter saved the amorous bird at not only the 11th hour, but the 59th second as well.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 5:26 PM
The gobblers made us suffer
By Will Maines

THE FIRST LEG of the odyssey has been completed — unsuccessfully, I might add.
As the second of six Wisconsin turkey seasons opened last Wednesday, I was prepared to show off my expert turkey calling while bringing in a big-boss gobbler for turkey hunting neophyte Dirty Doug McDrew.
As things turned out, all I accomplished for my effort in Clark County was luring one porcupine and one squirrel which, combined with the fisher I called in a couple weeks ago while scouting for birds up here, might say a lot about my calling abilities. We headed for Thorp on Thursday afternoon, hoping to get in an hour or so of early evening hunting, but a cold, pouring rain which pelted the car’s windshield from Wausau on west put a damper on that plan.
Instead, we went over maps with my Birkebeiner skiing buddy, Mitch Eichman, on whose farm and two other properties we fully intended to find a gobbler for Doug.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 2:25 PM
Time alone is time well spent
By Will Maines

PEOPLE WHO KNOW me know that much of my time outdoors is spent as —using the politically correct term — a hunter/gatherer.
To put it in real terms, depending on the season, you might well find me trying to kill a buck, a wild turkey, wild ducks or, if on the water, trying to catch trout, bluegills, walleyes or northern pike; all of them to be put on my table for food.
I dearly love my time spent outdoors with a rod and reel or gun in my hands, but truthfully, some of my very best outdoor outings have been those when I pursued nothing save the joy of being alive and alone in the wilds.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:10 PM

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