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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. .

A fine time to ice fish


By Will Maines

CROSS-COUNTRY skiing? No! Snowmobiling? No! Snowshoeing? No! Ice Fishing? You bet! In this winter of no snow we are presently down to about one outdoor recreation pursuit left to us, and you have to admit that even if you are not a regular ice fisherman the sport is a pretty good alternative.

Partridge Lake has been the site of many outdoor expeditions for me, with mixed results, but one thing it is reliably famous for, is a large population of panfish.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:49 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, January 16, 2013 2:29 PM )
Prodigal tip-ups have returned

By Will Maines

ICE FISHING, BY its nature is often a communal affair, a time for friends and family to gather on the ice of their favorite lake enjoying beverages, a rip-roaring campfire and lots of stories — some of the latter actually containing a grain or two of truth.

Ice fishing can be that, or it can be a solitary pursuit, a time for a lone angler looking for peace and

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:28 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, January 16, 2013 3:30 PM )
So here we are again

By Will Maines

SO HERE WE are again welcoming in another new year, and the question is what became of the last?

To begin with, last year came in on a misty, drizzly, rainy New Year’s Eve that might have been taken for something less than an auspicious start, except for the fact that shortly before midnight the rain changed over to snow. It was a lovely snow with huge, wet flakes that turned a bunch of adults sitting around a campfire well after their bedtime into a bunch of kids throwing snowballs, making snow angels and catching individual flakes on their stuck-out tongues.

Monday, December 31, 2012 1:36 PM
The snow that saved Christmas

IT MIGHT BE called the snow that saved Christmas.
Just when it looked like we would have an unwanted green Christmas, up popped a nice little snowstorm.
It may not be all we need for a winter playground over Christmas vacation, but the five inches or so we got — could be more, it’s still snowing as I write this — will at

Monday, December 24, 2012 4:51 PM
Here’s wishing joy to you


By Will Maines


Those words are not only the opening line to a beloved Christmas hymn, but a wish to the people of the world for joy in their lives throughout the coming years.

Each year in the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, I reflect on some of the things that have brought me joy in the previous 12 months, and each year the list is long.

This year perhaps the most joyous occasion was the day my son returned home safe and sound from a second tour in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 7:52 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:33 PM )
Birds are amazing creatures


By Will Maines

BIRDS ARE amazing creatures.

Take your pick; beginning with Big Bird, who for the past 40 years — give or take a couple — has been capturing the hearts of kids all over the world.

You might next consider some of the exotics like macaws, parrots, flamingos and others which are forever viewed with amazement by people visiting zoos.

We in America have a love affair with our national bird, the bald eagle, while we stand in awe of endangered birds like the whooping crane and are entranced, at least in the North Woods, by the antics and songs of the common loon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012 3:24 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:33 PM )
Everyone should have a cabin


By Will Maines

EVERYONE SHOULD have a cabin.

The cabin may serve as a place to while away quiet afternoons reading a good book, a hideaway from family and/or friends who are driving you nuts, a headquarters for hunting, fishing or other outdoor adventures or, in the case of little kids, a fortress from which dragons can be slain, armies conquered and intergalactic expeditions launched.

The first cabin which served pretty much all of those functions for me was the squared-log cabin my dad built for Uncle Neal on the banks of Plum Creek. Memory plays tricks on me these days, but I believe it was built in 1960.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012 4:52 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, December 19, 2012 3:33 PM )
Season of transition has begun


By Will Maines

IT WOULD APPEAR that the season of transition has begun.

Though winter won’t officially begin until December 21, as usual it has begun in this neck of the woods at the end of November.

There was this little thing called the Wisconsin deer season to get through first, and it was a season that truly began with all the trappings of late autumn before switching in high gear to dead-on winter the night of Thanksgiving Day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 3:23 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:28 PM )
It was a darn good opener


By Will Maines

ALL THINGS considered, it was a pretty darn good opener.

It took until 6:35 Saturday morning, opening day of deer season, for the event to be officially kicked off in my neck of the woods, which is when I heard someone touch off the first shot within hearing distance.

My .30/06 remained silent, but though I didn’t get a chance to put the crosshairs on a buck, I still enjoyed one of the most eventful openers in my recent memory.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012 3:35 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:29 PM )
The lure and lore of thin ice


By Will Maines

EVERYONE, AT LEAST everyone I know, has done something, somewhere along the line that had everyone they know saying they were skating on thin ice.

As a kid my teachers, parents and practically every adult I knew told me that a lot, usually just before escorting me on a trip to the woodshed or the principal’s office.

Maybe it was dumb luck, but somehow or other I managed to survive several instances of literally skating — or walking — on thin ice.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 2:30 PM | Updated ( Wednesday, November 28, 2012 1:31 PM )

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