Many bass anglers would look to fish Lake Fork or Okeechobee, El Salto or Smith Lake. But, for me, I do not have much desire to go far from home. I am not a world traveler by any means. And, with the current world today, and even before the health scare we are all subject to at this point, I do not have much desire to even leave the state, really. I feel like my second home is the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so to me that is a great place to be. I spent a great deal of time there as a kid.
So, if I could travel anywhere, where would it be? I live in Wood County, Wisconsin now, but I came from Oneida County. In Vilas and Oneida County, there are more than 2,700 named lakes. Where would I travel? I think that is the answer.
No matter if a person wants to fish largemouth, smallmouth, walleye, panfish, musky, or nothern pike, there is the perfect lake for that. If it is windy, there are smaller lakes less susceptible to wind, making boat control a bit easier. If it is a heavy boat traffic day on one lake, there is sure to be another not as busy.
One bass club that I was in fished a set of two lakes on opening weekend of bass fishing every year. I was able to fish one of those tournaments with them (in central Wisconsin, not northern Wisconsin, actually), and hauled in my personal best largemouth, hitting the scales at 6.02 pounds. We were not far from home, less than two hours – this is when I lived up north – but it was an awesome day that I will never forget. It was a pair of lakes that had really no pressure, even on opening weekend. What a great time!
But, fishing isn’t everything, right? Well, to me, it’s pretty close really. Definitely number one on my list. But as far as other pursuits, I do not really feel leaving my two-state home is necessary, either.
I have found a love of gardening in later years. I think the reason I moved away from it for a while was the number of hours every summer I spent as a kid weeding, picking rocks, shelling peas and picking other vegetables from a garden bigger than our house. Of course, I always appreciated the fresh vegetables, but at some point, as a kid, you tire of that sort of thing, I think. I am happy to say I am back into it, and wishing my mom was still here to help me when I struggle. Luckily, my aunt Judy is still here and I lean on her for that type of advice.
Of course, hunting was a big part of my youth and most of my adult life. I have pretty much given up deer hunting since I have moved and do not have the access to the land I had up north, but should I undertake that again, I still do not have far to go. Turkey, grouse, rabbit (which is not as easy as it was when I was a kid and got my first .22 at an early age), squirrel… all of these are things I have hunted before. I have never had the opportunity to coyote hunt, but I know I could make a phone call or two and get that chance. Bear hunting is a different animal, but if I were to be lucky enough to draw a tag, I know I could find someone who would help me fill it, or at least get a chance.
Mushroom hunting? Wild asparagus or other wild edibles? I still never have to leave the state. Camping, hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, shed hunting, stream monitoring, fighting invasive species, bat monitoring, wolf tracking, other citizen science projects – all of these things I can do within the state of Wisconsin.
I totally understand people who want to travel the world and experience everything there is to see, do, feel, and love. I travel through the food I cook, much of which I learned while I was in school. But when it comes to planning a trip, I would much rather stay close to home.
For those of you who enjoy travel, know I love to see your pictures. I love to hear your stories. I hope you can soon again travel safely across the globe. For me, I will likely be close to home, just exploring every inch of the place in which I grew up, but still do not know everything about.
If you care to, drop me a comment about where you have been, a photo you could only have gotten on that trip, or a favorite memory. Why not relive some great memories while we are all at home hoping for better days ahead?