Traveling Trails Less Traveled. By Buckshot Anderson

For September 17th, 2010 Edition.

I completed another phase of my summer activity on Labor Day, which is the traditional end of "flea market day" in St. Germain. This summer I added Boulder Junction to my weekly attempts to woo folks into buying my published drivel plus a smattering of "outdoor stuff" this aging nimrod no longer uses. Wifee Poo also manages to part with some of her treasures that for too long have rested on shelves in dark closets and dresser drawers.

Some of my friends question my sanity of spending nearly every Monday and Tuesday during the summer months serving as a vendor at a flea market. And I'm not defending my mental condition by saying I totally enjoy the experience and find it much more relaxing than pulling weeds in Peggy's flower beds or sitting on a lake in the hot sun and wind for seven hours as I did for many decades.

Just watching the hoards of humanity pass by my locations is entertainment itself. The comments on tee shirts are generally more interesting and humorous than most TV shows. I especially enjoy the multitude of friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers that frequently stop for a chat during their wanderings as they inspect the vast variety of wares being offered for sale.

I field numerous questions concerning the history of our area, why the fish aren't biting, the whereabouts of certain individuals as well as a wide assortment of other topics. And surprisingly many who visit are actually neighbors that I normally infrequently get to chat with. Such is summer living in the great Northwood's!

Molly Hegeman, who owns and operates one of the most unique gift shops and tourist traps in our area stopped in for a visit during flea market day in Boulder Junction a few weeks ago. Molly was one of my students some years back when I was attempting to instill knowledge and love of social studies to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at North Lakeland School. After completing her education she has become a living legend in the Boulder Junction area because of her bubbly personality and her highly unique gift shop. Ya gotta see it to believe it!

Knowing I partake in the sport of freshwater angling Molly invited me to borrow one of her personal treasures - a very old book about musky fishing! How could I refuse such an offer? I didn't!

After I wrapped up my tent and loaded my truck I drove from the community building in B.J. north on county M for about a half-mile to the junction of Fish Trap Lake Road and M where Molly's gift shop, "The Homestead" is located. Having not visited the historic site in more than a few years I entered the building and re-entered a wonder world of unique Northwood's nostalgia. After chatting with Molly and her mom for a half- hour Molly loaned me the book I alluded to earlier. And what a treasure it is!

Its title is simply "Muskie Fishing", published by Alfred A. Knopf in New York in 1948. The author, Bert Claflin, was a renowned outdoor writer and angler that spent a great deal of his life hunting muskellunge throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. But it soon becomes obvious to readers that Northern Wisconsin, and specifically Vilas County,was Bert's most favored area to seek the oft-elusive muskie - musky - muskellunge.

The hardbound copy contains twenty-three chapters and 219 pages including 18 photos and illustrations. Any collector of fishing books, especially muskie fishing books, would gladly give an arm or a leg to have this treasure as part of their collection!.

A random sampling of chapter heading includes; "My First Muskie", "Adventure With a Colorful Guide", "Women Anglers I Have Met", "Fishing Boulder Lake in a Snowstorm" and "Down the Manitowish River with an Englishman" to name a few.

Bert does not hesitate to name what were his favorite muskie waters. Fish Trap, Boulder, Trout, Round, Big St. Germain, Big and Little Arbor Vitae, Clear, Fence, Stearns, The Lac du Flambeau Chain, Manitowish Chain and the Hayward Chain. He also loved fishing for muskellunge in rivers, of which the Flambeau, Chippewa, and Manitowish were his favorites.

The author also lavishes praise on the Native American guides from the Lac du Flambeau area. He speaks often and fondly of Sam, who guided Bert to numerous lunkers during the 1930s and 40s.

Folks who are familiar with Vilas County history will recognize the names of many famous "old timers" that owned resorts and or guided during the good old days. John Schommer, Larry Doolittle, Pat Wilsie, Dick Streit, Ben Chosa, and Fred Losier, to name a sampling.

Bert confesses he began his angling career as a trout fisherman but fell head over heels in love with musky fishing after conquering his first keeper. During one of his earliest adventures in quest of monsters on Big St. Germain Lake in 1915 Bert and his guide tipped over their birch bark canoe while battling a musky. Bert's guide grabbed the overturned craft and dragged it to shore while Bert continued to fight his attacker during his swim to shore. The fish was beached, measured and released. Now that's some muskie tale!

The text makes for easy and interesting reading, although the style most outdoor writers used during that era seems somewhat "hokey" today, I found the stories and tales highly interesting and brought back numerous similar situations I have experienced while chasing old iron jaw.

Bert's chapter in which he names his favorite lures, rods and reels comes as no surprise, other than photos of several home made muskie lures he used that were made by Ojibway Indian guides. Favored lures were dardevle spoons, red-eye wiggler, surf-oreno, crazy-crawler, river-runt, flat fish, vamp-spook, jointed pikie minnow, injured minnow and an assortment of feathered and deer hair bucktails.

Bert made many of his own rods and added Pflueger Supreme and South Bend 2500 reels spooled with forty-pound test silk lines. He also fly-fished for muskie using huge streamer flies.

I would imagine finding a copy of this book would be highly difficult but it may give some of you muskie book collectors something to do this winter.

If you are in the Boulder Junction area stop and visit Molly at The Homestead. And I don't think she'll mind if you tell her Buckshot sent you!

Mr. Leon "Buckshot" Anderson is one of the few old time hunting and fishing guides left in Northern Wisconsin.   Buckshot is a personal friend of the family and has known and worked with my grandfather, Howard "Pop" Dean,  both of whom are members of the fresh water fishing hall of fame, Legendary Guide.   Buckshot has authored 7 books on the great outdoors. All of his books can be purchased directly from him, at a discount, by email:  or by mail to: 2220 Deadman's Gulch Road, St. Germain, WI 54558.

Books by Leon "Buckshot" Anderson Click Here

Yes; Deadman's Gulch is the correct name, I have been on that road many times. Sincerely David D. Cruger

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