Sky-High on Loon’s and Walleye in Wisconsin

  • Turtle Flambeau Flowage in Wisconsin offers comfort and Sounds of the Outdoors
  • Autumn Musky, Walleye, Bronzebacks on the bite with upcoming Fall Colors
Voyageurs canoe to one of the many 60 remote campsites on the islands of the Turtle Flambeau Flowage.
By Bob Holzhei
Catching a limit of walleye was expected, however, I wondered if it was the call of a loon that echoed in my mind and brought me back to the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, located near Mercer, Wisconsin.
Our stay at the Gateway Lodge provided a secluded retreat. It located right on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, with a reputation as the Muskie Capital of the World.  Gateway Lodge is the gateway to an unbelievable outdoor paradise. Owned by Wayne Riebe and his wife Melissa since 2005, the Riebe’s “love to cook.”

Clair’D Loon made its debut in 1981, it weighs 2,000 pounds and welcomes all visitors to “Loon Country” near the Chamber of Commerce building.

The lodge features two-person cabins/a bath, along with 3 and 4-bedroom modern private homes with two baths.  Prices are very reasonable and begin at $100 per night for a one-bedroom, one-bath cabin, and more for luxurious homes with up to four bedrooms for an entire family. Specials are offered throughout the year, for more information, visit their website at the end of this article.  It’s one of the finest and most elegant places I have ever stayed at.
Boat rentals include 23 and 24-foot pontoons, plus, there are 16, 20, and 23-foot boats equipped with Mercury outboards.  Bait is available too, on-site. You can bring your own canoe, kayak or fishing boat, of course.
The on-site restaurant features a menu that includes lunch and supper favorite, including fish fries, burgers and melt-in-your mouth steaks, as well as additional items that will have a person wonder what shall I have for supper?
The Turtle Flambeau Flowage offers access to a 14,300-acre lake and some additional 26 surrounding lakes with 227 miles of undeveloped shoreline.  Blend in more than 21,000 acres of nearby forests offering four seasons of outdoor adventure that include fishing, area campsites with full amenities to 60 remote campsites accessible only by water.  There’s more: biking, backpacking, hiking, canoeing, paddling, snowmobiling, and wildlife-viewing in abundance.   The woods explode in autumn in a panoramic display of fall colors.
The call of loons across the water from years past called me back for a return trip adding to the outdoor wilderness adventure. Mercer is well known throughout the Midwest as a consistent producer of trophy fish.  The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is so similar to the Canadian Wilderness that it is hard to tell the difference.
I anticipate fishing the Turtle Flambeau Flowage for walleye in Wisconsin every time I think about walleye fishing. Tight lines!

For More Information: Gateway Lodge, info@thegatewaylodge.com, phone: 715 476-7878; Mercer Area Chamber of Commerce, www.info@mercercc.com, phone:  715 476-2389

 

 

Fun Fishing in Mercer, Wisconsin

– September 2, 3, 4, 2016 –for Kids and Adults
– Can-Yak Contest Offers Big Fish, Big Prizes, Big Kayak Fun
– Free Outdoor Trade Show for All
– Eagles, Loons, Deer, Turkey, Lots of Wildlife

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If you have ever wanted to find a place to fish for just-the-fun-of-it and catch bass to 6-pounds, crappie to 2 pounds, musky, and several other species, than read on and make a reservation for this weekend at the Great Northern Hotel in Mercer, Wisconsin. It’s low cost, has huge rooms, has a view of this fish-filled lake with access for casting and the hotel offers a tasty kitchen menu, full bar with a relaxing atmosphere and I found a rejuvenating spirit for life in the outdoors here. It’s a great 3-day stopover.

A few friends and I visited Mercer, Wisconsin, in spring this year. It was a trip where I met my first Loon, face-to-face! No kidding. This mama Loon and her hubby had built a nest about 10 feet from shore and they provided morning calls, afternoon discussions and evening lullabies in fully audible Loon Talk Language, that all of us enjoyed immeasurably.

Black crappie can provide fun for all ages in the lake right behind the Great Northern Hotel in Mercer, Wisconsin.

Love fishing? Love paddling? Love to have fun and win prizes? This weekend, you can do that in Mercer! Finally there’s an event that combines the growing love of canoes, kayaks and fishing located right in one of Wisconsin’s Favorite Outdoor Playgrounds in the quaint village of Mercer.

Mercer is home to the famous Turtle-Flambeau Flowage Scenic Waters Area, as well as boasting 214 other lakes in a 30-mile radius. There’s plenty of room for anglers and plenty of fish to catch.

Just to sweeten the deal for visitors this weekend, there is a free fishing and paddling outdoor expo open for the public on Saturday, September 3, 2016, so visitors can see the latest and greatest that manufacturers have to offer, demos and workshops by experts who can teach how to get the most out of your gear, build your own cardboard Can-Yak contest, celebrity campfire cook-off challenge and more! The next day, Sunday, September 4, 2016, promises to be quite entertaining with final fishing day followed by an awards banquet, raffles, drawings and live music that is all open to the public too!

When you register, the registration fee includes the fishing tournament, commemorative t-shirt, outdoor expo with demonstrations and workshops, contests, games and more, awards banquet and music. Details: $40 per person before August 15th, $50 after, Teams of 2+ receive 5% discount, Children under 12 only $20, All children 18 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

To review the rules and register, read on or click here: http://can-yak.com/schedule/fishing-tournament/.

Get your friends to join you this year and earn $5 for each registered person that you refer. Registration referrals received by August 15, 2016 will receive cash back on day of registration. Registration referrals after 8/15/16 will be reimbursed within one week after the even (referrals are for new people that did not participate in 2015 and does not apply to reciprocating referrals).

Whether you fish the tournament or stop in for the FREE outdoor expo and demonstrations, we think you’ll have a great time at Can-Yak!

1st Place Prize is an Oldtown Loon 106 Angler kayak. Sponsored in part by Kaufman’s home furnishings

2nd Place Prize is a St. Croix PFS70LF- Panfish Series Rod, Personalized to the winner. Sponsored by St. Croix Rods

3rd Place Prize is a Plano Tackle box stuffed full of tackle & gift certificates. Sponsored in part by Plano Synergy

All events (other than TOURNAMENT FISHING) will take place at host facility unless specified or indicated as “on your own”. Catches can be reported by email, text message, or in-person at the Great Northern Hotel after fishing ends for the day. HOST FACILITY: Great Northern Hotel.

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Schedule:

Friday 9/2/16: at The Pines Restaurant & Beer Garden

  • 5-8PM Tournament registration outside under tent in the Beer Garden
  • 6PM Rules Briefing
  • 7PM Meet and Greet with live music/band “Jagged Highway” in the Beer Garden.

Saturday 9/3/16: at Great Northern Hotel/Wolf’s Sen

  • 6-8AM Tournament registration in the Great Room at the Hotel
  • 7AM-3PM Tournament fishing (all participants must report in by 4:30pm)
  • 11AM-6PM FREE Outdoor Expo open to the public.
    • 11AM-4PM Vendors, Demos and Workshops
      • 11:30AM fly tying demos
      • Noon-3PM Kids activities
      • Noon- Fishing the Turtle Flambeau Flowage and other lakes- roundtable discussion.
      • 12:30PM- Fish Filleting techniques
      • 3PM- Cardboard Can-Yak Race
      • 5PM Celebrity Campfire Cookoff Challenge
    • 1-3 PM. Build your own cardboard Can-Yak challenge.
      • Limited to the first 10 teams to register. Register Here!
      • Each team will be given a set of supplies and two hours to build.
      • One designated team member (age 18+) must race the boat down a course, around a buoy and back. Winner is determined by time.
      • Cost is $20/team – Each team can have up to 4 people.
      • All registered team members receive a Can-Yak T-shirt.
      • Prizes awarded to winners.
    • 5PM Camp cook-off challenge (combination of “Iron Chef” and “Chopped”, but with our own Mercer twist) . We will announce the contestants by mid July.
Erv Keller, local professional guide, shared some of his favorite big bass-catching lures during my trip there, call him for fishing reservations and advice at 715-605-2349.

Sunday 9/4/16: at the Great Northern Hotel/Wolf’s Den

  • 7AM-3PM Tournament fishing (all participants must report by 4:30pm)
  • 4:30—7pm appetizers, dinner, awards and raffles.
  • 8-11pm live band entertainment by the “White House Players”. Open to the public.

2016 Tournament Rules:

Anglers of all ages and skill levels are welcome to participate. We encourage both serious anglers and families looking for a little fun to give it a try. Registration is $40/person (includes banquet meal and a T-shirt) prior to August 15, 2016 ($50 after). Teams of 2+ will receive a 10 % discount and children 12 and under is $20/person.

  1. Participants must be fishing in a canoe or kayak only.
  2. Registration/Check In is on Friday, Sept. 2nd from 5-8PM at the Pine Restaurant & Beer Garden. There will be a group rules briefing at 6PM followed by a meet and greet with live band afterwards. Participants unable to make the Friday night check in can still register from 6-8AM on Saturday morning at the Great Northern Hotel.
  3. All participants must check in and sign a release waiver and understanding of rules document prior to fishing.
  4. Tournament times are 7AM-3PM on both Saturday Sept. 3rd and Sunday Sept. 4th.
  5. We care about the long-term health of our lakes, so Can-Yak is a Catch-Photo-Release (CPR) tournament. Fishing species include pan fish (crappie, pumpkin/sunfish, bluegill and perch,), walleye, bass, northern, and musky.
  • A minimum length per species (if any) will be set and posted on registration day.
  1. There will be a reporting “bag limit” of a baker’s dozen (yes, that’s up to 13 fish) per day of which up to 9 can be pan fish of any species and up to 4 can be game fish of any species (musky, walleye, bass, northern).Four points will be awarded per inch of length, regardless of species (one point per quarter-inch).
  2. All participants will be registered as individuals to compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place prizes.
  3. Participants (either individual or as a team) catching at least one qualified fish of each of the 5 species listed will be entered into a drawing for a $100 “FULL FISH” prize. (One panfish, one muskie, one northern, one bass, and one walleye).
  4. Teams of 2 or more must register as a team prior to the start of the tournament. The advantage of registering as a team?
  • Teams of 2 or more will receive a 10% discount and will compete for a 1st, 2nd or 3rd Place trophy complete with bragging rights.
  • Each team member will also be registered as an individual to compete for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes as mentioned in #4.
  • Fishing as a team will give you a better chance of coming up with a “Full Fish”!
  • Team points will be divided by the number on your team. Ex. Two Person team=total points divide by 2 / Four person team=total points divided by 4.
  1. Both live and artificial bait is acceptable.
  2. Fish must be recorded on the official “Clam Sponsored” bump board showing at least the top end and slightly beyond the end of the fish.
  3. All fish must be photographed using the “daily tag” that will be given out at registration.
  • Fish must be placed on the assigned board clearly show the left side of the fish with mouth butted up to the end with tail pinched and daily fishing card that will be assigned at check in.
  • All fish must be reported and verified by our Can-Yak Officials by 4:30PM on each day to qualify. We will have a booth outside at the Expo for reporting fish on Saturday and picking up your Sunday fishing tag. This is a great time for you to come check out where you stand on the board, chat with fellow participants and see some of the expo too!
  • Cameras or phones must have a time and date stamp for verification.
  • Bump boards measure up to 43”. An additional DNR tape will be included in your registration packet that you must take with you in the event you catch a fish larger than 43”.
  1. Battery operated motors allowed for navigation only.
  • No gas powered motors allowed.
  • No motor trolling allowed.
  1. Fishing will be allowed on any lake that is legally accessible in Iron County south of County Hwy G (which is located in central Iron County).
  • This map outlines (the lower half outlined in black) the designated fishing area on our web site www.Can-Yak.com. A full size map can be mailed to you upon request, otherwise, one will be provided to all participating anglers upon check in. Can-Yak map locations
  • To keep our lakes pristine, anglers will be provided with a boat washing kit.
  • If your boat has been on any water within 14 days prior to the tournament, please clean your boat with the provided kit before entering our waters. If you change lakes at any time throughout the tournament, you must clean your boat with the provided kit before doing so.
  • In order to ensure safety, we will be asking all anglers to let us know what lake/s they intend to fish on. We will NOT share this information with anyone, but in the event of an emergency, we have an idea of where to start looking for you.
  1. This is a Chamber sponsored event, with the help of many sponsors too!
  • Support our posted sponsors whenever possible.
  • Feel free to post on the Can-Yak Facebook or Chamber’s Twitter accounts. ◦Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/MercerCanYak

Twitter- https://twitter.com/MercerWIChamber -Be sure to use #MercerCanYak

  • Along with recorded bump board photos, we encourage candid shots of you and the fish for promotion.
  1. If the same fish is caught twice by the same person, it only counts as one. Although uncommon,

yes, this has happened in the past.

  1. All DNR Rules apply except those governed by stricter rules above. Iron County Lakes all have different rules, so be sure to know the rules of the lake you plan to fish.
  2. You will be supplied with both the bump board and boat washing kit. These need to be turned into the registration table at the end of the tournament. We appreciate you cooperation on this.
  3. RULE #19— YOU MUST HAVE FUN!
While you’re there, visit the St. Croix Rod Factory just 15 minutes from mercer. The St. Croix on-site discount store has some of the best values on St. Croix rods you will ever find, but do yourself a favor and take their new factory tour – never offered before this year.