The fish were biting.
Unfortunately, so were the mosquitoes.
If there’s one thing I won’t forget about this year’s family vacation to northern Wisconsin, it has to be the mosquitoes.
In a nutshell, they were everywhere. And not just one or two.
They were out in full force as we launched and loaded fishing and pontoon boats. They were in and around our cabins. They were in our vehicles. They were always around, whether it was sunny, cloudy, raining or windy. Deep Woods Off and Thermacell repellent appliances helped at times, but not always.
Although the mosquitoes were a nuisance, they didn’t keep us from having a good time at Indian Point Resort, an out-of-the-way place 25 miles northwest of Tomahawk and 25 miles southeast of Minocqua.
We’ve been vacationing in the area for more than 15 years and have enjoyed some outstanding fishing, especially for bluegills and crappies, on Pier, Swamsauger and Willow lakes and the Willow River.
The fishing may not have been as good as years past, but I, along with wife Sheri, sons Dylan and Kyle and in-laws Gordy and Sandy Schumacher caught several fish.
The crappies were noticeably smaller than past years, but the big bluegills were there and ready to bite. As usual, waxworms turned out to be the preferred bait and we went through about 300 of them for the week.
Lots of small perch, a couple of northern pike and Dylan’s huge creek chub rounded out the catch.
You never know what to expect to see as far as wildlife. We’ve seen a mother black bear and her cubs, otters, snapping turtles and bald eagles in the past. Last year, we were surprised by a giant beaver as it waddled across State Highway 70 west of Minocqua.
Loons are a common sight on Pier Lake as well, but not this year. It turns out that swarms of a species of biting black flies are attacking loons in northern Wisconsin like never before, causing the birds to abandon their nests in record numbers.
I never saw a loon in our week at the cabin and heard them calling only three or four times.
An explosion of the black fly population just as loons started incubating their eggs has caused more than 80 percent of the loons to abandon their nests in Vilas County and more than 70 percent of nests in Oneida County, where Indian Point Resort is located.
All in all, it was a great week. Besides getting in some serious fishing for the first time this season, we also found a great restaurant in Park Falls, had a great time playing the SpongeBob SquarePants version of Uno and I didn’t burn my first batch of popcorn cooked over a campfire.
We’ll be back.