If you haven’t yet been to central or maybe north-central Wisconsin then you are missing out on a real gem. Marathon County is the host to Wausau and has so very much to offer. Vickie and I stopped in Wausau on our way to the far UP North a few years back … in fact, we pulled into the Walmart parking lot and spent a few hours before hitting the road again. On the return trip we decided we would camp in the area for a day or so and when we googled camping, Marathon Park came up. I still remember thinking, this park, the camping, is located in downtown Wausau…that can’t be? Well, it is and it is one of the rare campgrounds where you can be in the midst of a gorgeous pine forest and take a short walk and get a bagel at a Panera (if bagels and Panera are your thing).
We have now camped in Marathon Park several times and in fact, last July, while camping in Wausau, (of 2019) took a short drive south on 51/39 and pulled into the Gander Mountain RV spot to just ‘look’ at a new camper. I even said to Vickie on our way in, “We are not going to buy a camper”. So, guess what…we bought a new camper there and love it. I can even go as far as saying that rarely does something you buy exceed standards…but our new Guide Series camper, which is a 24’ tow behind, has gone above and beyond…thus far anyway!
The first night we were camped at Marathon Park I was on the hood of my Suburban looking at maps and one of the DNR fellows stopped and we started talking. He took my map and made some suggestions and even went as far as coming back the next day to give me a couple of printed maps and had marked some ideas for fly fishing for smallmouth and musky. One of those ideas was Mission Lake; the next morning I was up at 5:30am (it gets light UP North by 4:30 in the summer) and was off to see what the lake looked like.
I posted this video last year and you can watch as I land a few fish…one of those being a nice pike (but no musky). This year I once again returned to Mission Lake renewed hope of landing or seeing a musky (I will let you know that again no musky were sighted). If you fly fish for musky then you need to know going in that landing or catching a fish isn’t high on your scale…in fact, if you go in with low expectations, usually you are OK.
The morning didn’t disappoint however as Vickie came along (she sat in her chair and read a book for a couple of hours) while I ventured off in my float tube in pursuit of anything that might eat my streamer. I didn’t have to wait long, within ten minutes I saw a big flash and hooked into a nice pike (nice by my standards as it was 30”). The water was clear and I could see the fish for a few feet before he exploded on my fly and that is always an added bonus.
I continued around the small, west end of the 100 acre lake and caught a nice largemouth on top and another good pike…all in about an hour. Not bad for a short drive.
Vickie and I then headed north, up county road J for about 20 minutes and visited the Dells of Eau Claire River. It was also a treat and well worth the drive. While we crossed the Eau Claire a couple of times I did some investigating and ended up coming back the next day to fish for smallmouth on a brand new stream; tune in to my next video for this adventure.
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