Weekend Adventures: A fishing foray in the county's four trout lakes


I thought it would be fun to set a new a challenge of fishing each of the four trout lakes in Hubbard County.

Newman is about as far north as you can travel in Hubbard County, and proved to be a nice experience without anything over the top to state.

Blacksmith is a personal favorite for local camping and typically has a high success rate of catching a rainbow trout.

Blue Lake is simply a beautiful lake with a variety of species and relatively quiet.

My final conquest lead me to one lake deep in the Paul Bunyan State Forest that presented a challenge: Crappie Lake. Yes, the name is a bit deceiving, but it is truly the fourth trout lake in Hubbard County. I asked around and most people I had spoke to had only heard about the lake, but had never actually seen it. I grabbed a map, a small amount of bait, canteen, two-piece trusty trout rod and set out with my backpack before day break. I drove to a spot in the forest and saw the DNR Trout Survey sign displayed at the trailhead to Crappie Lake. I was going to come into Crappie Lake from the west and hike in. As the crow flies, the journey was roughly a-mile-and-a-half.

The path diminished and branches were blocking the way. Clearly at this point, no one had traveled for some time. I was confident, as I am today, I was on the proper course, and with my God-given sense of direction and comfort in the woods I saw Crappie Lake through the trees. It was beautiful. It was remote and absolutely quiet. It was a great adventure and the sun was rising over the eastern treetops. Questions came to me of how long it had been since someone had seen this lake.

I was going to waste no more time, and  rigged up my rod and reel to make a cast. I walked out onto an abandoned beaver lodge to get the space for a well-executed cast and as I shifted my weight back I heard a snap and I sunk to my waist in sticks and mud. Cold, wet, dirty and frustrated, the romance of moment faded to disgust.

Just then, a man in a canoe, trolling motor and deep-cycle battery cruised in front of me and chuckled. He greeted me, and my response was, "How the hell did you portage all of that gear a mile-and-a-half through the woods to get here?"

He responded with a point, "It is way easier to come down the DNR path from the east. I did not think that way from the west was passable anymore. Is that the way you came from?"

I chuckled, but did not admit that I had no idea about the DNR path and replied, "I am always up for a good weekend adventure!"

He was not there to bother or be bothered and boated silently away.

I stood there suspended in the fragrant muck and sticks until he was out of sight. After pulling myself out, I walked down the shoreline for a better surface to fish from. I set my backpack down, went to cast, when a bolt of lightning exploded very close by in a clap of thunder.

Taking inventory, I knew the only thing I accomplished on this mission was seeing the fourth trout lake. My head dropped. I knew my morning adventure had only begun and I was ready to head back through the thick brush to the truck drenched, filthy, empty-handed and casting a smell that would make a mother skunk blush.