Growing up as a boy in Illinois, I distinctly remember my grandma and grandpa loading up the IH pickup with fishing gear and their boat and heading to Minnesota for weeks of fishing every summer. The idea of that crosses through my mind every now and then while out fishing on local lakes. I’m not quite sure where they went, but know they visited a small mom and pop resort where the owner’s son would help my grandpa get his boat in the water and later on help get them into the boat as well. My grandma was a tenacious woman and a die-hard angler whom I believe was the driver of these summer excursions.
Fast forward 40 some years and I find myself sitting on the front porch of a little cabin at Woodhaven Resort near Hayward, WI, slowly understanding what those summer trips my grandparents took were all about. Where there were once thousands of these little resorts dotting the lakes of the upper Midwest, there are now very few. McMansions and wave runners seems to be the prevailing trend over small outboards and fishing setups. Luckily, Woodhaven is an exception. The week was spent watching my 5-year-old son fish for sunnies off the dock, yelling with glee as he plucked them from the lake. Days blurred with swimming from the little beach to the swimming dock, trying to unlock the secrets of this beautiful lake for bass, pike and muskie, and evenings watching the comet and shooting stars sitting around a fire. No cell, no wi-fi. Just pure outdoor fun like my grandparents did it.
Watching my son learning how to row, fish and run around barefoot like a feral child are moments I’ll never forget and I’m sure my grandma would be proud. It all felt very interwoven as the loons were teaching their young to fly and the juvenile bald eagle was perfecting their fishing skills as well.
If you’re looking for a little getaway in the Midwest, I encourage you to call Mike and Mary at Woodhaven Resort or any of the other small family-run fishing resort in the Midwest. They're Fine Folks who are struggling during the pandemic and could all use our help.