Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Greater Wisconsin Musky Tournament – Day 2

Guide Scott and R Karl

After a restful night’s sleep, we were up early and ready to head out early to continue the hunt! Scott Kaminsky was our guide on Sunday. We met him at 8:00 am and headed back out onto the lake. Although the early morning temperature was only in the mid-20’s, the sky was clear, and the morning sun began to quickly warm things up. Scott’s style was a bit different from Rob’s, but he was also a very knowledgeable – especially about Big St. Germain and Muskies – and personable guide.

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Note: Although no longer sponsored by Berghoff, this tournament is still taking place. This year is the 35th year of the annual event! This event is now sponsored by the St. Germain Chamber of Commerce and Rob Manthei’s Guide Service

Shallower Water and Different Baits

During the course of the morning, he shared with us much of his expertise about Musky fishing. We headed for some shallower water and tried some slightly different baits from those that we used yesterday. (Yesterday it was all “stick” baits and today we were using bucktails or “hairs” as they are called.

As we cruised past a large and shallow area of reeds, Scott informed me that I had a follow. I looked down into the water and saw the same wide and dark brown form as it approached my bait. My heart started to pound as I anticipated the attack that did not come. Unfortunately, my inexperience resulted in my being unable to tempt the musky into a strike using the figure eight pattern that I had observed the day before. (My pattern was feeble by comparison.) Several more hours on the lake failed to yield and results. The “fish of a thousand casts had once again alluded us!

The allotted time for the contest was almost up, and both Heidi’s arms and my own were sore from the 500 or so casts that we each threw into the chilly waters of Big St. Germain Lake over the last two days.

Lunch and Then Tournament Results

Scott dropped us off and we headed in to get a bite to eat as Scott headed back out to another lake for some walleye fishing. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Dutch Door Restaurant and then headed back the Community Center for the results of the tournament.

All 340 musky hunters appeared to have returned to the Center for the results. As we entered, we saw that a local chapter of Boy Scouts was serving Brats and other goodies. There was also pulled venison and venison chops as well as more of the great Berghoff products that everyone was enjoying as they awaited the results of the event.

musky award

Of all the musky hunters on ten different lakes, only 19 fish were caught, registered, and released. I figured that this result was pretty standard, yet I heard not a single complaint about the fishing or the weather. Organizer of the tournament Kenny Jackson of Jackson’s Lakeside Cottages in St. Germain told me: “You should have seen it last year… cold and driving rain/sleet.”

Winning Fish

The winning fish this year was a whopping 47 inches of fighting musky that, by the way, was the contestant’s first musky, taken on his last cast of the morning. It all goes to show that efforts can be rewarded at any time and to any hunter. The remaining prizes were distributed – including a $1000 check awarded by a random drawing from all contestants entered in the tournament.  And then, this year’s musky hunters headed home.

I believe that I can speak for both Heidi and me when I say that we both had a wonderful time and thoroughly enjoyed our stay in St. Germain, Wisconsin. We have definitely caught ‘the fever’. We’d like another shot at catching a musky!

Special kudos go to the owners of Black Bear Lodge and to the chef at the Bear’s Den Restaurant, as well as Fibbers, Clearview Supper Club, and the Dutch Door Restaurant.

If you are planning to be in the area and in need of a great guide, contact Rob Manthei at his web site or Scott Kaminsky at 715-358-3606. Both are good choices for all your fishing needs.

A huge thank-you has to also go out to Kenny Jackson of Jackson’s Lakeside Cottages for all the time and effort he must have put forth in order to organize such a great event!

berghoff car

A Great Musky Tournament!

For those of you who read this article, I would recommend that if you are interested in fishing in a great musky tournament in a great little town in northern Wisconsin, you should put this one on your list and make sure to watch for next year’s event and register as soon as you hear about it – this one will fill up quickly!

Stay tuned to for details and links. We certainly hope that Berghoff is going to make it back for another year. I especially want to thank Gary Knowles and Larry Schneiberg from Berghoff for all their time and generosity associated with sponsoring the tournament. Great job!!

Note: As I mentioned in the Day 1 article, Berghoff no longer sponsors the tournament. In fact, Berghoff Brewery (Monroe, WI, is now Minhas Craft Brewery). But importantly, expert fishing guide Rob Manthei hosts this annual catch-and-release competition. You likely won’t find a better guide anywhere!

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl