Tyra Stoehr of Grosse Point Farms, Mich., waited 13 years to again feel the rush of landing a muskie.
She did it while surrounded by a family that meets in the Northwoods each year.
“Whenever the weather shifts, that’s when I seem to get my fish,” Stoehr said.
The quarry was muskies, and the mid-July afternoon promised a storm. Stoehr was casting a blue and silver tinsel bucktail into the waters of Mercer Lake.
“I actually saw him take it, which was crazy,” Stoehr said.
She said the fish was 12 to 15 feet from the boat when it hit.
The fight was on.
“Good fighting fish for sure,” Stoehr said. “Just fun, fun, fun.”
Despite hooking the fish so near the boat, the battle lasted about five minutes. Stoehr’s father, Dan Olson, netted the fish, which turned out to be a tiger muskie. The 43-incher was photographed and released.
“It was a special time because it was just my dad and I in the boat,” Stoehr said. “It was the highlight of the week.”
The week included a meeting of six Olson families, a yearly tradition since the late George and Rose Olson of Mayville rented a cottage at Mercer Lake Resort in 1952.
Olson families from places such as Green Bay, Webster, Oconto, Minneapolis, Minn., and Grosse Point Farms, Mich., converge at Mercer Lake Resort for a week of muskie fishing and each other’s company.
“My dad started going when he was a little boy,” Stoehr said.
Stoehr said her dad now mentors her sons, ages 8 and 10. The boys are part of the family outing.
“My little one just learned to muskie fish this year,” she said. “My 10-year-old learned to fly-fish last year.”
Stoehr said her dad also holds a fishing contest for the kids at the family gathering.
“They look so forward to that,” she said. The contest keeps the kids busy fishing.
Stoehr’s muskie of 13 years ago was a 34-incher. She said this year’s 43-incher is her biggest to date. She’s glad her family get-together muskie drought is over.
“Every year, I want so much to catch one,” Stoehr said. “Sometimes, I don’t even see a fish. I had four follow-ups (this year).”
Stoehr said two other boats with family members were fishing the bay she and her dad were in when she landed the 43-incher. Her brother caught a muskie nearby soon after hers was released.
“My little brother caught seven that week,” she said.
“Ten-thousand casts or 13 years. Whatever it takes,” Dave Olson said of his daughter’s catch. He said the six Olson families at the get-together had a good week of muskie fishing.
“We probably caught 12 or so,” he said.
Stoehr said it could be 13 or 14. Of course, there will be future get-togethers, and probably future muskies. Stoehr cherishes the time with family and the setting on Mercer Lake.
“I love it. That place is like a slice of Heaven,” She said.
Craig Turk may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org