Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Behind the Books: Hayward, WI

Last weekend, I spoke at the Northwoods Children’s Book Conference in Hayward, WI. And the moment I drove into town, I knew Hayward was A Place for Fish.

The first thing I noticed was this bait shop.
You wouldn’t see something like that where I live. I knew there must be some serious anglers and probably some wonderful lakes around. (No surprise, since there was plenty of glaciers action around here about 12,000 years ago.)

I was tempted to go inside and take a look at some of the leeches, but the shop was closed. Bummer.

A little farther down the road, I spied this through the trees . . .

and then this . . .

. . . and this.
Wow. That’s one big muskie!* It was the highlight of an outdoor fish park at the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Who knew there even was a National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame? Well, there is. And it's in Hayward, WI.

But I still haven't told you the coolest part. It was displayed in such a way that with a little imagination (okay, maybe more than a little), you could picture it coming alive and plunging into the Namekagon River, which was just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Definitely within muskie-jumping range as far as I’m concerned. Really, it could happen.

I walked along the river to this boat launch.
See that sign to the left? Let's take a closer look . . .
See. I told you. Hayward really is A Place for Fish. Those anglers care about the natural environment and work hard to protect it against invasive species.

*How’d an East Coast girl like me recognize this Midwestern freshwater fish? Lucky for me, I’d learned all about the muskellunge (a.k.a. muskie) when I wrote Life in a Lake a few years ago. This fish’s name comes from the Ojibwa language and means “ugly fish.” Gotta love that.

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