Born and Raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin
I was born and raised in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. After a couple moves on Otter Street we settled into a house on the corner of Bay and Otter. Our home was two short blocks from the mouth of the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. That was a very convenient location to get hooked on fishing. I later became a life member of the Otter Street Fishing Club which boasts over 1,000 members and is dedicated to the betterment of fishing on Lake Winnebago and the Fox and Wolf chain of lakes. The club annually hosts one of the biggest walleye tourneys in the state and sponsors a kids fishing day with over 400 participants this past year.
Caught my first fish at Hanawalt’s cottage. Mom (kneeling) and her telephone operator friends were invited to a cook out at the Hanawalt’s. This photo documented my trophy catch. My ill-fitting clothes were loaned to me after falling in the drink while landing that whopper.
I married Ann while in college at UW and started a family early in life. Our son Chris and his son, Blaze, live in Madison, Wisconsin. Our other son Nat and wife Anne reside in San Carlos, California with two sons, Parker and Julian.
Dad and I along with his fishing buddy, drove across the state one Saturday morning to Waseca, Minnesota to pick up Dad’s new boat at Herters. I had selected a red and white runabout with fins from the catalog, but dad chose a 12’ drab olive green boat with bench seats. Outfitted with a bulky 10 H.P. Mercury engine it was the bees knees of happiness and adventure on the water.
Fishing with Dad in the New Boat
A ton of perch and pan fish came over the side of that boat along with some sheepshead, walleyes and white bass. Nowadays a 10 H.P. is simply a kicker motor for trolling. From that same Bay and Otter backyard, my son Chris holds up one of his first catches. Notice Grandpa’s 20+ years old Herters boat in the background.
Besides weekend fun fishing with dad in the new boat, I frequently rode my bike to the large public Bowen Street dock. Sometimes before school, but mostly after, I would cast Wolf River Rigs with flies I had tied using my Zebco 33 and glass rod. During summers we branched out, trying other methods and locations like the harbors in the marinas for small bullheads and the lagoon in Menomonee Park for pan fish. My fishing buddies and I also fished Miller’s Bay with bobbers and cast crawlers from the Winnebago shore for walleyes and occasionally caught a couple nice ones.
Another fond memory is the day Chris invited a tomboy friend and her father to fish with us. When we got to the boat landing the wind was roaring and the waves were pounding in. How proud can a dad be when his son says, “Dad you can handle it.” So out we venture, but not too far and soon we hook into a dandy walleye on a #9 orange Rapala. Controlling the boat and netting the fish was a challenge. Although, in the excitement of catching the fish our neighbor sat on and broke the rod Chris used to catch the fish but we were ecstatic. We headed in and weighed our catch on the produce scales at the Red Owl. After three tries at 7lbs we accepted that it was 6lbs 15oz. Not bad for a Winnebago walleye. And Chris and I got our picture in the Fond du Lac Reporter to boot.
Numerous Appearances in State Tournaments
Other than family, I’m most proud of the “Save the Park” capital campaign I conducted in Okoboji, Iowa as an Associate Director for Ward, Dreshman & Reinhardt. We raised $7.6 mil in 6 weeks on a $5.5mil goal to save a local amusement park and green space on the lake from a condo development bulldozer. That campaign led to a stint as Director of Development of the Iowa Great Lakes Maritime Museum and later Director of Development of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI.
I coached hockey for over 35 years at various levels from mini mites to Lawrence University. After numerous appearances in State Tournaments I got a State Championship with my West Bend Varsity High School team. While in West Bend I served as Chairman of the “ Ice ‘92”, building the Kettle Moraine Ice Center.
Also in West Bend I served as Regional Director for the Badger State Games. Many years ago I taught personal financial planning at vocational colleges. Today I teach personal financial planning to high school students in the Milwaukee Area as a volunteer with SecureFutures.
Constant Passion in My Life
Fishing has remained a constant passion in my life. I spent several years as an independent contractor in the hunting, fishing and outdoor sports field as owner of Quest Marketing Inc. I also traveled the Midwest for several years fishing on the Professional Walleye Circuit. More recently, before retirement, I worked as Fishing Mentor at the Richfield Cabela’s for 7 years. I still fish Lake Winnebago during the summer and especially enjoy taking the sons and grandsons fishing.
We have lived in Madison, Fond du Lac, Appleton, West Bend and Brookfield but always get back to Oshkosh…B’Gosh.
Share the joy of fishing, with kids.
Fishing with sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, adds joy to life. You are never too young or to old to catch the fishing bug.