Spring Break, Wisconsin style

Some folks in the northern climes head for the tropics at Spring Break. Here in Wisconsin, we are more likely to look for a little open water surrounded by lots of ice. That’s exactly what greeted us when we drove into Winneconne yesterday afternoon. The wolf river is open between Lakes Butte des Morts and Poygan, and folks were fishing for walleyes from the Main Street bridge in the middle of town.

And here at Critter’s, Icebreaker IV is in full swing.

If you’ve never been to an Icebreaker show, you’re missing a really fine show. Located in Wisconsin’s largest indoor archery range in the unique complex that also houses Critter’s Wolf River Sports, Woodeye’s Bar & Grill, Icebreaker is a free sports show, a rare breed in today’s pay-as-you-play world.

Icebreaker is the brainchild of Joel “Doc” Kunz, a guide, outdoor writer, Web designer and entrepreneur from New London. Doc has assembled an all-star line-up of seminar speakers and a respectable
group of exhibitors that range from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
and the Lake Poygan Sportsmen’s Club to Cindy Overton and her green parrot, Simon, of Black Pot Demos camp cooking folks, several bait makers and the Lake Delton Fisheries Restoration Project.

Brad Karstaedt, who builds the Wilderness Scout Hydrojet powered canoe, and I are here for the duration of the show. We are selling subscriptions to Wisconsin Outdoor News, raffle tickets on one of Brad’s canoes, complete with a trailer and cover, and a selection of wild game cookbooks. Business has been suprisingly brisk for such a small show. We’ve sold more merchandise here that we did at the HUGE Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sports Show!

Tomorrow, starting at 10:30 a.m., a panel of walleye experts will field questions from attendees, and Daryl Christensen will present a seminar on walleye fishing at 1:30 p.m. Things are hoppin’, so come on down.

Brad and I are staying at Larry & Jan’s Bayou Resort, located on the Wolf at Fremont. A month from now, Fremont will be buzzing with the spring walleye run, but right now the river here is still locked in ice and the sleepy town awaits the spring gold rush. Last night, we stopped at the Fremont Hotel, hoping we could still order a steak after the show. Due to our poor timing, we walked in at 10:05 and the kitchen had just closed. A waitress took pity on us (“Poor Brad hasn’t had anything to eat since lunch,” I pleaded.) and made us a pizza with the works.

Just as we sat down, there on the tube over the bar, WBAY-TV out of Green Bay was featuring our friends Jeff and Sandy Kahlow, of Big Guy Hats fame, and their son Andrew at the Packers Fan Fest. Andrew was recently inducted into the Packers Fans Hall of Fame. You may have seen him in Sports Illustrated this fall wearing his “On Fire for the Pack” outfit his old man made for him. Jeff, of course, was inducted into to Packers Fans HOF several years ago for all the crazy stuff he has done over the years.

this morning, we had breakfast at the hotel with Larry and Jan and plan to meet them there again tonight for dinner when this show wraps up.

Show season is winding down, but we’re having a fine time in Wolf River Country this chilly March weekend. Come on out to Winneconne and celebrate spring with us. We’ll be looking for you!

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