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West Fork Smallies
by John H. Myhre

There is a place, where generations of anglers have enjoyed some great fishing and even in today's fast paced world where everything is constantly changing, time has basically stood still there.

This place is the West fork Of the famous Chippewa river up stream from Moose lake located East of Hayward Wisconsin. What can you expect in the fishing there today? Well, along with some decent walleye fishing and way better than average musky fishing, there's also some great smallmouth bass fishing that just seems to keep getting better all the time. And that's what I'm talking about here! Plenty of smallmouth with some fish running up to around 6 or 7 pounds, maybe even bigger!

Why is the bass fishing getting better you ask? Well, the rise in the popularity of catch and release and the fact that for around 7 or 8 years now the bass season has only been open to only catch and release till later in June are a couple of good reasons. In fact, these factors alone are probably the biggest reasons for the increase in both size and numbers in bass when other fisheries, especially those in less remote locations, are often struggling to keep up with increased pressure. Still the fact is it is good here and getting better! Whether you fish with a spinning rod or a fly rod, there a fish here plenty big enough to test your skills as an angler.

Then besides good fishing, a trip down the "Chip" is a great experience and has some beautiful scenery too. Paddling along the path of the old voyageur's and lumberjacks there are some big wild rice fields, lots of wild country, and plenty of wild critters to see.

While there are a lot of miles of river upstream from Moose lake to canoe and fish, the most popular stretch's are those from Clam lake to Moose, and from highway GG down the Torch river to the "Chip" at Cattail lake then on down to Moose lake. Along with a lot of river and a just few minor rapids to contend with, there are also several small lakes and wide spots in the river.

As for distance or time, the Shorter trip from 174 down can be done in 3 hours or less, ( the average is around 5 hours ), but you can also spend all day fishing it and exploring. Then on the longer trips from Clam lake or GG, you need to get started early in the day or spend overnight camping along the river in the National Forest if you want to spend any time fishing.


John H. Myhre is a professional outdoor communicator and Wisconsin licensed guide from the Hayward, Wisconsin area. . He can be reached at 715-462-9402 or you can e-mail him at wnoguideservice@gmail.com


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