THREE LAKES - There are several musky fishing leagues in the Northwoods. Near Three Lakes, they have an angler who is fishing competitively in his 80s.
10 years ago, John Schmidt found himself looking for an activity to keep busy. He decided on fishing - but not just any fish.
"Musky Fishing is a challenge and you're looking to catch that musky to overcome that challenge," Schmidt explained. "And the bigger the fish, the bigger the thrill."
At 83 years young, John is the oldest member of the Monday Night Musky League.
"We have a great bunch of competitors and we have a lot of fun," John adds. "When you hook 'em, they have more tricks than any fish that you could imagine. The antics that they go through to get loose from that lure, it's unbelievable."
Schmidt finds many ways to describe the thrill of the catch.
"Musky fishing is like, comparable to chasing attractive women and succeeding. This is like probably, Brett Favre throwing 6 touchdown passes. You can't match that adrenaline. Unless I saw Frank Sinatra (laughs) then I'd get an adrenaline rush also. But those are the olden days."
He and his fishing partner Gary Myshak, make quite a pair.
Myshak says, "To see him out here at this age competing every Monday night, and still fishes by himself catching muskies, gives me hope for when I get to his age that I'll still be able to do this."
Over the years, John's caught close to 100 muskies. But he says he doesn't have to catch one, to have a good time on the water.
"Many people say, how can you go out day after day after day and not catch a fish," Schmidt explains. "That's not the point. The point is when you catch the fish, that's what you're looking for."
Myshak chimes in, "when you've got a guy like Schmidty, it's always a good time, no matter if you catch a fish. This guy's a machine. He keeps moving and as long as you keep moving, you keep living."
"As long as I can stand up in a boat, I'll be out here chasing these, what I call freshwater sharks," says Schmidt.
MERRILL - Members of a Northwoods union chapter gathered unique inspiration for a fundraiser - The Beatles.
Merrill-area Local 6 members gathered Wednesday on the Wisconsin flowage to raise money for groups in need of assistance. The union leaders organized boat rides, raffles, barbecues, and contests. The inspiration for the fundraiser came, in part, from the 1965 Beatles single Help!
"I found out it was the anniversary of the 'Help!' release from The Beatles record, and I decided, let's help our community," said Local 6 Vice President Valerie Nelson. "Our membership is very passionate about certain organizations within our community. One being the Lincoln County Humane Society, the local food pantry, and the American Cancer Society."
Gardens need some help with large temperature swings in summer
RHINELANDER - Northwoods heat the past few days forced plants to endure different weather, but you don't need to do extra gardening just because it's hot.
Experts at Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander say plants can manage the heat just fine. On hot, sunny days, many plants will wilt, but that doesn't mean they need more water.
"If the soil is moist on a hot day, I wouldn't water more. That's probably more harm. The plant can only take up so much moisture at a time, so I would just hold off on watering," says Sue Hanson, Hanson's Garden Village Co-Owner.
WOODRUFF - Americans will eat about 7 billion hot dogs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Wednesday, millions of Americans celebrated National Hot Dog day. That was the case in the Northwoods.
Hoggie Doggies Snack Shack is a staple in Woodruff. Their All-American favorite is the Chicago Style Dog.
The owner Judy Rossi has been there for 12 years and says they go through a lot of dogs.
"Last season we went through almost 17,000 hot dogs. This year we're on track for about 18,000," says Rossi. "Statistically we go through about 8 tons of potatoes in a season, which is close to 16,000 pounds for our homemade french fries. Those are some big numbers for this little place."
MADISON - Unemployment is up in all of Wisconsin's largest cities and most counties.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday that unemployment rates in June increased in all of the state's 32 largest cities. Unemployment rates went up in 61 of 72 counties and remained unchanged in the other 11.
Wisconsin's monthly unemployment rate in June was 5.7 percent, unchanged from May.
EAGLE RIVER - A new type of foundation could give you a better way to build a home, and the idea for the improvement starts right here in the Northwoods.
Composite Panel Systems in Eagle River builds composite panels for home foundations. Composite means anything made of two or more materials, which includes fiberglass in this case. The company describes the EPITOME Quality Foundation Wall as a revolutionary composite building solution for residential foundations.
The company makes them off site, and then they put them together on location. Composite Panel Systems' Scott Weber says that means a shorter build time compared to concrete foundations.
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