Not being much of an outdoorsman, it’s not too often I can say that I caught my own meal, but after spending a recent afternoon at one of Wisconsin Dells older attractions, I can now cross this off my list.
B&H Trout Fishing and Bait Shop was established in 1950, and is open year round every day from 6am until dark. Located on Highway 13, just seven miles north from downtown, the bait shop has everything you need for a great day of hunting or fishing. With a huge selection of tackle and live bait, B&H is a place where you can also get your fishing or hunting licenses, local maps, and even fishing tips if needed.
Being I haven’t been to the bait shop in many years, I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit my childhood hangout. When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by Kristina Kowalik, who came to America twenty-four years ago from Poland, and has been the trout farm owner for the past 17 years.
After explaining my intentions of wanting a behind-the-scenes look where I spent many hours of my youth, Kristina suggested that we start by feeding the fish. Throwing handfuls of brown pellets into the water didn’t really do much at first, but quickly the water started to look as if it was coming to a boil, similar to a piranha feeding frenzy.
With a huge smile on my face I pulled the trout out in triumph. Kristina asked if I wanted to take the hook out with the pliers, but not really wanting to get too grimy, I asked her to show me how it’s done. “You seem like you’re scared to fish!” she said with joking disdain, as she expertly took the hook out of its mouth.
The second time around, with my manhood on the line, I insisted that I do everything myself. I was able to bait the hook easily enough, and using the technique of standing still, I quickly caught my second trout. Getting it up on the grass, I built up some courage and tried to bare hand the fish. Flopping around all over the place it took about a dozen tries before I finally grabbed hold.
Using the pliers to try and remove the hook, I soon realized it was imbedded quite deep. After a few awkward attempts to get it out, Kristina mercifully came to the fish’s rescue. She views the trout as if they were her pets. She definitely didn’t want any unnecessary pain to be brought upon by my fumbling.
The first instruction was for me to shove my thumb through a gill so that it came out of the trout’s mouth. I have to admit, this freaked me out a bit. Next, while trying not to envision lopping off my finger, I sliced the belly open. Then came the time to rip out the guts. My light tugs weren’t doing the trick, so I had to get primal, and tore them out with a grossed-out sense of accomplishment.
- Chris Dearman