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Fishing Bars....

juris ozols & jerry peters


Fishing! One of the most onerous of burdens that a man has to bear. Hard, dirty work, but somebody has to do it. Why, it's enough to drive a man to drink!

Speaking of which......

Holding Muskie and a Glass of Beer

OOOOOOOhhhh – That Golden Pilsner!

We're here to help. We're starting a new feature of our web page, a "Fisherman's Guide to Fishing Bars." No, not the kinds of bars that come up out of forty feet and mud, in the middle of a lake. Not the ones with dropoff's, and weeds, and walleyes, and all that.

No indeed.

These bars are the ones that nestle in the woods on the shore of the lake or are halfway between the lake and home.

These are the bars that you yourself slink off to when you've established that the fish haven't gone to the usual kinds of bars – the ones out there in the middle of the lake.

These other kinds of bars are very important, and we've saved you the trouble of searching them out.

Here's a guide. We've visited ever so many of them, tested them, sampled their wares, talked to the proprietors, inspected the facilities, rated them, done all that. Rest assured, we can recommend these places without reservation (if they require reservations we don't go there).

They are all "10's" – you will be at home.

Before we start our guide, we need to briefly comment on the qualifications for an establishment to be included in our list. These bars:

  • Are the small, out–of–the–way places, off the beaten track.
  • Are not part of any chain.
  • Have the proper atmosphere – you know what we mean.
  • Have pull tabs.
  • Have no more than one TV screen, and that one is used only for Viking & Packer games.
  • Have a pool table, with at least two torn spots in the felt.
  • Have beer. On tap. At the proper temperature.
  • Are patronized by the locals in great numbers.
  • Have an inviolate rule that all the locals must turn to look at
    you when you darken their doorway.
  • And, most important, have friendly bartenders that will lend you a kind ear as you cry in your beer over the muskie that got away.

We have a number of bars, so far, that meet all the proper requirements on our list:

The Bridge Tavern

Crosby, Minnesota

The Bridge Tavern, Crosby, Minnesota

We give you a review on that one here. You haven't lived until you've had a beer poured for you by Kris.

The Boathouse, Clearwater Marina

Lake Waconia, Minnesota

Busch beer in tall bottles, for $1.25 – the best deal for bar beer anywhere in the world. And – ready for this? – Pickled Turkey Gizzards! We review it here too.

The Boathouse, Lake Waconia

Floyd's Place

Victoria, Minnesota

Floyds Place, Victoria, MN

They have a sign over the bar: "Free Beer Tomorrow." And that's enough to qualify the place right there. It's one of our favorite stopping places, on the way back from Waconia to the Twin Cities. We tell you more on that one too.

The Shell Lake Bar

Shell Lake, Wisconsin

Muskies.... Do they ever have Muskies.... On the wall..... Everywhere you turn ----


The Squirrel Inn, Battle

E. Sussex, England

The Squirrel Inn, Battle, Sussex, England

And on their wall they have a "Pike," of intriguingly dubious legality, but like one you've never seen before. A little out of the way, but –––

OH!!!! That English Real Ale!!!

The Little Red Bar, Indian Trail Resort

Chippewa Flowage, Wisconsin

Here you meet John Detloff, famed guide and Muskie Historian par excellence. They've got a big beautiful neon "Hamm's Beer" sign out in back of the place, so that you can find it at night, but unless memory fails me, don't serve Hamm's. Anyway, this one is definitely worth while going to, if only to hear Detloff's many tales of fabulous Muskies and famed muskie guides of years past on the "Chip." As it turns out, our crowd went there one year for the fall muskie trip, and I've got a story for you....

Moccasin Bar

Hayward, Wisconsin

Enough stuffed Muskies and other critters in glass cages to fill an aquarium and a zoo. Be sure to check out Cal Johnson's 67–pounder, a former world record.

But on your way into Hayward, don't forget to stop at Lumber Town, where the worlds greatest lumberjack is crowned each year, and stop by to see the worlds largest muskie.

The Wharf

Walker, Minnesota

Here's the deal on this one. It's really as much a restaurant as a bar, but they do have pulltab's even if the pool table is absent. The food is fine, and K.C. will be friendly as she flits about serving the customers.

The Wharf, Walker, MN

But the major attraction is that the Wharf is only two blocks from the city boat slips (free boat parking) on Walker Bay. That makes it mighty convenient to come in off the lake in your boat, park it, stop by Reed's, and then have a couple of cold ones at the Wharf. We do that quite often when we fish the September Muskies Inc. international tournament on Leech.

Let me comment on Reed's. They've got infinitely more varieties of fishing nonsense than you could ever hope to use, and it's seductively dangerous to go there. Peters and I have never stopped by intending to buy anything more than a couple of steel leaders. We've never left without spending less than $100. Be careful!!

Reeds stuff catches muskies


Lord Fletcher's On The Lake

Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota

A Fishing Bar of Dubious Distinction"


? Applebees ?

Burnsville, Minnesota

"A Fishing Bar of Delightful Conversation"

And now, a request:

If you'd like us to add your own favorite Fishing Bar, we'd be delighted to feature it on our guide. Send us a write–up, and also a picture. We need the pictures.

By the way – if you invite us over to meet you for a beer, just so we can verify the credentials of the establishment, and so you can buy us a beer, why ever so much the better.

And one more thing.

We have T–shirts.

Fishing Bars T-Shirt

If you'd like one of our exceptional quality T–shirts, at a ridiculously low price,
drop us a line at: and we'll rush it out to you

But for now, let's move on to the details of our –

Fishing Bar Selections:

The Bridge Tavern  
    The Boathouse, Clearwater Marina  
        Floyd's Place  
            The Shell Lake Bar  
                The Squirrel Inn  
                    The Little Red Bar  
                        The Moccasin Bar  
                            The Wharf  
                                Lord Fletchers On The Lake  
                                    ? Applebees ?  

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Date Created: January 20, 1999
Last Modified: March 27, 2004
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