My Front Door

Island Drive

Verified Member
May 1, 2011
The 90 days of summer started with leaving the burbs of Chicago, to the lake shore of Powers Lake WI. Exceptional, historical ''ice cutters'' lake pure spring fed. Before refrigeration they cut ice all winter as a rail car dead ended at the rocky point. If I was ta guess, this lake was formed once the glaciers receded. 6 miles of shoreline, about 1.5 miles across. Powers lake had one island two natural middle of the bay sandbars, and two natural points with sandbars and steep drop offs to 30-40' depths, max 50'. At the bottom, the water was cold where the springs came out. I dropped my dads ashes on top of the one in Knolls bay, wrapped around by sandbar in it's own 9 foot deep cool spring water hole. He loved the water, and was a Navy man. Out our front door was the lake/pier/sailboat/turtle pen and natural weedbed with a raft about 30' from the pier, on the other side of the weed bed. The shadows from the raft, that was made up of 1/2 dozen 50 gallon drum barrels, drew allot of fish into the shadows. I once had a bluegill on the line and ended up with a northern. The sandbar in the bay to the left of our home was a natural swamp in every way. Leopard frogs, small night chirping green frogs with differnent colored spots on their backs. Dragon flys, turtles, leeches, impenetrable bogs, where boat is only mode of transportation. Common snapper turtles, cranes, woodpeckers, Kingfisher birds, and the every elusive rubber back, soft shelled turtle. Ya also might see a alligator gar mucking around. The water in Powers lake in the 50's was totally drinkable in my youth. The mosquitos were plump, but my dads lot was on the east side of the lake, therefore we got the setting sun and the bugs left us alone till 8:30 pm, other side of the lake, the bugs started about 3:30. I loved climbing trees and stayed away from Willows and Cotton wood trees. I had a 2 acre forest grove of 6'' trees trunks, about 1' from each other. I would climb to the top of one, and let it fall and catch the one next to it and so forth. One Xmas a boat motor showed up behind the xmas tree and I soon became a turtle hunter, who always took good care and let em go in August. I would pen em up at the shoreline and feed em fresh bluegills, crabs and watch em. I would hunt turtles in deep water and come up under em, often chasing em for fun with my fins on. Ocean turtles are too fast, as are soft shell turtles.
Harder than catching an alligator....would be to catch a full grown soft shell turtle. They could run on land, fast and agile and were incredible swimmers. Underwater....they can come to a FULL stop, go 90 degrees left, or right, or go straight DOWN into the muck to avoid capture. Only caught em two ways, small ones tho pop up in frog land. First when they are laying their eggs up on the beach. First the light has to be right as your going to rush the beach with your motor boat and drop the net DEAD in front of em as they will just be in the water by the time you get there. Next, I just happened to find a bay where they would muck in and under in lily pad territory with still and shallow waters in the sun. I couldn't see em, but I'd poke a stick into the grey mud too find em. We also raced small sail boats and dad and mom raced C scows. We grew up close to the greatest of all sailors Buddy Melgas, from Zenda WI. Great man, competitor and a one of a kind person/boat builder and Sailor.