Hersey fisherman enjoys area opportunities

HERSEY — Bill Maxfield has loved fishing for as long as he can remember. It didn’t take long for him to enjoy the most memorable time of his fishing career.

Maxfield has lived in Hersey at his current residence since 1996. He was raised in Grant Center and currently works at Yoplait.

He’s fished his whole life and got interested through his dad, Jim Maxfield of Big Rapids, who is also still an avid fisherman.

“When we grew up, my dad used to take me and my brother up to Canada quite a bit for pike and walleye fishing,” Bill Maxfield said. “I can still recall, I believe (when) I was 11 years old, the biggest pike I ever caught in my life was 43 inches.”

He made the catch at Dog Lake in Canada.

Locally, “Haymarsh Lake is a good spot for bluegills,” Maxfield said. “We have caught some bass in there. That’s one of my wife’s (Tammi) favorite spots. You get her in a boat she doesn’t get out. She’s a real avid (angler).”

Maxfield said his fishing agenda depends on his work schedule.

“We like camping also,” he said. “(Recently), we went up to Interlochen State Park, right on Green Lake and Duck Lake. We fished those. There’s another small lake where there’s lots of bass in there and lots of pike. There’s nice rock bass in there.”

Locally, Maxfield likes Haymarsh and Jensen Lakes in Mecosta County and a few in Osceola County.

“Quite a few years ago, we did go to Todd Lake,” he said. “My grandparents, when they were alive, had a trailer on Hogsback Lake. We fished that when I was growing up. It’s up there past Eagle Boys Village. Big Lake over on the other side of Evart, we fished that a couple of times. We’ve been on Chippewa Lake quite a few times.”

Spring fishing was slow, Maxfield recalls.

“It stayed cold for so long,” he said. “In my opinion, I think the fishing was a month behind. It’s now catching up. The bite is really coming on. I know some of the spawnings were later this spring than they typically are. Right now, the fishing is getting good.”

Maxfield said his wife is more of an ice fisherman than he would be. Overall, he considers this area to be generally favorable for fishermen.

“Mecosta, Osceola and Lake counties, there’s a lot of little lakes in here,” he said. “Even someone wanting to start out who has never really fished before, there’s a lot of starter lakes. You’ve got lots of rivers around here. If someone likes to fly fish or anything like that, you’ve got the Muskegon River, you’ve got the Hersey River in this area.”

In the Hersey River, “there is some nice brook trout,” Maxfield added. “I fished the Manistee River up by Wellston and the Pere Marquette River by Scottville. A lot of my fishing trips, I do drive a little bit. A lot of it is because of areas I know. It’s always nice to explore a new lake.

“A new lake we found that’s good for walleyes at Interlochen is called Big Platte Lake, which is on the other side of Honor. The very first time there, we had success and caught two walleye right off the bat. To me, it’s a challenge going to a new lake and trying to find where they’re at. For me, the biggest challenge to fishing is that you use a certain lure and a certain color and it will work one day. You can go right to the same spot, the same lure and same color and they don’t bite. Then you have to find something else that works. It’s kind of fun in a way. I like the challenge of that.”

Maxfield is one angler who doesn’t usually get frustrated.

“I do it for fun,” he said. “When I go salmon fishing, it’s nice to have at a least three guys to go with you. You have your rods out and you have to have someone driving the boat. The guy driving the boat, his job is as important as the guy running the rods. You’ve got your lines out and you have to keep the boat going straight so your lines don’t get tangled up. You have to watch what the other boaters are doing.”

But it’s no secret what Maxfield likes best about the sport.

“(It’s) seeing somebody catch a fish. Like on Tuesday, I made sure my father had the first fish on and either him or my father-in-law would catch it and the second fish they would catch it,” Maxfield said. “If there was a third one, I would have caught it. We had to come in. I like to give opportunities if I take someone out fishing to have them catch the fish, rather than have me do it.”

Maxfield will fish up until October.

“A lot of times, I’ll fish salmon up until they’re done up the river,” he said. “If the weather cooperates, we like to do some fall bass fishing also. This year I haven’t so far, but we do love to bass fish. My wife will bass fish any chance she gets. She has a small 12-foot boat that she can hook on her truck and she takes it out by herself. She’s the same way, she likes to take her dad out fishing.”

Maxfield is also an avid deer hunter.

“I’ve done rifle,” he said. “I just got a crossbow last year. I’m really addicted to that. It’s the first time of having one and I did get a (doe) that year.”

His biggest buck was been an 8-pointer in the late 1990s when he was using a 30.06.

“I’ve been seeing quite a few deer,” he said. “I’ve been seeing some bucks in velvet around here.”

Turkey hunting is a sport Maxfield eventually hopes to try.

“We do have a lot of turkeys in this area, and a lot of coyotes,” he said.