If you’re into fishing and are traveling through the Midwest, head direct for the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin.
The Hall of Fame recognizes anglers who have achieved renown in the sport of fresh water fishing. It sits on six acres of landscaped grounds with a “Sea of Fishes” — including oversized fiberglass bass, perch and bluegill.
The most popular attraction of the complex is “The Big Muskie” which stands 4-1/2 stories tall and is one-half city block long. Also known as the the “Shrine to Anglers,” this giant concrete, steel and fiberglass sculpture depicts a leaping muskellunge. Its gaping, open jaw accommodates about 20 persons and doubles as an observation platform providing a panoramic view of the surrounding area, including Lake Hayward.
The first summer the museum opened in 1976, they say about 8,000 visitors came through the doors. Nowadays, approximately 100,000 visitors tour the grounds between mid-April and the end of October.
The four-building museum complex houses more than 50,000 sport-fishing vintage artifacts.
There are historical lures, rods, reels and accessories. Additionally, there is a collection of more than 400 mounted fish and about 1000 antique motors on display. The Hall of Fame maintains records for the largest fresh water fish in the United States and the world.
Kids take to the playground and the casting practice area. There is also a quarter-acre nature fishing pond.
If you go
National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and museum is located in northwest Wisconsin, 70 miles south of Duluth, Minn.; 140 miles northeast of Minneapolis, Minn.; 400 miles northwest of Chicago.
10360 Hall of Fame Dr.
Hayward, Wis. 54843
Cost: $8.95, 17-under: $6.95
Hours: Open daily mid-April – Oct. 31.
Mid-April, May, Sept., Oct.: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (No entry after 3:30 p.m.)
June, July & August: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (No entry after 4 p.m.)
Museum and grounds are closed Nov. 1 – mid-April.
—Photos: National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame
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