Richard Duane Bartlett, born in
Augusta, Wisconsin, on March 23, 1934, first came up to the
Chippewa Flowage with his grandfather in 1946. They rented a
boat and 3 horsepower Hiawatha motor from Herman’s Landing and
ventured to the west end of the Flowage where they camped for a
few days. At twelve years of age, young Rich marveled at the
wilds and expanse of the Flowage. Recalling all of the dead
trees which stuck up out of the water in many places, Rich said,
"We’d tie up to those trees and that’s where we’d get our
graduating from high school in 1952, Rich took some schooling in
the heating field and worked installing furnaces and delivering
bottle gas for two years. Rich married Joyce Stelter in 1954,
and they went on to have three children, Susan, Becky, and Tony.
In 1956, Rich went to work for Roberts Foods, delivering food to
stores and restaurants within a 100 mile radius of Eau Claire.
There he met a man named Duane Schreiner (or "Scratch" as his
friends called him) who had been muskie fishing on the Chippewa
Flowage for some time. A quick friendship developed between the
two and it wasn’t long before they were making regular day
fishing trips nearly every Saturday to go fishing on the
They’d leave Eau Claire as early as 3
a. m., would rent a boat from either Shady Nook or Indian Trail,
and they would fish for muskies all day–catching fish for shore
lunch when they’d get hungry. Sometimes if the pickings were
slim and they couldn’t get any walleye to eat, a small muskie
would find its way into the frying pan. On June 8, 1957, while
fishing with Rich, "Scratch" caught a 33 pound muskie on a black
bucktail in Cranberry Lake–not far from the big beaver house.
During that same time frame, Rich remembers having one follow
his yellow Billy Finn that was nearly five feet long!
Scratch would sometimes stay in a camper they would park by the
boat launch at Indian Trail. In 1963, Rich began bringing his
family up to the Indian Trail, staying in one of the cabins that
year. For the next several years, they stayed in a small trailer
they had parked where Pat’s house today stands. They stayed in a
camper in the trailer court during the early 1970’s, and in
1975, put a trailer in up there. In 1982, Rich and Joyce put in
an even larger trailer and have been there ever since. Rich, a
guest of Indian Trail for over forty years now, holds the
honorary title of Mayor of the Hill.
After Roberts Foods went out of
business in 1986, Rich drove truck for a while, and then he went
on to work as a maintenance man for the Eau Claire school system
until retiring in 1997. Although he spends most of his time on
the water walleye fishing these days, Rich Bartlett has caught
his share of muskies over the past four decades. Beginning in
1963, Rich has been a consistent presence on the Indian Trail
muskie charts, putting 66 muskies into his boat since he
started. He has taken a number of muskies over 20 pounds and, on
September 12, 1986, he caught, tagged, and released a 45½ inch
long, 26 pound class muskie on a Hawg Wobbler on Fleming’s Bar.
At the time it was the largest muskie ever caught and released
out of Indian Trail Resort.