In Tribute To Fred Hirsch

Frederick David Hirsch, born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 16, 1944, first came to the Indian Trail Resort at the age of twelve (during the Memorial Day Weekend of 1957) with his father, Stanley, and his brother-in-law, Adolph Sakowicz. Fred recalled, "We didn’t get up to the resort until late at night, but the bar was still open. The bar was kind of dark and smoke-filled, and the guys at the bar were bearded and seemed like real characters. I thought, Wow! It was like being in the kind of places that I’ve only read about. After checking in with Elsie, some guy in the bar took us into the backroom and showed us this huge muskie in the freezer that had just been caught by Bunny Gage. It was 53½ inches long and weighed 38½ pounds."

Fred remembers doing a lot of crappie fishing with his father by the bogs in Moonshine and by Bog 1 (on Church) and Bog 2 (on the big stump bar near Wagon Wheel). Young Fred once caught a huge crappie in Moonshine that weighed 3 pounds 2 ounces on a de-liar scale. After he told Elsie about his catch, she got all excited and told him to bring it in and that she would get it mounted for the bar. Unfortunately, by the time Fred had gotten back to the cabin, his father had already started to cut it up for dinner.

After getting out of high school, Fred delivered produce to stores for a while and then spent three years working for Magic Kist, cleaning rugs. In 1967, he began working for Nabisco Foods, loading trucks, but shortly thereafter enlisted in the U. S. Army. Fred became a sergeant and served as an M. P., being given orders to become a member of the Washington D. C. honor guard. At the last minute those orders were changed and he was sent to Germany to guard a top security post. After getting out late in 1969, Fred then went back to work for Nabisco, staying with them until retiring in 2001 and moving to Hayward.

Fred Hirsch caught his first muskie in July of 1970, while fishing with Adolph. They were working around the flatweeds near the second grass patch on West Cranberry when Fred nailed a nice sized muskie on a Globe. Frenchy was nearby and came over to see what they had caught. Frenchy looked at an excited Fred and said, "First one, eh. Looks like 16 pounds and, I’d say… 40 inches." Wouldn’t you know it, Frenchy was exactly right on both counts.

On another occasion, Fred borrowed Walt Roman’s boat to use for the evening. After catching a small one off Willow Island, he proceeded to go to West Cranberry where he rose an absolute beast of a muskie. Adolph and Walt happened to come in behind him and Fred excitedly told them that he had just raised a monster. Although a doubting Adolph snapped, "Aw, it’s just a carp!" Walt listened and worked the boat over that way. In no time Adolph hooked into this big fish and all hell broke loose next to the boat. Walt was yelling and swearing as he tried to club the fish, but it got off. That evening in the bar, Walt validated Fred’s status as a true muskie man by making it known–and in no uncertain language–that Fred’s word as a fisherman was to be believed.

In May of 1974, Fred, along with his buddy Chester Markowicz, hooked onto a record class muskie along a shoreline near West Cranberry. They fought the fish for sometime, with it even towing Fred’s small fishing boat out into the deeper channel, but eventually the fish wallowed near the surface and threw the lure. This was a fish that had been seen previously by several of the seasoned muskie men at Indian Trail. Another time, in July of 1981 while fishing with his son Brent, Fred had on and lost a 50 pound class muskie, after getting it near the boat several times.

In 1978, Fred released a 45½ long muskie (the resort release record at the time) and he also broke the record for most muskies caught in one season, fifteen. To date, Fred has caught three muskies over 30 pounds and 129 legal muskies out of the Flowage. Predominantly long known as a bucktail man, in 1987, Fred began selling his own lures, calling them Ghosttails. Many muskie fishermen agree that Fred’s Ghosttails are the highest quality and most durable bucktails on the market.

The most versatile of all the fishermen of the Trails, Fred Hirsch is probably the finest all around fisherman at the resort. Whether it be bass or bluegill, crappie or walleye, or the mighty muskie… Fred is happy no matter what specie of fish he is chasing.