In Tribute To Jackie Hollen
Last of the Indian Guides

John D. Hollen was born on September 28, 1932, in the village of New Post, Wisconsin. Taking a keen interest in fishing at an early age, by the time Jack Hollen was a teenager, he had made quite a reputation for himself as a skilled fisherman and guide out of his uncle Billy’s Indian Post Resort. Within the resort’s circle of seasoned Indian guides–men like Charlie Wolfe, Henry Smith, John Fleming, and Swede DeMarr–it was quite unheard of for someone so young to be guiding, but then again… Jack was a unique young man.

After graduating from Hayward High School in 1950, Jack Hollen enlisted in the U. S. Army, serving as a private first class in the Korean War. Upon returning back home, he resumed his fishing and hunting that he had missed so much while in the service. Shortly after he had gotten out of the service, Jack Hollen caught the biggest muskie of his life. It was July 18, 1956, and he was guiding out of Shady Nook Resort. When Jack awoke that morning to get ready, he noticed a new yellow bucktail, lying on the kitchen table, that his brother Bubby had picked up the night before. Jack took the bucktail with him to use that morning and ended up catching a 36 pound, 49 inch long muskie on Pete’s Bar with it.

Soon afterwards, Jack got a job working in a lumberyard in Waukegan, Illinois, returning home to fish during his vacation. After earning enough money to buy a new car and fishing boat, Jack moved back to the Flowage for good, resuming his guiding career out of Indian Post, Shady Nook, and Indian Trail resorts. To supplement his income, Jack Hollen also worked in the woods as a forester, drove the snowplow for the Town of Hunter, and also drove Bus #5 for the Hayward School system for many years.

During the mid 1960’s, Jack began guiding primarily out of Indian Trail, the spot which was to practically become Jack’s second home for the next decade. Many of the muskie men at the Trail’s befriended Jack (or Jackie, as they called him), and he became like family to them. Walter J. Roman had much respect for Jackie, hiring him out to guide on many occasions. Walt caught two trophies with Jackie. The first one was on August 3, 1971, when they were working for an active big fish that was known as "Big George." Walt was using his Sneaky Joe lure, throwing out towards the edge while Jackie held the boat close to shore. A 27 pounder fell victim to Walt that night, but was it Big George? Most anglers say that Big George was bigger. Two years later, Walt caught a 27¾ pounder with Jackie on the same lure, this time on Little Pete’s.

Frenchy LaMay was another of the muskie men who had fond memories of Jackie. He remembered how much Jackie had been admiring one of his homemade creepers, so he hung it up on the resort’s muskie lure "trading board," in a very obvious spot. Everyone had to promise to leave that lure up on the board, as it was meant for Jackie. Although everyone was waiting to see Jackie get all excited when he spotted the lure, somehow he ended up sneaking into the backroom where his baits were kept and switching the Creeper with one of his lures… without anyone ever noticing. Talk about the stealth of an Indian!

One of the closest friends that Jackie had at Indian Trail was Don Soukup, who was most impressed with how consistently Jackie produced muskies. Don wanted to fish with Jackie in the worst way and, one day, he finally got his chance. Jackie’s guide fee for the day was $35. He took a liking to Don right off, so he never charged him again to take him out. That’s how Jackie was; he just enjoyed fishing with people he liked. Don reciprocated by leaving his boat at Jackie’s disposal for him to use anytime he needed it.

Jackie would often fish for walleye alone, but he didn’t care to muskie fish by himself. Most of the time, Jackie would just row the boat for Don and let him fish. Don would ask, "Why don’t you fish too?" and Jackie would say, "Because I’m afraid I might catch one." And you know… he probably would have.

Jackie would often fish obscure spots that were seldom fished or talked about, and he also had some other "secret lakes" that he would take people to fish. Don once lost a 40 pound class muskie on a bucktail in a small lake called Beverly Lake, one of Jackie’s pet lakes. Jackie also fished Grindstone Lake, a sleeper lake for big fish, and was known to have gotten some big ones there as well.

Jackie primarily liked to fish with hook and line, but he also did enjoy spear fishing on occasion. He wasted no fish, and only speared what he and his family could eat. The biggest muskie Jackie ever saw was while he was spear fishing off Big Timber Island. He had sunk a large metal dish 6 or 8 feet down so he could tell where the bottom was while he was inside his shack, and a muskie came cruising in that was so wide across the back it completely eclipsed the dish. Jackie didn’t even try to spear that one.

Jackie seemed to have a sixth sense for catching muskies, boating 69 legal muskies during the nine years that he guided out of Indian Trail. He also had a real knack for getting big fish, with seven muskies on record that weighed between 25 and 36 pounds.

Jackie Hollen spent the last day of his life doing what he loved best, fishing. On May 25, 1983, after an evening of crappie fishing with his longtime friend Fred Miller, Jackie complained of a headache. Upon coming in Jackie, bid Fred goodnight and went home. He died later that night of a brain aneurism. He was 50 years old… and was the last of the Indian guides.