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.
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
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.