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Great Rivers Imaging

Ideas for places to visit in the Midwest

John Dillinger Hideout

Little Bohemia

This is one of my favorite places in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. Little Bohemia is a beautiful lodge in a scenic area with an

Manitowish Waters, WI

interesting history. Located on Little Star Lake in Manitowish Waters, Little Bohemia is a great place for Lunch or dinner.

My wife and I go, from time to time, and have lunch in the back glassed in porch. They always have good food and a beautiful view of the lake.

Little Bohemia

Manitowish Waters, WI

The first time there was as a 16 year old with my dad, St. Louis aviation pioneer, Casey Lambert, and several of their friends. We sat on the back porch for lunch and swapped stories with the infamous proprietor, Emil Wanatka.

Emil built the lodge in 1929, and like may establishments of the time hosted visitors from the big cities who wanted to escape the summer heat. The Northwoods of Wisconsin was noted for another type of escape and that was Chicago gangsters

Manitowish Waters, WI

who wanted escape the jurisdiction of Illinois police. Apparently Wanatka lured John Dillinger and his gang to the lodge and then notified federal agents of the situation. A major shootout ensued with Dillinger escaping by boat across Little Star Lake.

A number of movies have been made about Dillinger and one, Public Enemies, was filmed there.

Camp Bridge

Lake Tomahawk

I have passed this bridge on Lake Tomahawk dozens of times over the past 60 years and never noticed the boathouse tucked back in a cove behind the bridge. This is Clearwater Camp hidden on a large lake in Wisconsin’s Northwoods. The green building is where the campers kept their canoes and other boats.

My friends lived on an island about 200 feet from this bridge and in the 60’s I would regularly pass this spot while visiting by boat. Last week, 60 years later I am still visiting them and this beautiful lake.

Click on the photo for a larger version and to purchase a copy if you like.



Bait Shop

One of my¬† photo tips is to go back. That is, if you find a really good subject, and this is a really good subject, go back multiple times to see if you can improve the shot. This is is my third visit to Fredrickson’s Bait Shop on Star Lake in Wisconsin but this is not much different that previous shots. It is a little sunnier day and I have a little more lake in the shot. However, this was photographed with my Nikon Z6 full frame camera instead of the D7100. This gives a little better color and light.

The picturesque Fredrickson bait shop, made of an old boxcar, sits on the shores of Star Lake just as it has for 75+ years. Friends of Star Lake has almost completed the restoration of the bait shop. The Bait shop serves as a self service museum where people can come and go and see it as if Edith and Hazel were still sitting in their easy chairs, reminiscing about the good old days in Star Lake.

Click on the photo for a larger version and options to purchase a copy.

Click here for a previous version

Classic Boathouse

Red Boathouse

The boathouses of Lake Minocqua make up its character and this is one of the best examples. These types are known as “wet” boathouses because they are completely over the water. This is a nice one because it has three stalls, living/recreation area on the second floor and a cupola for watching lake activity from above. They also have a nice dock for swimming and additional space for boats on the side.

Many Lake Minocqua Boathouses are architecturally well designed making them a welcome addition to the lake.

So, how do you get a boat into one of those stalls? Since many of the boats in these are classic speedboats have inboard motors and wooden hulls, they can be very tricky. First, you have to lineup with a bay about 300 feet out and then cut the speed to an idle. If there is and wind, you have to get a feel for it and make adjustments. Then, at the idle speed, the torque of the engine will pull the boat to the right so another adjustment is needed. Once you get a feel for the torque and wind, you realign and in you go. No problem!

Minocqua Trestle

Minocqua Trestle

This old trestle is the centerpiece of Lake Minocqua in the heart of Wisconsin’s Northwoods. As a major logging town at the turn of the 20th Century, this was a major route in and out of the area including the town of Minocqua. Later the trains brought vacationers escaping from the heat of the big cities. In 1954 I crossed this trestle on my first of a lifetime of visits to the area aboard a night train form Chicago. We stayed on the lake while there and, as a child, I had to drop everything I was doing to watch the trains cross. The trains emitted a low hum which could be heard miles away, alerting us to its approach.

Today this is the start of the Bearskin trail, a long walking/biking trail that goes through lakes, marshes and woods of Northern Wisconsin.


Eagle Tree


This eagle is in what I call an “eagle tree.” An Eagle Tree is a very dead tree on the side of a body of water where an eagle can sit in it and watch for prey (usually fish). The dead tree allows for an unobstructed view of a lake or other body of water and allows easy flight for this huge bird.

I spend a week at a place called, The Pointe Hotel & Suites in Minocqua Wisconsin. They have an Eagle Tree on the edge of Lake Minocqua and there are always two eagles sitting in it. If you want a high probability of an eagle photo visit Wisconsin’s Northwoods and bring a telephoto lens with your camera.

Be sure to click on the photo for a larger view and other options.

Morning on the Lake

The Pointe Docks

As things wind down on the northern lakes of Wisconsin, the fishermen still keep their boats in the water hoping for another opportunity to catch a Musky or Walleye. The Northwoods offers stunning sunrises and sunsets at this time and cool days at this time of year.

This photo was taken before sunrise on Lake Minocqua. The lighting at this time offers stunning colors while highlighting the glow of incandescent lights in windows and in the background.

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