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Vilas county

7/27/14 @ 5:03 PM
User since 10/22/13
Why is vilas county such a destination for so many people? What does it have that all the other counties don't have? Clearly it is overfished not nearly as many fish as 30 years ago. So whats the draw?

5/11/15 @ 10:00 AM
User since 5/21/03
My parents bought in 1980. And are now getting their place ready to sell. Trading in the ole summer lake home for a Florida winter home.

They've used contractors to help get the place to near mint condition. No problems at all with local guys. I guess the key is being a long time repeat customer. My father cannot say enough good things about Spence Plumbing out of Land-O. I know that he is busy, very busy, but he is also very good.

My wife and I are working with a local realtor, Erik Johnson (Remax), to get us back up north in a cabin in the woods. And he has been outstanding. Very different approach to real estate through him than we got from working with ShoreWest around Milwaukee. Maybe we got lucky with Erik, probably we did, but I talked to a semi-retired real estate agent and she recommended him to us.

Point being, there are great people in the northwoods. I'm very sorry that some haven't treated the prior poster too well. What I know about contractors is that they are busy people. If they meet with someone, and see the project, then talk to the customer, many times the juice isn't worth the squeeze, if you know what I mean. Always two sides to every story.

And fishing wise? We fished for 5 days and one say was horrible with wind. Caught a ton of walleyes and kept our fair share to eat. Fish are up there, still. Sure things aren't as good as "the old days", but it is still a special place.

5/9/15 @ 8:48 AM
User since 6/24/01
Vilas county is definitely not what it used to be, and unfortunately to me is not headed in a positive direction either. It seems as the people of Vilas County think that the lakefront and land boom and spending boom that happened roughly 10-20 years ago is going to be happening forever and I don't believe that's the case. People made some great money when the price of land shot through the roof, but now the price of property in Vlias is back down and I don't believe it is anywhere near a bottom (if you don't believe me just download a real estate app and look how much property is for sale and how long it has been for sale and compare it to properties that have sold, looks to be about 20 for sale to every 1 that have sold). If you are a buyer there are deals and you don't need to offer anywhere near asking price, or move on to the next property.

Also, with the price of gas sometimes hovering $3.50 - $4.00 a gallon its becoming less worthwhile for people from Chicago, Milwaukee and further distances to come to Vilas county and make it worthwhile for a couple small walleyes, small muskies, or puny deer(if you can find one). Why drive 4-7 hours for bad fishing opportunities, when there is much better trophy potential on Winnebago or Green Bay.

Another thing is all the people that built the huge expensive cabins 20 years ago, as they get older and are looking get rid of them there is no guarantee their children are going to want anything to do with the huge estate however many miles away (truth is, many millennials are just not into that kind of stuff--some are, but many aren't, young people are very different from the way they were 20 years ago.)

Lastly, and my biggest beef, is the attitudes of many(not all, many) of the locals and especially contractors is terrible. I have been in the process of building a cabin in Vilas for a year now, trying to get many of the contractors can be difficult. I had a big concrete contractor set up to meet me last summer middle of June, I called to confirm a couple days before and they said they now couldn't make the appointment, and they never called back to reschedule the entire summer--luckily I found someone else and moved on. Plumbers though, are by far the worst, when trying to line up one to plumb my slab last year many would return calls once and then never return a phone call again. The guy I finally did get to do my plumbing he did the in floor plumbing and septic hookup last summer (which was a pretty decent sized job) we paid him in cash with the understanding that he would hookup the bathroom and kitchen fixtures this year, well now he will not take or return phone calls. So I have a cabin that I cannot get finished, I may just get someone from where I live to go up with me for a day, it's worth the extra money to get someone you can count on.

A couple years back when I was going to build a cabin, I was going to bring builders from the fox valley area to build it for me and a contractor from eagle river kind of reamed me out for not using local builders. My advice, if you are going to build and you have someone you can trust where you live that will travel to Vilas County to build for you--GO THAT ROUTE. Maybe, I just contacted all the unreliable contractors of Vilas county, but......I doubt it. I have a lot more instances but you get the idea.

Areas like Eagle River and Minocqua Woodruff will continue to do well because there is a lot to do there, food, entertainment, hospitals etc., but some of the outlying areas are really beginning to struggle in my opinion--just take a drive through Land O Lakes, and look at all the businesses going out of business or for sale. The once crown jewel of land o lakes The Gateway Lodge condo' doff their rooms a number of years back for about $30000-$40000 + monthly condo fees. Well, now the condo fees for basically a hotel room are $350/month (ridiculous) and I have seen rooms for sale for as low as $6000 OBO, where the guy was just looking to get out as quick as possible.

Don't get me wrong I love Vilas County and have a long history with it, and finally have my place up there after many years, but I just don't see people without my enthusiasm picking Vilas County as their choice for their future vacation place or summer home location.

Again---these are my opinions, take them with a grain of salt.

10/10/14 @ 1:08 PM
User since 8/13/14
for sure not what it used to be 35/45 years its more like what door county was back then....used to stay with my best friend in a 1 room trailer his uncle had permanently in Boulder junction, deer walking right down the street in town, in middle of the day...we used to carry a lite 12ft boat down trails up to 1/2 mile to launch,fish all day, eat at the tavern or one of the decent restaurants in the area...go to the dump and watch the bears at night..or circle Boulder and see how many deer you could spot.. sleep like a baby, and start all over in the morning with a nice country breakfast...

10/10/14 @ 11:45 AM
User since 10/10/14
I have no idea why anybody would want to head up there.

8/30/14 @ 10:17 AM
land man
User since 9/12/06
We do Vilas county with my extended family every year. As others have said, it is not all about the fishing for that trip. When the extended family gets together, the younger kids are excited to catch lots of small bluegills from the docks. They can do that very readily in Vilas county. Then they all go go-carting or play mini golf and in the evenings there are lots of restaurants to choose from. My sisters even enjoy the commercial explosion that is Minocqua.

I don't look at that trip as a fishing trip, even though I bring my boat (it gets used to pull tubers more than fishing on that trip).

I do some serious fishing in Vilas county too, just not on that trip. I enjoy lake fishing for walleyes there and LMB fishing on certain lakes like the Minocqua chain, but I just go during "off peak" times.

I enjoy it for what it is. My extended family would hate a trip to the TFF or other more isolated lakes, because it is too far from restaurants, grocery stores, and other tourist stuff that they all like to do.

8/29/14 @ 7:07 PM
User since 10/3/12
When I drive through Minocqua, I can see the attraction of Vilas County. Minocqua is crazy land. None of these areas are what they were 30-50 years ago. I wish the city leaders had the foresight to outlaw street side commercial advertising so to do away with the likes of McDonalds, Culvers and MotoGas signs that you see froma mile away.

I will never understand the ski jet thing or the 150 HP boat thing and how it fits into the northwoods experience. It surprises me that these same people dont drive north with the jacked up 4X4 with 4 foot tall tires and padded roll bars.

8/29/14 @ 7:03 PM
Scott F
User since 6/12/10
A lot of people go on vacation to do more than just fish. The Vilas County Area has a lot of other things to do. Lots of shops, restaurants and amusements. When you are there with the family, these things are important. A good fishing lake that is out in the middle of nowhere, and has no place to get a good meal or even a decent grocery store, just does not appeal to everyone.

8/29/14 @ 5:46 PM
User since 6/17/01
I took my youngest son up there this summer, just the two of us. It was a wonderful trip and we went with the idea of fishing some, but not really fishing for eaters.

We did get enough perch for one fish fry when we got home actually, which was nice and made the rest of the family happy too.

It is not a place where you should go catch limits of fish with the hopes of filling the freezer like my grandparents did years ago. Many of the lakes are not very fertile, or have lost weedbeds due to rusty crayfish. You can still catch quality fish though, and much of the time the bass fishing has become quite good. (I release all my smallmouths).

When I want to get some fish in the freezer, I hit an appropriate local lake or a big fertile lake like Winnebago. It is fun too, but different.

However, my favorite part of the whole summer was that trip with my son to Vilas County and the clean air, great atmosphere and cute ice cream stands.

8/28/14 @ 8:45 AM
User since 5/21/03
PM sent.

8/4/14 @ 6:56 AM
MEMBER since 7/9/12
They don't call it the North Woods for nothing. All the counties up there are pure outdoors. Where you see an Eagle stealing a fish from another bird. You see a deer in the ditch on the way to the lake and stop to check out the beautiful animal and it sits there and looks at you too. Nothing is more relaxing on or by the water as CDS states. You haven't been there if you don't love it. Go anywhere near Lilly pads and watch the fish jump. I'm still amazed after all these years how many trees there are.

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