Allan Bernard McElroy was born in Eau
Claire, Wisconsin, on June 11, 1948. After graduating from high
school in 1966, Al attended one year of vocational school and
then began working for the Presto Company in Eau Claire in 1967.
Presto, which had been closed down and use to manufacture
pressure cookers and outboard motors, reopened with the coming
of the Viet Nam War and was manufacturing artillery shells at
time Al stayed at Indian Trail he was only 16 years old (it was
1964) and he camped by the beach. He remembers seeing the muskie
chart at the resort and how the muskie men were so much into
their pursuit. It intrigued him, so he figured that he’d come
back and try his hand at muskie fishing. Al returned to the
Flowage around 1968, getting a trailer at Big Musky Resort but
hanging out at the bar at the Trail’s most nights. The next
season he moved his trailer over to Indian Trail, coming most
weekends and during his vacation time to fish muskies.
Although Al had done some muskie
fishing in his home waters near Eau Claire, the Flowage is where
he really got started chasing muskies. Al caught his first
muskie out of Indian Trail in 1970. He learned much from fishing
with Frenchy, Walt, and Indian guides Jackie Hollen and Chick
DeBrot, who would take him out at no charge. Al would invite
Jackie and Chick to fish along with him, but they usually
declined and would just row him around.
Al recalled of those times, "We’d get
a fair amount of action during the mid day, usually on
bucktails, but the most consistent time we caught our muskies
was around 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening. There was hardly
anyone doing any night fishing. Heck, you’d have to get back in
by dark if you wanted to get a bar stool in the tavern.
Sometimes though, Jackie would run one of us down to Turkey’s
Bar to try for "Freight Train," and it was usually at night that
we’d go. I remember hearing Freight Train come after our lure
one night and every time its tail would swish the water, it
sounded like a freight train charging our lure." Freight Train
was said to have been a world record fish.
that it was probably at that time that the Flowage was actually
at its worst for producing big fish. But he did say, "We seemed
to get a lot more follows then, and we did see some really big
fish… but a lot of those fish would just nip or wouldn’t hit at
all. I remember one time seeing a muskie follow my Globe on
Jerry’s that Jackie thought would go 50 pounds." In 1971, Al
caught ten legal muskies in one season out of Indian Trail,
tying the resort record for catching the most muskies in one
season. Al shared this title with Leo Petrouske (1961), Walter
J. Roman (1965), and Frenchy LaMay (1970)… a record which stood
until Fred Hirsch caught 15 legal muskies in 1978.
In 1973, Al sold his trailer and began
exploring other muskie waters like Rainy Lake and Bone Lake,
coming back to fish the Flowage on occasion during the mid
1970’s. Al, also a fine walleye fisherman, now has hundreds of
muskies to his credit and is also known for hand carving his own
unique wooden lures which sport very realistic paint jobs that
closely resemble a muskie. He also makes his own bucktails. Al
McElroy married Nancy in 1977, and together they have two
children, Patrick and Christine. Al, who now works out of his
home in Weston, Wisconsin, works as a service engineer for Tyler
Refrigeration, a company he’s been with for 25 years now.