Great read, Dave!
My buddy's in-laws used to own the revered "Happy Hooker" Bait Shop in Hayward. I visited up there with him, stayed at his in-laws house. Its been long enough now that I'm starting to forget the names of some of the lakes up there...I recall Spider Lake, Teal Lake, maybe a Ghost Lake? There was a smaller body of water near these lakes where I caught my first musky (on spinning gear). It wasn't overly impressive in size, but it was my first pure-strain musky (I had caught a tiger musky before), and I was excited! Just a couple of months later, I caught another pure-strain musky at a local lake here. Kind of weird how that can happen. Just like coming back home from a week-long fishing trip in Canada, and suddenly I catch a couple of pike from local waters. Strange indeed!
Well, now that you've gotten your first, Dave, here's hoping you catch many more!