Outdoor Notebook: Whether hunting or fishing go where the big game are
Have you heard the old and trite statement: “If you want to shoot a large buck with a big rack you have to hunt where there are big bucks?”
You may also have heard that if your goal is to catch a big musky you must fish where there are some big muskies.
A week ago found my fishing partner, Tom Twesme, The Osseo Jinx, and me in northern Minnesota on a large lake in pursuit of a large musky. As is typical when joining the Osseo Jinx, a cold front severely affected the fishing in the area and the water temperature dropped about six degrees in three days. We saw a few muskies that seemed to have lockjaw and only one of them hit our lures. In spite of the fact that we were in an area where big muskies roam, again the muskies beat us.
That time of the year has arrived again when there are so many things for us to do outdoors. Perhaps the renewed concern about walleye populations will help to increase the numbers of walleyes for anglers to catch. We have heard the concerns of anglers who object to the very low limits of walleyes that are available. It appears that 13 million dollars have been budgeted to increase walleye populations across northern Wisconsin. My sincere hope is that we might experience quality walleye fishing again in the near future.
Steve Avelallemant, who is the DNR’s Northern District Fisheries Supervisor, has told the media that even with this new money being available this will not be an instant fix. Avelallemant helps to manage a walleye population that has been declining in numbers and frustrating anglers. We will follow the progress of this effort and keep our readers up to date.
Of additional concern is the increase in bass numbers in lakes that were traditionally excellent walleye lakes. An example of this change is Lake Tomahawk. This lake has been a quality walleye lake, however it has now become a lake simply full of small mouth bass. Some changes seem to be difficult to accept by persons who enjoy the outdoors.
This year the DNR hatcheries are raising four times the number of walleyes as they did last year and perhaps eight times that number will be raised next year.
We have talked to several Rhinelander grouse hunters and are hearing that the population may be lower than last year. Of course it is difficult to see grouse when they flush with the leaves still on the trees. Over the next few weeks visibility in the woods should increase.
As I review my notes we experienced a spring that seemed to warm up slowly. Just as the grouse chicks were hatching we had several days of cold rain, therefore, in some areas, the survival of grouse chicks may have been limited. Last year we were able to locate pockets of grouse when we were hunting good grouse cover.
Archery hunters are reporting that the limited visibility is hampering their efforts also. One recent evening we were returning home after dark. Just as we turned into our driveway we were surprised to see a nice sized buck standing in our front yard. As we watched the buck I suggested that it should relocate east to the Monico area where we could hunt him. Judy’s request was that he refrain from eating her hosta plants. Apparently we did not make an impression on the buck since he just wandered across into the neighbor’s back yard.
Apparently the bear hunters are seeing good numbers of bears. Last week those bear hunters who hunted with the aid of bait were able to begin hunting. This year the bear hunters who hunted with dogs had the first chance to hunt.
Those bear hunters who began hunting early in the season were concerned since the bears were not hitting bait stations. Since the berry patches have been eaten the bears are now visiting bait piles.
One very surprised Rhinelander resident recently related an interesting story to me about seeing a bull moose that he had observed crossing a Rhinelander street at dusk one evening.
Good news for area deer hunters. It appears that the main logging roads on property formerly owned by Consolidated Paper Company will be open for the gun-deer season.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.