Outdoor Notebook: Is Spring Here Yet?
By Roger Sabota
Special to the Star Journal
For many years Tom Twesme, a fellow who I have hunted and fished with, has been known as the “Osseo Jinx”. Over these years he has earned the nickname over and over. Think back over this past week and you will certainly remember that during the early part of the week the weather was extremely cold. Perhaps six months ago he and I had made plans to fish crappies in the Rhinelander area during the third week of May. The crappie fishing would take place following an event in Northern Wisconsin that we were both involved in.
As the weekend approached the weather forecast was not nice. As usual when Tom heads to our area one can usually expect cold, windy and wet weather, and that’s what we got. He did it again. Of course we blamed him for bringing the weather that we would like to forget. Tom says he isn’t returning to Rhinelander to fish unless the weather forecast guarantees good fishing weather. We’ll see!
Fifteen years ago four of us started a tradition that has provided us with a lot of fun and hours of good laughs.
To get our gathering started last week I drove to Minocqua to pick up Steve Heiting. Steve is the Managing Editor for “Musky Hunter” magazine. From there we drove to Park Falls where we connect with Rich Belanger, who is the Promotional Manager for St. Croix Rods. Our destination is the Chippewa Flowage where we meet with Dave Dorazio, who is a guide on the “Chip” and always has his boat in the water. Our plan was to fish for crappies and walleyes.
We fished all afternoon for crappies, catching good numbers but they were quite small. We took a short break to enjoy a burger then headed out for more fishing. Quite a few northerns were caught but only one walleye. As we parted the plan was set for next year.
The Wisconsin DNR and other wildlife groups have renewed the plea to keep the “wild in wildlife.” At this time of the year many of the wild animals and birds are bringing their young into the world. Please pay attention to the various young animals and do not handle any of them. Perhaps the animals that are most frequently affected by humans are fawns that are being born now. When a doe drops a fawn it is well equipped to avoid people since they are well camouflaged in their spotted coats. Also, fawns are odorless for some time after birth. During the first several weeks of life the does will see to it that fawns will be hidden in the thick cover to attempt to avoid any contact with predators or humans. Bears kill a large number of fawns, as do coyotes.
At times the doe will hide her fawns and leave the immediate area. She will not be far away but most likely hiding nearby watching. By leaving the area the doe will minimize the amount of scent that is near the fawn.
If you see a fawn that appears to be an orphan rather than approach it call the DNR and report the location so that they can follow up on it.
This weekend the musky season in the northern portion of Wisconsin has opened. I must confess that musky fishing is my favorite type of fishing.
Muskies spawn over decaying weeds. Usually the spawning will take place over a mud bottom. Several years ago the University of Michigan in cooperation with the Wisconsin DNR and several musky clubs conducted a research study to determine, in specific lakes, where the muskies spawn.
Early musky fishing is not the time to hit the water with the large musky lures. The muskies in our lakes should be coming off the spawning areas and are beginning to feed and recover from the rigors of spawning. My early musky fishing is usually with small bucktails or small jerk baits. Over the past several years my most productive fishing has been with a seven-inch Suick. I work these lures early in the season as slowly as I can and still get good action from the bait.
Enjoy the early fishing season!
For those of you, who are not out on the lakes but are enjoying wooded areas, be sure to check yourself for wood ticks. Ticks are here, along with mosquitoes! Two ideas to make it easier to spot any ticks that you may have “collected” are to wear light colored clothing and pull your socks up over your pant legs.
Longtime outdoors enthusiast Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.