SCOPE Family Fun Day this Saturday, Aug. 17

Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) will host its annual Family Fun Day this Saturday, Aug. 17, at Summit Lake Game Farm.

Activities include .22 rifle target shooting, laser shot hunting simulation, sporting clays, archery, fly-fishing, outdoor cooking, birdhouse building, reptile exhibit and mountain bike, raptor and K-9 demonstrations.

Featured exhibition shooters Aaron and Steve Gould – The Gould Brothers – will perform a one-of-a-kind live trick shooting entertainment show with shooting feats that will amaze you while sharing stories that will make you laugh. Life changing experiences in college provided the brothers the dream of shooting shotguns for a living and this is their dream come true.

Rain or shine, registration opens at 8 a.m. and interactive stations start at 8:30 a.m., with instructional demonstrations throughout the day. Stations close at 2 p.m. for free raffle giveaways for all youth in attendance (must be present to win). Food and beverages are available onsite.

To reach Summit Lake Game Farm, take Highway 27 south from Hayward, turn right on County Road F and follow the signs.

For more information, visit www.sawyercountyoutdoors.com.

FROM THE DNR

DNR holding Chetac Lake Chain public meeting in Birchwood Aug. 15

The DNR is hosting a public meeting Thursday, Aug. 15, at Birchwood School, starting at 6 p.m., to discuss the Chetac Lake Chain fishery management plan, which includes Big Chetac and Birch lakes.

According to DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter, angler input is a critical component of developing these plans.

“Anglers indicate the species they value and how they would like the DNR to manage the fisheries for those species. Using that input, DNR fisheries biologists create measurable goals in line with angler preferences and then steer the fishery towards meeting those goals.

“If you fish the Chetac Chain, please attend and make your voice heard.”

DNR seeks participants for Operation Deer Watch

Operation Deer Watch is an annual citizen-science survey that offers residents an opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts.

Participants collect information on Wisconsin’s white-tailed deer from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, reporting via an online form all bucks, does and fawns they observe during the day. The collected data provide insights into the reproductive status of the deer herd and help shape deer management.

The DNR encourages anyone interested in deer, from hunters and trappers to outdoor enthusiasts, to take part.

County Deer Advisory Councils also use the survey data to develop season framework, harvest quotas and permit level recommendations.

For more information, search “Operation Deer Watch” on the DNR website.

DNR proposes variance for yurt on Flambeau River State Forest

The DNR is proposing a master plan variance that would authorize the development of a hunter camping yurt on the Flambeau River State Forest.

A master plan variance is a change in the use or management of an area that is consistent with the area’s land management classification and objectives.

The yurt would provide a unique year-round overnight recreation opportunity that addresses shifting generational trends and preferences for hunting and camping experiences.

For more information, search “Flambeau River State Forest variance” on the DNR website.

FISHING REPORTS

Happy Hooker (Pat): Quiet Lakes. Musky action showed an upturn and more anglers reporting success. Anglers are recording nice fish on a variety of mid-size baits including bucktails, Mepps, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, Bull Dawgs and topwaters. Most species are congregating near structure in deeper, cooler water. Use electronics to locate rock and gravel areas, cribs, sunken timber and vegetation in 10-18 feet. A split shot 12 inches up from a No. 6 red hook tipped with fathead minnows or leeches under bobbers is taking walleyes and crappies. Best times are early morning and later afternoon into dark, especially shallower water for walleye. Northern pike are in weeds, out of weeds, on rocks, seems like anywhere! The pike are rather small, with a few larger ones mixed in, and panfish anglers are catching them on jigs and minnows. Largemouth bass are in/on deeper weeds and structure and along shorelines, and taking rigged worms, spinnerbaits and surface baits. Smallmouth bass are in and around the rocky and gravel areas. Use crayfish color crankbaits, tube jigs and swimbaits. For crappies, work cribs, timber, weeds and weedline edges in 10-18 feet with fatheads, leeches and plastics under slip bobbers.

Hayward Bait (Trent): Musky anglers are happy water temperatures cooled and Medusas and Bull Dawgs are effective baits, as well as Lake X Toads and glide baits such as Hellhounds. Walleyes are moving deeper, though anglers still find them in 15 feet, but you may find some as deep as 30 feet. Flicker Minnows, Flicker Shads, Lindy Rigs and jigging live bait and Jigging Raps are good ways to entice walleye. Many anglers are having a blast catching northern pike. Good areas to target include weedlines holding schools of baitfish, thick cover such as lily pads in mornings and evenings, and points. Larger X-Raps, Husky Jerks and #5 Mepps spinners are always good choices. Bass fishing is still going strong on creature baits, worms and topwater frogs, but you might have to fish a bit deeper. Look for structure or vegetation near drop-offs. Bigger largemouth are on the outside edges of weedlines in 5-15 feet. Smallmouth are in 8-15 feet. Look for crappies in weed beds in 8-15 feet and suspending. Chartreuse jigs, Fuzzy Grubs, Chicken Jigs and Crappie Scrubs over weed tops should trigger a few strikes. For Bluegills, use Tattle-Tails, flies and poppers.

Minnow Jim’s (Jim): Nelson Lake. These hot days of August, ‘dog days,’ and resulting algae blooms all remind us to add an extra attractant to the baits and lure presentations such as small spinners, scent, vibration and flash. For walleye, troll the river channel and dam areas with deep divers or cast crawlers on bottom bouncers. Northern pike and largemouth bass are in oxygen rich weed beds, both deep and shallow. For crappies and bluegills, fish close to the river channel in cool, deeper water – more than 8 feet. If there is a breeze, drifting works well.

Jenk’s (Mike): Chippewa Flowage. Musky action is OK, with bucktails and topwaters effective during cooler evening temperatures. During hot points in the day, muskies will hold over deeper brush, weeds and mud flats. Find baitfish and troll through them with large Mattlocks, Jakes and Grandmas. Walleye fishing is predictable with the stable weather. Target deeper weeds, mud flats and brush during the day. Trolling is effective because you cover considerable water in short amounts of time. Once you find walleyes, Jigging Raps and live bait, especially leeches, are effective. During early morning and later evening hours when it starts to cool, walleyes move along shallower breaklines and weed edges. Northern pike are quiet, though anglers are catching a few here and there around the bogs while fishing for crappies. Smallmouth bass action remains solid on imitation craws and crawlers around stumps and rocky areas. Other artificials produce results, but most action is with imitation craws. Crawler in the cribs can also be effective. Crappie action is solid on live bait and plastics. Evening bog fishing is the most productive, but you can find some crappie and bluegill near brush piles, cribs and deeper weed humps.

Anglers All (Carolyn): Lake Superior/Chequamegon Bay. August is here, water temperatures are in the low 70s just about everywhere in the Bay, and there is a classic summer fishing pattern. Smallmouth bass are scattered throughout the Bay in 5-30 feet. Look for areas with current, rocks, sharp drops and deep weeds. If you mark fish, but do not get bites, return to see if they fire up later in the day. This time of year, fish are all fat and happy, do not feel a need to feed all the time and go through bite windows throughout the day. The whitefish bite in the Bay is strong this summer and they are easy to target. Use your electronics to locate fish, then use jigging spoons tipped with small plastics and fathead minnows to get bites. Lake trout fishing remains steady in the usual places, with bigger fish in the islands and eater-size fish on the flats. Around Long Island, there are some nice brown trout here and there.

The Wolter Report (Max Wolter, DNR fisheries biologist, Hayward): The Little Weirgor River in southern Sawyer County connects several productive native brook trout streams. However, large stretches of the Little Weirgor itself did not hold trout due to extensive beaver damming that led to degraded trout habitat and warmer water temperatures. In 2017, enrolling the Little Weirgor in the USDA-APHIS beaver control program led to removal of dams. In 2018, one year after dam removal started, the DNR ran an electrofishing survey to check trout status in the one-mile reach of the Little Weirgor below Polish Road. The hope was the survey would show native brook trout, which had moved into this river stretch from tributaries, and brown trout stocked periodically in the area. However, that turned out to not be the case – the crew captured only one brook trout and one brown trout in one mile of shocking. This was disappointing – and surprising. Habitat for trout looked fantastic in both physical structure and water temperature, which was 58-60F on a hot July day. In 2019, the Hayward Fish Team returned to again survey the Little Weirgor and see if things had changed. What a difference a year makes! In 2019, in the same one-mile stretch, the team captured almost 50 trout that included a combination of brook and brown trout. That is still a low rate compared to many great trout streams, but it is a huge year-to-year improvement. Time will tell if trout numbers continue to increase, but this offers a nice example of the importance of good habitat and “if you build it, they will come.”

(Copyright © 2019 APG Media)

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