Wow! Has this been a hot summer! As you ride around the area on back roads, notice how thick the vegetation is. With the high temperatures, and in our area adequate rains, the brush has grown and become much thicker than usual. Many of us were hoping that the warm weather would help the weed growth on area lakes. Unfortunately the weeds that are growing are not the nice cabbage weeds, but are the type that becomes too thick to fish through them.
We are fortunate to have a relatively new program available in this area. At the boat landing in Lake Tomahawk and on the shores of Boom Lake there is a supply of life jackets for children. Families are encouraged to use these life jackets for children, and return them when finished. There are several sponsors for this program. One area conservation warden made the comment that he has not seen a youngster who drowned while wearing a life jacket.
Our boat has been out on area lakes frequently during July and the first part of August. We usually fish for muskies; however, this year it has also been serving as a platform for grandchildren to fish for panfish. Action has been slow with the high water temperatures, but the youngsters still have a lot of fun, and so do we.
This past week we were fortunate to have our 14-year old granddaughter, Gretchen Arneson, here for a few days. She and her sister, Keley, are very involved in the sport of softball, which doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Gretchen loves to musky fish and already has boated 441/2 inch, 38 inch and 241/2 inch fish, but we were not able to find another one for her last week.
If you are fishing during this time when the water in our lakes is so warm, be careful to preserve our fish. With water temperatures in the high 70s and lower 80s, the fish are stressed. Remember that a fish is the same temperature in the water in which they live. If you hook a fish, do not play it any longer than you lave to. Reel it in and release it as soon as possible. As mentioned in a previous column, we frequently put a block of ice in the water in the live well with the fish prior to releasing it. Some area musky anglers have stopped musky fishing until the water cools down to the mid to low 70s.
Looking ahead and beginning to think about hunting season, be aware that archery season for deer begins Sept. 15, and the migratory bird (duck) hunting season was also firmed up this past week. For the details, check the Wisconsin DNR website.
It seems as though archery season in Wisconsin becomes more popular each year. Many local archery hunters have become trophy hunters.
Many hunters will find that land previously owned and managed by Consolidated Papers has been blocked off with cables, gates or large rocks by the current owners. This will change the access that hunters have previously had to those areas.
There is a new face in Madison heading up the deer committee of the DNR. His name is Kevin Wallenfang. He is a serious hunter and row-troller for muskies. It is his goal to work with the deer hunters as well as the Madison bureaucracy. I have had the opportunity to share a boat with Kevin, and can confirm that he is very sincere in his efforts to improve deer hunting in Wisconsin.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column appearing in the Star Journal.