You may not like what I have to say but it is true. Fishing on area lakes and streams has not been good during the past several weeks. Last week we fished for muskies on a variety of area lakes. I hate to admit it however, we did not even have a follow-up during that time. Now it is not only our boat that is not having much musky action. Fishing has been slow.
One day we drove north to Eagle River to fish on Cat Fish Lake, which is one of the lakes on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes. This lake has been extremely productive for us over the past several years. Usually we would fish the break line and always saw several muskies. We had not fished Cat Fish Lake in mid summer during recent years. That lake is a very different lake now. Eurasian Water Milfoil has taken over the lake. When we tried casting along the break line our lures would get snagged on the Milfoil. Once the lure had weeds on it any natural action was over.
The Milfoil is so thick in some areas that our electric positioning motor would get fouled so badly that the motor would have to be raised and cleaned off. We were able to fish several other lakes and all except one had a relatively heavy growth of Milfoil. We have heard some frustrated anglers complain when they were detained at boat landings by members of a lake association or DNR personnel. If you are one of the persons who objects to the presence of these people helping to remove the weeds on the boat or trailer take a look at some of the lakes that are heavily infested.
Following are several suggestions, offered by the Rhinelander Chamber of Commerce, the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce and Musky Clubs Alliance of Wisconsin, that, if followed, may stop the spread of Eurasian Water Milfoil and other invasive species.
1) Remove all plants, mud and other debris from your boat and trailer.
2) Flush water through your motor’s cooling system. (A garden hose adaptor, available from your local boat dealer, will make this easy.)
3) After putting your boat on the trailer tilt the motor all the way down to drain the water from the motor cooling system.
4) Disinfect the bilge area, live wells, anchor ropes and any damp portion of your boat’s interior.
5) Wash and rinse all fishing equipment that has been in contact with the water.
6) Dispose of all live bait in a trash container.
7) If possible allow your boat to dry for several days.
These suggestions seem to be a lot of work however; if you have fished on a lake that is infested with Milfoil you too will feel it is worthwhile.
Those who enjoy running bear dogs have enjoyed some cool weather recently. The season for training bear hounds began on July 1 and will run until Aug. 31. No more than six dogs may be used to pursue bear regardless of the number of bear hunters or dog ownership. I frequently tease several of our friends who hunt with hounds that they are really training bears.
One evening last week I had the opportunity to watch a bobcat cross the road in front of me. That cat was not in a hurry.
A local angler was fishing on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage a week ago. He heard a loon making more noise than usual. They stopped their boat around a bend and could see an eagle dragging a full sized loon across the water. The fishermen described the eagle as looking like it was doing the backstroke as it dragged the loon to a shallow place. Once the eagle got to shallow water it was joined by another eagle. The two eagles killed the loon and then ate it.
A conservation warden said that citizens have been calling to report fawns that were alone. Frequently a doe will leave her fawns as she feeds. They try to reduce the fawn’s scent in order to escape some of the many predators we have in northern Wisconsin. The warden recommends leaving the fawns alone since the doe is most likely not far away but out of sight.
Longtime Northwoods outdoors personality Roger Sabota writes a bi-monthly column for the Star Journal.