Always up-to-date and accurate…reports on trail conditions and recreational opportunities in Price County.
Fall Color Report – 9/2/14
Fall colors typically peak around October 1st. Staghorn sumac has begun to turn bright yellow, orange and red in some areas. These small trees with fern-like leaves are typically the first to turn color. A few other trees here and there have leaves that are just starting to turn and more should begin turning soon. Major leaf drop doesn’t occur until around mid-October, depending on climate, wind, rain and freezing temps overnight.
Paddling / River Report – 9/2/14
The North Fork of the Flambeau is at the normal summer level and conditions are good for a paddling trip. The South Fork level has dropped, but it is high enough for a river trip; you may need to avoid rocks or drag your canoe through some areas. Before venturing out, check with an area rental/shuttle/guide service for the most current conditions and to select a suitable stretch of river based on experience.
ATV, UTV & Off Road Motorcycle Trail Report – 8/27/14
All 200 miles of trail are open and in good condition.
Fishing Report - 8/27/14
With the continued erratic weather of the past week, fishing activity has been quite variable across the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Musky have still been the focus for many anglers in the area and action was inconsistent with the changing weather. Most of the anglers were reporting quite a few sightings, follows and short strikes, tho catches were a bit tough to come by. Most of the musky that have been caught were in the 30” to 38-inch size, but a few in the mid-40 inch range were also reported. Artificial baits are still providing most of the action and some of the favorite lures have included large bucktails, jerk baits and top waters. With water temperatures holding in the low 70’s on most waters, the musky have been found in a variety of locations – including the shallow break lines, mid-depth weed beds, and the deeper weed edges. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has started to get quite variable – some days have provided good action while others found bites hard to come by. Smallmouth success has been fair to good on the local flowages and larger rivers, with fish being found near cover around deeper water areas. The best baits have been spinner baits and small plastic finesse lures. Largemouth action probably showed the most consistency in the past week, with most of the fish being found in the mid-depth areas around cover. The topwater/frog bite never seemed to develop this summer and the largemouth have been holding around cover in 3 to 6 feet of water, with jig/craw combinations and soft plastics being the more successful baits. Walleye success has remained fair, with many anglers still making decent catches on the weed edges with crawlers and leeches. Panfish activity has continued to be fair as well, fair with some decent crappie, perch and bluegill being found suspended around deeper water cover. Water levels in the area lakes and flowages remain at relatively high levels for the late summer period, with the rivers and streams varying a bit with recent rainfall. Weed densities have been generally low on, as the high water levels throughout the summer seem have hindered full development of many weed beds. DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist Thomas “Skip” Sommerfeldt
Fishing/Hunting Guide Reports
When you visit the Price County region please consider hiring a guide. Guides are on the water and in the woods on a regular basis and will put you on the right track in order to make your fishing or hunting trip successful and FUN. For more information on guide services please see http://www.pricecountywi.net/recreation/hunting/guides/.
8/25/14 – Crappie fishing remains good in the Phillips Area, Our Ross’s Sport Shop guide boats have been doing very well on quantity and quality fish on a few area lakes, Most of the Crappie are now coming out of 10 to 22 feet of water and are still scattered all over the water column. Bottom Feeder Tackle 1/16 ounce jig heads with sliders, twisters or tubes are still doing well and my go to color is still pink and white. Bluegill action is still good as well with fish scattered everywhere, Reports of gills are coming in from shallow wood all the way out to deep cribs. Small Plastics, Worms, or waxies have been some of the favorites. The Musky Report has been slow but the Ross’s Sport Shop guides are still putting them in the boat. Mornings and evenings are the best with topwater, Mid day you might have to move a little deeper and fish big blades or rubber. John Carlson, Ross’s Sport Shop & Guide Service – www.facebook.com/RosssSportShop
8/25/14 - Fall colors are in the process of starting, some red maples in the swamps changing to a beautiful red auburn color. Raspberries leaves are starting a dry down, choke cherry turning colors and ripening fruit, blackberry’s you can start picking, and some mushrooms are ready for picking. Despite weather conditions, we can still use more rain on the light soils. black bear baiting is going well, bears are hungry and eating everything. Should be a great early harvest next week. Grouse broods are out on trails, and young birds look good size, however, grouse brood numbers are down. Deer numbers are still trying to rebound. Not many fawns, less twins than normal. Geese are starting to hit the early grain fields, but not many in numbers as the last several years. Woodcock, should find good numbers this year. Turkey, lots of late small broods, and less hens this year, mostly because of the hard winter. Pete Jesunas, Back Forty Guide Service – www.backfortyhuntingguideservice.com
Outdoor Report – 8/27/14
Bucks should start loosing their velvet soon, if they haven’t started to already. Squirrels and chipmunks are busy harvesting and storing mast crops for winter. Mast crops such as acorns, hickory nuts & black walnuts are an important food resource for many large and small animals. There is a good crop of current berries and blackberries. Red raspberries and blueberries are past peak. Shorebirds are migrating or will be soon along with songbirds such as Purple Martins which leave for their trip to South America in early August. Non-breeding and post-breeding loons are beginning to group on inland lakes in preparation for their migration. Canada Geese have congregated into larger flocks and have been flying to and from feeding grounds. Young osprey have left their nests or will be soon. Monarch butterflies are busy going through their metamorphosis; look for them on milkweed. Sunflowers are getting tall and many are flowering or will be soon. Blooming wildflowers include goldenrod, tansy, cardinal flower, black-eye Susans, Joe Pye, compass plant, swamp milkweed, false dragonhead, cup plant, big bluestem, blazing star, yellow & purple coneflowers, and prairie dock. Purple loosestrife and spotted knapweed, both highly invasive plants, are also currently blooming. Wild cucumbers and hops vines are climbing. Young turkeys are now able to fly into trees to avoid predators. Grouse chicks eat insects as well as some invertebrates their first few weeks for muscle and feather development in early life and then shift to green plant materials and fruits, growing in 16 weeks from about 1/2 an ounce at birth to a 17-20 oz. adult.
Grouse Hunting: Grouse season will begin September 13, 2014. The drumming count on all four of Price County’s ruffed grouse survey routes were up from 2013. A good fall grouse population will be the result of good nesting and brooding weather. The DNR conducts a 10-week brood survey in July and August which is a better predictor of the upcoming fall grouse population. You can view the statewide 2014 Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey results at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/documents/reports/finaldrum.pdf.
Turkey Hunting: The Fall Wild Turkey season will begin September 13.
Permit numbers remain stable for 2014 fall turkey hunt – Fall turkey permit availability in 2014 will be equal to the number offered during the 2013 fall season. - Read Full Article
Waterfowl Hunting: The Early Canada Goose season is September 1-15, 2014, with a daily bad limit of five geese. The Canada Goose Northern Exterior Zone season is September 16 – December 16, 2014, with a daily bag limit of two geese. The 2014 youth waterfowl hunt will be held September 20-21. The Duck Hunting Season in the Northern Zone will be Septemer 27 – November 25, 2014. Opening day shooting hours begin at 9 a.m. The daily bag limit statewide will be six ducks, including no more than: four mallards, of which only one may be a hen; one black duck; one canvasback; three wood ducks; two pintails; three scaup; and two redheads. For species of duck not listed, such as teal and ring-necks, the combined bag total with all other species may not exceed six ducks. It is important to note that possession limits have been increased to three times the daily bag limit.
The DNR will host an online waterfowl season chat August 27 at noon. Wildlife and regulations experts will be on hand to answer any questions related to 2014 waterfowl hunting seasons. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword “chat.”
2014 spring waterfowl surveys reflect mostly good to excellent breeding populations – Waterfowl breeding populations in 2014 are mostly good to excellent in Wisconsin and North America, according to recent surveys by state, federal and Canadian wildlife officials. - Read Full Article
Dear Hunting: White-tailed deer bow season is September 13 – January 4, 2015; Gun season is November 22 – 30, 2014; Muzzleloader season is December 1 – 10, 2014. New this year is a crossbow deer hunting season which will run concurrent with the regular archery season; during the regular gun deer season, a gun deer license will authorize bow and crossbow use. It is important to note that persons purchasing a traditional bow and a crossbow license will receive only one set of tags. The DNR is hosting an online crossbow chat at noon on Thursday, July 24. An online chat regarding bonus antlerless tags will be held at noon on Tuesday, August 12. Additional chats to answer general regulations questions will be held on Tuesday, September 2, and Tuesday, September 9.
Operation Deer Watch provides great opportunity to take part in management of Wisconsin deer herd MADISON — In an ongoing annual effort to involve the public in deer management, the Department of Natural Resources will launch Operation Deer Watch. The program enlists the public to report the number of deer they see from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30. - Read Full Article
Black Bear: The season begins September 3, 2014, and the first period is September 3-9 with the aid of bait and all other legal methods not utilizing dogs; a permit is required and the application deadline was December 10, 2013. Dogs may be trained by pursuing bear statewide from July 1 - August 31, 2014.
Wolf Hunting: The harvest quota for the 2014-2015 season has been set at 156 animals. Visit DNR Wolf Hunting & Trapping for details.
Furbearer Hunting and Trapping: A number of furbearer hunting and trapping seasons are open year-round or during various seasons throughout the year. To view season dates, go to http://ua.dnr.wi.gov/topic/trap/. The 2014 Muskrat and Mink Trapping seasons will begin on Sun., October 25, 2014, and end Sun., March 8, 2015.
Bird Watching: Adult shorebirds breed in the high arctic and boreal forest and have been reported migrating back south. August is the peak of this shorebird migration. You can report bird sightings to Wisconsin eBird (www.ebird.org/WI) so the migratory bird populations can be tracked.
Other: Opossum, skunk, weasel and snowshoe hare hunting has no season limits, bags limits size limits or possession limits. Coyote hunting is a continuous open season except during gun deer hunting seasons. To view a list of all hunting and trapping season dates, visit the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources website at http://ua.dnr.wi.gov/topic/trap/.
Equestrian – Smith Rapids Saddle Trail Bridge Closure
There is a closure issued for the bridge at the Newman Creek crossing of the Smith Rapids Saddle Trail, T.40N, R.2E, Section 27, due to instability of the bridge and bank. The remainder of the Smith Rapids Saddle Trail will remain open with the exception of a segment between Forest Road 149 east to the bridge site which is closed. From Smith Rapids Campground, the trail remains open east to Round Lake and west to Newman Creek. The closure will remain in effect until bridge and stream bank are restored to a safe and stable condition. For additional information, please contact the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest office in Park Falls at (715) 762-2461.
Snowmobile Trail Report
The trails will open December 11, 2014, conditions permitting.
Cross Country Ski Trail Report
The trails are closed for the season. See you in December!
Snowshoe Trail Report
The trails are closed for the season. See you in December!