Always up-to-date and accurate…reports on trail conditions and recreational opportunities in Price County.
Fall Color Report – 10/1/14
Fall color is past peak. There is still some good yellow, orange and rust color in the forest and along roadways. Popple trees are just starting to turn yellow and gold. Tamarak trees are beginning to turn a golden color. Color from the freshly fallen leaves enhances the motorized and non-motorized trails, making them even more inviting. Major leaf drop typically occurs by mid-October.
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Storm Damage Report – 10/1/14
Storms during the first week of September caused significant wind and water damage across the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The Sailor Lake Picnic Area and Campground were scheduled to open October 1, 2014. The Wintergreen Ski and Hiking Trail System and Hwy. 70 trailhead remain closed as part of a timber harvest sale. Following timber harvest this fall, the trail system will be reevaluated to see if the trail system can be used for the 2014-2015 ski season.
ATV, UTV & Off Road Motorcycle Trail Report – 10/1/14
The Wintergreen Trailhead on Hwy. 70 and surrounding trails are closed due to storm damage as part of the Wintergreen Salvage Closure Area. The rest of the Flambeau Trail System in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is open for motorized trail use. The sections of trail that are closed include Trail 102 from Hwy 70 south approximately 2.5 miles to Forest Road 653 Trail 103 from Hwy 70 south approximately 1 mile to where it intersects with Flambeau Motorized Trail 102, and Trail 101 from Hwy 70 north and west approximately 2.5 miles to where it intersects with Forest Road 549E (Wintergreen Road). Call the Park Falls forest office at 715-762-2461 if you have specific questions.
A section of the Georgetown Trail just south of where it crosses North Fork Skinner Creek may have sticks and brush on the trail where there had been standing water due to a beaver dam. They are in the process of removing the beaver and clearing the dam from the area.
The Tuscobia State Trail, Solberg Trail and Flambeau River State Forest Trail are open and welcoming motorized trail enthusiasts.
Fishing Report – 9/24/14
With the nice weather in the last few days, fishing pressure spiked up a bit on many lakes across the Northwoods. Most of the angling has been for musky and they have provided some fairly consistent action. Reports indicate that musky have been active at nearly all times of the day and most fishermen continue to report some sort of action (follows, swirls, short hits, etc.). The most successful baits continue to be artificials, with bucktails, jerk baits, and soft-bodied lures being the favorites of late. Some anglers have been able to find large suckers, and they have also provided some good success. A good number of musky in the 34 to 40-inch size have been caught, and there have been rumors of fish up to 46 inches being landed in the last week. Sturgeon anglers continue to have fair success with most anglers reporting catching a few of these ancient fish. Most of the fish have been in the 40 to 54-inch size, with just a couple legal 60″+ fish reportedly being caught. The larger rivers have been the most popular spots, with the best action coming on a gob of night crawlers or cut bait fished in the deep holes or deep river bends. Just a few reports of walleye success have come in as most anglers seem to have given up until the good fall bite begins. Fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has continued to be very erratic and many of the serious anglers are thinking of putting away their gear for the season. Panfish success has been mixed, with some decent perch, bluegill and crappie showing up along the deeper weed edges. With the cool night-time temperatures and high water levels of the past couple weeks, the aquatic weeds have begun to die back and densities have declined from their summer levels. DNR Senior Fisheries Biologist Thomas “Skip” Sommerfeldt
Fishing/Hunting Guide Reports
When you visit the Price County region 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/.
9/30/14 - Grouse are starting to come out tof the thicker cover but are very skittish being the leaves are (have) fallen so they now dont have that over the head cover anymore which most of them are used to. Does/fawns are hitting acorn s some along with the wood ducks. Bucks are still in a holding pattern and bachelor groups and are not moving much until after dark. There are plenty of geese around. Rick Kirchmeyer, Black Creature Guides, Prentice
9/30/14 - The warm weather this past weekend caused water temperatures to rise dramatically. Surface temps were 67 degrees this past weekend. Fish are in a pre-turnover funk. About a week ago it appeared that many game fish species were beginning to move toward fall locations but by this past weekend fish were scattered. I found muskies shallow in weeds, on steep rocky points, suspended over deep water and on the first breaks. The wind on Sunday actually made for better fishing. That nice weather is about to change to a more predictable fall pattern and lakes will begin to turn over once we get some cool nights and wind. The smaller dark water lakes will be first to go. Depending on what species of fish you are fishing for the type of lake will dictate whether you are fishing pre turnover, turnover or post turnover. This should help narrow the search and make for more successful angling. You might as well bring the kitchen sink because anything might work! Joe Brezinski, Northland Guide Service – www.northlandguideservice.net/
9/29/14 - There are turkey’s everywhere; the winter was pretty hard on the birds but they have responded well. I see broods everyday and most have between 6 and 12 poults (young of the year). I spoke to some grouse hunters and they were seeing quit a few birds but said they couldn’t hit them (too many leaves on the trees yet). As for deer, the velvet should be off by now, it is possible you may see one still in velvet but that would be the exception. I personally have seen some really nice bucks in the area. I also think the deer survived the winter better than most people think. There was a lot of standing corn and as a general rule with all the baiting going on I think the deer go into the winter in better condition than they did 30 years ago. Bryan V.
9/29/14 - Early grouse hunting report numbers seem to appear low. Looks like brood survival was low due to our wet spring. Still great exercise and the fall beauty is fantastic! Wood cock numbers are down from last year about 40%. Peter Jesunas, Back Forty Guide Service – http://www.backfortyhuntingguideservice.com/
9/25/14 – The changing weather conditions have stalled the bite a little, Crappie, Walleye and Panfish are still being caught but you really have to work hard for the fish, Musky action has been great for the Ross’s Guide boats as we have been putting at least one fish in the boat every trip the last few weeks. Crappie have been biting very light right now, I have been using ultra light rods with 4 pound test line, The new St Croix Triumph X 5 foot ULM works great. I have been catching some crappie on minnows under a slip bobber but most of my fish are coming on plastics. White being my top color again this week. I have been finding the walleye scattered between shallow and deep, Some of the fish are starting to stack up on the deeper drops I have been targeting these fish with a 1/8 ounce bottom feeder tackle jig head and a yum 3″ curly tail grub, Clients in my boat have been doing well on both Lindy Rigs or 1/8 ounce Bottom Feeder Tackle jigs tipped with larger fathead minnows. Ross’s Guide boats have been finding the musky fairly shallow yet, Look for green weeds and fish right thru them, Large Spinner baits and even some top water have been taking fish in my boat yet, We are also getting a number of fish to eat suckers. John Carlson, Ross’s Sport Shop & Guide Service – www.facebook.com/RosssSportShop
Outdoor Report – 10/1/14
Bucks have lost their velvet. Hunters have reported seeing some nice bucks. A fair number of grouse and turkey are being seen. 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. Sunflowers are flowering and bearing seeds.
Black Bear: The season began September 3, 2014. September 10 – 30 hunting is with the aid of bait, dogs and all other legal methods. October 1 – 7 hunting is with aid of dogs only.
Grouse & Woodcock Hunting: Grouse season opened September 13, 2014 and runs through January 31, 2015. Area hunters have reported seeing decent numbers of grouse. Major leaf drop occurs around mid-October. The spring drumming count on all four of Price County’s ruffed grouse survey routes were up from 2013. View the statewide 2014 Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey.
A new feature that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has just unveiled is the Fields and Forest Interactive Gamebird Hunting Tool (FFLIGHT). This is an interactive mapping application that identifies quality grouse and woodcock habitat, stocked pheasant properties, and managed dove fields.
Turkey Hunting: The Fall Wild Turkey season is September 13 – November 20, 2014 and December 1 – 30 in Zone 4.
Waterfowl Hunting: The Canada Goose Northern Exterior Zone season is September 16 – December 16, 2014, with a daily bag limit of two geese. The Duck Hunting Season in the Northern Zone will be Septemer 27 – November 25, 2014. 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.
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.
County Deer Advisory Councils will provide great opportunity for local input and deer herd management throughout Wisconsin – Planning for the 2015 deer hunting season is underway, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress encourage anyone interested in discussing their local deer herd to attend a County Deer Advisory Council meeting this fall. Price County meetings – Thurs., September 18; Tues., October 21, and Tues., December 16, 2014. All meetings are being held in Phillips at the Price County Courthouse in the County Board Room 101 from 7-9 p.m.
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/.
Bird Watching: Migration is well past peak for shorebirds but you may still see some through the end of October. Good number of geese and ducks may be seen migrating through the area at this time; hawks may be seen now as well. 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/.
Paddling / River Report – 10/1/14
The North and South Forks of the Flambeau River are slightly higher than normal for this time and conditions are good for paddling. A fall river trip is a unique experience. The fall colors mirrored in the water and colored leaves floating near shore enhance the journey. It is also a great time for fishing, especially if you’re after a monster musky or some nice sized bass. When planning a river trip, check with an area rental/shuttle/guide service for the most current conditions and to select a suitable stretch of river based on experience.
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 typically open in mid-December.
Snowshoe Trail Report
The trails typically open in mid-December.