Always up-to-date and accurate…reports on trail conditions and recreational opportunities in Price County.
Fall Color Report – 8/20/14
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. Other trees will start turning in late-August or early-September. Major leaf drop doesn’t occur until around mid-October, depending on climate, wind, rain and freezing temps overnight.
Paddling / River Report – 8/20/14
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. The level may be up a little this week due to recent rain. Anglers have reported good success fishing for bass and musky. 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 – 8/20/14
The Flambeau Trail System and Solberg Trail in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest are open and in good condition. The Flambeau River State Forest Trail and Georgetown Trail are open and in good condition too.
The Tuscobia State Trail is open. The resurfacing from Forest Road 162 in Sawyer County eastbound to the trail terminus in Park Falls is approximately 80% done. You may still encounter large equipment on the trail for the next two weeks. Be prepared for rapidly changing trail conditions and ride with caution.
Fishing Report - 8/20/14
Despite the variable and almost constantly changing weather in the past week, fishing success has been fairly consistent. Anglers have had to dodge quite a few thunderstorms and rain showers, but many have found some pretty good action. Musky have generated a lot of interest in the last month, and fishermen have reported many sightings and follows, as well as quite a few catches of fish in the 34″ to 44″ size. The mid to late afternoon hours have produced the best action, and the favorite lures have been bulldawgs and topwater baits fished near structure and the deep weed edges.
Bass fishing has continued to be good, tho a few days of stable weather does produce better success than during the changing cold fronts. Largemouth have been found along the bog edges and deep, as well as near mid-depth structure such logs/stumps and docks. Soft plastics and jig/craw combinations have been the lures of choice, and the mid-day period has produced some of the best action. Smallmouth fishing has shown some consistency on the local rivers and flowages, with the best success coming on finesse plastics fished near rock and woody cover that’s along deeper water areas. Walleye fishing has continued to be fairly steady, with many anglers using leeches and crawlers along the weed edges and in weed pockets. Some fishermen have also found walleye on the deeper gravel and rock bars in 12 to 18 feet of water. Northern pike, an often overlooked fish in the summer, has produced some good fishing in the last several weeks. Continued cool water temperatures seem to have favored this species and action has been good around the near-shore weed beds. Spinner baits and small crank baits have worked the best – but a wire leader should be used to minimize the bite-offs. Panfish action continues to be fair, with some decent catches of crappie, bluegill, perch and rock bass being reported. 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/.
8/18/14 – We have had some good August fishing in the Phillips Area, the walleye have been a little tight lipped but the Crappie, Northern, and Musky are making up for it. Ross’s Sport Shop guides have been finding the Crappie scattered in 8 to 20 plus feet of water right now. We are catching most of the Crappie on plastics, Beatle Spins, Twisters, Tubes and Sliders with Pink and White being my go to color. We are also getting some Crappie on minnows under slip bobbers. Pike are super shallow and in the thickest slop you can find, we have been targeting Pike with weedless silver minnows and spinnerbaits. I have been getting some incidental pike fishing for Bass with frogs in the slop as well. Last week I landed my largest pike of the season a 38.5 incher on a frog while Largemouth fishing in the slop. Musky action has picked up on some of the smaller area waters, Saturday I took clients out on a smaller body of water and they both scored on their first ever musky. We had action from 8 fish in less then 6 hours on the water, Most of our action cam on Lake X Lures Dr Evil and Fat B. We’re also starting to move fish on larger plastics and on the new Baby Beaver.! John Carlson, Ross’s Sport Shop & Guide Service – www.facebook.com/RosssSportShop
Outdoor Report – 8/13/14
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. Adults bucks are still in velvet. Fawns are losing their spots. 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!