Goodbye tackle boxes; hello bows, arrows and guns.
Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait, said few fishermen were out this past week.
“I had a few (regular) guys out but most are starting to put away their tackle and boats and focus more on the hunting than the fishing,” he said. “A few guys were at a few cranberry bogs catching a few crappies and a few perch, but it was pretty slow this past week fishing-wise.”
At Lake Tomah panfish and bass were biting, Roscovius said, with reports of a few 19-inch bass being caught.
“I didn’t hear too much below the dam,” he said. “The school has been doing their Learn to Fish program and have been fishing below the dam at the lake and are actually doing pretty good — not so much with size, but they are catching panfish, crappies and a couple bluegills. There’s a spot a few people hit that always holds a few northern and bass there, but it was real slow.”
Matt Modjeski, Department of Natural Resources conservation warden for Monroe County, was in Jackson County this past weekend,. He had little to report from fishing, but said fishermen on the Black River were catching fish.
“People were out musky fishing on the Black River, and some were having follow-up (success),” he said. “It was just down from Hatfield ... and people fishing for muskies were also catching some walleyes.”
Chris Abbott, owner of Hatfield Sports Shop, concurs that muskies were biting.
“We’ve been selling more musky suckers than normal,” he said. “I’ve been hearing that even during the summer they were getting a few.”
Muskies are not the only species biting in the Hatfield area, Abbott said.
“There’s quite a few fish out here − the lake is down, but there’s success yet,” he said. “(Fishermen) are getting some walleyes and crappies — some decent-sized fish, too. I haven’t heard anything about the smallmouth bass yet.”
Bear season over
In hunting news, the bear season is over. It was a success, Abbott said. His shop helped harvest four bears.
“We got one decent one over 300 pounds, and the others were in the 200 pounds or so bracket, so it wasn’t a total failure, but you always wish to do better,” he said. “We passed up another five bears. They were legal, but small.”
It was a tough season for everyone, Abbott said.
“I knew going in it was going to be a tough season,” he said. “They were still eating berries in October. There are a lot of them out there − lots of food in general for them, and they just weren’t hungry. We got lots of pics of bears coming by baits and not touching it. They come in, smell it and do not touch it.”
Deer hunting seems to be doing OK, Abbott said, but he anticipates it will get better.
“I’ve been hearing about a few deer being taken ... and little bucks were starting to get riled up. I’ve seen some small ground scrapes,” he said. “It’s going to be up in the 70s, so that slows the daytime movement, but I’m guessing in the coming week before the full moon they’ll be moving like crazy.”
Modjeski said hunting was curtailed this weekend due to the rainy weather Saturday, but Sunday was a good day to hunt — a little cool and windy.
In northern Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources reports anglers on the Flambeau River are reporting an uptick in musky activity, while those fishing the Brule River reported a challenging bite.
In the Black River State Forest, ATV and UTV trails closed for the season Oct. 15. Trails will reopen for the winter riding season on Dec. 15, weather permitting.
Water was shut off at the Buckhorn State Park campground Oct. 16, and the dump station closes for the season Oct. 22. There is a frost-free spigot next to the office restroom all year round. Accessible fishing pier and boat boarding piers will be removed Oct. 25.
The Kendall Depot on the Elroy-Sparta Bike Trail closes Oct. 22. Bike rental has ended for the season, and the trail’s three tunnels close Nov. 1.