Local wildlife is being impacted by swarms of insects that have hatched after an abnormally wet spring.
Matt Modjeski, Department of Natural Resources conservation warden, said the Coulee Region Humane Society has been getting numerous calls about raptors, hawks and eagles needing help. Gnats and black flies are so bad that baby birds are jumping out of the nest early.
“The swarm of gnats is so bad, and black flies, that newborns will jump out of the nest but aren’t able to fly back up into the nest to be taken care of by adults,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, and I’ve never heard of there being so many gnats and flies that the birds are jumping out early.”
If anyone sees a bird on the ground that needs help, Modjeski suggests contacting the Coulee Region Humane Society at 608-781-4014.
“They’re the experts to know what to give as far as food and water and shelter,” he said.
In fishing news, the bite is getting very active. Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait, said fishing at Lake Tomah has been productive.
“Bluegills and crappies are still biting decent, and bass have been a little more active this week,” he said. “Guys are catching those with artificial baits, mostly plastic worms or creature baits — artificial lizards and so forth.”
Modjeski said the fish are biting above and below the dam at Lake Tomah, where anglers were catching some big largemouth bass.
“I saw a couple 19-inch large mouths, and I saw some fairly good-sized bluegills and crappies above and below the dam,” he said.
Panfish and northern pike are also active in local cranberry marshes, Roscovius said. Crappies and bluegills are biting on everything.
“You throw any bait for panfish and you’re going to catch them no matter where you go,” he said. “I’m still selling a lot of worms, little plastic baits for crappies and bluegills ... twister tails have been working and little cubby grubs.”
At Petenwell Flowage, walleyes are biting, Roscovius said.
“I got a report that guys are ... catching a lot of them, but a lot are undersized. You have to sort through them a little bit,” he said.