Rain didn’t stop youngsters from participating in the statewide youth gun deer hunt this past weekend.
Matt Modjeski, conservation warden for the Department of Natural Resources, said despite the rain, it was a nice weekend for the deer hunt.
“I don’t think it was the best weather for the weekend ... but there were people out making the best of it,” he said. “I didn’t see anybody with a dead deer, but that’s mostly a thing of the past unless it’s by a vehicle or at an in-person registration station, and there are only a couple of those here and there. But I think it was a decent weekend for the youth deer hunt. As the weather goes, it wasn’t terribly cold ... and people could sit out for long periods of time.”
Duane Waters of Hatfield Sports Shop had a girl stop by the shop with the deer she bagged as part of the youth hunt.
“She got a 10-pointer,” he said. “It wasn’t a real big one but a 10-pointer just the same.”
Besides the youth hunt, Waters hasn’t received much deer hunting news, but he knows hunters are out and about from the number of trucks he has seen parked on the roads and the amount of blaze orange he’s seen in the woods.
In other hunting news, the bear season has ended. Waters reports that the shop hadn’t taken any more bears as of Monday afternoon, but he was hoping to get another before Tuesday.
With the second half of the duck season to start Saturday, Oct. 13, Modjeski reported seeing few ducks at Lake Tomah. He said ducks have been shot at a lot in the recent past, so they may have relocated to a larger body of water and are taking a break from the area.
Modjeski reminded hunters to be aware of hunting seasons and regulations. He made contact with several archery deer hunters who were unaware that the youth hunt was happening this past weekend and were not wearing the required blaze orange or blaze pink.
He also urged those driving after dark to be aware that the rut is beginning and to be on the lookout for deer on the roadway.
In fishing news, Waters said the action has been excellent this past week.
“We’re selling an awful lot of nightcrawlers and minnows. I think that’s what fishermen are using — dragging them with the slip bobbers,” he said. “I’ve heard people have been picking up walleyes and crappies with the occasional channel cat(fish).”
Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait, reports that crappies and perch have been active this past week at Lake Tomah.
Modjeski concurred. He said they’re biting best below the Tomah Dam.
The northern pike bite is starting to pick up, Modjeski said.
“I talked to a couple of fishermen, and one caught a couple of smaller northerns on Friday or Saturday,” he said. “Fishermen are starting to target those, and they are biting.”
Bluegills are also biting in area marshes, Roscovius reports, along with some bass.
“Some of the marshes are reporting pretty decent bluegills have been biting pretty good, catching most of those on a worm,” he said. “I guess there was a decent bass caught at one of them … but now farmers are harvesting (cranberries) … they do move that water around, so that does affect the fishing.”
Over at Petenwell Flowage fishermen have been catching some keeper walleyes, Roscovius said.
“Some sources are getting some over the size limit slot and still getting quite a few smaller ones, so they’re still biting pretty decent,” he said.
Walleye are also biting at the Buckhorn, Roscovius said, along with white bass.
Trout are still biting, Modjeski said. He ran into a trout fishermen at a historically good trout stream that was impacted by the late August/early September flooding.
“Trout are still there but not in the same number as before the flooding,” he said.