Bears exist in Monroe County.
Matt Modjeski, Department of Natural Resources conservation warden, said Monroe County has always had bears, just enough that people will spend time in the bear season hunting them. The majority reside in the northern half of the county.
He typically gets a couple of reports per year of bears by Tunnel City when they visit people’s yards, where they target bird feeders, garbage cans and charcoal grills looking for a quick, easy meal.
“I think ground zero would be the edges of Fort McCoy. It’s like a wildlife sanctuary because it’s a bigger land mass that’s not used for agriculture,” he said. “The other area is the Meadow Valley Wildlife Area and over by Mill Bluff State Park.”
To deter bears from a residence if one has been spotted, Modjeski recommends putting away bird feeders and cleaning and putting away grills for two weeks so bears don’t keep coming back to what they perceive as a good feeding area. It also gives the bear time to leave the area. Modjeski also recommends keeping the garbage inside until the collector comes.
“We just want people to put away any kind of food source to deter bears so they’re not making constant stops in that area,” he said.
In fishing news panfish are biting on Lake Tomah, said Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait.
“The learn-to-fish program was out (Monday), and they were catching a lot of bluegills ... using minnows fishing the lagoon and the point going out to the lake,” he said. “Reports from other guys fishing the lake are also that bluegills are biting, they’re doing good on red worms. Crappies are biting too; minnows have been working the best. Guys are catching some on beetle spins, some on little crappies plastics. No particular color is working better than the other.”
There is a bit of algae on the lake, Roscovius said. It’s not bad enough that someone wouldn’t want to fish the lake, he said, but it’s there.
In local marshes bass are active, Roscovius reports. Fishermen have been catching quite a few along with northern pike and panfish. Worms are working best.
“Bass are coming on artificial worms. Spinner baits seem to be working pretty good, and top water, whether it’s a Rapala or any other surface bait, always works,” he said. “This time of year they feed a lot on the surface.”
At Petenwell Flowage on the Wisconsin River, crappies, walleyes and catfish are biting, Roscovius said. He has no report from Castle Rock Flowage this week.
On the Mississippi River, Dennis Schnitzler, owner of Schnitzler’s Sports Store, said the bite is slow but is hopeful it will pick up as the river goes down.
In Hatfield, Benjamin Fields of Hatfield Sports Shop, said fish were active this past weekend.
“There were big catches of crappies, walleyes, smallies, but they weren’t catching anything extraordinary,” he said. “They were biting on crappie minnows and nightcrawlers,. We sold a bunch of nightcrawlers. In my experience I don’t think walleye suckers or walleye fats do it; crawlers seem to do best.”