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Kurt Krueger

In the Outdoors


Kurt Krueger can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or P.O. Box 1929, Eagle River, WI 54521.


Beware: Lake jumping can be dangerous
Anglers who trailer their boats to several lakes in a single day or weekend are reminded to check their trailer, boat and motor for invasive species such as Eurasian water milfoil.                  —Contributed Photo
By Kurt Krueger

LET’S SAY you hit the Eagle River Chain early for walleyes, head to Boot Lake for some crappie action, and then finish up the day catching the rest of your daily walleye limit on Butternut Lake.
Sounds like a plan. Similar scenarios are played out again and again this time of year as anglers make the most of their days.
It’s called lake jumping, and it’s an inseparable part of Wisconsin’s fishing tradition.
The trend has become even more common since tribal spearing gave us three-walleye and two-walleye bag limits, where anglers are forced to change lakes in order to legally harvest five walleyes — still the daily bag limit statewide.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 2:58 PM
 
Drumming, breeding is a rite of spring
After listening to this grouse drum for two hours, in low-light conditions starting before dawn, I finally got photos like this one.       —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

SPRING is a season worth longing for and not just because it follows winter. It is marked by the return of migratory wildlife, pre-nesting rituals, warm breezes, open water and one of the scribbler’s favorites — “drumming” grouse.
It’s the slow transformation toward green up after more than six months of bare trees and dying vegetation that invigorates the outdoor spirit. Mowing the lawn isn’t my favorite hobby, but it beats shoveling snow any day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 3:05 PM
 
Opener company, bite as good as it gets
By Kurt Krueger

IT STARTED with a simple cast, the 2012 open water fishing season, as daughter Melissa sent a jig and minnow toward the shoreline in hopes there might be some old or new cabbage weeds holding walleyes.
Our sharing boat space for a weekend had been on the calendar for a couple of months, something we hadn’t done since last June around Father’s Day. There’s no ruining a weekend like that, fish or no fish, yet we were hoping that overcast conditions would be right for the walleyes.
Our plan was to find the thickest, nastiest old cabbage weeds from last year, which normally are the first areas to harbor the newest weed growth of the season. And it’s those new weeds, the really green, tough plants, that hold the walleyes.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012 3:03 PM
 
Kentuck: the roller-coaster ride continues
This photo from the early 1990s, taken at the Kentuck Lake boat landing, reminds me of great days on a great lake that might return if this natural bass/panfish lake explodes in the future.                —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

IT SEEMS that no matter how hard we humans try to manipulate the environment, there are times when Mother Nature will get her way in the end.
Such is the case with Kentuck Lake in eastern Vilas County, which seems destined to be a bass and panfish resource no matter how many walleyes get stocked there.
The lake also has a strong muskie population with good natural reproduction, but that fishery seems undaunted by the changing dynamics among the other fish species.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012 5:54 PM
 
The crappie is a favorite fish of many
By Kurt Krueger

EVERY angler has a favorite fish to chase and, if I had to narrow it down to just one, I’d say the crappie would be king on my list.
It’s a hard choice, you know, because those great-eating walleyes are always a challenging foe and the northern pike may be the all-around best-tasting fish in Wisconsin.
I do love catching and eating trout of all kinds, especially native brookies from national forest streams and stocked browns from high-quality lakes in Vilas County. In fact, I can see them frying in the pan right now, heads and all.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 2:31 PM
 
There’s more than one way to bag a tom
It was a quick but intense turkey hunt in central Wisconsin early Saturday that produced this nice-looking gobbler.                 —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

THEY SAY you learn some­thing new every day, and I discovered last Saturday that sometimes getting that tom turkey means talking to the hens instead of wasting your slate on unresponsive gobblers.
The lesson came on a whirlwind trip to central Wisconsin that started at 3:20 a.m., the latest possible time to drive 100 miles and still hit the turkey woods before sunrise.
It was an impulsive, crazy thing for a hunter to do — plan a trip where four hours of driving would net me just six to seven hours of hunting. But I had this tag and just one day to get the job done.
What tipped the scales in favor of making the trip was the rare opportunity to hunt a new property — a chance to wander 80 acres that I  hadn’t hunted since my dad took me squirrel hunting and butternut gathering some 40 years ago. Turns out that land is now owned by somebody I went to school with.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012 2:33 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, April 17, 2012 6:26 PM )
 
Wolf hunt stirs up some mixed feelings
Most hunters know the importance of managing wolf numbers, but most won’t get involved in the new harvest season.          —Contributed Photo
By Kurt Krueger

NOT EVERY person who hunts and traps is elated about the prospect of killing a wolf just because Wisconsin has approved a harvest season for this fall.
I support what legislators and Gov. Walker have done to establish some effective control measures on wolf numbers, but that doesn’t equate to wanting the job.
Some of you are thinking the scribbler is getting soft as the years pass, and that might be part of it. But mostly, I think people have impressed on me over the years that the wolf is a unique animal that deserves an extra measure of respect as the state’s largest natural predator. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:04 PM
 
Give DNR blanket authority on seasons?
Through an advisory question, the DNR?is hoping to eventually win broad authority to open fishing seasons the year around if its biologists determine fish populations won’t be affected. This from the agency that never really wanted to delay the bass opener into June.           --Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

STATE anglers will be asked next month whether they support giving the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) blanket authority to decide if certain fishing seasons should be open the year around.
While the department acknowledges the importance of traditions such as opening day, they argue that season closures are not as effective as bag or length limits to manage a fish population.
Also, they claim it has proven difficult to set effective season dates because spawning dates vary greatly for different species, different parts of the state and from year to year.
The question reads: “If the Department finds that closed seasons are not biologically necessary to protect certain fish populations, would you support rule changes that would open fishing seasons the year round?”

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 2:47 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, April 03, 2012 2:49 PM )
 
DNR pushing statewide motor trolling, again
Decades of traditional-only fishing in Vilas County could change if the DNR gets its way on statewide motor trolling.                   —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

IN IT’S infinite wisdom, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says there is no biological justification for different motor trolling regulations across Wisconsin.
Vilas and eight other counties have won the battle to close all waters to motor trolling, while trolling is allowed without restriction in 18 counties. Another 45 counties have one or more specifically named waters that are open to trolling, and many more that are closed to trolling.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 3:53 PM
 
Tax checkoff for nongame species needs help
It is bald eagles and other rare wildlife that benefit from the Endangered Resources Fund, financed by an income tax check-off and matched dollar for dollar with state monies up to $500,000.           —Photos By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

DONATIONS to the Wisconsin Endangered Resources Fund have fallen off so dramatically in recent years that the program has lost not only  hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it is losing money at a 2-to-1 rate.
Can’t be?
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) division that protects and restores rare wildlife species has lost $100,000 in donations from 2007 levels, which equates to a $200,000 loss when you take into account matching dollars from state general purpose revenue.

 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 3:46 PM
 
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