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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.

The grouse downturn doesn’t make sense
This grouse was drumming on his favorite log in early May just east of Three Lakes, hoping to attract hens for breeding.   —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

THINGS just don’t add up properly in the 2012 Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey that was released last month by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), so it’s time once again to discuss my favorite bird.
DNR biologists are comfortable with drumming count results that showed a 26% drop in the northern forest region which, quite frankly, makes no sense at all when you read the rest of the report.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012 4:12 PM
The trout stream: a great place to escape
They do great battle in small streams but once netted, the brook trout is an incredible sight — one of God’s best creations.  —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

I?DROPPED a chunk of crawler into the current and let it float toward an undercut bank. A moment later, line peeled briefly from my reel to signal that a trout had taken the bait.
It was the crack of dawn on the Deerskin River, and I was fishing a stretch along the Blackjack Springs Wilderness Area. There was a slight corner in the stream and the fast-moving water was cutting hard beneath the bank.
You could call the outing an escape from lakes that are getting mighty busy as summer officially arrived last week — a time to get away from boat waves, engines and the congestion of a new vacation season.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 2:39 PM
Loons: symbols of the state’s wildest country
Loon chicks hatched out on many lakes the past week, something boaters and anglers should keep in mind as the full-fledged summer vacation season kicks off this weekend.                                 —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

THE SCRIBBLER’S concentration was on floating bobbers when the loon surfaced within two feet of the outboard, a startling yet stunning sight with its black-and-white body gleaming in the sunlight as water ran from its well-oiled feathers.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012 2:01 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, June 19, 2012 2:05 PM )
Fishing with Dad: An experience to cherish
Leland “Korny” Krueger of Marion, my dad, holds one of several walleyes taken on his annual trek to the North Woods.       —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

WE?WERE jigging minnows in 22 feet of water on a deep piece of structure on the Three Lakes Chain when my fishing partner set the hook, finally getting into one of those walleyes that had eluded us most of the morning.
It was just a fat little 13-incher, but with the one-over-14 size limit on the Chain, it made it to the livewell and will eventually grace his dinner table.
I was sharing boat space on this day with my dad, Leland Krueger of Marion, who decided he wanted a day on the water, even if the timing wasn’t perfect for catching fish. The mayfly hatch had slowed the walleye bite and the crappies were in transition after spawning.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:56 PM
Fishing: maybe the greatest sport ever conceived
Son Steve and grandson Alexander admire a 13-inch crappie the youngster pulled from a tree with a bobber/minnow rig.   —Photo By The Author
By Kurt Krueger

DID?I mention lately that the sport of fishing is one of the greatest pastimes ever conceived, a sport that meshes perfectly with family and friends who like spending time out of doors.
That subject was on my mind Memorial Day weekend as family members converged on Wisconsin’s lake country from all directions, including the Twin Cities, the Fox Valley and even Pennsylvania.
It was a treat just having all the kids and grandkids home, but that was just the start of the fun. It seems everyone wanted to get in some fishing. For a scribbler who doesn’t mind playing guide, that was great news.
The first outing was designed around the highest priority angler, grandson Alexander from Minnesota who, at nearly three years of age, is now big enough to reel in and boat fish on his own.
The excitement level was so high when the bobber dropped the first time he could hardly concentrate on turning the reel handle with a steady motion. He was white-knuckled on the rod as the weight of a nice crappie made reeling difficult.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012 2:42 PM
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

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