Out and About with Bob

Bob Lamb

Our grandsons had a picnic fishing down at Ol' Tom's boathouse last Saturday morning. Jackson, 12, and Bryson, 10 in September, fished to their heart's content, reeling in one panfish after another.
There was lots of sorting during the two hours they fished, but their dad, Jon, and I convinced them to only put 14 "keepers" in the live well for Gramps to fillet.
Jackson also caught a dogfish, while Bryson reeled in one sheepshead. Check out the "boys fishing" video on our home page.
Junior and I fished off the boathouse for an hour or so Tuesday morning. Rain interrupted us a few times, but we still managed to pull in enough sunfish and bluegills for Junior to take home.
Meanwhile, deer are beginning to show their true colors near our condo in the valley in rural La Crosse.
During my early-evening walk on Monday, I counted seven deer in the huge corn and alfalfa field next to our condo. Four of them were bucks, including one large antlered trophy whose coat has already changed from summer red to normal fall and winter brown. The best I could make out through my binoculars is the other smaller bucks will be at least 6 and maybe 8-pointers. Their coats are also begging to turn. However, the three doe are still a bright summer red.
A large doe walked within 10 feet of my study window just before 8 o'clock Tuesday night.
On Wednesday night, I took my same walk to the huge field just before dark. As I walked toward the field, a heard yelping, barking and howling. Looking through my binoculars, I saw a coyote sitting on its haunches at the far end of the field. Glassing the entire field, there wasn't a deer in sight, naturally because of the coyote's presence. I yelped a few times, the coyote sprang to its feet, trotted a few feet, sat down again and stared at me. I yelped again before disappearing into the dense woods.
In other news, Minnesota DNR conservation officer Tom Hemker in Winona reports fishing to be good as the river gets closer to normal. Limits of sunfish and walleyes were checked and bass fishing was good.
Conservation officer Tyler Ramaker, stationed in La Crescent, and other local law enforcement assisted a boater whose boat trailer and vehicle became partially submerged at a boat ramp. The vehicle and trailer were recovered.
Ramaker said anglers on Pool 9 who were having good success catching panfish.Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.


Jerry Davis

From Southern Wisconsin

Gathering, in the broadest sense, has begun in earnest.
Different people gather in a variety of ways, maybe by simply seeing a large, antlered whitetail, photographing him, or readying their tree stands.
Animals are caught and taken into possession by a variety of means, based on the season. Plants may be dug, or dried and pressed for keeping, or collected for decorations, or saved for later use, as is the case with goldenrod stem galls.
All these are gathering in one way or another depending on the items, possible uses and seasons. Don’t tell a hiker he’s not gathering while looking for a ghost plant just to be able to say he saw one.
When a sulphur fungus is cut from a black cherry, it’s also gathered, while another might gather a poisonous Amanita mushroom on film, but never bring it home in the same vasculum used to carry the chicken-of-the-woods.
Bret Schultz of Black Earth, WI, has been gathering trout in earnest now that the “hopper” season is matched with August. He describes this sub-season based on bait used as "really, really good, outrageous, stupid good." You get the idea, I'm sure. If not, consider this.
Schultz uses a simple grasshopper pattern he’s tied with a simple body, a few deer hairs (maybe first gathering those, too?) and then slaps the fly in the middle of a stream having overhanging grasses where trout may be lurking waiting for grasshoppers to overshoot their landings.
He’s been at this method for a couple weeks now and kept track of his follows and lands. Recently, in six hours, he had 132 follows and landed 83 browns.
During a three-day vacation, Schultz landed 180 trout. He gathered them in, and released them. Gathered? Yes, but only to keep in his mind.
The 2019 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet is on-line and will be available in outlets shortly. New for 2019 are more counties closed to baiting and feeding deer, more counties (units) in the Holiday Hunt, several units having extended archery and crossbow seasons through Jan. 31, 2020, and no buck-only units in 2019.
Ruffed grouse hunters can again participate in collection of tissues for West Nile virus monitoring by contacting their Wisconsin DNR county wildlife biologists for collection kits.
The DNR is awaiting results from last fall and winter hunter-collected samples.
Early bird migrations continue with departures from Wisconsin, other species moving through the state, and the dark-eyed junco returning to the state for another winter.
Three roadside, and beyond, plants that are noteworthy include Joe-pie weed (purple), various goldenrods (all yellow) and white wild cucumber vines hanging draped over fences and shrubs in lowland areas.
Ginseng berries are ripening. The digging season opens Sunday, Sept. 1. Price paid for fresh root is expected to undercut last fall's numbers.
Hitchhiking plants apparently took advantage of the moist summer and are bigger and more plentiful than most years. Animals, including deer, are apt to be vectors of these dispersing weeds, carrying burs of various sorts to new locations.
Ample opportunities exist to study regulations, scout locations and selectively gather some wild mushrooms and fall fruits.

Contact Jerry Davis, a freelance writer, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 608-924-1112

Billy Isbell

Island Outdoors on French Island

With the river at an all-time low this year, fishing has really exploded.
Sunfish/bluegills can be caught almost on all shorelines ranging from 9-10 inches.
An increase of sucker minnows are being sold out, with the big northern pike bite going on.
Bass and crappies are on the chase, feeding on all the schools of shad.
We've also seen an increase in the sale of stink bait for catfish.
With stable water and cooler weather, we recommend being out on the water.


Wild Birds Unlimited

Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited

Now, every tree is a bird feeder.
More than 20 years ago, Jim Carpenter attempted to create a bird food in his kitchen that would attract brown creepers to his yard. The result would become Jim’s Birdacious® Bark Butter®, enjoyed by more than 150 species of birds as of 8-1-2019.  
Bark Butter is eaten by more species of birds than any other bird food on the market and is available exclusively at Wild Birds Unlimited.
Bark Butter is easily spread on any tree’s bark, simply using the back side of a fork. Appealing to seed-, fruit-, nut- and insect-eating birds, it doesn’t wash away in the rain and won’t melt in direct sun. From nuthatches in the northwest to downy and red-bellied woodpeckers in the southeast, Bark Butter has attracted birds in areas across the United States and Canada.
Even though Bark Butter makes every tree a bird feeder, Wild Birds Unlimited also has an assortment of feeders so bird feeding stations can also offer this new treat. We now also have Wild Birds Unlimited Bark Butter Bits, logs, hot pepper bit, spread, logs and now some very handy bark butter bit cups either regular or with hot pepper that can be opened and placed in a feeder or on a fly through feeder.
If you have not tried this AWESOME food, you are missing out on a great experience and Wild Birds Unlimited has it on sale until the end of August and we have also brought in some more cute feeders to place it in.
Stop in and see us at Wild Birds Unlimited in Onalaska (608-781-5088).
Our associates will be more than happy to help you with this awesome POWER food for your birds!
Happy Birding!
Karen Perry