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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.

DNR plan would kill largemouth fishery

By Kurt Krueger

AFTER almost 20 years of building a world-class bass fishery in the North Woods, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proposing to throw largemouth bass management under the bus.

In yet another bold blunder that is headed for a vote April 8 at spring fish and game hearings in every county, the DNR endorses moving the largemouth bass harvest season to the first Saturday in May.

The other blunder, if you haven’t yet heard, is the agency’s

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 4:59 PM
DNR sleeping on winter muskie spearing


By Kurt Krueger

THE?BLOOD pressure of many a muskie angler has heated up in recent weeks as photos surfaced on the Internet of dead muskies lined up on tables, supposedly the result of a winter spearing contest by members of Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes.

The tribes have a right to spear muskies or any fish they can effectively take in winter, as you might know, so that isn’t the issue on the table today. The problem is, who is keeping track?

It has been years since the scribbler tackled this subject. On the last round, I learned that the federal courts determined that winter muskie spearing would be considered a low-efficiency harvest — pretty much in the same category as sport angling.

Therefore, tribal members

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 4:17 PM | Updated ( Tuesday, February 19, 2013 4:24 PM )
DNR pushing statewide motor trolling
Cruising boats and the widespread yellow planer boards used by motor trollers could become a common sight in Vilas County if the Department of Natural Resources gets its way at the spring hearings.      —STAFF PHOTO


By Kurt Krueger

VILAS County’s long-held disdain for motor trolling is being pushed aside by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), as the agency is calling for a statewide vote to legalize trolling everywhere.

The so-called experts claim in the pamphlet assembled for the spring fish and game hearings in April that trolling is allowed in many Wisconsin waters and surrounding states “with no known adverse effects.”

That’s a pretty bold statement for an agency that has been told previously about adverse social impacts involving motor trolling on small inland waters — lakes being shared by anglers, boaters, windsurfers, waterskiers and swimmers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 4:38 PM | Updated ( Monday, March 24, 2014 9:20 AM )
Pick a sport or two, beat the winter blues
Whether it’s fishing, snowmobiling or cross-country skiing, staying active in winter is the best way to beat cabin fever.          —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

IF?YOU?SUFFER from long-winter syndrome and the depression that comes from being locked up at home for days on end, often called cabin fever, there might be a cure.

Most people have a billion excuses for why they can’t do more in winter — some very legitimate and others without any merit at all. As with any illness, cabin fever can’t be cured unless the patient is willing.

The only way I’ve found to beat the winter blues is to stay active, and there’s plenty of easy-access winter sports to pick from. Active doesn’t mean sitting in front of a television or computer at home. Some people don’t have a choice, and that’s all the more reason to get out if you can.

If you can handle the weather,

Tuesday, February 05, 2013 6:57 PM
Northerns: the tastiest, most versatile fish
The fiesty northern pike, known for slime and extra bones, also provides some of the best fillets of any fish found in Wisconsin. Fried, baked, boiled, broiled or pickled, it is one tasty fish.               —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

SOME OF my favorite anglers are those who have no use for northerns, the ones who label pike as snakes or nuisance fish that are too slimy to grace their live wells and too bony for consumption.

That means more northerns for me and those who love to eat what I consider the tastiest, most versatile fish found in Wisconsin waters.

And I’m not alone.

It was several years ago on a

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:36 PM
Our outdoor heritage rivals the nation’s best

By Kurt Krueger

THOSE OF US who long to hunt and fish at every opportunity, even wrestling from time to time with the guilt of being overpassionate about Wisconsin’s most traditional outdoor sports, may find some solace in the fact that we are not alone.

A 2011 survey done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows one in four Wisconsin residents is an angler or hunter, or 27%, far higher than the national average of 16%.

There are 1.2 million sportspersons in Wisconsin who pursue fishing and/or hunting. We have the fourth highest hunting participation rate — at 17% — among all the states.

And the percentage of Wisconsinites who participated in wildlife watching during that year, 48%, is far higher than the national average of 30%. Only Vermont and West

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 4:47 PM
Great traditions bring friends together
The boys took time from a morning of jigging for deep-water crappies and perch to display some of their catch, which will provide some great family fish fries in the days and weeks ahead.                    —Photo By The Author

By Kurt Krueger

WE WERE watching bobbers dance in open holes at the crack of dawn Saturday, braced for winds that were forecast at 25 to 35 miles per hour as a cold front pushed out last week’s unseasonably warm air.

There was no way of telling ahead of time what the bite would be like in those conditions, which means you have to crawl out of bed and put in your time to find out.

I had barely finished dropping the minnow on the second jigging rod when the bobber in the next hole popped and dropped ever so slowly, signaling a hit.

The son of a friend, 13-year-old Luke Loehe of Ripon, grabbed the rod and set the hook. The tip doubled over and the fight was on. From the depths emerged a monster of a crappie, a 13-incher, its golden but ghostly body shining in contrast to the stained waters of the Three Lakes Chain.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 4:52 PM
It’s time to enjoy some of that venison

By Kurt Krueger

IF ENJOYING the fruits of Wisconsin’s wild outdoors is part of your deer hunting heritage, now is the time to dig into those select steaks and roasts that were held back from the cuttings that went into sausage and hamburger.

I’ve always considered winter to be the ideal time for eating from the freezer.  The combination of short days and lower outdoor activity, at least for the scribbler, gives me more time to cook and eat regular meals.

My waistline doesn’t tell the whole story, but I’ve missed a lot of scheduled meals in recent months due to May/June walleye fishing, summer crappies and an entire season of late afternoons and evenings spent chasing deer, grouse and pheasants.

There’s really no venison stockpile this year for most of us, as the freezer isn’t nearly as full as it was just a few years ago — the good ol’ days of North Woods deer hunting. So what we do have needs to be savored.

On a recent weekend night, family and friends continued a tradition shared with many deer hunting camps, putting to use a commercial-type meat grinder to make our own venison burger. We found a good one at Nelson’s Ace Hardware right here in Eagle River.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 4:43 PM
No doubt we need conservation wardens

By Kurt Krueger

MOST?OF us aren’t keen on being interrupted in our outdoor recreation by someone wanting to check a license, live well or game bag, but it is that possibility that deters many from violating the state’s fish and game laws.

Take fishing and duck hunting for example, where there are strict daily bag limits designed to control the harvest. On the best of days, some rationalize they deserve extra because they had been skunked previously or because they don’t go afield as often as others. 

Monday, December 31, 2012 2:10 PM
A deer herd that should be growing, is not

MYSTERY surrounds the dismal deer hunting seasons that many hunters experienced in recent months, for the herd has not rebounded at a normal pace, despite mild winters.

What’s happening in the deer range of northern Wisconsin is on a lot of people’s minds as the archery season enters its final weeks. There continue to be reports of low

Monday, December 24, 2012 6:20 PM | Updated ( Monday, December 24, 2012 6:30 PM )

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