Hunters report seeing more deer; no warm-up in weekend forecast

A deer measures its surroundings at Six Mile Lake in northern Dickinson County, where skim ice has formed. (Betsy Bloom/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Temperatures are expected to stay below freezing for the next several days, making for a chilly start to Wisconsin’s nine-day gun deer season.

Michigan’s 16-day firearm season opened Thursday and many hunters are at least seeing more deer than in recent years.

“It seems to be going along pretty good,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. “Several people have gotten some nice bucks, though nothing really huge.”

Doug Whisler was busy selling Wisconsin licenses Friday at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, noting that a few bowhunters had scored bucks in recent days.

This is the earliest possible opening of the gun season. While rutting activity is winding down in some areas, it is still noticeable, with bucks visiting their scrapes and rubs and still being seen chasing does, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said.

Whisler said fishing activity has slowed to “a couple people doing a little bit.”

Skim and shelf ice are starting to form on many bodies of water and across swamps. Anglers were still fishing the lower Menominee River for walleye, whitefish, and brown and rainbow trout with moderate success. One lucky angler reeled in a rainbow trout that measured 34 inches and weighed close to 17 pounds.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

Overall: No ice on the inland lakes yet, but temperatures have been steady in the 20s.

Portage Lake: A few brave anglers had caught some walleye.

Little Bay De Noc: Had walleye and perch anglers. Walleye catches were fair to good with some limits reported. Most were trolling stick baits from the “Narrows” north to the Center Reef in 35 feet. Those jigging in the shallow weedy areas in 7 to 8 feet also had success. A lot of baitfish were reported throughout the area and the fish being caught are big and healthy. Some were still night fishing; however, with the good bite during the day, most were not. Perch anglers reported spotty catch rates, with the best action around Butler Island and along the east bank by Vagabond Resort with minnows in 14 to 30 feet.

Manistique Lake: Anglers caught perch in the big lake.

Two Hearted River: Luce County has received several inches of snow over the past week which will make navigation near the river difficult. Steelhead reports have been spotty, with a few fish being picked up here and there.