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Wisconsin bear tips scale at 733 pounds

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Wisconsin’s bear season is off to a big start, with a report of a 733-pound harvest from the Armstrong Creek area.

In a Facebook post, Millan’s Custom Butchering of Armstrong Creek identified Tyler Stankevich as the hunter who brought in the monster Wednesday night.

Records for black bear are determined by skull size, not body weight, and official scoring requires a 60-day drying period. When a Manawa, Wis., hunter harvested a 780-pounder in Waupaca County in 2014, wildlife experts noted that there isn’t much correlation between weight and skull measurements, but harvests topping 700 pounds are quite rare.

Archery and crossbow deer seasons open today in Wisconsin.

“Reports from many areas of the state indicate that people are generally seeing good deer numbers and excellent antler growth,” said Bob Nack, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources big game section chief.

This year, Forest County and the forest zone portions of Marinette and Oconto counties will be the only units with buck-only seasons.

Wisconsin turkey and small game hunting also starts today, while Michigan conducts its annual Liberty Hunt firearm deer season today and Sunday. The Michigan hunt is open to youths ages 16 and under and qualified people with disabilities.

Bear hunting opened Wednesday in the Upper Peninsula, while Tuesday marks the beginning of Michigan’s fall turkey and small game seasons.

“Just want to tell people to be careful out there,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

Fishing, Whisler said, has been “a mixed bag” with at least one big musky caught this past week, along with some near-trophy-size smallmouth bass. Trout anglers said they were seeing fish that weren’t interested in biting, he added.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Keweenaw Bay: Strong winds have hampered fishing. When anglers could get out, fish were marked, but the action was spotty, with the majority getting a few lake trout. A few Chinook, coho and steelhead were also caught.

Little Bay de Noc: Most walleye anglers were fishing the Minneapolis Shoals and Round Island area. Night anglers reported the best catches using a crawler harness or stick baits in 12 to 25 feet. A few anglers reported catches when trolling the same around the Center Reef in 18 to 24 feet. Fair perch catches at best in the Gladstone beach area in 20 feet or along the First Reef in 10 to 25 feet with crawlers. Pike were active near Escanaba when trolling spinners in 14 to 16 feet near the lighthouse.

Manistique River: Boat and shore anglers are targeting salmon. They are seeing fish, but the numbers are lower than previous years. Shore anglers did best up near the dam when casting J-plugs and crankbaits. Those using spawn caught the occasional brown trout. Several pink salmon were reported as well. The occasional walleye continues to be caught by boat anglers casting a jig and crawlers up at the rapids.

Munising: Gusty winds made fishing difficult. Boat anglers trolling for coho in the west channel, Munising Bay, Trout Bay and off Christmas had no luck. Shore anglers targeting splake had very few catches.

St. Marys River: Fishing was good for pink salmon. Walleye fishing slowed, but some were still caught in the shipping channel.

Detour: Lake trout and pink salmon remain steady at the Detour Reef and lighthouse. Pink salmon are scattered throughout the water column. Try 25 to 35 feet down while the salmon are along the 90-foot flat and hitting orange and white spin-glo’s behind flashers.

Cedarville and Hessel: Anglers reported a few catches of yellow perch at Island #8 when using worms and shiners. Try fishing near the bridge that connects Hill Island Road to the island. Fair catches reported in Musky Bay in 8 to 12 feet at Connors Point. Northern pike fishing was fair at the Middle Entrance to the Les Cheneaux Islands when using creek chubs and large minnows in 18 to 20 feet. A couple walleye were caught at Les Cheneaux Point. Try a jig with a white or chartreuse twister tail or a minnow under a slip bobber in 6 to 12 feet in the early morning or late evening. Largemouth bass were hitting spinners under the docks throughout the islands. At Hessel, yellow perch fishing was fair at the finger docks in the marina, but anglers were sorting out the small ones.

Carp River: Anglers were drifting spawn or casting crankbaits and spoons for Chinook. A few fish up to 8 pounds were caught. Walleye and perch anglers were still drifting worms, but catch rates are starting to slow as the salmon move in. A few pike were caught at the mouth.

Nunn’s Creek: Had no fishing updates; however, anglers can wade at the mouth and try casting a blue and silver or green and silver Cleo for salmon.

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