Fishy Weather For the Fourth

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This year, the Fourth of July is a “season”, because with two weekends flanking the actual date, it’s hard to know just when to celebrate. So, I believe the answer to the question has become “for 10 days straight”. (You have to count Fridays and Mondays as weekend days for the folks who come Up North, don’t you know!)

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Those 10 days are shaping up to be a good time to enjoy another “season” as well – fishing season. The weather and atmosphere have been giving us the classic summer pattern of low pressure to high, humidity to freshness and the fish are biting because of it.

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First things first, if you don’t have your fishing license, you can buy one online at the Wisconsin DNR site while you fill your vehicle at the gas station. It’s called the Go Wild program. Go figure.

The Fourth of July is a common time for family and friends to gather, and sharing is caring, as they say. If you have any children at your gatherings, it’s a great opportunity to introduce them to the fun of fishing. Be sure to include some good fish stories so they have some lore to dream about at night as they listen to the loons call from the lake.

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You can preserve the special memory of catching their first fish with a “My First Fish” certificate from the Wisconsin DNR site. The certificate allows you to drop in a photo of them with their fish and notes the date, fish species and where they caught it. Adorable!

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When it’s time to clean your catch of the day, don’t fret if the dog ate your cookbook. You can find some great recipes and information for eating fresh fish from Wisconsin online at eatwisconsinfish.org or at Healthy Dishes With Wisconsin Fishes.

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So when the sky looks like this, Go Wild, grab your pole and chant, “Here fishy, fishy!” ~ Wanda Boldon

Cinco de Mayo Weekend – Up North

The list of fabulous things to do Up North on Cinco de Mayo weekend is growing! Gather your friends and family to plan your weekend and then plan a siesta after it’s all over!

Here are “cinco” events to choose from:

  1. 36th Annual Second Alarm Fish and Smelt Fry – Gather at the Jackson Town Hall at the corner of Hwys A & C on Friday, May 4th, starting at 5:00 pm for an incredible experience! Widely supported by the community for a good reason. Tickets can be purchased at the door – $10 for adults, $4 for kids 12 and under. Get your smelt on!
  2. Inaugural Fat Fish 40 Bike Race – Show your true grit in this 42 mile bike race that starts at the Central Burnett County Fairgrounds in Webster, WI. The race has a fat tire division and is also has a “non-fat” category. The race course takes you on the sugar sand fire lanes, logging roads and trails by the marshes, lakes and streams through the lost acres of Webster, WI. With a spaghetti dinner the night before, the race starts at 9:00 am on May 5th and ends with a beer and a brat, a podium ceremony and prizes. https://www.fatfishrace.com/the-race/
  3. Wisconsin Fishing Opener – The first Saturday of each May kicks off the fishing season for many species of hook and line caught fish. Make sure you get your license in advance and stock your cooler so you can be on the water by 5:00 am. You own an ice barge, right? https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/seasons/index.html
  4. 9th Annual Taste of Siren – Tickle your taste buds on Saturday, May 5th from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the Northwoods Crossing Event Center. It’s an evening of food, festivities and fun! You can buy your tickets in advance or pay at the door. $20 per person or $35 per couple.  https://www.travelwisconsin.com/events/fairs-festivals/taste-of-siren-128205
  5. 17th Annual Spring Art Tour – Earth Arts of the Upper St. Croix organizers put together this distinctive tour of studios and galleries May 5-6th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. One could spend the entire weekend doing this alone! Download the brochure and map so you can prioritize your stops! http://www.earthartswi.org/spring-art-tour/

Sombrero and margaritas are not required, but not discouraged. Have a great Cinco de Mayo weekend! ~ Wanda Boldon

The Loons Return to Northwestern Wisconsin

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It won’t be long and we’ll be hearing the yodel, hoot, wail and tremelo sounds of our native Common Loons! After a winter, where they experience a complete molt of their feathers, they usually return from the South in mid-April to early May.

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Wisconsin has a summer population of over 4000 breeding loons. They are the darlings of the lake that they inhabit and are greeted with joy when they return. As much as we swoon over the fact that they “mate for life” and return to the same area together each year. Much of their lives is spent alone. They migrate in the Fall alone. They winter alone and they come back alone. (I’d go it alone too if I lost all my feathers.) The male loon usually returns first and waits for the female. After only a few days of calling and swimming side-by-side, they are back in synch, ready to build their nest.

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They spend most of their lives in the water because their bodies aren’t built for land dwelling. But they will typically lay two eggs in a nest on high ground and then teach their babies to swim through the course of the summer. The chicks ride on their backs for only about the first 10 days. After that, the parents swarm and coddle them as they grow and become stronger swimmers.

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The immature loons will migrate South for their first autumn, but don’t make the return flight for about 3 years. Once they do return, they will choose a place within 30 miles of their birthplace. With a typical lifespan of about 25 years, they have a pretty reliable flight pattern. From sun country to God’s country – nature is the original “get-it-right” operation! ~ Wanda Boldon

What YOU Need to Know About Zebra Mussels

image015In November of 2016, zebra mussels (9 adults, all less than a year old) were discovered on one of our finest and most popular lakes – Big McKenzie Lake. It’s a significant discovery, because it’s the first inland zebra mussel population verified in Northwestern Wisconsin. It can and will affect other waterways over the course of the coming years. Historic data of populations that were found elsewhere show that a downstream spread to other lakes and rivers is highly possible.

Zebra mussels are finger-nail sized bottom dwellers and are an invasive species from Europe and Asia that can affect our native species and negatively disrupt the current ecosystem and water quality of a lake. They resemble small clams with a yellowish or brownish D-shaped shell with alternating dark and light-colored stripes. Most are under an inch and they grow in clusters, attached to piers, rocks and other hard surfaces.

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At this time, there is no known effective control method for the spread of zebra mussels. Every lake is different, as to the maximum number of animals the lake’s nutrients will support and some lakes have a higher dissolved calcium level than others, which makes them a more susceptible environment to support a zebra mussel population.

A team of state and local staff, along with university experts have joined together to work on a response to the outbreak. The best that can be done at this time is two-fold: awareness and removal.

Awareness is being built through online platforms like Facebook and online newspapers with media releases. Digital road signs, brochures and signage at the landings are being used as well. Creating a higher public awareness is the first step. Creating a personal willingness for people to help prevent the spread is the next. Sadly, there is no law requiring boaters to decontaminate their boats when they leave a lake.

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Boat cleaning stations at the landings with power washing units have been successful when there are volunteers present to assist and remind boaters. But more volunteers are needed.

The Big McKenzie Lake Association is working diligently with the DNR to monitor, test and suppress this problem. Snorkel and dive teams will be used to manually remove zebra mussels and the awareness and education efforts will continue.

If we want to preserve the beauty and pleasures of our special lakes region, it will be incumbent on all boaters, no matter what lake they interact with, to inspect their boat and equipment, remove any attached aquatic plants or animals, drain all water from the boat and motor, dispose any unwanted bait in the trash and to buy bait locally. It’s the least we can do! – Wanda Boldon

Winter Project: Fish Habitat

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Temperatures have plummeted. The cleansing process that we call “Winter” has just begun. Our lakes are frozen over and for many, this is a time to embrace the opportunity to enjoy winter sports like snowmobiling, ice fishing and cross country skiing. But if you find yourself already longing for the new life that comes with Spring, consider this a good time to lay the groundwork for that process. It will help the time pass (although, careful what you wish for!) and can give you a productive project that you can feel good about.

We all know that keeping the shoreline in its natural state is the best thing for the life cycle and protection of many of our creatures in the Northwoods. But after a few years of exceptionally high water levels, many property owners are scratching their heads about what to do with the dead or dying trees that now pepper their shoreline.

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We’ve heard from several owners who have a similar plan: drop the trees on solid, safe ice and easily (ha, ha) remove the branches and logs. That sounds efficient and effective. But rewind the tape here for a minute. What if you dropped a tree or two and just left them? Yes, just left them where they lie! Sure, you might get the “stink eye” from your neighbors at first. But when fishing season rounds the bend, you’ll be collecting pats on the back for creating habitat for fish, turtles, ducks and songbirds – and it’s practically free!

For a more official education on the process, you can refer to this link from the DNR. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/outreach/treesshoreline.pdf

And if you have no dead or dying trees, but still want to do your part, there’s an app for that – well, actually a link. Check out this information from the DNR about how you can create Fish Sticks in your lake. http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/outreach/fishsticks.html

Happy New Year! – Wanda Boldon

The Flowers of Now!

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Last week, as I was driving down a rural road, on my way to meet a client, I witnessed someone in the ditch with a spade in one hand and a plant clump in the other. I don’t accessorize with a badge yet, so I didn’t stop. But a word of caution if you had similar ideas – “look, but don’t touch”. Wisconsin is one of a few states that has a wildflower protection law. It was passed in 1923 due to concerns of declining plant populations. If you’re caught you could be fined and charged with a misdemeanor. Ouch!

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It isn’t just live wildflowers that are of concern either. Cutting dried wildflowers causes damage as well. Just one cut flower can reduce the number of flowers that return the following year. These little bloomers aren’t just there for our visual pleasure. They’re there to support entire ecosystems for pollinators, birds and small animals. Butterflies, insects and small birds depend on their seeds, nectar and pollen.

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NOW is a great time to get out and enjoy the wildflowers cascading through the roadsides of Northwestern Wisconsin! Whether you’re traveling at the slow pace of a walk or driving your ATV to the nearest trail. Take an opportunity to “stop and smell the roses”. These little jewels will be gone before you know it! – Wanda Boldon

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Great Properties for Sale: Land Lovers

MLS# 901834 $89,000

MLS# 901834 $89,000

If you’re a land lover (or aspire to be one!), now is a great time to look for a special property to call your own. The ground is frozen, but the snow is not so deep that it would keep you from getting around in the woods easily. The leaves are down for good visibility and the bugs are…bugging someone else right now.

Owning a piece of acreage, where you can have some delicious privacy is a wonderful way to enjoy the Northwoods of Wisconsin. If you’re a sportsman, you already have a laundry list of things you’d like to do to for enjoyment. If you’re a nature lover, your list is a little different. If you’re just looking for a place where you can sing loud and giggle with your friends, you probably don’t use lists.

Everyone has a different definition of “fun”. But a common thread among land lovers is finding a place where you can escape the noise and responsibilities of the civilized world – a place where you can spread your wings. We have a few neat properties that would be great, no matter what your escapist goals may be. Allow yourself to take a look!

Unleash your inner Lewis and Clark at this 60 acre property with the Yellow River flowing through it. The land offers great access to the River from both banks and has big, mature trees throughout. Webster is the nearest fur-trading post, where you can stock up on bait for your fishing expeditions.

MLS# 901834 Yellow River $89,000

MLS# 901834 Yellow River $89,000

If your idea of camping includes running water and a flushing toilet, but you’d still like to “rough it” in a natural, wooded setting, you don’t need to apologize for wanting to smell nice. This property is outside of Siren and has all the creature comforts for the necessities of life, plus storage for your trail riding machines. This 17 acre escape will help you forget about your “to do” list at home. Go ahead, see how it feels!

MLS# 904516 Siren Township

MLS# 904516 Siren Township

MLS# 904516 Siren Township

MLS# 904516 Siren Township

This 25 acre parcel in Union Township is a great match for the land loving purist. Establish your own base camp, clear your own trails and stand back with the satisfaction of knowing that you did it all. Near world class fishing on Big and Little Yellow Lakes, ATV and snowmobile trails and State Forest Land, this property is an affordable way to have it all.

MLS# 891662 Union Township

MLS# 891662 Union Township

Yes, it’s winter, but there is fun to be had in all seasons in beautiful Northwestern Wisconsin. Let a friendly and professional CENTURY 21 agent help you find your fun! – Wanda Boldon

Gift Idea for the Northwoods Enthusiast

Taken by Dr. John Ingalls near Falun, WI

Taken by Dr. John Ingalls near Falun, WI

Finding a unique gift that will delight someone can sometimes cause too much strain on your brain. You ask yourself: What don’t they have already? What would send the right message? What will fit my budget? (If that’s not a question on your list, then maybe you should run for office.) Once in a blue moon, you come up with something that makes you feel brilliant and at other times, you’re just glad you got something wrapped at all. It’s no wonder the holidays have a bit of stress that comes along for the ride. Well, that’s just not in the spirit of how we roll in the Northwoods. This is a place to get away from it all and feel great. So why don’t you let us ride in on a white horse and tame your tension? A great and unique gift idea is…a trail camera!

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A trail cam used to be something only a serious hunter would utilize. Now you see even casual outdoor enthusiasts using them. It’s a great way to enjoy some special wildlife moments, which is a fun activity for all ages and a good way to have a shared family experience. You don’t have to have a “trail” to use one either. Woodland animals are not shy about using all of the square footage that Mother Nature provides them. Just put one up in your driveway.

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One of the fringe benefits, we’ve come to find out, is they can act as a makeshift security camera. I once had a client who would arrive at the cabin each weekend, only to find an empty beer can perched in the planter near the front door. After he installed a trail cam, he discovered it was a calling card from a good buddy who had an “uncanny” sense of humor.

And wait there’s more! They’re not terribly expensive! Our work here is done. Ho, Ho, Ho! – Wanda Boldon

 

It’s Open Season – for a Hunting Property

Fall hunting seasons are right around the corner! The time is right to make an appointment with a CENTURY 21 agent to find the perfect place for your sport. Here are a couple of options to get you in the mood!

This 19 acre property overlooks a small lake. (Did someone say “duck hunting”?) It has plenty of comfortable space for your crew, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The tuck under garage has been closed off and could be a storage room for your gear or a great place to process your deer.

Smith Lake, $175,000, MLS 904911

Smith Lake, $175,000, MLS 904911

If you want the ultimate hunting camp, this property on Webb Creek Drive is going to get you excited. It has 132 acres of prime hunting land and a 1200 square foot cabin that really sets the stage for a traditional hunting camp experience. The open floor plan gives you the flexibility to create sleeping, eating and recharging areas that are tailored to your needs. The current owners think a competitive game of pool is a good way to wind down and relax after a rigorous day of hunting!

Chicog Township, $260,000, MLS 901105

Chicog Township, $260,000, MLS 901105

Whether you’re looking for a full blown hunting camp or just a great piece of land, we have more nice options for you on our website at www.c21sandcounty.com. The hunt is on! It’s not too late to find and close on a property that’s right for you. – Wanda Boldon