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Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of August 2, 2012
Wisconsin Outdoor Report as of August 2, 2012
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GENERAL | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region
Despite the heat, and resulting warm waters, fish, as you might expect havenít taken all the mid-summer fun out of angling. You may have to adjust your depths, or your fishing times, and be a bit more patient than usual, but they are biting in many places.
Nine- to 11-inch crappies have been taken along the rock rip rap below Lock and Dam 11 with a small jig equipped with a small minnow. Anglers are getting the attention of musky on the Upper Chippewa Basin and even a bit in Dane County.
The perch bite is still in full swing around on Lake Winnebago, but due to the continued heat, algae continues to a problem on the lake and the Fox River. Water users should continue to avoid areas of blue-green algae and shower after being in the water.
Lake Michigan trollers have been taking good numbers of chinook, along with a few coho, lake trout, and rainbow trout. Fish have been scattered, and constant wind switches have made staying on the fish challenging. Anglers are catching smallmouth bass throughout Door County waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan.
Turkeys are being seen dining in fields and ditches. Deer are also being seen, including increasingly filled out young bucks and does with twins. Bears are burglarizing bird feeders, coolers full of food left outside and cabin porches for left overs. To prevent the pilfering, and ensure your safety and the bearís, take feeders in at night, or better yet, put them away for the summer, take coolers in, along with left overs. And, of course, secure your garbage and garbage cans.
From south to north, the landscape goes form brown, tan to green and many state parks, trails and wildlife areas in the north offer a reprieve, if not from the heat, at least some cooling green shade.
The warm weather has the berries blooming, and depending on the area, some fine crops of berries, along with nuts is expected. Walnuts and walnut leaves have already started to drop and an occasional hickory nut can be found as well. Arrowhead, cardinal flower, wild rice, swamp milkweed, Joe-pye weed, water lily, pickerelweed and Indian Pipe are all blooming. Asters of all varieties are joining in and little bluestem has started to fluff and goldenrods are getting showy.
The public can provide input on Wisconsinís efforts to restore elk through an online survey at the DNR website. You can find it by searching for "elk reintroduction." The survey will be available the entire month of August.
In the past week, 27 wildfires burned 61 acres in DNR protection areas around the state. The largest was a 35-acre fire in Oconto County, caused by debris burning. Lightning was the cause of an 11-acre fire in Monroe Countyís Mill Bluff State Park. The fire burned through a meadow and into oak and jack pine. Drought conditions and a burning six-inch layer of pine needles made it difficult to extinguish the blaze. Fire burned the west bluff of Devilís Lake State Park, an area difficult to access, in Sauk County. The fire remains under investigation. Emergency Burning Restrictions were lifted within DNR organized protection areas of in Crawford, Dane, Grant, Iowa, Sauk and Richland counties. Emergency Burning Restrictions remain in effect for 11 counties: Adams, Columbia, Green Lake, Jackson, Juneau, Marquette, Monroe, Portage, Waupaca, Waushara and Wood. Check out the currentn fire danger web page for more information. Campfire bans have also been lifted at numerous state parks properties.
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Ashland DNR Service Center area
Ashland County - Mid-summer fishing has been slow, which is to be expected. Lake levels and weed growth are about normal. Bear complaints continue and berry pickers are reporting mixed success
Douglas County - The water has warmed up considerably with the warm weather, but fishing has still been good in the deeper water and early and late in the day. Bear problems have been reported, including cabin break ins. People are reminded to not leave food in screened in areas, or outside coolers and to keep garbage in secure locations. Bird feeders should be brought in at night and all spilled seed cleaned up, or better yet donít feed birds at all during the times bears are out. This will help avoid interactions between bears and people.
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - River water levels are low, but near normal for this time of year on the north and south forks of the Chippewa River system. Fishing is good for bass, musky, walleye and catfish on area rivers. Individuals fishing musky should remember with lower water and warm weather, that the quicker they can release the fish, the better. If there is no need for a picture, donít pull it out of the water, just release it. Many are having success on top water for smallmouth bass on the river systems. If fishing holes, crawlers and leeches are doing well. Individuals fishing the musky are using both top-water and medium running baits. Action is better early and late. Concentrating on deeper areas around holes seems to be producing more fish. The catfish bite is best in early evening, into dusk. Cut bait is best right now due to smallmouth, rough fish, and chubs being real active and ďnibblingĒ crawlers to pieces before the catfish can get them. Walleye are doing okay on crawlers, minnows and leeches in the holes. Again, early morning and dusk are best. A few decent fish have been observed, with some in the 20-plus inch range. The larger fish have been taken on large size crank baits on the edge of the holes in the dusk and dawn. Blackberries are starting to ripen. There are plenty of green and red berries on the bushes, and a few are ripe. If we get the predicted rain this weekend, there should continue to be a good crop into August, like last year. Beaver are starting to work on feed beds and dams. Areas with beaver are seeing aspen trees being chewed down already dams being heightened.
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Waterfowl and their young can be seen frequently while they fed on invertebrates and wild rice. Fishing on area lakes has been slow because the warm weather and warm waters. The St. Croix River is at a low and caution should be used on the river. Water levels can change rapidly due to rainfall outside of the immediate area. Does and fawns have been very active in the area, so use caution while driving.
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Great egrets have been seen on Fish Lake Wildlife Area just west of the Grettum Refuge. Shorebirds can be spotted on Grettum flowage at Fish Lake as well as Dike 1. Deer are becoming more visible in fields and the bucks are almost fully developed. Blackberries and pin cherries are ripe.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Ongoing warm weather has kept fishing and boating levels high. Water temperatures have dropped back to the upper-70s to low-80s degree range and musky fishing has been getting a bit of attention with the slight cool down. Nearly all anglers are reporting quite a few follows, sightings and short hits - and there have also been a good number caught in the 28-38-inch range. The deep weed edges and the less-dense weed beds continue to hold most of the fish, with stick baits, buck tails and surface baits being the popular lures. Bass fishing has continued to be good with largemouth providing the most consistent action. The largemouth continue to be found near heavy cover such as logs, docks, thick weeds and bog edges, with soft plastics and bass jigs providing the best success. Lily pad beds have become hard to fish as the stems have hardened up and made it hard to get bait through, and even tougher to get the fish out of. Smallie fishing has been erratic as the warm temperatures and low water levels seem to have pushed many of the fish to deeper water. Crawlers, leeches and small finesse plastics have been getting most of the action. Walleye angling has been fair. Some good success on 12-16 inch fish has been reported on the deep weed edges and deep rock/gravel bars, with leeches and night crawlers continuing to be the best baits. A few walleye have been caught on minnow stick baits fished along weeds edges in the hour before dark. Panfish action has been fair and a few nice catches of crappie, bluegill and rock bass have been made in the last week. Small jigs tipped with a grub and slip bobbers fished with a small leech or crawler piece have been successful in producing fish, and the bigger panfish have been suspended near cover in the mid-depth ranges of 8-14 feet.
Taylor County - Cool mornings have increased bear hound training across the county. Dog trainers are using the cooler weather to exercise and work their hounds as the bear dog training season continues through the month. Area rivers and streams are feeling the effects of the dry summer. Streams and rivers are at very low flows causing fish to concentrate in pools and being very susceptible to fishing pressure and predation. Black and raspberries are maturing early this summer and are at their prime right now. Some area red oaks are carrying large amounts of acorns this year and have begun to drop them due to stress from dry conditions.
Rhinelander DNR Service Center area
Even though rains have kept things green in the Rhinelander area, plants, animals and fish are warm weather stress. Some fish kills have been observed due to the warm weather and staff has been busy working with waterfront owners identifying algae blooms, which also pull oxygen out of the water, harming fish. The blackberry crop is getting rain when it has been needed and it looks like a great year for berries. People are reporting seeing turkeys in the fields and road sides. This is the time of year that they are feeding on the grasshoppers. The grasshoppers provide a lot of protein and are easily available this time of year. There have been several nuisance bear issues. A strong berry crop and then the acorn crop typically pulls bear back into the woods where they belong.
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Lincoln County - Though we could use the rain, Lincoln County hasnít been hit hard by the drought to the south. There have been no reports of fish kills, however catch and release anglers are encouraged to minimalize handling of fish as they get easily stressed when the water temperature goes up.
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Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Areas that have been getting rain are producing good blackberries. Trails have been cleared and mowed in the Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area. Acorns and hazelnuts seem to be abundant this year, providing a great food source for wildlife. Lots of turkey broods are using roadsides and forest openings to feed on insects and weed seeds. Some mourning doves are still sitting on nests, and a few late broods of bluebirds have now fledged. Spotted Knapweed is in full bloom offering a great time to identify new infestations and pull/bag plants before they seed. Now is also a good time to mow knapweed to reduce seed production. Garlic mustard is mostly brown now and seed is now viable-- if you suspect you have a patch try to avoid dispersing those seeds to new areas. Floating the Peshtigo River from the municipal garage down to the mouth has been providing some fast action for pike and smallmouth bass. Surface plugs and plastics have been the baits of choice. Some perch are being caught off Little River in the weed beds using minnows and crappie rigs. Fish are being caught in 10-15 feet of water. Salmon and trout anglers have maintained a good rate of catch in area of the Trout Bar and Green Island. Many of the fish are in 80-100 feet of water. Walleye anglers are reporting some nice fish being caught in the Green Island area using crawler/harness and jigging with minnows and plastics.
Oconto County - Water temperatures in the bay are hovering around 80 degrees with many anglers and pleasure boaters taking advantage of the hot weather. Bluegill and smallmouth continue to provide good fishing below the dam at Stiles. Slip bobbers and live bait have been working well on both species. From the Iron Bridge on the Oconto River and downstream anglers have been using crank baits and plastics for smallmouth. Many rafters are also taking advantage of the landing at the Iron Bridge to take a leisurely float down the river. The walleye bite on the bay from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II remains good with most fish being caught in 20-30 feet of water using crawler/harness. Geano beach anglers were catching walleye in about 15-35 feet of water on crawler harnesses (white or purple in color) as well as some perch in about 8-12 feet of water and by the weeds along the shore.
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Rumor has it that yellow perch are biting. However, by most accounts from as far north as Maccoís Reef on the east shore and Oconto on the west shore and all the south to the Fox River, perch fishing has been spotty at best. White perch are abundant as are gobies. Walleyes continue to bite along the west shore of Green Bay. Some anglers have reported success off of Oconto Shoal trolling crank baits.
Brown County - Anglers were catching walleye on the Fox River, but not many due to the warm weather. For bait, they were using crawler harnesses (white, purple, green in color) and crank baits. They are also catching some walleye at the mouth of the river by the Metro Boat Landing. Sheepshead, catfish, carp and drum are still making appearances. At Bayshore Park, anglers were targeting walleye and perch. The walleye were caught on crawler harnesses (either gold or white in color) or crank baits (blue/black/silver color) in 15-20 feet of water. Some were also using night crawlers for walleye, but most are using artificial bait. For perch, anglers were using either minnows or night crawlers and they had limited success. At Suamico Landing, anglers were starting to catch a few perch and bluegill from the boat landing and shore, boaters were also catching a few perch in about 8-12 feet of water. Minnows and night crawlers were the most used for perch. Some walleye were caught as well in about 15-35 feet of water. Boaters were also catching sheepshead, catfish and carp. Turkey broods are still common to see feeding in fields in the mid-mornings and early afternoons. Raspberry and blackberry patches are at or just past ripening.
Manitowoc County - Fishing has been steady for the last couple weeks. Very little has changed since last week. Most salmon are being caught in 90-160 feet of water. The strong winds at the end of the week have stirred the waters, but the top 40-60 feet of water remains in the low 70s. Winds and storms have kept many off the water and shortened some fishing trips in the last week. Most boats are fishing the entire bottom half of the water column with some doing well running setups on downriggers very near the bottom. Fish are spread out with the spread out baitfish. Because of this boats are covering a lot of water and experimenting with many depths. Few schools of alewives are being graphed, though the boats that are finding baitfish are doing quite well. The thermocline is still at the 45-65 foot depth in the Two Rivers/Manitowoc area. White flashers and green flies have been reported to be catching fish as usual. Glow spoons before sunup and in the late evening have been productive. Few boats are running boards because of the warm water near the surface. Very little has changed in the last three weeks in regards to pier fishing in Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Browns are occasionally being caught both on the harbor side and the lake side of the piers but even these fish are probably moving offshore because of the warm water. Some smallmouth, drum, and occasional northern are being caught. Perch fishing has been slow. Some large channel catfish are being caught in the Manitowoc River on fermented bait. The West Twin River continues to be productive for bullheads. Smallmouths are occasionally being caught near area dams, obstructions, and current breaks.
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - Anglers are catching smallmouth bass throughout Door County waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. A variety of methods have been working including everything from live bait to top-water to crank baits but soft plastics remain the favorite. Sizes are generally smaller than earlier in the year and most anglers are targeting deeper waters and off shore structure. However, shore anglers continue to catch some smallmouth bass. They key for shore bound anglers is to find a place with adequate depth and cover and to fish during dawn/dusk/night. A few perch are being caught in the Sturgeon Bay ship canal area from both boat and shore with a few anglers reported larger numbers but most report only a few each trip. Rock bass, pumpkinseeds and bluegills continue to provide steady action for families and those anglers looking to catch a bunch of fish and go home with some tasty fillets. On Little Sturgeon Bay, anglers were targeting walleye, perch, and smallmouth bass with pier anglers targeting perch and sunfish using primarily night crawlers. Boat anglers were reporting catching these fish in 15-20 feet of water. In Sawyer Harbor and on Little Sturgeon Bay, water temperatures were around 75 degrees. Walleye numbers are still steady and perch numbers are still low with the exception of Chaudoir's Dock, where it seems to be picking up. Weekends seem to be the best for perch Look for rock piles, docks, or other structure and cover for the rock bass and look for aquatic vegetation for the bluegills and pumpkinseeds. Find these type of habitats near deeper water to catch the bigger panfish. Anglers are still catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout as well as an occasional brown trout but anglers are generally having to go out further, fish deeper, and target low light times of the day. Colors and choice of lures have continue to vary widely but spoons and trolling at a slower speed between 1.5-2 mph seems to be really working for some. Main lake side of the Peninsula seems to be working best but some anglers are still reporting catches from the Green Bay side as well. Interested anglers can learn about salmon and trout stocking reductions designed to balance game fish populations with available forage base at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Aug. 7 at the DNR Northesast Region Headquarters, 2984 Shawano Ave., in Green Bay or at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., in Milwaukee.
Kewaunee County - Salmon and trout are still being caught but constant wind switches have made staying on the fish challenging. Generally, the low light times of the day (dawn/dusk) are producing the best. Most popular areas continue to be 90 to 190 feet of water, 50-120 feet down, for chinook salmon and occasional rainbow trout/steelhead and lake trout. Most consistent rainbow/steelhead and coho salmon catches have come from over 200 to 350 feet of water, 30 to 80 feet down, with some kings mixed in a bit deeper out there once the sun is up (roughly 60-120 down out deep). Some pre-spawn browns continue to be caught by those trying the shallower waters, 20-40 feet, on spoons and stickbaits. Browns are averaging 5 to 10 pounds, with some in the teens reported on occasion. Best days to fish browns are after a rain or after rough seas have dirtied up the nearshore waters. Fish the edge of the dirty/clear water. If itís mostly clear, the use of planers well away from the boat is necessary for more action. Interested anglers can learn about salmon and trout stocking reductions designed to balance game fish populations with available forage base at a 6:30 p.m. meeting Aug. 7 at the DNR Northesast Region Headquarters, 2984 Shawano Ave., in Green Bay or at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 9 at the Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., in Milwaukee.
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Due to the continued heat, algae on Lake Winnebago and the Fox River have continued to grow. Water users should continue to avoid areas of blue-green algae and shower after being in the water. The perch bite is still in full swing around Neenah and High Cliff, but anglers are reporting that the bite is intermittent. Many anglers are also reporting that the fish are not in their usual locations from years past. The panfish bite below the Menasha dam has been pretty good as well as the smallmouth bass bite on the Fox River, especially in Appleton.
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Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - Trollers in Sheboygan have been catching mostly chinook, along with a few rainbows, coho, and lake trout. Fish have been found out to 300 feet of water, but some anglers have been in as shallow as 80 feet. Flies, spoons, and J-plugs have all taken fish. Fishing off the Sheboygan piers has been slow, but when water temperatures are cooler near shore, anglers had been catching some rainbows on alewives.
Ozaukee County - Trollers in Port Washington have been taking good numbers of chinook, along with a few coho, lake trout, and rainbow trout. Fish have been scattered, but most trollers have been focusing their efforts between 60-160 feet of water. Shore fishing in Port Washington has been slow. Areas of the county have received some much needed rain in the past week or so and things have begun greening up again. The recent rain has also helped the water levels slightly, but more rain is needed. Fishing on inland waters remains slow due to the low water levels and high water temperatures. Anglers are having the most success in deeper water areas on inland waters. Anglers are continuing to have good luck on Lake Michigan.
Milwaukee County - Trollers have had to search to find fish, but once they are found anglers have been catching chinook, along with a few rainbows and lake trout. Most trollers have been working 105-175 feet of water with baits about 60-100 feet deep. Fishing off McKinley pier has been slow, but during low light hours a few perch have been taken off the rocks on small jigs. Anglers at Jones Island have reported a few browns taken on spoons and alewives fished on the bottom
Racine County - Trollers have been successful fishing 60-100 feet down in 105-175 feet of water. They have been catching mainly chinook, though occasional rainbows and Coho have also been caught. Those fishing from shore in Racine have had very little success, but anglers have managed to catch a few browns from the pier. Perch fishing is slow both from shore and for boaters.
Kenosha County - The hot fishing continues in the county waters of Lake Michigan. Anglers report that even with warm water temperatures king salmon, lake trout and brown trout have all been feeding with fury. Much needed rain has continued to fall in the county and both the Pike River and Des Plaines are high enough to enjoy an afternoon canoe trip to explore some scenic, hidden areas of Kenosha County.
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SOUTH CENTRAL REGION
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Green County - Does and fawns are becoming a regular sight as well as a few bucks in velvet. Turkeys and their chicks are being more readily observed. The ATV and Bike trails in the area are usually a cool and shaded place to get away but currently they are extremely dusty. Even though we have had a little rain a lot of the area waterways are still very low and areas that tubers and canoes can usually get through without issue are now low enough that people need to get out and walk.
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Dane County - Sport fishing activity on the Madison area lakes has varied from moderate to good recently. Pan fishers have been having decent action on bluegills and crappie with some sporadic action on perch as well. Bass anglers have been finding good action on both smallmouth and largemouth bass using both jigs and top water lures. Walleyes anglers have been finding moderate action on the bottom using live bait and trolling crank baits. Musky anglers have been having moderate action casting spinners top water and creature lures. Despite recent rainfall events boaters should remain cautious operating on Madison area lakes as water levels remain generally low.
Jefferson County - The boating conditions have improved on area rivers. Large bluegills are being caught again on Rock Lake in the deep water. The catfish have been active on the Rock and Crawfish Rivers. Anglers should seek deep holes on outside corners of the rivers.
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WEST CENTRAL REGION
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Willow River State Park - Green. In a word, that describes the park perfectly. Thereís no drought here. Grass is being cut twice a week and the prairie is green. White-tailed deer are keeping themselves well fed and at least three sets of twin fawns have been observed. We may have some badgers around based on the excavations park staff recently found. Ticks seem to be asleep but there are more mosquitoes than in past years. It is also algae season so the lake is running on the green end of the clarity spectrum. Hot weather brings algae and more heat is predicted.
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Merrick State Park - All trails are open and in good condition. Cardinal flower is blooming throughout the south campground, as are a variety of water lilies. Swamp milkweed and Joe-Pye Weed are also beautiful right now. Both boat launches are open. Water levels have fallen drastically and staff is hard at work extending the boat landings with gravel. Please use extreme caution when on the river since new hazards may present themselves in the low water.
Perrot State Park - All of the trails is open for hiking and are in good condition. All campsites are open, all shower buildings are open and most water fountains are working. The dump station is open and water is also available at that location. Mother Nature continues to challenge us with high temperatures and no rain. Despite this, the fall bloomers are lining up for show. Arrowhead, cardinal flower, wild rice, swamp milkweed, Joe-Pye Weed, water lily, pickerelweed and Indian Pipe are all blooming. Asters of all varieties are joining in and Little Bluestem has started to fluff. Goldenrods are getting rather showy. Monarchs have been sporadic and swallow numbers have risen exponentially. Eagles and their young are regulars once again over the bay. Leopard frogs have never been more common, and green frogs fill the night air with banjo-like twangs. Walnuts and walnut leaves are raining down throughout the park. Hackberries are golden yellow and an occasional hickory nut can be found as well. Berries have pretty much dried up, but a few very ripe Gooseberries can still be found. River levels have fallen radically due to the continued drought.
Great River State Trail - There are some rough areas due to ruts from riders riding on wet soils. Keep your eyes peeled for ripening crab apples and wild plums. We are working hard at keeping the trail open and clear of brush. Bathrooms at Lytles and Trempealeau are open. Gnats and flies are bothersome if you donít outrun them. Butterflies are a wonderful distraction if you arenít riding too fast.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Conditions remain dry in the area as no measurable rain has fallen in the past week. Days are getting shorter which seems to be resulting in more comfortable evenings for camping. The forest is still under emergency burning restrictions. All-terrain vehicle trails were groomed within the last two weeks and are in good shape for riding. Trails will be dusty do to the lack of rain. Ride with your lights on. The following are some good links regarding ATV safety, rules and regulations. Pigeon Creek campground offers a small swimming beach with bathrooms, playground equipment, picnic tables and grills, and ample parking nearby. It is a great place to escape the heat this summer.
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Fish seem sluggish in the now warm water lakes of Chippewa County, which has resulted in limited angling success. Fishing at Long Lake has been fair for smallmouth bass, but the bass being caught are large in size. The cat fishing on the Chippewa River downstream of Lake Wissota has been outstanding, with many large channel and flathead cats being caught on sucker minnow and cut bait. Night time is a good chance to get out of the heat and try something different on the water. Boaters should use caution and watch for stumps and rocks. Remember to check your boat lights before you go out. Anglers are catching small largemouth bass and bluegills on Glen Lock off of County Road S. A small public boat landing exists below the tavern below the golf course. Fishing at Otter Lake is reportedly slow. ATV traffic on the County Forest trails is moderate. Wildlife enthusiasts will start to see more bachelor groups of buck deer in the fieldsí right before dark. The DNR is also asking the public to participate in the annual "Operation Deer Watch" deer surveys starting Aug. 1 through Sept. 30. Anyone can submit their observations on the DNR provided forms. .
Eau Claire County -Boaters on Lake Altoona are taking limits of perch using European worms to fish just off the bottom in about 10 feet of water. Lake Altoona has a daily bag limit on panfish of 10. Shoreline anglers below the Lake Altoona Dam, on the south side, have been catching a lot of undersized smallmouth bass and some panfish using a simple hook with worm presentation. An Osprey with a nearby nest is often seen fishing the waters of Lake Altoona and the Eau Claire River.
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