Step Outside - Wisconsin WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Wisconsin 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sun, 18 Nov 2018 03:46:55 -0600 Best Winter Weekend Getaway at Governor Nelson State Park Oftentimes when we think of winter, we remember all of the snow we had to shovel this past year and how much salt we had to purchase for our sidewalks. We tend to forget that winter can be a pleasurable season filled with crackling fireplaces and the beauty that is an icy Mother Nature, as well as a joyous time to spend time with family. Experience a cozy winter weekend getaway near Governor Nelson State Park in Waunakee, Wisconsin. Remember what it feels like to enjoy the winter season.

Wait, did someone say crackling fireplaces? How about crackling Victorian fireplaces? This rustic bed and breakfast was rated the fifth-best American romantic inn by American Historic Inns, according to Cameo Rose’s website. Filled with elegance and luxury, a weekend getaway here would entail relaxing rendezvous to the whirlpool room, breakfasts fit for kings—and queens—and soul-soothing solitude from the bustle of everyday life. Whether you enjoy a crisp walk on the inn’s 120 acres or would rather remain inside indulging in a favorite movie on a flat screen TV with fresh-baked goods, Cameo Rose can cater to your needs—and your family’s too.

Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. In fact, it’s even better. Morningside Trail is a 2.4-mile loop that meanders through restored prairies. In the winter, trail-goers have the added options of skiing, snowshoeing, or bringing beloved pets along (on a leash, of course).

Ruddy cheeks. The crunch of boots on ice. Hot Hands warming pockets. Sound familiar? Ice fish out of Spring Harbor Park or, if the ice is thick enough, travel on to Lake Mendota itself to drop a line. Spend the day in a rented ice shanty or brave the cold on a 10-gallon bucket flipped over to make a chair and experience a true Midwest winter. 

While visiting Governor Nelson State Park it might be appropriate to spend a day at Pheasant Branch Conservancy, hiking, birdwatching, or snowshoeing—or maybe a combination of all three. Just a short distance away from the state park, the conservancy offers an awe-inspiring look at nature with 160 acres of land to explore. The conservancy is an experience family members of all ages will enjoy and cherish.

Yes, you read that right—the National Mustard Museum. Most museums may be home to art pieces from previous decades, pharaohs encased in tombs, or modern architecture that may be just a little difficult to wrap your head around. This museum is home to more than 6,090 mustards from all 50 states and from more than 70 countries, according to the museum’s website. How about that! And here you thought the only mustards that mattered were yellow and Dijon.

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It would be a bummer to travel so close to Wisconsin’s capitol city and not venture in for a tour of the capitol building. Witness the elegant first-floor rotunda, the Supreme Court Room, and maybe brush shoulders with members of the Wisconsin legislature. Go on a guided tour or simply wander around the building of your own accord, capturing snapshots of the interior decorations while you go. The Wisconsin State Capitol will surprise you with its beauty and charm.

Maybe the family is in the mood for something a little sillier and a little cheesier. Visit the Mousehouse Cheesehaus and experience at least 20 different cheeses all made in Wisconsin. More goodies than just cheese are available, the Mousehouse offers homemade fudge, sausages and other specialty foods such as maple syrup and honey. Don’t forget to pack your Cheesehead to wear while you’re there!

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While there aren’t many areas available for hunting purposes during the winter near Madison, Wisconsin, there is one park that allows limited trapping. Want to experience the thrill of the hunt? Trapping may be the answer. McCarthy County Park is 22 acres of wildland that contains any number of critters. Set your traps, and all you have to do is wait.

Beyond a doubt, these gardens are nothing to sneeze at. Home to Bolz Conservatory, Olbrich offers a tropical indoor conservatory filled with exotic plants, fragrant flowers, free-flying birds, and a waterfall. Admission is affordable, even if the whole family decides to tag along. The air inside is humid and a great refresher during a mid-winter slump. 

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Leave the kids—if you have them—at the hotel or bring them with! Drumlin Ridge is family-owned and while obviously there are adult beverages available, the children can still roam the winery and learn about how wine is made. Tours are offered daily and walk-ins are welcome.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-at-governor-nelson-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/best-winter-weekend-getaway-at-governor-nelson-state-park Mon, 12 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0600
SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around High Cliff State Park Situated on Lake Winnebago, High Cliff State Park is among the most picturesque places to visit in Wisconsin. To truly experience all that the nearly 1,200-acre park has to offer, you have to make a trip of it! Enjoy historical sites, hiking trails, and area restaurants as you escape to High Cliff State Park.  

High Cliff State Park is located in Sherwood, Wisconsin. The park bumps right up to Wisconsin’s largest lake—Lake Winnebago. There are tons of beautiful views to take in throughout the 1,187-acre park. Hike, camp, bike, snowshoe, and more at High Cliff State Park. 

While there are tons of different trails for all levels of hikers at High Cliff, we’d recommend the Red Bird Trail. You can start your hiking at the family campground or the tower parking lot. The Red Bird Trail runs parallel to the stunning Niagara Escarpment. You’ll find beautiful views of Lake Winnebago and unique rock structures like limestone quarries. Hike 3.4 miles through heavy forest, but don’t forget to stop at the Chief Red Bird Statue and the park observation tower. 

A historical statue of Red Bird, Chief of the Winnebagos, can be found along Red Bird Trail. This beautiful statue of Chief Red Bird depicts the fearless leader in authentic costume dating back to 1827. Brush up on your history of the Ho-Chunk Native American Tribe and one of the most dramatic incidents in Wisconsin history.  

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Catch beautiful views from High Cliff State Park’s observation tower. The observation tower is located at the top of the escarpment near Red Bird Trail and Historical Red Bird Statue. Watch the sunset over the west side of Lake Winnebago from this 40-foot tower. Catch views of all of the Fox Valley (Appleton, Oshkosh, Neenah, Menasha, and Kaukauna.) Don’t forget to take your camera along for the perfect selfie. 

Even when the temperatures drop, there is fun to be had at High Cliff. Winter activities at High Cliff include skiing, fat tire biking, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. When the trails are snow-covered, certain trails in the park are designated for skiing. On the segment of the Red Bird Trail from the Red Bird Statue to the Family Campground, fat-tire bikers are welcome to explore. Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in High Cliff except on designed ski trails. Explorers will also find a three-mile snowmobiling trail through the park, connecting Lake Winnebago with the Calumet County snowmobile trail system. 

Located just north of the campground off the Indian Mount Trail you’ll find signs for the Effigy Mounds. They were built by nomadic woodland tribes dating back to 1000 A.D. and 1500 A.D. Some mounds were used for burial and funeral purposes, while others remained empty for ceremonial purposes. Originally there were 30 mounds within High Cliff State Park. Unfortunately, only nine remain. 

Dishing up delicious Chicago-style pizza with “that guaranteed Sicilian taste,” Pagoni’s is the perfect place to stop and fill up your belly after a long adventure! Their delicious stuffed pizzas feature two layers of crust, stuffed with mozzarella, red sauce, and your favorite ingredients, and topped with chunky marinara and parmesan cheese. Yum! 

If camping isn’t in the books, stay overnight at the quaint and charming Roost Bed & Breakfast in Appleton. Featuring five contemporary suites with gas fireplaces, whirlpool tubs, and private baths, this will be a relaxing way to close your adventure. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-high-cliff-state-park http://stepoutside.org/article/spotlight-things-to-do-in-and-around-high-cliff-state-park Fri, 02 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Cool Spots for ATV Off-Roading in Wisconsin Wisconsinites love a little off-roading adventure. In the Badger State, you’ll find forested areas and wonderfully-rugged terrain suited perfectly for an ATV journey. If you’re ready to spend the day in nature and get a little muddy, check out these five awesome spots for ATV off-roading in the state. 

Enjoy 118 miles of ATV and UTV trails in Iron County. Start your fun trip at the Schomberg Park trailhead. You’ll experience the beautifully forested Northwoods, lakes, and even some waterfalls. There are tons of great stops just off the trail for you to load up on food and water before heading back out for more engine revving.

Black River Falls is an ATV lover’s dream—specifically Jackson County. They host tons of ATV-thrill seekers throughout the year. There are over 100 miles of trails that wind through the beautiful Wisconsin scenery. That being said, Black River Falls is home to many different animals that you might encounter on your tour! So watch out! 

While the Chippewa County ATV Trail is only about a string of 20 miles—it is by far the most challenging. You’ll find tough inclines and challenging hills and valleys as you meander your way through. You can thank Mother Nature’s glaciers for such an exhilarating trip.

Ride all day through more than 150 miles of ATV trails within Florence County. You’ll come across a few different overlook sights and two different waterfalls along your way. Trails are open year around, besides April. Check out why Florence County ATV Trails are some of the most sought out in the Midwest!

Life on the ATV is much better lived in Douglas County. The trail covers a network of over 100 miles during the summer months. Stop at Amnicon Falls State Park, Big Manitou Falls, and catch a waterfall at Pattison State Park.  There are a couple of great food stops along the way for body refueling.

*Note: Age restrictions, special licenses, and other requirements for off highway vehicles vary from state to state. Before heading out on your OHV, please consult your local regulations.

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iStock.com/jetstream4wd http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-cool-spots-for-atv-offroading-in-wisconsin Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Stunning Foliage Hikes in Wisconsin Fall is by far Wisconsin’s most beautiful season. The weather is perfect and the foliage is at its most gorgeous state. It’s the perfect time to head outside and get the blood pumping on a hike. Here are some of the most stunning foliage hikes Wisconsin. 

The Sentinel Trail at the Peninsula State Park is the perfect two-mile loop.  You’ll find maple, beech, and red pine trees along the trail loop. This trail offers breathtaking views inside one of Wisconsin’s favorite natural spots. We recommend taking your hike at sunset for even more stunning views. 

The entire Bearskin State Trail runs 18 miles-long through three different communities in Northern Wisconsin. If you don’t want to commit to its 18-mile length there are tons of areas that are great to shorten your trek. While on the trail, you will stroll along a few different bridges across Minocqua’s chain of lakes. Catch beautiful sunsets sneaking between the tree-lined trail. We recommend coming during the fall months for some of Wisconsin’s most beautiful shades of autumn.  

There are tons of hiking trails within Devil’s Lake State Park. We recommend the East Bluff Trail at Devil’s Lake for some of the best seasonal foliage. The hike itself is a moderate feat at about 1.7 miles in length and will take you 45-90 minutes to complete. You’ll find inspiring views of Devil’s Lake, along with its most prized views of hardwood forest landscape. 

If you are looking for more of a difficult hiking trail, but don’t want to sacrifice the beautiful views—try the Perrot Ridge Trail. Located in Perrot State Park, this 1.5-mile-long trail has beautiful views of Trempealeau Bay.  Heavy foliage of wildflowers and trees fill the steep trail that makes Perrot Ridge Trail.

Rib Mountain State Park is best experienced in the fall, when the vibrant colors of autumn bring the trees to life. For an easier hike, try the Blue Trail. Along the way, hikers will be afforded views of striking rock formations. There is also asphalt along the trail, making it less labor-intensive. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-stunning-foliage-hikes-in-wisconsin Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
ATV Off-Roading Adventure at Cheese Country Trail System If there is an off-roading adventure to be had, Wisconsin is an excellent choice. One of the most beloved trail systems in the state is the Cheese Country Trail System running from Mineral Point to Monroe. Not only is the off-roading experience awe-inspiring and exhilarating, but there is so much to do in the surrounding area. Start with a cup of joe, hop on the trails, and finish off your day with a cold one and a bite to eat. Here’s how to have the ultimate off-roading adventure in Wisconsin! 

Start your morning off at the Red Rooster Café located less than a mile off of the parking lot for the Cheese Country Trail. The Red Rooster is open early, at 5 a.m. Grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat before you head out for your off-roading adventure. You’ll love the old school, cozy vibe you get at Red Rooster. 

The Cheese Country Trail system, also known as the Tri County Trail, is located within Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. This is the perfect trail system for those looking for a day well spent on and off the trail. Hop on the trail system by using the parking located in Mineral Point. You will find almost 50 miles of trails that are open to ATVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and horseback riding. 

This Darlington speedway is rich in history and an excellent place to check out while you’re in the area. Lafayette County Speedway has decades of auto-racing history beneath its belt. The track has been around since the 1950s, and continues to draw crowds for stock car racing to this day. Check out their schedule to see what event you can catch while you’re here! 

With stone walls and exposed beams to create a rustic, relaxed feel, Brewery Creek is a great place to unwind after a long day on the trails. You have to check out their steak. Try the Kentucky Bourbon—a char-grilled, eight-ounce certified Angus center cut top sirloin with Kentucky Bourbon and onion sauce for a dark, sweet, a slightly spicy flavor. Is your mouth watering? Be sure to enjoy one of their brews as well. Check their menu to see what’s currently on tap!   

Situated in historic downtown Mineral Point, this hotel will make you feel like you’re at home. Mineral Point Hotel is located right nearby local restaurants, museums, and antique shops. This two-story hotel constructed in 1857 has just five incredibly comfortable guest rooms—so get booking! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-cheese-country-trail-system http://stepoutside.org/article/atv-offroading-adventure-at-cheese-country-trail-system Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Best Fishing Spots in Wisconsin Ask any real fisherman and they’ll never give up their secret spot for massive fish. But there are 15 different lakes in Wisconsin just waiting for you to drop a line in. Whether you’re looking for dinner or just looking to do some casting, we’ve got the hook up. Here are the best fishing spots in the state.

Cedar Lake a beautiful 1,120-acre lake perfect for fishing. Throw a bobber in or trolley around casting for walleye, musky, pike, panfish, and bass. The lake itself only get to about 32 feet-deep, but you will have hours of fun fishing on the stunning Cedar Lake.

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Rock Lake is a perfect fishing spot to frequent this summer. Grab your gear and fishing accessories and get your line in the water as soon as possible.  Between seaweed beds and rock beds, you’ll find tons of great spots throughout the 1,365-acre lake to pull up panfish, bass, walleye, and northern pike.

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Hope Lake is a small lake within Jefferson County that is home to tons of fish. No motorized motorboats are allowed. Grab your canoe and your favorite fishing partner and spend some time on the peaceful Hope Lake. The lake is moderately clear and get to about 24 feet-deep. You’ll find panfish, bass, and northern pike. If you need bait, stop at the Sandy Beach Bait Shack in Lake Mills. Here, you will find various boat rentals. The shack is not open during the winter months.

Minocqua is a mecca for fishing—especially the chain of lakes. Lake Minocqua has a ton of cozy little bays and rock beds that are perfect for dropping anchor and reeling in a big one. Maximum depth gets to about 60 feet. Frequent fish are musky, panfish, pike, bass, walleye, and perch. For the freshest bait around and top-notch guide services, visit Kurt’s Island Sport Shop. Head out in early morning, wait until the noon bell chimes, head in for lunch, and get back out on the water for some night fishing!

Lake Wisconsin is about 25 feet at its deepest point. This 7,197-acre lake located in Columbia County is the perfect place for a great weekend for fishing. Small and largemouth bass, trout, catfish, panfish, walleye, and pike are available to catch. Deemed “your Lake Wisconsin destination,” the Moon Valley Resort Bait Shop will bring you everything you need as far as fresh bait, boat rentals, licenses, and snacks go.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-best-fishing-spots-in-wisconsin Thu, 01 Nov 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome RV Campsites in Wisconsin When nice weather hits, the campers hit the road. If you’re not into tenting it, then renting or owning an RV is the perfect option. With an RV, every weekend can be spent at a new campsite with new memories to be made.  Check out our favorite awesome RV campsites in Wisconsin. 

Previously known as Hidden Valley, Milton/Madison SE KOA is the perfect place to park the RV for the weekend. Rates are as low at $39 per night and there are seven different campsite options. This campsite offers grills, laundry, internet, tables, a pool, and a playground. This KOA is pet friendly, so don’t forget your four-legged friends this weekend!

Stoney Creek has tons of big rig RV-friendly sites. You can count on Stoney Creek for being a completely family-friendly area, too. Full hook-up and water/electric are available. Other features of the RV sites are a cable hook-up and concrete patios. The resort is perfect for families that are always on the move. Basketball and volleyball courts, a mini golf course, pool, laser tag, and more, are available on the grounds. Bring the entire family for a fun-filled weekend!

The Door County area is a highly sought out destination in Wisconsin.  Take your RV to the Egg Harbor Campground and RV Resort. They offer many family-friendly amenities like a game room, TV and reading room, playgrounds, store, and Wi-Fi. You’ll meet tons of great people and your family will love all of the activities available.

Plymouth Rock Camping Resort is an award-winning destination in Wisconsin. Their RV park is gated and the weekends are action packed.  Themed activities will keep your family busy. Enjoy a pool, clubhouse, picnic area, playground, laundry facilities, an on-site restaurant and clean bathrooms. Four-legged family members are more than welcome to come along. 

Fox Hill RV Park is ranked number one on TripAdvisor. With fair rates and tons to do, you’ll quickly understand why. Their RV sites are designed to hold the largest RVs and trailers. You and your family will feel right at home using their great amenities. Check out their heated pool, showers, volleyball and basketball courts, nature trails, and pet play area. 

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Aleksey Stemmer/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-awesome-rv-campsites-in-wisconsin Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Perfect Fall Camping Spots in Wisconsin There’s no doubt that summer is Wisconsin’s peak season for camping.  However, camping during the fall calls for beautiful autumn views and cool crisp nights. Pack extra blanks and sweaters because it’s going to get chilly, but we promise it’ll be worth it! Here are five perfect fall camping spots in the state. 

Peninsula State Park has eight lovely miles of Lake Michigan shoreline to show for itself. The trails throughout the campground make for the perfect fall scenery. The campground has over 450 sites that feature quiet woods and beautiful foliage. Peninsula State Park is Wisconsin’s treasure year-round. 

Perrot State Park combines the beautiful Trempealeau and Mississippi Rivers in one campground. The towering 500-foot-tall bluffs are the perfect place to catch favorited fall views. There are a little over 100 campsites at Perrot State Park open for reservation. Start a warm fire in the ring right before the crisp fall weather hits at night. Perrot State Park offers some of the best natural, archeological, and historical resources including Brady’s Bluff.

Willow River State Park near Hudson is the perfect place to camping this fall. Be sure to bring your camera and enjoy the cascading rapids and water falls of Willow Falls. There are year-round recreational activities to experience as well as just over 150 campsites. Bring some blankets to snuggle up with around the fire after that chilly fall sunset.

Copper Falls State Park lives up to its name. It holds some of the most beautiful waterfalls, lava flows, gorges and historical 1930s wood cabins—making it one of the most sought out camping destinations in the state. There are exactly 51 campsites available for reservation for this fall. Catch some of the most beautiful fall views in Northern Wisconsin at Copper Falls State Park Campground.

Big Bay State Park is perfect for a fun fall camping experience. Gigantic cliffs overlooking Lake Superior surrounded by colossal color from the autumn trees is the most picturesque fall you could possibly ask for. Head over to the Madeline Island to walk their boardwalk, view their sandstone bluffs, and adventure on Big Bay’s 61 sites. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-perfect-fall-camping-spots-in-wisconsin Tue, 30 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Energizing Hikes in Wisconsin There’s nothing more energizing and fulfilling than completing a hike.  Whether it’s a short or lengthy trail loop, we’ve found some of the most beautiful and exhilarating hikes in the state. Check out our top five energizing hikes—they’ll get your heart pumping for a satisfying trek! 

The Lone Rock Trail is a nine-mile loop part of the Quincy Bluff State Park.  This moderate hike will really get you moving. If you are looking for an exhilarating, long, and rustic trail, Lone Rock Trail is perfect for you. This hike will take you a while to get through so pack some food and pace yourself for a beautiful end destination. 

The West Bluff Trail is a challenging hike part of Devil’s Lake State Park. The 3.5-mile loop is an energizing course but the views are spectacular. The trail combined with the Tumbled Rocks Trail will take nearly an hour and a half to complete. You’ll feel a sense of accomplishment like none other when you’ve completed the route.

Come visit Wisconsin’s highest natural point on this 10-mile hike.  The Timm’s Hill Trail is a moderate trail but lengthy to say the least. This trail connects to the National Ice Age and Rib Lake Trails. The trails are open year around so the fun never stops. You’ll love the 360-degree views from atop Timm’s Hill.

Lost Canyon Trail is a moderate hike within Governor Dodge State Park. This three-mile loop has several steep grades. Your blood will be pumping and a couple of stops may have to be made on the way up. You’ll find thick forested areas along your hike and a waterfall! Best times for hiking are March to October. Bring layers during the fall months because it gets chilly! 

Located in Perrot State Park, Brady’s Bluff Trail is a moderately challenging hike. You’ll feel a new sense of energy upon completing this .7-mile route. This beautiful hike is part of Wisconsin’s Driftless area and will take you above the gorgeous Mississippi River. The hike may be tiring but the views are breathtaking. You’ll catch a second wind atop Brady’s Bluff.

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-energizing-hikes-in-wisconsin Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
9 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Wisconsin Wisconsin is home to many great fishing holes. With great fishing holes comes the need for a trusty bait shop. Any experienced fisherman knows that a good bait and tackle shop not only holds the necessary accessories but also is able to give you tips and tricks for the upcoming fishing season. Check out the best bait and tackle shops in the state! Fish on.

Rollie and Hellen’s Musky Shop always offers the best information. Their skilled staff can offer up experience and advice on which lures and bait to buy for the type of fish you are trying to catch. Not only can you buy your normal rods and bait, you can pick up clothing and other fishing accessories, as well. 

Decisions, decisions... 🎣🌲

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Captain Hook’s has everything you need. Buy your hunting and fishing licenses in store, stock up on accessories for your tackle box, and pick up your live bait. Even pick up your fillet knives for after the day out on the boat. Be sure to ask their knowledgeable staff about any hot fishing holes this season! 

This fish is abbot 3.5 feet long. #taxidermy

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Don’t underestimate this log cabin-style bait and tackle shop in Saraona, Wisconsin. Visit them year around for rentals, sporting goods, hunting/fishing license, ice, drinks, and light grocery items. Furthermore, they provide live bait during the summer and winter months. 

Lakeside Bait & Tackle is a little sporting goods shop in Delavan offering all sorts of fishing accessories. Buy your fishing rod, jigs, line, lures, live bait, and more. Update your tackle box this season at Lakeside Bait & Tackle.  

Just Like Old Times

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Find a full line of bait and tackle at Kurt’s Island. You’ll find tons of different minnows, night crawlers, leeches and more. Stock up on top rod and reel brands.  Kurt’s even offers fishing guide tours and a regularly-updated blog with valuable fishing updates.   

Wisconsin Handcrafted Decor #wi #whiskeyandluresgenius

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The employees at Happy Hooker Bait & Tackle are always helpful and willing to find exactly what you’re looking for. Follow their Facebook page for updated fishing reports or stop in to their Hayward location to talk fish. It’s the perfect place to purchase your license, pick up the essentials, and hit the water!

Chumming at the Happy Hooker. #chumming #bait #prizecatch #happyhooker @joannaqcolgan

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Come check out the largest live bait selection in the Janesville area at It’s a Keeper Bait & Tackle. They offer crappie, fatheads, shiners, Rosie Reds, walleye suckers, pike suckers, and musky sucker minnows. Ask about their leech and worm selection. Not into live bait? No problem—they have a large tackle selection too!

Stop by D & S Bait & Tackle for you fishing needs in Madison. They provide fishing seminars, an online fishing report, and an in-house fishing guide service. Find everything from St. Croix rods, to premium bait like night crawlers, to Quantum reels.  

R&R is your top-notch bait shop in the Cudahy and Milwaukee area. The Fishin’ Hole isn’t your average bait and tackle store. Find rods, reels, line, lures, bobbers, and tackle. They hold annual events to help their customers with continued education on the lake! 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/9-best-bait-and-tackle-shops-in-wisconsin Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Archery Outfitters in Wisconsin When it comes to the highly specialized and niche sport of archery, you only want the best and most trusted retailers supplying you with what you need. Get the satisfaction of great customer service and top-notch gear from the small businesses all across Wisconsin. Whether you’re buying a bow or buying a target, here are the top archery outfitters in the state. 

Founded in 1984, Little Jon’s offers all the top brands in archery. Their store location in Marshall offers an archery range and can tune your arrows. Little Jon’s employees can offer excellent insight, whether you are bowhunting or just shooting at a target for fun. Come in for the best service and the best selection! 

This girl bought herself a brand new bow today! ☺️ #MissionCraze #finally

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Hunt N Gear is one of the largest family-owned archery stores in the area. Since 1995, they have been serving southern Wisconsin’s archery needs. Practice makes perfect so be sure to check out their range and leagues. Ask their knowledgeable staff for advice and find all of your favorite brands from Bowtech, Prime, and more. 

Find great name brands for both men’s and women’s bows at West Town Archery. Owned and operated by three brothers with more than 100 years of archery and tuning experience—you know you are in experienced hands. Buy a bow at West Town Archery and receive professional set up, proper tuning, and two or more hours of shooting at their in-house range. At West Town, archery is a way of life.

@braulioart hooked yet?

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Tuff’s Outpost is another family owned and operated favorite in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Visit their amazing 3D indoor archery range to hone your skills. Even schedule out archery lessons using your own equipment for a great price. Find top-notch service with competitive local pricing on all of your archery needs.  

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Join in with other outdoor fanatics at Holtan’s TnC Sporting Goods. This family owned and operated business has been aiding archery enthusiasts for over 45 years. Purchase accessories like arrows, releases, and quivers. Step into their archery range for some needed practice time to be added to their Brag Board. 

Stock up at Ryan’s Sport Shop before bow season hits. Whether it’s for target practice or for hardcore bowhunting season—they’ve got it all. Their staff is dedicated to providing outstanding service by offering the best brands in the business. Pick up the basics and hit their indoor archery range to perfect your aim.  

Gearhead Archery in Prairie Du Sac was created to offer innovative archery products for your hunting and shooting needs. Products include bows, cross bows, releases, backpacks, grips, and apparel. Gearhead also offers a great warranty for bows and inventory purchased in their shop.

Find the best prices on bows, quiver, nocks, arrows, sights, releases, tools, targets, and more at the Reel Shot in Appleton, Wisconsin. They have inventory for all price ranges and offer their customers a price match guarantee. Save even more money by shopping their pre-owned selection online. 

Farmstead Archery now offers the best name brands in the Sheboygan area. Their knowledgeable staff is open to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. From accessories like cameras and releases to necessary apparel like boots and camo—you’ll find it all at Farmstead Archery’s one stop shop.

Look at that selection! #archery #targets #rineharttargets #turkey #turkeyhunting #glendelbuck #crossbow #hunting

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Steve’s Archery is a full-service pro shop that focuses on servicing you and your needs. Their staff has a combined experience of over 60 years. Get your bow set-up and tuned. Ask about string and cable replacement and service repair. They even offer coaching and instruction to their customers. Steve’s Archery genuinely puts the customer first while offer a wide selection of inventory for all price ranges.  

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http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/10-best-archery-outfitters-in-wisconsin Mon, 29 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Best Places to Fish in the Midwest This Fall Walleyes and a variety of salmon are on the autumn menu in the Midwest as anglers have a last chance to fish open water before the winter freeze starts to set in. Fishing for either species can be excellent; how the weather and the water temperatures line up are more critical where salmon are concerned, but the fall run extends well into November.

Walleyes aren’t so picky, and all the traditional waters such as the Mississippi River, Big Saint Germain Lake in Wisconsin, Otter Tail Lake in Minnesota and Great Lakes feeder streams give up tons of  ’eyes in the fall.

One Last Salmon Fling

The big attraction nowadays is king (chinook) salmon that make their fall spawning runs up rivers and creeks. Whether fishing from a small boat or a Great Lakes charter boat, latching on to a 20- or 30-pound king can quickly warm up an otherwise chilly fall day.

Hot Spots To Fish: Michigan’s Grand River, which empties into the eastern side of Michigan, is a prime destination for salmon. Getting Bit Guide Service (616-570-2946, gettingbitguideservice.com) in Grand Rapids is a good starting point. In fact, any port of call along Lake Michigan on either the east or west sides is likely to have plenty of knowledgeable salmon guides or charters. Fishing from jetties or piers – such as the famed McKinley Pier in Milwaukee – is also productive during the fall salmon runs.

In northwestern New York, the Salmon River lives up to its name through mid-October, but the run might linger into November in the Lake Ontario feeder, depending on the weather. Coho and steelheads also are in the mix too.

The Yankee Angler (315-963-2065, yankeeangler.com) in Pulaski, N.Y. keeps tabs on the fishing. In the big waters of Lake Ontario’s southern shore at Rochester, N.Y., give Reel Em In Sportfishing Charters (585-317-5325, reeleminsportfishing.com) a call.

Farther to the northwest, the waters and feeders of Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie are teeming with big salmon. One of the benefits here is that you can always slip in to the St. Mary’s River System to get away from those rough autumn nor’ westers. Live To Fish Charters (906-440-7797) can help make it happen.

New York rivers and inshore waters are teeming with big salmon in the fall.

Tackle You’ll Need: Salmon tackle and striped bass tackle (see above) are practically interchangeable. Fish might range from a few pounds to well over 20 pounds, and rods and reels should be in the medium- to-heavy range. A light- to-medium spinning outfit capable of holding a couple of hundred yards of 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament or 30- to 50-pound-test braid should do for most applications, especially when casting lures. Try the Okuma Epixor XT-20 with a matching rod.

Quick Tip: Just to hedge your bets, tie a foot-long section of 2x mono to your streamer hook and add a beadhead Prince nymph or similar pattern to the other end. When salmon are finicky, they might flash at a streamer, but not take it. Sometimes, a smaller mouthful such as a nymph trailer will seal the deal.

 

Best Lures/Bait: For the most part, spawn-run salmon hit spoons, crankbaits or roe bags out of reaction rather than hunger. Shiny lures, such as the Luhr-Jensen Twinky Rig behind a flasher, the Acme Kastmaster Spoon and a variety of soft-plastic swimbaits or hard crankbaits, will elicit strikes. Fly fishermen favor Dahlberg Divers, Wooly Buggers, Hex Nymphs and Glo Bugs.

Find the best fishing spots near you:

Find the best bait and tackle shops near you:

Walleyes Are Hungry and Willing

In similar fashion to bass, walleyes follow baitfish from the bigger lakes to feeder creeks and rivers with current.

Hot Spots To Fish: The Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea (701-421-0360, vanhookguideservice.com) in North Dakota is a prime walleye destination, as is Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago (920-598-0586, walleyepatrol.com

Tackle You’ll Need: Power fishing it’s not. Though walleyes might fatten up to well over 10 pounds, 2- to 4-pound fish are more the rule. Depending on the average size of the fish, 4- to 10-pound-test monofilament or fluorocarbon will do.

For spinning enthusiasts, the Quantum Vapor PT with matching rod will work. If you prefer trolling to casting, or bouncing a weight and natural bait on the bottom, try a baitcasting outfit such as a Fenwick/Pflueger Night Hawk or Iron Hawk combo.

Quick tip: Trolling at night with diving jerkbaits, such as the Storm Original ThunderStick or Lucky Craft Pointer 110, is a great way to catch walleyes. Troll in patterns from deep to shallow and back again, as the fish tend to relocate up and down drop-offs and channel runs depending on bait movement.

 

Best Lures/Bait: Leeches, nightcrawlers, minnows and everything from crankbaits to spinners will find favor with hungry fall walleyes. Top picks include: Rapala’s Shad Rap, Berkley’s Flicker Shad, Mepps’ Black Fury, Rapala’s Husky Jerk and Northland Fishing Tackle’s Forage Minnow Jigging Spoon.

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Photograph Courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Walleyes weighing more than 10 pounds apiece are routinely caught in the fall, but most fish are "good eating size," averaging about 3 pounds. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-midwest-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-midwest-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Camping Done Right: 7 Essential Outdoor Stores in Wisconsin When it comes time to escape into the wilderness, you’re going to want the right gear. From the warmest sleeping bags, to durable cookware, to the best coolers, you’ll find everything you’ll need and more at the best camping retailers of Wisconsin. Here are our favorites! 

Madison’s very own Fontana Sports is loved by many locals. Stop in for outdoor sports gear and clothing. Bring your camping checklist in for fast customer service. Fontana’s selection includes tents, cookware, knives, packaged food, and flashlights. Don’t forget to pick up a compass—you never know when you’ll need direction. You can find a Silva Polaris Compass for under $20 at Fontana Sports.

Clear Water Outdoor is a local Wisconsin outdoor store. Find all your favorite brands here and stock up on all the best gear. Depending on your agenda, you can find a great pair of Merrell hiking boots for under $100. If you are planning on camping during the early spring or fall you might want to stock up on warm gear. Clear Water Outdoor has great prices on both clothing and toasty fleece blankets. You’ll find locations in Lake Geneva, Delafield, and Milwaukee. 

Find everything for the great outdoors and more at Sherper’s. Sherper’s is a local outdoor and camping supply store located in Hales Corners just outside of Milwaukee. Find all your camping necessities at Sherper’s.  Find a great deal on a Mountainsmith tent and a cool new WindPouch inflatable hammock. You’ll relax in style after stopping at Sherper’s. 

Solstice Outdoors will make sure you are prepared for whatever adventure you face on your camping trip. Find medical kits, rain and cold gear, travel gear, sleeping bags and more. Solstice Outdoors is Ashland’s premier outdoor store carrying the best brands in the business. 

Dreaming of sleeping outside. It's time to go #camping #bigagnes #thermarest

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With locations in Illinois and one in Wisconsin, Erehwon is your go-to spot for all the highest quality camping gear. Find hydration gear, backpacks, sleeping bags and pads, tents and hammocks, kitchen accessories, and much more! You’ll find renowned brands like Osprey, Eagles Nest Outfitters, and Big Agnes

The team at Yellow Wood is dedicated to top-notch, personal customer service and providing you with the very best equipment. In fact, the gear at Yellow Wood is from vendors that are Bluesign certified, a system that “unites the entire textile supply chain to jointly reduce its impact on people and the environment.” You’ll find great camping gear from brands such as Canada Goose, Big Agnes, Garmin, and Jetboil.

This wonderful local store will provide you with everything from tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, to hydration containers, first aid kits, and trekking poles. Find all of your favorite and most trusted brands at the Hiker Box, including Kelty, GSI Outdoors, and Outdoor Research

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http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-essential-outdoor-stores-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/camping-done-right-7-essential-outdoor-stores-in-wisconsin Wed, 15 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Wisconsin Summer in Wisconsin is to be cherished to the highest extent. To enjoy it to its fullest, a lakefront camping experience is in order. We’ve found the five most gorgeous lakeside campsites in Wisconsin for you to set your sights on. Make your reservations right away! 

Neshonoc is a premier lakeside camping experience that you won’t want to miss out on. Located right on Neshonoc Lake, the campsite offers deluxe cabin rentals as well as electric and seasonal sites. They also have a beautiful beach, pool, hot tub, Sugar Shack treats, volleyball and basketball courts, and tons of local events to maximize your stay. 

Come camp at Lake Arrowhead Campground in Montello, Wisconsin. Ask about renting their gorgeous waterfront campsites. There are more than 60 sites at this family-owned and operated resort. Choose from seasonal sites, waterfront, water and electric sites, and full hookup sites. Vacation on your own budget at Lake Arrowhead. 

Big Foot Beach State Park offers 100 beautiful campsites. The beach is located in the perfect spot to watch breathtaking sunsets and setting up for picnics. You’ll love how quiet the campground gets at night even in the heat of summer. If you love to exercise, try their well-kept hiking trails for a new type of hiking experience.

Kohler-Andrae State Park is the perfect place to book a campsite for families. With 137 units, in which 52 are equipped for electric, you and your family will love having the ability to choose how you spend your vacation. If you really want to take it up a notch, canvas and pole tepees are available in the summer months. Take in beautiful views of Lake Michigan at Kohler-Andrae State Park.

Holiday Acres Resort isn’t your typical camping resort. The entire space is for those who enjoy cabin-type campsites. Most of the cabins have direct water access and their own personal dock. You’ll be able to take on all that Lake Thompson offers because Holiday Acres has all sorts of water sport equipment. There’s so much fun to be had at Holidays Acres on the water.

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MakanaCreative/Shutterstock.com http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-gorgeous-beach-campsites-in-wisconsin Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Wisconsin Get away from the city lights and noise. Pack a hiking bag and some overnight clothes to hunker down in a spot for the night. Take that long hike knowing that you can pitch a tent and stay the night where ever the road takes you. We’ve picked out five great spots for backpack camping in Wisconsin! 

Copper Falls State Park is a great place to hike your way through. There are over seven different popular trails worth hiking. We recommend taking the North Country Trail if you’re looking to do some long-distance hiking (multi-state.) You’ll encounter stunning scenery like heavy forest and large gorges. There is also a hike-in site to stay the night. 

There are 40 backpack camping sites located within Rock Island State Park. The island itself is located off the Door County Peninsula on Lake Michigan. However, the only way to get to the island is via a passenger ferry. You’ll love all the attractions that they offer like the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Check out over 10 miles of hiking trails throughout Rock Island State Park. 

Hike right into the Kettle Moraine State Forest on the National Ice Age Trail. While the park is a mecca for hiking, with over 57 miles of trails, you’ll love the cozy feel of their campground. Stop in anyone of their walk-in sites. You’ll love all the sights you’ll see hiking throughout the Kettle Moraine State Forest. You’ll encounter lush forests, woods, prairies, and lake. Bring your camera!

While canoeing might be one of Flambeau River State Forest’s most favored activities—hiking is also loved by many visitors. Located in Northern Wisconsin, Flambeau River offers miles upon miles of hiking. Hike in and stay the night or weekend. You’ll love how much diversity this state park offers. 

With 10 miles of hiking trails and three hike-in sites, Pattison is a great destination for the backpacker. Explorers will find some of the highest waterfalls in Wisconsin at Pattison State Park. Enjoy a beach, a nature center, and Big Manitou Falls which towers 165 feet above you. 

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http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-wisconsin http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-wisconsin Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500