Step Outside - Wisconsin WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 Step Outside - Wisconsin 144 144 Mon, 23 Jul 2018 08:29:17 -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... ๐ŸŽฃ๐ŸŒฒ

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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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5 Exhilarating Jet Skiing Spots in Wisconsin Summer in Wisconsin is a beautiful sight to see, and with 15,000 lakes, it’s best to soak up those sunny days atop the water. To fly across the scenic lakes of the state, opt to ride the glistening blue waters on a jet ski! The natural beauty surrounding the lakes are something to experience, too. Here are five excellent spots to jet ski in Wisconsin. 

Lake Delton’s history dates to 1927 when the lake was dammed solely for recreational purposes. Since then, the residents and tourists that come to the Dells area have been taking full advantage of its beauty. There are a ton of great spots throughout the lake for jet skiing fun. If you don’t own a jet ski stop by Dells Watersports for rentals. WaveRunners go at $89 per hour and $165 per two hours. 

Lake Geneva is a one of a kind watersport spot. There are tons of lake activities to enjoy, including jet skiing. Rent a WaveRunner and tear up the lake. There are plenty of secluded areas if you’re just starting out. Get your adrenaline pumping when you hit tops speeds cutting through waves. Rent WaveRunners on Lake Geneva at Geneva Watersports today! 

Come summertime, tons of tourists flock to Minocqua for a relaxing up-north vacation. Lake Minocqua is connected to a much larger chain of lakes. Take your WaveRunner out for hours of fun on the lake chain. You’ll love all the fun, water splashing, and sun that Lake Minocqua offers. If you are looking for dependable rentals, be sure to stop into Minocqua Sport Rentals on your next vacation to the Northwoods!

Rock Lake is the perfect place to take your jet skis out for a spin. Located about 20 miles east of Madison, Rock Lake is always a hit. With over 1,300 acres of water, you’ll love how calm the waters are. While there are no rental facilities directly on the lake, there are four boat landings for easy access!  

Located in Oneida County, Lake Thompson is another vacationer’s mecca. Lake Thompson specifically is excellent for watersports like jet skiing. There is one public boating landing in which you can take your WaveRunner in and out. Slice through the waves and swerve around the mini islands scattered throughout the lake. Take on the challenge of Lake Thompson. 

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5 Best Fishing Holes 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 holes 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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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Wisconsin Birdwatching is among the most exciting and fascinating activities to partake in. And in Wisconsin, there’s no telling what kinds of amazing birds you’re going to encounter. Maybe you’ll spot a snowy owl. Maybe you’ll be graced with a majestic hawk soaring overheard. Grab your binoculars and enjoy these five magical birdwatching hikes in Wisconsin. 

If you’re looking for a birding experience like no other, head to the Horicon Marsh. You’ll be welcomed by the United States’ largest freshwater cattail marsh. Over 300 different bird species are attracted to this area. Typically spotted in the marsh are the Black-crown night heron, purple martin and osprey. Some rare species to keep your eyes peeled for are the horned and eared grebe, red shouldered hawk, and the vesper sparrow.

Located on the eastern shores of the Door Peninsula, Whitefish Dunes State Park provides an 865-acre area right on Lake Michigan. The park offers a diverse habitat that’s perfect for birding. You’ll find tons of different waterfowl, blue-gray gnatcatchers, and rough-winged swallows. On a good day, you might even spot a snowy owl, Bonaparte’s gull, or a Caspian tern. Choose how exotic your hike for birding will be at the Whitefish Dunes State Park.

Bark Lay Slough is nestled between Lake Superior and the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Head toward the shoreline for some of the best birdwatching in the state. Keep an eye out for our country’s signature bird—the majestic Bald eagle. Other species to keep on your radar are the northern harrier, American bittern, and yellow rail. Soak up the spectacular views and don’t forget your camera for this one!

Take a brisk hike across the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, which has been noted as one of the best places to birdwatch in the state. The sanctuary essentially provides the perfect habitat for our winged wildlife. Their forest, fields, marsh, nature trails, and ponds attract birds during every season. Over 250 species have been spotted in the sanctuary including black duck and white-eyed vireo. on a good day, you might even spot a summer tanager and Ross’s goose.

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The Retzer Nature Center is another perfect area for attracting and watching birds. Forest, streams, ponds, restored prairies, pine plantations, and grassland allow for an ideal birding experience. The Adventure Trail is a five-mile hiking trail offering 30 interactive stops that educate on Wisconsin’s wildlife. Want more of an organized birding experience? Join their weekly bird hike on Fridays during the spring. You’ll see upland sandpiper, bobolink, northern harrier, and Henslow’s sparrows. Stay around long enough and you might spot a mockingbird, yellow-breasted chat, or yellow-throated vireo.

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10 Best Outdoor Festivals in Wisconsin Blessed with tremendous natural resources and scenic beauty, it shouldn’t surprise you that Wisconsin is an excellent place for an outdoor festival. From birding festivals to events centered around catching and releasing sturgeon, these outdoor festivals in Wisconsin are some of the best. 

Fishing is a big deal in Wisconsin. Like, maybe the biggest deal. And muskies are among the biggest, baddest fish you can target in Wisconsin. So, for the last seven decades, the city of Hayward has lauded these toothy beasts with their annual Musky Fest. Celebrating "Wisconsin's northwoods" and the town's "great fishing tradition," Musky Fest features—among other activities—a catch-and-release fishing contest, 5 and 10K runs, street dances and a carnival. The event is made possible by sponsors like Kawasaki, Adventure RV & Powersports, and the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce.

Every May for a dozen years, birders have flocked to the south shore of Lake Superior for the annual Chaquamegon Bay Birding and Nature Festival. More than 100 field trips and programs that highlight the area's flora, fauna and nature take place over the weekend—which also happens to coincide with the peak of spring migration.

The biggest fish you'll find in Wisconsin's freshwater lakes and rivers is the sturgeon. The state is home to two species—the lake and shovelnose—and folks get pretty excited about their sturgeon... so much so, in fact, that there are a few festivals dedicated to the fish. Folks who want to get their hands on a live sturgeon and release it into Lake Michigan and contribute to sturgeon conservation can do so at Sturgeon Fest in Milwaukee. The festival, which is sponsored in part by Kwik Trip, also offers prairie tours and will have a climbing wall and activities for kids.

If you're closer to western Wisconsin, you can celebrate the sturgeon over Labor Day Weekend at Jim Falls' annual Sturgeon Festival. Sponsored by the local Lions Club, the festival includes a fishing contest, flat water boat races and "inflatable fun" on the Chippewa River.

Every year, the Green Lake County Visitors Bureau sponsors the Princeton Whooping Crane Festival. The three-day September celebration is scheduled to coincide with the migration of this endangered species and includes plenty of crane viewing opportunities, as well as speakers, a craft/art fair and food vendors.

The Darlington Canoe Festival takes place every June. Not surprisingly, the festival includes canoe races on the Pecatonica River, inflatables for kids, a parade and a road run. More interesting however, are the Beowulf Motorcycle Club party, the talent show, and the grilling competition in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot.

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Sturgeon and muskies are big and elusive. But walleye are delicious and one of the most sought-after species of game fish in the Upper Midwest. And that's reason enough for the city of Fon du Lac to celebrate the coveted walleye. Every June, folks flock to the Walleye Weekend Free Family Festival in Fon du Lac. While there are plenty of activities for everyone, including sports competitions, runs and walks and live entertainment, the main attraction is the Mercury Marine National Walleye Tournament on Lake Winnebago.

Every May, Midwesterners go mad over morel mushrooms, and Muscoda is the self-proclaimed morel capital of Wisconsin. To celebrate this much-beloved mycological miracle, the town hosts an annual Morel Mushroom Festival. In addition to hiking and hunting for mushrooms, celebrants can enjoy morel-inspired food and drink, tours of nearby effigy mounds, and tasting tours at Weggy Winery and/or Spurgeon Vineyard and Winery

The River Falls Fly Fishing Festival helps anglers get ready for the season. In partnership with the University of Wisconsin—River Falls and Lund's Fly Shop, the festival includes a film festival and a fly fishing expo that includes food, drink, fly tying demonstrations and casting lessons. You can meet up with guides and vendors while helping to support the mission of the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust.

Each August, paddling teams make for Milwaukee to showcase their skills at the city's annual Dragon Boat Festival. A celebration of Chinese culture and traditions, along with boat races, the festival will treat attendees to food, dance, games and martial arts. You can even practice speaking and writing Mandarin.

The city of Two Rivers kicks off summer with its annual Carp Fest, which includes a two-day fishing tournament, in which anglers target the scrappy bottom-feeders for a shot at national angling acclaim. There is live music, food and even a cornhole tournament. 

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5 Best Dirt Biking Trails in Wisconsin Wisconsin has miles upon miles of excellent dirt biking opportunity. From the twisting state trails to enormous recreation areas, you’d be hard-pressed not finding an incredible dirt biking spot in Wisconsin. Here are the five best trails. 

Travel on over five miles of off-highway dirt biking trails in Douglas County. Trails open during the summer months and are an extremely popular spot for dirt bikers. This trail connects to an extensive network of trails that offer an additional 45 miles of off highway trails, however they travel into our neighboring state, Minnesota.    

The Cheese Country Trail is one of the most highly-recommended off-highway motorcycling trails in the state. The 47-mile trail extends south and east through Iowa, Lafayette, and Green counties. Be prepared for one of the most beautiful rides of your life. Rolling hills, heavily forested woods, stately bluffs—Cheese Country Trail is truly the mecca of dirt bike bliss. 

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Pecatonica State Trail shaped an old railroad grade through some of Wisconsin’s most beautiful areas. This 10-mile twisting trail will take you from one of our state’s oldest communities to our former capital city. You’ll see the breathtaking Pecatonica River, farmland, historic buildings, and much more!

Bong State Recreational Area in Kenosha County is the perfect 10-mile trail for dirt bikers. With three dirt loops snaking throughout prairies and wetlands, you’ll love the adventure of the twists and turns. 

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Meander through Clark County on the Knobby Ridge Trail. There is over 16 miles of looped trail system within beautiful Clark County Forrest. Passes must be purchased before riding on the Knobby Ridge dirt bike trail and the best part is, the trail system is only used for motorcycle type vehicles—no ATV/UTVs allowed!

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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.  

I've been trying to travel more often lately. This could mean taking a drive of just a few minutes or being on the road for the better part of a day. I've been trying to stay motivated and introducing variety definitely helps. On this day I traveled to multiple Wisconsin state parks that I have never visited before and was able to capture a few photos. I feel so fortunate that these parks exist and that we get to mutually enjoy their beauty. Make sure to support your state parks and explore some of the best parts of your state. . . . . . #exploreeverything #statepark #agameoftones #moodygrams #lifeofadventure #wegowisco #milliondollarvisuals #d750 #nikon #nikonphotography #landscape #instapic #instagold #instagood #picoftheday #discoverwisconsin #goadventure #exploretocreate #explorewisconsin #travelwisconsin #travelwi #wisconsinite #wi #wisconsin #midwest #wisconsinphotographer #lake #frozen #ice

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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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8 Best Hiking Retailers in Wisconsin Whether you’re planning a serious backpacking trek or you’re just seeking a more leisurely day hike, outfitting yourself with the proper equipment makes all the difference. With so many beautiful natural spaces to explore in Wisconsin, you’re going to want to deck yourself out with the best! Find all of the top brands in hydration, boots, jackets, and more at these eight awesome hiking retailers in Wisconsin.

Stock up on outdoor gear for hiking, camping, and backpacking at the Hiker Box. Their high-quality hiking gear will have you coming back every time you need to re-vamp your hiking equipment. Whether you’re heading out for a couple hours or planning an extended backpacking trip—they’ve got you covered.

Clear Water Outdoor loves adventure just as much as you. Their knowledgeable staff can direct you in purchasing the best quality gear for the job. Find backpacks, boots, clothing, culinary supplies, knives, sunglasses, flashlights and more. Find locations in Lake Geneva and Delafield, with a rentals-only location in Milwaukee. At Clear Water Outdoor, adventure is a lifestyle. 

You’ll find great service at Yellow Wood in Whitefish Bay. Their staff has a passion for the outdoors—just like you. Stop by to chat about new products for your hiking collection. Their gear is bluesign certified which will make shopping a good brand a breeze.

Fontana Sports is your premier hiking retailer in the Madison area. Stock up on gear from the best name brands in the business. Purchase hiking boots and cold-weather gear perfect for your next outdoor hiking adventure. 

Solstice Outdoors provides top-quality gear, clothing, and accessories for an active life. Not limited to just hiking gear, their staff can point you in the right direction for all outdoor equipment you need to stock up on. From great pieces of clothing, top-notch backpacks, to the best boots for the hike—stop in for more than just a closet update. 

Outdoor enthusiasts rejoice and enter the world of Outdoor Ventures in Hayward, Wisconsin. Find premier brand name clothing, gear, and footwear for you next adventure. You’ll also find helpful staff able to provide you with great recommendations.

Take hiking by the horns at Erehwon Mountain Outfitters in Glendale. Their camping and hiking selection is unparalleled in the area. Stock up on top-of-the-line gear like CamelBak bottles to keep you hydrated. Erehwon’s staff will make sure you don’t miss a beat, like packing for emergency situations. Stop in to Erehwon in Glendale today!

Head north to Superior, Wisconsin, for a great selection of hiking and outdoor gear. At Northwest Outlet, you will find first-rate brands for an exceptional price. Load your closet with layering pieces and stop in for great recommendations on hiking products that you’ve had your eye on. Northwest Outlet is the perfect place to find the basics for your next hiking trip.

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10 Best Winter Cabin Camping Spots in Wisconsin Even in the cold Wisconsin winters, camping options abound. The key to success? A cozy cabin. Camping areas tend to clear out during the colder season and open up for fun winter activities like snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, and ice fishing. Bundle up and head over to our favorite winter cabin camping locations in Wisconsin! 

The Rustic Ridge Log Cabins in Merrimac are a series of luxury four-season cabins. Cuddle up by the fire and make yourself at home in these fully-furnished cabins. Choose between cabins that suit two people all the way up to 10 people. You’ll love how close to scenic attractions you are—perfect for snowshoeing and other winter activities.

Sit back and relax in the Wisconsin Northwoods. Theses comfortable cabins sit on scenic Round Lake. It’s the perfect location for ice fishing. Grand Pines Resort is also in great location for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. These newly-remodeled cabins will keep you coming back every winter. 

Woodside Cottages are just that, nestled along the wood side. Each cottage provides a unique stay while offering privacy, a warm fire place, and spacious grounds. These modern, yet, quaint cottages are perfect for experiencing all that Bayfield has to offer. Be sure to utilize ice skating and ice fishing on Lake Superior. 

Nitschke’s offers an unforgettable Northwood paradise in Minocqua, Wisconsin. This vacation town comes alive in the summer, but that doesn’t mean the fun stops there. Updated cabins located right on the water make sure an easy access for ice-fishing enthusiast. Winter activities include sledding, snowmobiling, and wildlife watching. Reserve a cabin today!

If you are looking for a peaceful, secluded cabin in the Door County area—reserve your cabin early. The Door County Cottages are nestled within the forests of Egg Harbor. Pet friendly and open year-round, you’ll find these cabins are equipped with everything you need.  

A Lot of Lakes Resort is the perfect place to kick up your feet and relax. Most cabins are winterized and ready to suite your needs. Choose between cabins like the Broken Oar, Cedar, Lodge, Loon Lodge, or Timber Wolf dependent on your family’s needs.

Maplewood Resorts can accommodate for snowmobilers, snowshoers, ice fisherman, cross-country skiers, or those looking to get away during the winter. Whether you’re looking for a cozy getaway with your partner or you’re celebrating with the entire family—there’s a cabin for that. Don’t forget to check out Eagle River’s legendary ice castle created every winter in late December/early January. 

Make it a fun tradition to come back every year at Fireside Lake Resort. They offer three cabins with various sleeping arrangements for your family’s needs. These cabins are perfect for enjoying the outdoors and coming home to a warm, cozy bed.

Located near the La Crosse area—Percheron Paradise Romantic Hideaway is perfect for a long weekend. Percheron allows for relaxation and rejuvenation for you and your partner. They offer five cozy chalets that are open year-round. You’ll never want to leave this hideaway.

Walnut Ridge Log Cabins are a short drive from Madison. Get cozy in this historic 1800s log cabin. Rent out either one of their two romantic cabins that are fully functional during the winter months. These cozy cabins are only for adults but are perfect for a lovely weekend away.

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10 Best Ski and Snowboard Stores in Wisconsin When the cold and snow plaster the ground for months on end, Wisconsin hits the slopes. But before you can hit the slopes, you need to stock up on the best gear, clothing, and accessories for a fun day of skiing and snowboarding. Stop by our favorite ski and snowboard stores in Wisconsin! 

ERIK’s might be most famous for their bike inventory, however, they have a large selection of ski and snowboarding equipment that is second to none. Pick up cold weather gear, fun boards with cool designs, and other top-of-the line accessories to make your winter activities a blast. 

Stop by CS Ski Tunes in Madison for the very best ski and snowboard services and products. Pick up ski poles, ski suites, helmets, ski boots, gloves, and skis. Bring your broken skies and snowboards in for a full-service repair shop. Their customer service is unmatched!

Since its opening in 1950, Zeller’s has been a leader in the Fox Valley area. Their customer service team will help you find the equipment for your winter activity needs.  Find the best prices and top name brands at Zeller’s.

Union Bindings hit the shelves today! #unionstrong @unionbindingco

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Stop by Expedition Supply in Hartford as they celebrate a successful 40 years. Whether it’s 30 years old or brand new—their service department can repair it. Buy the best name brands of ski and snowboards like StepChild, Capita, and Volkl.

Located in central Wisconsin, Central Board Shop is your one-stop shop for winter sports. Tune up your snowboard with a $15 wax while you shop around for great accessories for a reasonable price. Be sure to ask their knowledgeable sales staff for top-notch suggestions on products. 

Find a snowboard and ski shop that is just as passionate about winter sports as you. At Focus, that is exactly the case. From boards to bindings and everything in between, you’ll find it all. Shop for men’s, women’s, and youth accessories with the best name brands at Focus Boardshop.

Better known for their bicycle gear—Nordic Ski Shop is located right on the Glacial Drumlin Trail in Dousman. Stop by for poles, bindings, boots, skis, and rentals. Ask about their ski services and lessons for all ages! 

New Moon Ski and Bike has been a leader in the industry for over 30 years. Prepare your skis for the new season by purchasing waxing kits and a ski prep. Buy a complete ski package or simply buy a pair of ski boots for all ages.

Spring Street Sports is a top sporting goods store in the Chippewa Falls area.  Shop their snow sport and apparel brands. If you’re looking to rent instead of buy they have both day and weekend rental rates. Be sure to ask their knowledgeable sales representatives about the best products for your ski and snowboard trip! 

Attitude Sports is your destination for high-quality sports gear. Their educated staff is around to help you find the perfect bike, snowboard, and skis. Attitude genuinely cares about the longevity of your purchase and that’s why they offer the best services for your winter sport equipment. Stop by today!

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SPOTLIGHT: Tuffyโ€™s Outpost Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600 A beginnerโ€™s guide: Ice fishing Vin T. Sparano, as excerpted from Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia: Camping, Fishing, Hunting, Boating, Wilderness Survival, First Aid



Ice fishing differs greatly from open-water fishing, and it is a demanding sport. It requires an understanding of and an ability to cope with winter weather, knowledge of the cold-weather habits of the fish, and the use of an unusual assortment of gear, most of it unique to ice fishing.

There are two basic ice-fishing methods: tip-up fishing and jigging. In general, tip-ups are usually used on larger fish—pike, pickerel, walleyes, trout, and such—that prefer bait and require the angler to play the waiting game. Jigging is usually preferred for smaller fish that tend to school up—bluegills, perch, crappies, and the like. But these are merely generalizations, not hard-and-fast rules. For example, jigging (sometimes called chugging) is often quite productive on big lake trout and salmon in the Great Lakes. 

Also called tilts, these come in various styles, but they all perform two basic functions: they hold a baited line leading from a revolving-type reel spool, and they signal the bite of a fish. The most common type of tip-up consists of three strips of wood, each about 18 inches long. Two are cross pieces that form an X as they span the hole. The third piece is an upright; at its bottom end is attached a simple line-holding spool, while the upper end holds the signaling device. The signal is usually a piece of very flexible spring steel with a red (some anglers prefer black) flag on the end. After the hook is baited and lowered to the desired depth, the steel arm is “cocked”—bent over and down and hooked onto a “trigger.” When a fish strikes, an arm on the revolving spool releases the steel arm and it flies erect.

In this type of tip-up, the reel is positioned underwater. In other variations, the reel is positioned above the ice. Each type has its advantages. The above-the-ice reel can be more sensitively adjusted for light-biting fish, but the line tends to freeze on the reel once it gets wet. The underwater reel largely eliminates the problem of freezing, but the fisherman must remove the tip-up from the hole before he can grab the line.

Baits for tip-up fishing are usually live. In general, it pays to match the size of the bait to the size of the fish you’re after. Baits range from tiny maggots (often called mousies) and grubs for panfish, to worms and small minnows for walleyes, and up to 6-inch baitfish for pike. 

As done by ice fishermen, jigging is simply a method of imparting an up-and-down movement to a lure or bait. Jigging can be—and is—done with any sort of line-holding rod or stick. 

Some jigging rods—more appropriately called sticks—are simply pieces of wood 18 inches or so long, with U-shaped notches in each end. The line—10-pound-test monofilament is very popular—is wound lengthwise onto the stick around the U-shaped notches and is paid out as needed. There are other types of jigging sticks of varying designs, and many ice anglers use standard spinning or spincast rods or the butt half of a fly rod. 

Rods made specially for ice jigging are simple affairs consisting of a fiberglass tip section that is 2 or 3 feet long seated in a short butt. The butt may have a simple revolving-spool reel or merely a pair of heavy-wire projections around which the line is wound. The tip section may have two to four guides, including the tip guide. The shortness of such a rod lets the user fish up close to the hole and have better control over the lure or bait at the end of his line. 

There are many and varied jigging lures and baits, but flashiness is built into most of them. Others produce best when “sweetened” with bait. Two popular jigging lures are: an ungainly looking critter with a heavy body shaped and painted to resemble a baitfish, a hook at each end and a treble hook in the middle of its underside, and a line-tie ring in the middle of its upper surface; and a long, slim, three- or four-sided, silvery model with a treble hook at one end and a line-tie ring at the other. 

Jigging methods vary with the fisherman and with the fish being sought. However, a productive way to fish many jigging lures, especially flashier types, is to twitch the lure slightly and then jerk it suddenly upward with a quick upward movement of the arm. The proper interval between jerks is learned with experience. 

Popular jigging baits include a single perch eye (either impaled on a small hook or used to sweeten a tiny hair or rubber-bodied ice fly), worms, grubs, maggots, insect larvae, minnows, and cut bait (pieces of skin or flesh that are cut from the tail or body of such fish as smelt and perch). 

Jiggers tend to move around more than tip-up fishermen, boring holes in different areas until they find a productive spot. 

Like most other forms of fishing, ice angling requires some auxiliary equipment. Most ice anglers prefer to keep such gear to a minimum, for they have to haul it with them wherever they go on the ice. 

If you’re going to fish through holes in the ice, you need something to make those holes. The ice auger is a popular tool for this job. Augers come in different designs. One has a long handle with a U-shaped bend at the top, and a rounded cutting blade at the bottom. The handle is turned much like that of a manual drill, and the blade cuts a round hole through the ice. Another type looks like a giant ice drill with sharp, widely spaced threads. It is used in the same way. Gasoline-powered ice drills are also available. 

Then there’s the ice spud or chisel. This is a heavy metal handle with a large, chisel-type blade at the bottom. The spud’s weight helps the angler punch down through the ice, but the user must shape the hole once he has broken through. 

An indispensable item of accessory gear is the ice skimmer, a ladle-type device that is used to keep the hole clear of ice chips and chunks and to skim ice. A heavy sinker will serve the same purpose. 

Many ice anglers like to use an attached spring clip. It is attached to the fishing line and used to determine the water depth—an important factor because in winter most game fish are found on or near the bottom. 

Winter is the time of year when ice fishermen venture out onto frozen waters. Most will have fun, but a few will get into trouble because they don’t know how to make sure that the ice is safe. The first rule is never take chances. There are two periods when accidents are likely to happen: early in the season when slush ice doesn’t freeze uniformly and late in the season when ice melts at an uneven rate. It takes prolonged periods of freezing to make ice safe. Here are some rules to remember: 

Be cautious of heavy snowfalls while ice is forming. Snow acts as an insulator. The result is a layer of slush and snow on top of treacherous ice. 

Clear, solid river ice is 15 percent weaker than clear lake ice. 

River ice is thinner midstream than near the banks. 

River mouths are dangerous because currents create pockets of unsafe ice. 

When walking with friends, stay 10 yards apart. 

Lakes that have a lot of springs will have weak spots of ice. 





About the author:

Vin T. Sparano is the author of Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia as well as three other guides for Rizzoli

He has been an outdoor editor and writer for more than fifty years. He is editor emeritus of Outdoor Life, and has written and edited more than fifteen books about the outdoors. In 2013, he was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

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10 Best Ice Skating Rinks in Wisconsin Ice skating is a magical winter tradition. Whether your skating legs are wobbly or you’re proficient at carving ice, gliding across a rink is a freeing experience. So bundle up, sharpen your skates, and get ready to hit the rink. From indoor, Olympic-sized arenas to outdoor wonderlands, here are the 10 best ice skating rinks in Wisconsin. 

The Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee is an official U.S. Olympic Training Center for speed skating. The building holds almost 100,000 square-feet of ice surface. Pettit is a great place to take the group during their public skate hours. No skates? No problem. Rent skates for just $3.50. 

Slice of Ice is another popular ice sating spot in Milwaukee County. Skate for free when you bring your own skates or stop by their skate rental counter to pick up a pair for a couple of hours. Enjoy the crisp winter air of Red Arrow Park with your friends and family this season! 

โ„๏ธskating with the nativesโ„๏ธ

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Tenney Park is another great outdoor skating rink for the family. Bring your own skates and skate for free or pick up a pair from the rental booth. You’ll also find a convenient concession stand and warming shelter at Tenney Park. 

Stay tuned for the 51st year: Singers on Ice

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While Minocqua, Wisconsin, might only be considered a touristy town in the summer, there are plenty of winter activities to enjoy too. Grab your ice skates and head over the Chip Wulff Memorial Pond at Winter Park. It’s a great place to slide around with the family. They do not offer skate rentals on site.

The Lake Delton Ice Arena attracts many Wisconsin Dells and area visitors. On top of hosting competitive hockey leagues, they do offer a public skate session every Wednesday and Sunday. Grab your friends, pick up a pair of rentals, and hit the ice for a memorable indoor ice skating experience. 

Home to the Chippewa Thunder youth hokey program, the Chippewa Area Ice Arena is utilized by the entire community. Join them each Sunday from 6- 8 p.m. on the South Rink for open skate. Admission is completely free and skates are available for rental for just $3.


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Love that crisp Madison, Wisconsin, air in December? So do we! The Edgewater Hotel offers an oval ice rink fit for a perfect date. Overlook the beautiful Lake Mendota while lights from the capital shine above. The Edgewater offers a convenient skate rental area and numerous in-house dining options to warm up afterward!

Ice skating at The Edgewater. 21 degrees and lots of memories!

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The De Pere Ice Area is a staple in the De Pere and surrounding communities. Open Skate Saturday hours offer the perfect time to teach your kids to skate for a great price. Public skate is $4 per person and skate rentals are an additional $3. Gather the up the gang and head to the De Pere Ice Arena.  

hi these are my friends they make me laugh๐Ÿ’™

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Enjoy indoor ice skating year-round at the Janesville Ice Arena. Check out their online schedule for public skate, teen skate, and late-night skate times. The arena is also home to the Learn-To-Skate program “the Polar Express,” the Janesville Jets, and the Janesville Youth Hockey Program.

The Appleton Family Ice Center is just that—a family ice center. They provide a fun, yet safe environment for families with children to practice ice skating and hockey skills. They hold year-round leagues, events, lessons, and public skate sessions. Check their ice schedule which is updated daily for the most current information. 

we almost went down

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10 Best Ski Destinations for Families in Wisconsin Skiing with your family is a wonderful way to stay active and form a stronger relationship this winter. There are numerous excellent places to take the kids across Wisconsin that offer lessons, rentals, or challenging slopes. So bundle up and bring the family to our favorite ski destinations throughout the state! 

Alpine Valley is the perfect place to bring the entire family. They offer specific trails tailored for intermediate to beginner skiers. They’ve expanded their beginner area with gradual slopes for endless amounts of fun. Stay the weekend at their resort or stop in for a fun day on the slopes. 

surfer sara took on skiing

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Located within Rib Mountain State Park in Wausau, Granite Peak is the place to be. Now open with 75 runs and three high-speed lifts for maximum fun. Their Winter Family Festival offers lodging and lift ticket discounts for a family of four. Plan out the best winter weekend at Granite Peak! 

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Cascade Mountain is a family-friendly ski area perfect for the entire group.  Join Cascade Kids programs where the kids can learn the safety and basics of skiing. Their ski shop is stocked with the best brands in the business just in case you forgot something. Shred down their trails for hours of winter fun.

Did you know Grand Geneva Resort and Spa offers winter activities? You and your family can enjoy 30 acres of downhill ski runs that are suitable for all ages. Recently added—Burton Riglet Park—was built to teach children to ride through a variety of stations. Feel free to bring your own gear or rent from their stock! Stay and play at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa.

Merry Christmas Weekend!!! ๐ŸŒฒโ„๏ธโ›ท๐ŸŽฟ

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Take advantage of Christmas Mountain’s 16 downhill runs this winter. You’ll want to plan a weekend getaway because Christmas Mountain is located in none other than our beloved Wisconsin Dells. Feel free to stay in one of their on-site villas or townhomes. Find the appropriate runs for all skill levels of your group. 

Skiing @ Christmas Mountain Village #skiing #christmas #holidays #family โ›ท

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Hit the slopes this winter in Slinger, Wisconsin. Little Switzerland is a popular ski spot and is great for families. Rentals of skis, helmet, poles, and boots are available for those kiddos who just seem to always be growing. Enjoy 18 runs (ranging from easy to challenging) and three terrain parks. 

Rest in Peep. • • • #lilpeep #turkclothing #holidayszn #holidayhammers @turkclothing @expeditionsupply

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Hit the ground skiing at Nordic Mountain. Their 60-acre park offers a trail for everyone in the family. Take a trip down Memory Lane (one of their easy runs), sail smoothly down Crisis (a challenging trail), or take the ultimate plunge down Nordy’s Narrows (the most difficult of trails.) Either way, meet back at Nordy’s Pub or Nordy’s Café for something warm afterwards! 

Tyrol Basin is a widely-loved family-friendly ski area. Just 20 minutes west of Madison you’ll find Tyrol’s notorious 40 acres of fun. Enjoy ski lessons for all ages, rentals, and Tyrol Café & DoubleDiamond Bar. Tyrol is the perfect place to bring your curious tots because kids ages five and under ski free every day!

Since its start in 1938, Wilmot Mountain has been a ski and snowboard treasure of Wisconsin. Enjoy nearly 120 skiable acres offering 23 trails, lifts, and two surface conveyor lifts. Their newly-expanded progression terrain parks call for a perfect day out on the snow. After you’re finished, head up to Walt’s Tavern to warm up.

Santa on the snow! #wilmotmtn #santa #elves #holiday #ski #snowboard

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Whitecap Mountains offers an affordable day out on the slopes for your family. A stunning 43 runs from easy to double black diamonds are open for all skill levels. There are three amazing mountains to choose from. Have the kids try out the Bunny Hill or the Kilimanjaro bumps, while you brush up on the advanced runs. Whitecap Mountain in Upson, Wisconsin, truly offers it all. 

My leisurely descent back to the lodge #wisconsinskiing #coldcoldcold

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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! โ˜บ๏ธ #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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