wild rice

Ben Meyer/WXPR

Pete McGeshick III sometimes has a hard time explaining what being on a wild rice bed feels like for him.

As he used a 16-foot pole to push a canoe across Rice Lake on the Sokaogon Chippewa reservation in Forest County, he said he feels the spirit of wild rice while on the water.

“It talks to me.  It’s something you feel in your heart.  You can’t describe it,” McGeshick said.  “All you can do is feel it.”

Wisconsin DNR

It's ricing season on Northwoods lakes, but the crop again this year isn't as productive as past years, especially in this region.

DNR wetland habitat specialist Jason Fleener says ricing success depends on where you go..

Bill Graf

A UW-Madison graduate student is researching the relationship between the upper Midwest rice beds and increased sulfate in the surface water.

Wild rice, or “manoomin” to the Native American nations is more than a food crop. It represents their connection to nature and holds profound spiritual significance. The Menominee Tribe’s name literally translates to “wild rice people.”

Wisconsin DNR

It depends where the lakes are located, but wild rice is either good or having another bad year.

A biologist says Oneida, Price and Vilas counties are not having a good year, but Forest county is.

The crop is sought each year as a tasty and nutritious food gathered fresh from the Northwoods.

Peter David is a wildlife biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission...


People heading out on Northwoods lakes and streams are likely not finding wild rice in abundance this season.

DNR wetland habitat specialist Jason Fleener says for the second year in a row, the wild rice crop is well below average...

"....last year was notably a poor season and this year is no different. In the Northwest(part of the state) in the Polk-Burnett-Washburn counties region wild rice is fairing a little bit better, but generally in the Northeast(part of the state) we're seeing some pretty poor crops this year...."

Wild Rice Harvesting is Near

Aug 27, 2015

Wild rice abundance reports show that harvesting season is approaching. Labor Day often marks the harvesting season of the traditional Ojibwe food staple. DNR Habitat Specialist Jason Fleener says people take on the activity as an effort to supplement their dietary needs.

 “They’ve shown that wild rice, or true and natural wild rice has a lot more essential vitamins and minerals compared to white rice. So from a subsistence standpoint that’s very nutritious.”

Wild Rice Festival Celebrates Harvest

Sep 11, 2014
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs

Lac du Flambeau is holding a festival celebrating wild rice…and the historic Indian Bowl.

The Wild Rice Festival is held every year during the rice harvesting season, which usually spans late August to early September. 

As Lac du Flambeau spokesperson Brandon Thoms explains, wild rice has been an important part of Ojibwe culture since the tribes first migrated to the area.  A prophecy had foretold that the people should settle in a place where the food grows on the water.

Wild Rice Season Behind Schedule

Aug 28, 2014
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Wisconsin’s wild rice season is getting a late start, thanks to this year’s long winter and cool summer. 

Though Labor Day weekend often marks a key time for harvesting the traditional Ojibwe food staple, this year hardly any rice is mature and ready for picking.  That’s according to Wildlife Biologist Peter David with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.

“I have heard very few reports of rice being ready at this point, there probably are a couple of odd riverbeds.  But by and large, things are not ready to go.”

Sparse Season For Lac du Flambeau Wild Rice

Sep 9, 2013
Superior National Forest

Wild rice production looks below average in the Lac du Flambeau reservation area.  

Scott Smith and the other two wild rice chiefs for the Lac du Flambeau reservation check lakes daily to monitor the rice as it ripens.  Smith says the peak of the harvest has probably already passed. 

“Usually 5 to 10 percent ripens per day.  So there are a few lakes left that still have rice – where it’s more dense, they still have rice to harvest.”

Wild Rice Season Set to Open

Aug 28, 2013
Natalie Jablonski / WXPR News

Wild rice season is set to begin in Northern Wisconsin.  Manoomin, the traditional food of the Ojibwe nations, typically ripens around Labor Day.  But harvesters may need extra patience this year.

Only three out of about 50 lakes regulated by state and tribal officials will open for ricing by this weekend. Manoomin biologist for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission Lisa David says Wisconsin’s late spring delayed ripening in some areas.