More snow – and rain — has fallen in the last week, and, overall state temperatures are below seasonal averages. Winter is lingering a bit longer and so are many birds, who are biding their time waiting for warmed, sunnier days before heading here.
Conditions are mixed for skiing and snowmobile enthusiasts, but the rain that fell recently closed many snowmobile trails and left ski trails in poor condition in the south. Snowmobile and ski trails in the Northwoods remain fair to good in many areas in the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’sSnow Conditions Report (exit DNR).
The pheasant and turkey population seems to have made it through the winter in good condition. The birds have been very visible in picked cornfields and along the road sides. Turkeys have been displaying and have been seen in good numbers in Kewaunee, Oconto, Sauk, Shawano and Vernon counties. Leftover spring turkey permits go on sale next Monday, March 18, with each zone having a designated sale date.
Angling success from Ashland to Milwaukee, like the recent weather, has been challenging and inconsistent. The early trout season is moving a little slower than normal with snow and cold carrying on and on into March. Walleyes and saugers are just starting to bite on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam
In Brown County, anglers were open water fishing for perch and walleye at Voyageur Park with jigs tipped with minnows or floating stick baits. Perch fishermen were still numerous south of Long Tail, with many small fish being caught. In Door County’s Riley and Sand bays, fishing activity was higher over the weekend than during the week. Whitefish numbers were doing okay, but perch numbers were low. Ice anglers are reminded that fishing shelters must be removed from inland lakes north of Highway 64, Lake Michigan, Green Bay, Lake Superior, and Wisconsin-Michigan boundary waters by midnight Sunday March 17.
Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha counties received an inch or more of rain over the weekend. This, coupled with rapid snowmelt, has led to all Lake Michigan tributaries in the area being quite high and muddy. Look for fresh steelhead in the rivers after the water levels recede. Fly fishing and floating spawn sacs under a bobber are both effective methods for catching steelhead in the rivers.
While the deer hunting season might be months away, planning for the 2013 season is underway. DNR wildlife biologists invite anyone interested in discussing the status of the deer herd to attend one of 34 meetings to be held across state between March 18 and March 29. This is the first formal opportunity of the year for hunters and other interested individuals to discuss the current status of the deer herd in their area and ask other deer management questions of DNR wildlife managers.
Those unable to attend a local meeting may still provide their personal input on their preferred deer management unit using an on-line herd status summary and survey, which will be active from March 18 to April 12.
Canada geese have reached Lake Superior. Red-winged blackbirds are starting to appear at High Cliff State Park on the northeast shore of Lake Winnebago, an abundance of bald eagles can been seen above the water of Sauk County and large flocks of scaup, mergansers and goldeneyes are present in the inner harbor of Lakeshore State Park.
Image courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources