Game fish season closes this Sunday; last chances to enjoy candlelight events this winter
A similar pattern repeated itself in the last week with minimal snowfall across the state and basically no change in snow recreation activities. The far north received several more inches of snow last weekend and the south got a dusting to 3 inches in the southwest, but not enough anywhere for additional counties to open snowmobile trails according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR).
Snowmobile trails remain open in the northern tier of counties with the best conditions in the northeast and north central parts of the state. Cross-country ski trail conditions remain generally unchanged with good to very good conditions in the north, and poor to fair conditions in the south, where the snow pack has become harder and more debris and bares spots are being seen.
Candlelight events are winding down with just two hikes scheduled for this Saturday at Copper Culture and Yellowstone state parks. The last event of the winter will be Friday, March 6 at Rib Mountain State Park. Search the DNR website for “Get Outdoors,” for details.
Cold temperatures have also kept ice fishing activity down, despite good ice cover across much of the state. A reminder that the general inland game fish season comes to an end this Sunday, March 1. Panfish and catfish remain open and game fish remain open on certain waters. Check the special regulations by county in the current Guide to Wisconsin Fishing Regulations for waters that remain open.
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (exit DNR) is reporting that ice conditions on Lake Superior have finally improved to the point where they tentatively plan to open the ice caves this weekend. Check their National Parks Service website for latest updates.
A few walleye were being caught at Voyageur Park on the Fox River. Green Bay anglers report the whitefish bite continues to be fair to good along the east shore and at Sturgeon Bay. Along Lake Michigan, ice is impeding fishing in the Milwaukee harbor and river mouth. People are also being cautioned to stay away from construction areas on the Milwaukee River near Lincoln Park where a contamination cleanup project is going on and ice has become thin and unstable. Anglers there have been catching a few browns and rainbows at the south end of the Port Washington harbor, which stays open over the winter due to the power plant discharge.
As the days are becoming longer, deer are becoming more visible feeding in open areas at dusk. Some bucks are still being seen holding antlers, an indication that they are in good physical condition. But more have been dropping so this is a good time for shed hunting. A reminder that the rabbit season ends statewide this Saturday, Feb 28
It may cold and snowy now, but it is time to sign up for sharp-tailed grouse viewing (exit DNR) this spring at the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area, a 5,050 acre property located in the northeast corner of Burnett County. Sharp-tailed grouse blinds provide excellent viewing of the unique sharp-tailed grouse dance that is part of their courtship behavior.