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Outdoor Report for February 7, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide snow conditions, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR).
After running hot and cold for weeks, teasing and taunting Wisconsin outdoor enthusiasts in the process, weather conditions are now prime for winter activities. Ski, snowmobile and ATV trails are increasingly open. Inches have been added to many state waters, and ice anglers are out, but always keep in mind ice conditions vary and are subject to change.
So, when going out, especially on the ice, think safety first. Ice should be at least 4 inches thick before walking out onto it, 5 inches if taking a snowmobile, ATV or other vehicle.
Wear proper clothing and equipment - dress in layers including wool hats, mittens and waterproof boots. Include a float coat to help you stay afloat and slow body heat loss should you go into the water.
And don't go out alone. Go out fishing or spearing with friends, take a cell phone with you, and make sure someone knows where you are and when you expect to return.
For many, the big event of the week is the opening of the 2013 sturgeon spearing season opens Saturday at 6:30 a.m. The season will run for 16 days, or until harvest caps are reached. More information about the upcoming season, including regulations and harvest caps, can be found on the DNR website by doing a keyword search for "sturgeon spearing."
Ice angling success has increased in Marinette County especially crappies on the flowages. Ice depths vary from 12-17 inches of ice pretty much on every lake in Marinette County.
In Milwaukee County anglers have been fishing the harbors at McKinley Marina and South Shore Park, as well as the lagoon at Lakeshore State Park. Success has been mixed for brown trout and steelhead.
In Polk County, anglers have had success catching largemouth bass with tip-ups on smaller lakes.
Snow depths have also improved in many places; for current statewide information on statewide snow conditions, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR). There are still some counties that have snowmobile trails closed, or in poor condition, but many regions report major improvements.
Snowmobile trails in are groomed and in good to excellent condition across the northern tier of counties and through much of central Wisconsin. Trails are good to poor father south.
All of the snow makes for beautiful cross country ski and snowshoe hikes as well. Skiing and snowshoeing opportunities are good at the Northern-Highland, Brule River, Peshtigo River and northern unit Kettle Moraine state forests, and Council Grounds, Potawatomi and Willow River State parks. Eight state park properties are hosting candlelight events this weekend.
Snow has also improved conditions for cottontail and coyote hunting.
Wyalusing State Park bird sightings at park feeders include juncos, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals, blue jays, red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and purple finches.
A western Sauk County resident reported seeing a wolf. Eagles are being seen in good numbers at traditional wintering areas along the Mississippi and Lower Wisconsin River and a golden eagle continues to be seen in the skies over Waupaca County. And as one of our earliest breeding species, some great horned owls have likely begun nesting activities in the south.
Statewide Birding Report
Two stories are dominating the birding headlines in the Wisconsin this week. First, in central and southern Wisconsin, white-winged and red crossbills are visiting backyard bird feeders with unusually high frequency. Dozens of excited birders have reported these boreal finches at their sunflower and thistle seed feeders recently, suggesting the birds' usual supply of spruce, pine, and other cone seeds has become scarce. Readers hosting crossbills at their feeders in the past month are encouraged to report their sightings to Ryan Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a statewide tally. To the north, boreal owls are causing a stir across northeast Minnesota, with dozens of individuals being seen in broad daylight as they extend their hunting activity to survive winter's snowy cold. Wisconsin has at least three records of this small, rarely seen owl this year, and birders in northern Wisconsin should continue to be on the lookout. Listening for mobbing, scolding chickadees is the best way to find roosting boreals. Slowly driving roads through suitable conifer-laden habitat may produce an active hunting owl. In some cases, they also hunt rodents under backyard bird feeders, especially near dusk. In other birding news, northern hawk owls continue in Door and Douglas counties and up to 14 short-eared owls have been reported from Bong Recreation Area in Kenosha County. As one of our earliest breeding species, some great horned owls have likely begun nesting activities in the south. Eagles are being seen in good numbers at traditional wintering areas along the Mississippi and Lower Wisconsin River. Birders are also buzzing over the upcoming Great Backyard Bird Count to be held across the continent from Feb 15-18 (www.birdsource.org/gbbc exit DNR) is an easy way for bird enthusiasts of all skill and age levels to contribute to bird monitoring. As always, please contribute your daily bird sightings to Wisconsin eBird at www.ebird.org/wi (exit DNR) to help us better track bird populations. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The entire trail system was re-groomed Tuesday after 3inches of new snow fell. Skiers can definitely bring good skis. It is wonderful out there. - Kevin Feind, ranger
Ashland County - Cold weather has set in and ice continues to spread farther across Lake Superior. Extreme caution, however, should always be used before traveling onto any ice. Everyone should check the ice, avoid areas with consistently poor ice and or open water. Pay close attention to channels, around docks, or other large structures, the ends of break walls, near springs or other moving water. Remember to wear a personal flotation device and carry safety equipment such as ice picks and rescue ropes. While snow cover is found across the entire area, snow depth is not always sufficient to allow for snowmobiling and or grooming of some stretches of the trail. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Bayfield County - The Bayfield Peninsula received abundant snow in the last week. Snowmobile trails are groomed and excellent riding is reported. All of the snow makes for beautiful cross country ski and snowshoe hikes as well. Ice conditions on Lake Superior have been improving with the cooler temperatures, but at the northern reaches of the ice, strong winds can cause ice conditions to change quickly. People recreating on the ice are encouraged to be mindful of the changing ice conditions and go only where they know it is safe. Ice fishing on the bay has not been ideal even for the best anglers. But with a little patience some nice catches of whitefish and splake have come off the water. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Bayfield
Douglas County - Snow continues to slowly pile up throughout the far northwest corner of the state, but still not enough to properly groom snowmobile trails, which remain in rough shape. Ice anglers are reporting good ice conditions on inland lakes throughout the area. A number of local clubs and lake associations have had, or will be having, their yearly fishing contests. - John Krull, conservation warden, Superior
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Polk County - Some anglers have had success catching largemouth bass with tip-ups on smaller lakes. Polk County snowmobile trails are open. Snow cover on trails range between 2-5 inches with some trails groomed. - Shaun Tyznik conservation warden, Amery
Interstate Park - Candlelight Night at the Park is Saturday, 6-9 p.m. Experience a winter evening by candlelight as hundreds of candles are lit to guide skiers, snowshoers and hikers on separate trails. If snow cover permits, cross country ski on the Skyline Ski Trail (intermediate level) or snowshoe on the Ojibwa Trail. Both trails begin at the Ice Age Center. There will be hiking opportunities no matter the snow conditions. Beginning at the Camp Interstate Shelter, hikers can enjoy a candlelit walk beside the St. Croix River. There will be warming fires at the trailheads. At the Ice Age Center listen to live music provided by The Geezers while enjoying food and refreshments served by the Friends of Interstate Park. The event is free of charge, but a Wisconsin State park sticker is required to enter the park. Annual passes for 2013 are $25 for Wisconsin residents or $35 for non-residents. Daily passes are $7 for residents or $10 for non-residents. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Cross-country ski trails are in very good condition. Escanaba, Raven, Madeline and McNaughton trails were groomed Feb. 7. - Tony Martinez, forestry facilities worker
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - As of Feb. 7 the cross-country ski trails are groomed and tracked and in excellent condition. - Sara J. Gossfeld-Benzing, ranger-assistant property manager, Council Grounds State Park
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Peshtigo River State Forest - Recent snowfalls have made for excellent outdoor winter recreation sports in the area. Trails in the area are open, and are in good condition. Local snowmobile clubs groom and maintain the trails in the state forest. Ski trails are in excellent condition. Recent snowfall has allowed staff to groom the trails into excellent condition. Please join us this Saturday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for a candlelight/headlamp ski and hike. Skiers can ski an easy 2-mile trail, and hikers can hike an easy 1-mile trail. This event is free, and hot chocolate and warming fires will be available. This event will take place at our Spring Rapids Trailhead, which is located off of Kirby Lake Lane. From Crivitz, take County Road W west of Crivitz to Kirby Lake Lane. Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the forest, other than groomed ski trails. - Sara Pearson, Ranger/Assistant Manager
Marinette County - Pike fishermen dominate the landscape from Oconto Park II all the way to the Menominee River. The best fishing has been in the 3-8 foot range using large shiner minnows or smelt in the round fished on bottom. Most of the activity on the Menominee River is happening just below the Hattie Street Bridge. Walleye is the target species with most fishermen using jigging spoons tipped with minnows. - Calhoun Derbush, creel clerk
Snowmobile trails are in good to excellent conditions in Marinette County. Snow in the forecast could make for the best trails in years. Ice fishing success has also increased especially as it relates to crappies on the flowages. Ice depths vary from 12-17 inches of ice pretty much on every lake in Marinette County. Slush may start to form on some lakes as snowfall increases and warmer temperatures arrive. Many local ice fishing an snowmobile derbies are planned for the weekend to include the High Falls fishing derby. - Matthew Meade, conservation warden, Wausaukee
Oconto County - All snowmobile trails are open in Oconto County with fair to good conditions. This week's snow should help improve those conditions. Riders are cautioned to obey all trail signs. Snowmobile radar runs will be held this Saturday at the Geano Beach Bar on Green Bay. Birds of prey continue to be on the move with numbers of hawks and eagles seen in the area. Fishing has been slow with some success on panfish early in the day. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Fishermen in the Geano Beach area are reporting some nice catches of white fish and a few pike. White fish are being caught in 3-5 feet of water on top of the reef south of the Geano Beach landing, jigging with wax worms is working best. White fish and perch are being caught near the mouth of the Oconto River at Oconto Breakwater Park. Jigging with wax worms are producing the most fish. Gator (pike) fishermen have been having success fishing in 3-8 feet of water all along the shore from Geano Beach to Oconto Park II. Dead smelt fished on bottom or large shiner minnows are working the best. - Calhoun Derbush, creel clerk
Snowmobile and cross country ski trails are in very good condition in northern Oconto County. Ice fishing has been poor. There is very good tracking snow for those looking to hunt coyotes. Hound hunters are having very good success harvesting coyotes. Back roads are very icy with plenty of snowmobile traffic. Be careful driving. - Joe Paul, conservation warden, Lakewood
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Voyageur Park fishermen are catching perch, walleye, and white fish. jigging with minnows and wax worms. Sunset Beach is another hotspot for perch and pike. Large shiner minnows have been working well for pike, while small minnows and wax worms are capturing the attention of the perch. - Calhoun Derbush - creel clerk
The beginning of the week started out slow with the temperatures being high and causing lots of snow to melt. Ice conditions were not bad, but there were several inches of water on top of the ice from the high temperatures. By the end of the week, the temperature lowered causing it to freeze and make ice conditions a little better overall. When the weekend hit, there were lots of fishermen overall. Lots of anglers at Lime Kiln Road and Big Rock Place were looking for whitefish. Little Sturgeon had high fishing activity as well. There were a few fishermen at Birmingham's at the beginning of the week. More shanties are on the ice and they are further out from shore with some vehicles being parked further from shore as well. Volk's landing and Bayshore Park were busy this week with fishermen using ATVs and snowmobiles to get out on the ice. At Volk's landing more fishermen are parking on the ice by the shoreline and some trucks are out by shanties. At Red River, fishing activity is also busy, but some fishermen were taking their shanties off the ice when a lot of the snow melted but planned on putting their shanties back on the ice towards the weekend. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Manitowoc County - Snowmobile trails remain closed in Manitowoc County. However, most trails in Kewaunee County are open.
Brown trout, rainbow trout, and coho salmon are being caught on the Kewaunee River from the County F bridge downstream past County E. Trout are also being caught on the Ahnapee River upriver of the Fourth Street bridge, the Manitowoc River near Manitou Park, and in the Manitowoc Marina. With the cold weather, ice conditions have improved.- Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Mishicot
Small, frequent snowfalls are providing coyote and fox hunters with ideal snow conditions. - Robert Stroess, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - Around the Door County area the ice has locked up in the bay with the current cold weather. Anglers are venturing all over the county on ATVs or snowmobiles and some individuals are even venturing out with their vehicles. Whitefish fishing is the hot thing at the moment, but anglers are also targeting walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike. Whitefish fishing has been pretty good overall with many anglers getting their limits when venturing out. Fishing 10-60 feet of water around rock reefs or humps seems to be providing better action. Those with underwater cameras are seeing a lot of fish. Fishing a wax worm on a teardrop jig or fishing a Swedish pimple or jigging spoon with a minnow head or wax worm has also been working well for active fish. Yellow perch have been found along the bay around most of the harbors up to Egg Harbor with minnows fished 4-10 inches off the bottom being the ticket to catch some nice perch. Cross country ski trails are in OK condition and should continue to improve with a few more inches of fresh snow. Door County snowmobile trails are open but conditions could definitely improve with fresh snow. - Brandon Bastar, research vessel captain
At Sugar Creek, a few fishermen were targeting whitefish with catching their limits. They used Sweedish Pimples and wax worms for bait and were fishing in about 12-15 feet of water. Fishermen were reporting good ice conditions of about 15-inches of ice. At the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the ice is open by the docks and no fishermen were at this location. In Sawyer Harbor, at Potawatomi Park, fishing activity was high with fishermen looking for perch and northern. A good number of Perch were caught on wax worms in about 8-10 feet of water. While the northern were caught on shinners in about 10-16 feet of water. Ice conditions here are good with about 14-15 inches of ice and most fishermen are driving their vehicles and ATVs on to the ice for travel. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Potawatomi State Park - Ski trails and snowmobile trails in the park are groomed and in good condition. Ski trails were last groomed on Monday. Fishermen were catching perch this past weekend on Sawyer Harbor. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Green Lake County - Green Lake has finally completely frozen over. Anglers are having success catching lake trout. Look for the trout from 80-150 feet of water. Spoons and pieces of minnow or minnow head seem to be the popular bait. Ice on the lake varies from 5-10 inches. Panfishing on Little Green Lake continues to be strong. - Nathan Ackerman, conservation warden
Waupaca County - All snowmobile trails in the county are open. Trail conditions are good and will improve if predicted snow arrives. Some trails are now open to ATV use. Please see the Waupaca County snowmobile trail to find which trails are open for ATV use. Good ice conditions persist on most lakes, but fishing has only been fair. Some anglers have reported catching trout on the Chain O' Lakes. A golden eagle is still being seen a few miles north of Waupaca. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Snow conditions are good and getting better. Up to 8-inches of snow is on the ground with more forecast. Trails in good to excellent shape. Coyote mating season is approaching very quickly. There is a foot or more of ice on most area lakes, but ice fishing has been slow.- Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Calumet County - Many avid anglers are paying close attention to the ice conditions on Lake Winnebago with the opening of sturgeon spearing. High winds, record warmth, melt run-off, then a significant snowfall and cold-snap all rearranged the ice along the east shore. Some fishing clubs have placed their tree-lines on the lake, while other clubs have not due to ice thickness and significant cracks in some areas. Some fishing clubs also placed bridges along the shoreline for access, while other clubs have removed their bridges until conditions improve. Anglers venturing out onto the lake in vehicles are reminded to use caution. Anglers who have been driving out from the Brothertown area are catching decent numbers of white-bass with a few perch and walleye mixed-in a couple miles off shore. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge
Outagamie County - The ice conditions on Lake Winnebago are good in many areas, however there are crack locations on the west and north ends that only have about 6-inches of ice. Many other parts of the lake have 15-18 inches of ice. Nearly all the local fishing clubs have put out tree lines and bridges where needed. The recent snowfall will make traveling on the ice more difficult because the cracks and springs will be covered. Anglers and spearers are reminded to travel with windows rolled down and seat belts off. As always, remember that ice conditions can change quickly. Water clarity on much of the lake has been reported to be 6-8 inches with some areas near Stockbridge having up to 10-inches.- Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton
Plenty of snow buntings are out and about near wildlife areas in Calumet County and its highways. There are also plenty of opportunities for rabbit hunting on Brillion Wildlife Area in the Deer View Road area on the east end of the property and on the north end of the property off of Bastian Road. Bird feeders in the Appleton area are being treated to crossbills and redpolls along with the many other normal species of birds. Many raptors are seen on both the Killsnake and Brillion Wildlife Areas including kestrels, harriers, rough-legged hawks and some eagles from time to time. Along the Fox River plenty of eagles are still being seen at the usual places like Thousand Islands Nature Center in Kaukauna, Doyle Park in Little Chute, Lawe St. and College Ave. in Appleton and at the Trestle Trail bridge between Town of Menasha and Menasha. - Dick Nikolai, wildlife biologist, Appleton
Winnebago County - Some hardy ice anglers are still hitting the ice on the up river lakes in the Winnebago system. With recent temperature fluctuations and snow, ice conditions remain quite variable. If you choose to venture out onto the ice, remember the risks involved and be prepared. At least one ice fisherman who recently became disoriented and lost in blizzard conditions and low-light conditions on Lake Poygan. Thankfully the angler made it off the ice safely, but the incident serves as a reminder of the dangers associated with travelling on frozen bodies of water.- Tom Truman, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak Unit - Lapham received about 2 inches of snow during the day on Tuesday. All trails were groomed on Tuesday evening and night. A new classical track was set throughout the system. Skate skiers will find very good or better conditions. The classical track is generally full depth and in good condition - however off of the manmade snow loop there are some places with thin snow cover where the bottom of the track has some grass showing. Wednesday night is the Lapham Peak Friends race night with school age beginning at 6:30 and adults at 7:40. For only the second time this year the race will be a single lap of the entire lighted trail and not multiple laps of the man made loop. Saturday night is a candlelight ski event from 6 - 9 pm. - Paul Sandgren, property superintendant
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Zillmer Ski Trails were groomed Tuesday night producing firm, deep tracks and a firm, level skating platform. Conditions are very good to excellent. - Jerry Leiterman, forest superintendent
Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan ice anglers have been in the marina, however brown trout and steelhead fishing has been spotty. The lower Sheboygan River is also frozen over.
Ozaukee County - Fishing in Port Washington has been slow overall with only a few browns and rainbows being caught by shore anglers fishing off of the Rotary Park rocks or the white railing area. The power plant discharge has also given up a few small browns; spawn sacs fished near bottom or casting bright colored crankbaits have worked best.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee ice anglers have been fishing the harbors at McKinley Marina and South Shore Park, as well as the lagoon at Lakeshore State Park. Success has been hit-or-miss for brown trout and steelhead. Conditions have been changing daily at Riverfront Ramp and on the Milwaukee River under the Hoan bridge. Ice floes have been moving through the area, and the river mouth is currently ice covered. When boats have been able to get out in the harbor, brown trout have been biting. There is fishable open water on the Menomonee River near the MMSD office, but fishing there has been fairly slow.
Racine County - In the Racine harbor ice fishing has been slow recently, but a mix of browns, rainbows, and northerns have all been caught. Spawn sacs and shiners have taken the majority of fish.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Trails in northern Waukesha County are now open. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Waukesha County lakes are now covered with ice. While the ice is more than 12-inches in many areas, many other locations have minimal thickness unable to support a person's weight. A PFD and ice picks are always a good idea when on ice. - Doug Zeihen, conservation warden, Delafield
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Walworth County - Turtle Lake is the where all of the fish are in Walworth County. If you are looking to go catch some pan fish for a meal, Turtle Lake is where it is happening. With fluctuating temperatures, ice is still around 7-inches. Anglers catching panfish using small gill pills with wax worms. Fishermen are stating that the glow and the dark jigs is the only way to go. Some fishermen still state that fathead minnows are working while others say the fish will not bite. Not a lot of shacks out on the ice, most people are pulling portables on and off each time they go out. Weather is getting cold, so plenty better ice to come. - Michael Katzenberg, conservation warden, Delavan
South Central Region
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Several inches of snow now cover the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. All trails are open to cross country skiing, but are not groomed in any areas of the riverway. Snowshoeing is always another opportunity to enjoy the beautiful winter scenery. Ice fishing reports have had mixed results. Some large northern pike have been caught on the sloughs. Throughout the winter several popular ice fishing locations will be plowed. - Matthew Sequi, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Perch have been biting on Cox Hollow Lake on waxworms and orange ice fishing jigs.Bluegils are biting on Bakken's Pond on red worms. Some nice northerns are being caught at Blackhawk Lake as well. Walleyes are biting caught on Twin Valley Lake. The northern have also been biting on Helen Lake. Northern have been biting on Avoca Lake, along with bass. Small bluegill are being caught on Birch Lake near Barneveld. - David Youngquist, conservation warden, Dodgeville
Lafayette County - Good ice, good snow for snowmobiling, skiing etc. Eagles are frequenting fields and areas of open water. - Bruce Folley, wildlife biologist, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park -Cross country ski trails will be in questionable condition depending on the forecast for the rest of this week. Forecast for today has a 90 percent chance of rain or freezing rain. Friday and Saturday calls for sunny skies with temperatures in low to mid 30s. Saturday evening has a chance of freezing rain and sleet which is expected to carry over into Sunday. High temperature on Sunday is expected to reach 40 degrees. Wyalusing State Park earlier this week had a base of about 10-13 inches. Rain and warm temperatures will compact the snow and trails may be icy in places. Bird sightings at park office feeders include: juncos, chickadees, white-breasted nuthatches, goldfinches, cardinals, blue jays, red-bellied, downy and hairy woodpeckers, and purple finches. Eagles are often sighted from the park overlooks and Wisconsin Ridge Campground. The Washington Street Bridge, St. Feriole Island and the Regional Tourism Center (Hwy. 18 W) in Prairie du Chien are usually known for eagle sightings this time of year. Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is at 7.6 today. The boat landing is a popular place for ice anglers. Reminder: we do not monitor ice conditions. If there are any questions about the condition of the road to the boat landing due to snow or ice, please call the park office at 608-996-2261. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Snowmobile trails recently opened and trails are in fair condition and more snow is in the forecast. Ice fishing has been slow, but the steady cold temperatures have made most lakes safe for ice fishing. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Jefferson County - Snowmobile trails are open in Jefferson County. Walleyes on Lake Ripley and northern pike on Red Cedar Lake are biting.- Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County
Sauk County - The 400 State Trail and the remainder of the Sauk County Snowmobile Trails are open and are in great shape with the colder weather and frequent snowfalls. Crappie and bluegill fishing has been slow this winter on Lake Redstone and Dutch Hollow Lake. Anglers that are catching fish are working minnows or plastics over structure. Some fish have been biting but the sizes have been somewhat small. Northern pike have been biting on Dutch Hollow Lake but there sizes have been small as well. A wolf has been seen on the west side of Sauk County just southwest of Cazenovia in Richland County. The landowner had several visits by the wolf near her house. No damage has been reported. - David Horzewski, conservation warden, Reedsburg
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Rock County snowmobile trails are open and are in fair to poor condition. The trails have not been groomed, but with more snow forecasted the weekend may be the perfect time for a family outing. Snowmobilers are reminded to respect the landowners along the trail and stay on the trail. Some medium sized panfish are being caught on Clear Lake through the ice. Fresh snow nearly every day of this week has resulted in some fantastic conditions for rabbit hunting and coyote hunting. - Mike J Dieckhoff, conservation warden, Janesville
West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Willow River State Park - Snowshoeing continues to be a popular activity. The two showshoe trails are solid enough to boot hike. One trail does link up with the Willow Falls Trail. Pets can also travel on the snowshoe trails. The trail through the pines and prairie is a hilly one. Ski trails were groomed and new classic track was set on Tuesday night. This is the best classic track of the season. Remember, the big hills on the north side of the lake require advanced to expert skills. However, if you go in from the falls end on the Nelson Farm stretch, there is a mile of family friendly flats and rollers before the big hills rise. There are ski trails that are not on any map including the mentioned Nelson Farm/Silver trail. The other one is a fun link between the Orange and the Red. This trail will be a one way next ski season since the two way connector on the Brown is really too narrow. Ski trail groomers will be trying to clean up some of the worst offending brush for classic skiers as their time allows. A mixture of buckthorn and prickly ash was taken out of two short stretches this week. Prep work is in progress for warm weather work on the Nelson Farm Trail going east from the Nelson Farm lot. Heavy dump trucks will be hauling gravel in while the ground is frozen. Road weight restrictions and soft ground would bar this process later in the spring and delay the work. Light dump trucks will be brought in to move the gravel when work resumes. The park road has had slippery spots so please drive accordingly. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
Kinnickinnic State Park - All Kinnickinnic trails were groomed this week.- Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Pepin County - Ice anglers on Lake Pepin are not having success with walleye and sauger like they did last year at this time. Snow levels are low and snowmobile trails remain closed. Repeated light snows are aiding coyote hunters. - Bill Wrasse, conservation warden, Durand
Vernon County - Cottontail rabbit hunting season remains open through Feb. 28. With the continuation of a snowy landscape, rabbit hunting conditions are ideal. Rabbits remain numerous throughout the area, and the daily bag limit is three cottontails. Watch for a network of rabbit trails in cottontail rabbit habitat, including sparse wooded areas with numerous brush thickets, grassy wetland edges, hayfields, weedy corn fields, and shrubby fencerows. Cottontails often rest in a "form," a shallow depression in the ground hidden beneath a pile of brush or grassy clump. Due to their locations, forms offer protection from predators and weather extremes. Regardless of the time of year, cottontails may be distinguished from snowshoe hares or jackrabbits by their rusty orange or reddish brown patch of hair on the nape of their necks. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Perrot State Park - The cross-country ski trails are in good condition. They have all been groomed and tracked. The skate lane located in the campground is in good condition. Trails not groomed for cross-country skiing are open for hiking and snowshoeing. These include the Riverview, Black Walnut, Brady's Bluff, and Perrot Ridge trails. Snowshoe rentals are available at the park headquarters. Please call ahead for availability and to connect with a staff person to assist you with the rental.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - The forest received several small snowfalls since last week's 6-8 inches. Conditions are great for winter recreation. Forecasted highs are expected to be close to the freezing mark the next few days and in the mid 30's this weekend. We may receive a wintry mix this weekend. All trails are open for snowmobiling and ATVing and should be in good condition for riding. UTVs are not allowed on the trails in winter. Jackson County Forestry and Parks Department grooms and maintains all winter snowmobile and ATV trails in the state forest. Please check their websites for up to date trail conditions. Thank you to all those who enjoyed a wonderful candlelight ski and hike last Saturday night. Conditions were great and we estimate 400 people took advantage of the beautiful evening.Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the forest, other than groomed trails. A new 1.5-mile snowshoe trail is available at the Smrekar trailhead. Additional trails for snowshoeing include the two mile Castle Mound trail and the five mile trail from Pigeon Creek to Smrekar Road. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Trempealeau County - Trempealeau and La Crosse county snowmobile trails are currently open but conditions are poor. Snowmobilers should continue to check with their local trail hotlines to stay apprised of the conditions. Trempealeau County snowmobile hotline can be reached at 715-538-2311, extension 205. La Crosse County snowmobile alliance webpage at http://www.laxsnowmobile.com. Local clubs are advising riders to be extra careful on wooded portions of the trail system as the recent ice and wind storm brought down a number of trees. Ice fishing has been moderate to slow. Pressure has been high with the recent fishing tournaments but catch rates have been generally slow. Anglers have been picking up good numbers of bass on tip-ups on Lake Onalaska and other Mississippi River back water areas. Panfish fishing has been hit and miss with some anglers picking up nice sized croppies and perch on the edges of structure. Most area lakes and ponds have 12-16 inches of ice however anglers are advised to use caution and continually monitor ice levels. Numerous vehicles have gone through the ice in recent weeks.- Christopher Shea, conservation warden, Trempealeau
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - County snowmobile trails opened Wednesday, with the exception of trail 18. Make sure to check out www.chippewasnowmobiletrails.com for the latest up-to-date trail and club information. Ice fishing conditions on Lake Wissota are improving slightly, with several anglers reporting a catch of nice sized bluegills and some crappie during morning hours. Fishing over structure with a small jig and a waxie prove to be the best technique. Lake Holcombe is slow and sporadic, although some of the crappie checked are 14 inches. Wardens reported seeing several ice shanties that were not properly marked, so please remember to identify shanty ownership.- Shaun Deeney, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls
Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - The cross country ski trails are in good condition. The trails were groomed and tracked Tuesday. Many of the trails are one-way so please follow the signs. Biking is not allowed on the trails and dogs are not allowed in the park. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Red Cedar State Trail - The cross country ski trail is in pretty good shape with the recent snow. Trail was groomed and tracked Wednesday. There's some icy spots especially near mile marker 1.5 to watch out for. Snowmobiling is allowed on the Red Cedar State Trail from Highway Y south to the Chippewa River State Trail. For current snowmobile trail conditions, please contact: Dunn County, 715-664-7669; Eau Claire County, 715-839-4738; Pepin County, 715-672-7669. The ice wall near mile marker 1.5 south of Menomonie is fully formed and is a sight to behold. - Penny L. Thiede-Klish, visitor service associate
Wausau DNR Service Center area
Marathon County - Snowmobile trails are open throughout the county with trails being in fair to good condition depending on terrain. Some spots can be a little icy and bumpy, so rider caution is urged. More snow is in the forecast which would greatly help. Fishing success varies throughout the area. Some anglers are having luck with crappies on tip downs on local waterways. Reminder that hunter safety courses are opening up in the county. Visit the DNR webpage for class location/availability. - Benjamin Herzfeldt, conservation warden, Wausau
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Adams County - Snowmobile trails in Adams County are open and the crappie bite has slowed on Petenwell Lake. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship
Buckhorn State Park - People have been ice fishing on the lake. Park staff do not monitor ice conditions. Visitors over the weekend were skiing and snowshoeing. Cross country ski trails are in excellent condition. When there is at least 6-inches of snow, the office has adult sized snowshoes to check out to use in the park. We do not have child size snowshoes yet. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are closed. Parking is in the winter lot and park stickers are still required. 2013 park stickers are available. The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset and is not maintained for winter use. No food, drinks or pets are allowed and visitors are restricted to the stairway to protect the natural area. - Heather Wolf, park manager