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Outdoor Report for February 21, 2013  Published by the Central Office

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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).

Snow and cold across much of the state improved late winter recreation opportunities, especially in northern Wisconsin, including ice fishing, snowmobiling and skiing.

Snow conditions are good to excellent in Bayfield and Sawyer counties for the American Birkebeiner Race this weekend. The largest cross-country ski race in North America is expected to attract 10,000 skiers this weekend. Snowmobile trials are also in good riding condition across most of the northern half of the state, with the best conditions in the northern tier of counties. Potawatomi State Park received more than 3-inches of snow so far this week and snowmobile trials are open. They are also open in Flambeau River State Forest, where conditions are good to excellent.

Many others to the south are in poor condition, or closed, including Sauk County's 400 State Trail.

While ice depths are good in the 18-20 inch range on most Northwood's lakes, fishing success has been sporadic. Ice fishing has been fair in Oneida County with anglers reporting mixed bags of multiple species on the Willow Flowage.

Panfishing has picked up this past week, along with crappie, bluegill and perch on many Bayfield County lakes with jigs and wax worms as a topper working best for bluegills and smaller minnows on a jig has been working best when catching both perch and crappie. On Lake Minocqua anglers have had decent panfish action.Some nice panfish have also been caught in Shawano County.

A few browns and rainbows have been caught on spawn sacs and shiners off Racine County. In Brown County, perch are the species of choice at Sunset Beach in Suamico, jigging with minnows or wax worms. Anglers report the bite has been sporadic with mornings been the best time to fish.

The 16-day Winnebago sturgeon season will wrap up this weekend. As of Wednesday, on Lake Winnebago, 246 sturgeon had been taken despite poor water clarity in many areas.

Panfish anglers still have time to can catch one of the nearly 30 panfish plan meetings statewide February and March. The public meetings mark the opening phases of efforts by DNR fisheries management to better connect with anglers in Wisconsin. Those attending meetings will be asked to fill out a short questionnaire to help DNR understand their concerns, issues and priorities for panfish. The questionnaire and background materials presented at the meeting are available online.

The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count concluded on February 18 with more than 3,400 checklists of 134 birds species submitted across Wisconsin. Eagle Appreciation Day is Saturday in Prairie du Chien. And eagles can be seen from the park overlooks and Wisconsin Ridge Campground. They have also been seen soaring over Flambeau River State Forest this week. Turkeys have been seen and heard this week in Oconto, Sauk and Richland counties.

Birders reported significant signs of spring this past week, including singing northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees, drumming woodpeckers, courtship flights of common ravens, and trumpeter swans north all the way to Lake Superior. Sandhill cranes returned to the state in good numbers across southern Wisconsin on Monday, and, bluebirds, a sure sign of warmer, greener days ahead, are here, or on their way, so make sure you put up, or clean out bluebird houses.

Statewide Birding Report

The 2013 Great Backyard Bird Count concluded on February 18 with more than 3,400 checklists of 134 birds species submitted across Wisconsin. Thanks to all who contributed to this four-day, global event that provides our best snapshot of late winter bird populations. Speaking of late winter, birders reported significant signs of spring this past week, including singing northern cardinals and black-capped chickadees, drumming woodpeckers, courtship flights of common ravens, and trumpeter swans north all the way to Lake Superior. Sandhill cranes returned to the state in good numbers across southern Wisconsin on Monday, and the first arctic geese were seen this past week, including greater white-fronted geese in several locations and a flock of 10 Ross's geese in Algoma. Winter isn't over, however, and boreal owls continue to make news in the state and region with birds being seen in Douglas, Bayfield, and Oneida counties. Birders should look for these small owls hunting rodents near bird feeders during low light conditions and are encouraged to report sightings with a picture to Wisconsin eBird (www.ebird.org/WI). White-winged and red crossbills, common and hoary redpolls, pine grosbeaks and other winter finches continue in strong numbers nearly statewide. Feeder watchers have also reported several dark-eyed juncos of the western "Oregon" subspecies. Other rare birds spotted this week include a spotted towhee in Chippewa County, black-legged kittiwake near Neenah, and northern hawk owls in Door and Douglas counties. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Bayfield County - Local snowmobile trails are in good to very good condition in southern Bayfield County. And more than 5-inches of snow is forecast for Friday, so perfect riding conditions are possible for the weekend. Area cross-country ski trials remain in excellent condition and if the additional snow falls, the timing will be perfect for the American Birkebeiner Race this weekend. For snowshoe enthusiasts, 14-20 inches of snow in area forests provides excellent opportunities. Panfishing has picked up this past week, Along with crappie, bluegill and perch on many of the local lakes including, the Eau Claire Chain and Namakagon Lake with jigs and wax worms as a topper working best for bluegills and smaller minnows on a jig has been working best when catching both perch and crappie. Northern pike fishing has been excellent this winter, even if the walleye and panfish aren't biting. Most hunting seasons have come to an end, but a fair number of coyote hunters in the area are taking advantage of the excellent tracking conditions resulting from a few inches of snow falling every-other-day for the past two weeks. The conditions have also been good for rabbit hunters. And although most trapping seasons have also come to an end, one quickly realizes the fur prices must be on the rise because as one local trapper put it, "it was hard to find a pond or creek that wasn't being trapped this year." - Jill Schartner, conservation warden, Drummond

Douglas County - The snowmobile trail system conditions range from poor in the south to good in the far northeast. Trails that were finally ride able recently experienced heavy use this past weekend, causing deteriorating conditions. A good base is in place at this time, fresh snow is needed to improve conditions. Measurable snowfall and milder temperatures are predicted for Friday. - John Krull, conservation warden, Superior

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Polk County - Most trails are in good condition with some areas excellent. Trails in the southern part of the county have rough spots in wooded areas due to little snow to fill in low spots. - Shaun Tyznik conservation warden, Amery

Interstate Park - Winter recreation trails are open. The Skyline cross-country ski trail was groomed Feb. 9 and is in fair to good condition. Hiking is not recommended on the bluff trails as they are not maintained for winter use. Ice conditions are variable. A drive through the park may provide views of winter wildlife or evidence of their presence. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With several nights of sub-zero temperatures in the last week, ice depths have increased to 18-20 inches on most area lakes. The deep snow has created quite a few areas of slush and made for difficult travel on the lakes. Some of the more popular waters have seen some packed trails, but a 4WD vehicle has pretty much been a necessity when venturing out on the ice. With the cold weather, ice fishing pressure has continued to be relatively low and success has continued to be erratic. Panfish have continued to provide the most consistent action with anglers reporting some fair catches of crappie, perch and bluegill at various times through the week. Crappies are starting to suspend in deeper water and the best success came with small minnows and or an ice jig tipped with a wax worm. As usual, the cloudy and milder days produced a more consistent bite and the afternoon hours provided most of the action. Walleye success continues to be generally slow with many anglers having a hard time finding active fish. The best catches came from tip-up fishermen using medium suckers or large fatheads in 8-12 feet of water. As with the panfish, the milder days produced a more consistent bite and the hour before dark saw most of the action. Most of the fish have been in the 11-13-inch range, but a few up to 20 inches have been reported. With the changing weather, fishing for northern pike has been variable. Catches have generally been low, though a few pike up to 30-inches have been taken. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Ski and snowmobile trails are in good to excellent condition. Ski trails are being packed and tentatively planned to be tracked on Friday if the predicted snow falls. We are expecting 2-4 inches of new snow over the next 24 hours to top off our existing 12 inches of snow on the ground. Coyotes are on the prowl and eagles are starting to set up territories. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - Snowmobilers have been enjoying excellent trail conditions. Over the past week heavy and wet snow created a great base for most of the trails. Snow totals are now 15-17 inches. Ice fishing has been fair. Anglers are reporting mixed bags of multiple species on the Willow Flowage. On Lake Minocqua anglers have had decent panfish action. Walleyes seem to be biting right after dark on many of the smaller lakes in the Minocqua area. Remember to always check the walleye bag limit for each specific lake as bag limits vary lake to lake. - Tim Werner, conservation warden recruit

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - All trails are in good to very good condition.- Tony Martinez, forestry facilities worker

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Northeast Region

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. Please check Marinette County's website for up to date conditions and any closings at www.marinettecounty.com/. Ski trails are in excellent condition. Recent snowfall has allowed staff to groom the trails into excellent condition. Trails were groomed Thursday. Check out current trail conditions here: www.skinnyski.com/trails/ (both links exit DNR). Snowshoeing is allowed anywhere in the forest, other than groomed ski trails. - Sara Pearson, Ranger/Assistant Manager

Marinette County - Anglers are entering the Bay off Pond Road, fishing north of the mouth of the Peshtigo River for pike but also catching some whitefish. Anglers out of Little River are catching whitefish out at the Trout Bar. Walleye fishing below the dam at Hattie Street has come to a temporary halt due to the break-up of ice in the pocket below the dam. This happened after the rain when to dam was open blowing the ice up onto itself and refreezing. - Calhoun Derbush, creel clerk

Oconto County - Some turkeys have already been seen in full strut in area fields on warmer days. Turkeys are still in very large groups. Coyote hunters have been having some success with the coyotes in mating season and very active. Hunters are reminded to ask permission before releasing their dogs. Fishing in the southern Oconto County has been slow with some whitefish being caught at the Oconto Break Wall and the reef at Geano Beach. Northern pike along the west shore seem to be more active with some nice fish being caught. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Geano Beach anglers have been keying on whitefish about three miles south of the landing. Jigs and wax worms have been working well. Whitefish are also being targeted at the mouth of the Oconto River with mornings and evenings being the best time to fish. Northern pike fishermen have been out in good numbers all along the Bay Shore from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II using dead smelt in the round fished on bottom or large shiner minnows. Most fish are being caught in 3 to 8 feet of water and the fish are running from 25-36 inches. - Calhoun Derbush, creel clerk

Snowmobile trails remain in very good condition in northern Oconto County with several inches of fresh snow this week and more expected, which should make for another excellent weekend of snowmobiling. Cross-country ski trails also continue to be groomed weekly and are in excellent condition. Fishing remains fair to poor with fair catches of panfish on Chute Pond and perch on Wheeler and Archibald lakes.- Joe Paul, conservation warden, Lakewood

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - The main emphasis for Voyageur Park anglers has been walleye. Fishing the low light periods have been best, with jig and minnow or jig and wax worms. Some perch and white fish are also being caught. Perch are the species of choice at Sunset Beach in Suamico, jigging with minnows or wax worms. Anglers report the bite has been sporadic with mornings been the best time to fish. - Calhoun Derbush - creel clerk

At Rites Cove, fishing activity was high with anglers targeting whitefish getting decent numbers. They were fishing in about 14-feet of water using minnows and wax worms for bait. At the Red River, anglers were targeting whitefish and perch. Perch numbers were very low and so were whitefish numbers. Swedish pimples, minnows, and wax worms were the main sources of bait. Some were even using large lake shiners for perch with not having much luck. Anglers were fishing in about 9-20 feet of water. At Dyckesville, fishing activity was high and anglers were targeting both whitefish and perch. Whitefish numbers were doing okay, with a few getting their limits for the day. Wax worms were the main bait in about 3-10 feet of water. At Bayshore Park, fishing activity was high with anglers catching perch and whitefish. Both species of fish had low numbers. Some anglers were using spoons for bait down to 15-20 feet of water, while others were using grubs, wax worms and minnows in about 10-15 feet of water. At Volk's Landing, fishing activity was a little bit slower this week with anglers looking for whitefish. Numbers were low and they were using wax worms and Swedish pimples for bait in about 6-7 feet of water. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - This week was a little warmer overall and ice conditions continue to improve with about a 1 1/2 to 2 feet of ice along the east shore of the bay. The beginning of the week brought a lot of snow melting on the ice creating lots of standing water on the ice. Some place, people were reporting having almost 11 inches of water on top of the ice. Some fishermen were moving their shanties around to better adjust to the melting conditions, but it did not slow them down. Up in Sturgeon Bay, for the beginning of the week it was slow and there was not much fishing activity going on. At Potawatomi State Park, fishing activity was starting to pick up and there was a handful of fishermen at Bullhead Point. Over at the Yacht Club, the water is still open around the docks. Along the lower east side of the bay, fishing activity picked up as the week went on. At Sugar Creek, fishermen were targeting Whitefish with their numbers being moderate with a few getting their limits of fish. Only a few perch were caught. They were fishing in about 30-35 feet of water using wax worms and minnows for bait. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Potawatomi State Park - Potawatomi Park received more than 3-inches of snow so far this week, with more predicted tonight and Friday. Snowmobile trails are open, ski trails are groomed, and roads are being plowed. The park should be in good shape for all winter activities this weekend. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - There is about a foot of snow on the ground. Animal activity has been slow. There has been a fair amount of people out ice fishing, but the only success reported is white bass on Lake Poygan. Trails should be in good shape after fresh snow on Wednesday.- Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Outagamie County - Despite less than ideal water clarity, many spearers have still been coming out every day to try for a fish. Many spearers have reported seeing sturgeon on their underwater cameras, but few have been fortunate enough to spear one. Ice conditions on the lake are excellent, with 20-plus inches in many areas. The landings, however, are continuing to degrade around the lake with increased vehicle traffic. Perch anglers have been catching a few fish in scattered areas on the north end of Winnebago. With the continued snow cover, coyote hunters have been reportedly been doing well. As of now snowmobile trails in the area remain closed, but could open up if the next storm brings enough snow. - Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton

Winnebago County - Sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago has been getting better each day. Water clarity is improving daily. Ice conditions are becoming better and many of the fishing clubs have their bridges out allowing vehicle access in many areas. Some walleyes, crappies, perch, and white bass are being caught by many anglers. - Tom Truman, conservation warden, Oshkosh

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Harrington Beach State Park - The trails are in seasonal condition. Minimal snow cover is present on trails and ice remains in areas. Quarry Lake and Puckett's Pond are part of the Urban Fishing program. Please see page 22 of your Fishing Regulations for 2012-2013. As you stroll along the shuttle trail, you may notice that certain wooded areas seem to have had a clearing in the understory. Through the hard work and dedication of park volunteers, large amounts of invasive honeysuckle have been removed. Make note of these cleared areas and watch them as spring comes around. Our native flora will find a foothold in these newly opened areas and thrive.- Robin Miller, ranger

Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - Ice anglers have been in the marina, however brown trout and steelhead fishing has been spotty. The harbor water is murky, making fishing difficult. The Sheboygan River near Eighth Street is frozen over, but there are areas of open water towards the river mouth.

Ozaukee County - Fishing in Port Washington has been slow overall with only a few browns and rainbows being caught by shore anglers fishing near Rotary Park. The power plant discharge has also given up a few small browns; spawn sacs fished near bottom or casting bright colored crank baits have worked best.

Milwaukee County - Ice anglers have been fishing the harbors at McKinley Marina and South Shore Park, as well as the lagoon at Lakeshore State Park. Water clarity has been relatively poor and success has been hit-or-miss for brown trout and steelhead. There is fishable open water on the Menomonee River near the MMSD office, but fishing there has been fairly slow. Conditions have been changing daily at Riverfront Ramp and on the Milwaukee River under the Hoan Bridge. The lower river is currently free of ice. When boats have been able to get out in the harbor, brown trout have been biting.

Racine County - The harbor water is fairly turbid and ice fishing has been slow recently. A few browns and rainbows have been caught on spawn sacs and shiners. The Root River has some open water below the Horlick Dam and into Quarry Lake Park, but water levels are currently high.

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Waukesha County - Lake Country area ice is as solid as it's been all year. Panfish and northern are biting. - Doug Zeihen, conservation warden, Delafield

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - With the warm weather and rain received this last week, many portions of the main channel opened up and were clear of ice. The open water made for good eagle watching. There has been reports of four trumpeter swans recently seen at Bakken Pond. The great horned owls are beginning their nesting season and their calls may be heard at night. With the prediction of snow in the forecast, the trails should be in good shape for the weekend. All trials are open to cross-country skiing, but are not groomed in any areas of the riverway. Anglers have reported success catching panfish on many of the sloughs. Finding the right colored jig seems to be the secret to success.- Matthew Sequin, property manager

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Grant County - Anglers have been catching bluegills, medium to large crappies and largemouth bass in the sloughs off Closing Dam Road and Bertom Lake along the Mississippi River. The bass are being caught on tip-ups using minnows. Most are fishing in the shallows in 2-5 feet of water. The majority of anglers reported at least 15-inches of ice. One person even had a high-end under-water camera showing plenty of fish, apparently without appetites. The snowmobile trails in southern Grant County have been closed due to lack of snow. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville

Richland County - Area residents reported turkeys were gobbling during a recent warm break in the weather. Anglers using tip-ups are having success on the Wisconsin River back waters near Lone Rock catching northern and largemouth bass. Snowmobile trails remain closed in the area. - Michael Nice, conservation warden, Richland Center

Wyalusing State Park -Trails are snow and ice covered. Cross-country ski trails are currently open, but icy in places. Trails were last groomed on Feb. 15. Snow is expected Thursday night into Friday, with accumulations of 3-7 inches predicted. 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 in Prairie du Chien are common places for eagle sightings this time of year. Eagle Appreciation Day is Saturday in Prairie du Chien. For more information on details and program times, please contact the Prairie du Chien Chamber of Commerce at 1-800-732-1673 or online at www.prairieduchien.org. Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien measured 7.6 Thursday. The boat landing is a popular place for ice anglers. With the frigid temperatures and brisk winds this week, not many ice anglers braved the elements to try their luck. 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

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Dodge County - A few Canada geese have been seen on the marsh sitting on the ice, possibly getting a jump on claiming nesting locations. A couple of swans were also seen on the marsh. Rough legged hawks and at least one shrike are in the area. Some muskrats have dug out of their huts, likely in search of better water and access to food under the ice. - Paul Samerdyke, wildlife biologist, Horicon

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Jefferson County - The dredging project on Lake Koshkonong is underway. The berm, or break wall, along the northwest shore near Mud Lake is 95 percent complete. The dredging will begin soon and the public is reminded to please stay clear of the area. The ice is thin and heavy equipment is traveling on the ice. Snowmobile trails in Jefferson County remain closed as of Tuesday. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County

Sauk County - The open water fishing on the Wisconsin River has been slow the water temperature being very cold. If we get some warmer weather the fishing should be good below the Prairie du Sac dam. Boat registration renewals are coming out and it is a good time to get the registration sent back in so anglers and boaters can receive their registration and stickers before the spring. Ice conditions are still good for ice fishing, however, be on the watch for deteriorating ice. Ace Hardware-Wilderness Fish and Game store will be hosting their 30th annual Spring Free Fishing Clinic in Sauk City. This is a great clinic to hear speakers and get ready for the spring season. It is very important to get children and even first time adults into fishing and outdoor activities. Anglers, please take a kid fishing and introduce people to the outdoors. Bluebirds are starting to show up and bluebird houses should be cleaned and disinfected soon. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac

With the cold weather, ice conditions on the area lakes seem to be good, but the frozen ruts across the lakes from thawing and freezing is making travel on the lakes somewhat challenging. Ice fishing on Lake Redstone and Dutch Hollow Lake appear to be extremely slow. Area anglers have reported catching a few crappies on Lake Redstone around the brush piles on minnows and plastics. The 400 State Trail and the county snowmobile trails remain closed with the lack of snow. Snow is in the forecast but a significant amount will be needed to open the trails. The cross-country ski trails are in good shape at Mirror Lake State Park. Stop in at the office or call ahead for more up to date information on the trails. More deer have been observed out in the afternoons and early evenings in fields scratching through the snow and bare spots for something to eat. Turkeys have also been concentrating in the bare spots of the farm fields.- David Horzewski, conservation warden, Reedsburg

Governor Nelson State Park - Cross-country ski trails are closed. - Rene' Lee - park manager

Janesville DNR Service Center area

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West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

Willow River State Park - Skiing has been good on all of the trails around the park. Trail conditions will vary depending upon the ratio of snow to ice mixture when the trail is groomed. Pure snow will make the skis hiss as they glide. A mixture of ice and snow will change the sound to a crunch or a buzz. Pure snow for grooming has been rare this season. The Nelson Farm (Silver) Trail has been a hit with the advanced, expert skiers. Skiing from the Willow Falls end, the elevation gain is spread out. The hill we call Everest is a thrill ride down on fresh groomed snow and is not for novices. Caution is advised. If previous skiers have plowed the "corduroy" off the surface, its best to take off the skis and walk down. The double S turn on the run should provide a good indication of the big hill's condition. Of course, it's difficult going uphill but then the elevation gain is largely over with on the west to east direction. Skiing east, there are some down hills that are similar to things found on the Birkie trail. Nelson Farm also offers easy sections such as this one. From the Nelson Farm parking lot, go across the road and ski east. The trail rolls gently with small hills and some turns. It is a great place to work on some basic skills. Ski east until the signs show "Caution" or "Most Difficult," then turn around. The skate deck was refreshed Sunday afternoon on all of the ski trails. Trails have held up well with heavy use over the weekend. It is also the time of year when oak trees begin to release their leaves. The leaves bind to kick wax and cause noticeable drag on glide wax. The two snowshoe trails have been solid also, solid enough to boot hike. For a tough fitness workout, take the Pines Snowshoe Trail without snowshoes and hustle it along as you go. It is likely that there will be skiing into March and as such, trails designated for skiing will not be open to other foot traffic.Trout anglers are going to need to walk to the river the ski from the trail below the dam until skiing ends. The ski trail is the entire width of the trail, not just the tracks cut into the trail along the sides. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Snowmobile trails are in good condition. Extra caution should be used on steep and narrow trails in the woods. Reduce your speed on corners and curves due to icy conditions. A few panfish and walleye anglers have been venturing out on Lake Altoona. Panfish have provided the most consistent action and a few anglers have reported some decent catches of perch and crappie. The fish have been found suspended just off the bottom near the deep-water areas, and a small ice jig tipped with a wax worm has provided the best action. Walleye fishing has continued its generally erratic trend and success stories have been tough to come by in the last few weeks. A few anglers have been able to pick up some small walleye in the late afternoon hours, with the best bait being a large fathead minnow fished near structure or break lines in 8-12 feet of water.- Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - The trails were groomed for both classical and skate skiing on Feb. 15 and are in good condition. Biking is not allowed on the trails and dogs are not allowed in the park. Caution would be advised driving into the park as the road and parking areas are icy. - Penny L. Thiede-Klish, visitor service associate

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - People have been ice fishing on the lake. The power company has started the Castle Rock Lake drawdown and should be completed by March 15. Visitors over the weekend were skiing and snowshoeing. Cross-country ski trails are in good condition - the track is still set from the last snow and grooming. 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. We are looking for a camp host for the month of July and for the first two weeks of October. - 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. Please do not block the main gate. The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset and is not maintained for winter use. Visitors have been snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the park. We are not grooming trails at this time. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the winter lot. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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Last Revised: Thursday, February 21, 2013