Outdoor Report for March 6, 2014

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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).

Winter continues to hold a firm grip on Wisconsin, with the entire state receiving additional snowfall in the last week, with up to a foot of new snow reported in the Northwoods. Snow depths range from a low of 10 to 12 inches in the south, to more than 40 inches in some place in the north.

Snowmobile trail conditions continue to be good to excellent in the north and fair to good in the south, with only a handful of counties still having trails closed, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR). Cross-country ski conditions remain good to excellent statewide, including the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine, which received an additional 3 to 5 inches of snow in the last week.

Milder temperatures are finally in the forecast, so this coming weekend may be one of the best last chances for excellent snowmobiling, skiing, and snowshoeing.

The deep snow has state wildlife officials keeping a close eye on both deer and turkey populations, with a few reports coming in of both dead deer and turkeys. The winter severity index that biologists use to track the impact of winter on wildlife has reached the severe level in many northern locations and is approaching severe in some central Wisconsin areas. People are being asked to report any sightings of dead deer or turkeys to their local wildlife biologists. Contacts can be found by searching the DNR website for keywords "dead deer."

Biologists are receiving many inquiries about feeding deer. Deer feeding is strictly regulated in Wisconsin and is prohibited in and around areas where chronic wasting disease has been found. Rules can be found by searching the DNR website for "baiting and feeding." Check out a winter deer feeding factsheet [PDF] for information on why feeding straight corn or hay to deer can be more harmful that helpful to deer, especially in the north or contact a local wildlife biologists for more information.

With the game fish season now closed on many inland waters, ice fishing activity has been minimal. Access in the north continues to be very difficult, with deep snow covering several layers of slush on some lakes. Ice anglers are having difficult times removing shanties do to the deep snow.

Anglers continue to fish Green Bay, especially in areas where access roads have been established. The still need to drill through 30 or more inches of ice to fish. Whitefish action continues to be very good along both the east and west shores of the bay. Some perch action was also reported along Door County, and northern pike action was improving along the west shore at Marinette and Oconto. Most Southeast Wisconsin tributaries and marinas remain frozen over; however, some open water can be found in the Port Washington harbor and the lower Menomonee River and canals in Milwaukee. A few brown and rainbow trout continue to be caught through the ice at most harbors.

While it still looks and feels like winter, lengthening days are signaling that spring migration just around the corner. Bird song is much more prevalent now, as cardinals, chickadees, finches, robins, and sparrows increased their vocal activity this week, and the first migrant sandhill cranes have trickled into southern counties.

Statewide Birding Report

It still looks and feels like winter but lengthening days are lending hope of spring migration just around the corner. Bird song is much more prevalent now, as cardinals, chickadees, finches, robins, and sparrows increased their vocal activity this week. Woodpeckers also can be heard drumming as they advertise territories and begin to pair up. The first migrant sandhill cranes have trickled into southern counties, even if numbers are far below average for this time of year. Some waterfowl have moved in as well, including a flock of greater white-fronted geese in Green County and two Ross's geese at Port Washington. However, various diving ducks continue to struggle with the vast ice coverage both inland and on the Great Lakes. Many birds are congregating in small patches of open water, others are turning up dead along the ice, and more yet are being found in inland fields and roads, unable to take flight after mistakenly landing during a desperate search for open water. If you find a stranded or sick bird in flight contact your local DNR office or wildlife rehabilitator. Snowy owls still show no obvious signs of departure, though some may already be headed north and many will exit in the weeks ahead. If you haven't seen one yet, now is the time to head out and catch a glimpse! Cedar waxwings are being reported in good numbers across southern Wisconsin. Expect numbers of both waterfowl and landbirds to increase dramatically there in the week or two ahead. Those of us in the north will have to wait a little bit longer but should keep an eye to the sky for migrant bald and golden eagles, northbound snowy owls, and early waterfowl wherever open water is available. As always, help us track bird populations by reporting your sightings to Wisconsin ebird (exit DNR). - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The Afterhours Ski trails were just groomed March 5 and are in excellent condition, as are the snowmobile trails. The extended forecast is calling for much more typical early march temperatures. It would be a great time to get out and enjoy the winter without the painfully cold temperatures. It doesn't seem like it now but spring is just around the corner, enjoy the winter sports while it lasts and while it is comfortable! With thoughts of spring and summer, staff from the Brule River State Forest, Northern Highland American Legion State Forest, and the Flambeau River State Forest will be found at the State Forest Booth at Canoecopia in Madison on March 7, 8, and 9 at the Alliant Energy Center. For more information on Canoecopia see www.canoecopia.com (exit DNR). - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Bayfield County - Drummond received another 4 inches of fresh snow this week and area snowmobile trails are in excellent condition. Snowshoe enthusiasts are finding more than 3 feet of snow in area woods, giving them a workout within just a few minutes. Cross-country skiers are happy to report area trails have an excellent base and are in superb condition as well. A reminder to those choosing to feed deer, please consider a deer supplement instead of corn. It is carried by most CO-OPs and it is much better for the deer's health this time of year. - Jill Schartner, conservation warden, Drummond

Big Bay State Park - All trails are open for skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking; however, they are not groomed. Beautiful ice formations on our sandstone cliffs can be seen all along our Bayview and Point trails. It is advised that all visitors keep safety in mind when visiting by following designated trails and park rules. Ice conditions on Lake Superior change rapidly along the shoreline. Pets are allowed on most trails (except the beach or boardwalk trail) and must be on a leash and bicycles are permitted only in the roads and parking areas. When the ferry is not in operation, a wind sled/van provides transport for passengers only across the ice road between Bayfield and Madeline Island. For more information regarding the wind sled/van schedule or ice road driving conditions call 715-747-5400. The park is approximately 8 miles from the wind sled/ice road access. Once at the park, all roads and parking areas are maintained and plowed for access. As a reminder, an annual sticker or daily pass is required for all vehicles. Big Bay State Park is not located within the Apostle Island National Lakeshore. If you are inquiring about the popular ice caves that are accessible by the public, they are located on the Bayfield Peninsula just north of Cornucopia, Wisconsin. Please contact the "Ice Line" at 715-779-3397 ext.#3 for ice conditions, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore offices at 715-779-3398 or go online at www.nps.gov/apis (exit DNR) for more information.- Jennifer L. Birkholz, ranger - assistant property manager

winter.
Icy Big Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park
Photo by Kevin Feind

Pattison State Park - The area received another 3 inches of fluffy snow on Monday evening. Pattison and Amnicon Falls and other state park and forest properties are looking for interested persons to fill limited term employee visitor services associate and assistant naturalist positions. Interested persons can apply by looking on the Limited Term Job openings page of the DNR website. The application deadline is March 13. - Kevin Feind, ranger

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Interstate Park - Winter recreation trails are open and snow-covered. The Skyline Ski Trail is open to cross country skiers only; last groomed Mon Feb 24 with 24 inch packed base. Watch for bald eagles congregating near open water on the river. Mammal tracks indicate activity and movements of deer, coyote, fox, fisher, otter and mink. Join Naturalist Julie Fox at 10 a.m. or 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, to experience Wisconsin Interstate Park by snowshoe. Meet at the Ice Age Center for an introduction to basic snowshoe skills followed by an opportunity to snowshoe at your own pace. Snowshoes available for ages 6 & up, free of charge. The walks are dependent upon weather conditions; call the park for updates. Interstate Park is located in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin, on Highway 35 just 1/2 mile south of Hwy 8. A state park sticker is required to enter the park. For more information contact Julie at 715-483-3747 or julieann.fox@wisconsin.gov. - 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) - The game fish ice season ended on a very quiet note this past weekend with very few anglers getting out to try their luck. Deep snow, slush and tough access conditions have kept fishing pressure very low for the last month and the last chance for a catch of walleye, pike or bass did not entice any increase in pressure. A couple of diehard walleye anglers did make it out and were able to find some decent action. A few limits of eater-size were found in 6 to 10 feet of water and extra-large fathead minnows got the best results. Panfish anglers (for which the season is still open) have all but given up until lake access conditions improve. Ice and snow depths have reached the 22 to 30 inch range on most lakes across the region but it has become difficult to tell where the snow level ends and the actual ice layer begins. Most lakes have several layers of slush in the upper foot of the ice/snow cover, and this has added to the tough access conditions. The slush layers have also made hole-drilling a difficult task, with the slush even bogging down some of the power augers. It will likely take an extended thaw to melt down the upper foot of slush/ice on the lakes, which should then allow better access and an increase in panfish anglers getting out. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Snow levels in the woods are still approximately 30-36 inches deep. Both Snowmobile and ski trails are in excellent condition with a deep base and likely to be good for some time yet. Ski trails have been packed and are being groomed March 6. Oxygen levels are being watched on local lakes but appear to be normal for this time of year. Ice shanties are to be removed by March 17, but anglers who are experiencing difficulty removing them can check with their local wardens for advice. Temperatures are expected to warm up over this next week. We are seeing more deer on the move. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - With the cold weather and plentiful snowfall, snowmobile trails in the Oneida and Vilas county area remain in excellent condition. Fishing for panfish has been good but lake access remains very difficult to impossible. Access is limited to foot travel only in many areas due to deep snow and slush. Snowmobilers should use caution operating on the lakes and remain on marked trails to prevent getting stuck in the slush pockets. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - All cross-country ski trails were cut and tracked March 3 and are in very good condition. There has been over a foot of snow in the last week.- Tony Martinez, forestry facilities worker

Rhinelander DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - Oneida County has a winter severity index near 100 and DNR staff suspect a reduced fawn crop and loss of animals in the northern portion of the state. Some businesses have popped up aiding anglers in removing their ice shacks from snow covered lakes. All are using small tracked vehicles to pull shanties off and they are charging a fee. Turkeys are also struggling in the Northwoods and these animals do not have the ability to regulate their metabolism like deer. Please report sightings of dead deer and/or turkeys to your local DNR Wildlife Biologist. Game fish season has closed and crappie activity has not picked up yet. A public hearing to discuss the development on the Woodboro Wildlife Area will be rescheduled due to the winter storm on February 20. - James Jung, conservation warden, Rhinelander

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay

Marinette County - Good numbers of whitefish were reported being caught around the Trout Bar from anglers who accessed the ice from the Little River Boat Launch. Northern pike action in and around the Peshtigo Harbor area improved with anglers catching fish in 5 to 14 feet of water using large shiners or smelt fished on bottom. Walleye were caught below the dam at Hattie Street on jigging stick baits tipped with minnow heads or wax worms. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Geano Beach anglers reported catching walleye just south of the landing using tip ups with minnows and jigging with stick baits. From Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II some nice northern pike were caught on large shiner minnows or dead smelt fished on or near the bottom. Some whitefish were caught in the mouth of the Oconto River jigging with stick baits tipped with minnow heads or wax worms. Anglers also reported catching whitefish and some perch on Larson's reef. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Anglers fishing out of Voyageur Park and the Fox Point Landing caught some 25-plus inch walleye in 9 to 20 feet of water. The best bait was the jigging stick baits tipped with live bait or plastic and bright colors such as the clown worked well. Some perch were caught up stream from the Highway 41 bridge on Duck Creek using jigs and minnows. Perch were also caught at Long Tail and Sunset Beach. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - Fishing pressure was low this past week although people again were able to drive onto the ice with the exception of Sugar Creek, Lime Kiln and Chaudoir's Dock. Ice thickness is still about 3 feet thick according to anglers from Dykesville and north into Sturgeon Bay. Bayshore Park anglers had success catching whitefish using jigs and wax worms in 12 to 20 feet of water. At Rite's Cove, where anglers are parking on the ice and using snowmobiles to travel to their shanties, had good perch action was had by those using minnows in 42 to 50 feet of water. Anglers who targeted walleye had success using emerald shiners and rosy red minnows in 30 to 42 feet of water. Sugar Creek was a hot area for whitefish anglers who used minnows, wax worms, Swedish pimples and flies with sliders in 22 to 30 feet of water. Anglers are parking in the lot and using ATVs and snowmobiles to access the ice. At Volk's Landing, where anglers were able to drive onto the ice, success varied but some whitefish were caught using wax worms, spoons and jigging stick baits in 15 to 21 feet of water. Whitefish anglers who used the Dykesville launch were highly successful as some limits were caught using wax worms, Swedish pimples, and spoons in 17 to 60 feet of water. Most anglers drove onto the ice without much difficulty with the ice being 2 to 3 feet thick. Big Rock Place whitefish anglers had good success using wax worms in 38 to 43 feet of water. Many anglers parked at the top of the hill and walked out onto the ice that is reported to be about 3 feet thick. At Claflin Park whitefish anglers had success using wax worms. Fishing pressure in the Sherwood Point area was low but anglers tried their luck at catching perch and northern pike. The ice is reported to be about 30 inches thick off Potawatomi State Park where anglers caught some perch using jigs in 40 feet of water. Northern pike anglers struggled to catch any fish using shiners in 25 feet of water. - Bobbi Kolstad, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Shawano County - Ice conditions are still good but the snow on top of the ice is making it very difficult for fishermen. Fishing is picking up though. Ice shacks are still getting removed. Most are using tractors to get their shacks off the ice. The snowmobile trails are in excellent condition around the area. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - The snowmobile and ski trails in Brown County are still in good condition, although the slight warm-up within the next week may cause the conditions to deteriorate. Snowmobilers are reminded to obey all regulatory signs, and yield to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic. A reminder to ice anglers that permanent ice shanties need to be off the bay by March 16, and all permanent ice shanties on inland waters south of Highway 64 should have already been removed from the ice. Portable shelters are still allowed but need to be removed at the end of each day or when not in use. The warmer weather this week should provide a great opportunity for people to get outside and enjoy this long winter in above zero temperatures. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Green Bay

Manitowoc County - As of March 5 merganser migration has apparently started, as common mergansers were seen in two locations about 6 miles apart and about 5 miles inland. Snowmobile trails are still in good condition. - Robert Stroess, conservation warden, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Peninsula State Park - Snow depth varies up to 20 inches. Watch for icy/slippery conditions throughout the park. Cross-country ski trails are in good condition. Snowshoe and hiking trails are open. The Sledding Hill is open. Snowmobile trails are open and in good condition. - Jane Barnowsky, visitor services associate

Potawatomi State Park - Cross-country ski trails were groomed on March 4 and both skate and stride lanes are in very good condition. The snowmobile trail was last groomed on March 5 and is in very good condition. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Whitefish Dunes State Park - Cross-country ski trails are in good to very good condition. Trails were groomed March 1. Trails have had considerable use but tracks have held up well. Two inches new snow on March 3 has been skied in and tracks are free of debris. Plan is to groom all trails prior to the weekend. Snowshoe trails and winter hiking trails are open. The Black, Brachiopod Trails, and along the beach are used for snowshoeing, hiking, foot traffic. Hiking, snowshoeing, biking, and pets are prohibited on ski trails. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Kewaunee County - The snowmobile trails in Kewaunee County are back into good condition with the recent fresh snow. They had deteriorated quite a bit with the warm weather and rain a couple weeks ago. Even with the fresh snow there are still icy spots that require caution. The fresh snow also gave the coyote hunters a small boost. It has been a very tough winter for coyote hunters with the amount of snow that we have received. Although conditions are still not making it easy for dogs to get a track, groups did have a little success over the weekend. Ice conditions on the lakes are still great and it's not going anywhere anytime soon. The fishing is slow, but the best ice fishing should still be ahead; if we can ever get some warm weather. - Kyle Lynch, conservation warden, Kewaunee

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Currently have 24-plus inches of snow on the level. All snow-sport trails are open and in good to excellent condition. Severe winter has resulted in up to 30 inches or more of ice in some areas. Few people have been out ice fishing as of late, therefore there is no current report. Wildlife is having a very tough go of it lately. Our winter severity index in Central Wisconsin is approaching the very severe category. Hope for spring weather! - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Snowmobile trails continue to remain open throughout Waupaca County. Ice anglers have had difficulty removing their ice shacks due to deep snow and slush conditions. A few diving ducks are starting to show up on the few areas of open water. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Hartman Creek State Park - Ski trails are in fair to good condition. The park received approximately 2 inches of snow on March 1. Skiers have reported good skiing conditions on the Pope Lake trail and fair to good on the Oak Ridge trail. Skiers should use caution as some areas remain icy. A park vehicle admission sticker and trail pass are required to utilize the ski trails. Please be safe and have a great time! - Michael D. Bergum, superintendent

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Milwaukee County - Keep an eye open for hawk pairs hunting along roads and bald eagles along the waterfront. Wildlife such as coyotes, raccoon, and turkey are more active, looking for recently uncovered food from the snow melt and in search of a mate with the days lengthening and the onset of the breeding season. Nuisance wildlife phone calls have been increasing in recent weeks; contact our office with any nuisance animal issues. Although we have not noticed any wildlife population die offs this winter, please contact our office with any information about a potential die off in your area. Deadlines for Learn to Hunt turkey programs are coming up quickly for novice hunters looking for a first time opportunity! Type in "Learn to Hunt" on the DNR homepage or contact our office to learn more about programs in your area. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist & regional educator, Waukesha

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Lapham Peak Unit - All cross-country ski trails were groomed March 5 and a new track was set. Skate lanes and tracks are in excellent condition. - Brett Johanen, ranger

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake Unit - Cross-country ski trails have received about 4 inches of powder type snow over the past couple of days. The trails were groomed March 5 and are in very good to excellent condition. When trails are snow covered hikers, snowshoers, and dogs are not allowed on trails east of Powder Hill Road (groomed ski trails). Multi Use Trails are all open and in fair condition for hiking and snowshoeing, again due to icy conditions. Pets are not allowed on the Black Forest Nature Trail and must be on a leash 8 feet or less at all times in other areas. - Rob Wessberg, forest supervisor

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The Zillmer cross-country ski trail received about an inch of snow March 3. All skating lanes were groomed and are in very good condition but a bit slow at this time until they set up. There is little to no debris to contend with. The classic tracks were left in place and are in good condition. Hope to groom and reset tracks on Friday depending on weather.- Reagan Arndt, ranger

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - Cross-country ski trails are in good to very good condition. Scuppernong received more than 2 inches of new snow on March 3. On March 4 the trail was groomed with a single new track being set on all loops. An additional 1 inch of new snow fell on March 5 early morning. In order to get a good track that will set up and be durable - the groomer chose to wait until Wednesday night to groom Scuppernong after the morning snowfall. Conditions on Thursday at Scuppernong should be very good. McMiller received roughly 2 inches of new snow Tuesday night into Wednesday. This is on top of 2-plus inches from Monday night. After packing the skate lanes on Tuesday and not setting a track as snow was predicted for that night the entire system was groomed on Wednesday with a new classical track being set throughout and the skate lanes packed. The snow is somewhat moist and soft. Conditions are good to very good. Nordic trail has similar conditions to those found at McMiller except Nordic received 3-plus inches of new snow on top of 2-plus inches from Monday night. After packing the skate lanes on Tuesday and not setting a track as snow was predicted for that night the entire system was groomed on Wednesday with a new classical track being set throughout and the skate lanes packed. The snow is somewhat moist and soft. Conditions are good to very good. - Paul Sandgren, property supervisor

Glacial Drumlin State Trail (east) - There is currently a road construction project in the Village of Dousman, Waukesha County, that has caused a short re-route of the trail. The detour route is well signed and rather short. Please use caution around construction equipment. This project is expected to be completed around March 21. - Amanda Prange, visitor services associate

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

Most Southeast Wisconsin tributaries and marinas remain frozen over; however, some open water can be found in the Port Washington harbor and the lower Menomonee River and canals in Milwaukee. Use extreme caution when venturing out on any ice, as conditions can change very quickly.

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan a few anglers have been ice fishing off the docks in the marina, as well as near the boat launch ramps. A few brown trout have been reported in the harbor, and golden shiners have taken the most fish.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington a few brown and rainbow trout have been caught on crank baits and spawn sacs near the power plant. The discharge area will provide an open water fishing opportunity throughout the winter months, and decent numbers of browns should remain in the harbor.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee the river mouth and harbor are covered in chunks of ice, and the Riverfront Ramp was not usable as of Monday, March 3. Ice conditions near the river mouth can change quickly based on air temperatures, the winds, and freighter traffic. Brown trout will remain in the Milwaukee harbor throughout the winter months, and at times can be accessible from shore and by boat. The lower Menomonee River near the MMSD offices stays open this time of year and provides a good spot for brown trout fishing. At the lakefront, ice anglers in McKinley Marina report ice depths up to 15 or more inches, and some brown trout have been taken through the ice. Minnows and jigging spoons have been more productive than spawn sacs recently.

Racine County - In Racine, the ice depth in Reefpoint Marina is variable, but anglers report 10-12 or more inches in many locations. Brown trout in the 4 to 5 pound range and a few rainbows have been caught on tube jigs, minnows, and jigging spoons. Other anglers have had success fishing for browns through the ice in the lower sections of the Root River.

Kenosha County - Ice anglers in Kenosha have been working the area around the boat docks in Simmons Island Marina. Browns and rainbows should be in the area, but fishing has been slow overall.

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Green County - Early trout season has opened and a few anglers have taken to the streams. DNR staff has found the majority of trout streams to be open. All anglers should be aware that as of March 1- May 3, 2014 the Albany, Decatur, and the Old Brodhead Powerhouse dams become refuges from the dam downstream for a distance of 500 feet. This means that all fishing will be prohibited in these areas during this time period. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe! - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus

Iowa County - Two days of new snow have all snowmobile trails open in Iowa County. Get out and enjoy them before the weekend if you can since conditions might not last long with anticipated warmer temperatures and possible rain in the forecast. Ice fishing reports have been slow now with game fish season closed and only a few anglers are out looking for panfish while enjoying nicer weather. Coyote hunters are taking advantage of fresh snow. Especially those using dogs are happy to see some warmer temps for tracking. - Alan D. Erickson, conservation warden, Dodgeville

Blue Mound State Park - Cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked March 5 after receiving a fresh 6 fluffy inches of snow. Classic tracks should have set up excellently over night. No tree litter as there had been previously.

Wyalusing State Park -Hiking trails are snow covered. Wyalusing State Park received about 3 inches of snow March 1 and an additional 5-6 inches March 4 and 5. It truly is a "winter wonderland" at Wyalusing State Park. The warmer temps should encourage winter recreation enthusiasts to get outdoors and enjoy winter before it's over. Cross-country ski trails were groomed March 2. Please call the park office at 608-996-2261 for a cross country skiing update. A slight chance of drizzle or freezing rain on Friday as well as temperatures expected in the mid-30s to low 40s on Sunday through Wednesday will also impact trail conditions. Chickadees, juncos, nuthatches, cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers are enjoying the sunflower seeds and suet. The bird feeders are barely visible from the park office window because of the high snow banks from plowing. Deer have been raiding the feeders each night. The first squirrel of the season was spotted on Tuesday of this week. Squirrel and raccoon feeder damage has been almost non-existent because of the bitter cold temperatures. Warmer temps will mean that squirrels and raccoons will venture out in search of food. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Lake Kegonsa State Park - All cross country ski trails are in good condition and were groomed and tracked on Wednesday, March 5. Conditions are expected to deteriorate over the next few days due to warm weather in the forecast. Ski trails remain closed to hiking, snowshoeing and pets. - Sarah Bolser, park manager

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West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - This may be the last good weekend for winter fun on the property so come on out and enjoy the trails while you can. A warm-up to upper 30s and low 40s is in the forecast. Trails are being groomed on March 5 and should be in good condition for the weekend if the temperatures do not get too warm. There is still a good base of snow on the trails. - Peter Bakken, superintendent

Juneau County - Several ice anglers called in prior to the shanty deadline requesting an extension for their shanty removal. Even shanties that were blocked up became frozen solidly into the ice due to the extreme weather conditions. Many bird watchers have seen an increasing number of hawks at their backyard bird feeders targeting birds to eat during the month of February. - Matt Weber, conservation warden, Necedah

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Snowmobile and cross country ski trails are still in excellent condition. There is still a lot of ice but there is so much snow on the lake that it is hard for anglers to get around. There are still some ice fishing shacks on the lakes because the owners can't get to them and get them chipped out of the ice. Beaver trappers are not too active because they don't want to fight the deep snow to get to ponds. A snowshoer stated the other day that he walked for about an hour and he only covered a couple miles. He said that it was the hardest hour he ever spent on snowshoes. There are a lot of deer and turkeys walking on roads and snowmobile trails. There are two swans in an open hole on the Eau Claire River and five robins were also recently spotted. - Ken Thomson, conservation warden, Fall Creek

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - The cross-country ski trails have been cleared of debris from the snow storm last week and have been reopened.

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Portage County - A few crappie and bluegill are being caught on some backwaters of the Wisconsin River, but most waters have limited access do to the deep snow cover. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point

Wood County - All snowmobile and ski trails are open and in excellent condition. Ice fishing has stagnated, and lake access is difficult due to deep snow and slush. - Barry Fetting, conservation warden, Milladore

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Last Revised: Thursday, March 06, 2014