Friday, February 26, 2016

Wisconsin Outdoor Report

English: Sunset looking west over Lake Winneba...
Sunset looking west over Lake Winnebago at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
With the past week's general rise in temperature following an almost Spring-like weekend, snow and ice depths, integrity and visibility are changing dramatically across the state and will continue to do so as we move towards this weekend's warmer weather. Several areas of the state received an inch or so of snowfall recently, and the applicable trails have been groomed. However, in areas that didn't receive snow or experienced warmer temperatures before the early-week freeze, a number of trails are losing their snow to a layer of ice, which should be approached with caution. Likewise, depending on your location in the state, anglers hiking out on the ice may also have an inch or more of slush to traverse. Some anglers may have been fishing open water this past week and weekend. For those who did, whitefish saw some of the most consistent success rates, with bass and pike also having fair success, particularly near the shores or harbor(s) bordering Lake Michigan in the northern counties. Anglers in the Upper Chippewa Basin region also reported pike and panfish catch, with perch and crappie making up the majority.
For those closer to Ozaukee or Milwaukee County, browns and steelhead have been hooked on a variety, from spawn to crank baits. The walleye bite also seems to be staying inconsistent throughout the state, with moderate success in the Upper Chippewa Basin, sections of the Menominee River in Marinette County and Lake Winnebago. Speaking of Winnebago, this Friday and Saturday is the "Battle on 'Bago" ice fishing event; tickets to weigh in a fish must be purchased before 6:00 amFriday. The 2016 sturgeon spearing season on Lake Winnebago is coming to an end after this weekend, as water clarity and ice conditions have prompted it to go the full 16 days. Off the water and off the ice, wildlife are shedding antlers, entering and leaving mating seasons and numerous birds are returning in large numbers to the state: from geese, to sandhill cranes, eastern bluebirds, killdeer, and trumpeter swans. For a more in depth look check out this week's edition.