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5/21/2020
Publisher’s Note: As referenced in the May-June 2020 print issue of On Wisconsin Outdoors, the Ellis column Memorial Day-Trading it all… directs the reader to this website for stories of Americans in battle during World War II and Vietnam.  Posted in the April 30 Ellis Blogs on this website Tanks in a Mine Field is the eye witness story of 709th Tank Battalion gunner John “Mike” Kunnen during the bloody battle of t...
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DNR Outdoor Report update, March 12, 2015 -- Unseasonable warm spell brings end to winter snow recreation -- snowmobile trails close statewide

An unseasonable warm spell with temperatures into the 50s this week has brought most winter snow recreation to an end across the state.  Snowmobile trails are now closed statewide and cross-country ski trails are mostly closed, with only a few opportunities remaining for the ski-until-the snow-is-gone-crowd, with conditions fair at best and those rapidly deteriorating.

With the warm temperatures ice conditions can change rapidly, causing frozen lakes to be very dangerous.  The ice may be thick making it seem safe, but ice that becomes extremely honeycombed is weak for heavy equipment or vehicles, despite its thickness. 

Ice fishing pressure for panfish in the Northwoods picked up a bit with the warmer weather and some decent catches of perch, bluegill and crappie have been reported.  Perch have started to move toward shallow bays in anticipation of spawning once the ice goes out. 

The warm temperatures also brought many anglers out on the ice of Green Bay. Whitefish were hit and miss -- some days biting aggressively and limits reported while other days the bite was not as intense and anglers need to really work to catch fish. There were also scattered reports of perch and walleye biting in various locations. Northern pike seem to be moving into staging locations in preparation for their spring spawning.  Vessel traffic has begun to break up the ice in the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal.

In Milwaukee the ice has moved out from the lower Milwaukee River, and the majority of the harbor is ice free. The boat launch at Riverfront Ramp is usable, and boats fishing in the harbor have been catching brown trout. Much of the Milwaukee River remains ice covered, but as soon as the ice melts steelhead fishing should pick up. The Root River also remains frozen, but with warmer temps in the forecast the ice will be deteriorating soon and the Root River Steelhead Facility could be up and running in the next week or so.

With the lack of snow, turkeys seem to already be dispersing and the warmer weather has toms gobbling and displaying. Spring turkey hunting is just around the corner so hunters should be sighting in shotguns. 

Fox and gray squirrels are taking advantage of warming weather and lengthening days feeding furiously on nuts and seeds that have remained buried all winter under the snow.  Raccoon, skunk, muskrat, mink, and opossum activity has increased and river otter sign along creeks and streams may be more evident as male otters increase their movements during the March to April breeding season.  Some bears are out and moving around, so those people who live in areas where bears are a concern are encouraged to bring feeders and other food sources in at night. 

The warmer weather brought a few new migrants into the southern half of the state, including American robin, red-winged blackbird, killdeer, eastern meadowlark, sandhill crane, and a selection of waterfowl. However, most birders reported a smaller influx of birds than expected given the surge of warm weather.  Prairie chickens are dancing in central Wisconsin, and ruffed grouse have started to drum as far north as Oconto County. Birds reported at nest sites this week include great horned owls, bald eagles, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, and common ravens.

 

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Outdoor Report editor: Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, Madison 608-267-7517 or paul.holtan@wisconsin.gov