Rollercoaster weather upsets trends

Wisconsin's weather rollercoaster continued last week, with temperatures swinging from the 50s and 60s back down to the 20s and 30s then back up again. With snow March 1 and 60 degrees for Sunday it makes it hard to determine if March is coming in like a lion or a lamb.

Large portions of the state received snowfall ranging from 2 to 6 inches or more, but not enough to greatly improve winter recreation.

Snowmobile trails remain closed in all but a few counties in far northern Wisconsin, with mostly poor to fair conditions, on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report).

The additional snow saved one of the last cross-country ski events on state properties, allowing organizers to move ahead with the River View Loppet at the Brule River State Forest Afterhours Ski Trail Saturday. Heavier snows also fell through central Wisconsin, al- lowing the Northern and Pike Lake units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest to groom trails, but they won't last long with warm temperatures on the way.

Last weekend's warmup continued to erode ice conditions across the state. Some smaller lakes in the south have reopened. Lake Wingra in Madison opened Feb. 27, nearly a month earlier than normal.

There is still close to a foot of ice on some northern lakes, but access is treacherous with open water reported along shorelines. If they have not already been removed, fishing shelters must be removed from inland waters south of Highway 64 by March 5.

The general inland game fish season also closed Sunday, March 5. Fishing for panfish and rough fish remains open, and some lakes and rivers remain open for game fishing year round.

The Fox and Wolf rivers are mostly open, some reports of anglers catching a few male walleyes. The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway flow set records at Muscoda, cresting March 1 at 44,100 cfs, smashing the previous record high flow for March 1 set in 1930 at 16,500 cfs. It should begin to taper off but will remain well above normal flow for quite a while.

The 2017 sturgeon spearing season on the Winnebago System ended in a slow fashion with only 10 fish harvested over the last seven days. The season still closed with a total harvest of 847 fish, including nine fish harvested that were 140 pounds or larger.

Last week's high temperatures have rendered most of the ice on Green Bay unsafe. In southern Green Bay, Voyageur Park and the Fox Point Landing saw the most action this week with boaters and shore anglers catching perch, whitefish, and walleye. Along Door County, the majority of the bay north of the Sturgeon Bay channel is open water.

Water levels are high on southern Lake Michigan tributaries and some anglers have been out fishing. The Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Menomonee and Root rivers and Sauk Creek have all been producing a few steelhead.

The River Steelhead facility expects to be up and running the week of March 13. The Port Washington, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha harbors are all mostly ice free and have been producing some brown trout, steelhead and the occasional coho salmon.

Waterfowl are loving the early spring conditions. Many picked fields are holding water making great feeding conditions for geese and ducks.

A few tom turkeys are starting to break off from their winter groups.

The first grouse was heard drumming last week in Waupaca County.

The sap was running, and maple sugarers have been collecting sap last week but due to the drop in temperature again, flow has slowed.


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