Parks offer chance to hit the trails on snowshoes, skis

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Fall color is now past peak statewide, but there are still some maples holding leaves in the southern part of the state and oaks are just reaching the peak of their rust and auburn shade.

Temperatures were hovering between the 30s and 20s in southern and central Wisconsin, with much colder temps in the north where days were in the teens and evenings started to trend toward single digits.

In Mercer and Iron County, the snow is becoming crusty and hard, making tracking tough for hunters and trappers alike.

There were a couple inches dropped overnight, brightening the Brule River State Forest landscape. This week with highs in the 40s will likely remove much of that surface cover.

The cold snap may have made it seem that ice fishing is right around the corner, but the warm-up will likely delay any firm ice for fishing.

The fall walleye run has really picked up on the lower Wolf River and the Fox River near Oshkosh. Many anglers are reporting limits, with catches of white bass mixed in. The fall walleye run often stays strong right until the water ices up.

Anglers on the Oconto are still landing panfish, with minnows going out for crappie and crawler chunks for blue gill. Anglers at the mouth of the river are catching perch and rock bass in addition.

Those fishing the Menominee River in Marinette County were landing walleye, browns and steelhead from the bridge on 41 up to the Dam at Hattie Street.

The white-tailed deer rut is on and going strong, with many deer moving through the day.

Harvest for the archery season is progressing and updated harvest numbers can be found on the DNR website.

The traditional nine-day gun deer season is now just a little over a week away, so if you haven’t sighted in your firearms yet time is running short. Check the DNR website for shooting ranges and for additional information about the upcoming season.

Cooler weather has also boosted raccoon trapping activity and hunters are reporting successful takes.

Woodcock hunting has shut off in the north but hunters were still out after grouse.

Tundra swans are being observed in large numbers around Horicon Marsh and at other traditional stopover sites off the Mississippi River near La Crosse and the Goose Pond Sanctuary in Columbia County. Canada geese, sandhill cranes and ducks are all still making a strong showing. Also of note are additional sightings of snowy owls.

A reminder that several state campgrounds are open throughout the winter, many sites operating on first come first-served basis.

For those planning an upcoming snowshoeing or skiing trip, don’t forget about this opportunity to wake up, step outside and hit the trails.

And if you’re interested in making your own holiday wreaths or greenery both the Kettle Moraine State Forest Northern Unit and Richard Bong State Recreation Area have upcoming workshops.

For all events, search the DNR website for “Get Outdoors.”

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