Northern trails top notch

While the southern half of the state saw some significant rainfall and even some flooding last week, areas of northern Wisconsin received up to nearly a foot of new snow.

Snowmobile trails remain in good to excellent condition in nearly 20 of the most northern tier counties on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report. Cross- Country Ski Trail Conditions are also good to excellent across the north.

Cross-country ski trails are in excellent condition at Pattison State Park, which received nearly a foot of snow this week. The park is hosting a Winterfest on Saturday.

Cross-country ski trails are in excellent condition at Pattison State Park, which received nearly a foot of snow this week. The park hosted a Winterfest on Saturday.

A kids fisheree on Lake Noquebay in Marinette County produced some very nice fish including perch, crappie, bluegill, walleye, northern, and trout. The lake ice was nearly 2 feet thick. There have been good northern pike catches on the back waters of the Wolf River.

Whitefish fishing has remained pretty decent up and down the entire Bay of Green Bay. Some anglers are targeting perch too, but with moderate to poor success. Whitefish were still being caught off the Oconto breakwater in decent numbers. Toward the end of the week anglers from Sawyer Harbor had good luck and were able to come in with their limits of whitefish after a half day out on the ice. Anglers fishing the Fox River at Voyageurs park report fishing slowed with a few walleyes and whitefish still being caught.

The snow in the forecast was good news for the 44th Annual American Birkebeiner Ski Race in Cable and Hayward. The race is the largest cross-country ski race in North America, with the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation reporting the combined races over the weekend expected to attract nearly 13,000 skiers to Wisconsin’s Northwoods.

Last week saw the first good signs of spring migration in southern Wisconsin.

Birders reported an increase in duck numbers and diversity at various sites such as Lower Mud Lake and the Yahara River in Dane County.

Among them were the first greater white-fronted geese, both mute and tundra swans, and no fewer than 13 duck species.

A great blue heron was reported in Dodge, the first sandhill cranes in both Dane and Walworth counties and the first red-winged blackbirds were reported from multiple counties in southeastern Wisconsin. The winter 2017-18 will go down as one of the SNOWiest on record in Wisconsin with an estimated 280 snowy owls documented through February 1, eclipsing the previous high of 253 tallied in 2013-14.

Bald eagles are much more common in Wisconsin than a generation ago but seeing them is still special.

There are a lot of bald eagles being seen in Central Wisconsin and last weekend was Bald Eagle Appreciation Days in Prairie du Chien, which provided opportunities to see these majestic birds up close in nature and in live educational programs.


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