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Green Bay artist Jon Rickaby's painting of a male brook trout was chosen as the Wisconsin Trout Stamp design contest winner. / Submitted
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GREAT LAKES

Windy weather slows offshore ice

Most rivers and some marinas, harbors, bays and nearshore areas on parts of Green Bay are offering walk-on ice fishing action, but it’s still too early for much offshore exploration.

Strong winds have created ice shoves not far from shore along much of Door County and prevented most of the main bay from locking up.

Anglers braving the cold, windy weather have had some success jigging for walleyes and whitefish or setting tip-ups for perch and pike.

River fishermen are finding ’eyes, perch, bluegills and more on the Fox and Menominee rivers, while lakeshore tributaries are giving up some brown and rainbow trout along with an occasional coho salmon. Lake shiners, larvae baits and spawn sacs are all being used.

INLAND WATERS

Now’s the time for panfish, pike

If you know your local lake, pond or flowage well and it has enough ice to safely fish, now’s the time to get out and set tip-ups for pike, walleyes and bass or jig for panfish.

Many smaller waters have 4 to 6 inches of ice, but larger waters are either open or have pockets of thin ice to avoid. Protected bays and shorelines are your best bet.

There’s typically fair to good weed bed action for bluegills, perch and crappies using larvae baits tipped on tiny jigs, and for pike using golden shiners, sucker minnows or large fatheads.

Most walleyes hit around dawn or dusk with pike, panfish and an occasional largemouth bass tend to bite throughout the day. Perch and walleyes hang near bottom, with bluegills, bass, crappies and pike often suspending.

More on ice fishing: Ice fishing news from around the state | Your ice fishing photos | Build a map | Read ice fishing reports

HUNTING

4-day antlerless season is a go

The metro gun-deer hunt continues through Sunday but elsewhere — except a small number of buck-only units up north — a four-day, antlerless-only gun hunt for whitetails began this morning.

All big- and small-game hunters, except those after Canada geese, must wear blaze-orange clothing through Sunday. The goose hunt ends Monday in the northern zone and Dec. 21 in the southern zone.

Ruffed grouse hunting is over for the year in Zone B but continues through Jan. 31 in Zone A. Pheasant, wild turkey and Hungarian partridge hunting runs through Dec. 31.

The muzzleloader deer season ended Wednesday. Many hunters with access to standing corn and other agriculture crop fields reported a fair number of late afternoon sightings in the cold weather. Archery deer season runs until Jan. 5 in most areas.

■ Assembly Bill 8, a bill that would allow bow hunting to take place on private land located within municipalities but with a number of restrictions, was expected to be signed by Gov. Scott Walker today. AB 8 is also known as the Deer Collision Reduction Act.

WILDLIFE

Snowy owls hunting in area

Dozens of reports of snowy owls coming down from Canada’s arctic tundra to Northeastern Wisconsin have been made in the past week, including an exceptional influx of 11 birds seen along southern Green Bay.

The irruption surprised most birding experts, who had predicted slim pickings for snowy owls in a pre-winter forecast.

DNR research scientist Ryan Brady said the state is on the western edge of a massive irruption from the Great Lakes east to the Atlantic coast, an event that’s making national headlines.

Experts aren’t sure why there’s such a large influx. One possibility is a very robust supply of lemmings, which allows the owls to raise many young. These birds must disperse south to find their own territory and food. Another possibility is the opposite — lemming populations are low so owl reproduction was relatively poor and all birds must fly south to find food.

Birders can maximize their chances of seeing an owl by watching for reports daily at http://ebird.org/content/wi or scouring the countryside along open grasslands and agricultural fields, large wetland complexes and coastal beaches, harbors and breakwalls.

Bird enthusiasts are invited to join a live chat on bird watching, feeding and other topics at noon Tuesday on the DNR website or Facebook page. If you can’t check it out, all questions and answers will be archived.

Browse, share big buck photos

View 2013-2014 trophy shots | Upload your deer hunting photos or send them to botten@wisconsinoutdoorfun.com.

FIELD GUIDE

Rickaby is 4-time DNR stamp champ

Green Bay artist Jon Rickaby learned that his painting of a male brook trout was chosen as the Wisconsin Trout Stamp design contest winner. His art also will appear on the 2014-15 Trout Stamp Guide, and Trout Unlimited will sell prints and commemorative stamps to fund the cause.

Rickaby previously won the state’s 2007 Pheasant Stamp contest and had a double win in 2012 in the Waterfowl and Pheasant Stamp competition. For more information on Rickaby, his art and his family, visit www.rickabyart.com.

■ Trappers, predator hunters and others interested in buying or selling fur are invited to participate in an auction Sunday at the Maribel Sportsmen’s Club, Exit 164 off Interstate 43. Doors open at 6:30 a.m. Coffee, juice and rolls will be available for breakfast, and lunch will be served beginning at 11 a.m. There will be prizes, raffles and a business meeting. For more info, call (920) 743-4195 or email idlewildbrenda@gmail.com.

■ Gov. Walker will deliver the keynote address and attend panel discussions with all eight cabinet secretaries, including DNR Deputy Secretary Matt Moroney, at a Northern Economic Summit at the Four Seasons Resort on Monday and Tuesday near Pembine. See the agenda and learn how to register at www.northwoodssummit.com.

— Kevin Naze, wildtimes@wizunwired.net

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