More seasonable winter weather finally arrived this week, breaking the pattern of several weeks of frigid temperatures. Only light snowfalls have been reported across the state in the last week, but thanks to the cold weather, snow depths remain very deep across much of the state.
Snowmobile and cross-country ski conditions remain good to very good across the state. Additional light snowfalls have allowed both snowmobile and ski groomers to continue to keep trails in some of the best conditions that have been experienced in years.
This coming weekend is the last best chance for people to get out and enjoy a candlelight ski or hike at a Wisconsin state park property. Six candlelight events are scheduled Saturday, along with other "get outdoors" events such as a moonlight snowshoe hike at the Southern Kettle Moraine and a full moon bonfire at Devil's Lake State Park. Cross-country ski clinics are scheduled at Wyalusing State Park and Richard Bong Recreation area, and Havenwoods State Forest is holding a winter Naturefest.
The 2014 Lake Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season came to a close today as spearers reached the 90 percent trigger Wednesday for the system-wide adult female harvest cap put in place to protect this unique fishery. The six- day season tied for the third shortest season since 2002. A highlight of the season was a 161-pound, 77-inch sturgeon that as of Wednesday was lead the way for the big fish of the year. The As of Wednesday, 99 fish exceeding 100 pounds have been registered.
The cold and snow have continued to hamper inland ice fishing, especially in the Northwoods, where the deep snow and slush has made travel very difficult. Many days have seen virtually no fishing pressure on many lakes, including some of the major waters. Fishing activity has been higher in the south, where activity has been steady on some lakes.
The best fishing has continued to be on Green Bay were anglers were out again in good numbers at many locations along both the east and west shores. Whitefish continue to provide the best action, with limits again reported. Some walleye were also reported in the Menominee River, and some northern pike caught off Oconto and Brown counties.
Great horned and barred owls are being heard all over as they continue their mating calls, and red-tailed hawks are beginning to pair up. And as of this week, the tally for this year's exceptional snowy owl irruption stands at 271 birds. People can track the daily movements of three snowy owls tagged with cellular GPS transmitters through links in the statewide birding report on the DNR website.
More news from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.