Wisconsin received some timely snow for the New Year, with a storm dropping from 2 to up to 10 inches across much of the state, with the heaviest snowfalls in a band from central to northeastern Wisconsin.
Many state park and forest properties have been grooming cross-country ski trails, but as this was the first significant snowfall of the winter, some parks were only able to pack down trails and were not able to set tracks.
About a half dozen counties in far northern Wisconsin were able to open or partially open snowmobile trails, according to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR). Most areas were reporting conditions as poor to fair, with Vilas and Iron counties reporting most conditions fair.
Many northern lakes have refrozen, but with the new snowfall ice conditions remain highly variable, but anglers are reporting up to 5 inches of ice in spots and the anglers that are going out are finding some fish. Trout Lake in Vilas County still had open water this week. Most lakes in central and southern Wisconsin remain open.
Anglers are targeting walleye or northern pike on the Bay of Green Bay and some of the tributaries have had some stream fisherman.
Quite a few bald eagles around the Bay of Green Bay. Bear cubs are born in their dens in the month of January and great horned owls begin hooting and claiming their territories. Most of the elk bulls have separated from the cow/calf groups and have reformed their bachelor groups where they will stay until late August of 2016. There seems to be a very good population of weasels this year, with an abundance of weasel tracks.
Bird feeders are awash with color and song and common birds include a mix of woodpeckers and winter birds. Chickadees, nuthatches, gold finches, cardinals, blue jays and junco's are busy grabbing a seed. Red-headed, pileated, downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers are common visitors.
We have been seeing quite a few bald eagles around the Bay of Green Bay and there is a very small angler presence from shore or by boat. Anglers are targeting walleye or northern pike on the Bay of Green Bay and some of the tributaries have had some stream fishermen.
-by Brandon Bastar, fisheries research vessel captain, Sturgeon Bay
All photography courtesy of the estate of Herbert Lange.