This 5.05-pounder was leading the whitefish category in the monthly ice fishing contest at Howie's Bait & Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. Andy Stuth/Submitted / Submitted by Kevin Naze
Five-pound-plus whitefish hooked
Most of the whitefish being hooked on Green Bay this winter are running in the 1- to 2-pound range, but a 5-pound trophy was pulled up over the weekend off southern Door County.
Rain and melted snow last weekend made for sloppy conditions at landings, but most areas have either drained or frozen since and anglers were reporting 15 to 20 inches of ice underneath. As always, check locally for the latest reports.
Some southern bay fishermen have been working 12 to 24 feet of water for a mix of perch and whitefish, but many Door County anglers are finding success in 25 to 55 feet of water. It’s been hit and miss at all locations.
Bay tributaries are giving up mixed catches of panfish, walleyes and whitefish, with an occasional trout, while lakeshore rivers — now that they’ve settled down from all the runoff — could have some fresh runs of steelhead.
■ If you’ve been thinking about trying an inland lake or river in the Upper Peninsula — or a road trip to the Bays de Noc on Green Bay — Michigan has waived all fishing license fees this weekend for residents and nonresidents.
■ Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in Lawrence is hosting guest fly tier and Great Lakes guide Jerry Darkes from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. He’ll be demonstrating a new tube fly tying system.
Rain made a slushy mess on some lakes
Lakes that didn’t have a lot of snow cover prior to the recent meltdown and rain are very slick but in good shape, while those that had deeper snow are now covered in frozen slush. That’s affecting access on some waters, so call ahead for the latest conditions on your favorite lake.
Panfish, pike, walleye and bass action has been fair to good at times, and slow others. It’s a sporadic all-day bite at times and mainly a dawn and dusk flurry for “keepers” on others. There also has been some decent after-hours crappie and walleye action on lakes with good populations of those species.
On shallow lakes, work the deepest holes you can find by day and the humps at dusk; on deep lakes, try midrange weeds for bluegills and pike and the sides of reefs or deep mud flats for perch, crappies and walleyes.
Small jigging spoons tipped with larvae baits, minnow pieces or plastics are attracting mixed bags as are shiners, fatheads, chubs or sucker minnows off tip-ups.
Wisconsin again No. 1 In B&C trophy entries
The Boone & Crockett Club has announced Wisconsin remains the state producing the most B&C entries for whitetail of all states and provinces. For the 28th Big Game Awards period (2010-2012), Wisconsin placed the most typicals (124) and nontypicals (55) into the record book, for a total of 179.
During the 27th awards period, from 2007 to 2009, Wisconsin ranked first with 152 entries. The total included 113 typicals; Missouri was second with 69 while Iowa and Kentucky tied for third with 66 each. Illinois led in nontypicals with 72; Missouri had 65 and Iowa 63. Wisconsin was 7th with 39.
Kentucky was second in typicals the past three years with 74, followed by Ohio (62), Indiana (53) and Illinois (46). Illinois was second in nontypicals with 41, followed by Ohio (40), Iowa (39) and Indiana (28).
■ Hunters reported tagging 7,054 wild turkeys during the fall season, a 28 percent increase over 2011 totals. Favorable weather had hens enter the nesting season in good condition and promoted the third highest summer brood survey counts in the past 25 years.
■ More than 1,000 deer hunters reported their sightings of deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife on the DNR’s online wildlife sightings page. Average deer seen per hour ranged from 0.61 in the eastern farmland to 0.20 in the northern forest.
RGS, partners donate funds to benefit birds
The Ruffed Grouse Society has picked 15 Wisconsin projects to receive more than $58,000 in funding this year to benefit habitat for grouse, woodcock and other species that rely on young forests.
County forest departments in Florence, Oconto and Vilas counties and the DNR in Marinette County are among the partners receiving money from the Drummer Fund, which is raised at state chapter banquets and is often matched by other agencies and organizations.
Alder and aspen regeneration, trail development and expansion, wildlife openings, woodcock habitat restoration and educational materials for private landowners are among the projects receiving funding.
■ Love bird watching? Get information about this weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count, explore a new multimedia website about the Birds-of-Paradise Project or get tips on how to estimate flock sizes at http://www.birds.cornell.edu.
Several ways to get hunter-ed certified
Nearly 30,000 citizens are expected to enroll in Wisconsin hunter education courses this year, and more than 40 percent of the classes are held in spring. Trained and certified instructors serve as the leaders.
In addition to the traditional classroom setting course that takes about 10 hours and includes a weekend field day at the range, there’s an online option that includes a mandatory field day, or an adult-only online test out scheduled bi-monthly at DNR service centers.
One of the adult CD/Internet courses will have testing at the Northeast Region DNR office March 10. If interested in learning more, email Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org and put “March HE” in the subject line.
■ Seven municipalities, including the cities of Oshkosh and Sheboygan, have been awarded urban wildlife damage abatement and control grants of up to $5,000 to help deal with problems caused by deer or geese. Both cities will be removing some deer using sharpshooters; Oshkosh also plans to remove some resident Canada geese.
— Kevin Naze, email@example.com