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Kevin Naze shares his weekly outdoors almanac

Mar. 20, 2013
 

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Time for trophy walleyes, northerns

Spring is here on the calendar but not in the air with 20 to 30 inches of ice covering much of Green Bay. Exceptions include major tributaries and river and creek mouths; bay shipping channels where ice-breaking has begun; and thinner ice near springs, docks, islands and shallow reefs.

That said, many locals who’ve been active all winter and visitors who get solid advice on where to go from bait and tackle shops still are driving trucks on the ice off many Door County access points to target whitefish, walleyes, pike and brown trout. Yellow perch season is closed.

Trophy walleyes up to 12 pounds have been hooked through the ice off southern Door County, Oconto and Marinette as the fish begin to move closer to creeks and shorelines where they’ll spawn in spring, and some big prespawn northerns also are being caught.

Jig and minnow combos are working for the walleyes in 8 to 20 feet of water or more while most of the trophy pike are taking large suckers, chubs or smelt over muddy or rocky shallows.

■ A return to what many are calling an old-fashioned winter — at least the past six weeks or so — is a 180 from last year’s record-setting March temperatures.

A heavy snowpack will boost bay and lake tributaries as it melts and help attract spawning runs of pike, walleyes and rainbow trout. The Fox River at De Pere is attracting large groups of boating anglers with catch-and-release action on solid fish in the 18- to 25-inch-plus range, along with an occasional trophy larger than the 28-inch minimum.

INLAND WATERS

Look for panfish action to heat up

Some of the best panfishing of the season is expected the next few weeks as bluegills, crappies, perch and white bass school up in the shallows of lakes, ponds and flowages.

Whether working the Lake Winnebago chain, Shawano Lake or a smaller, less-popular water, late ice and the first open water in channels and shoreline pockets can be a bonanza if you hit it right.

Temperatures are expected to slowly warm up next week, but no major meltdown is in the 10-day forecast. If that holds — and if April is also colder than normal — fishermen up north might be able to walk on frozen water well into April.

HUNTING

Wild turkey leftovers available for purchase

Zone 4 leftover spring wild turkey tags go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. today, and Zones 5, 6 and 7 leftovers will be sold Friday. Any permits remaining for all zones go on sale Saturday; Zones 1 and 3 have the most weeks with permits still available.

There are more than 14,000 leftovers for the last three periods in Zone 4, but only hundreds in both Zones 6 and 7 and all for the sixth period. Zone 5 has more than 3,400 combined in weeks five and six.

More than 4,000 Zone 2 permits for the fifth period were sold out in 30 minutes Tuesday, and another 3,000 sixth period tags were purchased.

■ Deer hunters are being asked to participate in two surveys, one concerning the 2013 season in their management unit (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9TB8PCK) and the other

focusing on the deer trustee report (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DeerTR).

Additionally, dozens of public meetings are being held to gather input on the 2013 season. Check out the list of where and when by clicking the deer hunter forum link at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/forum.html.

WILDLIFE

Pesticide-laced corn could deter sandhills

Should corn growers be able to use a nonlethal repellant on seed corn to deter sandhill cranes from future feedings on their fields? The public can learn more and comment through March 31 on a pesticide registration that would allow this.

Once cranes eat seed corn treated with a pesticide containing the active ingredient 9,10-anthraquinone, it is said to repel them from eating any more.

For a copy of the assessment or to email comments, contact Matt Sunseri by email at matthew.sunseri@wi.gov or by phone at (608) 224-4547.

■ Organizations that do citizen-based monitoring on animals, plants, water and other components of the natural world can apply for grants up to $5,000 by an April 26 deadline. Get info at http://wiatri.net/CBM/Partnership.

FIELD GUIDE

Talk public lands at Oconto meeting

Anyone interested in Green Bay wildlife, fisheries and natural areas is invited to review and comment on preliminary planning documents at an open house meeting Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Oconto City Hall, 1210 Main St.

The properties in the Green Bay planning group — the West Shore Wildlife Area, Badger Gift Lands, Bloch Oxbow State Natural Area and scattered fish and wildlife lands — contain ecologically and recreationally significant coastal wetlands, rivers and streams, shrub swamps and bottomland forests that provide habitat for many wildlife species and spawning areas for fish.

The draft regional and property analysis, preliminary vision and goals, maps, and other background information, will be available at the meeting or can be viewed online (http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/masterplanning/greenbay/) or in person at DNR Service Centers in Green Bay and Peshtigo and public libraries in Oconto, Peshtigo and Green Bay.

Comments or questions can be offered at the meeting, online or submitted to John Huff at 101 N. Ogden Road, Suite A, Peshtigo, WI 54157; also by phone at (715) 582-5047, or by email at john.huff@wisconsin.gov.

— Kevin Naze, wildtimes@ wizunwired.net

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