Monthly Archives: April 2014

ATV Raffle this summer

Coleman 400The Oconto Falls Chamber will be running an ATV Raffle this summer!  Ticket sales will begin starting Memorial Day Weekend and run through Falls Fest in September.  We are looking for sponsors and/or advertisers for this event.

By being a sponsor, you can have your business name on the tickets, posters and the banner that will travel with the ATV to area events this summer.  You can also sell raffle tickets at your business.  This is over four months of promotion and advertising for your business!

The levels of sponsorship are as follows:
$500.00 – Your business name on the Tickets, Posters, and Banner
$250.00 – Your business name on the Poster and Banner
$100.00 – A business card size ad on the Poster
$ 50.00 – Your business name and city listed on the Poster

If you choose, you can donate an item for the raffle of the same value listed above.

Click the ATV Raffle Sponsor Letter for a copy of the form

Outdoor Report by DNR

OCCH 001Most of the state is now free of snow on the ground, with the exception of heavily wooded areas in the far north that still have a foot or more of snow. Spring is progressing rapidly in the south, with reports of bloodroot and round lobed hepatica blooming in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest.

OCCH 038Lots of anglers are wondering whether lakes will be ice free in the Northwoods by the May 3 general inland fishing opener. While it depends on the weather between now and then, at this point most lakes still have upwards of 15 inches of ice covering them, so there is a definite possibility that the larger, deeper lakes will still be ice covered, so anglers may want to have alternate plans such as fishing flowages, lakes and spring ponds, as well as streams and rivers.

OCCH 016While northern lakes are still ice covered, access is poor with shorelines having a lot of soft grainy ice and a fringe of open water, so for the most part, the ice angling season has ended. Spring walleye fishing on rivers that remain open year round for game fish had been excellent on some waters, especially northern Lake Michigan tributaries and the Fox, Wolf, Wisconsin and Rock rivers. Action slowed this week, though, with mostly males reported, indicating runs may be coming to a close.

The spring turkey season is now open and turkeys are starting to break away from the winter flocks. Hunters in the first turkey period saw mild temperatures and conditions overall. With the snow melting in the north, deer have begun to disperse from their deer yards, with many being seen feeding on the grass that has just begun to green up.

The spring bird migration is ramping up, with the vanguard of warblers, including yellow-rumps, palm, pine, orange-crowned, hooded, black-and-white, and northern waterthrush seen in the south. The first whip-poor-wills have returned to the south as well. Overhead, the first kettles of broad-winged hawks have reached Wisconsin from their central and south America wintering areas. Loons are staging on southern lakes such as Mendota and Monona in Madison waiting for ice-out on northern lakes.

DNR Report

Residents of northern Wisconsin aren’t appreciating April fools this year, as another major snowstorm is predicted this week. The National Weather Service Thursday issued winter storm watches and warnings for the northern half of Wisconsin, with up to 17 inches of heavy and wet snow forecast.

Central and northeastern parts of the state could see ice accumulations up to quarter inch starting and wind gusts up to 30 mph were expected as the storm moves through.

This new snow will be falling on the 2 to 3 feet of snow that still remains across much of the Northwoods. State wildlife officials continue to be concerned about this winter’s impact on deer and turkey, with the winter severity index already at severe and very severe across the north.

A reminder that even with the expected snow, most snowmobile trails are now closed across the state. And with the ice coming out of the ground in southern and central Wisconsin many of the trails are very soft and muddy. Mountain bike and horse trails are closed until things dry out, and bicyclists are asked to refrain from riding on the soft limestone screening of rails trails to avoid causing ruts.

The recent warm up has opened up more water in the southern half of the state, but lakes in the north still have 20 to 28 inches of ice. Small ponds and rivers are open throughout the south, as are shorelines of larger lakes. Lake Winnebago shorelines have eroded significantly and the 3 feet of ice that anglers have enjoyed this winter has become spongy and cracked in many areas. Several vehicles have fallen through the ice in recent days.

Very few ice anglers have been out in the north, but fishing activity has picked up in the south. Walleye anglers were open water fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River this week all the way up to the Wisconsin Dells dam. There was some fishing activity on the Fox River and the Wolf River is starting to open up. Southern Lake Michigan tributaries continue to open up, and some steelhead and brown trout have been caught. Many of the Mississippi River boat landings are open, although none have the docks in place. Anglers have been fishing for sauger but report that fishing is early yet and slow. Anglers are also being reminded that 2013-14 licenses expired March 31 so they should pick up their 2014-15 licenses and regulations if they haven’t already.

Turkeys are gobbling more on warmer mornings and a few are splitting off the large winter flocks and toms are being seen strutting for hens in the morning hours.

Spring bird migration finally hit Wisconsin in earnest last week, especially in the southern half of the state, with eastern phoebe, tree swallow, yellow-bellied sapsucker, fox sparrow, hermit thrush, winter wren, purple finch and other songbirds seen. Waterfowl have really moved in as well, including the full diversity of dabbling ducks and plenty of divers on larger water bodies. Tundra swans made their initial push as well, particularly across the eastern tier from Green Bay southward.