EAGLE RIVER - A year ago at this time, area anglers were enjoying temperatures in the 60s... and many had a very successful opening weekend.
Saturday's inland fishing opener on many of the lakes in the Northwoods seems more fit for ice fishing.
Chain Lake just outside of Sugar Camp is an example. The water is flowing near the shore. But just a few feet away, over a foot of ice. By contrast, Long Lake reportedly is about 75% open.
Gary Myshak of Eagle River says this is one of the worst he's seen in his 15 years as a fishing guide.
However, he says the rivers near Eagle River should be good. But the lakes, not so much.
"The ice I would guess between a few inches to 20 inches," says Myshak. "I would look for rivers. All the rivers in the Eagle River area are open and fishable. If you can find (water) pocket temps in 40-45 degrees that's where the walleyes will be. That's the temperatures they like to spawn in."
Knowing when and where the fish are spawning or laying their eggs will be key. Typically most species spawn in shallow water.
"Walleye spawn on clean wave-washed gravel shorelines (typically at night)," advises John Kubisiak, the DNR Fisheries Biologist for Oneida County. "Pikes spawn in vegetation such as flooded cattails and grasses, but they may even spawn underneath the ice."
DNR officials caution there are reduced bag limits for walleyes. This is due to Tribal Spearing declarations. It will vary from lake to lake.
To view the latest fishing information from the DNR, click on the links below.
PHILLIPS - The Price County Sheriff's Office wants to find out what it needs to do to get a K-9 officer. Sheriff Brian Schmidt believes a new dog would improve the office's ability to find drugs.
The county doesn't have its own K-9 officer. However, they do turn to other departments for help.
"What we would utilize is surrounding counties, and it is at their discretion," Schmidt said. "Like Rhinelander, we utilize their dog on occasion, maybe once or twice a year. But again, it is their dog, so they have their needs come first. So if we have our own equipment, our needs are met with our equipment."
VILAS COUNTY - Vilas County finally got what it wanted. For fifteen years, the county had needed someone to act as a full-time Recreational Officer--someone to monitor public safety on the snowmobile and ATV trails as well as the lakes and rivers. Now, Vilas County Deputy Sheriff Randy Schneider will fill that role.
WISCONSIN - The Wisconsin Council on Problem Gambling received a record number of phone calls to the helpline in 2014â€"14,731 to be exact. This is a 5.6 percent increase from calls received in 2013.
Some of the callers reported having to file for bankruptcy or having thoughts of suicide. The report from the Council also calculated $47,000 as the average gambling debt of callers in 2014, and $20,000 as the median debt.
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