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.
Wisconsin court to decide on testing drunk drivers
MADISON - The Wisconsin Supreme Court is set to decide whether police can legally draw suspected drunken drivers' blood without a warrant or driver consent.
The court said it would hear three drunken driving cases, two of which involved a homicide. That announcement came nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a Missouri case that could call into question Wisconsin's law.
Wisconsin since 1993 has granted police authority to draw drunken driving suspects' blood without a warrant or consent.
About 5,000 people refused to comply with police tests in 2011 and 2012.
The eventual rulings in the three cases are expected to clarify how law enforcement can gather evidence in some Wisconsin drunken driving cases.
MADISON - A federal appeals court has upheld Republican Gov. Scott Walker's public union restrictions.
The restrictions stripped most public workers of nearly all their collective bargaining rights. Two unions representing city of Madison and Dane County public workers filed a lawsuit in 2011 alleging the law violated their right to freely assembly and equal protection.
U.S. District Judge William Conley found the restrictions constitutional in September. A three-judge appeals panel affirmed Conley's ruling Friday, saying the U.S. Constitution doesn't require the state to maintain policies that allow certain associations to thrive.
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen calls the ruling ``a victory for the law and for Wisconsin taxpayers.''
An attorney for the unions tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he needs to talk to his clients before deciding whether to appeal.
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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