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.
NORTHWOODS - Next Monday's solar eclipse will look fascinating, but it can damage your eyes for a lifetime.
It's never safe to look directly at the sun's rays, even though there will be a partial eclipse here in the Northwoods.
Regular sunglasses won't protect you, so if you plan to view the solar eclipse you need special solar eclipse sunglasses.
Those glasses are one size fits all, so it's important to check they are snug on your child's head, too.
Kids are curious, and may want to fixate on the crescent beam of light.
"We know children are going to want to peek over the top and in just 20 to 30 seconds they could be doing damage to their eye, " says Dr. Jill Redman.
The solar eclipse light is not as intense as regular sunlight.
You won't actually feel the damage being done until the next day because the reflex to turn away won't be there.
"Missing blurry vision and central vision. Afterwards you could have light sensitivity. You could also have watering eyes. But some of the damage with maculopathy can be permanent," says Dr. Ben Redman.
Dr. Ben says if you don't have those special solar glasses, the safest option is to avoid it entirely and watch online.
RHINELANDER - DNR Furbearer Research Scientist Dr. Nathan Roberts calls bobcats "a conservation success story." Their population numbers are up across the United States.
The DNR doubled the harvest quota this year at 750 bobcats because of that healthy population size.
"While the population's grown, we've also increased our understanding of bobcats considerably. Working together with hunters and trappers across the state we've increased our understanding of bobcats and our ability to monitor bobcats," said Roberts.
RHINELANDER - You probably wouldn't consider a dark, smelly alley an ideal place to sit and relax. Maggie Steffen agrees, which is why she's planning to transform an alley on Brown Street in Rhinelander.
Steffen plans to tackle the project in three phases. Phase one is lighting the alley, which sits between The Brick restaurant and Bath and Body Creations. Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. agreed to pay about $2,800 for five LED lights if the city would pay for the electricity.
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