Some good news, and some other news

Want some good news? I know I sure could stand a little bit of
good news, so let’s assume you’d like the same. and we’ll begin
with ice fishing and ice conditions. We’re now seeing some very
good ice conditions across most of northern Wisconsin, including
the areas of western Oneida and Vilas counties that I see on a
daily basis. Things started out a little shaky, what with the heavy
snows that fell on thin ice – slush formed on all but the biggest
lakes that were still open when the first heavy snows fell, but the
rains of late December took the snow down and the subsequent cold
weather froze everything down very well. Cars and trucks are
driving on most lakes now, and shanties are being pulled out all
over the place. The snow is starting to build up a little bit, but
travel is still relatively easy. Guys who use portable shanties
hard-hitched to snowmobiles are having no trouble at all in
reaching their fishing spots.

I attended the Jan. 7 Conservation Congress Executive Council
meeting in Wausau – I rolled into Wausau at 6:20 p.m. after a
five-day antlerless rifle deer hunt and headed straight to The
Plaza Hotel for the meeting. I began driving at 4:30 that morning,
so I could certainly have misunderstood a thing or two that
evening, but I tried to take notes as accurately as possible, and
one thing that I heard was this – DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management
Director Tom Hauge said he expects the state to have its first
limited bull elk hunt in two years. I’m not sure yet if Tom meant
2012 or 2013, but we’ll check on that and get it in the next issue.
I hope he’s right about that. We should have seen our first elk
season in 2005 or 2006, based on projections from back in 1995 when
the first 25 elk were released, but bears and wolves have had a big
say in how quickly – or rather how slowly – the herd has grown.

The DNR’s renovated Wild Rose hatchery will be fully up and
running this year, according to the DNR’s Fisheries Chief, Mike
Staggs. That’s good news. Simply stocking more and more fish isn’t
the answer to a good fishery – strong fisheries really come from
good habitat and even better natural reproduction – but hatcheries
and stocked fish do play a key role in maintaining fisheries in
lakes and streams that have less than stellar natural conditions
hampering their “getting along.”

Did you see the Trail Crossing photo on page 28 of the Jan. 14
issue? A bull elk in Forest County? Now, how did that thing get
there? I wonder if it was a game farm escapee? I suppose it’s
possible that a bull from the Clam Lake herd in Ashland County
could have wandered over there during the September rut, but it
just doesn’t seem likely, considering we’ve had elk in the state
since 1995 and none of those animals have moved off all that far –
until maybe now? Keep your eyes and ears open and keep sending us
photos for the Trail Crossing.

We could also use photos for our Remembering feature – old
photos from days gone by. You can e-mail the Remembering photos to

My right arm is still healing from a bicep tendon repair in late
October, so I’m still having difficulty typing. For that reason,
I’m suggesting that it would be best to submit Letters to the
Editor via e-mail instead of by hard copy through the U.S. Mail. To
send in letters by e-mail, send them to at

That’s all I have for today. Catch ya’ll next time.


Categories: Wisconsin – Dean Bortz

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