WILD THINGS: Going, Going, Gone?

High temperatures well above freezing this week are expected to stick around into early February, potentially spoiling any chance for a deep-water ice fishery this winter.

The January thaw – exacerbated by a late freeze-up, strong winds during a below-zero stretch mid-month, and ongoing ice-breaking operations – may be enough to spoil the opportunity to head out safely to distant reefs.

Lance LaVine and Adam Neu of Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay are seeing plenty of anglers, but they’ve had to stick closer to shore in most cases. The busiest areas have been protected bays, harbors, marinas and “edge” spots adjacent to deep water near shore. 

As always, it’s best to check with seasoned anglers for the latest updates before heading out. Even then, it’s a good idea to check ice thickness often as you move away from shore. 

Unless you’ve got access to an airboat, no anglers should be walking out past any cracks right now. There’s so much open water in the bay that large sheets of ice can easily separate and move with winds or currents, stranding fishermen. 

Meanwhile, snowmobile enthusiasts could be looking at trail closures to prevent damage to agricultural fields. There’s also a lot of standing water in some low-lying areas. Check the latest trail conditions statewide at

While the snow is melting in open areas, there should still be more than enough in the woodlands for candlelight events at Whitefish Dunes State Park Jan. 27, and Peninsula State Park Feb. 3. 

Sport Show Season

Winter sport shows are a great opportunity for anglers, boaters, campers, and hunters to walk the aisles, swap stories and check out the latest gear.

The shows feature numerous exhibitors, seminars by experts in their field, and hands-on instruction opportunities. Some also include trophy deer-antler and bear-skull scoring, taxidermy displays and chances to win prizes. 

The first ones locally kick off this weekend with the WBAY RV and Camping Show at the Resch Center and the All-Canada Show at the Radisson Conference Center.

Parking for the RV and Camping Show is now cashless and is $10 if you use the Lambeau lot. Get all the show details online at

Meanwhile, see what’s new at the All-Canada Show at

Other shows coming up at the Resch are the Green Bay Boat Show Feb. 17-19 and the Wisconsin State Hunting Expo and SCI Hunter Expo Feb. 23-25.

Fishery Meetings

Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff are hosting public informational meetings around the region in the coming weeks, all between 6-8 pm.

Green Bay walleye and muskellunge management is the topic for one of them Feb. 7 at the Green Bay DNR Service Center, 2984 Shawano Ave., while northern pike and yellow perch management will be the topic Feb. 12 at the Peshtigo DNR Field Office, 101 N. Ogden Road. 

On Feb. 26, Northeast Wisconsin inland trout habitat management will be the topic at the DNR Service Center in Green Bay. That site will also host more information on Green Bay and Fox River habitat restoration projects March 4.

The sessions will be held in person and via Zoom. More information can be found on the DNR’s meetings and hearings calendar at

Hunting Wrap-Up

The extended bow and crossbow deer hunting season in Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties ends at the close of shooting hours Jan. 31.

Through Jan. 22, hunters had registered 293,207 whitetails in all seasons, 147,107 antlered bucks and 146,100 antlerless deer. Locally, hunters had reported 3,674 in Door (1,720 bucks), 2,858 in Kewaunee (1,314 bucks) and 2,727 in Brown (1,383 bucks). 

Other hunts that’ll remain open into February include fox, coyote, gray and fox squirrel, and cottontail rabbit. Pheasant hunting is closed except on licensed game farms.

Wolf Depredation

DNR officials report that Wisconsin wolves killed at least 29 dogs and 39 livestock between April 21 and Dec. 11, 2023. It was the third-most dogs killed on record, and at least eight others were injured. Wolves also injured at least seven livestock, including two llamas, and harassed or threatened 40 animals.