Wild Things: Same Old Story in a New Year?

Challenge yourself to be better in 2023

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor

New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, or so it would seem. But while those plans, pledges and promises may not last forever, setting some goals for 2023 is a step in the right direction if we’re aiming to be a better version of ourselves. 

From an outdoors standpoint, finding more time to do the things we love would certainly be a win. But why not take it to the next level by sharing the experience? Take a future birder under your wing. Get a friend hooked on fishing. Show your in-laws how to take a hike. Get the picture? Mentoring beginners and providing that window to the outdoors is extremely rewarding. You can pass on joy, passion and wisdom, then encourage them to do the same once they’ve gained experience. 

Another thought for ’23 is a fishing or hunting trip out of the area. With few exceptions, this is something I rarely do any more. That needs to change. And closer to home, there are thousands of acres of land available for public use. It’s time to find some new favorites off the beaten path.

From a skills standpoint – and a return-to-roots sort of thing – I’d love to do more target shooting this year, both archery and firearm. In the kitchen, eating wild game and fish is always a highlight of a successful outing. I’ve got so many favorite dishes, but I haven’t tried a new recipe in years. Time to change that, too.

It’s also time to downsize and better organize my gear. There’s way too much “stuff” packed in boxes and cabinets (and piled in the shed, garage and basement). Many things can be sold, for sure, but others will be donated or tossed. I’d bet many of you are in the same boat.

A final thought: Are there any regrets in your life or recurring mistakes you’re making? A new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past, then make corrections in attitude and behavior. Chances are you’ll sleep better at night, and your family, friends and neighbors will appreciate the new you, too.

Candlelight Nights

Thinking of participating in Peninsula State Park’s Feb. 4 candlelight event? You’ll need a ticket voucher this year.

They’re available now, with a limit of one per person at the time of pickup. A time period will be specified (5-6, 6-7 or 7-8 pm). A maximum of 100 vehicles with reservations will be allowed in during the first hour, then 75 vehicles during each of the final two hours. Carpooling is encouraged.

Skiing, hiking or snowshoeing will be allowed, and there will be a bonfire and treats at the warming shelter. 

A 2023 Wisconsin State Park annual vehicle-admission sticker or a $5 Special Event vehicle-admission fee is required per car. For questions or current conditions, call 920.868.3258. Office hours are generally 8 am – 3:30 pm.

Meanwhile, Newport State Park’s candlelight ski, hike or snowshoe night is set for Feb. 11, 5:30-8 pm. A bonfire and refreshments will await participants at the end of the 1.5-mile trail.

Finally, Potawatomi State Park’s Winter Trails Day is set for Feb. 18, 10 am – 12 pm. You can hike, snowshoe or ski, then join the Friends of Potawatomi State Park in the warming shelter for refreshments and a campfire.

Catch and Release

Door and Kewaunee counties offer year-round action for Great Lakes trout and salmon, but there’s another trout-fishing opportunity, too: Inland waters such as Krohn’s Lake and Scarboro and Krok creeks offer stocked trout, and a few area streams also produce an occasional wild fish.

Some state waters offer a catch-and-release season for trout Jan. 7 – May 5, the day prior to the regular inland hook-and-line fishing-season opener.

Find information about fishing regulations, inland trout-fishing opportunities and stocking, and handling and releasing trout at

Weekly Water Levels

As of Dec. 30, Lake Michigan and Green Bay water levels had dropped two inches during the past month and were eight inches lower than at the end of 2021. Levels were still four inches above the 100-year average, and 33 inches higher than the record monthly low in 2012.