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Wisconsin DNR Outdoor Report West Central Region 12-29-2012

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La Crosse DNR Service Center area

La Crosse CountyPanfish are biting on the Mississippi River in the La Crosse area. The ice is still thin in areas (3 inches or less) so anglers are encouraged to be extra careful when venturing out. Anglers are also having luck using tip-ups for bass. – Edward McCann, conservation warden, La Crosse

Vernon County - Rough-legged hawks are being observed throughout the Coulee Region. These large buteos or soaring hawks breed in the Arctic tundra and migrate to and winter primarily in the lower 48 states. They feed mainly on small rodents and often hunt for them by hovering above a grassy field before diving down on the unsuspecting prey. Deep snow cover tends to push the birds farther south. Rough-legged hawks get their name from their furry-looking legs, which are feathered to their toes with soft feathers. For a raptor, these hawks have relatively small feet and bill. In flight, rough-legged hawks display long, rounded wings, smooth, shallow wingbeats, primary feathers with very pale undersides, and square, dark wrists or carpal patches. – Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Wildcat Mountain State Park The park received 6-8 inches of snow last Wednesday night and Thursday. The accompanying high winds caused significant blowing and drifting of the snow. Cross-country ski trails were groomed and tracked on Friday, Dec. 21. Due to the winds, snow depth varies from very little, including a few bare spots, to more than a foot. Overall, conditions are good for the first groomable snow of the season. – Joseph Fieweger, park manager

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Chippewa CountyIce anglers have been trying their luck on several smaller lakes and ponds. Ice thickness will vary, and many of the larger lakes are not frozen over yet. Bluegill action has been steady on Lake Hallie using small jigs tipped with waxies in about 8 feet of water. Glenn Lock was very busy over the holiday, with nice sized bluegills and a few northern being caught near the island. Some anglers are catching 10-12 inch crappie on Little Lake Wissota, but ice thickness does not seem consistent. Round Lake near New Auburn saw some fishing activity on Christmas Eve; however, the bluegill bite was slow. Snowmobile trails opened in portions of Chippewa County. The colder weather has prevented the trails from becoming too muddy. Some of the stretches along farm fields show bare ground, but conditions are reported to be fair along the Old Abe section. Check out up-to-date trail conditions at chippewasnowmobiletrails.com (exit DNR) or the Chippewa County Parks and Forestry website. Don’t forget to pick up a trail map before departing. Intersections and trail numbers are well marked, helping you to find your location in the event of an emergency. Hunters should take advantage of the new opportunities on Wisconsin state park lands, for maps and hunting locations in your area. Stay safe, and remember when you’re out there to say hi to your local conservation warden. – Shaun Deeney, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area – The cross-country ski trails are groomed and in good condition, there are several bare spots. Tracks have not been set. – Penny L. Thiede-Klish, visitor service associate

Red Cedar State TrailThe trail was groomed for skating and tracked for classic skiintg from Menomonie to Downsville. Trail is in very good shape as the few inches of new snow really helped. – Penny L. Thiede-Klish, visitor service associate

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State ParkIce is starting to form again on the lake. Park staff does not monitor ice conditions. Cross-country ski trails are groomed and have a base of 1 to 5 inches of snow. When there is at least 6 inches of snow, the office has adult sized snowshoes to check out to use in the park. We do not have child size snowshoes yet. – Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park – The main gate and campground are closed. Parking is in the winter lot and park stickers are still required. Please do not block the main gate. – Heather Wolf, park manager

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