Reports - Trail and Recreation
Weather Report - 12/15/17Forecast as of 10:00 a.m. Fri., December 15:
Areas of light snow or flurries will continue at times throughout the afternoon under mostly cloudy skies. Additional accumulations will be light. Highs will reach the upper teens with a west wind at 5-10 mph. Light snow will develop tonight with additional accumulations staying under an inch. Lows will fall into the mid-single digits. Snow will continue into the morning on Saturday before departing the area. Highs will get back into the lower 20s. Sunday will again feature a slight chance for light snow under cloudy skies. Highs will be slightly above average in the upper 20s. The next work week will begin quiet with highs near 30 on Monday. Snow chances will once again increase by Tuesday with potentially more accumulating snow arriving for the middle of next week. Highs will mainly stay in the 20s Tuesday through Thursday for afternoon highs.
Snowmobile Trail Report - 12/15/17
The snowmobile trails are open and in early-season condition. Snowmobile club volunteers are in the process of opening gates, clearing the trails of forest debris, and riding the trails to pack them down and to help the swamps freeze. The Pike Lake area trails have been groomed, except for the swamp areas but you can cross through them. Other trails will be groomed as conditions and time permit. Lake ice is NOT safe for snowmobile travel. For your safety, please do not travel on the lakes until the lake trails are marked. Detailed reports from snowmobile club trail reporters are posted below.
Several miles of trail are open now for winter ATV and UTV riding including the Flambeau Trail System, Solberg Trail, and the Georgetown Trail.
Lugerville Chasers (west of Phillips / west central Price County) - 12/15/17 - The trails in our area are rideable, but users need to ride with caution. The trails are starting to get packed with snowmobiles, and more packing will be done this weekend. Please use caution when on the trails.
Buskwackers (east of Park Falls & Fifield / north central Price County) – 12/15/17 - Riding is not recommended at this time. The trails are not groomed, swamp areas are not passable, and lakes are not safe for snowmobile travel.
Sno-Drovers (northeast Price County / Pike Lake area) – 12-14-17- Fair condition - With 6”-8” of new snow, the trails are looking great! The Pike Lake area trails are all groomed other than a couple of sections on Trail 120 where the swamps are still not frozen, so extreme caution if you are going through those areas and go fast as you WILL be bringing up water until they are frozen solid. You will encounter spots on the trails where the groomer has brought up water in wet spots. I suspect these will all be frozen by the weekend, but there may still be a couple of wet spots. You should not have to worry about sinking in these, just something to watch for. THE LAKES ARE NOT MARKED AND SHOULD BE AVOIDED. When they are safe, they will be marked. Be aware that there are logging operations underway along many of our trails. Staying on the trails is critical as there may be fresh stumps just under the snow.
Bushbenders (Prentice area / southeast Price County) - 12/14/17 - Grooming will not begin until December 26 or later due to equipment repair.
Elk River Pioneers (Soo Lake area / west central Price County) - 12/13/17 - The trails are open but not packed. Many wet spots. Club members will be out packing trails as time permits.
Northwoods Hi-Riders (Solberg Lake area / northeast of Phillips / central Price County) - 12/11/17 - Gates around Solberg Lake will be opened today. There is actually enough snow to run a snowmobile on them, but they are rough and there are ruts, swamps are not frozen, and there may still be some downed trees in some areas where we haven't gotten to yet due to the wet conditions. I would advise waiting until the weekend to start exploring the trails. Groomers will not be out until swamps have been packed and frozen. LAKES ARE NOT SAFE FOR SNOWMOBILE TRAFFIC!
Sno-Gypsies (west of Park Falls / Tuscobia / northwest Price County) - 12/11/17 - We are opening the gates tomorrow.
Driftsplitters (Catawba-Kennan / southwest Price County) - 12/11/17 - Not rideable. Not groomable.
Chaparrals (east of Phillips / east central Price County) - 12/11/17 - We are just starting to pack trails in the Phillips area so it will be a week or so before grooming starts, if conditions permit.
Cross-Country Ski, Snowshoe, Skijor & Fat Tire Bike Trail Report - 12/15/17
The trails are open and in early season condition. Check back for reports from trail managers, which will be posted (see below) as we receive them. Snowfall throughout Price County ranges from 6" - 14" in the past week or two.
Only cross-country skiers are allowed on the groomed/tracked portions of the winter trails. Other recreational users (snowshoe, skijor and fat tire bike) are allowed on the portion of trail that is not groomed/tracked.
12/15/17 - Newman Springs Trail - (classic xc-ski, snowshoe, & fat tire bike) I was able to pack A and E loops at Newman Springs.
12/15/17 - Wintergreen Trail - (xc-ski, snowshoe, & fat tire bike) I roller packed B, D, and Shortcut at Wintergreen, and machine packed everything else. The wetland crossing on C still had some open water yesterday. B Loop and Shortcut should be good for skiing with your rock skis, snowshoes and fat bikes. Snow was still a little thin for setting track after it got packed down, but we are getting a good base for the season. I had one rock pocking out still on C and D loops respectively.
12/13/17 - Timm's Hill Trail - (xc-ski, snowshoe, skijor & fat tire bike) The section of the THT in Taylor County is closed and will not be groomed until January 1, 2018. Until then, the groomed THT will not connect to the Rib Lake Ski & Snowshoe Trails. We received 8" of snow Tuesday night & Wednesday. I groomed the THT and set tracks tonight from the Price / Taylor County Line (Mile 2) north to Highway to Heaven (Mile 7).
12/11/17 - Phillips School Forest Trail - (xc-ski, snowshoe & fat tire bike) The ski trail has been rolled a couple times. That said, I would not recommend skiing the back hills, there are sticks and ruts that could cause problems. If people want to try the trail just be careful. The fat bike and snowshoe trails are groomed and in great condition. Someone using a fat tire bike was riding on the ski trail, please stay off of the ski trail and on the snowshoe and bike trail when using fat bikes.
12/11/17 - Holy Cross Trail - (classic xc-ski, snowshoe, skijor & fat tire bike) I have not rolled Holy Cross ski trail yet, I will if we get another 2-3 inches of snow. Hopefully this week!
12/11/17 - Flambeau Hills Trail - (xc-ski, snowshoe & fat tire bike) The trail has about 3-4 inches of snow. The trail was packed on 12/11/17 to start building a solid base. The trail is skiable, but expect a lot of sticks until we get more snow. Grooming is unknown at this point, we will need a significant snowfall before we start grooming.
ATV, UTV & Off-Road Motorcycle Trail Report - 12/15/17
Price County Highway routes are closed October 15 to May 15. Municipality (city and town) routes and trails remain open. Snowfall the past week or two is 6 - 14 inches.
- Flambeau Trail System (70 miles) ~ OPEN -
The gravel pit at Clover Creek on FR 513 is currently active and closed to through traffic. This is a popular connector route for people going from Trail 121 to 101. The mud hole on 118 LN has been drained and filled. As conditions allow, additional work will be done at that segment of trail, but it is now passable without the worry of getting stuck. Beavers have been very active on the Trail 101 and have plugged multiple culverts in the past week. If you notice water flowing across the trail, please contact Brady Howe at the USFS at email@example.com or 715-762-5104 so the issue can be mitigated. The Pike Lake area snowmobile trails have been groomed except through the swamps areas as of 12/15/17.
- Solberg Trail (9.5 miles) ~ OPEN - Repairs are being made on the bridges. The trail remains open and can be ridden.
- Georgetown Trail (18.8 miles) ~ OPEN - The trail is in good condition. There is a logging operation underway from the Carpenter Creek parking lot and continuing for the first ½ mile of the trail. Riders should slow down and watch for equipment and trucks through this stretch.
- Pine Line / Price-Taylor Rail Trail ~ OPEN - This trail is only open to ATV & UTV use in the winter when the trail is officially open to snowmobile use and only when the temperature is 28 degrees or colder; typically mid-December into March. The trail won't be groomed for snowmobiling until December 26 or later due to equipment repairs.
- Tuscobia State Trail (64 miles) ~ CLOSED in Price County; Sawyer County CLOSED - The entire trail is closed from November 15 - December 15 for deer hunting and trapping. From Park Falls west to the Price County line, the trail is closed to ATV and UTV use for the 2017 season and will reopen April 16, 2018.
- Flambeau River State Forest Trail (38 miles) ~ CLOSED - The trail is closed for the season. It will reopen May 15, 2018.
DNR Fishing Report - 12/14/17
The ice development is coming along very slowly on the Price County area lakes. Some lakes have 4-6 inches of ice while others have less than 1 inch in spots. Last week’s cold spell did not put on as much ice as anticipated. This week’s snowfall will insulate the ice and slow any development that is taking place. Extreme caution should be used when venturing out onto the ice. The new snow will cover any bad looking areas so people going out should test the ice often with a spud bar and bring all the proper safety equipment with them. Anglers that have been getting out are catching fish. Bluegills are biting in 4-7 feet of water on small jigs with spikes. Crappies are being found a little deeper over flats or near cribs. Minnows with slip bobbers are working well for them. Walleye anglers are catching walleyes in 3-6 feet of water on small minnows set under tip ups. Everyday has been different as far as action. Somedays they are biting well, somedays they have been very picky. It has been dependent on the weather fronts pushing through. Good luck and be safe! Good luck, use caution, and be safe!
Guide & Hunter ReportsLooks like all the lakes are finally locked up with ice. Caution is still needed as the centers of most of the lakes stayed open long after the shoreline ice was formed because of the Winds and Rain that we have had. Also Take Caution on the Flowages that are controlled by Price County, Musser, Solberg, Phillips Chain, Sailor and Soo as the water levels are up and down creating high current flow in necked down areas and pockets of thin brittle Shelf Ice with air pockets under them along some Shoreline and Shallow structure areas including Rocks, Stumps and Sand Bars. John Carlson, Ross's Sport Shop & Guide Service, 12-12-17
DNR Outdoor Report - 12/13/17
Bald eagle nests increase 5.7 percent in 2017 to hit another record
It's looking like another big year for snowy owls in Wisconsin. As of Nov. 20, at least 69 individual birds have been spotted in 31 counties statewide. This total rivals the 82 found by this date in 2015-16 and far exceeds the three birds found by now last year. Learn More
The archery and crossbow deer seasons continue through January 7, 2018.
Ruffed Grouse season continues through January 31, 2018.
Flambeau River State Forest Outdoor Report - If you are traveling north this weekend, visit the Flambeau River State Forest. We have nearly completed the “Old Pine Trail” at the new headquarters and are welcoming your use. The boardwalk snakes around some old white pines with regeneration occurring around the edges and part of the trail follows the meandering Flambeau River and instills a feeling of peacefulness. Come join us. There are snowshoe trails at Lake of the Pines and Little Falls / Slough Gundy. So get those snowshoes out and get exploring! Dabbles of ice are flowing down the Flambeau river and the lakes have a thin layer of ice around some of the edges. The Flambeau River and the surrounding lakes in the State Forest such as: Connors, Lake of the Pines,(walleye, bass, musky, northern and panfish) Bass Lake(largemouth bass, panfish), Swamp, Pelican, Mason and Evergreen Lakes, are great places to fish and explore. If you need more information about the FRSF, call us at 715-332-5271 ext.111 or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Snow has fallen and we have accumulated about l.5 inches. Marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes have a ½” to 1” thin layer of ice on top. Temperatures are dropping. Bears are denned up and the weasels and snowshoe hares have turned white. Forest staff had seen 2 adult and 2 juvenile swans on Connors Lake and also a snowy owl perched on the kiosk there. Pine siskins and a pileated woodpeckers have also been observed. It seems to be a good year for the winterberry crop so that will make for some very happy birds. Beaver and muskrats are starting to prime-up, which indicates that we will be having a normal winter. Be sure to drive safely as the roads are full of critters and be sure to dress up warm and enjoy nature!Check on burning and campfire restrictions on the WI DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/restrictions.html.
Fall Color - Final 2017 Report
The river is iced over in many places. It typically thaws in late-March or early-April.
Paddling/Flambeau River - Final 2017 Report
The North Fork of the Flambeau River is controlled by dams and it generally remains near the ordinary high water mark throughout the summer. The South Fork of the Flambeau and other rivers in the area can become quite low at times during the summer months without consistent rain. Whenever planning a paddling trip, always check with an area rental/shuttle/guide service for the most current conditions and to select a suitable stretch of river based on your experience.