The snowfall this past week has been a blessing for Monroe County snowmobilers.

Tom Popp, chairman of the Monroe County Snowmobile Association, hopes to have all the trails groomed by late this week after Tuesday’s whopper storm produced between 12 and 18 inches of snow in the county. He asks snowmobilers to be cautious.

“Once we open them, people have to look for ice and water in some of the low spots on the fields,” he said.

He said groomers that went out last weekend were aware of icy spots that are difficult to see with the naked eye.

“We’re not talking too much water − only one or two inches or so − but people should be aware of it,” he said. “If snowmobilers don’t see groomers out right away after the snow stops, the ice and water are why, Popp said. They want to wait until everything has frozen.”

Trails in Monroe County opened for the first time in two years in late January but closed days later after temperatures warmed and melted nearly all of the snow.

Popp said warm temperatures are the bane of snowmobile trails.

“That’s what hurts the trails the most, when it doesn’t get below freezing at night and is above 32 degrees during the day, (snow) melts really fast,” he said.

In other snowmobiling news, the Monroe County Snowmobile Association will hold its annual fundraiser to support the organization’s scholarship fund on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Wilton Community Center from 7-10 p.m.

News on trail conditions, openings and closings can be found at the snowmobile associations Facebook page or monroetrails.com, which gets updated daily. As of Wednesday, trails in most Wisconsin counties were open.

In fishing news, the bite has been good, said Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait. It made for a good fisheree on Lake Tomah sponsored by the Tomah-Warrens Sportsman’s Alliance this past weekend.

“We had a real good turnout for the fisheree. It was cold ... 14 below zero when I got there that morning,” Roscovius said. “It didn’t warm up much, but people were out there fishing and a lot of fish got caught − well, a lot of panfish got caught. There was I think five bass registered and four or five northern that got registered out there but lots of bluegills, crappies and perch. Despite the cold weather fish were biting, and everybody had a good time.”

The active bite continued into Monday, Roscovius reported.

“A couple of guys are out on the lake and are doing well now; they were catching perch this morning,” he said. “I haven’t heard too much about local marshes, but I know some of them were flooding their beds due to the cold weather. I think still they’re doing OK.”

Anglers at Petenwell and Castle Rock flowages haven’t been as lucky as those on Lake Tomah, Roscovius said. The bite isn’t that great on the two large impoundments of the Wisconsin River.

“Some guys went over to Petenwell, Castle Rock this weekend − it sounds like they didn’t do very good,” he said. “Guys still are catching a few small fish, but I didn’t hear anything crappie-wise or very many keeper walleyes, this is just from my guys going over there ... they haven’t been doing well.”

In Hatfield the bite is slowing down, said Chris Abbott, owner of Hatfield Sports Shop.

“We had a good turnout for the walleye tournament − caught some nice fish,” he said.

He said snow and ice have slowed recent fishing action.

“It’s probably the mid-winter blues,” Abbot said.

Roscovius reports ice depths of 18-19 inches on Lake Tomah, and Abbott reports about 22 inches on Lake Arbutus.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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