Return to WisconsinOutdoor Return to

Follow WO on Twitter

Enter your Email HERE for WO Forums:

Follow WO on Face Book

Author Topic: Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for May 1, 2014  (Read 880 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline mudbrook

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6387
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for May 1, 2014
« on: May 02, 2014, 08:51:25 AM »
Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for May 1, 2014

Wisconsin general inland game fish season opens this Saturday, and anglers will find many lakes in northern Wisconsin still have significant ice cover and will likely be inaccessible for fishing. Lakes are mostly free of ice now from about Highway 8 South. Lakes to the north of there still have up to 15 inches of ice, which is very soft and honey-combed, and is not considered safe for any form of travel or ice fishing.
Nearly all rivers and stream are open, but they are running high due to snowmelt and rains. Many of the smaller flowages have opened up and anglers should target these waters for the best chance at finding open water. The Mississippi, St. Croix, Wisconsin and Rock rivers are all at or near flood stages along some stretches, and slow-no-wake rules are in place on portions of the St. Croix and Rock rivers. The Bois Brule and Flambeau rivers are running very high and paddlers are being cautioned that currents are fast and treacherous.
Winter continued to hang on in the north this week, with some areas receiving up to an additional 6 inches of snow. Precipitation fell as rain in the south, with many parks and forests reporting that trails are wet and soft. Mountain bike and horse trails are closed on many properties, so call ahead to confirm their status. Bike riders are being asked to refrain from riding on any of the limestone screened linear bike trails if the trail surface is soft.
Sturgeon continued to spawn at sites on the Wolf River but the drop in temperatures seemed to slow activity. Fisheries crews were able capture and record a total of 112 sturgeon Wednesday, including multiple fish in excess of 70 inches.
Conditions varied on Lake Michigan tributaries with some beginning to recede and run clear, while others were still high and cloudy from recent rains. The spring steelhead runs were slowing but some impressive fish were still being caught. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility for the final time this spring on April 28. Suckers and red horse are now running on many rivers.
Turkey hunters in the third spring period experienced cold, wet weather but those who were braving the weather were getting birds. Deer and wood ticks are showing up, so hunters and outdoor users should check themselves.
A mother fox and four kits were observed outside their den in rural Door County. Young owls have been seen out of their nest and bald eagles have hatched at nests along the Mississippi River and people can see eaglets at numerous locations. Neotropical migrants from central and southern America are finally returning to some parts of southern Wisconsin with Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and ruby-throated hummingbirds are now visiting feeders.
Skunk cabbage and hepatica have emerged and there has been a siting of a pasque flower blooming in the Kettle Moraine State Forest and the first morel mushrooms have been reported at Potawatomi State Park in Door County.
This weekend will be the last opportunity to help out in state parks with the last four Work*Play*Earth Day events scheduled at Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Hartman Creek State Park near Waupaca, Merrick State Park near Fountain City and Roche-A-Cri State Park near Friendship.

Statewide Birding Report
May is upon us and Neotropical migrants from central and southern America are finally returning to some parts of Wisconsin. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and ruby-throated hummingbirds are now visiting feeders in the southern third of the state, albeit in small numbers so far. Nonetheless, get the oranges, jelly, and sugar-water feeders ready! Warbler diversity is also on the rise, with Nashville, yellow, black-and-white, orange-crowned, palm, black-throated green, and others. Birders across the south should head to their favorite parks and woodlots in the weeks ahead as the lack of leaf cover promises some excellent viewing conditions. Pine warblers are also visiting backyard suet feeders in above average numbers due to cool, wet conditions and a general lack of insect prey. Sparrow numbers are on the rise as clay-colored, Lincoln's, white-crowned, white-throated, Henslow's, Harris's and others were found. Some other landbirds reported this week included least flycatcher, winter and house wrens, blue-headed vireo, and hermit and wood thrush. Waterfowl numbers remain excellent in many locations statewide, including Horicon Marsh, Crex Meadows, and other wildlife areas. Wetlands and flooded fields are also attracting more shorebirds. Yellowlegs remain dominant but willets staged a nice flight across the south on 30 April, including a flock of 42 at Racine. Spring remains slow to come across the north, where large numbers of dark-eyed juncos, American tree sparrows, fox sparrows, and other typically early migrants continue several weeks later than average. Tundra swans and migratory Canada geese largely skirted the north's ice cover this spring but numbers and diversity of ducks and grebes has been good where water is available, including an exceptional total of 117 red-necked grebes at Lake Superior's Chequamegon Bay on the April 25. Even some snowy owls are lingering, with birds this week at least from Horicon Marsh, Buena Vista Marsh, and Green Bay. It was a great week for rarities, including a first state record garganey and fourth state record chestnut-collared longspur both at Crex Meadows in Burnett, fifth state record say's phoebe and a northern mockingbird both in Ashland, worm-eating warbler in Waukesha, eared grebe in Jefferson, and piping plover and marbled godwit in Racine. Help us track the migration by reporting your observations from your backyard or beyond to (exit DNR). And remember, May is the month all birders live for - get out and enjoy it! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

Northern Region
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - People heading out for the general fish opener are sure to experience some difficulties this year. The lakes still have a considerable amount of ice on them, most just have a strip of open water around the edges. The Bois Brule River, along with the nearby rivers are flowing high and fast. For the fishermen who venture out, good luck and stay safe out there! Both Brule River State Forest campgrounds are open but some sites still have snow in them. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Bayfield County - Drummond received 6 inches of fresh snow this week. Over the weekend there was more than 15 inches of ice noted on Lake Namakagon, where people were bagging out on crappie using minnows as bait. A reminder to local anglers and to those who fish the Eau Claire Chain of Lakes that the Eau Claire river is closed to fishing from April 15 to May 15, in efforts to protect the spawning walleye. There is some open water on the Chain, but it is yet to be determined if the lakes will be completely free of ice for the opener. - Jill Schartner, conservation warden, Drummond
Big Bay State Park - Spring has arrived and the animals and birds are finally out and about. All trails are open for hiking; however, some trails are still under snow and others are wet and muddy. Beautiful sandstone cliffs, Michigan Island, Big Bay and Lake Superior can be seen along our Bayview and Point trails. It is advised that all visitors keep safety in mind when visiting by following designated trails and park rules. Conditions on Lake Superior change rapidly along the shoreline and ice break up is still occurring. Pets are allowed on most trails (except on the beach and the boardwalk trail) and must be on a leash. Bicycles are permitted only on roads and in parking areas. While at Big Bay State Park, keep your eyes open for some of the critters that call our park home, such as white-tailed deer, coyote, eagles, rabbits, mink, blue jays, chickadees, robins and black bears! - Jennifer Birkholz, ranger
Douglas County - Inland lakes in the extreme northwest generally remain ice covered. Rotten, late season ice with a small amount of open water near shorelines should be expected for fishing opener this weekend. Rivers in the area are generally open and ice free, but melting snow and rain are causing very high (in most cases un-fishable) conditions. - John Krull, conservation warden, Superior
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Interstate Park - On Saturday, May 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ice Age Center, there will be a round robin of bird fun for everyone. Join the naturalists for a variety of drop-in activities all about birds and to meet Aztec, a live owl. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the opening of the general fishing season Saturday, anglers in northern Wisconsin can expect to find that many lakes will still have significant ice cover and will likely be inaccessible for fishing. The ice cover is very soft and honey-combed, and is not considered safe for any form of travel or ice fishing. Nearly all rivers and stream are open, but they are running high due to snowmelt and recent rains. Many of the smaller flowages have opened up and anglers should target these waters for the best chance at finding open water. In the Price, Taylor and Sawyer county area, the safe bets will be Miller Dam Flowage, the Phillips Chain of Lakes, Lake Hayward, and the North Fork Flambeau River and its flowages. The major flowages such as the Big Chip and the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage still had significant ice cover as of Wednesday April 30, and may be partially accessible by opening day. Other popular waters in the Price County area that are expected to still have ice cover for opening weekend include Butternut Lake, the Pike-Round Lake Chain and Patterson Lake. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Price County - Price County lakes are open from Park Falls south as of Tuesday. There is some ice still floating around out there. Far northeast lakes in Price County area still ice covered. ?- Joe Paul, conservation warden, Phillips
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the north and the south forks of the Flambeau River are at flood stage and moving quickly. Ice is out on local lakes and plans are to have the docks in at Lake of the Pines and Connors Lake boat landings for the fishing opener. Anglers have been catching red horse. The snow is finally gone except for a few shady spots where it was banked. Geese and ducks are looking for nesting spots. Trees are starting to bud and the spring beauties & blood root are flowering. Turkeys are gobbling and the ticks are out. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Upper Wisconsin Basin fisheries report (Oneida, Vilas, Lincoln, Langlade, Forest and Florence counties) - There is still a fair amount of ice fishing occurring in the Woodruff area, and as of April 29 the ground is white with a fresh couple inches of snow. There will no doubt be ice on the majority of lakes for the opener of fishing north of Highway 8, so I would explore alternate options to launching a boat if you venture north. Best guesses as to ice-out at this point would be the middle of next week or May 7. - Mike Vogelsang, Jr., fisheries supervisor, Woodruff

Northeast Region
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Brown County - Cold and windy weather seemed to slow the fishing action in the area this past week. Water temperatures on April 22 hovered around 42 degrees. Shore anglers at Voyager Park reported catching very few walleye this week, however one lucky angler was able to land a 29.5 inch female walleye. The few fish that were caught were hitting on green and orange 1/4 ounce jigs. Whitefish around 14 inches were still being taken from Voyager Park below the dam. Most of the talk was about how good fishing was last week and that they believe that the walleye run was just about over on the Fox River. Other west shore locations such as Long Tail Point and the Suamico River ramp were very quiet this week. - Steve Hogler, senior fisheries biologist, Green Bay
Marinette County - Walleye catch rates at the dam in Peshtigo remained high as anglers' casted stick baits and jig/twister tails from the Refuge down to Borth's Creek. Boat anglers reported nice walleye catches from the launch at the City Garage down past the new Highway 41 Bridge. Shore anglers caught a few walleye at the Peshtigo Harbor using stick baits and jig/twister tails. Boat anglers at the Peshtigo Harbor did quite well anchoring in the mouth of the river and jigging with minnows. Water temperatures on the Menominee River reached 44 degrees and good numbers of walleye are being caught on crank baits and plastics from the Dam at Hattie Street down to Stephenson Island. Boat anglers also did well in the river from Boom Landing to the mouth of the river jigging and trolling with live and stick baits. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - The walleye action at Stiles dam decreased with water temperatures reaching 46 degrees and an influx of suckers. Anglers fishing from the entrance of Little River to the mouth of the Oconto River did very well with many spawned out fish being caught using jig heads and twister tails, Flicker Shads and Rapala's. Boat anglers fishing out of Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II reported water temperatures at 40 degrees and caught walleye trolling stick baits and husky jerks with planer boards in and around the mouth of the river. Pike anglers at Oconto Breakwater Park had some success fishing large shiner minnows just off the bottom. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Door County - Anglers have been fishing with spinners and spawn sacks in the creeks where flow was moderate and water temperatures were between 37 and 39 degrees. Although very little action was reported, steelhead and suckers could be seen traveling upstream. Anglers who fished the brown trout tournament in Bailey's Harbor caught high numbers of fish including some lake trout in 10 to 30 feet of water using spoons, spinners and stick baits. On the Ahnapee River steelhead fishing pressure was low as the run has slowed. Below the Forestville Dam steelhead anglers could see many fish but only reported mixed results using wax worms and spawn. The water temperature was 44 degrees with clarity and flow being excellent. On the bay side, ice prevented anglers from launching their boats but some anglers tried their luck casting from shore in search of brown trout with very little success. Anglers who launched their boats at the Sturgeon Bay ramp and fished the lake found very good numbers of brown trout with some limits taken. The most popular baits were stickbaits and spoons. - Aaron Suehring, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - On the Kewaunee River fishing pressure decreased as this past week wore on. Some steelhead and suckers were seen throughout the river where water levels have receded, clarity is excellent and the temperature was 42 to 46 degrees. Anglers were using spoons, artificial spawn and spawn in search of steelhead. A few sucker anglers had great success with dip nets. Boat anglers using the Kewaunee ramp tried their luck for brown trout in 10 to 40 feet of water. Good numbers of browns were caught and anglers reported the greatest success in shallower waters using spoons and stick baits. At Stoney Creek fishing pressure and success rate were high as the combination of water clarity, good flow and temperature of 41 degrees produced good numbers of steelhead. Anglers reported seeing numbers of steelhead with the most productive baits being yarn flies, spawn and imitation spawn. In Algoma anglers reported great success catching brown trout as many reported limits fishing in 10 to 30 feet of water using Rapala's and spoons. A few anglers tried the Algoma pier and found mixed results. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - There was not much activity in the Manitowoc harbor or on the piers this past week. A few anglers continued to pursue channel catfish at the mouth of the harbor with spotty success. The Manitowoc River had very little attention by steelhead anglers but the Cato Falls Park area seemed to be the favored location of those that tried their luck. Dipnet sucker anglers have been very active at a number of bridge sites along the river and caught impressive numbers of spawning suckers. Silver Creek in Silver Creek Park has also attracted a few anglers but with limited success. Steelhead angler pressure on the West Twin River in Shoto and the East Twin River in Mishicot was high. While not every angler was successful, several anglers did catch some impressive fish. Steelhead dominated the catch but some brown trout were also caught. Drifting spawn sacs continued to be the favored approach while some anglers found success with brightly colored flies, spinner baits and shallow running crank baits. Suckers were also very active in the West Twin and provided good action for anglers. The Two Rivers harbor piers had some angler activity but with limited success reported. - David Smith, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Lake Noquebay is open and ready for boaters. The late spring has road weight restrictions still in place are leaving some docks beached until equipment can access them to get them in the water. Spring is coming on strong with lots of rain this week. The rain may help open up Caldron and High Falls flowages that currently have a substantial amount of ice on them. Many hawks are now sitting on stick nests, turkey mating rituals are in full swing, some spring ephemerals are now in bloom and the walleye run is coming to a close on the Peshtigo River. Spring, of course, has also brought lots of ticks as well as a few mosquitoes. Bluebirds, cranes, kinglets and a variety of warblers have all migrated back into the area. In the next week or so we could see our first orioles and hummingbirds. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Shawano County - Area waters are finally ice free. Fishing has been slow with cooler than normal temps. Turkey hunting is in full swing with many hunters reporting success. Toms can be seen out in area fields strutting. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Governor Thompson State Park - The 16 mile hiking trail system is open. Some trails are soggy as we have had plenty of rain recently. Spring peepers, turkeys, and sandhill cranes can be heard along the trails. Woods Lake is now free of ice; however, the boat launch facilities at Caldron Falls are still iced in. There are open areas of water on the Peshtigo River, but they would be hard to access by boat. The campground is open for the season. The shower facilities will not open until May 9, 2014. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - A pair of adult trumpeter swans were observed in the Brussels area of Door County. A number of other seasonal migrating songbirds include shore birds and waterfowl moving into the area. Last weekend DNR law enforcement observed a fox mother and four kits outside their "ditch den" in rural Door County. The family was quite content with the local vehicle attention they've been receiving. The neighboring landowner stated the den seems to be one of a few area badger dens the family rotates between. This particular den happens to be about 10 feet from the edge of the road. The neighbor stated one of the adults returned with a steelhead trout the other day. The fox family was active from the first time observed in late morning, and still active in the early afternoon. This family of fox is another reason to keep wildlife wild. So everyone can enjoy the simple pleasures of observing wildlife in their natural habitats, even if it is a roadside ditch. - Christopher J. Kratcha, conservation warden, Sturgeon Bay
Peninsula State Park - Spring like conditions exist throughout the park, watch for wet/slippery areas. Bike trails are closed. Hiking trails may be wet and muddy. Tennison Bay Campground is the only campground open at this time. We are in the process of opening showers, flush facilities, and the dump station contact the park office for up-to-date information. On May 3, 2014 the Door County Half Marathon will be run on the roads in Peninsula State Park. Most roads will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the safety of runners and spectators. Access to the Nicolet Bay boat launch will be closed 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Boaters may launch prior to the 8 a.m. road closure, but no vehicles may exit the boat launch parking lot until the race has concluded, at approximately 2 p.m. Traffic may enter or exit the Group Camp towards the Golf Course on Shore Road. Tennison Bay Campground campers may exit the park until 9:30 a.m. No vehicles may enter or exit Tennison Bay campground between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. At 11 a.m. traffic may enter or exit Tennison Bay campground past the campground recycling station towards Park Headquarters on Shore Road. - Jane Barnowsky, visitor services associate
Potawatomi State Park - Trails are open but wet in places. Visitors report a bald eagle flying above the ski hill overlook on windy days. Some visitors are finding morels. Sawyer Harbor is generally free of ice, with just a few ice floes at the mouth of Sturgeon Bay. The fish cleaning station is open. Launching docks are not in place yet. The tower is now open for the season. All campsites are open as of May 1. The shower building and dump station are open. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - All waters in the Waupaca area currently have open water and are waiting for anglers to test their luck. Some anglers have caught some nice trout during the early catch and release trout season. Turkey hunters have reported limited success, claiming that the weather has reduced their opportunity to harvest a turkey. Some hunters claimed they have decided to stay home because of the rain. Black bears in the Waupaca area have been active recently. Law enforcement staff has received multiple complaints of bears getting into garbage cans and destroying bird feeders. If you are experiencing problems with bears please remove the food and garbage on your property. Young owls have been seen out of their nest in the Waupaca area. If you encounter a young owl out of their nest, please keep your distance and help in keeping wildlife wild. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
It might be a tough trout opener. Over 2 inches of rain this week plus snow melt has put most area streams over their banks. If the rains stop today (Thursday) the opener might still be salvageable. I would throw something big and shiny at them. Live bait may be tough to fish with the heavy currents. Walleye run is winding down pretty fast and some success is already reported at Winneconne and Poygan. All ice is out on area lakes, with water temperatures still very cold. Try dark bottomed shallow bays on sunny afternoons for panfish. Water temperatures are too cold for bass. Hunters have reported very good success with turkeys. The flocks have broken up and the toms are gobbling like crazy when the sun occasionally shines. It is a great time of year to bird watch, as all birds are calling actively and in breeding plumage. Green up has just begun, so do not expect spring flowers just yet. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - Waushara County is wide open for accessible waters. Trout fishing during the early season has been slow due to the cold temperatures and lack of insect hatches to really get the fish going. Finding the food source for active fish is going to be the trick. Unless folks fish the rivers this may be their first time out so remember to check all equipment including life jackets, navigation lights, boat registration, fuel levels, batteries, make sure your motor is ready to go and don't forget the plug! Remember to be patient and polite with others at landings on these busy weekends a few minutes isn't worth an argument. Turkeys are still gobbling in the mornings even with the weather, but have been henned up as of late making calling early difficult. Scouting and knowing where they want to be is going to go farther in making a successful hunt than strictly relying on calling for this week. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Calumet County - Fishing action has picked up along the east shore of Lake Winnebago. Anglers have been limiting-out on crappies at Stockbridge Harbor, County Park, and Brothertown Harbor, while spearing enthusiasts have been taking large numbers of suckers from Mill Creek, Mud Creek, and Brothertown Creek. Turkey hunters have been out with many nice birds harvested in recent days. Heavy rains have caused some flooding in low lying areas of the Killsnake and Brillion Wildlife Areas making access difficult in some spots. Song birds are starting to build nests in anticipation of warmer weather in the coming weeks. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge
Outagamie County -The crappie have been biting steadily on the Fox River in Kaukauna and in the marina at High Cliff State Park. Turkeys have split up in the past week and quite a few toms have been moving around solo in search of hens. The sturgeon run on the Wolf River is beginning to ramp up. Wood ducks have begun taking residence in houses and most of the geese appear to be paired off. - Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton
Winnebago System fisheries report
Sturgeon continued to spawn at sites in the New London (Sturgeon Trail at County X and Memorial Park) and Shiocton (Bamboo Bend and a site on private property) areas today. Our crew worked at Bamboo Bend and another site on private property in Shiocton today and were able to handle a total of 112 sturgeon. The largest fish was a 73.4-inch female, but we handled multiple fish in excess of 70 inches Wednesday. The real promising news was the break in the weather pattern that we had been experiencing lately. The sun was even spotted during part of the day today and air temperatures once again topped 50 degrees, which led to slight increases in water temperature. As for May 1, we anticipate that some spawning activity may continue at Bamboo Bend and sites in the New London area. One thing is for certain, the cooler water temperatures are prolonging the spawning activity at some of the spawning sites further down on the Wolf River. Fish have now been spawning for seven days in New London and four days in Shiocton. It will be interesting to see how the fish respond to slight increases in water temperature over the next week and how long spawning will take place at some of these sites. - Ryan Koenigs, senior fisheries biologist

Southeast Region
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan the Sheboygan River is about 48 to 50 degrees. The water clarity and levels improved late last week, but the river remains somewhat muddy and flows are rising after rainfall early this week. A few anglers have been seen fishing below the Kohler dam, though no rainbows were landed. A lot of rainbows were seen trying to jump over the falls. A few anglers were also targeting northern pike below the falls but with no success. On Weedens Creek a few steelhead have been caught on spawn sacs and small flies from the deeper holes south of the Highway 28 bridge. Pigeon River steelhead anglers have been fishing various locations, though not many fish have been landed. The best locations have been the deeper holes off of the County Highway Y bridge and the wayside off of Lakeshore Drive. Spawn sacs and small flies were the best presentations. At the Sheboygan lakefront fishing has been fairly slow off of the south pier, but anglers reported a few small browns taken on spoons over the weekend.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington public access to the north pier is not allowed at this time. Signs have been posted at the entrance to pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety. Shore anglers have been catching a few rainbow trout near the power plant discharge. The best baits were spawn sacs used on a three way rig about 12 inches off the bottom. Sauk Creek anglers have been catching a few steelhead in the deeper holes near the high school and the Sauk Creek Nature Preserve. The best presentations were small flies such as nymphs, or floating small spawn sacs in the pools. A few boats have been fishing in and around the Port Washington harbor area, and a few smaller brown trout were taken on small crank baits.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee steelhead are still being caught in the rivers, but catch rates have started to taper off. Water levels in the rivers have fluctuated this past week, and will continue to do so with more rain in the forecast throughout the week. Along the Milwaukee lakefront, brown trout fishing has slowed near the Summerfest grounds, although some browns have been reported in the lagoon behind Lakeshore State Park. Baits have varied from spawn and live bait to small spoons in fluorescent green and orange. Shore anglers working off McKinley pier have reported browns and coho, along with occasional lake trout. Spoons and crank baits have both been effective. The Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier remains a popular spot for targeting brown trout and coho salmon with stick baits, spoons and spawn sacs. Boats fishing outside the Milwaukee breakwall and off the Oak Creek Power Plant have reported success fishing for coho and browns on spoons and crank baits.
Racine County - In Racine, fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility for the final time this spring on Monday, April 28. An additional 50 steelhead were passed upriver, for a season total of 852. Some of the stop logs have been removed from the river, so fish can now move freely up and down. Flows on the Root River remain relatively low, but are rising following rains early this week. Schools of suckers have worked their way into the river with warmer water temperatures, but their numbers haven't been overwhelming. Upstream of the weir fishing pressure has been steady, and anglers have been catching steelhead near the dam and in Colonial Park, but numbers of fish caught has started to diminish. Black or gold flies, as well as woolly buggers and egg patterns have all taken fish. Downstream of the weir, most anglers were concentrated in Lincoln and Island Parks. Red and orange yarn flies and green streamer flies have taken the most steelhead. Strong winds have made fishing conditions less than ideal for both boaters and shore anglers at the Racine lakefront. When boats have been able to get out onto the lake, they have been catching decent numbers of coho and browns in fairly close to shore. The fish cleaning station at Pershing Park is now open. The launch lanes on the east side of the boat launch were closed on Sunday, and the county will be making repairs to those lanes this spring. Despite the strong winds, a few browns and coho have been taken off the south pier. Spawn fished under a slip bobber, green and silver spoons and white tube jigs have all been effective at times.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha, the Pike River was low and clear prior to the rain, and decent numbers of steelhead remained in the river near Petrifying Springs Park and the Kenosha Country Club. Effort on the Pike has been fairly low, but the anglers who are out have been hooking into the fish. When boats in Kenosha have been able to get out on the lake, they have been catching good numbers of coho. When the winds have been light, shore anglers fishing off the south pier have been catching a few coho, browns and rainbows on spoons and crank baits.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Turkey season is in full swing with many toms being sighted strutting and success stories shared across Waukesha and Walworth counties. While many hunters decide to stay home during the rain, birds can often be found in the fields during those showers, so grab your rain gear and hit the woods. Waterfowl migration has slowed, giving way to songbirds and shorebirds. Vernon, Paradise Valley, Turtle Valley and Big Muskego Lake wildlife areas are great spots to check out migration. Properties are also sporting spring ephemerals. Get out and enjoy these plants during their short appearances! - Kelly VanBeek, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Glacial Drumlin State Trail - Construction work continues on Main Street in Dousman. Please be prepared to have to walk your bike around the current construction. It is expected to last about a week. - Amanda Prange, visitor services associate
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The horse and mountain bike trails are now open for the season; however, muddy stretches still remain. Riders should refrain from using the trails within 12 hours of a rain event, to prevent long-term damage. The north end of the Tamarack hiking trail is still quite wet, and appropriate footwear is recommended. Tom turkeys have been strutting their stuff in the fields, and the winter wrens, swamp sparrows, and white-throated sparrows have returned. Skunk cabbage and hepatica have emerged, and we've had a siting of a pasque flower blooming. All boat launches in the forest are now open; however, the Long Lake boarding dock and fishing pier will be installed closer to Memorial Day. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Two prescribed burns were completed at Allenton Marsh Wildlife Area and the Loew Lake Unit - KMSF. If and when conditions dry out, burning will be resumed and continue through mid-May. Flood conditions caused by the April 11/12 rain storms have mostly subsided on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, Jackson Marsh and around the area. Floating cattail bogs caused by the flooding that were partially plugging the Theresa Marsh dam were removed this week using an excavator, airboat, hooks and hand tools. The root masses of some cattail bogs are still frozen in 2 to 3 feet thick blocks. The bottom flow radial gate at the dam will remain open and marsh water levels kept low for the next few weeks to allow burning of some areas in the marsh, and to prevent more dislodged floating cattail bogs from re-plugging the dam. No waterfowl broods have been seen yet, but the first ducklings and goslings should be starting to appear within the next two weeks. Turkey hunters seem to have been having pretty good success all around the area. Some hunters reported adult gobblers with average weights (around 20 pounds), and one reported an adult gobbler weighing only 16.5 pounds, possibly due to the hard winter. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - The Mississippi water levels are slowing receding, but due to the recent rainfalls it may take longer than expected. The Mississippi water levels remain 5-6 feet higher than normal with levels at Dubuque at 16 feet (flood stage 17) and Cassville is at 14 feet. Lock and Dam 11 near Dubuque has recently begun to lower the dam gates from fully open. All Guttenberg gates remain open which means the Mississippi river is free flowing in most areas. Islands and boat landings remain under water in all areas, with flooding affecting Scheicher's landing, River of Lakes resort and Bagley Bottoms. Potosi point boat landing and access is just beginning to emerge from the river. A few anglers have tried fishing the river in backwater sloughs and islands, with no success. Anglers continue to catch 8 -10 inch yellow perch at O Leary Lake near Lock and Dam 11 along the Western dike access to Eagle Point fishing barge. Anglers on the barge have been catching large striped bass along the rip rap shoreline. Due to recent and continued rainfalls the Grant and Platte Rivers, often the destination for opening day bass anglers, remains muddy and hopefully will clear by opening Saturday. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Waterfowl migration is past peak at Horicon Marsh but many of the local nesters are settling in for the spring and summer. Purple martins have returned as well as sora, Virginia rail, Forster's terns, black-crowned night herons and barn swallows. If you are interested in learning about how to monitor nest boxes feel free to come to the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Highway 28 from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 3. DNR staff will be checking on wood duck, bluebird and purple martin boxes and explaining the benefits of monitoring. For more information call 920-387-7893 or visit - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - The Wisconsin River is on its way back up to flood stage and will most likely be there by Thursday and will stay there for a few days. Recent local rains and what is being predicted will keep rivers and streams at or near flood stage. Turkey hunters that are braving the wet weather are getting some birds especially when the rain lets up for a few hours. If we get some warmer weather, should be good conditions for the morel hunters as well. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Devil's Lake State Park - Spring has arrived to Devil's Lake. Migrant birds such as loons are pausing for R&R at the park. The great blue herons are nesting at their rookery near the Group Camp. Woodcocks are doing their spring rituals and the frogs are peeping. Eager campers are coming back on mild and sunny weekends. The annual hatchings of the lake flies are back. They don't bite or sting, but you may want to plan your hikes and outings up on the bluffs or away from the lakeshore for the next week or two. Hiking trails are wet, but finally clear of snow and ice. In low lying areas you may encounter mud and water. Mountain bike trails are closed for now, as they are easily damaged when conditions are soggy and muddy. All campsites in Quartzite Campground are now open. Northern Lights and Ice Age Campgrounds will open on May 9. Water facilities (RV dump/fill stations, showers, running water restrooms) are now open in Quartzite Campground. Running water restrooms are now open at the main buildings in the north and south shore picnic areas. - Richard Hesed, visitor services associate
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Turkeys are being seen out in the fields, with numerous toms displaying. Also, many different waterfowl species are on the Rock and Sugar rivers, especially bufflehead, hooded mergansers, common mergansers and mallards. The panfish bite has been picking up, especially for anglers using live bait along the shorelines on the rivers. Common suckers are staring to run in the Rock and Sugar rivers. Bluebirds are staring to nest as well as other songbird species. Trees are starting to bloom in certain areas and the water levels in the Sugar and Rock River have been average to above average height. - Jacob Link, recruit warden, Janesville
Water levels on the Rock River remain high and are slowly climbing to flood levels. Slow-no-wake restrictions are in effect on the Rock River from Lake Koshkonong to the Wisconsin/Illinois state line and several complaints of boats operating faster than slow no wake have been received. Crappies, walleye and northern pike continue to bite at the Indianford Dam on the Rock River with minnows being the common bait. Trout were being caught recently on minnows and powerbaits at Kiwanis and Lions Beach Ponds. Anglers 16 years old and older are required to purchase a fishing license and inland trout stamp to fish for trout on these ponds. Trout fishing on Rock County lakes and ponds opened on January 1 and closes September 30. Lion's Pond was recently added as an Urban Fishing Pond. A sign has been posted at the boat launch spelling out the special regulations for the pond. Turkey hunters have been experiencing cold, wet weather over the last week. Turkeys have been busy breeding and hens are nesting. Hunters can check out the DNR website for information on public properties to hunt. Several new properties were recently acquired in the Avon area and there are additional VPA-Voluntary Public Access properties throughout Rock County. Over the counter turkey permits are sold out in Rock County, however permits are still available in turkey units to the west and north of Rock County. Turkey hunters are reminded that registration of harvested turkeys is required to be completed online through the WI DNR website or by telephone at 1-888-486-8947. With the rain over the last week, morel mushrooms should be abundant once the sun comes out and temperatures start to rise. Deer ticks and wood ticks are showing up, so outdoor users should check themselves over to avoid Lyme's Disease. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville

West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County - Ice is out on all waters in St Croix and Dunn counties. Lakes in northern and central Polk County still have some ice at this time and may be close to ice free by the May 3 fishing opener. Recent rains are causing area rivers to run very high and fast. The St Croix River is over the 683-foot level, which makes the entire river slow-no wake by rule. Unfortunately this will result in slow-no-wake through this weekend's St Croix walleye opener. Rain, cold and high winds have put a damper on turkey hunting in the area, but things should improve by Thursday or Friday of this week. - David A. Hausman, warden supervisor, Baldwin
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
La Crosse County - The Mississippi River in the La Crosse area is about 6 feet above normal with predictions of the river rising another 2 feet in the next week depending on rainfall totals. The walleye and sauger fishing has been sporadic on the river due to the cold temperatures and frequent rain. Individuals are catching a few fish below the lock and dams using a jig rigged with minnows or plastic worms. The roller gates are up at the Dresbach dam (Lock & Dam 7) so the current is very strong downstream and difficult to fish. Most anglers are having better luck fishing further downstream and away from the main flow of the river. A few perch are being caught, but not with any regularity. A lot of waterfowl have migrated into the area. Blue-winged teal and wood ducks have shown up in the last week. Bald eagles have hatched and anyone interested in seeing eaglets can visit any of the numerous nests located along the river. - Dale Hochhausen, conservation warden, La Crosse
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Red Cedar State Trail - The trail is starting to dry out finally. Maintenance staff was able to grade the section from Menomonie to Irvington. The trail south of Irvington is still very soft and has some damage from landslides and a washed out culvert. It will be at least another week before that section is repaired, cleared and graded for summer bike use. The Depot Visitor Center in Menomonie will be opening on May 24 for the Memorial weekend. It will remain open on weekends and holidays until Labor Day. Weekend and holiday hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - The bridge area has been busy with spring walleye fishing. The water level is up on the lake. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent for use on the canoe interpretive trail. Boat boarding piers and accessible fishing pier was put in on Wednesday, April 30. Some of the shorter walk-in campsites are open for camping. The group camp, sites A1-A8 and B1-B3 are open for camping. Drinking water is available outside the office and at the group camp. With trails being wet, half to one mile hike-in campsites will be opening by May 16 when they are reservable. The park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area are 1F for turkey hunting. To hunt these areas you must have the 1F permit and a park sticker if you are not parking in one of the 3 hunter lots. For Zone 1 permits, hunting is available in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The work and play day will be Saturday, May 3. This is the first day the gate will be open so we are looking for volunteers to clean up the park. Call the Buckhorn office at 608-565-2789 to sign up. Before May 3 parking is in the winter lot on Czech Ave and park stickers are required. Please use the self-registration in the winter/prairie lot. We are looking for camp hosts for the summer. Call the Buckhorn office at 608-565-2789 if interested. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Get the latest Updates via Email from Click HERE