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Author Topic: Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for April 2, 2015  (Read 1066 times)

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Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for April 2, 2015
« on: April 08, 2015, 10:48:22 AM »
Complete WDNR Outdoor Report for April 2, 2015

Last week's snow has melted, leaving muddy trails and drying, wildfire-ready conditions in its wake. Please make sure that any camping fires are completely put out before leaving your favorite park. Ice is almost entirely gone from most lakes in Southern Wisconsin. While sections are still found on many area lakes in the North, with recent warmer weather, the ice has slimmed and softened significantly, while open water spots are expanding in size.
This past Saturday kicked off yet another opener on the lower Brule River. Fisherman from far and wide came to the river to try their hand at hooking trout. In the Northern counties, many anglers were stepping off the ice and waiting for warmer weather to go along with the open-water season, as the start of this week saw the retreat of recent cool temperatures and windy conditions.
Anglers were not out in especially high numbers but those that came out saw mixed to fair results, with many having marginal luck with walleye and more consistent success with brown trout. A few have taken advantage of the weather and are trying their luck off the shore by Green Bay Metro launch, with some crappies taken. Boaters near Milwaukee have seen few salmon, but did report some success with brown and lake trout. Several steelhead were taken on the Milwaukee River, with anglers drifting spawn on the bottom, or fished under slip bobbers. For the most part, the spring runs of walleye and steelhead, while started, still remain relatively slow.
The outlook for youth turkey hunters, and bird watchers alike, looks promising with drying open prairie and wood-fringe habitat. In many areas, toms are already strutting and gobbling. Woodcocks are singing their spring breeding calls, known as peenting. They're joined by red-winged blackbirds, cardinals and chickadees, as well as many others species that have flocked in the past weeks. Trumpeter swans have been spotted in several locations around the state, staking claim to nesting areas. Bald eagles have been seen by a lucky few, hunting over lakes, while sandhill cranes are settling into their wetlands of choice, happy to be getting rid of the frost.
Birds aren't the only ones on the move; deer also have been spotted exploring fields and shaking off the long winter transition. While the start of this week saw only the barest hint of pasque flowers poking through the turf in Southern Wisconsin, it won't be long now before the hills are alive with vibrant and varied color.
Wildfire Report

Over the last week, 64 wildfires burned 144 acres in DNR protection areas. Debris burning was the leading cause (28 fires). Some of these fires were previously burned brush/leaf piles that reignited when the wind blew away the ash, revealing still smoldering embers that were able to then ignite the surrounding dry vegetation. If you have burned anything on the ground or in a barrel lately, please check the area again to make sure that no embers remain. People are often surprised to learn that embers can smolder for days or even weeks.
People are urged to choose alternatives to burning brush, leaves, and household waste. Chipping brush, composting leaves, and recycling or land-filling trash are alternatives preferred over burning. Burning permits are required in many areas. Go to dnr.wi.gov (keyword "fire danger") to find out if a permit is required where you want to burn. Please remember that permits are often suspended during spring when fire danger is high. Most of Wisconsin's wildfires happen during the spring months.
Fire danger has been Moderate to Very High across the state this week and is expected to continue to be Very High is some areas. On Thursday, April 2, a Red Flag warning was issued for Bayfield and Douglas counties. Red flag warnings are issued when wind, temperature and humidity combine to create the potential for extreme fire behavior. People are asked to refrain from having campfires and discarding smokes and matches outdoors. Stay aware of your local fire danger by going to dnr.wi.gov and search 'fire danger.' On this web page, you will also be able view burning restrictions and subscribe to receive fire danger-related emails, including information on any emergency restrictions happening around the state.
Firewise Tip: Keep your home and cabin safe by following Firewise practices. Go to dnr.wi.gov and search "Firewise" for information on what you can do to prevent wildfires and how to prepare your property in case one does occur.- Jolene Ackerman, Wildland Interface Coordinator
County Deer Advisory Council Comment Period

County Deer Advisory Councils have released preliminary antlerless harvest and permit level recommendations, and a public comment period from April 1- 15 will provide an opportunity to submit feedback.
Antlerless quota recommendations will help determine the number of antlerless permits available for the 2015 deer hunting season and help councils work to increase, decrease or maintain their local deer herd, depending on which objective was selected as a result of 2014 meetings.
Once the public comment period has closed, each council will incorporate feedback received from the public and submit final recommendation to the department. Public comments are also welcome at final county council meetings from April 20 - 23. The public is encouraged to fill out an on-line feedback form regarding deer management in their county. - Sawyer Briel, communications specialist, Dane
To submit your feedback and learn more about County Deer Advisory Councils, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "CDAC."
Elk Reintroduction Update

Elk from Kentucky have reached their new home near Black River Falls, Wis. in the first year of elk reintroduction efforts in partnership with the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife and a number of other key partners.
In all, 26 elk were transported to Jackson County after completing a 45-day quarantine period in Kentucky as part of a five-year agreement between Wisconsin and Kentucky that will provide Wisconsin with up to 150 wild elk. In 2015, all elk will be released in Jackson County, while future years will see animals released in both Jackson County and Clam Lake.

Special precautions are being taken to help make sure elk received from Kentucky become accustomed to their new home in Jackson County. A seven acre acclimation pen has been built within the Black River State Forest near Black River Falls, Wis., and all elk brought to Jackson County from Kentucky will be held in the pen for a minimum of 75 days to satisfy health testing requirements and allow the elk to become familiar with their new surroundings.
In addition to the closed area surrounding the acclimation pen, individuals are asked to voluntarily avoid the general vicinity of closed area until the elk are released in early summer. Minimizing human disturbance near the release site will allow the elk to adjust to their new home and will help maximize the success of reintroduction efforts.
Funding for Wisconsin's elk translocation efforts is a result of key partnerships and support from the Ho-Chunk Nation, Jackson County Wildlife Fund, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and many others. The department has committed to using only funds received from partner groups. - Sawyer Briel, communications specialist, Dane
For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "elk."
Spring Turkey Permits Are Still Available

April marks the beginning of another spring turkey hunt, and a strong year of turkey production in 2014 means hunters should look forward to another good season. Leftover permits went on sale on a zone-per-day basis March 23, and will be available for purchase until they are sold out or the season ends.
For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "spring turkey."
Join Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources experts for a spring turkey hunt online chat April 7 at noon. Visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "chat" to submit questions and view responses from DNR experts. Here, you can also view past chats and sign up to receive email notifications. For more information regarding turkey hunting in Wisconsin, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "turkey."
And remember, a Conservation Patron license provides all the basic fishing and hunting privileges at a great price - $165 for Wisconsin residents, a price reduction of nearly one-half when compared to the value for each item included. For Wisconsin residents under the age of 18, a Conservation Patron license costs only $75. - Sawyer Briel, communications specialist, Dane
Young Forest Partnership Opportunities

Northern Wisconsin landowners interested in managing their land for a number of wildlife and plant species through young forest habitat creation are encouraged to contact the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership.
Did you miss this week's Young Forest Partnership chat? Visit dnr.wi.gov keyword "chat" to view the transcript and learn more!
Many wildlife species in Wisconsin rely upon young forest habitat, including ruffed grouse, turkey, white-tailed deer and migratory songbirds. In addition, many of Wisconsin's Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the American woodcock, brown thrasher, and golden-winged warbler, thrive in a young forest setting.
For a better idea of what the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership can do for you, check out this video featuring landowners currently enrolled in the program.
Demonstration areas can also provide a glimpse of the many benefits associated with the young forest habitat work - these sites are specifically managed for young forest management. Current demonstration areas include the Ackley State Wildlife Area in Langlade County and the Northern Highland American Legion State Forest in Oneida County.
For more information regarding the Wisconsin Young Forest Partnership, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keywords "young forest." To learn more about the Young Forest Project, visit Young Forester's website/ [EXIT DNR]. - Sawyer Briel, communications specialist, Dane
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General | Northern | Northeast | Southeast | South Central | West Central | Top
Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest -This past Saturday kicked off yet another opener on the lower Brule River. Fisherman from varying distances and origins flocked to the river to try their hand at hooking these legendary trout. Anglers were catching fish; however, even if a fish was not hooked, many would say that not having to battle through waist deep snow made this year's opener a success in itself. As the warmer weather continues to hang around this spring, you will be seeing and hearing more and more bird activity. Here are a few things you can keep an eye out for. Sharp-tail viewing blind: Don't forget to visit the Friends of the Bird Sanctuary website to schedule a spot in the Sharp-tail viewing blind in the upcoming weeks! Grouse Drumming: You will start to hear that infamous drum beat off in the distance that sounds similar to a base drum being hit in increasing progression. Wildlife professionals use the frequency of drumming heard to estimate populations in the area. If you are interested in learning more about these patterns, visit dnr.wi.gov and search Ruffed Grouse Management. Canadian Geese are being seen and can be expected to start nesting in the near future. Robins, male Kestrels, Common Mergansers, and swans have also been spotted in the area as tell-tale signs that spring is here! Tree Planting: Spring is a great time to think about planting, not just your vegetable gardens, but trees as well. State nurseries take applications for tree seedling orders in October each year but there are left over seedlings that are available for purchase now. Contact your local state forester for additional information and planting recommendations.
BRULE RIVER STATE FOREST PUBLIC MEETING:
WHEN? Monday, April 6 at 7 p.m.
WHERE? Brule River Ranger Station (6250 S. Ranger Rd Brule, WI 54820)
WHAT? Discussion topics will include master planning, recreational development, resource management and real estate.
County Deer Advisory Council is asking for your feedback regarding deer harvest quotas for the upcoming season: Officials are encouraging members of the public to post their comments on the recommendations developed at CDAC meetings by following the link provided on the DNR Website- http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/cdac.html - Dan Kephart; ranger-assistant manager
Bayfield County - In Northern Bayfield County the snow has been gone for a while already except the hidden areas in the forest around the Valhalla-National Forest area. The National Forest/Bayfield County trails are closed until further notice to all traffic including ATV's, horses, bicycles, etc. so things can dry up. The ice on Lake Superior and inland lakes is unsafe with some smaller lakes already opening up. The past weekend's opener of some of the Lake Superior tributary streams was quiet with one of the streams skimmed over with ice towards the mouth and the water being low overall due to little runoff. Some rainbow trout in the low to mid-20's were caught. Ruffed grouse have been out drumming and bear activity has been reported. Red fox have been out and about making dens for their kits. - Amie Egstad, conservation warden, Bayfield
Amnicon Falls State Park - The Gitchee Gumme Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, in cooperation with the Wisconsin DNR, will be holding a Learn to Hunt Turkey event on May 15, 16th, and 17th, in Douglas County. The entry forms can be attained by emailing Kevin Feind at kevin.feind@wisconsin.gov or by calling Pattison State Park (715) 399-3111. Entry deadline is April 11th. 10 youths between 12 and 17 will be allowed to go. These youth have to have completed a hunter education course. Five adult - first time - turkey hunters are also invited. These individuals are not required to be hunter ed. Graduates. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Straight Lake State Park - With spring starting to arrive at Straight Lake, the Ice Age Trail is muddy and wet in some sections of the park. Straight and Rainbow Lakes are partially open, with full ice out in the coming week or two. Rainbow Lake will be again be stocked with trout this year for the fishing opener. Both Straight and Rainbow Lakes only have carry-in access and no motors are allowed. With the warmer weather, a variety of birds are returning to the park. Geese and trumpeter swans are staking claim to nesting spots. Bald eagles have been fishing in the lakes and sandhill cranes have been seen in some of the wetlands in the park and the adjoining wildlife area. Deer, turkeys, and otters have all been seen recently as well. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - For all practical purposes, the ice fishing season has come to an end on lakes across the Northwoods. Recent mild temperatures have really softened up the ice cover and a lot of open water areas have developed, especially around inlets, outlets and south-facing shorelines. Prior to the current warm spell, some lakes were holding at 10 to 12 inches of ice - but access on and off the ice cover was an iffy proposition. In addition, the ice was grainy and honeycombed, and there were several reports of anglers falling through the soft spots. So any late-season fishermen should be safe - and wait for the open-water season. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Staff have been seeing great horned owls, bald eagles, geese, turkeys, trumpeter swans, sandhill cranes, and robins. The red squirrels are very active, turkeys are gobbling, red maples are budding, pussy willows are out, and maple syrup enthusiasts report a long and bountiful season so far. Definitely looking and feeling like spring. The ice is off on both the south & north forks of the Flambeau River. We have receding ice on local lakes. Anglers are fishing for red horse. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - With the warming weather ice conditions are becoming poor but access is still possible for ice fishing. Anglers should use extreme caution on the ice right now and check with local spot shops for ice condition updates. Those anglers who are fishing are reporting good panfish catches. Turkeys appear to be dispersing from wintering areas and toms have been heard gobbling. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Lakes are still ice covered, but ice is 6 inches or less and very unsafe. The shorelines and some of the boat landing areas are definitely beginning to open up. Snow is melting fast, making fire conditions increasingly dangerous. Bikers have already been out on the paved bike trails, trying to take advantage of the warming temperatures but having to dodge the last piles of snow and slippery spots that are still on the trails. Where there is open water, geese, buffleheads and common goldeneyes can be seen. Sandhill cranes are also returning to the area. A few robins and red-winged black birds have been spotted too. It might be time to start taking down and cleaning out those bird feeders as black bear will soon be looking for food. Most of the campground roads are still a little snow covered, but campers can definitely find great spots at the Clear Lake Campground. We've already have campers slush their way into the Crystal and Carrol campgrounds. Great time to take advantage of bugless camping. Firewood gatherers, with permits of course, have until April 30 to harvest downed trees within the campgrounds on the forest. There is still a lot of stuff lying on the ground from hazard tree cutting last fall. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - In the Antigo Area Spring continues to move forward. Deer have begun to move out of their winter range and can be seen feeding in ag fields throughout most of the daytime. Wild turkeys are beginning to move out of their large winter flocks into small breeding groups. Both species appeared to have pulled through the winter in decent condition. The outlook for the upcoming youth turkey hunt look good. The snow is gone and fields as well as woodlands are beginning to dry out. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
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General | Northern | Northeast | Southeast | South Central | West Central | Top
Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This past week saw cold temperatures and windy conditions. Anglers were not out in high numbers but some were still out braving the elements and having mixed results in fishing success. For the most part the spring runs of walleye and steelhead have not started yet. - David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - The Peshtigo River is open to the mouth and a few hundred yards beyond, the boat landing at the Municipal Garage in Peshtigo is open as is the landing at Klingsborns. Again cold and wind has kept success rates for walleye low with few anglers. One boat that was interviewed had caught 9 walleye using jig and minnow rigged with a stinger hook below the landing at Peshtigo. The Menominee River has been producing some walleye as well as some browns and rainbows from the Hattie Street Dam down to Stephenson Island. As of yesterday the only landing open on the Menominee River is at Stephenson Island. Ice still blocks a good portion of the river from the Interstate Bridge to the mouth. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - The landing at City Docks is open for boat traffic while the landing at the Breakwater Park was only partially open. Some walleye are being caught on the lower river using jig heads and twister tails, the bite has been slow. Holtwood, North Road, and the Iron Bridge landings are all open on the upper stretch on the Oconto River. Cold weather and water temperatures in the mid 30's has kept the walleye bite to a minimum. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Geano's Beach and the Suamico River are still frozen in, some open water is starting to be seen by the launch areas with this warm weather this week, but it is not open to the bay as of yet. Long Tail Point ramps are open and with the rain the water has come up some and there is easy access to the bay from these ramps. Many anglers have stopped along Lineville Road to check out the northern pike that are in the ditches here for spawning and the rain water brought the water levels in the ditches up so pike can be seen from the road. Duck Creek is open in some areas but the ramp by River's Edge is still frozen. Some anglers were seen fishing from the railroad bridge early in the day. A few anglers have taken advantage of the nice weather and are trying their luck off the shore by Green Bay Metro launch with some luck for Crappies. A few anglers were seen launching from here as well. There are three ramps open with the crews still working on the remaining ramps. Further up river many anglers are launching their boats from Fox Point and the fairgrounds with moderate to good success for Walleye with one boat reporting catching 27 walleye, but the average is 2-3 per boat with the best success coming on green and yellow rapalas in the early morning hours. The anglers fishing from shore at Voyager Park have had low success fishing for walleyes by the dam, those that have wadded out on the side of the island by the dam have had better luck. Anglers have reported catching whitefish, sheepshead and catfish fishing from shore here as well. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Door County - Door County routes were not run this week due to most ramps being iced-in and limited fishing activity. However, there has been some fishing activity in Sturgeon Bay and off the Sturgeon Bay Piers. Most are fishing for brown trout and having moderate success. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure has remained low on the Kewaunee River, Ahnapee River, and Stoney Creek. There are a few steelhead and brown trout in the rivers but the main steelhead run has yet to get started. The windy conditions this week have meant that the boat ramps saw light use in both Kewaunee & Algoma. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing pressure has been low in the area. This is partly due to cold, windy weather, and low water levels in many of the rivers.
The Manitowoc River at Manitowoc City Park has been a favorite spot with anglers who are catching some brown trout ranging from 4-7 pounds. Anglers have been floating spawn sacs, and casting spinners. Water temperatures have risen from 40F to 44F. The current is swift, but the water levels are still low. The Branch River has seen little fishing pressure. One angler did catch a 7 pound steelhead using spawn. The water is low for spring, dark in color, with a temperature of 42 degrees. Fishing the West Twin River near the Shoto Dam has resulted with success in catching small steelhead, and a few larger fish from 6-10 pounds. The water is fairly clear near shore, but darkens midstream, and has a temperature of 39 degrees. The East Twin River has seen an increase in fishing activity. Anglers reported catching 25-50 brown trout in about an hour. Most of these fish are only 6-9 inches. The tackle varies from spawn, to spinners and spoons. The water is 43 degrees, and fairly clear. Silver Creek saw an influx of steelhead over the weekend which lessened after Sunday's rain. There has been little to no fishing pressure at Silver Creek Park. The water is very clear with a temperature of 39 degrees. The water level is still low. Some brown trout are still being caught in the Harbor near the Marina, but few people have been fishing there. The water is dark and the temperature is 40 degrees. The harbor and piers have seen little fishing activity thus far with only 1 or 2 anglers fishing the north pier. The Seagull Marina has remained inactive. Additionally the Veteran's Park Ramp was still closed as of 31 March. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Woodcock are back and peenting at dusk. Bluebirds have found their way back to Marinette County as well. We may soon hear our first frogs calling with warmer weather and rain expected this week. Ticks and mosquitos are still inactive. This weekend marks the very beginning of turkey hunting in Marinette County with 15 first time hunters participating in a mentored learn to hunt program. The youth season comes a week later and is open to all youth 17 and under with a valid tag for the zone they are hunting. Some turkeys are still in big winter flocks but birds continue to split off of the group filling in unoccupied habitat. Maple sap is still flowing with some days producing better than others. To reduce conflicts, people living in areas with bear are encouraged to continue to bring in bird feeders and other food sources at night. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Rock Island State Park - The upcoming turkey season should be fruitful on Washington Island based on observations of large numbers of birds being seen. Deer are providing good viewing opportunities in the fields during the day. Vultures are soaring and other early migrating birds are showing up. There are still buckets hanging on the maple trees. Green Bay ice is breaking up and large ice fields are floating around in the ever-changing winds. Some impressive shoves have formed on rocky shorelines. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager
Waupaca County - Woodducks, bluebirds, tundra swans and hooded mergansers all back now. Cardinals and chicadees singing on the nicer mornings. Most smaller lakes and rivers are completely ice free, the rest should be ice free by the weekend. Walleyes are reportedly biting good on the Wolf River, water level is quite low for this time of year. Might be a year when the walleyes run all the way to the Shawano dam. Trout streams look great, albeit low for this time of year. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Calumet County - The month of April has arrived and so has the open water fishing season on Lake Winnebago in Calumet County. Several harbors and bays still have ice along the east shore; however, warmer temperatures should open up these sites within a few days. Turkey hunters are gearing up for the fast approaching seasons. Many hunters have been out scouting for groups of birds. The annual Spring Hearings will take place on Monday, April 13th, at 7PM at the Calumet County Courthouse. Outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to attend and vote on a wide range of fish and wildlife questions. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge
Outagamie County - The Wolf River is open and anglers are catching some Walleyes by jigging and some just utilizing a Wolf River rig. Boaters and anglers are reminded to be careful with the low water. There are a lot of deadheads just under the water surface making boating hazardous in some areas. The turkeys are starting to disperse and some toms have been seen strutting already. Geese and ducks are covering the fields and flooded potholes. A couple of swans were observed in Outagamie County west of Shiocton but the large migration has not occurred yet. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
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General | Northern | Northeast | Southeast | South Central | West Central | Top
Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Havenwoods State Forest - This time of year even chilly days can seem warm if they are sunny. Migrants are returning. Staff and visitors are reporting woodcock, meadowlarks, flickers, and many more. Reptiles and amphibians like gartersnakes and toads are active on warm, sunny days. Watch for the snakes basking on trails. If you are a budding scatologist, it is a great time to see a winter's accumulation of mammal scat on the trails before that first, big, spring rain. The sap is flowing, tree buds are swelling, and soon the browns will become greens! Trails are in good spring condition, which means you can expect some low areas to be wet. - Beth Mittermaier, natural resources educator
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan the south pier continues to see the most fishing pressure, with some anglers reporting catches of brown trout. The fishing is slow overall, but most have been caught casting small spoons in silver or a combination of silver with blue or green. The north pier still has a small amount of ice. The Sheboygan River is now free of ice. Water clarity is fairly high, and anglers have had some success using natural colored brown and gold spinners, as well as silver spoons. Browns and steelhead have been caught from the area behind Nemschoff upstream to the Kohler dam. The Pigeon River is mostly open and fishable, with very little ice remaining between the LS bridge and the mouth. Both the Sheboygan and Pigeon Rivers were 32 degrees this weekend. A few boats have fished outside the Sheboygan harbor but have had little success.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington, a few browns and rainbows have been caught by shore anglers fishing near the power plant and off the south pier. Spawn fished on the bottom has been popular bait, but some fish have also been taken on shiners or white tube jigs. Sauk Creek is open and fishable, but the water is low and clear and few steelhead have been seen. Trollers in Port have had some success fishing the harbor for browns and rainbows with spoons and rapalas.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee a few nice size brown trout and some perch were landed by shore anglers fishing with spawn sacs and fathead minnows behind Summerfest. Anglers have reported that a few trout and salmon were landed on McKinley pier recently, but fishing pressure has been low. The McKinley boat launch is now open, but the ramp docks were still sitting in the parking lot over the weekend. McKinley Marina is ice free from the ramp to the mouth of the harbor, but approximately a third of the marina is still covered in ice that is now too thin to walk on. Boaters reported good luck casting and trolling crank baits and jigging Gulp at the gaps. Decent numbers of browns and a few lake trout have been caught. Fishing pressure on Oak Creek has been steady, and steelheaders with small spawn sacs have had some success. The barricades were removed from Oak Creek Parkway this past week so anglers can once again park their vehicles anywhere along the creek. When the winds have been light and boats have been able to get out from the Bender Park launch, they have taken decent numbers of browns off the Oak Creek Power Plant. The power plant fishing pier is scheduled to open on April 1st. Flows are relatively low for this time of year on the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers, and the water temperatures have fluctuated between 39 and 41 degrees. In the Milwaukee River, a few steelhead have been taken below the Kletzsch Park falls by anglers drifting spawn on the bottom or fished under slip bobbers. In the Menomonee River anglers have been fishing steelhead near Miller Park, but numbers of fish caught have been relatively low.
Racine County - At the Racine lakefront the last bits of ice are melting in the harbor, and the boat ramp is now accessible. Shore anglers have been fishing in the harbor, and they have been catching a few steelhead on small spoons and spawn sacs. The Root River Steelhead Facility has been up and running since Thursday, March 19. Relatively few steelhead have been captured so far, and only 16 have been passed upriver. The first steelhead spawning day is scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. Numbers of anglers were lower on the Root last week with the cold, damp weather we had. Occasional steelhead were taken on spawn sacs, with most action occurring in the morning downstream of the weir in Lincoln and Island Parks. The Root River was at 40 degrees on Monday afternoon.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha all of the ice is gone from Simmons Island Marina, and the boat launch is usable. Shore fishing pressure was low over the last week, but a few anglers were getting bites on spawn sacs in the harbor. Anglers fishing around the bridge at the mouth of the Pike River have been catching some steelhead on spawn sacs. Anglers further upriver have been having very little luck, but numbers of fish upriver should be increasing as those fish caught near the mouth have looked quite fresh.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Gobblers have been seen strutting for hen turkeys in open fields, and the spring turkey season is just around the corner. Type in "Learn to Hunt" on the DNR homepage or contact our office to learn more about programs in your area. We've seen an influx of songbirds with the warming weather, including red-winged blackbirds, golden-crowned kinglets, eastern bluebirds, eastern phoebes, and even our summer resident turkey vultures! You can even visit some of your local ephemeral ponds around the county, in search of frogs and salamanders. There has also been an increase in the number of baby animals sighted, including fox, raccoon, and squirrel kits. Contact the DNR at 1-888-936-7463 (1-888-WDNRINFO) if you find any young wild animals in a dangerous or unwelcome place, or if you are worried about a wild animal that appears sick, injured, or orphaned. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - A pair of bald eagles was seen at the Monches mill pond along the Washington/Waukesha County Line. Other pairs of bald eagles are still active at the north end of Theresa Marsh and at other sites in Washington and Ozaukee County. Canada geese and sandhill crane numbers have been building up on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, along with other migratory waterfowl (northern shovelers, blue-winged teal, wood ducks, mallards, hooded mergansers, and many species of dabbling and diving ducks and mergansers. Viewing opportunities are great along Hwy 28 and from the Mohawk Rd. overlook area on the east side of Theresa Marsh. Yesterday and last week DNR staff and volunteers completed prescribed burns at five sites - four on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area and one next to the Pike Lake Unit DNR office. On Theresa Marsh, we completed burns on two impoundments on both sides of Hwy 28 and have started the process of slowly bringing the water back up on those two impoundments. There will be good shorebird and other bird viewing opportunities there as the water levels come up. We are still planning a much larger prescribed burn on the "main pool" part of Theresa Marsh between the dam to Hwy 28 when conditions are right and including a north wind. We still have many other burns planned for this spring on Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Wildlife Areas, the Pike Lake Unit and Harrington Beach State Park. Two local "Learn to Hunt" turkey workshops were held last weekend. Students and their mentors from those events will be turkey hunting this Friday-Sunday (April 3-5) on private and public land sites around the area. The outlook for the regular spring turkey season and youth turkey hunt is very good. Turkeys have been moving from their wintering areas on to their spring strutting and nesting areas, and gobbling has started picking up and will peak later this month. Preliminary Public and Private land antlerless deer permit numbers were established by the County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC) for each county and are posted on the DNR website (type "CDAC" in the search box). The public input process for commenting on permit numbers is April 1-15. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Very little snow remains now, after the storm that dropped 6-12" a few weeks ago. Pasque-flowers are just barely poking up through the duff layer. Wildlife activity is increasing every day, with wild turkeys gobbling and strutting in numerous locations. Should be a good Youth turkey hunt this weekend. Woodcock are also conducting their spring breeding calls. Other spring wildlife: male red-winged blackbirds are setting up territories; cardinals and black-capped chickadees are calling; eastern meadowlarks, grackles, fox sparrows, have all arrived. Numerous waterfowl species can be seen on local lakes (Blackhawk Lake, Gov Dodge State Park) and along the Lower WI River. Canada geese have been paired up, as are sandhill cranes. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville
Richland County - Turkeys are strutting in Richland County. Trout fishing activity remains steady with little run off affecting area streams. Walleye are being caught on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. - Michael Nice, conservation warden, Richland Center
Blue Mound State Park - There were numerous wildlife sightings at Blue Mound State Park over the past week. Staff reported many woodcocks, sandhill cranes flying overhead, blue birds, robins, & eastern phoebe. There were also several butterfly sightings the other day, two types of butterflies that overwinter with us were out and about. The eastern comma and morning cloak varieties were sighted on the April 1st. - Megan Helt-Baldwin, ranger-assistant property manager
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Dane County - Bird migration is advancing on schedule. Recent arrivals include fox sparrow, golden-crowned kinglet, tree swallow, eastern phoebe. Geese are beginning to sit on nests. Local breeding waterfowl (mallards and wood ducks) are actively courting and chasing females in some spectacular aerial displays. This is a good time to go out to wildlife areas at dusk and watch American woodcock do their courtship flights. Chorus frogs are beginning to call in wetlands and I'd expect the future warm days to bring out wood frogs, spring peepers and leopard frogs. Turkeys are still in larger flocks but the gobblers are strutting, displaying for hens. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Sauk County - Walleye and sauger fishing on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie Du Sac dam has slowed a little with the recent colder temperatures. The water cooled a few degrees and water levels continue to be lower with no gates open on the dam. Remember the minimum size limits below the Sac dam are 18 inches for walleye and 15 inches for sauger with a daily bag limit of three total. Spring turkey hunting is right around the corner with the youth turkey hunt on the weekend of the 11th and 12th and the regular season opens on Wednesday April 15th for period A permit holders. Turkeys in the area have been seen in good numbers with most turkeys still partially grouped up and tom turkeys strutting. - Sean Neverman, conservation warden, Baraboo
Sauk Prairie Recreation Area - Good time to be checking out wetlands. Ducks, geese, cranes, and swans can be seen in wetlands throughout the county. Some of the grassland birds are also returning. You can hear and see song sparrows, meadowlarks, bluebirds, etc. in the grasslands. In the morning and evenings, listen for the woodcock peenting, and watch the sky for its dance. - Nancy Frost, wildlife biologist, Madison
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West Central Region

Vernon County - Song sparrows, turkey vultures, sandhill cranes, wood ducks, phoebes, and eastern meadowlarks are some of the birds that have recently returned to the area. Wild turkey winter flocks are pretty well dispersed and toms have started gobbling and assembling their harems. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - This week felt and looked a lot more like spring. Robins, nuthatches, brown creepers, phoebes, sandhill cranes, hawks and eagles are just a few of the birds seen or heard this week. All hiking trails are open. Hike up Castle Mound along sandstone buttes to a scenic overlook or enjoy a peaceful walk through the forest on one of our nature trails. Temperatures this weekend are expected to be in the mid-40 to high 50s with a chance of rain on Sunday. Camping is available at the Pigeon Creek and Castle Mound campgrounds. East Fork campground and the outdoor group camp will open on April 15. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Winter is continuing to relinquish its hold on Chippewa County, WI, and spring is right on its heels. Staff stationed in Chippewa Falls, have been seeing many people getting their boats ready for the open water. There are still some brave souls who are venturing out onto the frozen waters to make that last attempt to pull some panfish through the ice. Staff caution anglers to be very careful, as the ice in most areas of the county is not safe. Birds are flocking into the area, and several sightings of robins have been made. Waterfowl are also coming back into the area showing off their beautiful spring plumage. Staff have also spoken with youth hunters who are gearing up for the youth turkey hunt coming up in April. Wardens are assisting the Bloomer Rod and Gun Club with a learn to turkey hunt, which numerous youth from the County are participating in. - Bryan Harrenstein, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls
Buckhorn State Park - The lake has opened up around the Buckhorn Bridge with some ice in bays. The lake is still in draw down so piers will not be placed until the lake is back to normal level. Launch A is still iced over. Launch C, D and E are ice free. Canoe launch has some water during the draw down. Trails may be muddy as frost is leaving the ground. We currently have high fire danger with little rain in the forecast. If camping, make sure fires are not left unattended and that they are completely out before leaving. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are closed for the season. Main gate will open Saturday, May 2 for our annual park clean up day. Looking for camp hosts for the summer and fall! Mark your calendars for the annual work and play day, Saturday, May 2nd from 9am-3pm. - Heather Wolf, park manager
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