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Outdoor Report for May 25, 2017Published by the Central Office

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

Cooler than normal temperatures, clouds and rain dominated the last week and slowed down the spring progression, including bird migrations and fish spawning. However, a warm-up in the next couple of weeks could change that quickly.

River systems across the entire state are running very high, and while the Memorial Day weekend has traditionally been a popular paddling weekend, recreational safety specialists are cautioning that only experienced and properly outfitted paddlers should be on rivers when they are running this high. The Lower Wisconsin River set a flow rate record this week of 42,000 cubic feet per second at Muscoda and there are no sandbars available for camping. The river is running fast and deep, with some boat launches under water.

Fewer anglers were out this week due to the rain and cooler weather and those that were reported mixed success. Along Green Bay one hot spot has been out of the mouth of the Pensaukee River where anglers have been catching limits of walleye. White bass anglers had a great deal of success, with some harvesting more than 20 fish from a few hours of fishing.

Smallmouth bass anglers along Door County have been running all over trying to find active fish. Most are seeing fish cruising shorelines searching for bedding areas and possible mates, but have had a hard time getting these fish to bite. Sawyer Harbor water temperatures seem to have the highest average compared to other bays, with anglers catching greater numbers of bass that have been pushing up close to shore to get ready to spawn.

Lake Michigan fishing was also slower, with some of the best action out of Port Washington where boaters have been targeting coho salmon with many getting limits, along with the occasional rainbow trout or chinook salmon.

Turkey gobbling has decreased rapidly over the past week for the last period of the spring season that ends May 30, but gobblers have still been moving around more looking for hens. Most hens are nesting now and some of the nests found have had 14 eggs in them.

This Lewis's Woodpecker in Bayfield County was only the 5th ever known in the state.
This Lewis's woodpecker in Bayfield County was only the fifth ever known in the state.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady

Bear activity has increased again this week with a spike in nuisance calls to wildlife managers. Remove all sources of food and if bears are hanging around make a lot of noise by yelling, honking a car horn, or banging pots and pans to scare them off.

Fawn drop is now at peak. People out and about this weekend should leave fawns alone if they see them in the wild. Does leave fawns alone for long periods of time, so predators are not attracted and fawns can stay hidden. They will return to care for them.

Many warblers continue to be seen statewide and some of the later-arriving species are just getting here. Connecticut warblers were found in above average numbers this week, amid 30-plus other warbler species. Other late migrants, like common nighthawks, cedar waxwings, and cuckoos, have begun to arrive. A Lewis's woodpecker was seen in Bayfield County, marking only the fifth state record of this western species.

Astronomy programs kick off this weekend with the "Starsplitters of Wyalusing" holding their first public program Saturday night and then the UW-Madison Department of Astronomy "Universe in the Park" series of programs begins Sunday night at Kohler-Andrae State Park. Weather permitting telescopes will be available for night sky viewing following short programs on exciting new discoveries in astronomy.

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Statewide Birding Report

Though June is almost here, migration is still going strong across Wisconsin as cool, wet weather dominated by northerly winds stalled migration in recent weeks. As a result, many warblers continue to be seen statewide and some of our later-arriving species are just getting here in numbers. While in an average year we'd be shifting focus to breeding activity by this date, now is still a great time to get out and find a wide variety of migrants more typical of mid-month.

Land birds

Always a prized find, Connecticut warblers were found in above average numbers this week, amid 30-plus other warbler species. Birders also reported Swainson's and gray-cheeked thrushes, Philadelphia vireos, and a significant push of flycatchers, including olive-sided, willow, alder, least, yellow-bellied, great crested, eastern wood-pewee and more! Other late migrants, like common nighthawks, cedar waxwings, and yellow-billed and black-billed cuckoos, have begun to arrive, though peak numbers are yet to come. In the north, cool wet weather brought large numbers of rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, and in some cases, indigo buntings to area bird feeders. For unknown reasons red-headed woodpeckers have been seen more commonly seen this month than in most recent years with many observers reporting the first they've seen at a given location in quite some time.

Water birds

On the water, shorebirding is great now wherever mudflats, shallow wetlands, and exposed sandy shorelines are available. Many of our shorebirds are migrants en route to breeding areas in the high Arctic, hence their late - and often brief - passage through the state. Semipalmated and white-rumped sandpipers, sanderlings, ruddy turnstones, semipalmated plovers, dunlin, and lesser yellowlegs are a few of the common species moving through now. Also seen this week were both marbled and Hudsonian godwits, whimbrel, American avocet, red knot, and red-necked phalarope. Gulls and terns were impressive along the Lake Michigan shore this week, with thousands of common terns and Bonaparte's gulls from Port Washington to Manitowoc, as well as Thayer's, lesser and greater black-backed, glaucous, Iceland, little, Franklin's, and laughing gulls all being seen. Phew, who knew there were so many species of "seagull"?!

Nesting Activity

Newly-arrived but locally breeding species have been a bit quieter than usual thanks to the cool weather. However, robins, doves, cardinals, woodpeckers, killdeer, house finches, woodcock, snipe, some waterfowl, and other early-nesting species are starting to fledge young now. Egg-laying has begun for the migrants that return later in April and early May. Some hummingbirds and orioles have already been seen tending to nests, but expect the majority of Neotropical migrants to set up territories and build nests in the couple weeks ahead.

Rarities, Reporting, & Volunteer Opportunity

Unusual birds were plentiful this week, highlighted by a cooperative Lewis's woodpecker in Bayfield County, marking only the fifth state record of this western species. Also in Bayfield was a lark bunting, and nearby in Ashland a late snow bunting. Some of the other rarities reported were another lark bunting in Vilas, chuck-will's widow in Walworth, a lingering greater white-fronted goose in Milwaukee, and snowy egrets, summer tanagers, northern mockingbirds, and piping plovers in several locations. Be sure to report your sightings, and find out what others are seeing, at www.ebird.org.wi. Last but not least, the Wisconsin Nightjar Survey is looking for a few volunteers, especially in the northern half of the state, to survey roadside routes for owls, whip-poor-wills, and nighthawks between June 2-16. Get details and sign up at http://wiatri.net/projects/birdroutes/nightjars.htm. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Friday, May 26-Sunday May 28, 2017
Friday, May 26

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sunday, May 21, 2017

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Wednesdays at Woodland Dunes, 10 a.m.-noon. - Practice your brush cutting skills, your digging skills, and your chicken wire cutting skills during our weekly Woodland Dunes SNA workdays every Wednesday from 10AM to 12 noon. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Workdays are led by Woodland Dunes Nature Center.

Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Cooler than normal temperatures, clouds, and additional rain this week have made this spring slow to get started. It is greening up, however, with more leaves and flowers making an appearance. Other signs of spring are here as well, as we've heard reports of fawns being born and some goslings are already a couple of weeks old. Birds that were gone for the winter continue to arrive, while others are migrating through on their way further north. The forest is busy with nest-making, birth of new babies, and parents working to feed those hungry mouths. The bears are out, too! There have been numerous calls about nuisance bears. Make sure bird feeders are inaccessible to bears by hanging them at least 10 feet off the ground, and 5 feet away from tree trunks, or on a limb that will not support a bear (the feeder can still be easily refilled using a pulley system). You might also consider taking down bird feeders entirely. The campgrounds are likely to be full or nearly full this Memorial Day Weekend with dry and sunny weather forecast for Saturday. All the reservable campsites at both Copper Range and Bois Brule campgrounds have been reserved-but there are first-come-first-served sites available. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - The waterfowl migration is now over in the Grantsburg area. We are now seeing many nesting waterfowl, and even some broods of young are beginning to appear. Broods of young mallards were first sighted over the weekend, and goslings are growing fast. We should begin to see more trumpeter swan cygnets within the couple of days. In a normal year, this week in May is one of the best for seeing migrating songbirds. However, the cold and rainy weather has had an effect. It has been difficult to hear and spot birds on the property, and many of the Warblers have yet to come through. Although the weather has been less than ideal, there have been several highlights from the last week. Watch out for the least bitterns and red-necked grebes that are nesting on Phantom Lake. Also be sure to head over by Klarquist Road, where a red-shouldered hawk was spotted. The Refuge Extension is still ideal for shorebirds. Black-bellied plovers, dunlins, semi-palmated sandpipers, least sandpipers, greater-yellowlegs and Wilson's phalarope have been reported within the last several days. American white pelicans were also seen several different times. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Straight Lake State Park - With the recent rains expect sections of the trails to be muddy. Mosquitoes and ticks are out, so be sure to use bug spray. With the recent rains expect sections of the trails to be muddy. Mosquitoes and ticks are out, so be sure to use bug spray. Check out the new walk to access to Rainbow and Straight Lakes along with the fishing platform on Rainbow. Rainbow Lake was stocked with trout and anglers have been reporting success. Swans, ducks, cranes, and geese can all be seen on Straight Lake and the surrounding wetlands along with several different species of frogs and turtles. Be sure to check for bald eagles around the dam as the nest is active again this year. Work is continuing in the picnic area lot to fix the erosion problem. Construction should be finishing up in the next few weeks. People looking to visit the park can access park at the new lot off 120th St. and 270th Ave. Please be aware that some facilities, such as the vault toilets, have been installed but will not be available for public use until the project is complete. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - Fishermen have been fishing the Flambeau River in hopes of catching walleye and bass, and there has been some success. Water levels are high and moving very fast on the Flambeau River. We are encouraging users to use common sense and extreme caution. There are wind blows, deadfalls and snags that are not necessarily visible. There is a detour on the north end of the Forest ATV trail between Highway E and Highway 70. This detour is about 200 yards. Hiking Trails have wet conditions due to high rainfall. Be sure to pack your tall rain boots. There trails on the north end of Slough Gundy may not be accessible this weekend due to high river levels. Blooming plants are everywhere. Large flowered bellwort, trilliums, bloodroot, side oats, marsh marigolds, jack-in-the-pulpits, sessile bellwort, trout lily, early season violets, lilacs...the list goes on! Geese and ducks are nesting and groups of goslings have been seen. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, swans, red breasted grosbeaks, orioles and kingfishers have been seen by many of the area residents and Forest staff. Elk cows have been making calf scouting moves looking for a safe quiet area to have their calves. The elk biologist found a missing pony in the middle of the Forest. This black pony named "Night" had been missing from home for eight days. He was looking a little rough for wear but was very happy to be caught and taken home. The weather forecast for this weekend is a chance of showers Friday with a high of 70 and a low of 50; Saturday will be partly sunny with a high of 73 and low of 49; and Sunday there is a chance of t-storms with a high of 70 and low of 47. Memorial Day has a chance of showers with a high of 62 and low of 44. The Flambeau River State Forest will host an open house at the new office headquarters on Friday, June 2; located 22 miles west of Phillips or 15 miles east of Winter on Hwy W. Staff will be there all day (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) to answer any questions and discuss what has happened over the past year and what is planned for the future including optional changes to the access plan and forest production areas, as well as any concerns you may have. Details of the Master Plan for the Forest can be viewed by searching "Flambeau River" on the DNR website. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The northern forest is way behind the rest of the state as far as spring goes! Visitors will be able to experience the pastel greens from all the slowly emerging leaves of the trees and understory. Barren and wild strawberries are in full bloom. Trilliums are out here and there. Wood anemonies and polygalas are dotting the landscape with their dainty white and purple flowers. Cotton grass is starting to pop out in Powel Marsh. Juneberry and Pincherry are still in bloom. The spring migrant birds are blessing us with their song. Rose breasted grosebeaks are gracing area feeders. The hummers are busy defending their territories just as every male bird sings out their territorial songs of "mine,mine,mine". The forest is full of life if one stops to listen. High water are the two words describing area lakes and rivers. Swamps are very saturated. Folks are waiting to see their first fawn of the season or bear cub. Moms are hiding them well if they are out there! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Lincoln County - A lot of activity to be had this Memorial weekend. River levels are high in northern Wisconsin; therefore waterfalls will be great to check out throughout the north, but be careful! Turkeys, bear, and deer are on the move. Turkey hunters will be out trying to get that tom or jake; the season ends on May 30. Bear activity has increased, take down any bird feeders and watch where you place the grills and garbage overnight, they love our leftovers. Deer numbers are up and they are on the move; watch out at dawn and dusk. Most importantly, if you find a deer fawn, leave it alone because mom is nearby. Fawns are naturally left alone for long periods of time, so predators are not attracted and fawns can stay hidden. Warblers have returned and can be heard singing. Enjoy the trees as the continue to grow their leaves. Trilliums can still be seen on the forest floor, as well as barren and wild strawberry blossoms. With the sun finally out again, lots of painting turtles will be sunning themselves on logs and rocks! Bring your boots, because it's wet out there! - Janet Brehm, wildlife biologist, Merrill

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for the week of May 14-20. Wind and rain last week kept fishing pressure low in most area's. High water due to rain has the Oconto, Peshtigo, and Menominee Rivers running high and dirty.

Marinette County - Anglers on the lower Peshtigo River have been catching good numbers of walleye using jigs and live baits fishing current seams and holes. Some smallmouth bass and northern pike were also being caught trolling with stick baits and crawler/harness. The Menominee River has three gates wide open and two gates half open pushing a tremendous amount of water and debris. Musky anglers are catching a few fish, the largest reported to be 53 inches, but find it difficult to fish the current. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - A few fish were being caught below the Dam at Stiles, crappie, bluegill, smallmouth bass and northern pike in low numbers. High fast water has made most of the river unfishable so anglers are concentrating on eddies and current breaks. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River have been catching some perch, smallmouth, walleye, and pike using live bait, spoons, and stick baits. The hot spot this past week has been out of the mouth of the Pensaukee River were anglers have been catching limits of walleye in 4 feet of water trolling stick baits and crawler/harness. Some smallmouth and pike are also being caught. North of the Pensaukee River from Oconto Breakwater to Oconto Park II anglers report fishing much slower with most walleye being caught on or near structure. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Even though there were scattered showers earlier on in the week, anglers still found success in their fishing trips. Boat anglers were out targeting walleye with most catching one to three fish. Over the past few weeks there has been a steady increase in walleye harvested since opening day. Shore anglers were mainly out to have a good time not targeting any specific species. Both groups caught white bass and freshwater drum while out fishing. At Fox Point, there was similar success to Metro Launch, anglers were targeting walleye with increased success from previous weeks. Boat anglers caught plenty of freshwater drum and white bass. Shore anglers near the Fairgrounds were catching freshwater drum, white bass, and smallmouth bass. White bass anglers had a great deal of success with some harvesting over 20 fish for a few hours of fishing. Other anglers had mixed success in catching catfish, common carp, and freshwater drum. Other fish caught included goby, white perch, and yellow perch. Most anglers were using worm on the river bottom with a sinkers. Near Suamico, anglers reported consistent success mostly focusing efforts on walleye. There has also been an increase in the number of northern pike being caught around here and Geano Beach.

Door County - Bad weather has deterred many anglers from getting on the water at Little Sturgeon Bay in the early part of the fishing season, and those who have found that the fishing has been tough to say the least. Smallmouth bass anglers have been running all over the place trying to find active and feeding fish. Most the anglers interviewed reported that they are seeing fish cruising shorelines searching for bedding areas and possible mates, but have had a hard time getting these fish to bite. Smallmouth that have bite seem to be mostly males with a few nice chunky females mixed in. Sawyer Harbor water temperatures seem to have the highest average compared to the surrounding bays; this is helping with anglers catching greater numbers of smallmouth bass that have been pushing up close to shore to get ready to spawn. Anglers reported catching some decent numbers of fish (10-20 per boat) but most of the fish being caught are the smaller males. Most of the bigger females are still hanging in pre-spawn areas waiting for the water temperatures to warm up slightly. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Despite the poor weather, anglers were able to get out and find some bass over the weekend. Sturgeon Bay, Ephraim and Rowleys Bay have been busy with bass anglers. Male smallmouth can be seen in the shallows likely looking to start nesting but they seem to be tight lipped. The best action remains deeper in 10-plus feet of water, targeting pre-spawn staging fish. Anglers are reporting water temps in the mid 40s to low 50s from Sturgeon Bay up and around to Rowleys Bay. Low water temps are slowing the progression of the spawn. Look for action to pick up once the water warms up. Walleye action has been slow but some are being caught. Shore anglers have had success in the canal and at Stone Quarry. Boat anglers have been getting a mixed bag of northern pike, smallmouth and walleye. No word from the lake side. - Benjamin Thome, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Kewaunee County - Thanks to weather and a slower time of year, fishing has been far from great. This past weekend's rain, as well as poor weather during the week, kept many off the lake. Some anglers have begun to target salmon in deeper water on the lake. Anglers have a little longer wait before salmon fishing picks up, so get the rigs prepared and get ready! - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Throughout the week the area has experienced rainy and stormy weather. This had an impact on fishing along the lakeshore. Very few boaters were on the water, especially during the weekend of May 20-21. Average temperature of water along the lakeshore has been about 45 degrees. There were very few anglers attempting to catch anything in the rivers as the steelhead run has slowed down considerably during the past few weeks.- Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Northern Marinette County had its first fawn sighting this week. Indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks, golden-winged warblers, and a ton of other migrants have made their way back to the county. Rain has been a fairly constant presence in the county over the last week. The area lakes and rivers are very high right now. Mosquitos are thick in some areas and virtually non-existent in others. Morel season seems to be winding down with some large yellows still being found. Hen turkeys are nesting now--hens will often hold tight to the nest without you being aware then flush at the last minute. Some nests found had 14 eggs in them. This is the final turkey hunting season and hunters can expect a green understory, a few ticks and mosquitos, and potentially responsive toms as they are searching for the few remaining available hens. A reminder to everyone to leave fawns where they are! It may seem like the fawn is abandoned, but most likely the doe will come back for her fawn. If you suspect an orphaned or injured wild animal, the best case scenario is to leave it alone and call the DNR Call Center at 1-888-936-7463. Turtles are again starting to show up on roads right now as they begin to look for suitable spots to lay their eggs. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Pretty poor weather lately. Seems to rain every day and like we are regressing back toward winter. No positive fishing reports; the cold front seems to have really shut things down. The cool weather is slated to break tomorrow and staff think the fish will really bite well for the next three to four days. Unfortunately, the insect bite should also improve with warmer weather. The mosquitos are starting to get more than slightly annoying in some spots and we have standing water all over the place. Ticks aren't too bad--a few deer ticks and some wood ticks. Be sure to check yourself over at the end of each day. Trilliums and wild violets currently in bloom. Leafout nearly 100 percent complete in Marquette and Waushara counties and two-thirds complete in Waupaca County. Some reports of newborn fawns. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - Things are wet for this upcoming weekend, but the forecast looks descent. The cool temperatures have put the spring lake spawning on a hiatus as of now, but a little sun and some warmer overnight temperatures should bring the panfish in pretty quickly. If you haven't been up to your cabin yet, don't be surprised by the water levels as they are up higher than staff have seen in four years (feet higher than the last couple years). Turkey season is still open during this weekend and birds have still been seen strutting and can be heard gobbling so take a chance and pick up a tag if you are in the area - just be aware of all our other user groups that will be enjoying the weekend as well. The first couple of sandhill cranes with young were seen in the last week with more on the way to be sure. Fawn reports are up as well over the last week so don't be surprised when you come up this weekend to see one or more fawns in areas around cabins that had been quite and safe places to keep their babies. Some things to keep in mind for the upcoming weekend; let's keep wildlife wild, enjoy the resources while respecting them and other users, stay safe on the water, and take a moment to remember the sacrifices that have been made in order for the rest of us to have this holiday. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Not many anglers were out this past week, but those who were were targeting brown trout or whitefish from the piers. Quite a few whitefish have actually been caught here recently with most success coming from anglers using small alewives on bottom rigs. A few boats have been getting out recently with limited success. One boat had nine rainbow trout and one coho salmon between two anglers. They reported their success was in less than 100 feet of water using a variety of spoons and flasher flies with no one particular bait outperforming the other. Other boats reported a few coho salmon or the occasional chinook salmon or lake trout otherwise. Water temperature here has been around 45 to 50 degrees near the surface.

Ozaukee County - Fishing has still been fairly slow, but anglers are catching an occasional brown trout or coho from shore and along Coal Dock Park. Most anglers are having success using alewives on the bottom, alewives under bobbers or casting spoons. Water temperature has been around 54 degrees. Boat anglers off Port Washington have been targeting coho salmon recently with the occasional rainbow trout or chinook salmon being caught as well. Many limits have been caught by boats recently using standard coho dodgers (orange/red) with small peanut flies in a variety of colors. These have been trolled behind planar boards using inline weights, behind dipsy divers, or on down riggers with many fish coming all over the water column. No one specific depth has been best with anglers catching them near shore all the way out to 250 feet of water. Anglers also reported a drastic drop in water temperature between Saturday and Sunday, with some anglers reporting a 10-degree drop in water temperature, and caused fishing to slow down substantially, but should pick back up as the water warms back up near the surface. Water temperature has been around 49 to 57 degrees near the surface.

Racine County - Most anglers decided to fish in 20 to 40 feet of water since the water was rough this week. Anglers caught brown trout and a few lake trout and coho salmon as well. The fish were caught on crankbaits, spoons, and dodger/fly combos. A few anglers fished in 150 feet to 220 feet. They ran their dodger/peanut fly combos from 20ft down up to near the surface. The anglers that fished deep caught only coho salmon and got their limit or close to it.

Kenosha County - Anglers fished in 180 to 220 feet of water and ran their lures 30 feet down up to near the surface, catching close to their limit of coho salmon on spoons and dodger/fly combos. Only one brown trout was reported caught this week off the pier. It was caught on a bottom rig with a live alewife. The water was 51 degrees.

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Lower Wisconsin Riverway Report (exit DNR) Water flows set another record at Muscoda at 42,000 cfs this week. Unusually high water. No sand bars are available for Memorial Day weekend. Islands are flooded. Most canoe liveries have cancelled trips for the Memorial Day weekend. When the river is running this high, it doesn't take much of mistake to get in trouble really fast. The current is strong and water is deep. Areas normally high and dry are covered with water at the Blue River boat launch. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Glacial Habitat Restoration Areas (Dodge, Fond du Lac, Columbia, and Winnebago counties) - Numerous male bobolinks were observed singing at the Werth GHRA near Waupun. The Dodge County Chapter of Pheasants Forever recently spent a day there treating buckhorn and other invasive shrubs to improve habitat, as part of the Adopt a Wildlife Area program. - James Christopoulos, wildlife biologist, Horicon

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Dane County - Turkey gobbling has decreased rapidly over the past week but gobblers have been moving around looking for hens more. Still great opportunities to fill a tag in period 6. Bird migration has been steady through the area with good warblers, thrushes, flycatchers and other long-distance migrants. With the heavy rains there is ample shorebird habitat in flooded crop fields throughout the area. We have entered peak white-tailed deer fawn season - please see DNR website on what to do if you find a fawn! Wild flowers in bloom include shooting stars, golden alexanders, and spiderwort. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Merrick State Park - The South and Island campgrounds are closed due to flooding. The campgrounds will reopen once the river recedes and the campgrounds dry out. - Lois Larson, park manager

Perrot State Park - The hiking trails are a little soft in some areas but they are all open. The trilliums are in full bloom along with wild geraniums, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild cream indigo, puccoon, and lupine. Owls have been heard at twilight near the nature center and along the Riverview trail towards the boat landing. Small groups of trumpeter swans can still be seen in Trempealeau Bay and the white pelicans are back at the neighboring Trempealeau Wildlife Refuge. The songbirds are all back and their songs are so enjoyable in the morning. Spring peepers sing each night along with other frogs in Trempealeau Bay. The campground, shower buildings, and dump station are open. - Lois Larson, park manager

Great River State Trail - Due to recent heavy rain and windstorms, sections of the trail have been covered with a layer of sand and other sections of the trail that are very soft. The trail has not yet been graded so there are sections that ride a little rough with ruts and larger exposed gravel. Trees have been cleared off of the trail but there are small branches and leaves which cover the trail surface. Please use caution. - Lois Larson, park manager

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - ATV/UTV trails have been closed due to flooding and wet conditions but are scheduled to reopen on Friday May 26 The trails will have some wet areas on them and it is essential that riders travel only on the trail system and do not attempt to bypass any wet areas by travelling around them. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Both the Chippewa River and Red Cedar River are still running high with only a few people braving the high water to go fishing. . - Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - Trails are beginning to dry out but there will be muddy spots to watch out for. Early season prairie forbs are blooming along the Wetland Trail such as wild lupine and prairie smoke. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Chippewa River State Trail - The trail are finally drying out. DNR staff have spent the week clearing plugged culverts and fixing washouts. Water is still flowing over the Chippewa Trail near mile 5 but is expected to recede for Memorial weekend.

Red Cedar State Trail - The trail is expected to open back up for the weekend as well with the bridge work nearing completion near mile 13. Expect some rough spots at some of the road crossings on both trails due to the recent flooding until the local towns can get the road crossings repaired. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds seen or heard include: rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, Canada geese, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, and belted kingfishers. The great blue herons, green herons, barred owls, ravens, osprey and bald eagles are on their nests. The cherry species are in bloom. The ferns are in the process of unfurling. Miterwort, spring beauty, common and wood strawberry, dog violet, marsh marigolds, trillium, wild columbine, bellworts, and the false rue anemones are in bloom. Area open water game fish and panfish action has been fast with warm temperatures or very quiet during cooler days in the sheltered bays and lagoons. Smallmouth bass have been hitting below the dams. Hikers have many great opportunities within the park. Whether it's using the island's trail system, exploring the wilder areas of the park, or a brisk walk on the park road, you're sure to enjoy these beautiful woodlands. - Dave Hladilek, park manager

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Ticks are out so check after hiking and camping. No mosquitoes yet due to the colder weather but they will be coming sometime in the next few weeks as temperatures rise. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Join us at the petroglyph viewing area on Saturday, June 3 at 1 p.m. for a rock art presentation and signing of the book Hidden Thunder. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, May 25, 2017

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773