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Outdoor Report for June 13, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Regular rainfall across the entire state in the last week continues to keep water levels high in many areas and the Great Lakes as well as inland lakes and rivers continue to be colder than normal for early June.
Water levels on the Flambeau River remain high and paddlers are finding trips shorter between landings with the fast moving water. Mississippi River water levels continue to drop but there are still several more feet to go. Most boat landings are back in service. Kayakers heading to Door County for a sea kayak symposium this weekend are being cautioned that Lake Michigan is still unusually cold and quick forming fog is a good possibility.
With school out and as water temperatures begin to heat up people will be hitting the beach. Visit the DNR website for information about new tools and some common sense reminders that can help people find beaches and stay safe and healthy while enjoying Wisconsin’s lakes and rivers.
Time to hit the beach!
Gervase Thompson Photo
Lake Michigan trout and salmon fishing has really picked up in the past week with nice catches reported at most ports. Good-sized chinook salmon were reported in the Kewaunee-Door counties area. It hasn’t been an automatic limit, but several boats are bringing in double digit salmon. Lake temperatures are still really low; mid- to upper 40s at the surface and high 30s to mid-40s. Good numbers of coho along with some chinook salmon and lake and rainbow trout have been reported from all southern Lake Michigan harbors, with many trollers reporting catching limits.
Walleye were being caught on the Menominee River, and a number of impressive 50-plus- inch muskies were caught on the river the past week. Along Door County, there continues to be some excellent bass fishing along the northern portion of the peninsula on both the lake and bay sides. Walleye anglers were still having success on lower Green Bay.
Inland, there has been some very good panfish action with crappies on spawning beds and bluegills just beginning to move onto beds. The water temps where the crappies have been biting have been around 58 to 60 degrees. There have been some reports of limit catches and anglers are reminded to use discretion in fishing crappies and bluegills when they are on their nests and very vulnerable to harvest.
Reports of fawns really picked up this week, and unfortunately instances of some well-meaning people bringing in abandoned fawns. Again, doe deer normally leave their fawns for long periods of time when they are first born. This is a protective measure against predators as fawns give off very little scent. If you find a fawn all by itself, leave it be. Its mom is close by.
Canada geese broods are being seen in good numbers and wood duck and mallard ducklings are hatching. Sandhill crane colts have been seen with parents as they feed and learn the surroundings. The first trumpeter swan cygnets have been reported at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett County.
Jack-in-the-pulpit, smooth yellow violet, Tartarian honeysuckle, black and choke cherries, miterwort, Canadian mayflower, baneberry, nodding trillium, hawthorn, blue cohosh, and starflower are blooming in the north. There have also been reports of wild strawberries beginning to fruit and wild blueberries blossoming.
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Polk County - Anglers on several local lakes have been having success on crappies in the past week. One angler reported catching their limit in about two hours fishing in 3 feet of water along the shoreline. That angler stated that almost all the crappies were males and were sitting on the beds. Other anglers have been catching females in approximately 6 to 8 feet of water. The water temps where the crappies have been biting have been around 58-60 degrees. There have been numerous bear complaints in the Polk County area in the last two week. Residents are reminded to take their bird feeders down and if possible to take their garbage out to the curb the morning it is going to be picked up. Residents are also reminded that any dog or cat food left outside will also attract bears. Any nuisance bear complaints should be referred to the bear nuisance hotline at 1-800-228-1368. - Jesse Ashton conservation warden, Luck
Fishing has been slow in southern Polk County in May. Some crappies were being caught in shallow water with minnows. - Shaun Tyznik conservation warden, Amery
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Canada goose goslings can be seen on most flowages. The first trumpeter swan cygnets have been reported on the Lower Dikes and Refuge Extension. A nesting pair of least bitterns was seen on Auto Tour #3 pullout on Phantom Lake. Watch for lark sparrows along the edges of open fields especially along County Road F. LeConte’s sparrow can be heard near the pump house at Dike 1. Clay-colored sparrows and eastern towhees are calling in the upland areas. Upland sandpipers may be seen near the overlook on West Refuge Road or along the fields on East Refuge Road. - Kristi Pupak, wildlife conservation educator
Cumberland DNR Service Center area
Baron County - Bluegills and bass are making beds on most lakes spawning when water temperatures rise throughout the day. Overnight the water temperature is still dropping about 6-8 degrees so the past few sunny days have helped move the fish into spawning mode. The bugs have shown up with the warmer temps and high water levels so bring good repellant on your next outing. Wood ticks are plentiful this year as well.- Phil Dorn, conservation warden, Cumberland
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - Water levels on the river are high making for a quick paddle between landings. The late spring with its cool water temps has delayed fish spawning. A large sturgeon was almost caught in Connor’s Lake. White trilliums are finishing blooming. Blooming are: Jack-in-the-pulpit, smooth yellow violet, Tartarian honeysuckle, black & choke cherries, wild strawberry, miterwort, Canadian mayflower, baneberry, nodding trillium, hawthorn, blue cohosh, wild-raisin and starflower. Getting ready to bloom: Virginia waterleaf, forget-me-nots and Pagoda dogwood. Interrupted fern is flowering. June beetles and dobsonflies are hatching. Elk are calving and 21 calves have been found as of June 12 by the elk crew. Deer and their fawns are regularly being seen along roads. Tree frogs are singing and Indigo buntings are here along with all of the other colorful Neotropical migrants. Join us on June 16 for a Fun With Dad Happy Father’s Day Nature Program! Challenge Dad in a game of badminton, horseshoes, KOOP, croquet, or get a team together for a game of whiffle-ball. Equipment for other games will also be provided. Keep a sharp eye out for Smokey Bear. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks and fisheries technicians by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
June 3 to 9 fishing report - Lake fishing for trout and salmon really picked up this past week with some nice catches at most northern Lake Michigan ports. Salmon fishing is starting to heat up in the Kewaunee-Door counties area, with good reports from Kewaunee to Sturgeon Bay of chinook that are “running big” for June, many in the 20-pound range. It hasn’t been an automatic limit, but several boats are bringing in double digit salmon, with flasher flies the most popular set-up. Lake temperatures are still really low; mid- to upper 40s at the surface and high 30s to mid-40s where the fish are biting; and the bites have been scattered throughout the water column at different times of day.
Marinette County - Fishing the mouth of the Peshtigo has been a bit slow with a few catfish, sheep head or drum, and smallmouth being caught fishing crawlers on the bottom. Below the Dam in Peshtigo down river to the boat landing at the Peshtigo Municipal Garage has been producing some very nice smallmouth bass using tube jig and plastic gobies. Walleye are being caught on the Menominee River both trolling with crawler harnesses and stick baits, and jigging with crawlers or minnows. Walleye are running small with 10 to 14 inch fish being quite common. The number of 50-plus- inch muskies caught this past week was impressive. These fish are being reported from Stephenson Island to the mouth of the river. Fishing at the dam at Hattie Street has been producing some walleye, sturgeon, small mouth bass, rock bass, and drum, with most anglers using live bait fished in the current or stick baits fish from the fishermen's walkway.
Oconto County - Some carp and suckers are still being caught below the Stiles Dam, along with some panfish, smallmouth and brown trout. Live bait (which means mostly worms or crawlers) drifted along the current edge has been working the best with slip bobbers and live bait coming in a close second. Bass fishermen are also enjoying success fishing in the area of Susie's Rapids floating live bait or using crank baits and spinners. The walleye bite remains good from the mouth of the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II. Trolling with crawler harnesses in 8 to 20 feet of water remains the optimal way to catch fish. Along with walleye anglers are reporting catching a few large perch, catfish, and fresh water drum.
Brown County - Fishing activity was moderate at the Suamico River during the week, but increased by the weekend. Fishermen were targeting walleye. Numbers during the week were good with fishermen using night crawlers and flicker shads (grey was the most popular color). Average fishing depths were from 8-20 feet. At Geano Beach fishing activity was lower during the week and but was very high by the weekend. Fishermen were targeting walleye using crawler harnesses and crank baits in about 8-14 feet of water but walleye numbers were very low. At Duck Creek fishing activity has starting to increase. Shore fishermen were looking for walleye with limited luck. At the Fox River fishing was slow during the week, but was very busy over the weekend. Fishermen were targeting walleye and musky, most were trolling and using planar boards with stick baits, crawler harnesses or crank baits for walleye. Walleye numbers were a little low earlier in the week but fishing picked up over the weekend. For musky, fishermen were using buck tails, fly baits in vibrant colors and other colors used were black/silver/and perch. In water depths ranging from 2-5 feet. Musky anglers fished over the weed beds and along the shoreline. At Bayshore Park wind producing whitecaps kept fishing pressure low this week. Though the anglers that got out reported success in catching walleyes using flicker shads and night crawler harnesses in an average depth of 15 feet of water. Water temperature ranged from 58 to 60 degrees.
Manitowoc County - Chinook or king salmon, rainbow trout, and lake trout fishing has picked up in waters off of Two Rivers and Manitowoc. Fishing peaked midweek with many 20 to 26 pound king salmon caught in the area. Fish are generally being found in 80 to 200 feet of water and are being caught near the surface to 90 feet down. Many lake trout are hitting lures in the upper 25 feet of water a deviation from their usual bottom orientation reminding us that lake trout and other species for that matter can move extensively throughout the water column. Rainbows are also being caught up high on orange or flashy medium sized spoons. Copper and lead-core lines are being utilized behind planer boards. Orange dodgers and green, silver, or glow flashers in front of flies have also taken fish off or downriggers. Most boats are tolling slower than average on account of the lingering cool water. With the alewives near the Lake Michigan shoreline in high numbers and fish being found in various depth ranges, it has been hard for many boats to locate fish willing to bite. Water temperatures are around 44 to 50 degrees on the surface.
Door County - Lake Side: The salmon bite is picking up out of Sturgeon Bay and reports are that they are large for this time of year, many 20-plus-pounds. Flasher Flies in 70 to 90 feet of water have been working well in this area. Bailey’s Harbor did not see much fishing activity, but there have been bass caught off the pier and large numbers of minnows have been seen hanging out in the harbor area. Rowley’s Bay and the mouth of the Mink River continue to be one of the hottest places for smallmouth bass fishing in Door County. On the Bay side: The bass bite could finally be slowing down in the southern part of the county, as hundreds of them could be seen in the flats, but many anglers only able to catch 10 or so. Farther up in the bay, the bite has still been going good from Egg Harbor to Sister Bay. Some particularly nice places to fish for bass out of Sister Bay are the Sister Shoals, to the west, Sister Island, to the north, and the Horseshoe Reefs, to the northwest in 2 to 8 feet of water along bottom transitions (Iike rock to sand) or along old channel cuts. Tubes, grubs, soft plastic jerk baits, suspending jerk bait, spinner baits, and drop shot rigs are all working well, with live baits reported as doing the best right now. North of Egg Harbor, Hat Island is a good place to try for Walleye using flicker shads, smash shads, reef runners, crawler harnesses or trolling spoons in 12 to 18 feet of water during the day. Purple is still the most popular color, but the blue/silver combo has reportedly been working well too. There has also been one report from a local angler of catching a couple of perch in the harbor of Egg Harbor using night crawlers. At Sturgeon Bay, bass and walleye are slowing down some, the flats and south of Henderson’s Point to Chaudoir’s Dock are still good places to try. In low light or murky water, trolling a little shallower, in about 10 feet of water, with regular size fire tiger rogues has been working for walleye. Perch fishing has still slow, but a few have been found in deeper waters off Chaudoir’s Dock off night crawlers, fathead minnows and leaf worms. Muskie anglers are having some luck in Little Sturgeon and Rileys Bay with spinner baits and larger body baits, fishing the edges of newly formed weed beds.
Kewaunee County - “King” salmon, coho salmon, steelhead and lake trout were all being caught this week on flasher flies, magnum spoons, smaller spoons, plugs and cut bait. Lake Michigan is probably still turning over before settling into more stable summer stratification, so the fish have been all over the place. Alewives and other bait fish have been seen in the Kewaunee Harbor, probably spawning, which should bring some salmon closer to shore. Reports are that the salmon caught so far have had really large bait fish in their stomachs, which could be an indicator of a good year for catching big fish on the big lake. Most of the fish were caught 2-4 miles from shore, anywhere between 50 and 200 feet of water. Trolling at around 2 mph, some groups go east-west, changing depths along the way; others go north-south to stay at the same depth. Both techniques had some success during the past week. Along with the 20-plus pounds. chinook reported out of Algoma and Kewaunee were some 20-plus pound lake trout, some nice, bright steelhead approaching 15 lbs., and some 5-10 pound coho salmon. It is difficult to distinguish coho because they are not as common or popular of a catch as the other two. Inside of their mouths, coho are usually grayish with white gums, while chinook have all black mouths and steelhead have all white mouths. Coho tail fins often have a slight fork with spots only on the upper part, chinook tails are usually more square with spots all over, and steelhead tails have smaller spots that looks like they radiate out in lines from the base of the tail. The Racine County Bass Addicts held their seven-team, two-day tournament over the weekend out of Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay for Smallmouth Bass. Fishing mostly in the flats, they reported a much better bite on Saturday than Sunday. The winning 5-fish bag and big fish for Sat./Sun. follows: 33.7/24.5 pounds and 6.3/4.4 pounds . They also caught a nice looking brown trout on Saturday. Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay is hosting their annual Salmon Shootout on June 15.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - The area is still experiencing above average mosquito activity. Deer in general are becoming more visible with the red summer coats and their tendency to stay in open areas with fewer bugs. Fawn reports started coming in last week. Please remember if you see a fawn without a doe it does NOT mean the fawn is an orphan. Does can leave a fawn alone for a very long time, and may not return until the cover of darkness. Please leave fawns alone and enjoy looking at them from a distance. Wild strawberries are blooming with some starting to fruit, blueberries are blooming, and oyster mushrooms are becoming more visible, wild asparagus and morels are on their way out. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Oconto County - Panfish are finally starting to spawn with reports of some nice bluegills being caught. The Oconto Falls Pond and the Machickanee Flowage are both giving up some nice bluegills along with some large bass as well. Worms and poppers are working for the “gills” with the bass hitting a wide variety of artificial baits. Vehicle operators are cautioned to slow down in wet areas as turtles are really starting to show up on area roadways. Walleye fishing on Green Bay still seems to be the bright spot on the fishing front. Night crawler harnesses are the preferred bait but fish are still being caught on crank baits. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - In Green Bay, walleye fisherman are still having success on the Bay of Green Bay. Some anglers have reported doing very well in about six feet of water. Turtles are out and can be seen along roadsides laying eggs and there is no shortage of mosquitoes anywhere in the area. - Andy Lundin, conservation warden, Green Bay
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Rock Island State Park - Kayakers coming to Washington Island for the races and symposium this weekend need to be aware that Lake Michigan is still unusually cold and quick forming fog is a good possibility. They should have a handheld GPS on board with them. Rock Island has almost no mosquito problem due to no standing water. Campers need to remember to bring a warm jacket since our temperature can be 20 degrees cooler than even neighboring Washington Island depending on wind speed and direction. Northern water snakes are sunning themselves on the dock and provide a welcome to people arriving by ferry. The whippoorwill is serenading campers again this year. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Marguett County - Fishermen are catching nice size bluegills at the Grand River dam and at Harris Pond. The northern pike and largemouth bass are also biting on the Grand River. Fishermen should be aware that Krakow Park will be closed off until the spring of 2014 due to construction on the dam and dredge bank. - Judi Nigbor, conservation warden, Wautoma
Waupaca County - Mosquitos and ticks are terrible, deerflies just beginning. Trout biting well on spinners and crawlers. Saw my first grouse brood yesterday! Goslings are now the size of mallards. Water conditions still on the high side for trout streams. Still haven’t heard of bluegills on beds for area lakes. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County – The blooming season is just beginning on the wildlife areas in Calumet County that have considerable amount of restored prairie. On Brillion Wildlife Area the lupines are in full bloom at the Brillion Nature Center. While the mosquitoes were bad in the north woods they were tolerable being out in Calumet County over the past few days. The Nature Center has six miles of trails with opportunities to see osprey on platforms feeding their young from the parking lot going north. See website: www.brillionnaturecenter.net (exit DNR). While on Killsnake Wildlife Area along Lemke Road, northern shovelers are still being seen along with some shorebirds. Many bob-o-links and other grassland birds are present along Aebischer, Lemke and Stecker Roads for your viewing. In the past Henslows, meadowlarks, grasshopper sparrows, dickcissels, and harriers were readily seen in these areas mentioned. See website: Brillion Wildlife Area and Killsnake Wildlife Area. While enjoying the past weekend at High Cliff State Park the newly reconstructed stream and small wetlands near the marina have attracted green herons, some shorebirds (spotted sandpiper & greater yellowlegs) and waterfowl. The green herons were stalking tadpoles for hours on end. In addition the viewing opportunities for purple martins are great from a bench along the trail. And, notably, there have been no ticks out in Calumet County. There remain good viewing opportunities along the Fox River for eagles at Thousand Islands Nature Center at their overlook along Highway Z, from the College Ave Bridge in Appleton looking west or east of the Lawe Street in Appleton where the hiking and biking trail system is located near the swinging railroad bridge, and by Fritse Park in the Town of Menasha or off the Trestle Trail in Menasha. All three areas have nesting eagles in the vicinity. Note throughout the Fox Cities have numerous trails along the Fox River for peoples enjoyment and viewing opportunities. www.focol.org/greenways/newtrails (exit DNR). - Dick Nikolai, wildlife biologist, Appleton
Winnebago County - Now that summer is here waterways are beginning heat up and with that comes more weeds at the landings. Boaters and anglers are reminded to do their part in helping to stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. In 2009 a new set of laws were developed to counteract the potential spread. The laws make it mandatory for boaters and anglers to inspect their boats and equipment when removing it from the water. After inspection, any vegetation or organisms must be removed from all the equipment used. Boaters need to remove all visible weeds from their trailers and boat. Also, the set of laws make it illegal to transport water. All live wells, coolers, and any other devices must have lake water drained before entering a roadway prior to leaving the landing. The end message is to never transport water, live fish, or vegetation from any water body. A couple of tips to make this process easier and more efficient for recreationalists is: anglers bring a couple ice packs so you are prepared for the ride home and keep your fish as fresh as possible and boaters keep a long brush or hook handy to clean weeds off before leaving a landing. Once an invasive species takes hold it is usually too late to do anything about it, so prevention is the key. - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - Bass fishing is pretty active at Kletch Park in Glendale. - Gervis Myles, conservation warden, Milwaukee
Havenwoods State Forest - It is snowing at Havenwoods ... snowing fluffy cottonwood seeds, that is. While walking through the summer snowfall, you might hear the leopard frogs at the pond or catch a glimpse of an indigo bunting. Visitors and staff also started seeing newborn fawns last week. Staff and Master Gardener volunteers have been busy planting the gardens. It would be a great time to visit the heritage gardens and Naturalist’s Backyard to get tips on gardening in your own yard. Except for a few wet, low spots, the trails are in great hiking condition. - 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 trollers reported good catches of coho, rainbows, and some lake trout, but few were bringing back their limit. Most fish were caught between 90 and 170 feet, trolling flies and spoons. The 8th Street ramp remains closed. Fishing pressure has remained low, but steady on the piers, likely due to low catch rates. Though conditions seemed favorable for good catches, fishermen are still reporting only strikes on both spoons and alewives. Alewives are still abundant in near shore areas. Water clarity in the marina is low, but clarity along the lake side of both piers is good.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington good catches of coho are still being reported by trollers, as well as some lake trout, rainbows, and a few chinook, and most groups are coming back with their limit. Fish seem to be quite scattered, with most caught between 160 and 220 feet of water. Most anglers agreed that fishing was slow between 4 and 6 a.m., but the fish started biting after the sun came up and then they hit hard and fast. The lure of choice continues to be peanut flies, but anglers are also having some success with larger salmon flies and spoons. Fishing pressure has been low, but steady, on the pier. Most anglers continue to use dead alewives on the bottom or cast spoons, but success has been limited. Because of light wave action, water clarity on the lake side remains good, and the marina side clarity continues to improve. Large schools of alewives can be seen at the base of the pier, as well as groups of smaller brown trout. Anglers casting off the rocks continue to report no catches, while those fishing near the power plant discharge at Fisherman’s Park are not fairing much better. Dead alewives on the surface in the marina seem to be thinning out a bit, and water clarity continues to improve. The path to Fisherman’s Park is still closed for construction. Anglers can reach the park by walking down Wisconsin Street (north of Sauk Creek) and following the Harborwalk along West Slip.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers continue to catch good numbers of coho, along with a few small chinook and lake trout. Trollers were having success fishing in 80 to 100 feet of water, about 20 feet down. The best presentations were orange flashers paired with peanut files in variety of colors. Purple and black as well as orange and silver have been hot colors. Some fish have also been taken on spoons. The coho in Milwaukee are averaging 20-27 inches and 3-6 pounds. Fishing has been slow off McKinley pier but a lot of alewives are in along the pier. Shore fishing has also been slow behind the Summerfest grounds and at Jones Island. The boat launch at Bender Park remains closed.
Racine County - In Racine trollers had been catching limits of coho early last week in the area near the mouth of the Root River and the north pier. Over the weekend many of the boaters moved out to deeper water. Then anglers who trolled in 70-80 feet of water did much better than the boaters who decided to stay close to shore. The Racine piers had also been producing nice catches of coho and browns through the middle of the week. Alewives caught the most fish, but some spoons worked as well. Over the weekend only a few coho were taken off the piers, and the most productive time to fish has been from an hour before sunrise until 8 or 9 a.m. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 53 degrees on Sunday.
Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers looking for larger coho and chinook have been heading out to the hill. A couple of anglers who trolled in 60-65 feet of water on the hill reported catching their limit of 10 fish within an hour. They were working the top 35 feet of water with dodgers and flies. Fishing pressure on the Kenosha piers has been light during the past few weeks, and fishing success is still spotty. Anglers fishing for coho report that they’ve been having trouble catching the alewives that they use for bait. Fishing pressure on the Kenosha shoreline has picked up a little over the past week. Warmer weather has brought out more families and casual anglers looking for panfish. Most of the anglers have been using night crawlers or wax worms for bait, and some anglers are casting crank baits and spoons. The fishing pier at the Kemper Center, which is a Kenosha County Park, will not be open this year due to budget problems. The pier requires over $125,000 worth of work before it can open again.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - The panfish and largemouth bass action has picked on local lakes with the warmer temperatures bringing the fish into shallower water to spawn. The wet spring has caused a bumper crop of morel mushrooms and mosquitoes. The recent warm weather has also seen the mayfly hatch. The turtles are also on the move and on the roads as many snapping and painting turtles are beginning to lay eggs. - Robert Lee, conservation warden, Hartford
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - The Pike Lake Wildlife Management crew has been posting miscellaneous. state land boundaries, spraying invasive species, and coordinating various property management projects. Upgrades were made to two wheelchair assessable hunting blinds on the Loew Lake Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. Goose banding originally scheduled for June 19-20 has been rescheduled for June 26-27 because of slightly delayed nesting this year due to the cold, rainy April weather. Many newly hatched broods of Canada geese were seen this week. Cattail bog removals from in front of the Theresa Marsh dam will be done beginning the end of this week and early next week. Many calls were received this week about baby animals (skunks, raccoons, and badgers to name a few), as well as deer fawns. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Kenosha County - While the Wolf Lake drawn down at the Richard Bong Recreation Area (Kenosha County) has affected recreational opportunities for park users, it has provided an opportunity for bird watchers. The lake area has attracted numerous great egrets and great blue herons who are feeding on fish trapped in shallow pools. Earlier in the week a White Ibis was reported to be hanging out on the west side of the lake by the boat launch. In addition Richard Bong’s various habitat types- grasslands, wetlands, woodlots, and shrub lands- support a variety of birds to see. Birds seen at Richard Bong this season include bobolinks, eastern meadowlarks, savannah sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, eastern kingbird, horned larks, field sparrow, American goldfinch, wood ducks, mallard ducks, blue wing teal, brown thrashers, gray catbirds, and more. The wood ticks and mosquitos are out in force this year, so be prepared if you come bird watching. – Marty Johnson, wildlife manager, Sturtevant
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - Mississippi River water levels are continuing to drop with several more feet to go! Most boat landings are back in service with most of the docks also back in place. Fishing remains slow throughout pools 10 and 11. Anglers reported that the bass fishing has greatly diminished along the Potosi Point. The past two weeks had produced tremendous bass fishing along the flooded roadway with the high water levels with many fish caught, several in the 4- to 5-pound range. Many lowland areas remain coated in mud from the high waters, but with the advent of the next few days of sunshine, should begin to dry out and make for more pleasant fishing conditions. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville
Lafayette County - Carp are spawning relentlessly throughout the area. Please feel free to come down and remove as many as you want. The crappie bite has slowed since a few weeks ago. Fawns sightings are abundant, with twins being seen quite often. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Wood duck and mallard ducklings are hatching. Sandhill crane colts are being seen with parents as they feed and learn the surroundings. Yellow-headed blackbirds and black terns can be seen in good numbers at the floating boardwalk on the Horicon National Wildlife Refuge off of Highway 49. There are a number of managed drawdowns taking place to promote native vegetation and will hopefully provide decent shorebird habitat in the coming months. A brand new boardwalk has been built at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center located on Hwy. 28 in Horicon. About three-quarters of it is complete and open to the public for use. Enjoy! - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Several bear reports are still coming in – there is a resident bear in Lewiston township that has decided to start targeting bird feeders this year. If you live in that area (especially near Briggsville), it would be a good idea to take down bird feeders for a few weeks, and also store any garbage, grills, pet food, etc. inside, or securely enclosed if outside. Several snapping turtles have been noted crossing area roads this past week. If you’d like to assist turtles in crossing the road, please take personal safety precautions with traffic on the road. For snappers, make sure you have a stick or something else for the turtle to close its mouth on, then gently drag it by the tail to the side of the road that it was heading toward. Another way to help turtles is to report turtle crossing areas on roads, whether you see the turtle alive or dead at this website: Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program . Several prairie species are blooming, including spiderwort this week, along with many invasive species. Next week would be a good week to mow the invasive yellow sweet clover to prevent it from setting seed and spreading to other areas next year. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
West Central Region
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Pepin County - It’s the same old story with high water. Despite the water levels, Lake Pepin anglers have been having success catching walleyes and sauger. Some have been able to figure out where the bluegills are spawning too. - Bill Wrasse, conservation warden, Durand
Vernon County - The public is reporting many deer fawn observations throughout the area. Fawns do not typically travel with does for the first several weeks of their lives. Does are very protective of their fawns and tend to be intolerant of other adult does during the majority of the summer. By autumn, does become less protective of their fawns and will associate with offspring of the previous year and other family groups. A fawn’s coat coloration pattern of white spots on a reddish-brown background enables the animal to blend with patterns of sun and shade. Two rows of spots run along each side of a fawn’s backbone. Spots in the neck area appear as two almost continuous lines. Additional spots occur elsewhere on the body trunk, flanks, and sides. How many spots does a fawn typically have? About 250-350. Spots are lost when a fawn molts its summer coat, which usually happens in late summer or early fall. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest – The forest continues to receive rain. Since May 1 the area has received 9.57 inches of rain, which when compounded with a late heavy snow filled winter has resulted in considerable standing water. ATV trails are closed due to excessive rainfall in the area. There are numerous long stretches of the trail that are solid water and completely impassable. Trails will re-open once conditions improve. Crews are working on the Pray connector to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Portage County - Fawns are out and about in the Stevens Point area. Citizens are reminded that “abandoned” fawns are more than likely not abandoned. Doe deer normally leave their fawns for long periods of time when they are first born. This is a protective measure against predators as fawns give off very little scent. If you find a fawn all by itself, leave it be. Mom is close by. If you are sure the fawn is “abandoned”, do not pick it up. Contact the DNR. Water levels are finally dropping again on the Wisconsin River System in the Stevens Point Area but there is still storm current. Boaters are reminded to use caution as strong currents and floating debris can damage and/or capsize a boat. - Barry Meister, conservation warden, Stevens Point