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Outdoor Report for May 23, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
The cool spring means water temperatures across most of the state will be colder than usual for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Water levels on streams and rivers are beginning to recede, but they remain high on many river systems. The Mississippi is beginning to drop in the lower pools, but is still rising on some of the northern pools. The Flambeau River is running nearly 2 feet above normal on the North Fork. The Rock River had dropped from flood stage but slow-no-wake rules remain in place in Rock County.
Widespread rain has alleviated fire danger and helped "green up" vegetation around the state, but 30 wildfires still burned 32 acres in DNR Protection Areas the past week.
Many state parks and forests report that most reservable campsites are booked for the weekend, but there are still some open sites. People can also now check the DNR website for availability of non-reservable sites for camping in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, which has nearly 900 campsites.
Next weekend, June 1-2 is Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin with free fishing, free DNR trails and free ATV/UTV riding June 1 and 2 and free entry to state parks and forests Sunday, June 2 only.
Most northern lakes and flowages currently have high water levels from recent heavy rains. The erratic weather of the past week made for some variable water temperatures ranging from the upper 40s on the large and deep lakes to the mid to upper 60s on some smaller lakes.
The variable weather also made for constantly changing fishing success, though walleye anglers have been experiencing steadily improving action and success over the past week. Daily walleye bag limits will increase May 25 on more than 440 lakes in northern Wisconsin in time for the long Memorial Day weekend as spring spearing winds down by the Wisconsin bands of Chippewa Indians. Only seven of the preliminary 197 lakes that were set at a one fish bag limit will have that limit. All others will move to a two, three four or five fish limit. Check the DNR website for the revised ceded territory bag limits [PDF].
Northern pike success has been fair and panfish activity has picked up with the warm-up in water temperatures. Bass activity has also been increasing, but the erratic weather has kept fish in deeper water. The first largemouth bass spawning activity has been observed in some lakes. Crappies and white bass were biting below the Wisconsin Dells dam on the Wisconsin River.
Bass are just beginning to move onto their beds on Green Bay and there has been some excellent bass fishing all around Door County. On Lake Michigan, salmon fishing has really begun to pick up with the arrival of coho in southern waters, especially at Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha, with some trollers have reported catching limits.
The spring turkey season ended with hunters having better success at the end of the season with the warmer temperatures. Hen turkeys have established nests and will be sitting on eggs for the next few weeks.
Bucks are growing their antlers and does are beginning to give birth to fawns. Again, does will leave their young for long periods of time. These fawns are not abandoned...leave them where they and their mothers will return to care for them.
Butterfly species are slowly emerging including: Karner blue butterflies, spring azures, pine, horary and brown elfins, and mourning cloaks. Spring ephemerals are peaking with trout lilies, trilliums, wild geranium, bellwort, bloodroot, anemones, marsh marigold and violets blooming. And more morels are popping up with some mushroom hunters reporting finding several pounds of these spring delicacies.
Wildfires continue to burn in the state, particularly where vegetation has not completely greened up. Over the past week, 30 wildfires burned 32 acres in DNR Protection Areas. Half of the fires were caused by either debris burning or equipment. DNR fire department partners provided suppression assistance on nine of these fires. The largest fire of the week was an 18-acre Marinette County marsh fire which burned in the Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area. Widespread rain has alleviated fire danger and helped "green up" the vegetation around the state. As you work and play outdoors, stay informed of the area's fire danger by bookmarking our web site dnr.wi.gov (search fire danger).
Firewise Tip: Make sure campfires are made in a fire-safe pit or container. Clear an area 10 feet around the fire pit and never burn when it's windy. Before leaving, drown your campfire thoroughly with water, stir the ashes and add more water until it's out cold.
Statewide Birding Report
Bird migration is now past peak in many areas of Southern Wisconsin, but the delayed phenology, cold temps and heavy rains across the north is making for some very exciting warbler watching. Birders in the northern tier of counties are reporting good numbers and diversity of warblers, many of which are at eye level or actually feeding on the ground due to the lack of leaves and food. This is likely tough on the birds, but makes for excellent birdwatching and photography opportunities. Warmer temps this weekend should give these migrants a boost and will likely bring in more birds statewide. This past week has also brought good numbers of shorebirds including some rare species like marbled and hudsonian godwit, American avocet and black-necked stilts. Check flooded farm fields, great lakes beaches and other shallow water or muddy areas. The best spot may be along HWY 49 at the Horicon National Wildife Refuge. Connecticut warbler, Canada warbler, dickcissels and other late migrants are now moving into the Southern portion of the state. Despite the heavy leaf cover in Southern Wisconsin, birders can still expect to find migrants over the next week. In addition to migrants, some rare nesting warblers have appeared including many hoodeds, Kentucky warblers, and a pair of worm-eating warblers in Madison. Birders should keep their eyes and ears open for rare breeding forest birds over the next week as they work to attract mates in woodlots across Southern Wisconsin. This past week also brought our first reports of sandhill crane colts and many reports of goose broods as well as some American woodcock broods in the south. As always, please report your sightings to Wisconsin eBird (www.ebird.org/WI) so that we can better track our migratory bird populations. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologists and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative coordinator
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - People planning to canoe or kayak the Bois Brule River should be aware that the river is flowing high and fast due to several inches of rain that the area has received in the past week. Some campers and canoeists have called asking if the Brule River State Forest was affected by the Germann Road Fire that occurred last week. While the fire was close, it did not spread on Brule River State Forest property. More information about the Germann Road Fire can be found on the DNR website. Because of the cooler temperatures and river conditions, camping pressure has been minimal. Ticks have started to come out and are looking for a meal. Don't forget the insect repellant. Migratory birds are still coming through the area. Several varieties of warblers are being seen and heard. Bucks are growing their antlers and does are beginning to give birth to their fawns. Baby raccoons, cottontail rabbits, and fawns are just a few wildlife babies that may be seen this time of year. It is a good time to remind people that many animals will leave their young for long periods of time. These babies are not abandoned...leave them where they are so their parents can find them later. No one takes care of them better than their parents. Many well-meaning people will bring these animals home only to have these animals die of stress, sickness, or improper nutrition. Reports of nuisance bears are starting to come in. While seeing a bear passing through can be exciting, some visits from bears are not as enjoyable. Some bears will decide to extend their stay and make themselves at home. Pet food, garbage cans, bird feeders, grease from grills can entice a bear to stick around a little longer than many landowners would wish. The best way to discourage these bear is to take the bird feeders down for a couple of weeks. Keep garbage in a secure location such as a garage or shed until garbage pick-up day or dump day. If these tactics don't work call the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services at 1-800-228-1368 (out of state area codes use this number) or 715-369-5221 for the northern half of Wisconsin. Under no circumstances should the bears be fed. It may be cute and exciting to see the bears up close but they are wild animals. These unpredictable animals can come to expect handouts creating unsafe situations.
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Both Little Manitou and Big Manitou Falls are still flowing well from the spring run-off and are excellent to see this time of year. All hiking trails are open and in good condition. The park was in no way impacted by the Germann Road fire in Southeastern Douglas County. Camping season is in full swing at the park. The shower building with flush toilets is now open. The dump station and potable water fill station is open as well. Please call the park at 715-399-3111 for up to the minute park conditions. - Phillip Brown, Ranger
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Panfish are starting to move shallow on most area lakes and the Chippewa Flowage. Especially if a warm sunny day prevails to warm the water a few degrees. Most individuals are using artificial baits (small plastics) and covering lots of water to find active fish. Warmer water around structure such as downed trees will have fish by them. Once located, some will switch to live bait to get the more neutral fish to bite. The cool down this weekend may push the fish back to the deeper drops near the shore structure. Anglers may want to move into deeper water if fish have moved out from the shoreline. A more subtle and slow presentation may be required as well. The Chippewa, and North and South Forks of the Flambeau River are fishable, but very high. Individuals fishing the river systems are having to use heavy weight to keep the bait down or finding slack water area to fish. Fishing has been slow, but is probably due to the inability to fish and present a proper presentation with the high water. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Waterfowl observed near Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife areas have established nests and will be sitting on them for the next few weeks (about 25 days). Hen turkeys have also established nests and will be sitting on eggs for the next few weeks (about 28 days). Pan fishing on area lakes has been picking up and will get better as the weather warms. The St. Croix River has moderate to high water levels for up coming canoeing and fishing trips. Please think about removing bird feeders to avoid unwanted black bear encounters. - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg
Polk County - Opening weekend was productive following ice out. Many walleyes were being caught on stick baits. One fishermen caught a 27-inch walleye while fishing for crappies with a small tube jig right after ice out. The water temperature in most lakes is in the mid-50s and crappies are starting to spawn in the shallow water. Several anglers have been catching crappies on tube jigs and gulp bait. Turkey hunting has been very slow in Polk County throughout the six hunting periods. The woods are now just starting to green up and according to many turkey hunters the toms were with hens and not responding to calls. Many hunters who had tags for the first four periods didn't hunt due to adverse weather conditions. There was deep snow on the ground throughout the first three periods and freezing rain and snow during the fourth. Turkey harvest numbers are down significantly this year. - Jesse Ashton conservation warden, Luck
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Bear sightings have been reported frequently. Trees are dripping with warblers, sparrows, and vireos. Spot warblers at the overlook parking lot on Phantom Trail and the woods behind the rest area. New birds include: black-crowned night heron, scarlet tanager, blue-gray gnatcatcher, yellow-belied, olive-sided and great-crested flycatcher. Spot yellow-headed blackbirds and wrens near the Auto Tour #3 pullout. Bald eagle young are hatching. Whip-poor-wills are calling at night and common nighthawks are present. Cherry and serviceberry blossoms are prevalent, a few violets are blooming, and lupine plants are growing. Spring wildflower bloom is late. Butterfly species are slowly emerging including: Karner blue butterflies, spring azures, Olympia marbles, and eastern pine elfin, horary elfin, brown elfin, silvery blue, and mourning cloaks. - Kristi Pupak, wildlife conservation educator
Interstate Park - All hiking trails are open and in good condition. Anglers are active on the St. Croix River. Success has been spotty on Lake O' the Dalles. Bald eagles, turkey vultures and great blue herons are easy to spy overhead. Two eaglets are on the nest, best viewed from Eagle Peak. Herons are busy at the rookery, best viewed from the Camp Interstate Shelter. Chorus frogs are calling from wetland areas throughout the park. Spring beauties, bloodroot, bellwort, anemones and marsh marigold are a few of the blooming wildflowers. Check at the park office for recent sightings and recommendations for best wildlife watching opportunities. All campgrounds and facilities are open. Water is also available at the Ice Age Center and outside the Stone Building. The Ice Age Center is open daily, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. and Sun. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Cumberland DNR Service Center area
Baron County - There have been no goose or duck broods observed in the Cumberland Area yet. Water temperatures are in the low 60s with some panfish and bass action being observed. Recent rain events of up to 2 inches have increased the flow in the trout streams and pond levels are starting to recover from the drought conditions last year. - Phil Dorn, conservation warden, Cumberland
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Most lakes and flowages currently have high water levels as the recent heavy rains have resulted in some increased water flows on most streams and rivers in the area. In addition, the erratic weather of the past week has made for some real variable water temperatures and they have ranged from the upper 40s on the large and deep lakes, up to the mid to upper 60s on the small stained-water lakes across the drainage. The variable weather has also made for some constantly changing fishing success, though walleye anglers have been experiencing some steadily improving action. Success has picked up quite a bit over the past week and many anglers have being seeing some very good action on small to medium-size walleye. Jig and minnow combinations and minnows under slip bobbers have provided the bulk of the action, but casting crank baits along shorelines has also provided some good catches. The shallow-water bite on crank baits should continue to improve at the water warms further up into the low 60s. Northern pike success has been fair, with most fish being found in and around the newly forming weed beds. Panfish activity has picked up with the steady warm-up in water temperatures. Crappie abundance is increasing in shallow water and most fish are being found along old emergent weed lines and around shallow brushy cover. Increased numbers of bluegill and sunfish are also being observed in shallow water and look for them to start spawning when water temperatures reach the low 60s. Largemouth and smallmouth bass activity has also been increasing, but the erratic weather has been keeping most of the fish out in deeper water. The first largemouth bass spawning activity has been observed in some of the shallow, stained-water lakes, and look for that increase with continued warm-up of the water in the next couple weeks. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North and South Forks of the Flambeau River is high (about 2 feet above normal on the N. Fork). The current is swift and folks can expect a shorter paddle to their destinations. It is really greening up nicely. Trilliums, leatherwood and marsh marigolds are blooming. Ferns are full out and most trees have leaves popping. Fawns are dropping, turtles are on the move, and black flies are swarming. Connors Lake Campground is open. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - Lakes in the Woodruff area are warming up. Crappies are beginning to move into the warm shallow bays and some anglers are seeing good catches. Muskies are finishing spawning and walleye fishing is picking up on many lakes. Turkeys continue gobble and Bald Eagles are being seen fighting one another over territorial disputes. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - People looking for available campsites in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, Wisconsin's largest state forest with nearly 900 available campsites, can now check campsite availability online, or if they have an iPhone, by using a newly available app. There are hundreds of campsite at smaller campgrounds spread out through the state forest that are mostly available on a first-come, first serve basis. Typically, these campgrounds range from about 20 to 70 campsites, usually having a wider spacing than modern campgrounds. They have only minimal facilities including hand-pumped water, pit toilets and no electricity. Now people can go online or check their iPhone and see how many campsites are available for that day. The availability is only good for that day on sites that are reservable, as sites could be reserved the following day. Non-reservable sites can be booked for up to two weeks. People can also check availability of reservable campsites through the reservation system website, by entering the dates they are interested in camping as well as by campground. The app is available by searching the Apples App Store with an iPhone or iPad for "NHAL" (free download). For more information on camping in the forest the search the DNR website for "Northern Highland," and then click on the link in the right-hand column for "campground availability." For more information on the campgrounds, click on the link for "camping information." - Kimberly Krawczyk, recreation specialist
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - Large Crappies are being caught off the fishing piers in the North Picnic area. Trails are in good hiking condition. The mosquitos have hatched! Make sure to bring insect repellant when you visit the park. The flush toilet buildings are open for the season. - Sara Gossfeld-Benzing, ranger-assistant property manager
Northern Lake Michigan Fishing Report - compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Lake salmon and trout fishing is just starting: There was some effort this past week but effort has still been low. Brown trout and lake trout are being caught nearshore including from boats, piers, and shore access areas.
Manitowoc County - The brown trout bite has been slower than expected. Anglers are catching a few trolling from 1.5 to 2.5 mph in 12 to 40 feet of water. A rouge lake trout or chinook is being picked up every now and again, though few anglers have had consistent luck with these species yet. Boats are averaging 1 to 2 fish per trip so far. Fish sizes are ranging from 1 to 5 pounds with some larger fish also being occasionally caught. Top lures have been flashy medium sized spoons with some chrome and jointed stick-baits with blue or orange. Most lures are being run behind planner boards to avoid spooking the fish in the clear near shore waters. Boats are able to find surface water up to 54 degrees consistently, though anglers with temperature probes are reporting water in the mid to low 40s near the bottom in 30 feet of water. Smallmouth bass and northern pike are still being picked up on the Manitowoc, Branch, East Twin, and West Twin rivers consistently on live bait and artificial lures. There has been some success with catfish on the Manitowoc River down to the harbor on a variety of bait. Bullheads have provided consistent action in Two Rivers harbor and on the West Twin River throughout the week. River Temperatures are now in the low to mid 60 degree range.
Kewaunee County - There was very little fishing effort in this week. A few small groups have been fishing inside the Kewaunee harbor and out on the pier, and nearshore in Algoma with some limited success on both brown trout and lake trout.
Door County - There are still brown trout to be caught in Door County with anglers reporting success trolling in 5 to 15 feet of water with stick baits and spoons. Shore anglers have been using cleos and spoons at stone quarry, Murphy park, the piers in Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor and Baileys Harbor. A 16-pound brown was caught in the canal and a 23.31-pound brown was the winner in the weekly contest at Howie's Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. Anglers are also catching some lake trout while out fishing for browns. Smallmouth bass are hitting all over Door County. This past week saw some impressive catches and the bass have just begun moving onto the beds so there is just a little prespawn fishing left. The Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament saw just over 1,600 fish caught totaling almost 6,600 pounds for an average of over 4.1 pounds per fish. A tournament record 8.45-pound smallmouth bass was caught on the first day, which is just a few ounces short of the 60 year Wisconsin state record of 9 pounds 1 ounce. The Saturday big bass was 7.54. There are some big fish swimming in the waters out there. The most popular spots for bass were the shallows (meaning 4 to 8 feet) in the flats of Sturgeon Bay south to Little Sturgeon Bay, but some reported success in a little deeper water as deep as 15 to 20 feet. Some bass were also being caught in Egg Harbor, Ephraim and Stone Quarry areas. On the lake side Rowley's Bay has been excellent for smallmouth bass for both boat and shore anglers. One pair of anglers reported catching and releasing 75 smallmouths in a single day. The Bailey's Harbor area is also producing some quality fish. A variety of baits have been working including tubes, grubs, hair jigs soft plastic jerk baits, and stick baits. There are also a variety of shore fishing opportunities throughout Door County for bass including opportunities to wade out into the water to get out a little farther. In recent years Kayakers have had success venturing out fishing for the smallmouth bass. As far as shore fishing goes, the pier is in at Little Sturgeon Bay, but the fishing pier at Potawatomi State Park has not yet been put in. Anglers have also been catching walleyes trolling crank baits down about 6 feet over 10-12 feet of water as in the lower bay. Some have been having success with a faster trolling speed of about 2mph in 15 to 18 feet of water with deep husky jerks and flicker shads. Perch opened this week, and it is recommended to fish in 15 to 30 feet of water with medium minnows and night crawlers. The northern pike are still going good in and around the Sturgeon Bay Shipping canal with suspending jerk bait and golden shiners both working well.
Brown County - Green Bay water temperatures reached as high as 66 degrees in the Lower West Shore, while most rivers were holding water between 59 and 62 degrees. Both Suamico and Geano Beach have seen walleye fishing activity increase quite a bit of over the past week. Walleye were the main fish species being targeted out of these areas. Anglers found success trolling a variety of crank baits in various colors or running crawler harnesses. Most fishermen were catching walleyes in 8-12 feet of water. Fishing pressure on the Fox River was also high this past week. Most boat anglers were targeting walleyes by casting stick baits or shads in a variety of colors; a few anglers chose to troll crawler harnesses and were also having some success. Most fishermen were fishing in about 4-15 feet of water, but some chose to fish deeper pockets of water. Walleye numbers were low during the week, but increased over the weekend. Other fish caught were Sheepshead, Catfish, and a few White Bass.
Walleye fishing on the east shore of Green Bay has picked up significantly in the past week. The majority of fishermen at Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock have reported finding fish in 10-12 feet of water by trolling crank baits 5-6 feet down; a few fishermen have been targeting walleyes in 18 feet of water using crawler harnesses. Most boats at Bayshore and Chaudoir's have been catching between 2-5 fish walleye per person. Shore fishermen at Bayshore Park have had success throwing floating lures (such as floating stick baits) during dawn and dusk hours off of the rock pier. Shore fishing success varies by night, but some anglers have reported catching limits of walleyes. Most walleyes have been between 16-22 inches with a few fish larger than that.
Oconto County - Suckers, carp, and smallmouth are being caught on the Oconto River from the Dam at Stiles to the mouth. Bass are hitting spinners, crank baits, and soft plastics as well as live bait. The carp and suckers are hitting live bait fished close to bottom. There has been a good walleye bite from Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II. Most of the action is coming in 6 to 12 feet of water using crawler/harness and trolling stick baits. The color purple has been hot.
Marinette County - A few catfish are showing up at the Peshtigo Harbor, anglers are using stink bait or crawlers fished on bottom. The walleye bite has slowed some from the Peshtigo Harbor to the Menominee River, boaters are reporting a water temperature of 51 to 54 degrees. Musky fishermen were out in force on the Menominee River plying their without a lot of success. An angler told me the water is a bit cool and the river has quite a few suckers in it. Some northern pike and smallmouth are also being caught trolling from Stephenson Island to the river mouth. Anglers by the Hattie Street Dam are catching some walleye, smallmouth, and northern pike using stick baits fished in the current or soft plastics such as tubes and grubs.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Peshtigo River State Forest - Visitors are gearing up for a great Memorial Day Weekend on the state forest, and the weather forecast looks great. Old Veteran's Lake Campground is open for camping. Sites 6-13 are reservable Memorial Day - Labor Day, and sites 1-5 and 14-16 are available on a first-come, first serve basis year round. ATV trails are now open. - Sara Pearson, Ranger/Assistant Manager
Shawano County - The waters are starting to warm up. Panfish are starting to move into the shallows. Young birds are starting to hatch with geese and ducks visible on area waterways. Suckers and carp can be seen by the archers in the shallow waters with some big ones being shot. Turkey hunting ended with moderate success. Hunters seemed to have better success at the end of the seasons with warmer temps. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - Yellow perch season opened May 20 on the waters of Green Bay with a bag limit of 15, and the muskellunge season opens May 25 on the waters of Green Bay with a minimum size limit of 50 inches. Boaters need to know the requirements for personal flotation devices (PFDs) when navigating the waters of Door County. A wearable PFD (Type I, II, III, or V) is required for each person on board the boat. The wearable PFD must be U.S. Coast Guard approved and in serviceable condition; Absent of any tears, punctures or other deformations from its original manufactured design. The wearable PFD must also be of the correct size for the person who will be using it and be "readily accessible". In addition to the wearable PFD requirement, all boats over 16 feet in length must have at least one throwable PFD (Type IV) on board which is "immediately available", such as a USCG approved ring buoy or seat cushion. "Readily accessible" and "immediately available" means they cannot be in a locked or secured compartment; You must be able to put them on in a reasonable amount of time in an emergency, and they should not be stowed in plastic bags or have other gear stowed on top of them. Throwable PFD's must be "immediately available", meaning they should be on the main deck within arm's reach, hanging on a lifeline, or other easily reached location. A reminder that on a boat that is underway on federally controlled waters, children under 13 years of age must wear an appropriate U.S. Coast Guard-approved wearable life jacket unless they are below deck or within an enclosed cabin. Regardless of age, the best lifejacket is the one you will wear. A new permanent rule going into effect on June 1, 2013 requires direct and immediate access to wire cutters capable of immediately severing any fishing line or cable for person trolling with downriggers on outlying waters. - Christopher J. Kratcha, conservation warden, Sturgeon Bay
Peninsula State Park - On Wednesday, May 29, 2013 at 9 a.m. the following non-electric campsites at Peninsula State Park will be available for reservation. The reservations will be available for dates beginning May 31, 2013 through June 30, 2013. These sites were available previously for reservations starting July 1, 2013. Tennison Bay: 201, 202, 203, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 215, 219, 450, 452,454, 455, 456, 457, 458, 459, 460, 461, 462, 463, 464, 465, 467, 469, 470, 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, 476, 477, 479, 480, 481, 483, 484, 485, 487, 489, 490, 491, 492, 493, 494, 495, 496, 497, 498, 499. These campsites are all non-electric campsites and generators are not allowed at Peninsula State park.
Kewaunee County - Wardens will be conducting an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) group check on Saturday May 25, in Manitowoc, Kewaunee and Brown counties. Wardens will be looking for aquatic vegetation on boats and trailers and illegal transportation of water and bait at boat launches through these counties. Wardens will also be manning a portable boat decontamination station at the Manitowoc Marina from 9 am to 1 pm. Fishermen are also reminded that the northern bass zone is catch and release only in waters north of state highway 29 until June 14 in Kewaunee, Brown and Door counties.- David Allen, conservation warden, Kewaunee
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Marguett County - Fishermen are catching white bass on the Fox River below Krakow Park. The water levels on area lakes are good for boating and fishing activities this upcoming weekend. Hikers are reminded to use tick repellent as the wood ticks are very abundant. - Judi Nigbor, conservation warden, Wautoma
Waupaca County - Walleye fishing has been excellent on the fox/wolf system. Bluegills should be starting to stage for spawning soon. White bass have just finished spawning and are biting well. Reports of new born fawns starting to trickle in. Trout biting well and stormy weather lately has them in a feeding mood. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Fishing activity on area waterways has been relatively good. Panfish are in the shallows on area lakes. Water levels on the Wolf River have come down a lot in the past week. Sturgeon completed a brief second run on the Wolf and Embarrass rivers in the past week. Some reports of morels being found in fencerows. - Mark Schraufnagel- conservation warden, Wautoma
Wild Rose Fish Hatchery - The hatchery's education center has received an otter mount donated by Rita Kozlowski in memory of her father who had the otter mounted more than 60 years ago. She used the otter in her classroom until she retired from teaching. Visitors can see "Otty" and learn about otters and their impact on fish at the education center. Visitor hours for the Memorial holiday weekend are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Memorial Day Monday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Summer visitor hours for June, July and August are Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guided tours begin in the Education Center at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Plan to stay after the tour to explore exhibits and two large aquariums in the Education Center as well as viewing the oldest Wild Rose Brown Trout in our historic hatchery. To schedule a group tour for 10 to 30 people, please call ahead for a reservation at (920) 622-3591, Ext. 209, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Wild Rose Hatchery Education Center is located at N5871 State Hwy. 22, just ¼ mile north of Wild Rose on the West side of Hwy. 22. Please park boat trailers at the first gravel parking area next to the large "Visitor Center" sign. There is no fishing on hatchery property. - Joan Voigt, naturalist guide and educator
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Brillion State Wildlife Area - There is a live webcam streaming a hooded merganser that has a nest of mixed eggs of its own and some wood duck eggs. This isn't uncommon but having the opportunity to view a live stream of it is. Currently it is only live in each day until about noon. When the eggs hatch it will stream live all day and then the following morning for the big jump. Last year hundreds (maybe more than a thousand) people watched the ducklings jump live. The live stream is viewed at www.ustream.tv/channel/brillion-wildlife-area-wood-ducks The hatch should be any day now and definitely within the next week. This is a cooperative project with the Brillion High School - Dick Nikolai, wildlife biologist, Appleton
High Cliff State Park - The lake flies have emerged on Lake Winnebago. - Cynthia Mueller, naturalist
Outagamie County - Spring ephemerals are still peaking in the counties of Brown, Outagamie and Calumet. These include trout lilies, trilliums, wild geranium, bellworts, violets. A great place to view them would be on the Brillion Wildlife Area near the Brillion Nature Center south of Brillion off of Deer View Road and at Stockbridge Ledge Natural Area off of Ledge Road south of Stockbridge. Note that Calumet County is an area free from ticks so wandering on public lands there gives one a sense of freedom. Be aware though mosquitoes are still present and may be just starting to show their presence. Eagles are still fun to watch and now their nestlings are growing from various nest sites. By Thousand Islands Nature Center in Kaukauna along Hwy Z, one can view a nest with young. This is a common site many people observe both the adults and young from the top of a hill looking across the Fox River to the north. Contact them at (920) 766-4733. Purple martins are actively making nests and starting to lay eggs after a grueling spring of cool weather decimating numbers. Second year birds are still migrating northward so opportunities still exist for people to attract these long distance migrants at least until mid-June. Need to keep housing free from other species and monitor their health throughout the season. - Dick Nikolai, wildlife biologist, Appleton
White bass are biting sporadically on the Wolf River. Morel mushrooms are popping up and offer a delicious meal to the lucky finder. There is no other spring mushroom that looks similar so morels are easily identified and safe to eat. The goslings of Canada geese have hatched and are out and about. Turtles are still crossing roadways in order to lay eggs. The turtle season is closed until July 15. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
Winnebago County - With Memorial Day fast approaching now is a good time to prepare your boat with the necessary safety equipment for you and your passenger's safety. Memorial Day is the first holiday beginning the summer season and many boaters will be heading to a nearby lake to enjoy the water. Preparing your boat with the appropriate lifejackets, registration, and other safety equipment will not only assist if an emergency does happen but will also make a contact with a Conservation Warden, local boat patrol or US Coast Guard a much more pleasant encounter. Making sure your lights are working, battery is charged, fuel is full, and keeping a constant eye on the weather will also make your boating trip a much more enjoyable experience. - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Lake Winnebago system fisheries report
Fisheries staff are working under a 10-year agreement with the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin to restore sturgeon spawning to their ancestral spawning grounds at Keshena Falls (on the upper Wolf River within the Menominee Indian Reservation), while also establishing a river resident population through time. Crews recently completed the second year of this project, and to meet project goals have transferred 100 juvenile and adult sturgeon per year from the lower Wolf River downstream of the Shawano Dam to the upper Wolf River within the Menominee Indian Reservation. The early stages of this project have yielded extremely successful results, as sturgeon spawned below Keshena Falls following transfers in both of the first two years. The new exciting news this year is the documentation of successful natural reproduction through the capture of 10 larval sturgeon on May 21, 2013. The crew made up of representatives from the DNR, Menominee Tribe, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was ecstatic to catch these larvae and document successful natural reproduction. This project is truly yielding historic results as sturgeon have not been able to make spawning migrations to Keshena Falls since the two dams were constructed downstream in the late 1800s, meaning that these are the first documented spawning events in over a century. - Ryan P. Koenigs, senior fisheries biologist
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan only a few boat trailers have been seen in the Deland ramp parking lot at any one time. Success for trollers has been spotty, with some concentrating nearshore in 10 to 40 feet of water and others working further out in 70 feet of water. A few steelhead and browns have been taken. The Eighth Street ramp remains closed. Fishing pressure remains steady on the piers, but catch rates are low. Small browns are being caught every now and then on spoons. Schools of baitfish are near shore, and alewives are commonly snagged by anglers casting spoons.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing pressure has remained steady off the ramp, and some trollers have reported catching their limit of coho, while others spent hours on the lake without a hit. Fish were caught between 20 and 50 feet of water on blue flies coupled with dodgers, and one group reported strikes on a variety of baits. On Sunday a mixed bag of a brown, lake trout, and a couple coho was brought in from 75 to 120 feet of water off Concordia University. It has been reported that charter boats have been catching chinook. Anglers have been fishing on the pier, but few fish are being caught. Water clarity has fluctuated over the past few days on the lake side, but clarity is quite good overall; water on the marina side is still murky. Schools of baitfish can be seen near the pier, and anglers have been snagging a lot of alewives. There has been steady fishing pressure both in the marina and near the power plant. Anglers using a variety of live bait near the power plant have been catching small browns and rainbows. On Sunday, a couple nice rainbows, a brown, and a coho were caught near the power plant discharge on spawn.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee fishing has picked up with the arrival of the coho salmon in recent days. Trollers were having success fishing in 20-45 feet of water. Coho could be found north of the north gap, between the north and south gaps, and from the South Shore Yacht Club south to the boils. The coho were not concentrated to any one particular area, so covering the most ground produced many more fish. The best presentations were orange flashers paired with peanut files in variety of colors. Blue, white, green, and purple flies seemed to produce the most coho, and limit catches were common over the weekend. Fishermen off of McKinley pier have also caught coho on live bait rigs of alewives and shiners. Casting small spoons has produced additional coho, though nearly all of the fish caught casting were taken before daybreak. Shore fishing has also been productive at the Oak Creek Power Plant pier. Good numbers of coho have been taken, with the best presentations being alewives fished under a float or casting plastics or crank baits off the end of the pier.
Racine County - In Racine there was a big increase in boating activity this past week at the Pershing Park boat launch. Over the weekend, there was an average of 15-20 trailers parked in the lot at any given time. Most boaters have been catching their limit of coho salmon, usually in 3-4 hours or less. The fish are pretty aggressive, and some anglers report that they've had two or three coho on at a time. Most of the fish were caught on dodgers and flies, but some also hit spoons. A large number of boats were seen trolling for coho from the tip of the North Pier to the one mile reef marker, and others worked north of the harbor. Action was good in 25 feet of water. Some action has also been reported for chinook and rainbow trout in 100-plus feet of water. At the fish cleaning station, all of the coho were filled with alewives, and some had gobies in their stomachs. The average weight of the coho measured on Sunday was 3.8 pounds. As of Sunday, only one pier was in the water at the Pershing boat ramp. The repair work continues on the six western launch lanes. A navigation channel for larger boats will be dredged in the harbor sometime this year according to a report from the Racine Parks Department. Successful shore anglers in Racine have been concentrating on the piers. Good numbers of coho have been taken on both the north and south pier, with a few limit catches reported. The best action has been between sunrise and 8 a.m. Most coho have been caught fishing alewives on the bottom, but some coho and a few browns have been taken by jigging green and silver or blue and silver spoons just off the bottom.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha the Simmons Island boat ramp and the fish cleaning station have been very busy lately, especially on the weekend. Most of the boaters have been catching their limits of coho salmon, usually within a few hours. Some boaters reported finding coho anywhere between 20-55 feet of water. Some trollers have been working just north of the harbor, while others have been between the water treatment plant and the Illinois border. A few trollers have also been working the hills for Chinook. Dipsy divers and yellow birds with dodgers and flies were popular setups for most boaters. The Kenosha Sport Fishing and Conservation Association held a fishing contest this past weekend. There were some nice size lake trout, steelhead, coho, and chinook weighed in at the cleaning station. One of the chinook tipped the scale at over 21 pounds. Kenosha shore anglers reported good catches of coho from the piers, and the hours between sunrise and 8 a.m. was most productive. Some local anglers reported that the morning bite hasn't been this good in several years. Fishing with alewives or casting stick baits produced some decent numbers of coho, and a few browns have been caught as well. Large schools of alewives have been seen in the harbor, and one angler reportedly filled his bait bucket with alewives in less than two hours. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 53 degrees on Sunday.
Sheboygan County - High bird migration. Many species of warblers (including the ones just migrating through) are easy to find. Now is a great time to get out and see birds that you will not be able to see the rest of the year, in their bright breeding colors. Spring flowers: trilliums, jack-in-the-pulpit, cowslip (marsh marigold), hepatica, and many other plants are actively blooming. Wild Leeks are plentiful. - Diane Tenpas, financial specialist
South Central Region
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - It is a great time within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway! The fishermen are reporting good activity including catches of bluegill, bass, and catfish. The morel mushrooms are being found in good numbers and the sandbars are beginning to reappear. If you visit the Riverway don't forget your bug spray because the mosquitos are bad in most of the river bottoms. - Matt Sequin, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - Mississippi River water levels are finally receding, albeit the water levels in Pool #10 and # 11 will remain higher than normal for the next week or longer. The pool levels remain 3-4 feet higher than normal. Low lying areas such as Bagley Bottoms boat landing, and Schleicher's Landing still remain flooded. Most of the islands have emerged, with a thick coating of mud, and a fine new growth of poison ivy. Look twice before stepping out on an island. Fishing has remained slow in most of the areas. This past weekend saw good bass fishing activity at Potosi Point, now that the lower water levels have re-opened the road. There is a large number of geese on the area streams and rivers, attempting to re-nest with lower water levels. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville
Fishing was slow but steady this past weekend in Grant County. The weather was nearly perfect. The water levels on the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers are slowly receding, and maybe only a few feet above normal for Memorial Day weekend. Most trout anglers reported good success, with most all area streams running at near normal water levels. Most mushroom hunters are reporting several pounds being found now that the weather has warmed up. - Martin Stone, conservation warden, Fennimore
Blue Mound State Park - All trails are open to hiking although a little wet in some areas. Mountain bike trails are closed. Please contact the park for current trail conditions 608-437-5711. The campground is open. The swimming pool will be open weekends starting May 25 (and Memorial Day until 5 p.m.) and open daily starting June 8. Summer hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.The Rustic Accessible Cabin for people with disabilities is open. The cabin is designed to be wheelchair accessible and to accommodate up to four people. Contact the park for availability and reservations. - Kevin Swenson, acting park manager
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Mayapples, trillium and wild geranium are in bloom around the Horicon Marsh area. New waves of migrating birds are arriving with every south wind. A variety of flycatchers have been seen lately such as willow, great crested and pewees. Warblers continue to come through as well as our first great push of cedar waxwings. Many species are nesting and we've seen broods of geese, mallards and Sandhill cranes hatched. This is an amazing time to come to Horicon and view the spring migration. - Liz Herzmann wildlife conservation educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Jefferson County - All rivers and streams in Jefferson County are still under a slow no wake restriction. The white bass are biting in the rock river in Fort Atkinson and Jefferson. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County
Sauk County - The Wisconsin River below the Dells Dam has come down. The crappies and white bass are biting extremely well in the eddies of the river below the dam. Walleyes are biting downstream on the river from the dells to Portage. The crappies are biting on Lake Delton. A reminder as recreational boating traffic picks to check your safety equipment. - Mike Green, conservation warden, Wisconsin Dells
Devil's Lake State Park - On Wednesday, May 29, at 9 a.m., the following campsites at Devil's Lake State Park will be available for reservation. The reservations will be available for dates beginning May 31, 2013 through June 30, 2013. These sites were available previously for reservations starting July 1, 2013. . Northern Lights: 104 through 149, 163 through 264, A2and A3. This completes the project at Devil's Lake State Park
Glacial Drumlin State Trail - Bridges over three major rivers that the trail crosses will remain closed longer than originally anticipated after state officials discovered that the structure under the decking was in worse condition than expected. Wisconsin state park officials say the bridges over the Rock and Crawfish rivers and Koshkonong Creek will remain closed through the Memorial Day weekend. Work on the bridge over the Crawfish River was progressing this week, and state park officials said it is possible that bridge would reopen shortly after Memorial Day. The Rock and Koshkonong bridges will be closed into June. The length of closure will depend on how long it takes to acquire the custom materials necessary to make the repairs.
West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Willow River State Park - River anglers will find high water conditions and discolored water. Lake anglers have not reported their catches. The river appears to have crested according to the USGS river gauges. The water is running about twice the normal flow. Wildlife belongs in the wild which includes newly born white-tailed deer fawns. They are starting to appear. Ruby-throated hummingbirds were spotted by park staff this week. All of the campsites are reserved for the weekend. We do not have anything else but reservable campsites. We have over 130 campers due to arrive Friday so we will do the best we can to move you through the check in process. Pick up your vehicle admission at the window and come inside to register for your campsite. Yes, you need to tell us you are here, please not assume that we know. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Pepin County - The rivers in Pepin County are on the rise. Both the Mississippi and Chippewa Rivers are expected to reach minor flood stage by this weekend. Boaters should use caution as they navigate on these waters. Flooding will bring a lot of debris downstream, some of which are large trees. Fishing will be challenging under these high water conditions. People have reported finding morel mushrooms in the county. - Bill Wrasse, conservation warden, Durand
Merrick State Park - Staff are monitoring river levels and the current predictions are that the Mississippi River will likely continue to rise through the weekend.
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa River State Trail - The trail is closed due to flooding near mile marker 5 which is between Jopke Road and Porterville Road south of Eau Claire. Bathrooms and drinking fountain are open at Caryville. Bathrooms and drinking fountain are closed at the Highway 85 wayside.
Lake Wissota State Park - With the spring bird migration underway we have been seeing or hearing several species including: 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, osprey and bald eagles are on their nests. The maples have begun to leaf out. Marsh marigolds, hepaticas, bellworts, and the false rue anemones are in bloom. Trilliums are emerging from the leaf litter. Area open water panfishing action has been fast with warm temperatures or very quiet during cooler days in the sheltered bays and lagoons. - Dave Hladilek, park manager
Red Cedar State Trail - The trail is in excellent condition as it was recently dragged and packed. A few spots are still soft due to the recent rains and fill be fixed later on. The Chippewa River has flooded much of the Dunnville Wildlife Area including the sand bar near the trail. Swimming is not advised at this time. Bathrooms and drinking fountain are open at Downsville.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Trails are open for the season. The forest received a bit of rain earlier this week so trails are a bit on the wet side. Crews will be working on the Pray connector this spring to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system. Please keep safety on your mind as you are riding. Remember to use your headlights whenever you are on a road route as they are required by law. All reservable sites are taken for Memorial Day weekend. Both Pigeon Creek and East Fork have first come first served sites. Castle Mound campground re-opens on Thursday, May 23. The new office will be complete by this date. Pigeon Creek and East Fork are both currently open for camping. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Wausau DNR Service Center area
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Portage County - Water levels on the Wisconsin River have returned to near normal levels just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Water temperatures are in the 60 degree range, still a bit cool but not too bad. Fishermen are having good success catching bass and walleye on the Wisconsin River. Bass are being caught along the shoreline and walleyes have moved to deeper water. Boaters are reminded to have a designated boat operator and not to drink and operate a boat. Drinking in combination with the motion of the boat and effects of the sun has a cumulative effect on a person's coordination and judgment. - Barry Meister, conservation warden, Stevens Point
Buckhorn State Park - Water fountains are turned on and the flush toilet/2-stall shower building is open. The fishing pier and boat boarding piers are in.