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Outdoor Report for May 30, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
This coming weekend will be filled with free fun in Wisconsin with free fishing and free bicycling, inline skating and horseback and ATV riding on state trails on Saturday and Sunday and free admission on Sunday to all Wisconsin state park and forest properties.
People can fish anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp, including on Wisconsin’s waters of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species. Dozens of free fishing clinics are being offered by fishing clubs, local parks departments, community centers and civic organizations. No fishing rod? No problem. Many DNR offices and state parks and facilities have fishing equipment you can borrow on a first come basis. Check out the fishing equipment contacts page for information on who to contact to find out exactly what kind of gear is available near you.
A new offering this year for residents and non-residents is the waiver of registration and nonresident trail pass fees to ride on ATV and UTV public trails on Saturday and Sunday. Again, all other ATV and UTV regulations apply during the weekend.
For more information on events and activities this weekend, search the DNR website for “free fun.”
The slow warm-up has finally increased water temperatures into the low 60s on smaller northern lakes bringing bass and panfish up into the shallows. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass have begun spawning and many dished out nests can be observed in the shallows with the males often sitting tight and guarding the nests. Crappie are also in various stages of nesting activities, while bluegill and pumpkinseed have just started to concentrate near the shallows in the smaller lakes. Musky activity was fair and northern pike action was good over the Memorial Weekend.
The Mississippi River is again on the rise, and is expected to crest later this week at Grant County about a foot higher than its present stage. Several boat landings in low lying areas remain under water. Smallmouth bass were biting on the lower Wisconsin River. The white bass run on the Wolf River is starting to slow down, but anglers are still catching a few. Waukesha County anglers were catching largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as walleye.
On Green Bay, anglers were catching walleye trolling along both the east shore from Bayshore Park north to Potawatomi State Park and west shore from the mouth of the Pensaukee River north to Oconto. Trollers out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha harbors were catching good numbers of coho and some chinook over the holiday weekend, but salmon and trout action slowed down at more northern harbors.
Many waterfowl broods are showing up on local ponds and marshes and deer fawn sightings are increasing. Turkey, pheasant and other upland game bird broods should be showing up soon. June berries, wood anemone, trilliums, leatherwood and marsh marigolds are blooming in the north. Mushroom hunters are still finding some morels. And unfortunately, the warming weather has also finally brought out the biting insects, including large numbers of mosquitoes and black flies in the early morning and evening hours.
Statewide Birding Report
Migration is winding down and breeding activity is in full swing across southern and central Wisconsin, but the late spring in northern Wisconsin has birders there enjoying some excellent warbler watching. Memorial Weekend travelers north of the tension zone reported large fallouts of warblers, tanagers, thrushes and other migrants as trees had not leafed out and cold temperatures had migrants searching the ground for insects. Northern Wisconsin birders should focus on oak forests over the next week, especially on cool rainy days. Shorebird migration should typically be in full swing, but birders are having trouble finding good concentrations of birds or appropriate habitat. Lake Michigan and Lake Superior beaches are producing sanderlings, ruddy turnstones, black-bellied and even a few piping plovers. Door County birders could still expect to see a few whimbrels along the lake over the next week. With the late spring up north, birders are still reporting drumming ruffed grouse and displaying spruce grouse in appropriate conifer swamps. This activity should start to die down over the next two weeks. Lot of waterfowl broods are now being reported in marshes across the state. This next week is peak calling and displaying time for many wetland birds. Public wildlife areas such as Crex Meadows, Horicon Marsh or the Mead would all be excellent birding choices this week. Rare birds reported recently include a worm-eating warbler in Madison, black-necked stilts at Horicon, a little gull in Sheboygan, western kingbird and scissor-tailed flycatcher in Ozaukee County, northern mockingbirds in a few places across the state and a great gray owl near Herbster. As always, please report sightings to Wisconsin eBird (www.ebird.org/WI exit DNR) to help better track migratory bird populations. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologists and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative coordinator
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Ashland County - The trees are starting to leaf out and all the bugs are here for the summer too. Fishing has been good with water levels dropping to near normal for this time of year. Bears with young cubs are being seen, but no fawns yet. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Karners are expected to hatch for their first flight soon, but so far they have not been seen. New birds include: Semi-palmated plover, dunlin, semi-palmated sandpiper, house wren, harris sparrow, Canada warbler, wood thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, blue-gray gnatcatcher, black-billed and yellow-billed cuckoo, and ruby-throated hummingbird. Clay colored sparrows and eastern towhees are calling in the upland areas. Upland sandpipers may be seen near the overlook on West Refuge Road. Warblers are still coming through in good numbers. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Cumberland DNR Service Center area
Baron County - The trilliums are in bloom in the Cumberland area and popple fuzz is blowing around in the wind. These are good signs that the crappie should be spawning and providing good opportunities for anglers. The water temperature is in the low 60s and anglers are having luck with bass and panfish. The ATV trails should be in good shape with rainfalls keeping the dust to a minimum. Water levels are very good this spring with most ponds showing a good rebound from last summer’s drought. - 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) - Variable and continually changing weather conditions have continued to keep anglers guessing on most waters across the Northwoods. Walleye fishing success has been steadily improving and there have been quite a few reports of some good catches being made. Jig and minnow combinations continue to be the favorite bait, but crankbaits along the shorelines have also produced some decent catches. The slow warm-up has finally increased water temperatures into the low 60s on most of the smaller lakes and this has brought most bass and panfish up into the shallows. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass have begun their spring spawning rituals and many dished out nests can be observed in the shallows with the males often sitting tight and guarding the nests. Depending on the size of the water body, crappie are in various stages of nesting activities, while bluegill and pumpkinseed have just started to concentrate near the shallows in the smaller lakes. Musky activity was generally fair over the Memorial Weekend Opener with a fair number of mid-30 inch fish being caught on small bucktails and crankbaits. Northern pike action has been good with the fish being very active near any newly developing weed beds. The warming weather has also brought out the biting insects, including large numbers of mosquitoes and black flies pestering anglers in the early morning and evening hours. Mayfly hatches have just begun with the first individuals being observed in the last several days. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the south and north forks of the Flambeau River are up, so the current is swift and paddlers will be reaching their destinations a bit quicker than normal. June berries, fly honeysuckle, wood anemone, trilliums, leatherwood and marsh marigolds are blooming. The warblers are abundant. We are seeing fawns. Turtles are on the move and grouse are drumming. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Marinette County - Some walleye, bass and pike are being caught in and around the mouth of the Peshtigo River drifting and jigging with minnows or crawlers or trolling the bay with crawler/harness or stick baits. Below the dam in Peshtigo the smallmouth are starting to appear and anglers using tube jigs are catching some very nice fish. Anglers fishing out of Little River report catching some brown trout along with walleye and the occasional perch, trolling in 8-12 feet of water. Menominee River anglers are catching sheep head, walleye, bass, musky, and catfish trolling with stick baits or harnesses, while shore fishermen are casting spinners and crank baits or jigging with live bait. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Spring has brought lots of bugs to Marinette County. Mosquitos are thick to the point that deer are spending daytime hours lying around in the middle of plowed fields. Fishing has been good with many fisherman reporting good catches of panfish on inland lakes and walleye on the bay. Orioles, hummingbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings and other migrants are regular visitors now at backyard feeders. Morels hunters are finding moderate numbers in all kinds of habitats from road ditches and mowed yards to hardwoods ridges. Garlic Mustard is in full bloom and some is starting to seed out. Please report any patches you find in Marinette County to Aaron.McCullough@Wisconsin.gov. Remember to brush off your boots after going through a patch; the small seeds could easily hitch a ride into an area currently free of garlic mustard. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Oconto County - Anglers fishing the Oconto River from the Stiles Dam to the mouth were catching a variety of fish, including trout, small mouth, red horse suckers, pike, and rock bass. Most fishermen were using live bait and cranks. Small mouth are biting in the Pensaukee River with fish ranging from 14 to 19 inches, crank and spinner baits are working well. Walleye anglers heading north from the mouth of the Pensaukee River were catching walleye in 8 to 12 feet of water trolling with crawler/harness and stick baits with most fish in the 18 to 24 inch range. The same can be said for Oconto Breakwater Harbor and Oconto Park II. The greater majority of walleye fishermen are using purple spinner blades or purple stick baits. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Temperatures were high at the beginning of the week and got a bit cooler by the middle of the week with rain. Water temperatures along the east shore of the bay was about 59-63 degrees depending on where you were. Bayshore Park was busy with fishermen targeting walleye. Walleye numbers were good with most fishermen catching their limits. Baits used were crank baits (perch, blue, purple, and white), crawler harnesses (green), and flicker shads (black, gold, green). Fishermen were fishing anywhere from 11-15 feet. Other species caught were sheepshead, white bass, and white perch. Chaudoir's Dock, the fishing activity was picking up and fishermen were targeting walleye. The baits used were flicker shads (green and sliver) and fishing in about 8-10 feet of water. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Manitowoc County – Trout and salmon fishing continue to be slower than expected on Lake Michigan offshore of Manitowoc and Two Rivers. An occasional brown is being picked up in 10 to 40 feet of water. Salmon fishing hasn’t improved yet. Boats are periodically catching low numbers of chinook at various depths and areas, so there is very little way to key in on these fish. There is a slight increase in water temperature towards shore or near river mouths but many anglers aren’t finding surface water much warmer than the mid-40 degree range while in water deeper than 50 feet. Brown trout fishing has also been slow, especially since shoreline water temperatures have dropped since last week. The best locations continue to be where warmer water is found, outside of harbors and near shore. High numbers of alewives in the harbors may be drawing gamefish in with them. It is difficult for anglers to compete with this easy prey and this may be a reason why inshore catch rates have been lower. North and northeast winds have been keeping many boats off the water and the lakeshore cool, so bring your jackets. Angler pressure is low. Few fish being caught on the piers. Live or dead alewive fished on the bottom is all that has produced fish. The best times are during low light conditions. Angler pressure is low. Some catfish were being caught around harbors and lower sections of river in the evenings and at night. Smallmouth bass are becoming more active and can be caught with a variety of lures and techniques over many miles of river. Carp anglers are catching some fish with an occasional large fish mixed in. A carp over 30 pounds was recently caught and released. Angler pressure is moderate to low. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Salmon fishing on Lake Michigan continues to be very slow. Anglers are starting to pick up some bass on the Lake Michigan tributaries in Manitowoc County. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Mishicot
Potawatomi State Park - The fishing pier is in the water on the south shoreline and launching piers are in on Sawyer Harbor. Water levels are low in Sawyer Harbor, but many fishermen are launching and having luck in the waters off the park’s shoreline. Trilliums and other spring wildflowers have been in bloom over the past two weeks. The park store rents bicycles, canoes, kayaks and paddleboats. The store is open weekends until June 17, and then seven days a week until Labor Day. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Panfish are starting to bite well. Anglers should look for both bass and panfish in shallow water. Young cranes, geese and ducks have been seen in the Waupaca area. Now is the time to watch for the young birds and give them plenty of space. The white bass run on the Wolf River is starting to slow down, but anglers are still catching a few. Good catches of channel catfish have been reported on the Wolf River recently. A loon is still hanging around on the Chain O’Lakes. It was recently sighted on Long Lake in Waupaca County. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - Fishermen are catching very good numbers of cohos off Milwaukee. Most of the cohos being caught are in 100-120 feet of water, and about 40-60 feet down. They are being caught on orange dodgers and flies. - Nicholas Blankenheim, conservation warden, Milwaukee
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 near shore 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, but the constantly shifting wind direction and variable weather patterns are making it difficult to target fish. The 8th Street ramp remains closed. Fishing pressure remains low on the piers, again likely due to unstable weather conditions. The wind shift to a predominantly southeast direction made fishing on the South Pier difficult as waves were washing onto the rocks. On the river side, anglers reported a couple strikes, but no fish were caught. Because of wave action and rains, water clarity in and around the harbor is very low overall, but clarity along North Pier is good.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington despite high boat traffic and good catches of coho on Saturday, fishing pressure markedly decreased for the remainder of the Memorial Day weekend. Sunday and Monday most groups coming off the lake were reporting low catches of coho, as well as a couple browns, steelhead, and lake trout. Most fish were caught between 75 and 90 feet of water, and the lure of choice is still peanut flies. Water clarity on the lake side of the pier has decreased due to wave action produced by a north wind, but clarity will likely increase since the wind has switched to a predominantly southeast direction. Fishing pressure has remained low both in the marina and near the power plant, and success has been minimal. 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 the West Slip.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers were catching really good numbers of coho over the holiday weekend. Trollers were having success fishing in 70 to 120 feet of water, between 25 and 50 feet down. The best presentations were large or small orange flashers paired with peanut files in variety of colors. Blue, white, and green flies seemed to produce the most coho. The fishing has been was so good that nearly every boat that came into McKinley Marina had their limit on Sunday morning. Fishermen off of McKinley pier also caught coho on live bait rigs of alewives and shiners, though success is hit or miss. Casting small spoons has produced a few additional coho in the early morning hours. The Oak Creek power plant has produced a few coho and browns with the best presentations being alewives under a float or casting plastics or crank baits off the end of the pier. Bender Park is officially closed for boat launching until further notice. The county is dredging the harbor and has blocked all the launches with equipment and even installed a fence in the harbor to prevent boats from either entering or leaving the harbor. There desired completion timeframe is at least 3 weeks of good working weather. Strong east winds will delay the project due to high waves.
Racine County - In Racine trollers have been catching good numbers of coho and a few Chinooks. Limit catches have been common. The coho have moved further offshore, and most trollers have been targeting 50 to 100 feet of water. Most fish have been taken on flasher and fly or dodger and fly combinations, with green and silver flies producing well. Repair work is still underway on the 6 west launch lanes of the Pershing Park boat ramp. Fishing pressure along the Racine shoreline and off the piers has been light. Waves stirred up the water along the shore, and it has become cloudy with visibility less than 1-2 feet. The nearshore coho accessible to pier anglers have moved out, and no fish were caught by anglers either casting spoons or soaking alewives. One local angler reported large schools of alewives in the harbor. Work has begun on replacing the last old section of the South Pier. A crane on a barge began moving the large rocks away from the pier on Sunday. The work is being done on the section nearest the harbor mouth, the most productive fishing area on the pier. The surface temperature at the lakefront averaged 51 degrees over the weekend.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha trollers were catching limits of coho and occasional Chinooks over the weekend. The coho moved from 20 to 30 feet of water out to the 60 to 90 foot range. Dodgers and peanut flies as well as orange spoons have produced. Coho fishing shut off for the pier anglers in Kenosha. Alewives have also become scarce in nearshore waters. Anglers working near the mouth of the Pike River have taken a few browns casting green and white glow spoons. A few bluegills have been caught on wax worms by anglers fishing the railing in the Simmons Island marina. The average surface temperature at the lakefront was 51 degrees over the weekend.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Anglers on Pine Lake are catching largemouth and smallmouth bass as well as walleye. Walleye anglers are having their best success fishing during low light conditions. Some anglers were also catching crappie on Pine Lake. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - The bottom flow gate is partially closed on the Theresa Marsh dam this week to allow the water level to come up to facilitate removal of floating cattail bogs partially blocking the dam. The bogs floated to the dam area during the April flooding rains. Bog removal will be done during the week of June 17 using an excavator, dump truck and other equipment. The floating ramps at the dam will remain up until the bogs are removed. Boaters and kayakers can still access the marsh from the boat ramp at the north end of the dike (follow access drive south across from the Hwy 28 Peterburs memorial. Wildlife viewing has been excellent at Theresa Marsh along Hwy 28, west of Hwy 41, with water levels in several impoundments still at high levels. Nesting sandhill cranes, wood ducks, blue-winged teal, Canada geese, black terns, and barn swallows are present. Several eagle reports have come in for our area including a photo of an eagle sitting on a DNR sign post on Theresa Marsh near Hwy DD and N. Pole Road. There is an active osprey nest on private land in the same area. Eagle activity was also reported this week along the Milwaukee River in Mequon. More turkey, pheasant and other upland game bird broods should be showing up within the next few days. Pike Lake and Plymouth DNR crews and volunteers will be goose banding in Washington and Ozaukee County between June 19 and 28. The goal is to band 450 geese in our area. Many waterfowl broods are showing up on local ponds and marshes and we’ve also received several deer fawn sightings during the past two weeks. Prescribed burning ended for the season last week in our area. On Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area, preparation work continues on the gas pipeline renovation project west of Hwy G. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - Weekend fishing was slow, but folks were catching fish here and there. Area water levels are still high, but fishermen still found spots to fish from shore. The mosquitos and nats were out in full force however. Remember to bring repellent. There are trumpeter swans attempting to nest on a marsh within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway between Blue River and Boscobel and they can be seen from STH 133. In addition mushroom hunters area still finding plenty of mushrooms. - Martin Stone, conservation warden
The Mississippi River is again on the rise, and is expected to crest later this week about a foot higher than its present stage. Several boat landings have been affected by water reaching into the parking lots. Low lying areas such as Bagley bottoms near Bagley and Schleicher’s Landing near Cassville remain under water. Inland trout and bass fishermen are reporting good success on area streams. Several 15 inch smallmouth bass and sauger have been caught at the Potosi Public boat landing. Several morel pickers have commented that the season is not as good as last years, but have been finding morels since the last rains. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville
Wyalusing State Park – Trails should be in good hiking condition, but may be wet in places due to the recent rains. The spring bird migration got off to a later than normal start this year due to the cold spring. The humming birds did arrive, but we still have not seen large numbers of them. Earlier in May the orioles consumed many oranges and jars of grape jelly. Recent bird sightings include: spotted sandpiper, yellow-billed cuckoo, black-billed cuckoo, all of the woodpeckers, eastern wood pewee, Acadian flycatcher, eastern phoebe, great crested flycatcher, tree swallow, n. rough-winged swallow, red-breasted nuthatch, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, blue grey gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, veery, gray-cheeked thrush, Swainson’s thrush, wood thrush, gray catbird, brown thrasher, white-eyed vireo, solitary vireo, yellow-throated vireo, warbling vireo, red-eyed vireo, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo bunting, eastern towhee, chipping sparrow, field sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, song sparrow, white-throated sparrow, white crowned sparrow, Harris’ sparrow, Baltimore oriole, American goldfinch. On May 25 a Lawrence’s warbler was spotted on Turkey Hollow Trail. A Lawrence Warbler is a cross between a Golden Winged Warbler and a Blue Winged Warbler. The Mississippi River level May 29 at Prairie du Chien was 14.6 and is expected to crest at 15.2 this weekend. Flood stage at Prairie du Chien is 16 feet. Campsite availability is good for this coming weekend. Electrical campsites will be difficult to get as most if not all of the electric sites have been reserved. There are many nice tent sites available in the Homestead Campground for this weekend as well as a number of non-reservable bluff sites in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground.- Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Sauk County - People are still finding morel mushrooms in the Sauk County hills. The mushrooms are hard to find due to the dense under growth. Take your time and really look and you will find some great mushrooms for dining. Trout are biting on Devil’s Lake. The smallmouth bass are biting on the Wisconsin River. Hummingbirds are back in full force and hummingbird feeders are great to watch this wonderful bird. Boat users are reminded to be careful and have personal floatation devices ready or wear them. Respect the dangers of being out on our great waterways. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac
Devil's Lake State Park - The spring rains have really made Devil’s Lake quite lush this spring and the trails are beautiful. There are still lots of spring flowers to see. Throughout the park you can still see wild geraniums, mayapples, rock harlequin, star flower, false lily-of-the valley, pussy toes, birds-foot violet, for-get-me-knots, and there are lots of shooting stars blooming all over the east bluff. The warbler migration has come and gone, but there are still lots of birds to be seen. The Baltimore orioles are nesting at the north shore along with the bank and cliff swallows. The herons, over in the rookery, have babies in the nest. You can still see osprey over the lake as well as the turkey vultures. There are lots of bats roosting in the houses on the Chateau. Even with last week’s chilly temperatures, there were lots of bats to be seen flying out of the houses. The mosquitoes haven’t been too bad in the park, but the gnats are out in force on the east bluff! All in all, the park is lush and green and ready for people to enjoy.- Sue Johansen, natural resources educator
Janesville DNR Service Center area
West Central Region
Vernon County - Bobwhite quail are whistling their characteristic "bob-white" call. Usually, it is unpaired males that call. A male with a mate rarely if ever calls, at least as long as his mate is in view. Whistling males call attention to themselves and may succeed in attracting unmated females or those that have lost their mate. These wonderful unassuming birds once ranged throughout southern Wisconsin, but now only occur in scattered pockets throughout their former range. Count yourself fortunate if you hear or encounter bobwhite quail in Wisconsin. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Wildcat Mountain State Park – All hiking trails are open. Hikers may find some wet and muddy areas on the trails due to abundant recent rainfall. Pets are not allowed on the Hemlock Nature Trail and must be on a leash at all times in other areas. Horse camp is open for the season and water is turned on in horse camp. The shower building is open for the season. The road to the lower picnic area / canoe launch is open for the season. - Joseph K Fieweger, park manager
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - ATV trails temporarily closed due to excessive rain. Rain is in the forecast the next few days. The weekend should be drier with high’s close to 70 both days. Trails are closed due to several days of rain and extremely high use this past weekend. Sections of the trail are under water. Trail will re-open once conditions improve. All campgrounds are currently open. Castle Mound, East Fork and Pigeon campgrounds are on the reservation system from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. The indoor group camp is on the reservation system year-round. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Anglers are enjoying increased activity in crappies and bluegills as water temperatures continue to rise. Nice sized crappies are being taken on minnows and jigs along Paint Creek at Lake Wissota. Be sure to check out the recently revised walleye daily bag limits that were increased from 2 to 3 on Lake Wissota, Holcombe, Long Lake, Chain and Sand. Otter Lake anglers are also reporting a decent crappie bite on minnows. Marsh Miller Lake bluegill action is getting better, with spawning in the shallows to come in the next couple weeks. River smallmouth are becoming more active along the Chippewa Falls flowage. Try fishing with in-line spinners like a #2 Mepps with brown bucktail, or a white Rooster Tail spinner. Beetle spins are a must on the Chippewa River and will consistently catch smallmouth, northern and even walleye. Boating activity was slow on Lake Wissota and Holcombe Reservoir over the holiday weekend. Foliage is coming on strong in most of the wooded areas, making for an enjoyable ATV ride on Chippewa County forest trails. The DNR and the YMCA will be hosting a kids free trout fishing event at Duncan Creek from 12-3 p.m. June 1 at Marshall Park on Bridgewater Ave. in Chippewa Falls. Free clinics on casting and knot tying will be held, as well as free prizes and giveaways available for the kids. Come test your luck, parents welcome too as it is free fishing weekend. - Shaun Deeney, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls
Eau Claire County -Shoreline anglers have been catching a lot of small to medium sized crappie from the north and south shorelines of the Eau Claire River at Big Falls County Park. Panfish action has improved on the flats at the east end of Lake Altoona. Waterfowl accompanied by goslings and little ducklings can be seen at Half Moon Lake and Riverview Park.- Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Water fountains are turned on and the flush toilet/2-stall shower building is open. Visitors over the weekend were hiking, geocaching, using the fish and forestry packs, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Mosquitoes are here, so remember to bring bug spray and thermocells. Free fishing weekend is coming up on Saturday and Sunday. And there is free park admission on Sunday. Join us at 10 a.m, on Saturday at the Oak Barrens Nature Trail for a guided hike. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park – The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset. No food, drinks or pets are allowed and visitors are restricted to the stairway to protect the natural area. A swimming beach is located at Friendship Lake, 1 mile south of the park entrance on Hwy 13 (towards Friendship). Mosquitoes are here, so remember to bring bug spray and thermocells. Fish for free this weekend. And stop by the park Sunday. Join us at 1 p.m. at the Chickadee Rock Nature Trail for a guided hike. - Heather Wolf, park manager