Published April 20, 2017 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Fairly regular rain falls over the past week have green-up proceeding rapidly with even reports of trees starting to leaf out in the far north. The rain has been especially helpful for the spring wildfire season, with fire danger levels remaining low to moderate over much of the last couple of weeks. But warm weather and wind are in the forecast, and it only takes a short time for fire danger levels to increase, so continue to check fire danger levels and if doing any burning, follow burning permit rules.
Water levels on streams and rivers are running way above the normal flow for this time of year. In the north waterfalls are roaring at Amnicon Falls, Copper Falls and Pattison state parks. The lower Wisconsin River was flowing at 33,000 cubic feet per second, more than two-and-a-half times its normal flow this time of year and travel on the main channel is not recommended.
Warmer water temperatures and good river flows drew sturgeon up Wolf River and hundreds of people have shown up to watch these prehistoric fish spawn below the Shawano dam. DNR fisheries staff have been capturing sturgeon to collect eggs and sperm for fish hatcheries where young sturgeon will be reared and then stocked into state waters and in waters in other states where sturgeon are being reintroduced. Biologists also weigh measure and tag the fish to monitor the population. Sturgeon were also running on Green Bay tributaries including the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers.
Steelhead fishing season is well under way on the Bois Brule River. Redhorse suckers are running on the Flambeau River. The rains also brought more steelhead up Lake Michigan tributaries, with some of the best action of the year so far on Door County streams. But warmer temperatures have now brought suckers up tributaries by the thousands on some streams. The catch rate for rainbows on southern tributaries tapered off when the water temperature reached 60 degrees.
Turkeys continue to move out of their winter range and gobbling activity has really picked up during the past week just in time for the first period of the turkey hunting season that began this week. Many youth took to the woods to watch the sun rise and hear gobbling turkeys last weekend for the youth hunt.
Geese are sitting on nests and some wood duck boxes are now full of eggs. Loons are being seen fishing on northern lakes. Woodcock are peenting. Warbler reports are picking up with yellow-rumped, palm, pine, black-and-white, northern parula, and Louisiana waterthrush all found in small numbers at this early date. Broad-winged hawks have arrived statewide, including an impressive 1,200-plus tallied on Washington Island in Door County.
Marsh marigolds, pasque flowers, Dutchman's breeches, blood root, rue and wood anemone, spring beauty, wood violets and shooting star are in bloom. Wild leeks have emerged in some quality hardwoods forests creating a lush green onion scented ground cover at times.
This Saturday, April 22, is Earth Day and people have lots of opportunities to get out and help the environment with 17 Wisconsin state properties holding Work*Play*Earth Day events. Come out and help clean up parks, campgrounds and trails, do a little maintenance on structures or plant some trees. Then enjoy the rest of your day recreating on the property. These events are sponsored by our many friends groups, some of which also provide food or refreshments. If you can't make it this weekend, events will also be held over the following to weekends. For a complete list, search the DNR website for "Work Play Earth Day.'
The season's first confirmed ruby-throated hummingbird was photographed in Milwaukee on April 18. An early indigo bunting was photographed recently in Sheboygan, and the first rose-breasted grosbeak photographed in Dane. No Baltimore orioles have been reported yet, however. All of these species will increase in the last week of April in the south and a week later farther north. Warbler reports are picking up. Yellow-rumped, palm, pine, black-and-white, northern parula, and Louisiana waterthrush have all been found, though most in small numbers at this early date. Wetlands are great places to be right now as duck migration continues and marsh birds return, such as American bittern, sora, Virginia rail, Forster's tern, yellow-headed blackbird, and swamp sparrow. Dusk and dawn visits are especially productive there. Broad-winged hawks have arrived statewide, including an impressive 1,200-plus tallied on Washington Island in Door County on April 16.
Other landbirds dominating now are ruby-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, brown thrashers, northern flickers, brown creepers, and eastern towhees. House wrens, blue-headed vireos, and lark sparrows have arrived in the south, while northern feeders remain busy with dark-eyed juncos, purple finches, and some pine siskins. American white pelicans were noted across the state, often riding thermals in hawk-like fashion as many migrate to breeding areas on the Great Plains. Unusual sightings this week included snowy owl and Eurasian wigeon in Bayfield, lesser black-backed gull in Ashland, Carolina wren in Door, white-faced ibis and European goldfinch in Dane, eared grebe in Kewaunee, white-eyed vireo in Milwaukee, and black-necked stilts in Manitowoc. It's an exciting time of year to watch birds so grab those binoculars and hit your favorite park or wetland this weekend. And as always, help us track the migration by reporting your observations to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Sugar River Wetlands SNA. 9 a.m. - noon.
Help the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) restore the Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area during our series of "Fourth Saturdays" volunteer work-days. Volunteers will be cutting and piling invasive species like buckthorn, honeysuckle and more to promote the growth of native plant species. Some people will also pull or spray garlic mustard and other invasives coming up. It promises to be rewarding, fun, and a great way to experience the outdoors during the winter. Refreshments including hot chocolate and coffee will be available to fuel you through the morning. No skills needed you will be trained onsite.
Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Last weekend was warm and partly sunny making for pleasant days to be outside. The past few days, however, brought some much needed rain to the area and cooler temperatures. But the coming weekend is expected to be warm and sunny again with highs in the 50s and 60s. The combination of this week's rain and the coming warmer weather should get things really starting to pop with new green growth. Spring peepers are out and their repetitive "peep" call can be heard loud and clear on the warmer evenings. Boreal chorus frogs also are making their voices heard. The chickadees have had to make room for the robins, red-winged blackbirds, finches, dark-eyed juncos, and a variety of sparrows (just to name a few) that have returned. All of these voices combine to remind us--loudly--that spring is here. Steelhead fishing season is well under way on the Brule River north of Highway 2. The regular fishing season is only about two weeks away, opening on April 6. Earlier in the week, steelhead anglers reported they were having some luck. However, higher river conditions from the recent rain may be hampering their success. The Brule River Sportsmen's Club is once again sponsoring the spring clean-up day. Clean-up Day is set for this Saturday, April 22. If you are interested in getting involved, please plan on joining us. Volunteers gather at the Lion's Club Shelter in Brule at 9 a.m. for doughnuts and an area assignment. Everyone gathers back together around noon at the end of the clean-up, for lunch. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Iron County - This week firsts: toad, bullfrog, snipe, osprey, great blue herons and loons. Grouse and woodcock are out in force. Trumpeter swans have claimed their nests. The ice is out on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and all other lakes as of Sunday. Walleyes are spawning and deer are moving. Pussy willows are budding out, but there is no sign of leaves on any vegetation. Ticks are out, but still no large mosquito hatches...knock on wood! - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer
Amnicon Falls State Park - All trails are open. Enjoy the beautiful views along the Amnicon River as you hike the Thimbleberry Trail. Due to rain, the Thimbleberry and the Snowshoe Trails are a bit muddy, but the trails around the waterfalls are all in good condition. Pets are allowed on all trails throughout the park, but remember that they must be leashed at all times and cleaned up after. Thanks to over an inch of rain yesterday (4/18) the falls are flowing beautifully! With the current high water levels, fishing is difficult, but the river has opened for early trout season. You will find the regulations for Amnicon under Lake Superior Tributaries and special regulations. A fishing license is required and an inland waters trout stamp is required if fishing for trout. It might be cold yet, but there is still plenty of wildlife running around the park. With just a drive through the campground loop, you should be able to see ruffed grouse, snowshoe hare and/or white-tailed deer. The campground is open year around, but our drinking water will be off until May 12. All sites are currently first come/first serve. We are a rustic campground so we do not have electricity or showers, but showers at Pattison State Park can be used by our campers. Most of our sites provide relative seclusion. Camping reservations can be made online or by calling 888-947-2757. - Natalie Brown, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - People are out trying to catch the first of the redhorse run on the Flambeau River. Pan fish fishing is open all year round. The docks have been installed in Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines. Some folks have been taking advantage of the bugless weather and good water level on the Flambeau River and paddling down river and using the scenic river sites for camping and picnicking. Hiking Trails are open throughout the Forest. This is a great time to hike the landscape, as you can see and hear the newness of spring and enjoy hiking without the many bugs. Wood frogs and spring peepers are calling; walleyes are spawning; wild leeks and fiddleheads come out; early wildflowers bloom; tree buds burst and trees begin to flower, like aspen and dogwood, and the red maple twigs turn red. Grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are gathering hens. Geese and ducks are back and the geese are seen in large flocks many of them flying north. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, and some swans and kingfishers have been seen. Lake of the Pines Campground opened April 15. Lake of the Pines is a very beautiful rustic, quiet and very well maintained campground. It is located on a bluff overlooking Lake of the Pines. Some road bans were lifted so logging operations on parts of the Forest can collect the remainder of this winter's cut logs. The weather forecast for the week is for Friday to be mostly sunny, high of 55 and low of 30, Saturday will be sunny with a high of 62 and low of 35, and Sunday will be partly sunny with a high of 53 and low of 34 and a chance of precipitation during the night. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The terrible wind/hail/snow storm early last week has had a great impact on hiking trails in the south end of the forest. DNR and volunteer groups are helping to restore the Raven Trail near the Clear lake campground. Hikers are asked to use caution as there are a lot of trees and branches down on the trail. Otherwise spring is slowly coming to the Northwoods. White throated sparrows have started to show up along with the other returnees of hermit thrush, fox sparrows, juncos, winter wrens, robins, and sharp shinned hawks. Trailing arbutus are starting to bloom on south facing slopes so hepaticas are not far behind. Bears are starting to hit area bird feeders looking for that first spring meal. Wood frogs and a few spring peepers can be heard in the very full ephemeral ponds and swamps! The forest is alive with the many different songs! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - Turkeys continue to move out of their winter range as the first period of the turkey hunting season begins. Turkeys are showing up in the larger forested areas throughout Langlade County. It appears that turkeys survived the winter fairly well with decent numbers of birds being observed. This past weekend the National Wild Turkey federation conducted their annual Learn to Hunt Turkey Program. 13 youth and two adult women participated in the program. 6 adult Toms were harvested. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the week of April 9-15. Fishing pressure has decreased with the arrival of the white sucker, although there are still walleye in the rivers the suckers are up in the river by the thousands.
Marinette County - Suckers are crowding in on the Peshtigo River, although an electro shock of the upper river still resulted in a very large number of walleye present in the river. Boaters report catching pike, a few walleye and some nice catches of brown trout from the mouth of the Peshtigo River to the Menominee River. Anglers on the Menominee River have had to deal with some very high, fast water, keeping catch rates low. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers at the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River are mainly catching suckers although the occasional walleye can still be caught. Most anglers are now fishing closer to the mouth of the river using jigs and stick baits. The northern pike bite has been good from the Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II, with anglers using large shiners, dead smelt, stick baits, and spoons. Walleye hunters are having some success fishing in 8 to 9 feet of water using Rip and Raps. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Anglers at the Metro launch had low success over the past week with most not catching any walleye. Few anglers caught one or two with the occasional freshwater drum. At the Fox Point launch, fishing pressure was consistent over the week with anglers catching on average 0-3 walleyes. Most success was had using a jig and minnow by the powerlines near the refugee. Anglers did note they were catching more whitefish and white bass than the previous week. Anglers at the Fairgrounds saw similar success to those who launched from Fox Point. All were fishing for walleye with most catching 0-3 over the course of half a day. At Voyager Park, though pressure was less than last week there were still many anglers out wading near the Park. Most success was seen by anglers using crankbaits. Minimal angling pressure at Duck Creek was observed throughout the week. Most were out to fish for a mixed bag of bluegill, crappie and perch. Off Suamico, boat fishing was consistent despite the overcast weather earlier on in the week. Anglers were targeting walleye and northern pike. Some were seen taking home walleye that were 20 to 26 inches. Few anglers interviewed targeting brown trout and walleye. Trout anglers had no success catching any fish. Walleye anglers had very low success catching 0-1 fish over the course of their trip. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Steelhead action is picking up on the small streams in Door County as fish have been seen in most all the creeks up the east side of the county. Recent rains may have been enough to get more fish up in the streams. Most anglers concentrate their efforts on Shivering Sands, Whitefish Bay, Hibbard and Hiens Creeks. Spawn sacks are the most common bait but fish are also taken on various jigs and flies. Suckers are also running in the creeks. Brown trout action has been decent when boat anglers have been able to get out of the wind. Browns are being caught all around Door County but the best catches have come from Sturgeon Bay, Fish Creek and Baileys Harbor. Shore and pier anglers have had limited success, catching pike and the occasional brown. First light seems to be the best for browns. Pike and walleyes can been seen spawning in many areas now but very few walleyes have been caught. Look for walleye action to pick up post spawn. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - This past week brought quite a mix of fishing reports in Kewaunee County. Steelhead fishing was consistent in the streams earlier in the week, with warmer weather towards the weekend resulting in a large push of suckers, which some anglers capitalized on. A few browns have also been caught, but no one area has had consistent action. Some inclement weather made it hard for the brown trout anglers lake-side, but those that got out had some action, although nothing spectacular. A few anglers have caught brown trout fishing off the Algoma pier this past weekend, with all the fish being on the smaller side. The biggest fishing news from the past week was the run of smelt, which apparently brought a number of netters out after dark. Word of mouth was that some smelt were being caught early in the week near the harbors, but action has since subsided. Some anglers are expecting another push of steelhead after the rain, but only time will tell if this holds true. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - While many anglers were fishing the Twin Rivers during the weekend of April 8-9, very few reported any luck catching trout. This trend continued throughout the week; however, many anglers interviewed had very short fishing trips. Water levels, temperatures, and velocities rose steadily throughout the week. The West Twin River sites reported a few trout, but many suckers seen and caught. On Sunday April 16, many boaters reported successful fishing of brown trout as they came into the Manitowoc Marina. It had been stated that the entire weekend brought a new trend of catching brown trout within Lake Michigan. Those that did not report catches had mentioned more bites than what has been seen throughout the past couple of weeks. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - This is a very busy and exciting time of year for nature lovers. Lots of the natural world is changing right before our eyes. Wild leeks have emerged in some quality hardwoods forests creating a lush green onion scented ground cover at times. Many of the walleyes have finished spawning and are swimming their way back out to the Bay of Green Bay. Suckers are increasing in numbers in the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers and Sturgeon won't be far behind. Geese are sitting on nests and some wood duck boxes are now full of eggs. Loons can be seen fishing on the inland lakes. Woodcock are peenting, frogs are singing loudly from low areas, and the winnow of snipe wings can be heard frequently now as well. Aspen catkins are now fully emerged, and some early leafing shrubs like elderberry have leaves emerging. Woodland spring ephemerals have begun growing including; Virginia waterleaf, wild ginger, and Dutchman's breeches. Turkey hunting season began over Easter weekend with youth ages 10-15 getting the first nod. Many youth took to the woods to watch the sun rise and hear gobbling turkeys - some however got rained on and heard no turkeys. The first of 6 regular seasons starts Wednesday of this week and runs through the following Tuesday. The really big winter flocks of turkeys continue to break up, creating opportunities to view or hunt birds on properties that were previously void of any turkey sign. Panfish have begun to bite on area inland lakes with the north shore providing the warmest water and the best action. Most, if not all, of the rivers in the county have swollen to fill their banks due to heavy precipitation in the north, these rivers can be deceptively dangerous so please exercise extreme caution when recreating near these waters. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Governor Thompson State Park - The first wildflowers such as false rue anemone are just opening. Blanding's turtles are starting to migrate. We are hearing spring peepers and chorus frogs throughout the park. It is a great time for hiking, not too hot, no bugs, and the leaves are off the trees showing all of the landscape. Hikers are reporting seeing turkeys, sandhill cranes, and bear tracks on the trails. Woods and Huber, and several miles of frontage on Caldron Falls Flowage. The boarding dock and fishing pier is in at Caldron Falls, which is ice free. The East Loop of the campground is now open for early season camping. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Turkeys are gobbling like crazy; might be a sporty chase as birds are still bunched up in good sized flocks. Be sure to check for ticks after the hunt as they are out in force. Green up is in full swing, wet warm conditions have the grass growing like crazy. Maples, willows and honeysuckle all breaking bud like crazy. Due to recent rains, local streams are high and very murky. With more rains predicted, might be tough to trout fish. All I got for this week, nice time to be out and about. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
The annual sturgeon spawning run began on the evening of April 17 and continues. Due to the quick warm up, the fish are very active throughout most of the Wolf River system. Most fish are now concentrated and active at the Shawano Dam. DNR fisheries crews have been capturing spawning sturgeon for the last few days and have processed several hundred fish. Walleye fishing on the Wolf River continues to be sporadic. Some walleyes were observed to be actively spawning yesterday. Water levels are still fairly low which generally means a less than favorable spawn for the walleye. White bass have started to show up in fair numbers on the Wolf River. Anglers are making decent catches on jigs/minnows. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - This spring weather has resulted in increased activity from wildlife, such as tree swallows, golden-crowned kinglets, garter snakes, and coyotes. Keep your eyes open for other, more unusual critters as well! With the help of local citizens, we confirmed the presence of river otters, beaver, and flying squirrels within the county. Wildlife sightings of target species are an important part in understanding the state of our Milwaukee Area of Concern (AOC), designated as such because of historical modifications and pollutant loads that contributed toxic contaminants to the AOC and Lake Michigan. Contact the DNR or your local wildlife biologist if you see any critters of interest. We have also seen an increase in the number of young animal sightings, including fox, raccoon, and squirrel kits. If you see any young wildlife, take pictures but please don't touch. If you think the young animals are injured or in danger, visit the DNR website, keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" or contact the DNR Customer Service Hotline for more information (1-888-936-7463). - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The forest has received over an inch of rain the past few days, with more in the forecast. Portions of the horse trail are still very wet, and the trail remains closed through this weekend. The mountain bike trails are better drained, and will remain open as long as riders refrain from using them within 12 hours of significant rain, and allow the trails time to dry. Backpack shelter camping at Zillmer and the Ice Age Trail has been very popular this spring, especially on weekends. Advanced planning and reservations are strongly recommended. Spring turkey seasons opened April 19 and continues through May 30, including the Zillmer Trail area. Visitors are advised to wear brightly-colored clothing when venturing off-trail or out into public hunting areas. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - The Sheboygan River still has lots of northern pike in it, but the number of steelhead being caught lately seems to be going down. A few brown trout can be caught on the lower end of the river near the harbor. Lots of suckers have pushed in the river and can now be found throughout its entirety. Best baits lately have been spoons, spinners or spawn sacs under a bobber. Water temperature has been around 48 degrees. Fishing pressure on the Pigeon River has been fairly low, with very few anglers reporting catches of steelhead. The river now has quite a few suckers in it as well, especially upstream near Hwy Y. Baits of choice for steelhead anglers have been spawn sacs under a bobber or egg pattern flies. Water temperature was around 49 degrees. The harbor area is seeing a little more effort lately, with anglers reporting catching some brown trout on the piers and having quite a few follow ups. Best baits lately have been spoons or crankbaits. Not many boats have gone out yet, but one was interviewed this past week and they fished to the north shoreline without any luck. Water temperature was around 44 degrees.
Ozaukee County - The Port Washington harbor is producing a few browns and the occasional steelhead around the entire harbor. Best baits seem to spawn sacs on the bottom, spoons, or crankbaits. A few boats have been getting out as well now when conditions are good and have been getting browns trolling the shorelines to the south and north of the harbor. They have been primarily trolling spoons or crank baits in less than 50 feet of water. Water temperature was 45 degrees around the harbor. Sauk Creek has been fairly low and the steelhead run has been slowing down. Quite a few suckers are in the creek now. Baits of choice for the steelhead are spawn sacs under a bobber. Water temperature has been around 48 degrees.
Milwaukee County - Another week of windy, rainy weather kept fishing pressure low on the shoreline. The air temperature dropped 30 degrees within an hour (75 degrees to 45 degrees) on April 10 as the winds shifted from west to east/northeast. Over 0.65 inch of rain fell during a heavy downpour. The water along the shoreline was cloudy/turbid over 2 miles offshore. Fishing pressure picked up on the weekend with day time temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Anglers were seen on McKinley Pier during the week and a few more on the weekend with brown and rainbow trout landed. There have been no reports of coho or kings landed on pier so far this season. No alewives were seen on the lake side of the pier. Anglers casting crankbaits and red/white daredevils landed a few northern pike around the McKinley Marina. Strong winds and rain made fishing in the harbor a challenge. A few brown trout and a rainbow were landed in the harbor behind Summerfest over the weekend but the numbers were down from the previous weeks. The majority of boats out of the McKinley and Riverfront ramps continue to target brown trout in the Milwaukee harbor with crankbaits and spoons. A few lake trout were landed on the Green Can Reef. Nice catches of brown trout continue to be caught under the Hoan Bridge. Smelt anglers were out under the Hoan Bridge on April 12. Nice catches of browns and a few coho were landed at the Grant Park shoreline. A large number of rainbows moved into Oak Creek at Grant Park after the rain fell. More rainbows moved into the creek after more rain fell on April 13. Boats out of Bender Park were targeting browns and coho in front of Grant Park, the South Shore water treatment plant, the Oak Creek Power Plant, and Wind Point. A nice size chinook was landed this week according to the anglers at the ramp. The Milwaukee River flow rate at Estabrook Park increased from 1,400 last week to 1540 cfs on Sunday. The water at Kletzsch Park was cloudy on Sunday. The river at Kletzsch and Estabrook Park has been high and fast for the past 2-3 weeks. Fishing pressure at Kletzsch continues to be low due to the fast water. Rainbows were seen on the gravel bars near the Bender Road Bridge but very few anglers were fishing for them. A few rainbows were landed at Kletzsch during the week when the water temperature was under 50 degrees. The majority of the fish landed at Estabrook Park were smallmouth bass, northern pike, and suckers. The number of rainbows caught at Estabrook has decreased as the water temperature increased. Nice catches of perch were landed on the river side of Summerfest at the start of the week by anglers fishing with fathead minnows and spawn sacks. The majority of fishing pressure on the Menomonee River during the week was at Miller and Three Bridges Park. A large number of rainbows and suckers were seen in the river at Miller and Three Bridges Park. The catch rate for rainbows tapered off when the water temperature reached 60 degrees. The season for rainbow fishing in the rivers is almost over when the water temperature reaches the 55-60 degrees range.
Racine County - Two brown trout were reported caught on the north pier, one was caught on a spawn sac on the bottom and the other was caught on a shiner on the bottom. The water temperature was 49 degrees. The Root River is currently flowing at 780 cfs. The steelhead fishing this past week was very good for anglers when the flow rate was between 300-400 cfs. Water clarity was between 10-12 inches. Anglers had also continued to catch many suckers as well. Fishing is expected to be much more difficult since the storm from Saturday to Sunday increased the cfs to 780 and made the water clarity very low. The water temperature upstream of the steelhead facility was 52 degrees, and 55 degrees downstream of the facility. This week most anglers focused their effort from Quarry Lake Park up to the Horlick dam. Around 20 anglers were fishing upstream of the facility and catching steelhead. Anglers also reported catching "too many suckers to count." A couple of anglers also reported catching steelhead on orange spawn sacs and egg sucking leeches with an orange egg and black or purple leech pattern. There was very little fishing pressure below the facility this week and no particular stretch of river that anglers seemed to prefer.
Kenosha County - Anglers fishing from the south pier caught brown trout on shiners on bottom rigs. A few northern pike were also reported caught on shiners and crankbaits. The water temperature was 50 degrees. The mouth of the Pike River is still open and flowing into Lake Michigan. The water temperature was 53 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Report What a difference a week can make. The river is well above normal flow for this time of year. Muscoda reported 34,000 cfs but only 18,000 at Castle Rock. A 2-inch rain in the central Wisconsin watershed really increases flows on the lower Wisconsin River. Flows should stay high for the next few days. We would suggest staying off the river at these flows, but the backwaters still provide good opportunities for getting on the water and seeing lots of waterfowl. Earth Day is April 22 and this weekend Sauk County has an annual Earth Day event at Rock Springs on Sunday. Go to saukcountyearthday.com for details. Lot of leaves are getting ready to pop, soft maple and river birch are more advanced. A lot of the early wildflowers are blooming including pasque flowers and Dutchman's breeches. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Wyalusing State Park -The Mississippi River is above water levels. The fishing has been slow. Boat landing is open the water level is high. Birds that have been spotted in the park include eagles, blue birds, field sparrow, chipping sparrows, sand hill crane, great blue heron, killdeer, towhee, cardinal, redwing black bird, flicker, meadowlark, and wren. Flowers blooming at the park, blood root, rue anemone, wood anemone, spring beauty, wood violets, cut-leaved toothwort, dutchman breeches and shooting star. Trails for hiking and biking are in good condition. Wisconsin Ridge Campground open for camping. Shower Building will be open May 1, along with the dump station. The winter water supply is still available for campers. Homestead Campground will open May 1. Free fishing weekend is the weekend of our Centennial Celebration, June 3, 2017. We will be celebrating Wyalusing State Park 100th Anniversary Saturday, June 3, 2017. Please join us for our Centennial Celebration. Open House-Free Admission. A day of fun for the whole family with guided nature hikes, kids games, a 5k trail walk, history of the park presentations, music and more events to be announced. Mark your calendar and help us celebrate 100 years. Sponsored in part by the Friends of Wyalusing State Park. - Pam Dressler, visitor services associate
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Fishing on Lake Wisconsin in Columbia County continues to be hit and miss. More post-spawn walleyes are being caught and crappie action continues to pick up. Bluegill action is slow. The Wisconsin River water levels are high and boaters are cautioned to be careful while navigating. Turkey action is good with lots of sightings of strutting toms. Hunting activity should be good for first season hunters. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Migratory songbirds that showed up over the past week include chipping sparrows, savanna sparrows, eastern towhees, brown thrashers, yellow-rumped warblers, ruby-crowned kinglets, and a few eastern kingbirds. Marsh marigolds are in full bloom. Turkey hunters should be aware that field roads and hillsides are very wet and slippery due to persistent rains and should be cautious when accessing there hunting sites. Speaking of wild turkeys, gobbling activity has really picked up during the past week, just in time for the onset of the turkey hunting season. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Spring is a great time to visit the Black River State Forest. Trees are budding, flocks of birds are moving through on their spring migration and mosquito populations are still low. Sandhill cranes, turkey, deer, eagles and hawks are just some of the wildlife seen lately around the forest. Hiking trails are open but may be wet and muddy in some places. All campgrounds are now open on a first-come, first- serve basis. Temperatures this weekend are expected to be in the low 60s. ATV and UTV trails will reopen for the summer riding season on May 12, weather permitting. Castle Mound, East Fork and Pigeon Creek campgrounds are open on a first-come, first-served basis. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate