View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
After a chilly week with frost warnings and even the return of dusting of snow to the far north, a nice warmup is in the forecast for the upcoming holiday weekend. Most state park properties are reporting that reservable campsites are pretty full for the weekend. A limited number of non-reservable sites are available, but they also usually fill quickly. People looking for last minute campsites can check campsite availability for non-reservable sites in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. All campers heading out this weekend are reminded to buy firewood where they burn it and do not bring wood from farther than 10 miles from your destination to avoid spreading emerald ash borer and other pests.
Rain in the last week has raised water levels on some rivers, especially in the northwestern part of the state, where the falls at Amnicon and Pattison state parks are currently very impressive, but many rivers continue to be low for early spring, including the Flambeau and lower Wisconsin rivers.
Green up of vegetation and regular rains have kept fire danger low, likely bringing an end to the spring wildfire season, with 679 wildfires burning 2,200 acres and destroying 33 structures this spring.
The cold spell led to a drop in water temperatures back down into the 50s on many lakes in the Northwoods, resulting in rather inconsistent fishing success and a slowdown in spawning activity. Walleye anglers did report some fair catches of 14 to 18-inch fish, with the best action occurring near dark as the wind would subside a bit. Panfish provided the most consistent fishing and some nice catches of crappie, bluegill and perch have been made. Northern pike success continued to be good, with most fish being found in and around the newly forming weed beds.
This musky season opens in the Northern zone and Green Bay this weekend and fishing prospects look excellent. Most musky have completed their spring spawning ritual and should be active with the warming temperatures. Small bucktails and jerk baits should provide some good action and look for the fish to be holding on the deep edges of newly forming weed beds.
Green Bay was very active last weekend with the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament. The water temperature average 53 degrees, the smallmouth bass action was good Little Sturgeon Bay, with several boats reported catching 20-plusfish, but action was slower in other areas.
Fog enshrouded the Two Rivers, Manitowoc and Sheboygan shores last weekend dampening fishing. Both Kewaunee and Algoma also saw light angler pressure with only slight success reported for brown trout. Trollers out of Port Washington working the nearshore waters around the harbor reported good numbers of browns and a few rainbows, chinooks, and lake trout. Milwaukee anglers on McKinley Pier reported nice size brown trout and a few browns have also been caught along the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds. Trollers off Milwaukee have begun targeting coho, and trollers out of Racine and Kenosha continue to report success with coho.
Fifth period turkey hunter success was mixed, with some reporting toms were largely unresponsive to calling and other reporting with hens nesting, toms were still actively displaying in fields and responding to calls.
Many more fawns are being reported this week. Does leave newborn fawns to lie motionless in vegetation to conceal them from predators. The mother will return to feed it. So if you see a fawn this holiday weekend, it is not abandoned. Leave it where it is and stay away from the area.
Common butterflies being seen on warm days are white sulfurs, satyrs and a few spring azures. The endangered Karner blue butterfly is expected to emerge with the next warm spell.
Sandhill crane young, called colts, are now being seen, along with more loon chicks. Participants in this week's Great Wisconsin Birdathon at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area identified 119 bird species including 15 warbler species, Harris and white-crowned sparrows, merlin and peregrine falcons, wood thrushes, ruddy turnstone and semipalmated plovers. Yellow-headed, least bittern and red-necked grebes were found nesting.
In the south early woodland flowers are now done and have been replaced by shooting stars, wild geranium, jack in the pulpit, rue anemone, and false solomon's-seal among others. Dry prairies are in bloom now with wood betony, cream gentians, prairie smoke, golden Alexander and others.
Green up of vegetation and regular rains have kept fire danger Low to Moderate lately. Over the past week, 13 wildfires burned in DNR Protection Areas. Five of the fires were caused by equipment, including a 5-acre Richland County fire which ignited in corn stubble. People are urged to always use caution with all types of outdoor burning and equipment use.
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.
This concludes the wildfire report until conditions cause the fire danger to rise. As a recap, 679 wildfires burned 2,200 acres this spring; 33 structures burned and another 412 were threatened, but saved with firefighter assistance. Remember, the state is in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions; an absence of regular precipitation may cause fire danger to rise over the summer months. Stay informed by checking our Fire web page http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/ForestFire/ as a part your outdoor work and recreation routine.
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Frost warnings visited the forest earlier this week as is common for our area in the spring. The forecast looks sunny and temperatures should remain around the 70s for the Memorial day weekend. The River is flowing around 170cfs currently. DNR staff are working at clearing the river so that paddlers are able to float the river without having to portage around too many obstacles. Check stream flow rates before you plan your upcoming canoe trip by searching USGS Stream flow information. New warblers are still coming into the area. Chestnut-sided warbler and Cape May warbler are just a couple that you can keep an eye out for. American goldfinch and Eastern Towhee have also heard singing their song in the forest tops. All kinds of plants are immerging on the forest floor. Trees are continuing to pollinate as dually noted by those of us that suffer from pollen allergies. Bears and other animals are finding their way into our back yards regularly. Especially with the increase of activity this weekend, please be sure to be careful around wildlife, and whatever you do, do not touch them! Please call your local DNR station if you have any questions. Visitors can expect to see a bit more competition out on the lakes and rivers this Memorial weekend; however, with the abundance of water bodies in this area, it won't be hard to get away from the crowds and find peaceful areas to wet a line. June 6 and 7 is free fun weekend -fishing licenses, admission stickers and trail passes waived. This is a great time for you to introduce someone new to the sport of fishing. All of our reservable campsites are booked this weekend; however, there are still plenty of campsites that are walk-in sites so come and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend. Gypsy moth spraying planes are flying overhead and may be seen around the area as the department of agriculture will be conducting gypsy moth (a defoliating insect) sprays around the state. Please call 1-800-642-6684 for information on when they will be spraying in this area. Also visit http://gypsymoth.wi.gov for more information.- Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Amnicon Falls State Park - It's finally starting to look a lot like springtime. All trails are open, but with recent rain and higher water there are some wet areas throughout the trail. Grass is green, trees are budding and flowers are starting to bloom. See how many plants you can identify while you enjoy a hike on the 1.5 mile Snowshoe Trail. Enjoy the beautiful views along the Amnicon River as you hike the Thimbleberry Nature Trail. With the recent rains, the water level is up! The falls are roaring so remember to bring your camera. Pets are allowed on all trails throughout the park except for the Thimbleberry Nature Trail. - Natalie Brown, ranger
Pattison State Park - With significant rain early this week, the Black River and Amnicon River are flowing to the falls are impressive. Northern pike are hitting on area lakes. Marsh Marigolds are still blooming. The park had a unique bird visitor on May 17: a male scarlet tanager allowed Ranger Jacob Anderson to take several photos while it sat on the split rail fence. The shower house at Pattison is now open.- Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area - There were 119 total bird species identified in during the Great Wisconsin Birdathon, including 15 Warbler species: redstart, ovenbird, pine, chestnut-sided, Cape-May, magnolia, yellow, yellow-rumped, yellowthroat, Tennessee, Nashville, black and white, golden-winged, black-throated green and palm. Lark, Harris and white-crowned sparrows were present. Merlin and peregrine falcons were sighted. Yellow-headed, least bittern and red-necked grebes were nesting. Wood thrushes were present. Ruddy turnstone, Dunlin and semipalmated plovers were found. Several Black bears were sighted. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Interstate Park - Nesting birds are active throughout the park. Great blue herons are easily observed near the rookery near the Camp Interstate Shelter. Eaglets are on the nest, best viewed from Eagle Peak. Blooming wildflowers include: anemone, wild geranium, violets, miterwort, rock-cress, Solomon's-seal, Solomon's-plume, wild blue phlox, Virginia waterleaf, columbine. Fishing success has attracted anglers to the St. Croix River and also Lake O' the Dalles. All campgrounds are open. Water systems and the shower/flush toilet building are operational except for the beach area. Vault toilets are available.- Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Fishing success was rather inconsistent in the past week due to the several cold fronts, dropping water temperatures and generally unstable weather. Strong winds have made for some difficult fishing conditions and many fishermen chose to seek out more sheltered locations. This limited success on many of the larger waters. Walleye anglers did report some fair catches of 14 to 18-inch fish, with the best action occurring near dark as the wind would subside a bit. Jig/minnow combinations and minnows on slip bobbers provided the most success, though artificial baits also produced some pretty good action. Water temperatures have dropped into the upper 50s on many lakes across the Northwoods and this has slowed the move of panfish toward the shallows. Panfish have provided the most consistent fishing action lately and some nice catches of crappie, bluegill and perch have been made. Some crappie have been spawning in the shallow, warmer bays; and bluegill should also begin as the water continues to warm this spring. Northern pike success continued to be good, with most fish being found in and around the newly forming weed beds. Some of the smaller lakes have water temperatures in the low 60s and this has spurred both the largemouth and smallmouth bass to begin their spawning activity. Anglers are reminded that the catch and release season for smallmouth bass remains in effect in the Northern Bass zone until June 20. Trout action on the managed trout lakes continues to be good and most anglers have had real good success on trout in the 8 to 10-inch size, with some catches of 14- to 18-inch browns. This weekend is the musky opener in the Northern zone and fishing prospects look excellent. Most musky have completed their spring spawning ritual and should be active with the warming temperatures. Abundance is still high on many small waters in the Chequamegon National Forest and anglers looking for action should try Day Lake Flowage, English Lake, and Mineral Lake in Ashland County; Ghost Lake, Lower Clam Lake, and Black Lake in Sawyer County; Others waters with good abundances of musky include Butternut Lake, the Phillips Chain, and the Pike/Round Chain in Price County. Small bucktails and jerk baits should provide some good action and look for the fish to be holding on the deep edges of newly forming weed beds. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North & South Forks of the Flambeau River are a bit on the low side, but still great for paddling. Water temps are ranging about mid-50s. Trees are all leafed out with the exception of the ash trees. Beavers are dropping pups and we are seeing goslings, baby loons, snakes, and turtles are on the move. Blooming are trilliums, spring beauties, lilacs, wood anemone, leatherwood, blood root and marsh marigolds. Fiddlehead ferns up and open. The grouse are drumming and the following birds are active and heard on the forest: house wren, white breasted nuthatch, chipping sparrow, catbird, robin, Nashville warbler, chestnut sided warbler, black and white warbler, ovenbird, white throated sparrow, blue jay, crow, raven, flicker, song sparrow, yellow bellied sapsucker and yellow-rumped warbler and red breasted grosbeaks. The black flies and mosquitoes are out, and the wood ticks are abundant. Lake of the Pines Campground is open and Connors Lake Campground will open today, Thursday at noon before Memorial Weekend. Please note that our campers now have access to public showers/bathrooms 24/7 starting that same Thursday before Memorial and open till October 1st at the New Office Headquarters. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Get ready for some cute factor, because there are goslings and ducklings all over the place. Everything is popping out now after our recent rain. Visitors are seeing trilliums, yellow downy violets, marsh marigolds, wood anemones, sweet white violets and barren as well as wild strawberries. A few patches of trailing arbutus are still blooming. June berries, pin cherries, blueberries and bush honeysuckle are blooming which is great since the ruby throated hummingbirds started showing up on the May 8. Warblers are starting to move through, and loons are on their nesting platforms. The soft pastel colors of all of the new spring growth in the forest are beautiful. All campgrounds on the forest are now open, basic spring preparations have been completed, campground hosts and managers are onsite and we are ready for a busy weekend! Most reservable sites are booked for the weekend, but several of our outlying rustic campgrounds do not take reservations and there are always available sites to be found. Don't forget to leave your firewood at home if you are traveling more than 10 miles to your chosen campground. The forest trails are in good shape for the upcoming weekend. Warm weather and sunshine are in the forecast, so we hope to see lots of visitors this weekend. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Shore anglers and boaters are both reporting some nice catches of smallmouth bass below the dam in Peshtigo down river past the Municipal Boat Launch. Jigging drop shot style or casting small spoons and spinners has worked well as has live bait floated in the current seams. Peshtigo Harbor anglers are catching cat fish, smallmouth, sheepshead, and red horse suckers, with most anglers fishing live bait on bottom. The walleye bite has been slow on the Bay from the mouth of the Peshtigo River to the Little River Boat Launch. A few brown trout were still being caught out of Little River in 10-plus feet of water trolling stickbaits at about 1 1/2 miles an hour, working south of the landing. Fishermen are catching a few walleye at the Hattie Street Dam using jigs and minnows. Boaters report some very nice small mouth bass being caught the length of the river casting spoons and stick baits as well as plastics using the drop shot method. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers at the Dam at Stiles are catching a variety of fish including blue gill, crappie, small mouth, and red horse. Most fishermen are using live bait, either crawlers or minnows below a slip bobber. Kayak's and canoe's anglers are floating the upper river and doing well on bass using small spoons, spinners, and small stick baits. Rock and gravel bottoms as well as current seams are holding some nice fish. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River are also catching smallmouth using plastic worms and large spinner baits. Walleye anglers enjoyed success from the landing at Pensaukee to Oconto Park II. Depending on the weather, fish are being caught in 7 to 17 feet of water. Once anglers have patterned fish catch rates have been good, Along with walleye a few browns and catfish are also being caught. Most anglers are using crawler harness with a rod or two equipped with stick baits. Purples seem to be producing the best. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishing pressure remained high at Bayshore Park. All of the boats interviewed were fishing for walleye. Catch numbers were highly varied. Catches were highest fishing in 6-12 feet of water early in the morning/ late in the evening and about18-plus feet in mid-afternoon. Crank baits remain the most commonly used lure. Other fish caught included freshwater drum, catfish, white bass, suckers, and whitefish. Water temperatures were 55-57 degrees. One pier angler fishing for walleye landed a nice-sized northern pike. Jigs, cranks and live bait remain popular choices for this group of fishermen. No walleye were reported caught.
Door County - Fishing pressure was high with many anglers focusing their energies on pre-fishing for the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament, which took place at the end of the week. Shore fishing pressure was light , with anglers focusing their attentions primarily in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. The cool and cloudy conditions throughout the week caused the bite to be slow regardless of the species being targeted. Many of whom reported only moderate success enticing smallmouth bass to bite. Shore fishing in the canal was focused in town, in particular Bay View and Center Point Parks. Though shore anglers had a small amount of success with northern pike and smallmouth bass the vigor of the bite was down from the previous week. The water temperature average 53 degrees. Smallmouth bass fishing on Little Sturgeon Bay picked up, with several boats reported catching 20-plusfish. Tubes, jerk baits, spinner baits and live bait were all effect choices for anglers during the week. Incidental catches by this group included walleye, northern pike, suckers, whitefish and musky. One boater shared a picture of a 53 inch musky. Walleye fishing was slow and success rates were low. Crank baits continue to be the preferred method for walleye. Depending on the day and wind, water clarity ranged from cloudy to quite clear. Fishing pressure on Sawyer Harbor, primarily out of Potawatomi State Park, was rather light. Those who went out were primarily searching for smallmouth bass. Catch numbers were hit or miss. The luckiest anglers reported using tubes and live bait. Yellow perch, rock bass and a burbot were all mentioned as incidental catches by smallmouth anglers. Anglers are beginning to hit Lake Michigan waters in larger numbers compared to previous weeks. However, with the recent rains the fishing has success tailed off as the water has cooled. That being said, the best success for smallmouth bass has been coming out of Rowley's Bay and even some out of North Bay. The smallmouth seem to be congregating in the shallows, about 2 to 5 feet of water, especially around the Mink River were many anglers have been wading. The most successful baits have been plastics and live bait. Anglers have also been catching the occasional Northern Pike in these areas. Fishing pressure was relatively high out of Chaudoir's Dock. All boaters interviewed were trolling for walleye. Catches were hit or miss. Crank baits were the most common lure. Catches were highest fishing in 6-12 feet of water early in the morning/ late in the evening and about 18+feet in mid-afternoon. Freshwater drum were also reported caught.
Kewaunee County - Both Kewaunee and Algoma saw extremely light angler pressure throughout the week. Lake Michigan saw light winds last week which kept its clarity high. There where no reports from anglers returning to the Kewaunee City Ramp. Lake Michigan remained clear throughout the week with a temperature of 56 degrees. Only a few anglers where observed fishing for brown trout from the pier in Kewaunee. Anglers reported only slight success with brown trout, managing to miss a few bites and catching even fewer individuals. On an up note, the first observed chinook salmon was taken from the end on the pier. There were no anglers observed fishing in Algoma. Lake Michigan had high clarity and a water temperature hovering around 56 degrees.
Manitowoc County - Fog enshrouded the Two Rivers and Manitowoc shores starting around 3 to 4 p.m. Friday May 15 and continued to dampen fishing throughout the weekend. Manitowoc harbor side remains dark brown in color, while pier sides are looking clearer. The Manitowoc Harbor temperature is 56 degrees. Some anglers are having success catching Brown Trout with spawn sacs in the harbor. The south pier near the wastewater treatment plant was popular Saturday May 16. Most anglers were using spoons in this locale. Few boaters were out of the Manitowoc ramps this weekend. Some anglers were skunked, while others caught brown trout on stick baits. People were casually angling for carp and catfish in the Two Rivers harbors and piers harbor, while others looked for trout on the piers with no luck. The harbor remains dark and muddy in color, with a temperature of 60 degrees. Larger boats are starting to put in for moori.ng at the Two Rivers ramps, but there has been little fishing activity at the ramps. Jason Ruckel fisheries technician, Manitowoc
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Peninsula State Park - The observation tower located in Peninsula State Park, known as Eagle Tower, will be closed immediately because of structural concerns. At this time, the department has not made any plans to repair or replace the tower. Further study of the inspection report along with the availability of funding will determine the future of the structure.
Potawatomi State Park - Spring flowers in bloom at the park include bellwort, gay wings, Canada anemone, Canada mayflowers, and wild strawberries. An American Redstart was seen in the campground. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Rock Island State Park - The ferry begins running to Rock Island on Friday May 22 at 10 a.m., 12 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Lake Michigan is cold yet so don't forget to bring a jacket. Cold water boating precautions need to be practiced if arriving by private boat. The lighthouse will be open for tours starting Friday May 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bird migrations are under way. Restrooms are open and water has been turned on and tested safe. Self- registration is in effect. Camping is only permitted in designated campsites after first completing the self-registration forms at the visitor contact station located near the dock on Rock Island. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager
Whitefish Dunes State Park - With the warmer weather lots of wildlife sightings. An eagle has been perching in the large white pine trees along the shoreline. A mother and baby porcupine have been spotted near the entrance. Red-bellied woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers and rose-breasted grosbeaks, orioles and indigo buntings at the bird feeders by the park office. The frogs have been singing near the boardwalk on the Brachiopod Trail. Hepatica, dwarf lake iris, violets, trillium and wild strawberry are popping up in the woods welcoming spring.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Tis the season for fuzzy things - saw a baby sandhill crane yesterday and there are young geese the size of mallards. Have not seen a fawn yet, but there are surely many around. The only deer I have seen this week are yearlings stumbling around looking lost after mom gave them the boot right before fawning. Have not heard any trout fishing report this week, but fishing has been excellent up to this point. Some bluegills have begun spawning on the smaller lakes in the area. Have not heard any reports on walleye biting locally - the cold front we got this week would generally slow things down. My unique wildlife sighting for the week was a wood turtle crossing the road in northern Waupaca County. Trilliums are blooming, still no morels - that may be because it has been pretty dry up here this spring. Insect update - some mosquitos, ticks have slowed down with the cool weather. Looks like a good weekend forecast. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
High Cliff State Park - Lake Winnebago has been rough and windy lately, making it ideal for wind surfers. Good walleye fishing has been reported on the northeast shore. The trails at High Cliff State Park are dry. Trillium and trout lily are past peak, but may apples, violets, and Wild Geranium are providing some great shows of color. Volunteers have been busy pulling garlic mustard, which is starting to produce seed spikes. Warbler viewing is just past peak, but there are still numerous birds being reported. Scarlet tanagers, Indigo bunting and grosbeaks provide stunning photo opportunities. - Cynthia Mueller, naturalist
Winnebago County - It's baby season! It is important to keep your pets on a leash to keep them and wildlife safe. A few fawns have been seen around the county. Newborn fawns lie motionless in vegetation to conceal themselves from predators. The mother has left the fawn there and will return to feed it. So if you see a fawn this holiday weekend, leave it where it is and stay away from the area. Great blue heron chicks have hatched in the area! Their nests are mainly found in trees and can be four feet across and nearly 3.5 feet deep. Sandhilll crane colts have been spotted in the area too! They can be found usually nesting in small, isolated wetlands with standing water. The adults defend their colts from predators (raccoons, coyotes, fox) by spreading their wings and hissing, eventually resorting to kicking. Goslings have been seen in parks along the lakes. Goslings leave the nest when they are one to two days old and are strongly guarded by their parents. When enjoying the water this weekend, make sure to watch out for wildlife. Rachel Brookins, wildlife biologist, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan dense fog at the lakefront was an issue over the weekend. Many boats did not venture out on the lake, but earlier in the week trollers were catching a mix of browns and lake trout. White, blue, or green spoons fished in 20 to 35 feet of water were producing. Shore fishing off the piers in Sheboygan has slowed. A few browns were reported, along with a lake trout and Chinook. Spoons, cranks baits, spinners, and shiners have all taken fish at times.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington trollers have been working the nearshore waters around the harbor. Good numbers of browns and a few rainbows, chinooks, and lake trout have been caught on blue spoons and crank baits in 20 to 30 feet of water. Shore anglers fishing near the power plant and off the rocks at Rotary Park have been catching a 50/50 mix of browns and rainbows, with alewives producing the most fish. Anglers on the north pier have reported catching browns and a few coho on alewives or silver spoons.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee anglers on McKinley Pier have reported good luck landing nice size brown trout on the lake side of the pier when the winds are out of the west and the water is clear. Glow in the dark or blue and silver spoons and crankbaits have produced fish. A few alewives are also starting to show up off of the pier. A few browns have also been caught along the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds on golden shiners or fathead minnows. Anglers fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant pier and off the pier in Grant Park have been catching browns and coho on spoons, Gulp, or white tube jigs tipped with wax worms. When the lake is calm, trollers off Milwaukee have begun targeting coho with dodgers and flies, however, when the lake is rough a few browns are still biting in the harbor and around the gaps. Steelhead fishing has been tapering off in the Milwaukee area. Anglers fishing on Oak Creek have reported that the steelhead remaining in the stream have been skittish in the clear, shallow water. Fishing in the deeper holes with trout beads has worked well for some.
Racine County - Racine trollers have reported catching decent numbers of coho early in the morning off of the south breakwall. The paving of the parking lot at the Pershing Park boat launch is complete. Pier fishing has generally slow lately, with strong winds and high waves making conditions difficult. Most anglers have been getting only occasional bites in recent days.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha trollers fishing with downriggers in 100 feet of water have been catching good numbers of coho and occasional lake trout. Catch rates have been lower on days when the lake is choppy, but on calmer days limits of fish have been taken. Shore fishing in Kenosha has been hit-or-miss, but anglers who are willing to put in some time fishing off the ends of the piers can have a decent chance at catching coho. Most successful anglers have been fishing with minnows or other live bait. Shore fishing further inside the harbor has been slow.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Many baby animals are being sighted in the area. Check out the DNR's Keep Wildlife Wild page for great information on what to do if you find a baby animal this spring. Warbler migration in the area is increasing. The first duck broods of the season have been seen at Vernon Marsh.- Kelly VanBeek, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Numerous bird species are nesting, with many having hatched and fledged chicks. Robins are seen with fledglings, and Canada geese with goslings are seen as well. Many owl chicks have left the nest. Bald eagle chicks have hatched. Common nighthawks have arrived. Wild turkeys are nesting, and many toms are still actively displaying in fields. This leads to good chances of calling in a tom during the final season for turkey hunting. Many wild flowers are in bloom, including forest species such as blue phlox, Virginia waterleaf, wild geranium, violets, jack-in-the-pulpit, columbine and wood anemone. Prairie/grassland species in bloom include hoary puccoon, wild lupine, prairie-smoke, bird's-foot violet, prairie violet - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville
Lafayette County - Fawn and other baby animal sightings are abundant. Please remember to leave all baby animals where you see them as their mothers are better at raising them than any of us. The fish bite all around the area is slow and turkey are getting harvested at a good rate. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Multiple reports of does dropping fawns have been coming in. Please remember that if you come across a fawn that appears to be alone to just leave it there and back away slowly. This is a survival tactic that deer use to keep the fawns safe (who are not yet strong enough to follow their mothers) while the doe feeds. Eaglets have hatched and are being attended to in their large nests. Black terns are back and should be nesting shortly. For the most part during the fifth turkey hunting time period, toms were largely unresponsive to calling. Hunters' should employ ambush tactics to have the best bet of harvesting a bird during the last turkey season. Lupine and downy phlox began blooming this week joining other wildflowers in bloom such as columbine, puccoon, cinquefoil, violets and the invasive dame's rocket. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Dane County - The first deer fawns of the year are being reported. Bird migration is advancing rapidly. Some of the later arrivals are now present including willow and alder flycatcher, cuckoos, dickcissel, and Connecticut warbler. Shorebirds are now abundant in appropriate habitat. Birders are having good luck viewing shorebirds at the Nine Springs wetlands in Madison and in drying agricultural ponds in northern Dane county. Nesting season is also in full swing and the public is reminded that they can participate in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas by registering and reporting their breeding bird observations at ebird.org/content/atlaswi (exit DNR). Birds with young include waterfowl, sandhill cranes, robins, American woodcock, wild turkey and other early migrants. The early woodland flowers are now done and have been replaced by shooting stars, wild geranium, jack in the pulpit, rue anemone, and false solomon's-seal among others. Dry prairies are in bloom now with shooting stars, wood betony, cream gentians, prairie smoke, golden Alexander and other early blooming plants. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Sauk County - Fishing activity continues to be steady around the southern Sauk County area with water temperatures continuing to rise. Anglers on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam can catch a variety of fish this time of year. Anglers are still catching some walleye and sauger and the smallmouth bass activity has picked up. Lake WI anglers have reported that crappie fishing has slowed but a few are still getting caught in the shallows. Trolling crankbaits has been getting some walleye and sauger on Lake WI as well. The fishing on Devils Lake has slowed some for shore anglers with the warmer water temperatures. People looking for trout by boats on Devils Lake are starting to find the fish suspended out in deeper water. - Sean Neverman, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Many spring woodland flowers are still blooming, especially trilliums. Some woodlands are so carpeted with trilliums that it looks as though there is a blanket of snow in the woods. Mayapple, mitrewort, bellwort, waterleaf, early meadow rue, columbine, downy yellow violet, and jack-in-the-pulpit are other woodland flowers now blooming. Morel mushroom hunters continue to report spotty success but remain hopeful that more mushrooms are yet to come. Mushrooms are the reproductive parts of fungus organisms, which develop to form and disburse spores. Morel mushrooms are known as spore shooters, since their spores are formed within flask-shaped sacs or asci. When spores become mature, they are shot or expelled from the asci. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Memorial weekend is looking to be fairly nice with temperatures in the 70s with a chance of rain on Sunday. All ATV trails are now open except for the wildcat loop. Trails were groomed early this week and are wet but in good condition. This May and June we will be working on upgrading the wetland crossings on this section of trail. The Wildcat loop will re-open for July through Labor Day and then close again while we continue the upgrade work. These upgrades are the last stage of a multi-year project to bring all wetland crossings up to code. Improving these wetland crossings make the trail system less susceptible to closures after large rainfall events and decreases the long term maintenance costs of the trail system. The shower building and dump station at the Castle Mound campground are now open for the season. While all of the reservable sites are taken for this weekend, there are a limited number of first-come, first-serve sites available in the Pigeon Creek and East Fork campgrounds. Backpackers can use the online permit to register for camping.- Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa Moraine Ice Age State Recreation Area - - Trails within the Chippewa Moraine are well packed and in good hiking condition. With recent wet weather they may be slippery and muddy in isolated spots. Spring flowers have emerged which include Canada starflower, spring anemone, trillium, bellwort and hepatica. Ferns are out in full force and tree leaves have emerged and starting their annual life process. Kettle lakes within the Reserve have benefited from the amount of rain received, and provide the listener with a chorus of frog song. Northern leopard frogs, northern spring peepers, and wood frogs are common now and are a welcome sound from the long quiet winter months. Small hatchling painted turtles have been found in the last few weeks. Some eggs laid late in the season may not hatch until the following spring and those are the ones we are finding now. Use caution on roads and keep an eye out for these slow moving residents. Raccoons, wild turkeys and sand hill cranes are in action. The bird feeders at the interpretive center are awash with color and song. Common birds include northern orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, red headed woodpeckers, ruby throated hummingbirds and a wide array of others; both transient and resident. Be on the watch for fawns but leave them where you find them. Baby animals need to be left alone as mama knows where they are and has a watchful eye on them. - Brenda Rederer, natural resources educator
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Repeated stretches of cool weather have slowed the development of early spring wildflowers for insect pollinators in the sand country from Waupaca and Berlin west to Black River Falls and Sparta, and in the northwest sands surrounding Burnett County. Currently the most common wildflowers found in the open sandy areas are violets, wild strawberry, sand cress and puccoon. Wild blue lupine is beginning to bloom in many areas. Insect pollinator activity has been slow. Bumblebees have been active but honeybees are scarce to date. The most common butterflies on warm days are white sulfurs, satyrs and a few spring azures. The endangered Karner blue butterfly is expected to emerge with the next warm spell for the first of its two annual flight periods. - Bob Hess, conservation biologists, Wisconsin Rapids