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Outdoor Report

Published April 19, 2018 by the Central Office

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Old Man Winter is refusing to loosen his grip on Wisconsin, dropping from a few inches to more than 2 feet of snow in across the state in a series of snowstorms in the last week. Crews from Pattison State Park and the Brule River State Forest continued to groom ski trails and reported good to excellent conditions. Other properties have put away grooming equipment but skiing was still fair on ungroomed trails through central and even southern Wisconsin.

After another 20 inches of snow, ski trails were groomed April 17 at Pattison State Park. - Photo credit: Gervase Thompson, DNR
After another 15 inches of snow this week, ski trails were groomed April 17 at Pattison State Park.Photo credit: Gervase Thompson, DNR

The weather kept many fishermen inside this week, but warm weather this week should bring out lots of anglers. Walleye fishing was picking up on the Oconto, Peshtigo, Menominee and Wolf rivers prior to the snow, but then water temperatures dropped dramatically. There have still been hundreds of shore anglers and boaters out on the Fox River to catch a trophy walleye. Sturgeon are in the Wolf River, but with cold water it will be at least a week or longer before spawning will occur.

This satellite image taken by NOAA about noon April 19 shows snow cover across almost all of Wisconsin - Photo credit: NOAA
This satellite image taken by NOAA about noon April 19 shows snow cover across almost all of WisconsinPhoto credit: NOAA

Most Door County ramps and access points are blocked with snow. Before the storm fishing was fairly productive. Boats launching at Sturgeon Bay were trolling for browns. Steelhead fishing was good before the storm with numbers of fish showing up in creeks.

Anglers fishing the East Twin River had good success early in the week before snow. Anglers that braved the snow storm caught a few fish but nothing like earlier in the week. The West Twin River by the Shoto Dam produced fish all week long.

Turkey hunters braved the cold weather both for the youth hunt in the blizzard with near whiteout conditions and 40 mph winds last weekend and on Wednesday for the opener. Those hunters that were excited to draw a first season tag weren't so excited anymore. There was some success reported but other hunters report that the birds are more interested in eating than mating. That should change in a hurry when this snow melts and temps warm up.

Some of the older elk bulls have lost their antlers but the rag horns still have theirs. Pussy willows are coming out and sap is still being collected and cooked for maple syrup in the Northwoods.

Due to the heavy snow there were many reports of sick and even dying birds that were caught by the storms. Among the species most negatively affected were American robins, hermit thrushes, yellow-rumped warblers, American woodcocks, tree swallows, purple martins, eastern bluebirds and eastern phoebes. Bird feeders were incredibly active with many observers saying more visitors than they could ever remember. You can help migrants over the next few days by clearing snow to expose patches of bare ground, keeping feeders clean and full, and offering a variety of foods such as sunflower seeds, white millet, suet, peanut chunks, chopped raisins and other fruits, frozen berries, and mealworms.

With many State Park System properties buried under snow many have either rescheduled or cancelled the Work*Play*Earth Day events scheduled for this weekend. They are still going on at Interstate and Kohler-Andrae state parks and the Hank Aaron and Red Cedar State Trails. For all events search the DNR website for Get Outdoors

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Statewide Birding Report

Not surprisingly, the week's birding scene was heavily shaped by the large spring snowstorm that extended statewide. Early migrants were significantly affected, especially across the middle half of the state where the heaviest snow fell. Despite blizzard conditions in the far north, impacts were reduced there simply because many migrants had not yet returned. Among the species most negatively affected elsewhere were American robins, hermit thrushes, yellow-rumped warblers, American woodcocks, tree swallows, purple martins, eastern bluebirds and eastern phoebes. Some birds took shelter near or even in garages and other structures, while many could be found along roadsides or any other places with exposed, bare ground.

This week's snowstorms brought more fox sparrows to southern Wisconsin feeders than most observers could ever remember. - Photo credit: DNR
This week's snowstorms brought more fox sparrows to southern Wisconsin feeders than most observers could ever remember.Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Bird feeders were incredibly active - many observers saying more than they could ever remember. Robins took to suet, seed, raisins, and other fruits. Northern flickers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, and other woodpeckers visited suet, as did many yellow-rumped and a few pine warblers. Blackbirds, dark-eyed juncos, and various sparrows were also abundant ground feeders in the south and central, including unusually large concentrations of fox sparrows there, while common redpolls continued to dominate up north. The first brown thrashers, eastern towhees, and both yellow-headed and rusty blackbirds also adorned feeding stations in above-average numbers. Other roadside birds commonly reported were eastern meadowlarks, horned larks, Lapland longspurs, and snow buntings.

American robins congregated at feeders, fruit sources, and anywhere with bare ground during this week's snowstorms. - Photo credit: DNR
American robins congregated at feeders, fruit sources, and anywhere with bare ground during this week's snowstorms.Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Because water sources remained open and thus food available, waterbirds were far less affected by the storm. Most notable this week were reports from Lake Michigan where many red-breasted mergansers and increasing numbers of Bonaparte's gulls were found. Surveys from the Harrington Beach area in Ozaukee County tallied 500-plus long-tailed ducks on April 18 and 37 red-throated loons amid 284 common loons on April 16. 250-plus long-tailed ducks were also reported from Washington Island. Some of this week's rarities included Eurasian wigeon in Brown County, western grebe in Sheboygan, marbled godwits in Racine and Ozaukee, Townsend's solitaire in Milwaukee, black-necked stilt in Dane, red-necked grebes in various locations, and perhaps most unusual of all, a yellow rail brought to a wildlife rehabilitator in Dane.

Looking ahead, you can help migrants over the next few days by clearing snow to expose patches of bare ground, keeping feeders clean and full, and offering a variety of foods such as sunflower seeds, white millet, suet, peanut chunks, chopped raisins and other fruits, frozen berries, and mealworms. Although the weather is going to improve drastically and quickly, the birds will need time to rebuild energy reserves sapped by the storm. Meanwhile, warmer, drier weather will bring many new migrants over the week ahead, especially Sunday-Tuesday on the heels of southerly tail winds. Visit dnr.wi.gov, keyword "rehab", if you find a bird in need of help, and help us track bird populations by reporting sightings to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Saturday, April 21, 2018

NOTE: Due to recent snowstorms, Work Play Earth Day events scheduled for this day have been rescheduled at Big Foot Beach State Park to May 5, Heritage Hill State Historical Park to May 11, Kettle Moraine State Forest-Northern Unit to May 5, Kettle Moraine State Forest - Pike Lake Unit to April 28, Kettle Moraine State Forest- Southern Unit to May 5 and Newport State Park to May 12 and cancelled at High Cliff, Peninsula and  Potawatomi state parks, Point Beach State Forest and the MacKenzie Center

Sunday, April 22, 2018

For all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
Find a park, forest trail or recreation property

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Chiwaukee Prairie Workday: Cutting and piling brush April 21, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Restore Chiwaukee Prairie! Help Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund volunteers during our monthly workdays on the third Saturday and enjoy the beauty of this rich prairie in the process. Remove invasive brush threatening the prairie. Bring a bag lunch to eat afterwards. 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

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Snow and howling winds have created some impressive snow drifts. - Photo credit: DNR
Snow and howling winds have created some impressive snow drifts.Photo credit: DNR

Brule River State Forest - Last weekend brought strong winds and heavy snow. In Brule we received about 14 inches of snow in the record-setting mid April blizzard. The heavy snow and howling winds created some impressive drifts! AfterHours Ski Trails were groomed earlier this week. Skiing is still good, although the warm weather is melting lots of snow and once again there are a few bare spots. This may be the last weekend to get some skiing in! More seasonally appropriate temperatures have followed the winter blast and the snow is melting. Although Copper Range Campground still has some deep drifts, campsites have been plowed out and there are a few camping reservations for this weekend. Some non-reservable sites are also plowed and available for campers that didn't make reservations. Last weekend's weather may have kept some fishermen away, but the warm weather this week should bring lots of anglers to the banks of the Brule again. The high winds piled up Lake Superior's ice along the shore, creating ice mounds with open water beyond. The Brule River still has ice shelves and snowy paths from the angler parking lots to the river, but the warmer weather and sunshine is working its magic to reveal some bare ground! The river is still running slow for this time of year at just under 160 cfs, but as the snowmelt really gets going it should start to get closer to the 72 year average of about 250 cfs. The USGS website for the Brule River has timelapse photos of the river near the Ranger Station as well as discharge flow and gage height data. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

The high winds piled up Lake Superior's ice along the shore, creating ice mounds with open water beyond.   - Photo credit: DNR
The high winds piled up Lake Superior's ice along the shore, creating ice mounds with open water beyond. Photo credit: DNR

Amnicon Falls State Park - Spring is coming, but it had a set-back with 15 inches of new snow over the weekend. On the positive side, aspen trees are beginning to bud, turkey vultures have been spotted, and hearty campers are returning to the park. This American woodcock was observed investigating a small strip of unfrozen ground at the edge of a parking lot. - David Lindsley, ranger

Pattison State Park - The park received 15 inches of snow over the weekend of April 15. The cross country ski trails are in excellent condition. The trails were rolled on April 16, and groomed and tracked the morning of April 17. There is about 9 inches of ski base and 24 inches of snow in the woods. The forecast is for warmer weather by the end of the week, so be aware of changing trail conditions as the week goes on. It looks like Mother Nature is giving us just a little longer to enjoy some late winter cross country skiing. The hiking trails are also open, but be prepared for deeper snow until the trail gets packed down. Both waterfalls are ice covered as of today. A trail pass is not required, but a vehicle admission sticker is.- Gervase Thompson, ranger

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Bird numbers are still way down in the Grantsburg area. The lack of open water, snow covered ground, and lack of insects has prevented many birds from migrating back to this area. We are still seeing many of the winter birds around, including common redpolls, snow buntings, rough-legged hawks, northern shrikes, and red crossbills. Some waterfowl have returned to Grantsburg, but many are being forced to gather in the few areas where there is open water. We have seen ring-necked ducks, mallards, common mergansers, hooded mergansers, wood ducks, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, and pintails. These are not present in large numbers. Bluebirds and eastern meadowlarks have been seen in the area, and the golden eagle is also still hanging around. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - In normal years, April would be greening faster. Last weekend we added 12 inches on to our snow depth. Ice would be closer to being off, we'd be seeing and hearing frogs and spring peepers. Maybe we would see some fiddleheads, early wildflowers, tree buds and tree flowers. We were all fooled with the warm days we had. Winter seems to be marching on. The weather continues to challenge the Flambeau River wildlife with the snow depth, though temperatures are again on the rise. Last year's deer fawns are showing the stress. Thin ice on rivers, creeks and beaver ponds are a risk for wildlife. The Flambeau River is open, with ice on some edges yet. Wildlife can be seen readily along the open east to southeast slopes where vegetation is slowly becoming visible, especially along roadsides. The snowshoe hare and weasel coats are turning brown. Kestrels and hawks have been hovering at road sides and open areas looking for prey, and eagles for prey and carrion. Some swans, geese, mallards, robins, grackles, red winged blackbirds, morning doves and purple finches have braved the weather. Tom turkeys are gobbling and displaying for the hens. Some of the older elk bulls have lost their antlers but the rag horns still have theirs. Pussy willows are coming out and the river is rising due to melting. Sap is being collected and cooked for maple syrup. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly sunny, with a high of 53 and low of 28. Saturday, will be sunny, with a high of 57 and a low of 30. Sunday will be sunny, with a high of 58 and a low of 36. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The State Forest has plenty of snow making survival very hard for the few migrant birds that have started to arrive. Area feeders are getting hit hard by the northern redpolls and siskins that are still here from Canada. The chickadees, nuthatches, blue jays and woodpeckers add sunshine to the recent snowy days. Snowshoes are still a must for any trekking outside unless the upcoming 50 degree temperatures do a quick job of melting the 16+ inches of new snow that fell the past weekend. Only time and Mother Nature will tell us how soon spring actually arrives in the Northwoods. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area - We received nearly 20 inches of snow the last weekend but the club is no longer grooming the trails. Conditions are "backcountry" skiing and "break your own trail." Temps are expected to be in the 40s and 50s by the weekend so the snow will deteriorate quickly. - Brett Bockhop, park and recreation specialist, Mercer

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Fisheries Technician Katie Renschen displays a nice walleye captured during assessments on the Menominee River April 12. - Photo credit: DNR
Fisheries Technician Katie Renschen displays a nice walleye captured during assessments on the Menominee River April 12.Photo credit: DNR

Marinette County - Two DNR fish crews conducted walleye assessments on the Menominee River below the Menominee Dam April 12. They processed 474 walleye in a few hours. Earlier last week our Green Bay crew completed spring walleye assessments on the Fox. We'll work the Oconto and Peshtigo this week. The walleye are spawning on the Fox and Peshtigo right now. - Mike Donofrio, Peshtigo area fisheries supervisor

Brown County - Locations from Suamico up to Geano Beach are still mostly ice covered with patchy open water. Locations from Longtail to Duck Creek are mostly open water with only a few anglers fishing. Although the Fox River water temperatures have been varying throughout the week, approximately 37-42 degrees, more walleyes have been caught and spotted in the shallows. The walleyes have been continuing to be active with the average number being caught by boat anglers to be around 20 walleye per angler. They have been biting on just about anything according to anglers, from jigs with plastics to live bait. There has still been hundreds of shore anglers and boaters out to catch a trophy walleye. Fairgrounds and Fox Point seen high numbers of boaters on the warmest days, along with shore anglers at Voyager, numerous Whitefish have been caught while shore angling at Voyager. Due to the high size limit the few walleyes that were caught were then released. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Most ramps and access points are blocked with snow and have yet to be plowed as they are of low priority. Early in the week before the storm, fishing was fairly productive. Boats launching at Sawyer park in Sturgeon Bay were trolling for browns. Those going out to the lake and fishing 20 feet of water or less were catching good numbers of browns. A few browns have been caught casting from shore in the harbor. The Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club is the most popular spot. No fisherman seen fishing the lake north of Sturgeon Bay. Steelhead fishing was good early week before the storm with numbers of fish showing up in local creeks. Spawn sack has been the hot bite for fish coming in fresh from the lake. The snow should bring increased flow in our streams. The run may not last long once the streams start flowing. The storm should have broken up a lot of ice on Green Bay but no word on the current conditions of the ramps. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Anglers who were fishing the East Twin River had good luck this week. Anglers were having success using fresh spawn and shrimp. Most of the fish were caught early in the week before the rain and snow came. The river is higher than what it has been most of the spring and flows have increased dramatically. The water temp before the snow storm was 42 degrees, while during the snow storm it dropped down to 32 degrees. Anglers that braved the snow storm caught a few fish but nothing like earlier in the week. Also, some suckers have been caught as well. The West Twin River by the Shoto Dam produced fish all week long. Most fish were caught using fresh spawn, shrimp, and even spinners. The water levels have increase as well as the flow. Water clarity has decreased due to the runoff. Water temps before the snow was 44 degrees, while during the storm on Saturday the temp was 34 degrees. Anglers fishing during the snow caught a few steelhead. Just like in the East Twin there were some suckers being caught as well. The docks were put in at Two Rivers Veterans Park this week, so if anyone is wanting to go out and try their luck for brown trout on Lake Michigan will now be able to. I have not heard of anyone going out on the lake yet and trying for browns out of Two Rivers, but people that have gone out of Manitowoc have had good success. Pier fishing was good to start the week, but as the week progressed the fishing declined. Manitowoc River wasn't as productive as the East or West Twin Rivers in Mishicot. Very few fish were caught this week, but with this rain and runoff that occurred this week hopefully fresh fish will come up the river. Water Temps were not recorded due to the snow storm and difficult travel. The water level and flow in the Branch River was low before the rain. Hopefully with the rain and runoff the flow and water levels should increase and provide more fish coming up. The anglers that have gone out on Lake Michigan and tried their hand at brown trout have had great success. For the most part anglers were catching fish in between six and 15 feet of water. It did not matter if they went to the north or south as both locations were producing fish. The anglers that were fishing on the piers had mixed success. Some anglers fished for hours without anything while some anglers had fish within an hour. The only fish that were caught off the piers were brown trout. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Marinette county got hit hard with snow over the weekend with most of the county getting a foot of new snow and portions getting more than 2 feet. The areas that received less snow already had over a foot on the ground in many places. Spring turkey season opened this week and those hunters that were excited to draw a first season tag aren't so excited anymore.... Larger open fields had much of the snow blow off of them so traveling across them may be easier than cutting through the woods. Turkeys are still very grouped up and are generally being seen near farming operations or other areas with readily available food. Youth turkey weekend ran during the blizzard and very few hunters were able to get out. Those that did were greeted with near whiteout conditions and/or 40mph winds. Woodcock are still being reported and are hanging near creek bottoms. Robins, cranes, phoebes, red-winged blackbirds, grackles, and a bunch of other migrants have been back for a few weeks now. Most (if not all) inland lakes are iced over yet with 20 inches of ice being reported on Noquebay early last week. The shorelines are still in rough shape and a foot plus of new snow over variable and deteriorating ice conditions creates an extreme danger.... Stay safe and stay off the ice. Walleye fishing was picking up on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers prior to the snow, but water temp has now dropped down to 32 from a high of about 41 last week. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Oconto County - Currently there's snow depths from 20-30 inches deep throughout Oconto County. Snow conditions haven't stopped turkey movement. You can also still see lots of song birds such as robins. There are open water fishing opportunities on Green bay and major tributaries like the Oconto and Peshtigo rivers as walleye are biting. Still most lakes have ice on them and are not safe to be on. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility - Three steelhead rainbow trout processing days have occurred this spring on April 5, 9, and 11. Numbers of new steelhead processed each day respectively were 141, 21, and 158 (total 320). Steelhead will be sorted again on April 16, and then spawned again on April 18. Fish are not being passed upstream of the dam, but instead are being trucked and released down at the harbor. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay

Potawatomi State Park - The park received about 25 inches of snow on April 15. All trails are open to hiking at this time and this is a great time to go snowshoeing with all the new snow. Grooming trails for skiing is done for the season. The suggested hiking trails are the Ice Age Trail, Picnic Trail and Nature Trail. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Whitefish Dunes State Park - The park received about 26 inches of snow on April 15. All trails are open to hiking but snowshoes would be recommended with all the snow and drifts on the trails. The beach is free of snow for hiking. The park is done grooming trails for skiing this season. There have been several common goldeneyes and buffleheads near the shoreline by the office and they are fun to watch bobbing in the waves. A visitor spotted an American woodcock along the trail this week. The bird feeder has been busy with juncos, American tree sparrows, woodpeckers and squirrels. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Snow, Snow, Snow!!! The central part of the State received over two feet of snow from Blizzard Evelyn. With that, water temperatures on the Wolf River have decreased dramatically. Water temps near 32-35 degrees were recorded. As of Tusday, most of the boat ramps were not accessible due to the deep snow. Fishing activity has been almost non-existent since the storm. Only a few raft fisherman are trying their luck. Prior to the snowfall, anglers were catching a few spawned out females. Sturgeon are in the Wolf River now, but with cold water temperatures, it will be at least a week or longer before spawning will occur. Turkey hunters will have a tough time with the snow. Most of the birds are still in their winter areas and have not yet dispersed to spring/summer areas. Watch for birds in heavy cover or an open field - if you are able to find an open field. - Ted Dremel, warden team supervisor, Wautoma

Waupaca County - We received 28.5 inches of snow in Waupaca and 25 inches in Wautoma. Migrant birds like robins and woodcock are hanging out on and along roads where there is no snow. Most lakes in the area have some ice yet, and some have re-frozen. Fish were biting well on the Wolf River but since the blizzard, have really slowed down. Water levels were pretty low in the trout streams for this time of year - shouldn't be an issue once the snow starts to melt. Turkey tag? Bring a white bed sheet for camo and your snowshoes. Let spring finally get here. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - The area did get a fair amount of snow - nothing compared to some areas, but nearly a foot fell across Waushara County. Regardless of the snowfall the turkeys are still out and about and doing their thing. I have heard of a few successful hunters already this season. The sun and warmth should help come this weekend. It happens occasionally, but the winter camo might be a must for turkey hunting this weekend! There is still ice on many lakes and snow on top of it making it extremely hazardous and travel is not recommended. A snowshoe walk on the ice age trail - or even while turkey hunting might be recommended instead! The snow is making it difficult for a number of bird species to find food so additional assistance to get these guys to local rehabilitators might be needed. Take the time to help our feathered friends. If you have the ability clear some grassy areas to help them search for a little food and hopefully by this weekend we will see more natural clearing with the warm up. Spring might actually be here once we get rid of this snow! Get out and enjoy a warm wintery/spring - something weekend! - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery - Earth Day Open House Celebration - Let's welcome Spring with some fishing fun! Saturday, April 28, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hatchery Education Center, Kids Learn Fish Casting, Fly Tying, Build a spinner, fish printing, Egg stages of development and guided tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Call ahead for groups of 8 or more at 920-622-3527, Ext. 209 or email joan.voigt@wisconsin.gov Walk-ins welcome

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The forest received a good dose of Ice from the storm of April 14, followed by 5-6 inches of snow on Sunday April 15. Crews have been busy plowing and cutting up fallen trees from the trails. The ski trails will not be groomed, but there currently is enough snow for skiing. Due to the icy conditions and temperature fluctuations, the horse and mountain bike trails remain closed until further notice. The ice has gone from all forest lakes. The Mauthe Lake fishing pier is installed and ready for use, and the Long Lake fishing pier will installed in time for Memorial Day. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - We received 4-6 inches of snow throughout the Southern Unit. Due to the warm soil temps and our equipment put away, the trails are not groomed for skiing.- Brian Lemke, ranger

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - The Sheboygan piers were completely inaccessible over the weekend, due to extremely cold and windy conditions, which produced very large breakers. Pressure on the Pigeon River was light this week and fishing continues to be very slow for anglers who are targeting steelhead. One fisherman who was dip netting for suckers off of the Lakeshore Bridge successfully landed 37 white suckers in 2 hours. The water level rose slightly and the water temp hovered in the low 40s. Water levels have risen on the Sheboygan River causing strong currents, which produced dirty water with very poor visibility. Water temperature was 34 degrees.

Ozaukee County - Only a few trailers were spotted earlier in the week at the Port Washington Ramp. Due to the large breakers caused by high winds, no anglers were observed at the Port Washington Piers. The Port Washington Utility is producing many suckers, a few small browns and the occasional steelhead for some determined anglers fishing spawn sacs. One angler fishing with minnows caught a smallmouth bass, which was promptly released. Fishing pressure was low in the beginning of the week; however pressure was non existent by the weekend because of the winter storm. Although fishing has been reported as slow, several steelhead and many suckers are being spotted throughout Sauk Creek. One angler who was successful at catching a couple of steelhead did so behind the high school using bead rigs. The water level has risen, clarity remains good, and the water temperature was 36 degrees. - Jarret Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Milwaukee County - The spring storm system that swept through the state this weekend (with 20-25 mph steady winds, sometimes gusting up to 40 mph and variable rain, sleet, and snow) brought very little fishing pressure. Milwaukee River anglers, mostly catch and release fly fisherman, continued to try their luck at Estabrook and Kletsch parks. Before the spring storm occurred through the weekend, water temperatures ranged between 44-45 degrees with an increase in water levels and flows. Those anglers that found success in catching targeted fish, landed 2-4 pound steelhead, close to the falls, using spawn sac but most are still reporting "soft hooking" of the fish. It is also that time of the season where anglers are seeing large schools of white suckers through the river system. Construction at Hubbard Park is complete (marked by tape) and anglers now have easier access to the river. Those anglers trying their luck downstream of the North Avenue Dam around Caesar's Park landed rock bass using live bait. The Menomonee River continued to have fishing pressure with most anglers gaining access through Miller Parkway and Three Bridges. With the increase in precipitation throughout the week, water levels and flow has increased making the water a bit more murky with temperatures ranging between 43-45 degrees. Fly fisherman landed 4-5 pound. steelhead using a variety of baits, the most popular being flies (yarn being a favorite). Action is very hit or miss and anglers continue to see small schools swimming throughout the river system, but catching is another story. There is construction occurring at MMSD, however fishing access is still available. - Reni Rydlewicz , fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Sheboygan County - DNR fisheries crews have been conducting a comprehensive fish survey on Random Lake in Sheboygan County this week and report seeing some nice walleye and musky. Walleye have ranged in size from 15.5 inches to 27.9 inches. Musky have ranged from 29.6 inches to 41.0 inches. They continued to net despite the snow and cold and ran night electrofishing recapture run for walleye.- Addie Dutton, fisheries biologist, Plymouth

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 5 photos

Random Lake Fish Survey

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South Central Region

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Many water bodies that were open last week have iced over again - marshes that last week had excellent waterfowl viewing opportunities. The northern part of the county appeared to have at least 3 more inches of snow on the ground than the southern part - much of the southern part of county was already melting away on Tuesday before the snowstorm hit again on Wednesday. Where there is open water, ducks and geese are piling up. Blue winged teal are being observed along with many diving duck species on Whalen Grade and at Mud Lake Wildlife Area. Turkey hunters braved the cold weather both for the youth hunt in the blizzard this past weekend and on Wednesday for the opener. There was some success reported and other hunters report that the birds are more interested in eating than mating. That should change in a hurry when this snow melts and temps warm up. Many were reporting finding dead robins and hermit thrushes and I have observed many dead robins on the road. They are being forced to eat food outside their normal diet as they struggle with this weather. Some reverse migration has been reported as well. Woodcock can be heard 'peenting' and doing their aerial acrobatics at the crack of dawn and at dusk. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Woodpeckers of all species are increasing their drumming activity as the spring breeding season approaches. Drumming is the term applied to a woodpecker's habit of hammering rapidly and loudly on resonating substrates like trees, sign posts, downspouts, roof or chimney flashing, or house siding. Both male and female woodpeckers drum to proclaim territory and as a courtship behavior. Drumming sounds are an auditory means to identify different woodpecker species. Different woodpecker species possess different drumming sound characteristics. Length and speed of the drumming, as well as changes in tempo, frequency, or intensity provide identification clues to those who listen carefully. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Mead State Wildlife - Snowshoes recommended for turkey hunting on Mead Wildlife Area. Snow is deep and will turn to slush on the weekend. No open water on impoundments except on edges. Parking will be difficult due to soft ground and snow/slush in parking areas. - Brian Peters, property supervisor

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Heavy snow fell Sunday into Monday. Some roads are plowed but more snow is forecast for Wednesday into Thursday, with warmer temperatures to melt snow later in the week. Trails will not be groomed for skiing and gates will be closed in areas until snow melts. Turkey hunting is starting with the first two periods in the park and wildlife areas and are Zone 1. (April 18-May 1) Maps available online or at park office. Periods 3-6 are then allowed only in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and camping are still closed. Parking is in the winter/prairie lot on Czech Ave and park stickers are required (self-registration box at parking lot). Turkey hunting is starting with the first two periods in the park and is Zone 1 (April 18-May 1st). Maps available online. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, April 19, 2018

Contact information

For more information about news and media, contact:
James Dick
Director of Communications
608-267-2773