Published March 31, 2016 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Wind and rain pelted most of the state following last week's larger storm continuing to make for some very wet conditions. Most mountain bike and horse trails remain closed at state parks and forests.
Most of the snow from last week's storm has already melted. Despite the wet conditions this spring, there have already been 73 wildfires in DNR Protection Areas and numerous other wildfires in parts of the state where fire departments are the primary responders. Homeowners cleaning up their properties are encourage to use a alternatives to debris burning - the number one cause of wildfires in the state -- such as composting or leaving brush in the woods for wildlife cover.
Lakes are now starting to open up as far north as Polk and Burnett counties in the northwest and Marinette County in the northeast. With all the recent rain, many river systems are running very high. The Lower Wisconsin River was running at more than twice its normal flow this week at Muscoda.
Brown trout and walleye continued to be caught on the Menominee River in the northeast. There has been lots of fishing pressure on the Wolf and Fox rivers, but not many reports of success so far. Anglers on the Fox River are reporting water temperatures of 38 degrees below the De Pere Dam. Many anglers have been out casting for walleyes below the dam with little success being reported so far.
Southeastern Lake Michigan tributaries were running high and muddy after snow melt and rain last week. Anglers were taking steelhead prior to the rain, but fishing pressure dropped dramatically by the weekend. By early this week, fishing conditions improved on the Milwaukee, Root and Pike rivers, but rain later in the week could raise water levels again.
New panfish regulations will take effect on 93 Wisconsin lakes April 1. Three different experimental bag limits are being applied to 93 lakes to determine which is most efficient at improving panfish size. The new rules will be evaluated to determine whether they are improving panfish size as well as whether anglers continue to support the changes.
Black bears are beginning to emerge from their dens and many sows with cubs will be foraging for food during a time when little natural food is available. People living in bear country are encouraged to remove bird feeders, and secure garbage and pet food to avoid nuisance bear problems.
Numerous songbird species are finalizing their return to form this week and next. Keep your ears open for eastern bluebirds and phoebes, red-winged blackbirds. Woodcock are peenting and turkeys are gobbling. Trumpeter swans have returned to Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area and have claimed their nesting territory, feeding in the wetlands and moving about daily searching for food. Bald eagles are on nests with eggs due to hatch any day. Ruffed grouse are starting to drum.
The temperatures have been below freezing at night and above freezing during the day, which has allowed for good sap run in maple trees. That's good news for the annual MacKenzie Center Maple Syrup Festival that will be held this Saturday, April 2. Enjoy guided tours of the sugar bush, demonstrations on tapping maple trees, and displays of how maple syrup has been made throughout history. The festival runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information about the center search the DNR website for keyword "MacKenzie."
Two-thirds of wildfires that burn in Wisconsin, occur in spring. There is a great deal of dry vegetation and fallen leaves present this time of year, which is quick to dry out. Accompanied by drops in humidity and winds, wildfires can quickly ignite and spread. So far this year, 73 fires have occurred in DNR Protection Areas (about half the state, generally the more forested areas). Numerous other wildfires have occurred in parts of the state where fire departments are the primary responders. With the nicer weather, homeowners are cleaning up around their properties, sometimes choosing to burn leaves and branch debris. Debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires, especially this time of year. Burning is not your only option. Try alternatives such as composting or leaving brush in the woods for wildlife cover. The best practice is to not burn at all or to wait until surrounding vegetation greens-up in the summer. If you do burn, get a burning permit and follow the rules of the day. You can stay aware of fire danger and burning permit requirements by checking the DNR website dnr.wi.gov (search 'fire danger') or calling 1-888-WISBURN. Information is updated each day at 11 a.m.
Fire season is just beginning. On average, the 1,500 wildfires burn in DNR protection areas each year and another estimated 2,500 wildfires burn in parts of the state where fire departments are the primary responders.
Firewise Tip: Keep the area 3 to 5 feet around your home "fuel free." Remove anything in this area that can burn, such as leaves, plants, mulch or piled wood. This includes the areas under and around decks and porches. - Joanne Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madison
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - This past Saturday the river was in near perfect condition. One angler hooked, fought, and landed a 23-inch male steelhead. After some quick photos, he released it, for the size limit is 26 inches. - Kevin Fiend, DNR property supervisor, Pattison State Park
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Watchful walkers in the woods are reporting some success finding shed antlers as the snow melts. Look for sheds around brushy areas and on field edges on a good sunny day. Smaller lakes are open, and the larger lakes are opening up along the north shores and in bays. Residents are hearing trumpeter swans and seeing other waterfowl come back into the area. - Rick Peters, conservation warden, Hayward
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - No snow here. The temperatures have been below freezing at night and above freezing during the day, which has allowed for good sap run in maple trees. Flowages are free of ice but can have a light layer each morning, which causes ducks and geese to congregate in open water. Greenup is slow, aspen trees and willows are budding. Watch for black bears in aspen trees - they love to eat the budding catkins. Sandhill cranes are back and can be seen in small family groups near nesting sites in the sedge marshes. Trumpeter swans have returned and have claimed their nesting territory, feeding in the wetlands and moving about daily searching for food. Canada geese are plentiful. The duck migration is steady. Mallards and wood ducks are claiming nesting sites. Ring-necked ducks and hooded mergansers are common. Other ducks have been seen, but not in large numbers on Crex. Large flocks of goldeneyes have been reported from Foxes Landing on the St. Croix River. Bald eagles are on nests with eggs due to hatch any day. Many nests have been found throughout the wildlife area this spring. Kingfishers and robins have been reported. Great blue herons are on nests at the rookery on the Snake River in Pine City. A turkey vulture was sighted Thursday. Sharp-tailed grouse were reported along Murphys Road. They won't begin displaying until April (generally) but may start earlier with the early spring. Ruffed grouse are starting to drum, and can be found along the roadsides picking up gravel in the late afternoon. Red-winged blackbirds have returned over the weekend, and American tree sparrows have been seen along the roadsides. The first bluebirds and kestrels were reported two weeks ago. Rough-legged hawks and red-tailed hawks are common, and male northern harriers are common, although females have yet to return. White-tailed deer are common, usually in larger groups as they forage for late-winter foods. Wild turkeys are also in larger flocks this time of year and should be displaying. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - The hiking trails are open at Lake of the Pines and Little Falls, though the water level is high and it would make it difficult to cross over to Slough Gundy. The ATV/UTV trail is closed till May 16 to ATV/UTV use. Visitors who are very quiet when biking or hiking the trail have a good chance to see some deer or elk on the segment south of Hwy. W near the Forest headquarters. The Flambeau River is completely open and the water level is a bit higher than normal yet. Fishing on the Flambeau has been pretty slow. The redhorse are starting to run. Some folks have been taking advantage of the water level and having a great float down river and using the scenic river sites for camping and day-use. Early mornings are filled with a cacophony of bird chirping, grouse drumming, and turkeys participating in the spring pre-nesting activities and mating. Many of the birds are building nests, nesting, and in the case of the great horned owl already have youngsters in their nests. Swans, geese, sandhill cranes, and ducks of various species are just a few of the new inhabitants back for the season. Tics are out too, so be on the lookout for them. The spring peepers started chirping. Their chirping call marks the beginning of spring and can be just deafening. Mammals in the area such as river otters have given birth and the snowshoe hare and weasel coats have begun to change in color. Elk bulls are starting to drop their antlers. The sap from the maples is still running and seems to be picking up in quantity. In some areas the red maple buds are swelling. This weeks' temperatures will be in the high 50s today and a chance of snow/rain on Thursday and Friday, and Saturday temps high of 30 and possible snow again on Sunday. Earth Day is coming up on April 22. Forest visitors can give Mother Nature a hand by walking the roads with a garbage bag and picking up litter. - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the period of March 20-26. Fishing pressure was moderate to heavy with the exception of a mid-week snow storm coupled with heavy winds. Water temperatures on the Bay were around 38 degrees with river temperatures nearing forty degrees. Those temperatures dropped after mid-week to the mid 30s in the Bay, and upper 30s in the rivers.
Marinette County - Fishing pressure at the Dam in Peshtigo has been steady but not intense; catch rates among shore anglers remains low. Boaters using the Peshtigo City Garage Landing report catching some walleye down river, mostly males. Jigging with plastics has been working the best. Boaters have also been catching some walleye in the Bay adjacent to the mouth of the Peshtigo River trolling sticks or jigging with plastics. Shore anglers at the Peshtigo Harbor are having little or no success. Boat anglers out of Little River have been having good success fishing brown trout in 8 to 10 feet of water trolling with spoons and stick baits. Some nice fish over 10 pounds are being caught. Walleye are being caught from the Hattie Street Bridge to Stephenson Island by shore anglers using Zip lures, stick baits, and jig and plastics, with the best action early mornings and evenings. Browns and walleye were being caught by boaters in the Menominee River trolling and jigging with the majority of boats concentrating in the Turn Basin. The 6th Street Slip Boat Landing was still iced in as of last Friday, all other landings are open. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers from the dam at Stiles to the J bridge report very few walleye being caught despite a good number fishermen trying jigs and stick baits at all the landing areas. The most action has been coming from boaters and anglers fishing from the Municipal Landing in Oconto to the Breakwater Park. Some walleye were being caught in the river mouth by anglers casting spoons and plastics along with stick baits, and Zip lures. Boat anglers were doing well in 8 to 20 feet of water out of the mouth of the Oconto River using the same techniques. All the Boat Launches in the Oconto area are now open. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Anglers have started to fish the smaller rivers on the west shore of Green Bay. Anglers launching on the Suamico River have had no success for any fish yet this season. Anglers were reporting water temperatures of 34 degrees at the mouth and 38 degrees in the river, with many anglers just putting the boat in to try it out for the first time this season. A few anglers were trying their luck casting from shore using stick baits on the Suamico River with no success. Geano's Beach access ramp is still iced in. Duck Creek has seen a few anglers casting from shore as well. The ramps are in on the Suamico River, but are not in on Duck Creek yet. Anglers on the Fox River are reporting water temperatures of 38 degrees below the De Pere Dam, which has warmed up from earlier in the week from the snow, where the temperatures dropped to as low as 35 degrees. Many anglers have been out casting for Walleyes below the dam in De Pere with little success being reported, those that have caught Walleyes are reporting mostly males. Anglers have also reported catching whitefish and northern pike on the river. The flow is still high with rough, turbid waters, but calming some after the rains and snow. Those anglers fishing from shore in De Pere at Voyager Park are casting stick baits and plastics with a tough bite for Walleyes. Some anglers were wading from the shore into the flow below the dam as well. The ramps are not in at Green Bay Metro, at Fox Point or the Fairground in De Pere. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - After nearly a foot of snow on Thursday we are having another spring like week in Marinette County. The snow is mostly gone now and robins are singing, turkeys are gobbling, and the walleye run is gaining momentum. Most lakes and flowages are completely open with a few back bays having some ice yet. The spring weather has brought lots of migrating wildlife back to our area, but has also increased tick activity. Please make sure you take the proper precautions when heading out to the woods on warm days (over 40 degrees). A few first time turkey hunters will be braving the elements this weekend by participating in a Learn to Hunt Turkey program hosted by local conservation groups. Next weekend (April 9 and 10) is the Youth Turkey Season. That season is open to any hunter 10-15 years of age with a valid tag for the zone they are hunting in. A few fishermen are finding crappies and perch on inland lakes but most are trying for walleye in the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers. Walleye catches are increasing in the rivers, but forecasted heavy rains may dramatically increase flow, making fishing difficult. Maple sap is still flowing well following cold nights. I encourage everyone to get outside early in the morning and listen to grouse drumming and turkeys gobbling or get out at dusk and try to locate a peenting woodcock, listen for a snipe winnow, or (as the temps warm a bit more) hear the "pump-er-lunk" of a Bittern from a distant marsh. These are all sounds of spring—get out and enjoy it while it lasts. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - The snow from last week's storm has disappeared, but cool temperatures are in the forecast for this weekend. Trails remain wet, so the bike trails are not open yet. All ice is out of Sawyer Harbor and Sturgeon Bay. The launching docks have not been installed yet. Some large ships have been passing near the park. They are heading into open water after wintering at Bay Shipbuilding. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Killdeer, great blue herons and red-winged blackbirds are all back. Grouse are now drumming. Woodcock are peenting and turkeys are gobbling. Deer are very actively feeding in fields that are just barely greening up. Due to recent rains, streams are running high and stained making early trout fishing a bit tricky. Lots of fishing pressure on the Wolf and Fox rivers, not many reports of success so far. Most area lakes completely ice free. Beware of the deer ticks, they are active and hungry. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - We've seen an influx of songbirds with the warming weather, including red-winged blackbirds, golden-crowned kinglets, eastern bluebirds, eastern phoebes, and our summer resident turkey vultures. You can visit some of your local ephemeral ponds around the county, in search of singing frogs and hiding salamanders. A walk through the woods may show you wild onion, hepatica and skunk cabbage, all early spring wildflowers. There has been an increase in the number of baby animals sighted, including fox, raccoon, and squirrel kits. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured or lost, contact your local wildlife rehab center or the DNR Customer Service Hotline (1-888-WDNR-INFo; 1-888-936-7463), or visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild". Most wild mothers watch their young from a distance, and what you think is an abandoned young animal may be perfectly fine. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake Unit - Trails are in seasonal condition. There are many muddy and wet spots yet on the trail as the seasons change. Spring has arrived. The chorus frogs, spring peepers, and wood frogs are singing. Amphibians are reproducing already this year despite fluctuating temperatures. Skunk cabbage has been growing quickly on the boardwalk loop north of the beach. The first bluebirds and tree swallows have arrived at Pike Lake. Sandhill cranes have returned to the area, and we are beginning to seeing many of the migratory bird species again. Red-tailed hawks are frequently seen hunting the property right now as their eggs are likely beginning to hatch. Bald eagles have been spotted flying above both Pike Lake and Loew Lake. The purple martin house has been put up outside the office in anticipation of their arrival. Pike Lake staff is out working to remove the invasive Eurasian honeysuckle lakeside on the northwest shore. This effort is to encourage native vegetation to take its place this spring. Be sure to check out the new osprey platform placed just east of the Pike Lake office. This was an Eagle Scout project. Staff is working toward installing a live feed camera to the platform that will play in the office for when the osprey return. Cables were recently dug into the ground to avoid the complications with solar panels. Frequent maintenance would disturb the nest. - Andrew Krueger, ranger
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - The Sheboygan River and Pigeon River are very high with rapid streamflow due to recent snow melt and rain. They are difficult to fish in many spots. Very few brown trout are being caught from the Lake Michigan shoreline and piers.
Ozaukee County - Sauk Creek is very high and muddy after snow melt and rain on Sunday, and has had very little fishing pressure over the weekend. Occasional brown trout have been caught near the power plant discharge, in Rotary Park, and from the north pier with both crank baits and minnows producing.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee shoreline anglers on the harbor side of Summerfest have been landing mostly brown trout over the past two weeks, and shiners have been effective. On the river side of Summerfest, anglers have been catching browns and an occasional perch on spawn sacs, shiners, and fathead minnows fished on the bottom. Shore anglers working near Jones Island have been catching browns and occasional rainbows on spawn and shiners. Boats fishing in and around the Milwaukee Harbor have reported an average of two browns per trip with the largest weighing 16 pounds. Most were caught while trolling crank baits, but a few were also taken while jigging Gulp in the gaps. Boats out of Bender Park were targeting brown trout in 20-30 feet of water from the South Milwaukee water treatment plant to the Oak Creek power plant, but fishing was slow this past week due to muddy water near shore. Anglers fishing the Oak Creek continue to catch rainbows on spawn. At the Oak Creek Power Plant, anglers fishing the pier have caught a few browns as well as a few 3 to 4 pound coho. Flows on the Milwaukee River remain high after heavy rainfall on Thursday. Steelhead had been taken in Kletzsch Park prior to the rain, but fishing has slowed since. Fishing on the Menomonee River has also been slow, but a few steelhead have been seen in the area around Miller Park and Three Bridges Park.
Racine County - Very few anglers were fishing the Racine harbor this past week, but those fishing in and around the marina docks have taken a few brown trout in the 2 to 6 pound range. Spoons and crank baits were the baits of choice. On the Root River, fishing pressure dropped dramatically after last week's rain event, which caused the water in the river to rise dramatically and dropped visibility to near zero. By early this week, fishing conditions have significantly improved on the Root. Fishing effort has been focused near the Horlick Dam, but not many fish have been caught. Baits of choice were spawn sacs, egg pattern flies, beads and orange streamers. With the expected rain beginning Wednesday afternoon, flows will likely rise and clarity will likely drop again. Water temperature was 46 degrees on Tuesday. DNR crews processed fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, March 28. More than 679,000 Chambers Creek strain eggs and 708,000 Ganaraska strain eggs have been collected so far. A total of 838 steelhead have been passed upriver. The next spawning day will be Monday, April 4.
Kenosha County - Fishing pressure has remained low in the Kenosha harbor. Those fishing have had no success recently. The baits of choice included spawn, shiners and white tube jigs all used under bobbers. The water temperature is 42 degrees. Fishing pressure has remained low this past week on the Pike River. Anglers have had little success but report seeing quite a few steelhead in the river. The rain last week had the water fairly high up through Saturday, but conditions on the river had significantly improved by Sunday. The baits of choice were spawn sacs and egg pattern flies. The water temperature in the Pike River was up to 46 degrees by Sunday.
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Governor Dodge State Park - Hiking trails are open. Keep in mind, at this time of year, hikers may encounter almost any condition on the trails so please plan accordingly. Even a short spring shower can cause slippery, muddy conditions. Horse and mountain bike trails are currently closed and will reopen May 1, weather and conditions permitting. Please remember that trail conditions can deteriorate quickly with changing weather conditions. Wet or muddy trails can be easily damaged by horses and bicycles causing trail closures. The 200 numbered sites in Twin Valley campground are open for camping on a first come, first served basis through April. Kathy Gruentzel, park superintendent
Lafayette County - The ice on Yellowstone Lake is long gone, the fishing is starting to pick up, turkeys are busy strutting and the Cheese Country Trail is now open for summer use. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
MacKenzie Center - Celebrate spring and maple syrup season at the annual Maple Syrup Festival, Saturday, April 2. Enjoy guided tours of the sugar bush, demonstrations on tapping maple trees, and displays of how maple syrup has been made throughout history. Fun for the whole family. Festival hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is also wildlife viewing, horse-drawn wagon rides from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (donations accepted) and a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon. ($7 adults/ $5 children) The MacKenzie Center is located 2 miles east of Poynette on County Road CS/Q.
Columbia County - The Wisconsin River is at flood stage and fishermen need to be cautious of floating debris in the heavy current. Some nice crappies and perch are being caught on inland lakes in the area. Turkeys are starting to fan out and break up from their winter flocks. Reminder to everyone that their licenses expire at the end of the month, check out the new Go Wild system online and get your new licenses. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Kinnickinnic State Park - All park trails are open for hiking and leashed pets. Trails can be muddy in areas that have not gotten a chance to dry out. The Kinnickinnic River is free of ice and flowing at normal levels. Spring rains will raise the water levels and effect clarity for a short time, but the river returns to normal fairly quickly. Information on the level the Kinnickinnic river can be monitored at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=05342000. Early catch and release trout season is now open. The St. Croix River is also free of ice. It is currently above normal levels, but under flood stage. Its level can be monitored at: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?gage=stlm5&wfo=mpx. Wild turkeys are beginning to break up in small groups and can frequently be seen around the park. Waterfowl are making their way north to breeding grounds and commonly rest on park waters. South wintering Robins arrived last week and a few early bluebirds have come home for the summer.
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Monroe County - Ice is out on all lakes and rivers, but there is still snow along the river banks and shorelines keeping water temperatures cool. After the large snowstorm the previous week, water levels are up in the rivers. Suckers are beginning to run up the rivers and many fishermen are out dip-netting. Beginning April 1, five lakes in the county will have updated panfish regulations: Bullhead Lake: During May and June, 15 panfish may be kept, but no more than 5 of any one species; English Lake: 15 panfish may be kept, but no more than 5 of any one species; Long Lake: 15 panfish may be kept, but no more than 5 of any one species; Harpt Lake: 25 panfish may be kept, but no more than 10 of any one species; Pigeon Lake: 25 panfish may be kept, but no more than 10 of any one species. - Jacob Bolks, conservation warden, Fort Mccoy
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -Precipitation has caused river water levels to rise - currents are strong. Anglers are catching a few walleye at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers - Phoenix Park in the City of Eau Claire. Check the County Listings in the fishing regulations to determine fish bag limits and size limits unique to specific local waterways. Chippewa River upriver of the Dells Hydro Dam (Dells Pond and North), the game fish season is closed until the first Saturday in May (May 7, 2016); Chippewa River downriver of the Dells Hydro Dam (Dam to Mississippi River) the game fish season is open all year (except musky, sturgeon, paddlefish) the walleye bag limit is five at least 15 inches (release walleye under 15 inches); Eau Claire River upriver of the Lake Altoona Dam (Lake Altoona and East) the game fish season closed until the first Saturday in May (May 7, 2016); Eau Claire River downriver of the Lake Altoona Dam (Dam to Chippewa River) the game fish season is open all year (except musky, sturgeon, paddlefish) NOTE: Fish Refuge - no fishing from the Lake Altoona dam downriver 500 feet to the first island from March 1 to the first Saturday in May. Signs are posted on the north and south sides of river. Bat limit for walleye is five walleye at least 15 inches. Lake Altoona upriver of the Lake Altoona Dam and East to the Powerline Crossing only 10 panfish may be kept (total of all panfish species). Up to 25 panfish may be kept upriver of the Powerline Crossing and on backwaters of the Eau Claire River - East of Lake Altoona. Lake Eau Claire - Upriver of the Lake Eau Claire Dam up to 25 panfish may be kept, but no more than 10 of any one species - no more than 10 crappies - no more than 10 perch - no more than 10 bluegills. Half Moon Lake in Carson Park in the City of Eau Claire, up to 25 panfish may be kept (total of all panfish species). Only largemouth or smallmouth bass less than 14 inches may be kept except one fish may be over 18 inches with a daily bag limit of three bass (Release 14 inches to 18 inches) - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds seen or heard include: goldfinches, ravens, crows, phoebes, northern juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, red headed and pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, mourning doves, and blue jays. The bald eagles are moving back into the area and have been seen feeding along the roadsides. The barred owls have been aggressively trading territorial calls during the early night hours. The sandhill cranes, Canada geese, robins, and blue birds have begun to arrive. Sugar maple tapping is in its final stage throughout the area with the maples beginning to bud out. Lake Wissota is almost ice free and our boat launch bay is open water. - Dave Hladilek, park manager