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Outdoor ReportPublished June 2, 2016

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

This weekend is Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin, with free admission to state parks and forests, no trail passes required for state trails, no fishing licenses needed to fish, and no non-resident trail passes needed to operate all-terrain vehicles on state trails. Events include: the 50th anniversary celebration of Hartman Creek State Park, ribbon cutting for a new 60-unit campground at Buckhorn State Park, Discovery Day at Pike Lake Unit and an Outdoor Skills Day at the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, as well as, Art Along the Willow at Willow River State Park.

Many fishing clinics are being held around the state as part of Free Fun and Free Fishing weekend.
Many fishing clinics are being held around the state as part of Free Fun and Free Fishing weekend.
Photo Credit: DNR

Some properties are taking advantage of Free Fishing Weekend to offer fishing clinics, including: High Cliff, Kohler-Andrae and Merrick state parks, Richard Bong State Recreation Area, and the Northern and Pike Lake units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and there are additional free fishing activities taking place around the state. Other fishing rules apply, such as size and bag limits.

Saturday is also National Trails Day and hikes are planned on a number of state properties and local Ice Age Trail Alliance chapters are planning hikes around the state (exit DNR).

Large portions of the state experienced heavy and punctuated rains over the past Memorial Day weekend but that did not stop people from getting out, especially when skies cleared on Monday. The rains did wash out a section of the Tuscobia State Trail and flooded parts of the Chippewa River State Trail, so sections are closed on both trails.

In the Northwoods, panfish action is improving dramatically. A slower rise in water temperature has extended the spawning activity of some crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass. This has also prompted a few bluegill and rock bass to begin their nesting periods. With the northern musky opener last weekend, musky fishing was the highlight of this past week, but while anglers reported sightings and follows there were relatively low numbers of hook-ups.

Anglers were catching walleye on the Menominee River, and the walleye bite along the west shore of Green Bay continues to be good with anglers reporting limits of fish being caught off Oconto. Walleye fishing along the Door County side of the bay was also good, especially at night. Smallmouth bass fishing was proving to have its ups and downs early this season for many anglers, but bass fishing reports continue to get better throughout the peninsula.

Rough water conditions, heavy fog, and a strong southerly wind hampered Lake Michigan fishing activities through the first half of the weekend and fishing pressure was relatively low. As the weather conditions improved and the lake settled down, fishing pressure increased and many anglers were reporting success in Kewaunee, Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay. Mostly rainbows were being caught, also an occasional chinook, coho salmon and lake trout.

The forests and fields are full of new wildlife. Numerous reports of fawns, young rabbits, foxes and bear cubs have come in. Elk cows are having calves, so the yearlings are being displaced from mom and are frequently seen along the sides of the roads. Many songbird species are fledging their first nestlings and grouse and turkey broods should be starting to hatch. As a reminder state law requires dogs to be on leash until July 31 on state-owned lands to protect fledglings and young animals.

Numerous prairie flowers such as: prairie smoke, golden alexander, and lupine are competing with invasives such as yellow sweet clover and dame's rocket. Bug populations have arrived in much of the state, particularly in wet conditions. Mayfly hatch has begun and ticks and mosquitos are out in the woods and along streams, in force.


Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The weather was moody this Memorial Day weekend. Despite most of the weekend being cool and rainy, campers and other recreationists still showed up on the Brule and surrounding area to kick off the 2016 summer season. The rain we have gotten over the past week has brought river levels up but the Brule is still fishable. Summer insect hatches have started so fly fishing could be a fun way to try and catch the trout that the Brule is so famous for. Wildlife biologists expect that grouse and turkey broods should be starting to hatch within the next week. As a reminder, this is also why many public lands strongly recommend that you have your dogs on a leash in the woods since they could pose a threat to many birds and other animals that are trying to raise their young at this time. Does are dropping their fawns. If you encounter a lone fawn in the woods please leave it be. They may appear orphaned but they are usually left alone for long periods of time to hide from predators more easily. Nuisance bear reports in the area remind us of the importance of being careful when we have wildlife interactions. Please make sure that you remove bird feeders and put your garbage in a place where it is not easily accessed by bears. Join us at the Brule River Fish Hatchery this Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. for a day filled with various learning experiences, fun activities for the whole family, not to mention free food! We hope to see you there for this year's Family Fun Day.- Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Pattison State Park - Our nest of killdeers hatched this weekend at the park. The ground nest was in the middle of our large picnic area, so we're happy to see them hatch. With the large number of picnickers, we're thrilled they didn't get trampled. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Burnett County - In Burnett County the panfish and bass are being caught fishing the "beds" in shallow water. The wildlife in the area are dropping this year's young, with a few fawns, bear cubs, ducklings, and goslings being seen. The recent rains have keep the area ATV trails in great condition. - Dustin Gabrielson, conservation warden, Grantsburg

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Tuscobia State Trail - Flood waters have washed out a section of the Tuscobia State Trail and a 1.6 mile segment of the trail just east of Winter in Sawyer County is closed until further notice. There was a culvert that was overtopped and washed out during Tuesday's precipitation event in the north. - Todd Hintz, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Constantly changing weather in the last week has made for some challenging fishing conditions for most anglers across the Northwoods. Water temperatures seem to be holding in the mid-60s on most lakes and this has extended the spawning activity for a lot of crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass. This has also gotten a few bluegill, pumpkinseed and rock bass to begin their nesting periods. With the musky opener over this past Memorial Day weekend, musky fishing was the highlight of this past week. However, anglers reported only mediocre action - with many sightings and follows and a relatively low number of hook-ups. Small to medium-size bucktails seemed to produce the most activity, while jerk baits such as Suicks also got some interest. With the wind and ever-changing weather, walleye fishing continued its erratic trend and anglers were having to move around quite a bit to find some active fish. The most productive baits have been jig/minnow combinations, as well as leeches and crawlers - either on a slip bobber, a small lead-head jig or on a bare hook/split shot rig. The best success has come in the evening hours as the wind dies down, and some fair catches of fish in the 12 to 16 inch size have come along break lines or structure in 8 to 12 feet of water. The mayfly hatch has just begun on many Northwoods lakes, so walleye action with leeches and crawlers may get a little consistent once the hatches get into full swing on these lakes. With the spawning season almost completed for largemouth and smallmouth bass, their feeding activity should greatly increase with the warming water temperatures. Male smallmouth may still be seen guarding nests and schools of their fry, but most other smallies have retreated to deeper water. After a short recovery period following the rigors of spawning, they will soon start their summer feeding binge and begin to relate to shallow and mid-depth rock and woody structure. Many largemouth bass also seem to be in their post-spawn recovery period, but some decent fish have been found cruising the shallow and mid-depth weed beds. The largemouth haven't been relating too much to woody structure yet, but lily pad beds have produced some good action on top-water and soft-plastic baits. Panfish action has been generally good, with bluegill and crappie providing most of the success in the last week. For bluegill, anglers just need to find an active spawning colony, where a bobber and a piece of nightcrawler can provide some fast and furious action. Catches of crappie have been a bit tougher to come by, but some decent catches have still been made in shallow water along any emergent weed lines. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - The ATV/UTV trail had been quite active during the Memorial Day Weekend. The trail is in good condition but be aware of wildlife on the trails, stay on the trails and drive responsibly. Hiking trails are open throughout the Forest. The Flambeau River and lakes were busy with users and fishermen. Panfish are starting to come into their beds and fishing should be good this coming weekend. Bluegills, crappies, muskies, smallmouth bass, catfish and suckers are just a few of the different types of fish that folks were fishing for. The Flambeau River campsites were used by canoers and kayakers and the river water was high and the river moved very fast. The river users had a great time floating the Flambeau even with the rain. Deer does and elk cows are having fawns and calves right now. So the yearlings of both species are being displaced from mom and are heavily seen along the sides of the roads. Some of last week's visitors were lucky enough to view these critters and bears too. Turtles of many species are also along the roadsides. Be sure to drive carefully. Hummingbirds, orioles, and robins are just a few of the birds seen by the forestry team out in the field. Some of the oak leaves were frost bit but they seem to be leafing out. Ash, aspen and butternut trees are also leafing out. The morels are ripe and we have a bumper crop of red maple seed this year. Goose goslings are pretty big already. There will be a forest open house at the new office headquarters on Friday, June 3, 2016: located 22 miles west of Phillips or 15 miles east of Winter on Hwy W. Staff will be there all day (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) to answer any questions you may have. We can discuss what has happened over the past year and what is planned for the future including optional changes to the access plan and forest production areas, as well as any concerns you may have. - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - Fishing reports have been excellent. Crappies have completed spawning on most lakes and bluegills are actively spawning now. Musky and walleye anglers are also reporting good catches. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff


Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for May 22-29. Rain and wind kept fishing pressure light to moderate during the week, but with the holiday weekend the number of anglers increased.

Marinette County - Smallmouth and panfish are being caught below the dam in Peshtigo using live bait, spinners, stick baits, and small spoons. Anglers at the Peshtigo River Harbor report catching catfish, walleye and smallmouth bass using a variety of live baits and hardware. With the wind this past week no interviews were obtained from Little River Park. Anglers on the Menominee River are catching walleye, sheep head, perch, rock bass, smallmouth, and bluegill from the dam at Hattie Street to the mouth of the river, from the shore and from boats. A wide variety of baits and techniques are being used. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Anglers at the dam at Stiles continue to catch panfish using live bait and bobbers. Smallmouth are also being caught from the dam at Stiles all the way to the Oconto River mouth. Live bait as well as plastics, spinners, and small spoons are being used. Anglers on the Pensaukee River have also been catching smallmouth bass floating crawlers or casting stick baits and spinners. The walleye bite on the bay continues to be good with anglers reporting limits of fish being caught in 7 to 14 feet of water trolling with stick baits or crawler/harness. Rock humps and structure breaks have been providing some good action for walleye and smallmouth for anglers who prefer to cast or jig. Some panfish and bass are also being caught in the landing at Oconto Park II using live bait, spinners, stick baits and small spoons. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Fishing pressure from Bayshore Park has been high but anglers have been finding it tough to get on good numbers of fish. Even with the stable weather pattern that Northeastern Wisconsin has seen lately anglers have found it tough to get consistent numbers of Walleyes. Most anglers are trolling with flicker shads/minnows, in depths from 6 to 30 feet. Anglers who have found success have been targeting feeding walleyes trolling in shallow water or going for the school of fish out deep with jigging presentations. Water temperatures have been fairly consistent hovering around high 50s to low 60s. The water quality has been very high with people reporting being able to see down to ten feet or more. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - South winds this week made it rough at times on Lake Michigan, but Trout/Salmon anglers have been having luck in 60-90 feet of water using bright spoons. Smallmouth bass fishing was proving to have its ups and downs early this season for many anglers, but throughout the Door County peninsula Bass fishing reports continue to get better. The warmer nights have helped increase the water temperatures and anglers have been seeing many beds all along the Door County peninsula. Anglers were still finding a few aggressive pre-spawn fish North of Ellison Bay and Rowley's Bay. Fishing pressure was relatively high due to the holiday weekend, and many smallmouth bass anglers reported average sizes around 14-16 inches. Walleye fishing has been very good, especially at night, but the post spawn feeding frenzy has been filling their stomachs pretty quick and making fish more difficult to catch. The recent scattered rain has brought some short sporadic feeding periods later in the week where anglers were hooking into some aggressive fish. Anglers have been reporting success along the shoreline to the North of the Stone Quarry towards Murphy Park, Sherwood Point, and from Henderson's Point down to Chaudoir's Dock. At night, anglers were finding walleye in 8-20 feet of water using Husky jerks, shads, stick baits and soft plastic swim baits. During the day, the best bite has been in 20-30 feet of water and on overcast days. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - Rough water conditions, heavy fog, and a strong southerly wind hampered fishing activities from Thursday through the first half of the long Memorial Day weekend and fishing pressure was relatively low. As the weather conditions improved and both the bay and lake settled down, fishing pressure increased and many anglers were reporting great success in Kewaunee, Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay. Many rainbows are being caught in 110-300 feet of water using anything orange. Water temperatures were reported near 50 degrees at the surface and several boats were coming in with an occasional chinook salmon. The local charter boats have been coming in with big numbers of fish ranging from 12-27 fish per trip. The majority of fish being harvested are rainbow trout, but as the water temperatures increase, more chinook salmon were being harvested along with coho salmon and lake trout. The big salmon of the weekend came out of Kewaunee at 27 pounds, and a 21 pound out of Kewaunee was reported early morning on Memorial Day. Boat traffic was heavy in both Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee due to the beautiful weather on Memorial Day and many boats that got out early were coming in with coolers full of fish. The excitement level of anglers is increasing with the warming water temperatures and the fishing activity is on the rise both from shore and on the ramps. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing has really picked up since the weather has warmed up. Most anglers are catching a mix of rainbows and coho with a few kings and lakers. Good numbers of fish are being caught with some anglers getting their limits. Many of the rainbows caught have been in the 10-pound range with several kings over 15 pounds as well. The alewives have been in the harbors for the last two weeks making pier fishing difficult but fish from the lake are stuffed full of alewives. High lines over 100-plus feet of water seems to be the most consistent method for rainbows and cohos. - Benjamin Thome, creel clerk, Mishicot

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - With Memorial Day Weekend in the books, the unofficial start to summer has begun. Fishermen this past weekend were finding success on local lakes despite the windy conditions on Saturday and Sunday. This year's goslings have been seen throughout the county and are growing fast. As the warmer temperatures continue more reptiles and amphibians will be seen moving around. This upcoming weekend, June 4 and 5, is free fishing weekend. Point Beach State Forest offers loaner fishing equipment through the Tackle Loaner Program. This weekend is also Free Admission to State Parks and Recreational Areas. - Alyssa Gove, conservation warden, Mishicot

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waushara County - Rain off and on in Waushara county has streams moving quickly and a little murkier than normal, but the warmth is creating some good bug hatches for trout fishermen to match. Bass and bluegills are in various stages of spawn depending on the body of water, its size, and depth. There is some good fishing to be had this upcoming weekend if you can stay dry. Fawns are dropping like crazy and a number have been hanging around homes and cabins so stay on the look-out especially if you have pets. Does can get very aggressive when protecting their fawns and always remember state leash laws - dogs must be on leash until July 31 on state owned lands and dogs must not harass, chase, or endanger wildlife during anytime (exceptions apply for legal hunting/training). - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma


Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - Woodlands in the forest have reached a point where few, new wildflowers are blooming (there will likely be some asters and goldenrods blooming in early fall). However, it is downright noisy with males of dozens of bird species singing to proclaim their territory against other males, while at the same time wooing females with their musical performances. Among the more melodious species are wood thrush, rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo buntings, and yellow-throated vireos, while the great-crested flycatcher and red-eyed vireo lead the percussion section. During a wildflower walk in a prairie with balsam ragwort and yellow wood-sorrel starring as the new native plant species blooming this year, group members came across three sizeable eastern hognose snakes. No doubt, the snakes had the birds and the bees on their minds, too. The group was also happy to encounter some monarchs and monarch eggs on milkweed; the monarch's population has plummeted mysteriously in the last two or three years. In the prairies and grasslands, many state-rare bird species are thriving, including bobolink, eastern meadowlark, Henslow's sparrow, clay-colored sparrow and savanna sparrow. It's incredible to think that the 3,000-acre Scuppernong Habitat Area, the largest wet prairie complex east of the Mississippi River was revived from a buckthorn thicket over the course of 30-plus years! There hasn't been much change in the Southern Unit's wetlands, except for the appearance of viceroy butterflies (picture a three-quarter size monarch with a black line across the middle of the hind wings). Anyone interested in an adventure might consider a nighttime visit to a marsh to listen for Virginia rails, soras, and, owls... Join one of our naturalists in June on Saturdays at 10 am for wildflower walks, and on Sundays in June at 8 am for bird walks. (Meet at Forest Headquarters, off Rt. 59 between Eagle and Palmyra.) - Todd Miller, Assistant Naturalist Guide

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks

Sheboygan County - Many baitfish remain around the lakeshore in Sheboygan, especially by south pier. The water was pretty choppy all weekend with waves coming from the south, but was calm and very clear on Memorial day. A fair number of anglers fished from the piers over the weekend. Success was overall low, but some whitefish were caught from both piers mostly at the far ends throughout the week. Boat anglers had more success, catching mostly coho salmon and some rainbow trout. Both spoons and flies were successful. - Jacklyn Bruss, fisheries technician, Sheboygan

Ozaukee County - There are still many baitfish all around the lakeshore this week. A large 16-pound brown trout and three (4- to 5-pound) coho were caught on alewives from Rotary Park on Saturday. Occasional coho were caught by Rotary Park, the power plant, and from south pier on Memorial Day; all were in the 4- to 5-pound. range. Boating pressure was high all weekend. Boat angler's success has slowed down a little, but is still very good overall. They are catching mostly coho and occasionally a chinook. A variety of flies and spoons all remain the successful baits of choice. The Army Corps of Engineers has started repairs on the breakwall of the north pier in Port Washington, and access to the pier is prohibited. Construction is projected to last until July 3. - Jacklyn Bruss, fisheries technician, Sheboygan

Milwaukee County - Anglers on McKinley Pier are off to a good start this year with nice catches of coho being reported along with a few kings, rainbows, and lake trout. Anglers have been landing fish along the entire length of the pier. Bottom fishing with alewives with a "bottle rig" was the most popular setup. Most anglers catch their alewives by jigging a "sabiki rig" over the side of the pier. A sabiki rig has three small hooks on a leader with a small weight attached to the bottom. Nice size rock bass were landed on night crawlers in the fishing area around the old Coast Guard station. Large carp (up to 20-30 pounds) moved into the fishing area as well. Crappies, rock bass, and a couple of largemouth bass were landed in Lakeshore State Park over the Memorial Day weekend. The surface water temperature in the lagoons was 64 degrees on Sunday. Boats out of McKinley are landing nice catches of coho salmon along with a few kings, rainbows, and lake trout as far north as Mequon. Nice catches of coho were landed in 35-50 feet of water on orange flashers and blue green flies on Sunday. The catch rate for anglers fishing from the shoreline on the south side of Milwaukee continues to be spotty. A few small brown trout were caught and released under the bridge by anglers fishing with shiners. Anglers targeting browns and rainbows in the fishing areas around the Coast Guard station pier reported seeing mostly large carp. Anglers on the Cupertino Park fishing pier targeted smallmouth bass and panfish with nightcrawlers but landed mostly gobies. Anglers on the Grant Park shoreline caught and released small brown trout, small rainbows, and a couple of large carp on minnows, spawn sacks, and spinner baits. Small brown trout and rainbows were caught in the Oak Creek power plant discharge chute along with large carp and sheepshead. Most of the anglers fishing in the discharge chute used natural bait like raw shrimp, tube jigs tipped with wax worms, and jig heads tipped with nightcrawlers. Boats out of Bender were going far offshore (at least 130 feet of water and deeper) in order to catch trout and salmon. A large number of the boats out of South Shore Park were fishing north of the McKinley Marina over the Memorial Day weekend. Limits of coho were being caught with standard coho rigs in 180 feet of water, straight out from South Shore Park on Memorial Day. One of the South Shore anglers reported that "there were tons of boats in 180 feet of water".

Racine County - Fishing was much slower for anglers this week. Most boats trolled in 35-70 feet of water and reported zero to six fish. Anglers used a flasher/fly combination, spoons and crank baits. Most of the fish caught were on the flasher/fly combination. The water temperature was 44 degrees. Some boats went out to 200 feet with similar results and the water temperature was reported as 43 degrees. Anglers fishing from the piers had a very slow week. Most of the reported catches were brown trout caught on alewives. The alewives were used on bottom rigs and bobbers. Only one coho was reported being caught and it was caught on a crankbait. The water temperature was 45 degrees. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

Kenosha County - Overall fishing has been much slower this week. Most boats trolled in 40-75 feet of water. These boats used a flasher/fly combination or spoons. Most anglers fished their lures from 30 feet down to the surface. Catches varied greatly with some boats catching five to six fish while others caught none. The fish caught were mainly coho, but a few lake trout and brown trout were also caught. The water temperature was reported as 47 degrees. Some anglers fished deeper out to about 120 feet. These boats used similar methods and had similar results. The water temperature was reported as 45 degrees. Anglers that fished the piers had a slow week for the most part. Some coho and brown trout were caught, and one steelhead was caught. Alewives on bottom rigs are still catching the most fish, however crank baits and jigs have caught some coho. The water temperature was 47 degrees. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant


South Central Region

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Goose, wood duck, mallard and blue-winged teal broods have all been seen and female turtles are traveling across the marsh to find a place to lay eggs. Warm weather has arrived at Horicon Marsh and a number of events will help people of all ages soak in the summer sun. On June 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. the Tour De Marsh Kicks-off. This event, great for all types of outdoor enthusiasts, incorporates the beauty of the Horicon Marsh, charm of small towns, and food. Named one of the "seven wonders of Wisconsin" and a "wetland of international importance," seeing and experiencing Horicon Marsh provides an opportunity to enjoy one of natures' treasures. Five start/rest stations for cyclists and drivers will be set up along the route. Participants can start at any of the five stations - each will have parking, refreshments, maps, information cards, stamp cards and restrooms available. Participant with a card stamped at each of the five stops will be entered into a raffle. Featured stops along the route include Ledge Park, Marsh Haven, and overlooks at Palmatory St., Bayview Rd., and Bud Cook Hiking Area. These stops will give visitors a glimpse of beautiful marsh and country views. Also on June 4, from 10-11:30 a.m. there will be a Herp Hike. Participants will go on a hike to search for herps (reptiles and amphibians) and meet some of Horicon's wildlife ambassadors - this event is perfect for kids of all ages. For more information, contact Horicon Chamber of Commerce at 920-485-3200 or the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitors Center at 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Wildlife young are being seen and reported in all areas of the county. Again, please note that many wildlife species employ the strategy of leaving/hiding their young while the mother is away feeding, as is the case with white-tailed deer fawns. If you encounter a fawn that is lying by itself (even in your backyard!), back away slowly and leave the fawn alone. The mother will join it later in the day and lead the fawn to a different location. Now is a great time for a walk in the prairie. The violets have faded away, but prairie smoke, golden alexanders, lupine and new this week - spiderwort, can be seen in their full glory. Unfortunately, they're joined by the yellows of leafy spurge and yellow sweet clover, and purple and white of dame's rocket. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Walleye/sauger fishing on Lake Wisconsin has picked up recently with a lot of undersized and slot fish being caught. The bluegills are starting to make their beds and decent numbers of fish are being caught in the shallows. Crappie fishing has slowed down. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette

With recent rains the Wisconsin River is up covering many of the sandbars. White bass are very active on the river now with several fishermen reporting increased activity with channel catfish. Bluegills are moving in to spawn now on local lakes. Reminder to leave baby animals alone as their parents are their best hope for survival. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Dane County - Bird nesting is in full swing - great opportunities to contribute to the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas. Still some limited migration in the area including shorebirds and late songbirds (flycatchers, cedar waxwings). Prairies are starting to pop with spiderwort in bloom, shooting stars, and purple coneflowers starting to emerge. It hasn't been too wet this spring, keeping mosquito populations in check. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg


West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

St. Croix County - Bullfrogs and green frogs are calling. Nighthawks are seen at twilight and golden alexander's are in full bloom on the prairie. - Harvey Halvorsen, wildlife supervisor, Baldwin

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Gnats, mosquitoes, and ticks are very abundant throughout the area. The prevailing wet conditions will not allow the bug situation to improve anytime soon. Many songbirds are fledging their first clutches of nestlings. As these young birds leave their nests, it will take several additional weeks before they become proficient flyers. Until then, they are vulnerable to many predators, such as crows, raccoons, coyotes, fox, cats, and dogs. Young rabbits, squirrels, woodchucks, foxes, and fawns have also been reported. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Recreational boaters are making good use of the public boat landings at Lake Altoona County Park and the Chippewa River Riverview Park - it can be difficult to find a place to park on summer weekends. The Hobbs Boat Landing in the City of Eau Claire and the Porterville Boat Landing in the Town of Brunswick offer Chippewa River access for smaller motor boats, and canoe/kayak paddlers looking for less crowded boating opportunities downriver of Eau Claire. Recent rains have raised river water levels - use caution in the swift currents. Many boaters of all ages are wearing PFDs - Life Jackets Save Lives. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Chippewa River State Trail - The trail is flooded between Porterville Road and Jopke Road south of the city of Eau Claire. Visitors can access the trail from the Highway 85 wayside or Caryville rest area.- Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Mosquitoes have hatched. Remember to bring bug spray, screen tents or thermocells. Join us Sunday, June 5 at 10 a.m. in the new campground at site #105 for a ribbon cutting ceremony and cake. Hike the new trail or play games at the beach afterwards. There are still many sites left in the new campground, which was less buggy than other areas of the park. The beach is a great place to cool off and escape the bugs. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent during open office hours. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Last Revised: Thursday, June 02, 2016

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