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Ice is quickly thinning on those northern lakes that still have ice with dangerous conditions on most lakes. The Wisconsin River is now open even in its northern stretches, but ice chucks can be seen melting along the river's edge. The lower Wisconsin River has finally dropped to near normal levels.
Some walleye and brown trout are being caught on the Menominee River both trolling and angling from shore. Low water and cool water temperatures slowed the walleye run so far on the Oconto River. Anglers along the Wolf River have been starting to catch walleyes. A few sturgeon have been seen along the Wolf River, but warmer temperatures are needed for the sturgeon to start their annual spring spawning run. Walleye and sauger action on the Wisconsin River and Lake Wisconsin is slowly picking up.
Spring steelhead fishing opened last Saturday for the lower stretch of the Brule River and there were lots of fishermen and fisherwomen on the river many who had a successful opener.
There are still some ice chunks, shoves and iced in areas along the west shore of Green Bay. Some of the launches are still mostly iced in but more have opened up and the main channel is open with some small patches of ice remaining.
Anglers fishing the shore of the Fox River are concentrating their efforts along the shore at Voyager Park. Despite the rain last weekend many anglers lined the wall and waded off the island in hopes of landing a nice sized walleye. The boat launches were lined with trucks and trailers and anglers who fished long hours reported some great catches.
All ramps on the northern Door County side of the Bay are still iced up, but Sunset Park ramp in Sturgeon Bay is now open. Sawyer Park ramp is also open but there is a lot of ice in the canal. All ramps on the Lake Michigan side of Door County are open but there have been very few fishermen to report any action.
Steelhead action in Door County creeks Lake Michigan tributaries has been slow but rising water levels from recent rain should bring in more fish. The Kewaunee, Ahnapee, East and West Twin, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Menomonee rivers rose and a small push of steelhead made for good action.
Strong winds resulting in very turbulent water prevented many anglers from getting out into main Lake Michigan over the past week.
Anglers need to be aware that their licenses will expire on March 31 and a new license is required beginning April 1. Visit the Go Wild website or head to your favorite license vendor to make your purchase.
Turkey groups have displaying toms, woodcock's flight song can be heard as the sky darkens, and tundra swans are heard migrating in the middle of the night. Common loons and rafts of coots have been stopping on the Madison chain of lakes.
Maple sap season is winding down with temps at night only hovering near freezing. Trees are starting to bud. Round lobed hepatica was already in bloom on south facing slopes in Walworth County.
Some frogs have started calling when it warms up, mostly spring peepers and chorus frogs, whose calls may be heard up to one-half mile away. The call is a very distinct and similar in sound to running a fingernail over the teeth of a plastic hair comb.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Widespread rain minimized fire activity across the state last week; a total of 24 wildfires burned 10 acres. The main causes of the fires were debris burning and equipment. As things dry out, expect fire danger to increase. Stay apprised of fire weather conditions by checking the DNR fire danger web page each day after 11 a.m.: dnr.wi.gov (search 'fire'). If you're planning on burning leaves and brush as part of your spring clean-up routine, first check the Burning Restrictions web page to find out if a permit is required where you want to burn. Then be sure to check the day's fire danger and burning permit restrictions BEFORE lighting that match!
Firewise Tip: If you are planning to burn yard debris this spring, be sure to clear the area around your brush/leaf pile or burn barrel to create a "firebreak." Click here for more safe burning tips. - Jolene Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madison
This is an exciting time for birdwatchers! Migration is ramping up statewide, even in the north now where American robins, common grackles, and red-winged blackbirds have arrived in force. The first song sparrows, great blue herons, golden-crowned kinglets, sandhill cranes, and dark-eyed juncos have also been reported there. Farther south, large numbers of kinglets were reported earlier in the week, along with fox sparrows, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, rusty blackbirds, tree swallows, eastern bluebirds, and a few yellow-rumped warblers. Waterbirds continue to make the biggest splash, however. This spring has featured the highest numbers of non-Canada geese in recent memory with large numbers of snow, Ross's, greater-white-fronted, and cackling geese amid the many Canadas, particularly at shallow lakes and wetlands in the southeast quarter of the state. Common loon numbers are building in the south (e.g. 50-plus found on Lake Kegonsa recently) and will peak in the week or two ahead. An early loon was even found on Lake Superior already. American white pelicans and the first Bonaparte's gulls have shown up in the south, as well as the first push of early shorebirds, including both greater and lesser yellowlegs, pectoral sandpipers, a few American golden-plovers, Wilson's snipe, and killdeer. Tundra swans were plentiful in the east, trumpeters in the west, and a wide variety of ducks and grebes statewide this week. Osprey have returned in the south, while a few short-eared owls linger at large wetland/grassland complexes. Dusk-to-dawn birding can be quite good this time of year as American woodcock display at dusk, ruffed grouse are drumming, turkeys gobbling, and various owl species calling, such as northern saw-whet, Eastern screech, and barred owls. The Western Great Lakes Owl Survey still has some routes available for interested volunteers - details are at http://wiatri.net/projects/birdroutes/owls.htm. Finches remain common at north woods feeders, including brightening American goldfinches, a few common redpolls, more pine siskins, and good numbers of now-singing purple finches. Nesting season is in full swing for a number of resident species like bald eagles, great horned owls, mourning doves, and American crows. Canada geese have initiated nests, the first hooded merganser eggs were reported, and great blue herons are active at historic rookeries in the south already. Be sure to report your observations of nesting birds to the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas project at https://wsobirds.org/atlas, and look for a project training workshop near you at https://wsobirds.org/atlas-events. Rare birds spotted this week include a brant at Goose Pond in Columbia county, prairie falcon at Bong SRA in Kenosha, and slaty-backed gull in Superior, Douglas County. As always, help us track the migration by reporting your sightings to www.ebird.org.wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Bluff Creek SNA: April 8, 9 a.m. - noon. Come enjoy spring weather and help volunteers during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays on the second Saturday. Enjoy a short hike, then help cut and pile brush, learn something, meet knowledgeable people, and enjoy the beauty of this fen area in the process. We will remove buckthorn that can spread and shade out rare fen and savanna plants at this site. No skills needed you will be trained onsite.
Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Slowly but surely spring is winning the battle over winter. There are still a few mounds of snow and ice in the woods and along the edges of parking lots, but those are rapidly disappearing with the daytime highs in the 40s and 50s. There is still some ice along the river's edges, but that, too, is becoming noticeably less with each passing day. Spring steelhead fishing opened on Saturday for the lower stretch of the Brule River from Highway 2 downstream to Lake Superior. There have been lots of fishermen and fisherwomen on the river and opening day proved successful for many of them. The 2017-2018 Hook and Line Fishing Regulations and 2017-2018 Trout Fishing Regulations are available on the DNR website. Please be sure to know and follow the rules that apply to you. The robins have returned to the Brule River State Forest! One came to visit the Ranger Station the other day. Other migrating birds are also being seen in the area. The great blue herons have returned and frequent the fish hatchery, looking for an easy meal. Fire Danger level in NW Wisconsin is moderate. Sunshine, low humidity and windy conditions can quickly change that fire danger to High. Check fire danger conditions and burning permit requirements on the Wisconsin Burning Permits website or calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). Information is updated each day at 11 a.m. The reservation window has been expanded for the campgrounds at Bois Brule and Copper Range. Campers can make reservations from now through November 15 at ReserveAmerica.com. Search for "Brule River State Forest". Not all campsites are reservable—there are many available on a first-come-first-served basis. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Iron County - Iron County has pretty much shut down for the time being. Ice is quickly thinning with dangerous conditions on most lakes. The Mercer bike path is mostly open with a few patches of snow on them in shaded areas and is being used by a few folks. Robins, sandhills, swans and a few species of ducks have returned. A butterfly was spotted yesterday while out in the woods, however no green up has begun. The first swarm of no-see-ums were seen today. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer - Matt Meade, conservation warden, Mercer
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - Forest swamps still have a touch of ice and an occasional snow pile here and there but the rest of the forest is brown and snowless. Hikers will want to have waterproof boots. The ice on the lakes is extremely dangerous at this point and ice fishing has ceased. Skunks are out and active but we haven't seen much bear activity. Many geese and ducks are back. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, and some swans have been seen by many of the area residents. Ravens, great horned owls and eagles have begun nesting. Thursday March 23, the Flambeau River State Forest gained 28 new elk members from the state of Kentucky. The sap is still running, and maple sugar gatherers have been collecting and processing. This week should be a good sap running week with the cold nights and the warm days. The weather forecast for this week a high of 50 and low of 29 Friday, high of 53 and low of 33 Saturday, and a high of 55 and low of 39 Sunday. Sunday night is the only day with a chance of rain. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Winter is slowly reducing its grip on the forest. A few robins have been seen and the chipmunks have come out of their slumber this week! There are still snow banks and snow in some parts of the woods, and still ice on area lakes, but the rivers are high and open and the waterfowl is starting to show up! Even the goldfinch is starting to show a couple of bright yellow feathers in anticipation of the rite of spring. This is the time of year to walk and explore without the "green wall" of leaves to hide things from the inquisitive! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Lincoln and Langlade counties - Birds are a buzz. Spring is here and turkey groups have displaying toms, woodcock's flight song can be heard as the sky darkens, and tundra swans are heard migrating in the middle of the night. In wetlands, fields, and along rivers, sandhill cranes are calling and can be seen in pairs, geese are looking for nesting locations, and red-winged blackbirds call loudly. Snow is basically gone, but ice still occurs on lakes. The Wisconsin River is open, but the ice chucks can be seen melting along the river's edge. Should be a nice weekend to visit the area! - Janet Brehm, wildlife biologist, Merrill
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the week of March 18-25. This past week was cool and windy keeping the number of anglers low. Although the ice has broken up on the Bay, sheets of floating ice are moving showing up at one location or another. The mouth of the Menominee River was open mid week and iced up yesterday. Fishing has been slow for walleye with water temperatures around 37 degrees.
Marinette County - All the boat landings on the Peshtigo River are open except the Ramp at the mouth of the river. Only a few anglers were interviewed and they reported no fish. Some walleye and brown trout are being caught on the Menominee River both trolling and angling from shore. Boom Landing, 6th Street Slip, Menekaunkee Landing, and the Menominee Lighthouse landing are still iced in. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - A few anglers were interviewed below the Dam at Stiles with little to report. Low water and cool water temperatures has slowed the walleye run so far. All boat landings on the Oconto River are open and boaters are mainly going out of the Oconto Municipal Landing and the Oconto Breakwater Park landing. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - The launches along Duck Creek were still mostly iced in as of Saturday, but the main channel is open with some small patches of ice remaining. The two access points on Longtail were mostly open, there was some remaining ice off of Lineville Rd but Harbor Lights Rd access was open. The Suamico River is completely open with no remaining ice to be seen. The Geano Beach launch is still frozen in and there are some ice shoves pushing over the break wall, but the bay is open outside of the harbor area. There are some ice chunks, shoves and iced in areas along the shore in the bay yet. No anglers have been seen fishing the west shore yet. Anglers fishing the shore of the Fox River are concentrating their efforts along the shore at Voyager Park. Despite the rain this weekend many anglers lined the wall and waded off the island in hopes of landing a nice sized walleye. Anglers reported catches varying throughout the day. Most anglers fishing from shore were using artificial bait with the greatest success. The boat launches were lined with trucks and trailers this weekend from the Fox Point launch to the Fairgrounds. Those that fished long hours were greeted with great catch numbers. Anglers that were out for just a few hours still had some success but the catches varied greatly. Water temperatures dropped a degree this weekend from the rain, with water temps coming in around 37 degrees Sunday night but water flow has increased. With warmer temperatures in store for this week the bite should pick up as water temperatures creep toward the 40s. - Emily M. Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Door County - All ramps on Green Bay side of northern Door County are still iced up. Sunset Park ramp in Sturgeon Bay is now open. Sawyer Park ramp is open but be careful. There is a lot of ice in the canal and the ramp will be blocked if the wind blows the ice to the south shore. The pier and break wall at Stone Quarry is open but a thick sheet of ice blocks the ramp. All ramps on the Lake Michigan side are open but there have been very few fishermen to report any action. Water temps on Lake Michigan remain very cold (34-38 degrees) because of the lack of sunshine in the last week. Steelhead action in Door County creeks has also been very slow with the cold temperatures. Rising water levels with the recent rain should bring in more fish from the lake. Expect action to pick up once temperatures rise. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Strong winds resulting in very turbulent water prevented many anglers from getting out into main Lake Michigan over the past week. A couple boats did get out at the end of the weekend after the winds had subsided some and reported a couple brown trout early in the morning, but not much action as the day went on. Steelhead fishing in the rivers resulted in some action, with only a few fish being caught early in the week. After the rain Friday, the Kewaunee River rose overnight and a small push of steelhead made for good action Saturday afternoon, up until close to sundown. The Ahnapee River in Algoma had consistent catches, with few anglers reporting more than one fish, but most groups seemed to have caught at least one. A handful of larger brown trout were also caught in the Ahnapee River this week. Steelhead from both rivers were caught on either spawn sacs or wax worms. Stoney Creek didn't receive much fishing pressure this past week because of a combination of lower flow and a good amount of ice still on the banks in the stretches from highway U down to Lake Michigan. The rain Saturday and Sunday caused river levels to rise, but it also pushed down some very cloudy water from upstream, causing the fishing action to come to a temporary lull. It's likely that better fishing will be in store later in the week once some of the cloudier water passes through the systems. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - While the weather continues to be windy and stormy, fishing pressure continues to be low. With the ice finally melted and water levels starting to rise, quite a few anglers were out targeting steelhead and brown trout on the East Twin River in Mishicot and West Twin River in Shoto during the beginning of the week; however, there were very few fish pulled, and even less kept. Most anglers were not eager to spend a lot of time outdoors, as the weather was not enjoyable. A few anglers were able to catch some brown and rainbow trout out of the Manitowoc River and Manitowoc Piers. Weather was still rainy, windy, and cold during the weekend; but on Sunday, March 26, anglers hit the rivers hard and many on the East Twin River in Mishicot were able to pull and keep rainbow trout. Despite the determination of many anglers on the West Twin River in Shoto, very few fish were caught. Manitowoc River is starting to warm up, reaching a temperature of 43 degrees and averaging about 39 degrees. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Turkeys are strutting, woodcock are peenting and deer ticks are out! Spring is definitely progressing in Marinette county. The frost is still hanging on in many areas causing dirt roads to be really wet and sloppy. A few 'brave' anglers are still out on what is left of the ice but the ice is very dark grey and open water will be here soon. Maple sap season is winding down with temps at night only hovering near freezing. A few landscape plants on the south sides of homes are peaking up above ground now, but no sign of spring ephemerals in the woods just yet. Willow buds are breaking in some wetter areas. Some agricultural fields are beginning to green up and attract deer in large numbers. Staff have heard reports of walleyes running in the Menominee River and northern pike swimming in ditches on their way to spawning marshes. If you plan to fish the Menominee River, remember, because it is a boundary water, you must carry a hard copy of your fishing license with you (your driver's license is not sufficient). Also, all anglers need to be aware that their licenses will expire on March 31 and a new license is required beginning April 1. Visit the Go Wild website or head to your favorite license vendor to make your purchase. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - Temperatures are finally starting to warm up and that means springs is here! In Manitowoc County a handful of the inland lakes have complete ice out. The remaining ice is sure to be gone soon. Anglers have been taking to the rivers and having success catching brown trout, steelhead, and a few rainbows. It is a beautiful time to see wildlife! Turkeys have been seen in high numbers with some toms even starting to strut! The hiking trails at Point Beach State Forest and the county parks are opening up and some places already dry. Be prepared for a little bit of mud and maybe some standing water from the last rain fall. It looks like it is going to be a beautiful weekend with sun and highs in the 50s. Get outside and enjoy the great outdoors! - Alyssa Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Whitefish Dunes State Park - All trails are open to hiking. There have been several sightings of turkeys in the park as they are active this time of year. The best trails at this time for hikers are the Black Trail (2.5-mile loop) and the beach shoreline (1.5 miles). Water levels are typically at the lowest levels right now and the beach is a great place to hike. Starting April 1, pets are not allowed on the beach shoreline by office or swim area. There is a pet area beach accessible quickest by hiking the Red Trail 0.75 one way. Pets are allowed on all hiking trails as long as on a leash. Any questions please ask park staff for more information. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Weather has been up and down as March weather often is. Lakes are now mainly ice free and in some lakes walleyes are beginning to spawn. New bird species include: bluebirds, northern shrike, and ring-necked duck. Bald eagles are currently concentrated on the west end of Lake Poygan likely feeding on a shad die-off, would be a good wildlife viewing opportunity. Deer are feeding in ag. fields like crazy at most hours of the day right now. Heard the first turkey gobbling on Tuesday. Woodcock have arrived in numbers. Green up of fields has still not yet begun, lupine has just started emerging, and the only trees/shrubs staff have noticed blooming are pussy willows. Sap is still being collected for maple syrup. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Anglers along the Wolf River - from the mouth of Lake Poygon to New London have been starting to catch some walleyes. The fish seen are mostly males and range from 6 to 17 inches in length. Bright colored jigs with a minnow have produced the best results. Bluebirds have recently arrived to the Waupaca area. Some sightings of male turkeys strutting and gobbling have also been reported recently. Several area Conservation Clubs will be hosting the Learn to Turkey hunt events this weekend. A few sturgeon have been seen along the Wolf River, but warmer temperatures are needed for the sturgeon to start their annual spring spawning run. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - The Sheboygan River has been producing a few steelhead and the occasional brown trout, primarily around the Kohler Dam area, but fish can be found right now throughout the river. Fish can be caught on spawn under a bobber or drifted with a three-way rig on the bottom, but a few anglers had success casting spoons or spinners as well. A few northern pike were also reported being caught in the lower stretches of the river casting spinners. Water temperature was 39 degrees. Fishing pressure on the Pigeon River has been fairly low, but there are some steelhead to be found. Most anglers have been using spawn under bobbers, with most pressure in the upper stretches of the river around Hwy Y, but some anglers reporting success on the lower end as well. Water temperature was 40 degrees. The harbor area has seen little effort lately, but typically brown trout or steelhead can both be found around the harbor or even off the beaches. Typical baits are spoons or small crankbaits for either casting or trolling. Water temperature in the harbor was 38 degrees. - Brandon Wambach, fisheries technician
Ozaukee County - The Port Washington harbor is still producing a few brown trout. Anglers have mostly been using spawn sacs or shiners on the bottom near the power plant discharge, though some have been casting jigs with plastic minnows, various spoons, or crankbaits with some success as well. The North Pier is currently undergoing construction in the area known as "the catwalk" at the very beginning of the pier and will be closed until the end of June. No boats were interviewed this past week, but one was seen trolling inside the harbor during the week. Boat anglers often troll the harbor or shallow along the beaches to target the brown trout this time of year. Water temperature inside the harbor was 39 degrees. Conditions improved in Sauk Creek with last week's warm up, but only a few steelhead are still being caught. Spawn Sacs under a bobber or casting spoons have both caught a few fish in the creek. Water temperature was 42 degrees. - Brandon Wambach, fisheries technician
Milwaukee County - Mild weather with daytime temperatures reaching 60 degrees on Friday, March 24 brought a few more anglers to the lakefront. Fishing pressure decreased on the weekend as steady light rain with temperatures in the 30s moved into the area and 15-20 mph north/northeast winds (gusting to 29 mph) and 3-4 foot waves kept most boaters off the lake. Around one inch of rain was recorded over the weekend. The fishing pressure and catch rate on McKinley Pier continues to be low. The surface water temperature on the lake side of the pier increased from 34 degrees last week to 37-38 degrees on Sunday. A couple of brown trout and a nice 25-inch rainbow were landed in McKinley Marina on Friday by an angler casting spoons. The majority of shoreline fishing pressure continues to be on the harbor side of Summerfest. Nice catches of brown trout were landed behind Summerfest on Friday. One angler caught and released five browns within two hours Friday morning while jigging 4-inch chartreuse/white gulp minnows. A large number of brown trout (up to 15 pounds) were caught and released by anglers jigging white gulp minnows in the Lake Shore State Park lagoons. Boats out of McKinley and Riverfront continue to troll spoons and crank baits inside the breakwall for brown trout and rainbows. A few boats jigged gulp minnows for browns in the breakwall gaps and in front of the MMSD water treatment plant. A couple of kayak anglers at the Riverfront ramp caught and released six browns (up to 14 pounds) on Sunday evening while trolling flicker shad crank baits and moonshine spoons in the harbor. Anglers under the Hoan Bridge were targeting brown trout, rainbows, and perch with spawn sacks, shiners, and fathead minnows fished on the bottom. Most of the fish landed recently have been brown trout. A 12 pound, 28-inch long northern pike was caught and released. The painting project on the Hoan Bridge started this week. 500 foot sections of public fishing area from Carferry Drive to MMSD will be restricted (fenced off) as the painting project progresses to the north. Anglers on the Grant Park shoreline are landing nice catches of brown trout and rainbows along with an occasional coho. A large number of rainbows moved into the Oak Creek at Grant Park over the past two weeks. The water level on the creek was high and the flow rate was fast on Sunday, March 26 after 1 inch of rain fell in Milwaukee. Rainbows jumped out of the water as they swam upstream in the fast water. Anglers landed large ripe female rainbows Sunday morning. The water in the creek was muddy with visibility less than 3 inches. The water temperature was 41 degrees. Anglers fishing Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier landed brown trout. Anglers on the lake side of the pier landed nice size browns while drifting crank baits in the current. Boats out of Bender Park are targeting brown trout and 16-18 inch coho with crank baits and spoons in front of the Oak Creek power plant and on the boils in front of the South Shore Water Treatment Plant. The Milwaukee River flow rate at Estabrook Park increased from 961 cfs last week to 1220 cfs on Sunday, March 26. The water temperature increased from 40 to 42 degrees. Anglers targeted rainbows at Kletzsch on Saturday. Rainbows were seen on the gravel bars on the upstream side of the bridge. A large number of suckers and a few northern pike were seen below the Estabrook waterfall on Saturday. Most of the rainbows caught recently at Estabrook were landed downstream near the UWM Park & Ride and the Capital Drive Bridge. Anglers at the former North Avenue dam have been drifting spawn sacks under slip bobbers for rainbows. The Menomonee River was clear from 45th & State Street downstream to Three Bridges Park on Saturday. Visibility was over 24 inches. The water temperature was 42 degrees. The majority of fishing pressure during the week was at Miller Park and Three Bridges Park with anglers targeting rainbows. A large number of rainbows were seen in the river but the anglers had a hard time getting them to bite.
Racine County - Only a few anglers were fishing from the pier this week and none reported catching any fish. A few anglers were fishing in the harbor this week, but none reported catching any fish. The Root River is currently flowing at 696cfs. The water is very turbid from all of the rain and visibility is about 1 inch. The water is 40 degrees above and below the steelhead facility. Fishing has slowed down a lot since all of the rainfall. No anglers have reported catching any steelhead. There was more angling pressure upstream of the steelhead facility this week. Most anglers have concentrated their efforts at Horlick Dam. A few fish were reported caught early in the week, but none have been reported since the rainfall. Anglers that had success reported catching fish on hair jigs or tube jigs tipped with a wax worm. The colors that seemed to work best were black/chartreuse, pink/white, and Chartreuse/white. A few fly fishermen reported having success with black/blue or all black streamers. More anglers chose to focus their efforts downstream of the facility, and mainly at Lincoln Park. Not many fish were reported caught. A few anglers caught fish on white tube jigs tipped with a wax worm. No fish have been reported caught since all of the rainfall. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Kenosha County - Only a couple anglers were interviewed fishing from the pier this week. The anglers both caught one brown trout. One was caught on an orange spawn sac on the bottom and the other on live shiners. The water temperature was 42 degrees. A few anglers fished in the harbor this week. Only one reported catching a fish. The angler caught a brown trout on a tube with a wax worm. The water temperature was 42 degrees. Not many anglers were fishing the Pike River this week. Only one reported catching fish. The angler caught three steelhead using black wooly bugger at Petrifying Springs Park. The water was 41 degrees. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Kenosha Racine, and Walworth counties - Hearing some frogs in the afternoon when it warms up, mostly spring peepers. On some of the south facing slopes of Beulah bog in Walworth county saw some round lobed hepatica already in bloom. Around Bong recreation area there are lots of waterfowl with ring-necks most common with some hooded mergansers and wood ducks. At Chiwaukee Prairie in Kenosha County saw some sandhill cranes paired up in prairie fields presumably looking for nesting spots. The Fox and Des Plains rivers in the SE counties are pretty high and will probably get higher today with the rain. Have noticed a couple orange butterfly's this week, not sure what kind. - Trent Leaf, conservation biologist
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Nearly all traces of snow on the ground and ice on the lakes have disappeared. Turkey vultures, cranes, phoebes, and other summer birds are arriving, and a few scattered frog calls have been reported. Plenty of spring rain has kept the trails very wet, requiring we keep the horse and mountain bike trails closed until further notice. However, most other trails are in fair shape for an early spring hike, with the proper footwear. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Report River levels are just about normal for this time of year. Water temperature is cool at 43 degrees. Lots of waterfowl are currently in Baccens Pond in the riverway, including lots of coots and snow geese. Weather looks good for the coming weekend. People have been out fishing with reports of walleye being caught. Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway have been putting out the loaner life vests at kiosks in the riverway.- Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Wyalusing State Park - Fishing has been slow. Reports from the local fisherman are that they were catching bass. Hiking trails are in good condition, but a little wet from the rains from the last few days. Campers have been enjoying the cool nights camping, and taking in the great view of the eagles soring over the campsites in Wisconsin Ridge. Other bird watchers have sighted Canada geese, wood duck, ring necked duck , bufflehead, mallards and great blue heron at the boat landing. Bird watchers while hiking the trails have reported sighting downy woodpecker, yellow bellied sapsucker, northern flicker, eastern phoebe, black capped chickadee, white breasted nuthatch, winter wren, pileated woodpecker and robins. Animals that have been sighted in the park are raccoons, squirrels, pheasant, and white tail deer. Wisconsin Ridge Camp ground is open for camping on a walk in basis. Showers and flush buildings are closed until further notice. Vault toilets are open. And do have winter water supply available. - Pam Dressler, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Migrating ducks continue to pass through the Horicon Marsh area. Highway 49 on the north side of the marsh and flooded farm fields on the west side of the marsh have the best opportunities right now. Hooded mergansers are already laying eggs in boxes and wood ducks are searching for the perfect box. Redhead, scaup, canvasback, gadwall, green-winged teal and ring-necked ducks are all being seen with regularity. Snow geese double-crested cormorants and tundra swans have been seen migrating through and trumpeter swans are being seen on both the state wildlife area and national wildlife refuge. Osprey have returned to the platform that can be seen from the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. DNR staff have been conducting prescribed burns around the marsh as weather and conditions allow. Other notable wildlife behavior and sightings include an increase in tree swallows, singing chorus frogs, peenting woodcock, bald eagles sitting on nest, painted turtles and more. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Walleye and sauger action on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River in Columbia County is beginning to pick up slowly. Some fish are being caught below the Prairie du Sac and Wisconsin Dells dams as well as on Lake Wisconsin near the trestle and Okee. Sightings of strutting Tom turkeys are increasing, especially on warmer days. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Dane County - Panfishing action has begun and should continue to improve in backwaters and sloughs of Madison area lakes in coming days and weeks. Early trout season fishing action has continued be moderate to good on Dane County trout streams. Various bird species have returned to and are migrating through the Dane County area, with common loons and rafts of diver ducks stopping on the Madison chain of lakes, wood ducks returning to area ponds and streams, and sand hill cranes returned to area fields and wetlands. Multiple species of songbirds have also returned to and are passing thru the area as well, so bird watching opportunities are good to excellent throughout Dane County. - Henry Bauman, conservation warden, Fitchburg
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Chorus frogs began calling in Vernon County. These small, ubiquitous, nocturnal tree frogs are usually the first frog heard calling in the spring. Both males and sometimes females call in large choruses. Males call in an effort to attract several potential female mates to breeding sites. Chorus frog calls may be heard up to one-half mile away. The call is a very distinct "cree-ee-ee—eeek," similar in sound to running a fingernail over the teeth of a plastic hair comb. The higher the water and air temperatures, the more rapid these frogs call. Chorus frogs are very wary and cease calling at the slightest disturbance. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Spring is a great time to visit the Black River State Forest. Trees are starting to bud, flocks of birds are moving through on their spring migration, and mosquito populations are still low. Sandhill cranes, turkey, deer, eagles, and red-tailed hawks are just some of the wildlife seen lately around the forest. Hiking trails are open but may be wet and muddy in some places. Camping is available at the Pigeon Creek and Castle Mound campgrounds. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-50s this weekend with a chance of rain on Sunday. ATV and UTV trails will reopen for the summer riding season on May 15, weather permitting. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - There is open water all over the lake but is still in draw down. Boat launch piers will not be in until water level is back to normal, should be in by end of April. We have winter/early spring campsites open. We are taking applications for the handicapped accessible cabin. Call the park office to see what dates are available or check out availability soon on the website. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate is closed until early May. Camping is also closed for the year. There is access year round at the winter/prairie parking lot on Czech Avenue (south of the park entrance) to access the park in fall through spring. Despite the rain, many people hiking with the warmer weather. - Heather Wolf, park manager