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Outdoor ReportPublished April 6, 2017

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

Spring has sprung in much of the state and nature has taken the hint. Recent rains may have laid the groundwork for a muddy run, hike or bike, but it will strengthen the ongoing green-up, and many sections should be dried, or drying, by the weekend.

With the dryer weather, fire danger is increasing, and was at high across the northern two-thirds of the state. Burning permits have been suspended in 44 counties. Fire danger will likely remain high through the weekend and until the state receives more rain.

Lakes have now opened up through Sawyer and Washburn counties and the remaining ice in far northern counties is trending black, rotting and is unsafe, with anglers reported falling through the ice in Oneida County.

The walleye run is picking up speed in the Peshtigo, Menominee and Wolf rivers and fisherman are flocking to the shores ahead of the peak run. Fishing on the Wisconsin River had been good last week with the walleyes just about at spawn stage and numerous fish being caught below the dams. There are a few sturgeon on the Wolf River, but the water temperatures are still too cold for their annual spring spawning run. Ice shoves along the east shore of Lake Winnebago have melted and anglers are starting to fish from boats, but the water is still cold and most fish have not started spawning activity yet.

Along Door County, the sunshine last weekend helped clear out some of the ice and the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal is now completely open. The Sawyer Park ramp was open and busy with most boats catching two to three browns but most of the landings on the Green Bay side of the peninsula are still mostly blocked in with ice.

Despite rain that raised Lake Michigan tributaries last week, the steelhead run has been a mixed bag. The Sheboygan River and Kewaunee County streams have been producing a few steelhead and the occasional brown trout. Fishing pressure on the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Root rivers was lower this week but pressure on the Oak Creek was heavy, with nice catches of rainbows landed.

Turkeys have moved out of their overwinter flocks with a few toms displaying already in the fields. The statewide youth turkey hunt weekend of April 15 and 16 is just over a week away. Shed hunters are out and about and elk will soon be shedding antlers as well. Bird feeders at some department properties have been taken down due to black bear interest.

Wood and chorus frogs and spring peepers are making their voices heard. Pasque flowers have been spotted blooming, pussy willows are popping up in open swamps and trees are budding. Next week's full moon is often known as the Full Pink Moon, after the wildflowers that may be blooming at this time of year. During the sunnier moments basking turtles have been spotted, soaking up the warmth and waiting for a few more degrees.

Migration continues strong across the state. This past weekend brought large numbers of new birds to the state and the weekend ahead promises more of the same with warm temperatures and strong southerly tailwinds in the forecast. The majority of short-distance migrants have moved in including golden crowned kinglets, northern flickers, eastern phoebes and hermit thrushes. A Dane County birder tallied more than 500 lapland longspurs, while a massive flock of nearly 1,300 Bohemian waxwings was photographed in Ashland and a flight of about 1,200 American robins was recorded on the Lake Superior shore in Bayfield County last Sunday.


Wildfire Report

Dry, windy conditions are forecast through Saturday. Fire danger is high in roughly the northern two-thirds of the state. Burning has been suspended in all 44 counties of DNR protection.


Statewide Birding Report

Migration continues strong across the state. This past weekend brought a large number of new birds to the state while the weekend ahead promises more of the same with warm temperatures and strong southerly tailwinds in the forecast. Most of the classic "short distance" migrants are now present statewide, though much more abundant in the south in most cases. These include golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets, brown creepers, winter wrens, northern flickers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers, eastern phoebes, tree swallows, rusty blackbirds, and hermit thrushes. Numbers of dark-eyed juncos, fox sparrows, and American tree sparrows are building in the north, while southern birders have found the first chipping, vesper, and swamp sparrows, as well as Eastern towhees. Yellow-rumped warblers have reached the far north, though aren't even particularly common in southern Wisconsin yet. The first pine warblers were also reported. Other arrivals this week included great egret, American bittern, purple martin, and northern rough-winged swallow. A nice flight of 1,200 American robins was recorded on the Lake Superior shore in Bayfield county this past Sunday, followed by a nice flight of diurnal raptors dominated by bald eagles, red-tailed, and rough-legged hawks along with a few golden eagles, sharp-shinned hawks, and turkey vultures as well. Look for the first broad-winged hawks in southern Wisconsin following this weekend's big warmup. The waterfowl migration is slightly past peak in the far south but viewing opportunities still abound at various lakes, wetlands, and flooded fields. The Green Bay area hosted thousands of diving ducks this week, particularly at the Sensiba State Wildlife area and various vantages along the east shore. Waterfowl numbers continue to build in the north as water bodies finally open up. Tundra swans, a few common loons, and a host of ducks are moving through there now. Winter birds aren't entirely gone yet. The last of the snowy owls and northern shrikes are departing now. A Dane County birder tallied more than 500 lapland longspurs, while a massive flock of nearly 1,300 Bohemian waxwings was photographed in Ashland. Nesting activity continues to pick up with every passing day. Eastern bluebirds, tree swallows, American robins, common grackles, various woodpeckers, house finches, and other backyard favorites have begun courting or nest building. Ospreys are back tending to nests already in all but the north. Participants in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas also reported pairs of merlins, great blue herons at rookeries, northern harriers doing courtship displays, turkeys gobbling and strutting, killdeer on eggs, and in the north, pine siskins gathering nesting material. A bald eagle nest was found in Kenosha county for the first time. Rare birds spotted this week included the continuing brant at Goose Pond Sanctuary in Columbia County, Franklin's gull in Dane, lesser black-backed gull in Douglas, and a male Eurasian wigeon in Brown. As always, help us track the migration by reporting your observations to Good birding! - Ryan Brady, research scientist, Ashland


Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Saturday, April 8, 2017

For all events: /Calendar/Events/Parks/

Find a property: /topic/parks/findapark.html



Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Ridgeway Pine Relict SNA: 9 a.m. - noon. Ridgeway is known for its pine relicts that have northern plant species. Help cut and pile invasive brush near these scenic pine relicts. Native seeds collected in the fall will be scattered on these areas to convert them into prairie. 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


Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Lots of different bird species have been spotted as the migrators are returning for the summer or passing through to their summer homes further north. Pussy willows are popping and daffodils are sprouting leaves, getting ready to show their stuff! Some rain early in the week kept the Brule River a bit on the high side. These next few days and through the weekend should be beautiful, warm and sunny with high temperatures in the 60s! Next week, a cool-down with some rain and even a few snow flurries are in the forecast. The full moon next week is known as the Full Pink Moon, named for the pink wildflowers that may be blooming by this time of year. Other names for this full moon include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon or the Full Fish Moon - all indicators of spring! It is dry out there! Fire Danger Level in the northern two-thirds of the State is HIGH. If you have debris or brush to burn, get a burning permit and follow the rules of the day. You can learn about fire danger conditions and burning permit requirements by checking the Wisconsin Burning Permits website or calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). Information is updated each day at 11 a.m. Next weekend, April 15-16, is the Spring Turkey Youth Hunt. The hunt is designed to give youth hunters ages 10-15 an opportunity to hunt turkey and gain valuable experience at a time when other hunters are not authorized to hunt turkeys. Check out the Fact Sheet for more details. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Interstate Park - Spring has definitely arrived in the park with warm sunny days over the past week. Most of the trails should be dry, but there will still be a few areas that may be wet or muddy. The Pothole, Summit, Echo Canyon, and River Bluff trails are all great for taking in the scenic beauty of the St. Croix River Valley. The Ice Age Center bird feeders have been taken down for the year due to continual raiding by black bears. Eagles, geese, and ducks have all been seen in the river and lake. The great blue herons are back and staking claim to nesting spots. Bluebirds have been seen checking out bird houses as well. All campgrounds are open on a first come, first serve basis. Campers should register for campsite at the Ice Age Center during the week or the front office on weekends. Water has been shut off in the campgrounds but is still available at the Ice Age Center, the group camp hand pump, and at the old office building. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Straight Lake State Park - Trails should be mostly dry, but there still may be some muddy or wet spots. Rainbow and Straight Lake are both free of Ice. As a reminder, the early trout catch and release season is not open on Rainbow Lake. Swans, ducks, cranes, and geese can all be seen on Straight Lake and the surrounding wetlands. The eagle nest near the dam appears to be active again. Grouse can be heard drumming. Construction work will be starting again soon to complete the park development. People looking to visit the park can access park at the new lot off 120th St. and 270th Ave. Please be aware that some facilities, such as the vault toilets, have been installed but will not be available for public use until the project is complete. Camping is currently not allowed at Straight Lake. Once park development is complete, there will be 10 hike-to campsites located on the south side of Straight Lake. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - Ice is almost gone on the lakes. Wood frogs and spring peepers are calling. Walleye are spawning. Redhorse are starting to run on the Flambeau River. Wild leeks and fiddleheads are coming out and some early wildflowers are blooming. Trees are budding and trees are beginning to flower. Snowshoe hare coats are turning brown. Grouse have started drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and looking for hens. Skunks are out and active but we still haven't seen much bear activity. Geese and ducks are back. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, and some swans and kingfishers have been seen. Deer shed hunters are on the hunt and elk will soon be shedding antlers. The sap collecting season for 2017 is over. This is peak wildfire season so it's important to stay aware of danger at:, keyword "fire." The weather forecast for Thursday is a high of 47 and low of 25, Friday high of 56 and low of 33, Saturday high of 64 and low of 45, and Sunday high of 68 with a chance of showers and a low of 46 at night with showers and thunderstorms possible. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - Lake ice conditions are severely degraded. Numerous anglers in Oneida County have fallen through the ice during the past week. Extreme caution should be exercised by anyone choosing to venture on the ice. Anglers are fishing the river segments below the dams for panfish, but catch reports have not been very positive. On the up side, turkeys have been heard gobbling and seen displaying. Waterfowl numbers are plentiful and now is an excellent time to get out and do some bird watching! - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - With just a couple of snow banks here and there, ice on the lakes getting pretty black and the swamps starting to thaw, spring is looking to bust loose at any time. The wood frog is trying to sing, fox sparrows and juncos have arrived, and the chipmunks have come out of their slumber. Pussy willows are starting to pop out in the swamps, deer are looking for fresh browse, and tom turkeys are strutting their stuff. The woods is starting to come alive with bird songs and it is a very welcome sound! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate


Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Anglers below the Dam at Peshtigo are catching a few walleye but catch rates are still slow, a few anglers even report catching a few common suckers. Pike and brown trout are being caught out of the mouth of the Peshtigo River mainly trolling with stick baits. Little River anglers are also catching some nice browns along with pike trolling stick baits in 4 to 8 feet of water. Anglers below the dam at Hattie Street on the Menominee River report catching some walleye and brown trout casting jigs and stick baits. The walleye bite remains slow but should pick up this week. The Menominee River 6th Street slip, and the Menekaunee Ramps are still iced in. Floating ice shoves are still a problem and have been plugging up river mouths depending on wind conditions. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Fishing for walleye on the Oconto River has been slow but should pick up this week. A few brown trout and the occasional pike are being caught blow the dam at Stiles mainly on jigs and stick baits. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River and the Bay report a few walleye being caught along with pike, and trout. Catch rates have been slow for most anglers but expect that to change in the next week. The boat landing at Oconto Park II is still iced in but should open soon. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - The sunshine over the weekend helped clear out some of the ice in the area. The Sturgeon Bay canal is now open, most of the ice has been pushed out toward Green Bay so it is still very congested from Bayview Park to the bay. The Green Bay side landings are still blocked except for Murphy Park and Fish Creek. Sawyer Park Ramp was busy this weekend with most boats catching two to three browns. Trolling spoons and crank baits in 20 feet of water or less has been productive. Shore and pier fishing has been very inconsistent, most anglers are targeting browns and pike but have not been very successful. Rainbows can be found in a couple area streams but action has been slow. More warm weather and warm rain is needed to raise the cold water temperatures and get the fish moving. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - This weekend brought many anglers who had not yet got the boat wet out from hibernation with the combination of a tournament in Algoma on Saturday and some gorgeous Wisconsin spring weather both Saturday and Sunday mornings. While anglers reported catching more fish during the week, the fish that were reported over the weekend were above average size, with multiple browns over 30 inches being brought in! Stick baits provided the best action, although no color seemed to be better than the next, and spoons also boated a few fish. Water temps were reported from about 36-40 degrees, with good turbidity also mentioned for browns on the lake, particularly south of Kewaunee. Some steelhead were taken from the various streams/rivers in Kewaunee county, with fly anglers fishing the holes seeming to have the most success, although some fish came on spinning tackle. No river appeared to have more action than the next, though. Rain early this week and sunshine (hopefully) toward the weekend should be enticing to many anglers and should contribute to some quality catches to come. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - The middle of the week brought on cold, wet weather; there were very few anglers out. Most anglers were only willing to spend a short amount of time in the streams as they were not seeing or receiving many bites. The weekend warmed up and anglers once again hit the streams and lake hard. A few brown and rainbow trout were kept from the East Twin River near Mishicot on Saturday. In addition, northern pike were biting on the Manitowoc River. Over 20 boats entered Lake Michigan at the Manitowoc Marina before 8 a.m. on Sunday, April 2. Most anglers said it was the first morning they were able to get their boat out onto the lake this year. Instead of the usual trend of many anglers on the piers in Manitowoc and on the Manitowoc River, many chose to try out the Branch River on Sunday. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Spring weather continues with rain, wind, cold, calm, warm, dry, sunny, snow, and sleet all taking their turn. We continue to progress with greener agricultural fields, more landscape plants popping up, and less frost in the ground. Woods roads continue to be sloppy. Frogs can be heard calling from many low areas. The walleye run is picking up speed in the Peshtigo and Menominee rivers and fisherman are flocking to the shores ahead of the peak run. Woodcock are back in larger numbers, geese have been seen sitting on nests and loons have been heard calling. DNR staff continue to check road killed deer to assess their body condition as winter comes to a close--some of the deer checked were in very good shape with lots of fat while others lacked any fat reserves. We are starting to get complaints about bears. If you live in an area that is known to have bears and you want to avoid problems, please move all food sources (bird feeders, garbage cans, freshly used grills, etc.) inside and away from easy access. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - This afternoon a visitor reported seeing a bald eagle flying over Sawyer Harbor, two great blue herons, two common mergansers, and two buffleheads. There is open water in the harbor, but ice still blocks access to Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay. Launch piers will be placed in the water in April when the ice is out of Sawyer Harbor. The fish cleaning station will open later this month. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Grouse are drumming, turkeys gobbling, woodcock peenting and wood ducks showing up in ever increasing numbers. Deer are out most hours of the day and will start giving birth in about a month. Turkeys are displaying in large flocks right now, will start breaking into smaller groups in a week or two. Maples have started to break bud and sap flow must be declining as fewer people are collecting sap now. Spring peepers and chorus frogs have been calling like crazy the last day or two. Greenup in open areas has just started in the last day or two. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

With the warmer weather, walleyes are on the move. Anglers are reporting success upriver of Shiocton and have seen some spawned out fish already. Many anglers have reported good success with bright colored jigs equipped with a stinger hook and minnow for bait. Raft anglers have also reported good success on stick baits as well. There are a few sturgeon on the Wolf River, but the water temperatures are still too cold for their annual spring spawning run. The perch fishing has been very good near Lake Poygon and the lower portion of the Wolf River. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Calumet County - Ice shoves along the east shore of Lake Winnebago in Calumet County have melted and anglers are starting to fish the lake via boat. The water is still cold and most fish have not started spawning activity yet in the harbors and tributary streams. Turkeys have been seen in large numbers with many toms strutting and fanning in the early morning hours. Tundra swans have been seen in recent days in large numbers on the Killsnake Wildlife Area and surrounding private parcels. Many songbirds are building nest and paying visits to residential bird feeders. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge


Southeast Region

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. Lots of northern pike were also reported being caught in the river casting spinners. Water temperature was 42 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 43 degrees. The harbor area has is still seeing 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 39 degrees.

Ozaukee County - The Port Washington harbor is still producing a few brown trout at times, but has been fairly slow as of late. 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. A few anglers have tried for smelt but they are not in as of yet, but some anglers targeting trout caught fish that had smelt in the stomachs. 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 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Last week's rain had brought Sauk Creek up quite a bit and a few steelhead could be seen jumping the falls in the nature preserve, but very few steelhead anglers are still fishing and just as few fish being caught. Spawn Sacs under a bobber or casting spoons have both caught a few fish in the creek. Water temperature was 44 degrees.

Milwaukee County - Fishing pressure on the shoreline tapered off early last week due to a long stretch of cold, rainy weather. North/northeast winds gusting to 35 mph kept many boaters off the lake. Small craft warnings were in effect with waves at 6-8 feet. A large number of anglers returned to the lakefront on Saturday, April 1, with the return of dry sunny weather. A few nice brown trout and northern pike were landed in McKinley Marina. Activity at the McKinley and Riverfront ramps was low during the week but picked up on the weekend. Boats out of McKinley and Riverfront continue to target browns and rainbows with crank baits and spoons in the Milwaukee harbor. The catch rate for browns in the harbor tapered off slightly after the recent stormy weather. Nice catches of brown trout and a couple of coho were landed by anglers bottom fishing with shiners under the Hoan Bridge. Rainbows, a few browns, and an occasional coho were landed on the Grant Park shoreline. Spawn sacks fished on the bottom was the most productive bait. A large number of rainbows moved into the Oak Creek at Grant Park after rain fell last week. Fishing pressure on the creek was heavy, with nice catches of rainbows landed. Most of the rainbows seen this week were ripe and dropped their eggs and milt when measured. The majority of boats out of Bender landed brown trout while trolling crank baits and spoons. Nearly 2 inches of precipitation fell in the Milwaukee area during the week. The Milwaukee River water level increased from 3.37 feet last week to 3.75 feet on Sunday. The water temperature increased from 42 to 45 degrees. Fishing pressure for rainbows decreased at Kletzsch and Estabrook Parks during the week. Around 50-75 rainbows were seen trying to jump the Kletzsch waterfall within an hour on Sunday evening. The majority of anglers seen at Estabrook Park during the week were targeting suckers. A large number of perch were landed behind Summerfest on Sunday. A few anglers landed their limit of five perch. The Menomonee River water temperature at Miller Park was 45 degrees on Sunday. One fly fisherman landed over 10 rainbows at Miller Park on Tuesday, March 28, but most of the fish were small.

Racine County - Only three boats were interviewed this week. One boat caught four browns fishing near the harbor mouth and along the shore south of the piers. The anglers caught the browns trolling crankbaits. The other two boats each caught one coho salmon. They caught the coho on crank baits fishing in 20-30 feet of water. The water temperature was 41 degrees. Only a few anglers were fishing the pier this week and none reported catching any fish. The water temperature was 41 degrees. Only a couple of anglers were fishing from the shore this week and none reported catching any fish. The Root River is currently flowing at 1,140 cfs. The water is very turbid from all of the rain reducing the visibility to less than an inch. Very few anglers decided to fish the Root River this week and fishing is very slow. Only one angler reported catching fish. The water is 43 degrees above and below the Steelhead Facility. There was more angling pressure upstream of the facility this week; however, the number of anglers fishing was a lot less than typical. Most decided to fish near Horlick Dam. Only one angler reported catching a steelhead and it was caught on an orange spawn sac. Most anglers that fished downstream decided to focus their effort at Island Park. No anglers reported catching any steelhead. Many anglers were using spawn sacs and small tube jigs that were white, white/chartreuse, or chartreuse.

Kenosha County - Only one boater was interviewed this week. The angler fished in the harbor and just outside of the harbor and reported catching no fish. The water temperature was 40-41 degrees. Anglers fishing from the pier have continued to catch a brown trout averaging 1-2 per angler. Most of the brown trout have been caught on live medium shiners and a couple have been caught on pearl tube jigs. The water temperature was 41 degrees. Anglers fishing in the harbor caught a few brown trout this week. They reported catching the brown trout on orange spawn sacs, crankbaits, white or pearl tube jigs, and jigging raps.


South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riveway Report. At the Port Andrew boat landing. The river is up a little bit but just about normal flow for this time of year. Upstream flows are higher so there could be a bump in water levels coming. Water temperatures remain quite cold, in the mid-40s. Still a good time to view migratory waterfowl. Lots of sandhill cranes are in the area. Soft maples are getting ready to leaf out. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Fishing activity on Lake Wisconsin continues to be marginal with some crappies, sauger, and walleyes being caught. Fishing on the Wisconsin River above and below Lake Wisconsin are getting better with numerous fish being caught below the dams. Forecasted warmer weather should raise water temps and fishing activity should continue to increase. Those burning brush in Columbia County are urged to obtain a burning permit (required) and monitor burning restrictions and the conditions of their permit. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette

Fishing on the Wisconsin River had been good last week with the walleyes just about at spawn stage. However, local and northern rain events pushed the water up 2 feet overnight and scattered most of the fish. This last weekend, the bite slowed with only a few locals hitting a few known good spots coming away with limits of fish. If the weather could stabilize, the bite will be back on. Plenty of spring peepers (frogs) heard over the past week with plenty getting hit crossing roadways. Turkeys have moved out of their overwinter flocks with a few toms displaying already in the fields. Statewide youth turkey hunt weekend is coming up April 15 and 16. Take your kids turkey hunting. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Dane County - Bird migration is happening! A few recent arrivals: Eastern phoebe, fox sparrow, northern flicker, tree swallow, osprey and yellow-rumped warbler. Still great waterfowl viewing at open water areas. The public is invited to attend the McFarland Bird Festival this Saturday to view waterfowl and celebrate the McFarland Bird City! When the sun actually comes out reptiles and amphibians are being reported including basking turtles and calling spring peepers and chorus frogs. Wild turkeys are being seen in full strut as they begin to attract females and start the breeding season. Males are still in larger groups but that is expected to change with the onset of warmer weather. Pasque flowers are reportedly in bloom - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg


West Central Region

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

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. Our trails system is fairly dry with an occasional wet patch here and there. The horse trailhead is open for use. The campground is open with electric sites and pit toilets available. The campground showers and dump station will open in mid-May. - Dave Hladilek, park manager

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Many people were out fishing from shore and boats over the weekend and were using Launch C. The lake is still lower with the draw down and we hope to have the piers put in on April 19. There is some work to be scheduled to repair the parking lot at Launch A inside the park; one side will be usable until repairs done. Turkeys are starting to strut in the area. The park and wildlife areas are in zone 1, youth turkey hunt is April 15-16, and state park hunting goes through April 2. Periods starting May 3 will be in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Roche-A-Cri State Park is a seasonal park and the main gate is closed at this time until early May. Camping is also closed for the year. Many people hiking with the warmer weather. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Last Revised: Thursday, April 06, 2017

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