Published April 27, 2017 by the Central Office
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The green up is still in full swing this week, with the help of consistent rain events and temperatures between the 50s and 70s. This, combined with recent snow in the northern portions of the state continues to put a damper on recently high fire danger and has brought us to "Low" fire danger throughout the counties. Water levels are still running above normal, and the Wisconsin River is above flood stage. Trails across the state are likely to feature more than a few hints of mud. Bring your rubber boots or waterproof hikers and enjoy the scenery as the banks, forests, marshes and prairies respond to the influx of moisture.
Challenging weather made for tough angling across the board this past week. Anglers from Marinette County to Brown County reported numerous attempts at walleye and brown trout. Murkier water didn't help, but reports came in from anglers that they were seeing success for non-target species, particularly northern pike. In Oconto County, the sucker run is rolling along and disturbing the bite. In Brown County, those that did see success for walleye noted that the fish were fully spawned and on their way back to the bay. Stream anglers are reporting a difficult steelhead bite in eastern Door County, while suckers have dispersed in Kewaunee County, leaving the steelhead there more visible as temperatures climb upwards. Water temperatures range from the upper 40s to the low 50s.
There were two to four foot waves and small craft advisories in effect last Thursday and Friday in Milwaukee. Anglers at the McKinley Pier are looking for coho and chinook salmon, while brown trout were being landed behind Summerfest. Anglers in Racine County reported boaters and pier anglers landing brown trout as well as a few coho. At the Root River, water visibility was around 12 inches, with an improving steelhead bite and a few remaining suckers caught. Anglers in Kenosha saw more success for browns from the harbor than the south pier. Though no catches were reported from the Pike, the mouth of the river is open and visibility is good. Temperatures for these waters ranged from 47 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hunters out for the first spring turkey season reported seeing and hearing numerous toms, though many took their time leaving the hens and venturing into range. Reports of success came in from Learn to Hunt groups and youth turkey hunting in general. Elk are dropping their antlers and herds of deer continue to be spotted in farm fields. Bird sightings are flying in from across the state. Swallows have returned and were reported in both Marinette and Dodge counties, broad-winged hawks and belted kingfishers have been seen in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine, while yellow-rumped and palm warblers have set down at Horicon Marsh along with purple martin scouts.
Leopard frogs were heard this past week at Peninsula State Park. The American toad chorus has drowned them out in the Southern Kettle Moraine. Spring azure and red admiral butterflies have arrived to add color to the trails. Those trails are getting more shade by the minute. Shrubs and several tree species have begun leafing out, maples are flowering and oaks are budding. Leatherwood, trout lilies and artic primrose join the already blooming bloodroot, dutchman's breeches and marsh marigolds. There were reports of a few trilliums from Hoffman Hills and wild geranium will bloom in the next couple of weeks. Few morel reports have been coming in; many patches still have some sizing up to do. Start to look for them through this week and next.
Baltimore orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks have arrived in numbers, along with a few orchard orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds. The next one to two good migration nights (often under clear skies with calm or south winds) should bring a wave of these colorful favorites to many backyards in the southern tier of the state. Warblers are also beginning their push. Yellow-rumped and palm warblers dominate, with a few pine, orange-crowned, Nashville, black-throated green, northern and Lousiana waterthrushes, and common yellowthroats. Other arrivals this week included hooded warbler and an early blackburnian in Green Bay. Warbling and blue-headed vireos are being seen now, as well as the first eastern kingbirds, least and great crested flycatchers. Gray catbirds and chimney swifts are back in small numbers, as are the first Eastern whip-poor-wills. Grassland sparrows such as lark, Henslow's, and grasshopper sparrows have also moved in, while birders should keep an eye out for Harris's sparrow among the white-throated and white-crowned sparrows migrating through the region now. Some shorebirds being seen in flooded fields and other shoreline areas include spotted and solitary sandpipers, and both greater and lesser yellowlegs. Upland sandpipers have returned to large grasslands after spending the winter as far as Argentina! American avocets were found in several locations this week. Look for these and flocks of the much drabber willet on Lake Michigan beaches and interior wetlands over the next week.
Far northern Wisconsin experienced a significant ice/snow event over the past few days, bringing large numbers of American robins, hermit thrushes, and sparrows to roadsides. Feeders were also extremely active with dark-eyed juncos, song, fox, white-throated, chipping, and a few American tree sparrows, purple finches, and various blackbirds, including numerous rusty blackbirds, which are rare at feeders except in poor weather. Areas of standing water such as ponds, brushy swamps, and forested wetlands are often important sources of insects during these cold outbreaks in spring, hosting phoebes, kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers and other early migrants. Waterfowl migration remains strong "up north", with a great selection of divers and dabblers on Chequamegon Bay near Ashland and elsewhere. American white pelicans are migrating through the region en route to breeding areas on the northern and eastern Great Plains. Yellowlegs, Wilson's snipe, pectoral sandpiper, and killdeer remain the most dominant shorebirds so far. Look for large flocks of Bonaparte's gulls to move through in the week ahead. Ditto overhead as broad-winged hawks typically peak in numbers around the first week of May.
Rarities & Reporting
Some of the rare finds across the state this week were white-eyed vireo in Marathon, smith's longspurs in Dane, ruff in Manitowoc, white-faced ibis in Fond du Lac, harlequin ducks in Racine and Bayfield, spotted towhee in Monroe, and northern mockingbirds in Racine, Milwaukee, Dane, and Ashland. As always, help us track the migration by reporting your finds to Wisconsin eBird at www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Devil's Lake State Park Workday: 10 a.m. - noon. Enjoy the spring weather at Devil's Lake State Park! Garlic mustard is a threat and we need you to help stop it. We have removed garlic mustard on the State Natural Areas surrounding East Bluff for years, so now there isn't much left. However, it is persistent. Form a line to search and pull the scattered plants to keep it out. This will help the understory plants continue to thrive in the rich oak woods. 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
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The freezing rain, sleet and snow we woke up to on Wednesday morning was a rude reminder that spring can be fickle. There is a thin blanket of snow on the ground again, but it won't last long with temperatures on Saturday expected to be in the 50s. However, more rain/snow and cooler than normal temperatures will stay with us into next week. This isn't the snowiest spring weather we've had, remember 2013? Take heart, April showers (and snow showers, too?) bring May flowers - at least that's what I've been told. Gypsy moths are non-native pests that defoliate trees during their caterpillar stage, causing stress and potentially tree death. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will be conducting gypsy moth treatments this spring and summer in western Wisconsin counties including sites in Douglas County and parts of the Brule River State Forest. The treatments involve aerial spraying of isolated, low populations of gypsy moth to slow the westward spread of the pest. The bacterial insecticide Btk is used to treat the gypsy moth in the caterpillar stage. Btk is a naturally-occurring soil bacteria that kills gypsy moth caterpillars when they ingest it. Btk is not toxic to people, bees, pets or wild animals. Health effects are unlikely, although some people with severe allergies may wish to stay indoors during spray application (if in the treatment areas) or avoid areas to be sprayed on the day that spraying occurs. An organic, biodegradable gypsy moth mating disruptor will be applied to treatment sites between mid-June and mid-August. The pheromone in the mating disruptor makes it difficult for male moths to find female moths in isolated populations, preventing reproduction. For more information about the programs, gypsy moths, or the specific treatment sites, visit the website gypsymoth.wi.gov - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area is booming with returning migrants: upland sandpipers, vesper sparrows, field sparrows, clay-colored sparrows, brown thrashers, bluebirds, kestrels and many more. The male sharp-tailed grouse are busy dancing on their breeding grounds as the females visit looking for the best of the best to breed with. Wood frogs, chorus frogs and spring peepers are singing. - Nancy Christel, wildlife biologist, Spooner
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - People are out catching redhorse and catfish on the Flambeau River. Crappies should be moving into shallow water. The docks have been installed in Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines and soon we will be installing the buoys. Wood frogs and spring peepers are continuing to call; walleyes are spawning; wild leeks and fiddleheads come out; early wildflowers bloom; tree buds burst and trees begin to flower, like aspen and dogwood, and the red maple twigs turn red. Bloodroot and Virginia waterleaf are flowering. Grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are gathering hens. There was a siting of a yellow warbler and Myrtle's warbler. Elk are shedding their antlers. All road bans were lifted so logging operations on parts of the Forest can collect the remainder of this winter's cut logs. The weather forecast indicates a chance of rain Thursday with a high of 40 and a low of 29, Friday will be partly sunny with a high of 48 and low of 31, Saturday partly sunny with a high of 50 and low of 32. Sunday, rain and snow likely with a high of 46 and low around 32. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Lincoln County - In Lincoln, Langlade and Northern Marathon Counties, the turkeys are in many fields. Hunters have been having great success, including Learn to Hunt programs. While out turkey hunting or enjoying the spring, rubber boots may be needed with all the rain we've been getting. Wildlife can be seen and heard everywhere, from turtle on logs, to loud spring peepers, leopard frogs jumping, to sandhill cranes and geese in fields. More butterflies have been seen in recent days. Woodcock are doing their nightly and early morning displays, as well as having nests with eggs. Ruffed grouse drumming is heard in many places. Red maple and ash tree buds are really popping this week. Bloodroot is flowering with their short-lived bright white flowers, hepatica flowers, and Dutchman's breeches flowers are out as well. This weekend will be a great time to get outdoors! - Janet Brehm, wildlife biologist, Merrill
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the week of April 16 through April 22. Poor weather for most of last week kept fishing pressure low with the exception of Saturday. Water temperatures remain in the upper 40's to low 50's. A reminder to all anglers fishing the Bay shore that perch season is closed until May 20th.
Marinette County - Boat anglers report the same thing to be true from the mouth of the Peshtigo River to north of Little River that more pike are being caught than walleye. Little River is still producing a goodly number of brown trout along with a few walleye and pike trolling in six to 12 feet of water with spoons and stick baits. Fishing on the Menominee River has been difficult due to the high volume of water being released at the Hattie Street Dam. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers below the Dam at Stiles on the Oconto River report that the sucker run is now in full swing and that few if any game fish are being caught. Anglers on the lower stretch of the Oconto River report catching mainly pike although a few walleye are present. Boaters from Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II are also catching more pike than walleye. Those anglers getting walleye are fishing in eight to ten feet of water using jigin raps. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishing pressure out of Suamico was moderate this week with many anglers chasing after post spawn walleyes. Of the interviews obtained fishing was pretty slow but anglers found some success catching non target species such as northern pike, and freshwater drum. Water clarity is very low with the recent rains adding runoff to the river. Fishing pressure was pretty high this week in the Fox River and boats launching from Metropolitan boat launch and heading out into the bay. Anglers targeting walleyes had mixed success rates with a few anglers catching up to 12 fish. Most of the anglers are reporting that all the walleyes they have caught are fully spawned out and are returning to the Bay. Other than walleyes, anglers were catching northern pike, freshwater drum, and white bass. Shore anglers were having good success fishing from both Voyager Park and Metropolitan boat launch. Anglers were reporting catching some big common carp and a wide variety of other species such as: channel catfish, freshwater drum, whitebass, and gizzard shad. Most anglers were either using crankbaits or bottom baits with live bait. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - The best action in Door County in this last week came from northern pike. Most pike are finishing up spawning and seem to be hungry. They are being caught from shore and by trolling on both crankbaits and live bait all across the county from the canal to Rowleys Bay. Many fishermen seeking browns are finding pike on accident. Larger fish up to 37 inches have been caught but the average is 28 inches. The sunny weather this weekend made brown trout action difficult. Water temps on the lake range from 40-43 Fahrenheit. A few browns were caught by boat anglers trolling crankbaits but nothing spectacular. The walleye bite remains slow but a few fish are starting to get caught on crankbaits and less fish have been seen spawning meaning the spawning is winding down and the post spawn crankbait bite should pick up anytime now. Stream anglers are finding some steelhead but getting them to bite has been tricky. Steelhead have been spotted in all the fishable streams up the east side of the county. The suckers were thick in Shivering Sands and Reibolts Creek a few days ago but have likely moved upstream or finished spawning with the high flows from last Thursdays rain. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Even mix of anglers fishing for brown trout and walleye with varied success. Walleye anglers were catching one to three walleyes per boat with no harvest recorded. It was slow for brown trout anglers with only one boat landing a fish. No harvest recorded. Windy waters gave anglers a challenge on Little Sturgeon. Most were targeting brown trout and walleye. Some night anglers saw success catching and harvesting walleye that were greater than 20 inches. Slow week for both trout and walleye fisherman launching out of Potawatomi park. Anglers were catching zero to two walleyes. Some anglers did catch northern pike while fishing for walleye. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Some adverse weather this week made fishing difficult for parts of this last week. After the rains, brown trout anglers on Lake Michigan had a tough time to find optimal conditions to catch fish. Many reported trolling from water the color of chocolate milk to crystal-clear water with 30-foot visibility, and everything in-between, and moderately murky water produced the most fish. Anglers reported water temperatures anywhere from 44 up to 48 degrees. The fishing action was slow after the rain worked its course, but the fish that were caught proved to be quality. Brightly colored baits seemed to work best, with spoons and stickbaits remaining anglers' choice. Rivers throughout Kewaunee County were affected heavily by the rain as well. As of the end of the weekend, river levels were finally dropping. The suckers seem to have vacated almost overnight, making the steelhead left in the river much more apparent, as catches were up in the Kewaunee compared to the past weeks. Rising temperatures will continue to leave the steelhead fishing a bit of a challenge, but many anglers were expecting a run of some fish up after river levels recede. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Brown trout are continuing to be caught along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Fishing within the lake has picked up considerably during the past weeks with many boaters reporting successful fishing trips. The rivers in Manitowoc County have not had as much success this week. A few brown trout were taken from the Manitowoc River. The East and West Twin rivers, while keeping a higher water level, have continued to see less rainbow trout. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - The first spring turkey season is now behind us and many hunters reported seeing and hearing a lot of active birds. Some shrub and tree species have begun leafing out. Maple trees are now flowering. We have been getting an increased number of badger and bear complaints. Please remember to remove bird feeders and other food sources if you have a bear near your home. Badgers are nocturnal and are well adapted to digging for food. Often large sand piles will show up in a landowners yard with no prior indication that a badger was in the area. If you suspect a badger is using your yard to find food, there is little you can do to immediately fix the problem. Badgers are of course protected in Wisconsin and harming them is not legal. The long term solution to the issue is to eliminate a link (or two) in the food chain - treating your yard to reduce grubs, removing old stumps and roots, reducing the small mammal population, and eliminating other habitat that is attractive to small mammals (like wood or brush piles). Alternatively, the landowner could consider themselves lucky to have a badger in the area, set up a trail camera to get some cool nighttime pictures, and enjoy the wildlife that is literally in your backyard! In any case, as with all wild animals, keep a respectful distance away should you ever come across a badger. Garlic mustard has now grown to about six to eight inches tall and is easily identifiable. Look for the scalloped edge leaves and then crush them to see if it smells of garlic. Garlic mustard is an invasive herb that can take over a wooded area and prevent other plants from growing. Hand pulling mustard plants early (before flowering/seeding) is the easiest control method for a newly established population. Larger infestations may require herbicide applications (again, prior to seeding). Swallows have arrived back and geese are still vigilantly lying on nests. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - Manitowoc County, like most of the state, is seeing Mother Nature sprout. The area is really starting to green up and blossom. Spring turkey hunting is underway with period 1 just wrapping up. Hunters were having success but noting their hunt took a little longer to get the toms to cooperate than normal. Anglers are noting inland lakes water temperatures are a little cool to have major fishing activities, but again as the temperatures increase so will the fish activity. Point Beach State Forest has been busy with people taking their first camping trips of the season and those wanting to get out and enjoy a hike in the woods. Hikers are noting that ticks are out; remember to check yourself and pets for ticks after a day out in the great outdoors. Get out and enjoy the beauty of Northeast Wisconsin. - Alyssa Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Peninsula State Park - Recent sightings in the park include: April 15 - a pair greater scaup, two leopard frogs singing, winter wren singing, bloodroot and leatherwood begin blooming; April 16 - white-throated sparrow singing, half-dozen garter snakes out including two mating; April 18 - buffaloberry begins blooming; April 19 - artic primrose begins blooming. - Kathleen Harris, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Have not seen any morels yet. Most trees have broken bud, fields very green and actively growing. Some asparagus has broken ground and is up to three inches high. Turkeys have been gobbling like crazy and hunters are reporting good success. Flocks have broken up and toms are now a bit responsive to calling. Round-lobed hepatica and marsh marigolds are both in bloom. Ticks are now out in force; be careful out there! - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - In the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State, new birds for the year continue to arrive. This past week has brought broad-winged hawk, belted kingfisher, northern flicker, brown thrasher, eastern towhee, and chipping sparrow. In the ponds and marshy areas, choruses of spring peepers, chorus frogs and the occasional leopard frog are becoming smaller and more intermittent. However, American toad choruses have increased. Painted turtles and Blandings turtles have been spotted basking on sunny days. The tiny spring azure and the feisty red admiral join the ranks of butterflies flitting about the Southern Unit. New this week for plants are bird's foot violet and wood betony in some prairies, and sharp-lobed hepatica, bloodroot and Pennsylvania sedge in the woods. Unfortunately, the shrub honeysuckle is leafing out ever-earlier, suppressing many native wildflowers. Meet us at the Forest Headquarters at 10 am during the next four Saturdays in search of the newest blooms. We're also leading bird walks over the next four weekends beginning at 7 am. See the outdoor event listing for dates and meeting locations. Hope to see you out there! - Todd Miller, assistant naturalist
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Milwaukee County - An angler at the Lakeshore State Park lagoons on Saturday remarked that the Milwaukee Fire Department Dive Rescue Team was doing practice dives in the lagoons the previous week while she was fishing. The dive team told her that a large school of perch was stacked up in the east/southeast section of the south lagoon where she was fishing. The firefighters had to push the perch out of the way while they were diving.
Strong winds on the lakefront have made fishing on the shoreline a challenge over the past three weeks. Small craft advisories were in effect on Thursday and Friday (April 20-21) with five to 15 miles per hour northeast winds and two to four foot waves. The majority of anglers on McKinley Pier continue to target coho and chinook with spoons and kastmasters. There were no reports of alewives seen on the lakeside of the pier during the week. The surface water temperature on the lakeside of the pier was 46 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday (April 22). The majority of fish landed in the harbor behind Summerfest were brown trout (three to four pound average). The surface water temperature in the harbor was 48 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday. A few anglers targeted northern pike in the fishing areas around the McKinley Marina with crankbaits and daredevil spoons. Activity at the McKinley and Riverfront ramps continues to increase with the warmer weather. A couple of nice size chinook salmon were landed during the week by boaters out of McKinley. Anglers under the Hoan Bridge continue to target browns and rainbows with shiners, spawn sacks, and fathead minnows. The surface water temperature in the harbor increased from 45 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit last week to 48 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday (April 22). The fishing pressure and catch rate for rainbows on the Oak Creek is starting to taper off. The number of rainbows seen in the creek has decreased with the rising water temperatures. Male and female rainbows were seen pairing up in the creek over the weekend. Boats out of Bender Park landed mostly browns and coho in front of the Oak Creek at Grant Park, the South Shore water treatment plant, and the Oak Creek Power Plant. Fly fishermen at Kletzsch Park have been wading close to shore or casting from the river banks due to the high water. Most of the fish landed at Kletzsch Park this week were smallmouth bass and northern pike. The season for smallmouth bass is closed until May 6. Anglers targeting northern pike and walleye at Estabrook Park on Sunday (April 23) caught and released a large number of smallmouth bass while casting small tube jigs.
Racine County - No boaters were interviewed this week, but many were spotted trolling in the 25-30 foot range straight out from the harbor and south down the shoreline. A few anglers have said that the boats are catching mostly brown trout but a couple of coho salmon here and there on small spoons and crankbaits. About ten to 15 anglers were fishing from the pier this week. The fishing has been mostly slow around, two to four brown trout have been landed each day. Spoons and crankbaits that are at least partially green or chartreuse seem to be working the best. A few have been caught on live roaches and spawn sacs as well. The water temperature was 50F. Only a couple of anglers were fishing from shore this week. Only one fish was reported caught this week. The angler caught the brown trout on a green and silver spoon fishing off of the rocks near 21st ST and Wisconsin AVE. The water temperature was 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Root River is currently flowing at 230cfs. The steelhead fishing this past week was good for anglers and the water visibility was about 12 inches. Anglers had also continued to catch a few of suckers as well. The water temperature upstream of the steelhead facility was 54 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 degrees Fahrenheit downstream of the facility. This week most anglers focused their effort at Horlick dam. About 15 anglers were fishing upstream of the facility on the 21st and the 23rd. Three steelhead were reported caught on the 21st and 12 were reported caught on the 23rd. Anglers also reported catching a few suckers as well. Most of the fish caught by anglers were hooked on a orange, pink, chartreuse, olive, or a multi colored yarn egg and no colors seemed to stand out as catching more fish. Some anglers also had some success on nymphs, no specific pattern worked best but most of the nymphs were pink, orange, or olive. A couple of anglers also reported catching steelhead on pink tube jigs and spinners. There was very little fishing pressure below the facility this week and no particular stretch of river that anglers seemed to prefer. Only a handful of anglers were interviewed and none reported catching any steelhead. Most of the anglers fishing downstream were using yarn egg flies and spinners.
Kenosha County - About five anglers were interviewed fishing from the south pier this week. Only two fish were reported caught. Both of the fish were brown trout and they were caught on roaches and gobies. The water temperature was 48 degrees Fahrenheit. About ten anglers were fishing in the harbor this week. Five brown trout were reported caught on live roaches under a bobber and on bottom rigs. The water temperature was 51 degrees Fahrenheit. Only one angler was interviewed fishing the Pike River this week and did not report catching any fish. The mouth of the river is open and water visibility is very good. The temperature of the water was 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Spring migrants continue to come into the area. Reports of shorebirds in flooded farm fields to the west of the marsh continue to increase. Black-necked stilts have been seen from Highway 49 and the auto tour on the north end of the marsh. Yellow-headed blackbirds can be seen at the bird feeders at Marsh Haven Nature Center. Purple martin scouts have returned as well as the first few cliff swallows. Pelicans, egrets, rails and bitterns are being seen/heard with more frequency. Warblers include yellow-rumped and palm, while kinglets continue be present in shrubby areas. Wildflowers are now carpeting the woodlots. Bloodroot is about finished, but cut-leaved toothwort is in full bloom. May apples are showing their umbrella like leaves and wild geranium will be blooming in the next few weeks. It's a great time to walk your local woodlot for wildflowers and to start pulling invasive garlic mustard. On April 29 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will be having a wildflower and nest box workday. Come on out and help us plant natives in the gardens, check the bluebird, wood duck and purple martin boxes and pull invasive species. RSVP to Liz Herzmann at 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - First period turkey hunters in the area reported fairly good success. Unsuccessful hunters reported seeing a bunch of birds, but the toms didn't seem interested in leaving hens or coming in to decoys. There are plenty of birds left for later season hunters! Prescribed burning is wrapping up on area Wildlife Areas. There is one burn unit left at Mud Lake Wildlife Area that still may be burned this spring if weather allows. Noted an early brood of Canada geese this week, and found nesting woodcock and turkeys. Spring wildflowers, such as spring beauties, bloodroot, violets, trout lilies, and dutchman's breeches are all blooming. Staff even saw one columbine and one wild geranium already blooming. May apples are up and umbrella'd already. Morel hunters have reported finding some little grey morels, the larger creamy ones will probably start popping up this week or next. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Youth turkey hunting weekend saw many youth turkey hunters having success. Water on the Wisconsin River will be at or above flood stage due to recent rains. Fishing on Lake Wisconsin should be better than in the river itself. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Toads and gray tree frogs are calling, although cooling temperatures will depress their calling over the short-term. House wrens, upland sandpipers, brown creepers, and rose-breasted grosbeaks, are some of the recent songbird arrivals. Hummingbirds, orioles, catbirds, bobolinks, and many warblers will be arriving soon. Turkey hunters are reporting moderate gobbler numbers and success. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - Our area is seeing a few of the large flowered trilliums, just starting to pop out - the other woodland flowering plants are out, the birds are migrating through, the snakes have been seen on the trail areas and everything is looking lush and green with this wet weather. - Penny L. Thiede-Klish, visitor service associate