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Outdoor ReportPublished May 4, 2017

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

Rain held on through the weekend and start of this week, but has since subsided into lightly cloudy sunshine. In Northern Wisconsin, the weather had been colder, but the rain, sleet and snow seem to have finally passed, leaving a more true May feel in their wake. Watch for a fast and vibrant green-up in the Northwoods thanks to the heavy moisture as leaves fill out and flowers unfurl.

Wisconsin's general inland game fish season opens this Saturday and fisheries biologists say anglers can expect to find some trophy potential fish as well as abundant numbers of popular game species this spring. The musky season opens on southern Wisconsin waters while on northern waters the season opens May 27 to give musky additional time to complete spawning. Smallmouth bass are also divided into northern and southern zones with catch and release only in the north until June 17.

Fishing reports from the last week tell of tough weather and a difficult bite. Rivers across the state are still running high. Trout streams are in similar shape, but should be in better shape by the opener Saturday. Along Lake Michigan, boaters landed browns, pike and a few walleye in Marinette, while anglers at Oconto were able to land smallmouth, northern pike and a rare walleye. Brown County anglers saw an increase in white bass and freshwater drum, with Door County reporting a slight increase in night walleye bite. Boaters out of Sheboygan and Port Washington saw occasional catches of brown and lake trout.

Southern Lake Michigan tributaries have been running high. Most of the steelhead left in Sauk Creek were being pushed by the recent rains and high water. Action for brown trout improved at Racine and Kenosha, though the steelhead bite in Racine seems to have fully tapered off.

The spring turkey season has been going well with a lot of hunters reporting success, but hunting conditions during the second time period weren't the greatest with rain and high winds having turkeys hunkered down. The weather forecast for period three looks like a nice stretch of dry weather that should have turkeys really active.

Wetlands in the Northwoods are ripe with frogs and salamanders and turtles are becoming more mobile. Newborn foxes, coyotes and wolves are taking cautious steps out into the new world. Grouse are drumming, while turkeys continue gobbling and bears are digging for protein.

Bird sightings are now far too numerous to count, with mentions of blue-winged teal returning, bluebirds digging into feeders or sitting on eggs and great blue herons looking for nesting locations. Tree swallows are being seen more widely and reports of a yellow warbler and Myrtle's Warbler came in from the Flambeau area. Great-crested flycatchers and multiple vireos have been spotted in Milwaukee, while a scarlet tanager was heard in Wyalusing State Park.

Virginia waterleaf is flowering along with trillium, jack in the pulpit, Canadian anemone and downy yellow violet, to name just a few. There have also been a few reports of morel mushrooms being found, not a bad time to go hunting before the mosquitos and black flies truly arrive.

This Saturday will be the last of the Work Play Earth Day events, with six properties inviting volunteers to come out and help get things in shape for the summer. Many other events are also going on; for a schedule, search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."


Statewide Birding Report

Southern Wisconsin

Lake Michigan birders were treated to good numbers of willets this week, including 120-plus at Sheboygan on May 2. American avocets and a few marbled godwits also graced shorelines in various lakeshore counties, especially on the April 30. Bonaparte's gulls made big news there as thousands were seen winging north on May 1. Otherwise, migration stalled quite a bit across the southern half of the state this week due to persistent north and east winds. While diversity has been near average, warbler numbers remain low yet. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, ruby-throated hummingbirds, indigo buntings, and scarlet tanagers continue to trickle in. See maps of sightings (exit DNR) in the state so far  (change the species at upper left as desired). Red-headed woodpecker sightings were on the rise this week, and the first bobolinks have moved in. Expect some new migrants with each passing day but the weather forecast does not suggest a good southerly flow to usher in a mass movement until early next week.

Baltimore oriole
Baltimore oriole
Photo Credit: Jack Bartholmai

Northern Wisconsin

The story is similarly slow across the north. After last week's snow and ice, birds have dispersed away from feeders, though dark-eyed juncos, American tree sparrows, and a few fox sparrows remain. White-throated and chipping sparrow numbers are increasing. Purple finches and pine siskins continue as well. Expect the first orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks in the week ahead, though indigo buntings and hummingbirds may lag some days after. The first eastern whip-poor-wills have reached the sandy pine-oak barrens they call home. Yellow-rumped, palm, and pine remain the dominant warblers, while golden-crowned and especially ruby-crowned kinglets are prevalent now. Duck migration is past peak though some decent numbers of scaup, redheads, and others persist.

Breeding Activity

Nesting season chugs on as our earliest migrants are now hatching young. This week participants in the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas found the first sandhill crane colts, American woodcock chicks, broods of Canada geese and mallards, fledged house finches, and egg-filled nests of American robin, northern cardinal, killdeer, and other early nesting species. Great horned owl chicks are getting big now, with many leaving their nests. Beware of the young's shrieking begging call, which is often misidentified as the extremely rare barn owl.

Rarities & Reporting

Some of the rare finds across the state this week included a little gull in Door county, white-eyed vireo and three little blue herons in La Crosse, cinnamon teal in Jefferson, worm-eating warbler eating suet in Calumet, piping plovers in Milwaukee, summer tanager in Milwaukee, and western tanagers in Monroe and Eau Claire. Golden-crowned sparrows, a very rare species in the region, have been seen in several neighboring states so keep an eye out among groups of white-throated and white-crowned sparrows!

This is an exciting time to go birding. Learn more about the upcoming International Migratory Bird Day and find an event near you. And as always, help us track the migration by reporting your finds to Wisconsin eBird at (exit DNR). Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland


Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

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. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane


Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The freezing rain, sleet and snow early in the week finally gave way to the beautiful weather we expect for May. Sunshine and high temperatures in the 50s and 60s are in the forecast for the coming week. Fishing season opener is Saturday. The lower section of the Brule (North from Highway 2) has been open for trout fishing since March 26, but the remaining section of river south from Highway 2 will open on Saturday. Many fly fishermen and other anglers are expected to be out this weekend enjoying the sunshine and trying to catch the "big one." Due to the rain earlier in the week, the river level is high but continues to drop as we head into a stretch of drier weather. USGS flow rate data can keep you informed of river conditions before you head out. The trees have yet to leaf out, but they're getting closer. Staff haven't seen any marsh marigolds quite yet either, but the wetlands are alive with frogs and salamanders if you look for them. By next week there should be a noticeable change in the landscape as the forest greens up and flowers start to bloom. The weather had also put a damper on bird migration, but just in the past few days more species have started showing up. Yellow-rumped warblers were heard at the ranger station. This is an exciting time for wildlife as babies are being born or hatched. Foxes, coyotes and wolves have given birth over the last couple of weeks. It is more likely to see these parents hunting during the daytime now as they are busy keeping up with the demands of their hungry pups. Bears are also out and looking for food. Make sure you take your bird feeders in at night, or take them down altogether. Keep your outside garbage containers secured. And if you are camping, store food and cooking utensils away from your campsite, preferably in a hard-topped vehicle or hung in a tree at least 10 feet off the ground and five feet out on a limb that will not support a bear. Even with the rain we had, it takes no time at all for the fire danger to go from Low to High or even to Extreme. Because the forests and fields have not greened up yet, conditions are favorable for wildfires. Please call 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) or search the DNR website for "fire danger" for daily burning restrictions, fire danger level, updates and information. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Interstate Park - Most of the trails should be dry, but there will still be a few areas that may be wet or muddy with the recent wet weather. 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 great blue herons are back and staking claim to nesting spots. Bluebirds have been seen checking out bird houses as well. Dutchman's breeches, trout lily, and hepatica are all blooming in the park right now. Water is running a little high in the St. Croix and the lake at this time. Anglers have been having mixed success with some walleyes and white bass being caught. This Saturday, enjoy Birding Fun from 7-9 a.m. Meet at the group camp parking lot. On Sunday, from 1-2 p.m. is a Glacial Adventure Hike, meet at the beach. Eagles and vultures can be seen soaring above the bluffs. The Ice Age Center has exhibits about the Ice Age and a 24-minute movie about the Ice Age Trail, which can be viewed upon request. Accessible restrooms and a gift shop, firewood and ice are also available at the Ice Age Center. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - May, in the phenological timing of biological events, is known as the flower moon month. Many wildflowers bloom; hummingbirds and other birds return; mosquitoes and black flies come out; tree leaves emerge; and fawns and calves are born. It's still time to plant tree seedlings and mulch them if you can and start pulling the invasive garlic mustard as they are early growers. Bloodroot and Virginia waterleaf are flowering and the spring beauties are beginning to open up. The forest floor is bursting with newness. People are still catching redhorse and catfish on the Flambeau River. The docks have been installed in Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines and soon we will be installing the buoys. Some folks have been taking advantage of the bugless weather and good water level on the Flambeau River and paddling down river and using the scenic river sites for camping and picnicking. Grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are gathering hens. Geese and ducks are starting to nest as well as many of the songbirds. They are defending their territories where the females are already sitting on the nests or very soon to be sitting. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, and some swans and kingfishers have been seen. There even was a siting of a yellow warbler and Myrtle's Warbler. Bear are definitely out of their dens but so elusive and trying to fill up on proteins. This years' young deer and elk are likely to be born mid-May to mid-June. Spring turkey Period C is open till May 9. There is a full moon on May 10. The weather forecast for the remainder of this week calls for Friday to be mostly sunny with a 20 percent chance of precipitation later than 1 p.m., with a high of 69 and low of 37. Saturday is forecast to be sunny with a high of 54 and lox of 30. Sunday is sunny with a high near 58 and a low of 34. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate


Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - The Peshtigo River is running as high as it's been all year making fishing difficult and no interviews were obtained. Boaters out of Little River are still catching some browns, pike and a few walleye trolling in 8 to 12 feet of water using stick baits and spoons. The Menominee River Dam at Hattie Street has four gates wide open madding it very hard to fish and few anglers have been present. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - The few anglers below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River report catching only suckers. Anglers farther down river report catching a few smallmouth, pike and the occasional walleye mainly using crank baits. High water has made river fishing difficult. The walleye bite at the mouth of the Oconto River has been best at night using stick baits and jigs and plastics. The northern pike bite is still going strong with boaters and shore anglers alike catching fish on live bait or plugs both trolling and still fishing. Some walleye are being caught adjacent to the reefs and rock piles from Pensaukee Launch to Oconto Park II mainly jigging. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Over the past week there was consistent success for walleye fisherman with most boats catching one to five walleyes for a day's worth of fishing. There has also been an increase in white bass being caught as well as freshwater drum. Saw similar success to the fisherman going out of metro launch. Most were fishing for walleye with one to three walleye being caught per boat. Also saw an increase in white bass being caught while fishing for walleye. Most anglers interviewed this past week were just out to have a good time. Very few were targeting any species. They caught a mixed bag of white bass and yellow perch with the occasional freshwater drum. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Poor weather has made for slow fishing throughout Door County. The post spawn walleye bite has slowed before it could even get started because of the cold rains and wind but a few fish have been caught by persistent anglers. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

High winds really kept most anglers from heading out on the water but few anglers found the night bite for walleyes to be worth it. Anglers were heading out after dark to target walleyes trolling crankbaits and seemed to be having good success. Other reports during daylight hours have varied greatly with most people catching 1 or 2 walleyes between 16-24 inches on average. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing has continued to slow down during the week of the April 23; Unfavorable weather throughout the week is assumed to have been a factor. Water temperatures in the Manitowoc River started the week at about 60 degrees and ended the week at about 50 degrees. No boaters were seen on Sunday April 30, which may have been because of the gale warning in Manitowoc County. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Governor Thompson State Park - The first wildflowers are just opening. Turtles are starting to migrate. We are hearing spring peepers and chorus frogs throughout the park. It is a great time for hiking - not too hot, no bugs and the leaves are off the trees showing all of the landscape. Hikers are reporting seeing turkeys, sandhill cranes and bear tracks on the trails. There are 16 miles of hiking trails waiting for your next adventure. Baby painted and snapping turtles that over-wintered in the nest are now starting to hatch on sunny days. The park has two inland lakes, Woods and Huber, and several miles of frontage on Caldron Falls Flowage. The South Bay Landing (#13) on Caldron Falls has two concrete launches, a boarding dock, fishing pier, picnic area and vault toilet. All facilities at South Bay are accessible. The Family Campground is open for the season. The Woods Lake day-use area is open and has picnic tables and benches available to enjoy a peaceful lunch or to simply enjoy the seasonal changes around the lake. The picnic area has a 150-foot sand beach, a sunning area and a vault toilet with changing rooms. The Woods Lake enclosed shelter is open to use as a warming shelter, when it is not rented during the winter season. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Peninsula State Park - The Door County Half Marathon will be run on the roads in Peninsula State Park. Most roads will be closed from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for the safety of runners and spectators. Group Camp traffic may enter or exit the Group Camp towards the Golf Course on Shore Road all day. Boater access to the boat launch at Nicolet Bay will be restricted during the Half Marathon. Boaters may launch prior to the road closure (at 8 a.m.), no vehicles may exit the boat launch parking lot until the race has concluded, at approximately 2 p.m. Tennison Bay Campground campers may exit the park until 9:30 a.m. No vehicles may enter or exit Tennison Bay campground between 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. At 11 a.m. traffic may enter or exit Tennison Bay Campground past the campground recycling station towards Park Headquarters on Shore Road. For more information on the race, visit (exit DNR). - Jessica Doell, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Blue-winged teal are now back. Tree swallows now sitting on their clutches of eggs, Bluebirds also sitting on eggs. Asparagus is now up, heard one report of a morel mushroom being found. Turkeys had been hunkered down, should really be active with the nice weather arriving. Lots of standing water all over the place right now, bugs will be bad in short order. Trout streams very high right now, should be in decent shape for the opener on Saturday. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma


Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Milwaukee County - Chorus, wood, and bullfrogs are all singing, as well as toads and spring peepers. Spring bird migration is in full swing, with more species being seen daily, including black-throated green warblers, great-crested flycatchers, and a variety of vireos. Trilliums, trout lilies are in bloom, as well as wood and false rue anemones. Some mallard and goose broods have been sighted, although many more ducklings and goslings will be seen in the coming weeks. Other young animals, such as raccoons, squirrels, fox, coyote, and rabbits are also in their nests and dens. If you see any young wildlife, take pictures but please don't touch! If you think the young animals are injured or in danger, visit the DNR website, keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" or contact the DNR Customer Service Hotline for more information (1-888-936-7463). Spend this weekend outside, whether to enjoy the springtime changes, some spring turkey hunting, or the start of our inland fishing opener! - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee

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 still been running high and muddy due to recent rains, but an occasional steelhead can still be found. Baits of choice are spawn sacs under a bobber, egg imitation flies, or casting spinners or spoons. Fishing pressure on the Pigeon River has been fairly high and muddy as well lately, with very few anglers fishing and reporting even fewer catches of steelhead. The harbor area has been the go to area lately due to the muddy water around the harbor, even though itself has been muddy due to runoff coming from the river. Most anglers have been using live minnows, casting a variety of spoons or crank baits lately. Not many boats have been out lately given the recent winds and rains, but have been catching the occasional brown trout and lake trout trolling less than 50 feet of water, primarily to the south, and using crankbaits, spoons and flasher flies.

Ozaukee County - The Port Washington harbor is producing a few browns and the occasional steelhead around the entire harbor, but recent rains and east winds have made the harbor quite dirty, but expect fishing to improve with improving conditions. The best baits seem to spawn sacs or live minnows on the bottom, spoons, or crankbaits. A few boats have been getting out when conditions are good and have been getting brown trout, lake trout and the occasional coho salmon or chinook salmon, trolling the shorelines to the south and north of the harbor. They have been primarily trolling spoons or crank baits in less than 50 feet of water. Sauk Creek was still producing a few steelhead last week by anglers using spawn sacs or egg imitation flies, but recent rains have made the water high and dirty and is likely pushing out most of the steelhead left in the river.

Milwaukee County - Another week of windy weather with 1.58 inches of rain kept fishing pressure low along the shoreline. Daytime temperatures were in the 50s and 60s at the start of the week with mostly cloudy skies. The temperature dropped to the 30s and 40s on the weekend with northeast winds and rain. Small craft advisories and gale warnings were in effect on the weekend. Waves were up to 7 to 9 feet on Saturday, April 29, with 15-25 mph northeast wind (gusting to 36 mph). Fishing pressure on McKinley Pier continues to be low due to difficult weather conditions. The water along the shoreline was cloudy/turbid most of the week. Very few anglers were seen on the pier toward the end of the week due to rain and strong winds off the lake. The surface water temperature on the lake side of the pier was 46 degrees last week and 46 degrees on Saturday, April 29. A couple of anglers from the "Team Lakefront" fishing club caught and released a few nice size brown trout while casting stick baits and crank baits in Veterans Park and Lake Shore State Park over the weekend. The majority of fish landed in the harbor behind Summerfest recently have been brown trout. The most popular bait has been shiners fished 8-10 feet down under slip bobbers. Fishing pressure on the southern shoreline was low once again due to strong winds on the lakefront. Fishing pressure was low at the Grant Park shoreline most of the week due to the rough water on the lakefront. A few spawning rainbows are still pairing up in the Oak Creek at Grant Park. A few coho were landed on the lake side of the pier Tuesday morning by anglers fishing with small tube jigs tipped with wax worms under slip bobbers. Nice catches of brown trout were landed in front of the Oak Creek Power Plant during the week. Another boat landed a king, a coho, a lake trout, and four brown trout while trolling spoons in the top 15 feet of water off the Cudahy Tower. Approximately 1.6 inches of rain fell in the Milwaukee area during the week. The water level increased from 3.69 to 3.78 feet. The water temperature decreased from 55 to 48 degrees. The water was cloudy/turbid from Kletzsch Park downstream to the lakefront on Sunday, April 30. Most of the fish landed recently at Kletzsch were smallmouth bass, northern pike, suckers, rock bass, a couple of rainbows, and an occasional walleye. The season for smallmouth bass is not open until May 6. The perch season closed on Monday, May 1. Fishing for perch will be closed until June 16. Anglers off the Menominee were landing bluegills near the Harley Davidson museum as well as the MMSD fishing site along with brown trout, smallmouth bass and crappie.

Racine County - Many boats were spotted trolling in 25-30 feet 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 10-15 anglers were fishing from the pier this week. The fishing has picked up a bit for pier anglers with four to six brown trout being landed each day and the occasional coho salmon. Most of the fish caught have been caught on orange/gold spoons, orange/silver spoons, green/silver spoons, firetiger crank baits, or speckled gold shiner crank baits. The water temperature was 48 degrees. Only a couple of anglers were fishing from shore and no fish were reported caught this week. Most of the shore anglers were fishing off the rocks near 21st Street and Wisconsin Avenue. The Root River is currently flowing at 448cfs and will likely rise as more rainwater runoff makes its way into the root. The steelhead fishing this past week was poor for anglers and the water visibility was about 12 inches. Anglers also did not catch many suckers as well. The water temperature upstream of the steelhead facility was 48 degrees and 49 degrees downstream of the facility. This week most anglers focused their effort at Horlick dam. There was very little fishing pressure below the facility this week and no particular stretch of river that anglers seemed to prefer. Most of the anglers fishing downstream were using yarn egg flies.

Kenosha County - Only a few boats were interviewed this week. A group of kayakers had some success trolling for brown trout inside the harbor, just outside of the harbor, and south down the shoreline. The kayakers caught an average of two brown trout per boat. They caught most of their fish on flicker shads and small spoons. The colors that seemed to work best was any combination of gold, orange, green, and silver. The water temperature was 49 degreesThe water temperature was 49 degrees.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Washington County - The spring turkey season has been going well with a lot of hunters reporting success. Hunting conditions during the second time period weren't the greatest with rain and high winds, but the weather forecast for time period 3 starting this Wednesday looks great with a nice stretch of dry weather. A lot of Canada goose broods have started showing up on area wetlands and on Allenton and Theresa Marsh Wildlife Areas. A lot of other birds can be seen on Theresa Marsh along Hwy 28 where it passes through the marsh, including pelicans, cormorants, a pair of trumpeter swans, blue-winged teal, wood ducks and a bald eagle. We continue to pass a lot of water through the Theresa Marsh dam as a result of the recent heavy rains. Fishing has been a popular activity below the dam off of N. Pole Rd. Water levels on marshes, ponds and rivers are high all around the area. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford


South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Green County - The general fishing season is almost upon us. However, note the Albany, Decatur, and Brodhead Dams are fish refuges until 12 a.m. on Saturday, May 6. The Cheese Country Trail in Green County is open to ATV/UTV use. Remember to register your machine before riding, abide by all posted signs, and wear a helmet for safety. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe! - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus

Wyalusing State Park -Trails are in good walking conditions and lots of people walking the trails have been having good luck looking for mushrooms. Bird watching has been slow until the last few days. A scarlet tanager has been heard on Long Valley Road. Yellow-throated warbler has also been heard at Point Look Out. The first humming birds were seen at the park office feeders on May 4. Flowers blooming in the park include jack in the pulpit, wild geranium, common blue violet, shooting star, false rue, Canadian anemone, may flower, rue anemone, showy orchid, Dutchman's breeches, cut leafed toothwort, downy yellow violet and large flowered bell wart. The water level at the boat landing is going down and canoers have been canoeing the backwaters of the Mississippi and watching eagles soaring the sky. Fishing has been very slow. Now that the weather has been nice, the park has had lots of camping reservations and walk-in campers. Our flush building, showers and dump station are open for the season. - Pam Dressler, visitor services associate

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Turkey hunters are continuing to have good success. Some Canada goose goslings have been seen. Fishing had been really good until this last week of rain and cold temps. Fishing opener this weekend with predicted dry and warmer conditions should make for a good weekend outdoors. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Jefferson County - Water levels are high again after the weekend rain; slow no wake remains in effect on the Rock River in Jefferson County. White bass with the occasional walleye continue to be caught in Jefferson and Fort Atkinson by boat and on shore. Tivoli Island to the dam in Watertown has been a good location to catch bass and northern pike. Many hunters were successful turkey hunting during the first two periods. The abundant foliage will make it slightly more difficult, but there are still plenty of active turkeys to pursue in the upcoming weeks. - Pearl Wallace, conservation warden, Jefferson County


West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Stormy, rainy, cool weather contributed to uneventful turkey hunting during the second time period. Most hens appear to be on their nests, incubating their clutch of eggs. Incubation takes about 28 days. Most incubating hens leave their ground nest one time each day, although it is common for some to skip a day. Upon leaving the nest, hens typically find a drink of water, feed, and return to the nest after about an hour's absence. Incubating hens and their eggs are vulnerable to ground predators, especially skunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, and crows. Baltimore orioles should be arriving any day now. When they arrive, their happy whistling song is sure to enliven any neighborhood. Baltimore Orioles seek out ripe fruit, especially when they first arrive from their long migration. Cut oranges in half and hang them from trees to invite orioles into your yard. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Water levels are high on the Chippewa and Eau Claire Rivers - please use caution near the dams. Take the time to know the walleye rules in the areas you are fishing. Chippewa River - Upriver of the Dells Hydro Dam (Dells Pond and North) - only three walleye less than 14 inches may be kept, except one fish may be over 18 inches (release walleye measuring 14 to 18 inches). Chippewa River - downriver of the Dells Hydro Dam (dam to Mississippi River) - five walleye at least 15 inches may be kept (release walleye under 15 inches). Eau Claire River - upriver of the Altoona Lake Dam (Altoona Lake and East) - only three walleye at least 15 but less than 20 inches may be kept. One of three walleye may be over 24 inches (release walleye measuring 20 to 24 inches). Eau Claire River - downriver of the Altoona Lake Dam (dam to Chippewa River) - five walleye at least 15 inches may be kept (release walleye under 15 inches). More information is available in the Wisconsin Fishing Regulations Keyword: Fishing - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Lake Wissota State Park - With the spring bird migration underway we have been seeing or hearing several species including: rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, Canada geese, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, eagles, osprey, orioles and belted kingfishers. The great blue herons, green herons, osprey and bald eagles are on their nests. We have seen the first hatch of Canadian geese. The maples have begun to leaf out. Marsh marigolds, hepaticas, bellworts, and the false rue anemones are in bloom. Trilliums are emerging from the leaf litter. Area open water panfishing action has been fast with warm temperatures or very quiet during cooler days in the sheltered bays and lagoons. 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 - Some shorter hike in campsites are now open. There are still campsites open during the week and on the weekend; however, reservations have started so please check at the office to see what is available. The first and second loops of the new campground are open. The fishing and boat boarding piers are in. Turkey hunting for periods starting May 3 will be in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. All areas of the state park and Buckhorn wildlife area are closed after May 2 and are not open for the third period this year. We still have openings for camp hosts in July, August and September. Please call the park office at 608-565-2789 for information if interested. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Roche-A-Cri State Park is a seasonal park and the main gate will be open May 6. Many people hiking with the warmer weather. Turkey season closed on May 2. Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 6 for the annual work and play day sponsored by Friends of Roche-A-Cri. Call the park office at 608-339-6881 to sign up. Bring water bottles, gloves, rakes and leaf blowers to clean up the campground and day use areas. Lunch is provided. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Last Revised: Thursday, May 04, 2017

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