View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Despite much of the state receiving at least some rain in the last week, fire danger levels have reached high to very high in far northern and northwestern Wisconsin, prompting Gov. Scott Walker to declare a precautionary state of emergency. People are urged to continue to use caution with all types of outdoor burning, ash disposal and equipment use and to search the DNR website for keyword "fire" to check on conditions and restrictions in their area.
Sunshine and warm temperatures brought out lots of anglers for the opening of Wisconsin's inland game fish season last weekend. Anglers took to inland trout streams and lakes, with trout fishing reported as excellent on some inland streams with water levels perfect for fishing. Some lake anglers reported water temperatures were still cool keeping fishing slower, but walleye anglers across the north and on Green Bay found good success with many boats coming back to the dock with fish. There were some reports of bluegills biting on area lakes and crappie fishing was starting to heat up on some of the smaller lakes in central Wisconsin
Fishing pressure on Lake Michigan has been low due to large waves and strong winds off the lake. Small craft advisories were in effect on several days over the last couple of weeks. The water along the shoreline was cloudy/turbid nearly half a mile offshore the majority of the week. Alewives have moved in along shorelines and some rivers and cormorants and terns were diving to feed on them at various locations along the lake. The Saturday opener brought many bass fishermen out along Door County but high winds influenced anglers to not stay out too long. Some still found success catching 10-plus bass for a half days trip.
Lake Winnebago system fisheries biologists reported that after a fairly short sturgeon run on the upper Fox and Wolf rivers this spring, sturgeon were again observed spawning at locations on the Wolf River in late April. Second runs likely occur annually, but are so short and never as large as the first so are not always observed or reported. This year it was reported and fisheries crews were able to capture and tag an additional 46 fish.
The spring turkey season is in full swing, with many turkey hunters successful so far this spring. Third period hunters reported modest early morning gobbler activity that ended abruptly about two hours after sunrise, then picked back up from late morning into early afternoon. Most hens appear to be on their nests, incubating their clutch of eggs, which averages about 10-12 eggs.
Sharp-tailed grouse have begun their mating dances seen in the early morning at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area.
After a long stint of northerly winds kept the bulk of spring migrants at bay, the flood gates opened a bit this week, ushering in the first major push of warblers, orioles, grosbeaks, and more. Birders in southern parks and woodlands tallied 25-plus warbler species, while 13-plus species were tallied north to the Lake Superior shore. Orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks are widespread now, with hummingbirds and indigo buntings less common yet. On Lake Superior blue jay migration is nearing peak with more than a thousand tallied in northern Bayfield County on May 10.
Spring beauties, large flowered bellwort, trilliums, bloodroot, dwarf ginseng, Dutchman's breeches, marsh marigolds, jack-in-the-pulpits, bellwort, trout lily and hepatica are blooming. A few morels are up, but experienced mushroom pickers say the weather has been too cool so far this year for the morel mushrooms to grow.
Statewide fire danger ranged from Low to Very High this past week; 45 fires burned 38 acres in DNR Protection Areas. Annual burning permits have been periodically suspended. The largest fire of the week burned 20 acres in Shawano County. The main wildfire causes this week included equipment, trash/debris burning, improper ash disposal and a couple power line fires. People are urged to continue to use caution with all types of outdoor burning, ash disposal and equipment use. Property owners are reminded to remain present when burning debris in a barrel or on the ground - should your fire escape, you can be held responsible for the cost of fire suppression and any damages resulting from the escaped fire. Clear an area around the pile or barrel and make sure a hose is attached to a working spigot. Wet down the burned area before leaving. Stay aware of the current fire danger for your area by checking our website: dnr.wi.gov, keyword "fire". May 14 marks the fourth anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned 7,442 acres and 100 buildings (including 22 homes and cabins) in Douglas County.
Firewise Tip: Are there any branches or dead trees close to power lines on your property? Ask the power company to clear them. - Joanne Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madison
Finally! After a long stint of northerly winds kept the bulk of migrants at bay, the flood gates opened a bit on Tuesday in the south and Wednesday statewide, ushering in the first major push of warblers, orioles, grosbeaks, and more. Birders in southern parks and woodlands tallied 25-plus warbler species, while 13-plus species were tallied north to the Lake Superior shore. Orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks are widespread now, with hummingbirds and indigo buntings less common yet. Other favorites that have returned in numbers include house wrens, gray catbirds, and bobolinks.
Least flycatcher, veery, and red-eyed vireo arrived to the south this week. Birders there even reported some species typical of the mid- to late migration season such as black-billed cuckoo, dickcissel, and olive-sided flycatcher. Waterbird migration is generally waning fast but a daily watch on Lake Michigan at Harrington Beach State Park continues to see good numbers of red-breasted mergansers, common and Caspian terns, common and a few red-throated loons, Bonaparte's, glaucous, and Thayer's gulls, and other species. Shorebird migration remains fairly slow as well, though peak flights for these species, many of which breed in arctic Canada, is yet to come.
Farther north blue jay migration is nearing peak--more than a thousand were tallied along the Lake Superior shore in northern Bayfield County on May 10. Ruby-crowned kinglets remain common in the north woods, alongside increasing warbler numbers and lingering dark-eyed juncos, American tree sparrows, and even an occasional snow bunting! Lincoln's and white-crowned sparrows have arrived there among increasing numbers of white-throated sparrows. Pine siskins persist amid decreasing numbers of purple finches. Overhead, sharp-shinned hawks, broad-winged hawks, and bald eagles dominate as locals set up territories and migrants press northward.
Rarities & Reporting
Some of the rarities spotted across the state this week include northern mockingbirds in La Crosse, Sheboygan and Vilas counties, glossy ibis in Dodge County, white-faced ibises in Dodge, Winnebago and Green Lake counties, black-necked stilt in Brown County, and white-eyed vireo in Dane and Milwaukee counties. The week ahead looks fairly promising for migration, with at least several days of southerly winds in the forecast. If so, this will usher in the peak of landbird migration in the southern half of the state and improved birding in the north. And don't let bad weather keep you from heading out - rainy days in May often provide the most spectacular birding! Help us track bird populations by reporting your migration sightings to www.ebird.org/wi and observations of nesting birds to www.ebird.org/atlaswi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, research scientist, Ashland
Friday, May 12-Sunday May 14, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Sunday, May 14, 2017
May 13, 9 a.m. to noon - Enjoy the spring blooms and help girdle aspen at Bluff Creek SNA. Come see what's blooming and help volunteers during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays on the second Saturday. Enjoy a short hike through the wet prairie to rare fen mounds, then use hand tools to cut aspen. Aspen is native, but establishes with lack of fire and spreads aggressively on open sites. This work will remove it, enlarging the rare wet prairie plant community. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Click for more information.
Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Sunshine has been prevalent this week, with temperatures mostly in the 50s and 60s. It has helped to get the leaves started. Willows, tamaracks, and poplars are showing some green, however it is still quite brown in the forest. But it is more spring-like than it was a week ago! More sunshine, temperatures in the 50s and 60s, and a chance of light rain are in the forecast for the coming week. Slowly but surely we'll get there! Fishing season opener was this past Saturday. Many fly fisherman and other anglers were out enjoying the sunshine and trying their luck. Canoers and kayakers have also been on the river in greater numbers now that the weather is getting nicer. USGS flow rate data can keep you informed of river conditions before you head out. Fire Danger remains high to very high. Please keep in mind when working or recreating outdoors that conditions are very favorable for wildfires. Call
1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) or check fire danger for daily burning restrictions, fire danger level, updates and information. Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - The waterfowl migration is coming to a close now in the Grantsburg Area, but there are still lots of ducks and geese around. Many of the ducks and geese that are still present on the properties are nesting pairs. Not many songbirds have arrived in this area yet, but there are a few new species on the list this week, including: black-and-white warbler, orange-crowned warbler, Nashville warbler, and American redstart. Yellow-rumped warblers are present in fairly high numbers. There is a pair of red-necked grebes nesting again this year on Phantom Lake. Look for them across from the small pull out (about half way up Phantom Lake Road), on a small "peninsula" of aquatic plants. A highlight this time of the year is the sharp-tailed grouse mating dances seen in the early morning. Try going to Murphey's Road before first light to catch a glimpse of these fantastic displays. Shorebirds such as greater yellowlegs, lesser yellowlegs, and least sandpiper are still being spotted on Refuge Extension Flowage, where there are fantastic mudflats this spring. Butterflies seen this spring include hoary elfin; Henry's elfin; silvery blue; spring azure; mourning cloak; American lady, and Olympia marble. - Lauren Finch, assistant naturalist
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - This last weekend a 5-year-old caught a 20-inch walleye on Flambeau River. Northern pike were biting on Connors Lake. Crappies should be moving into shallow water. Some folks have been taking advantage of the weather and good water levels on the Flambeau River and paddling down river and using the scenic river sites for camping and picnicking. Blooming plants are everywhere. Spring beauties, large flowered bellwort, trilliums, bloodroot, dwarf ginseng, Dutchman's breeches, side oats, marsh marigolds, jack-in-the-pulpits, sessile bellwort, trout lily, hepatica, early season violets, wow, the list goes on! Grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are still gathering hens. Geese and ducks are nesting and a group of goslings have already been seen. Song birds are defending their territories where the females are already sitting on the nests. 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 sighting 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. The elk cows have been making calf scouting moves looking for a safe quiet area to have their calves. The weather forecast for the remainder of this week calls for Friday to be sunny with a high of 68 and low of 42, Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high of 69 and low of 43, and Sunday mostly sunny, with a high of 70 and low of 47 with a slight chance of showers Sunday night. ATV trails open May 15. Lake of the Pines Campground is open and Connors Lake Campground opens the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, May 25. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The spring peepers and wood frogs are trying to be happy, but the recent cold nights have put a damper to their singing. The woodcock are "dancing" even though they are cold and are a thrill to watch if you can get close enough to one. The juncos have moved on and we await the next batch of migrants. Male hummers should be showing up soon, although there is not much blooming for them to feed on. The trees have tiny buds on, the Juneberry have yet to start blooming north of Wausau. Hepaticas and trailing arbutus are winding down in bloom in some spots and just getting started in others. There will be a green explosion soon! The black flies have hatched but it is still a lovely time to be out in the woods! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the week of April 30-May 6. Cool wet windy weather persisted throughout the week keeping fishing pressure low. Opening weekend had the fewest number of boat trailers seen in the last 10 years. Anglers report Bay temperatures only in the upper 40s with river temps in the low 50s.
Marinette County - A few anglers were still having good success for walleye in the upper reaches of the Peshtigo River using jigs and minnows. A few walleye and pike are being caught off the Peshtigo River mouth trolling in 9 feet of water with stick baits and crawler harness. A few browns, walleye, and pike are being caught out of the Little River Boat Launch using spoons, stick bates, and crawler harness. The Menominee River is running high and dirty making it difficult to fish. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - High winds and rain kept many anglers off the water until the opener on Saturday May 6. On the opener walleye anglers found good success with many boats coming back to the dock with limits or just shy of a limit. Most anglers were sticking close to shore because of the high winds, but were finding fish trolling flicker shads. Along with walleye, anglers were also reporting catching a fair amount of northern pike with a few being 30 inches or more. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
The few anglers fishing the upper Oconto River report catching a few smallmouth, suckers and an occasional walleye, with high water and cool temperatures the bite has been slow. The walleye bite from the mouth of the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II has been sporadic with the best bite early in the morning or in the evening. Anglers are looking for pockets of warm water and having success. Stick baits and crawler harnesses as well as jigging with live bait have been working around structure. The pike bite remains good with anglers using spoons and stick baits. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Anglers were having good luck on the opener using flicker shads, catching three to four walleyes a person and adding a few bonus northern pike. A few shore anglers were recorded at Duck Creek. Anglers off the Fox River found a tougher bite in the lower bay than did the anglers on the northern west shore. High winds made it hard to control the boat and trolling gear. Anglers were reporting catching one or two walleyes, with northern pike and freshwater drum (sheephead) mixed in. Shore anglers continued their good success catching a variety of species including: common carp, freshwater drum, channel catfish, white bass, and a few walleyes. Most success from shore has come at the Metropolitan boat launch at the mouth of the river. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Poor weather earlier in the week convinced most anglers to stay off the water at Little Sturgeon Bay. As the days progressed, the weather calmed down bringing some walleye anglers out before the opener of the fishing season. It was slow with few anglers consistently catching walleye. The Saturday of opener brought many bass fishermen out but high winds influenced anglers to not stay out too long. Some found success catching 10-plus bass for a half days trip. Sawyer Harbor saw similar results as Little Surgeon Bay. Poor weather earlier in the week led to no observed anglers. The day of opener brought mostly bass fishermen out with mixed results. Although most anglers had low success, some did find fish. This was due to high winds and little time spent out on the water. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Fishing has been slow. Temperatures have risen to the point where many brown trout anglers have hung up the gear for the year, and many steelhead anglers have followed suit. However, some fortunate anglers did manage a couple of steelhead out of the Kewaunee River last weekend. Also, a little excitement came last weekend with some non-traditional fishing in the form of a carp tournament in Kewaunee. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Activity on the streams and rivers is minimal. The Manitowoc River continues to fluctuate between 48 and 60 degrees. Unlike the weekend of April 30, when no boats were seen at the Manitowoc Marina Ramp, a few boats were in the water on May 7. Some brown trout were caught in the lake and reported at the Marina during the week. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Aspen are beginning to leaf out. Spring ephemerals like hepatica, wood anemone, and bloodroot are all in bloom. Unfortunately, garlic mustard (a non-native invasive plant) is also beginning to bolt and bloom in some areas of the county. Turkeys were fairly quiet and unresponsive to hunters calling over the last week. Some birds are still in groups but single hens traveling to nesting areas is now quite a common site. Some geese have hatched now. Gnats are out now but mosquitos are few and far between. Turtles and salamanders are out now. Wild asparagus and morels are up and waiting to be found. Now is a great time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and the relatively bug free outdoors (ticks are always present when the temperature is above 40 degrees Fahrenheit). - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
All Marinette County ATV/UTV trails are open to the public. As a remember, OHM (Off-Highway Motorcycle) use is not permitted on Marinette County trail systems. Please make sure registration is current. Your 2017 registration expired on March 31. Also, all children under age 18 are required to wear a helmet while on a ATV or UTV. Please do not drink and ride, share the trails, and remember to ride responsibly.- Tim Werner, conservation warden, Marinette
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - This past weekend marked the opening of the general fishing season around the state. Anglers took to inland trout streams and lakes. Anglers on the inland lakes noted water temperatures were still cool and fishing was slow. Anglers on various trout streams noted success with most catching at least one or more trout Saturday morning. Wildlife sightseers are starting to see baby wildlife emerging. Collins Marsh is full of wildlife. One can see goslings, ducklings, swans, and pelicans among the marsh. The weather forecast looks great for the upcoming weekend. Head outside, catch some sunrise, and enjoy the great outdoors! - Alyssa R Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Newport State Park - Spring is finally creeping its way north and up the peninsula. Most of our campsites are reserved for the weekend. Since we are managed as a wilderness area, we commend the hardy folks that will brave the chilly nights here at our back pack only campsites. The shores of Lake Michigan keep us cooler than most places in the state and trees are just barely leafing out. The trails have been cleared of trees thanks to our maintenance folks who are back at it. They are clear and ready for hiking and biking. Early spring ephemerals are blooming. We are seeing bloodroot, hepatica, wood anemone and spring beauty blooms. Trillium are starting to bud and trout lily leaves and ramps are carpeting the woods. There have been no reports of morels here. Still a bit too cold. Migrating birds are picking up. We have seen many sand hill cranes, pelicans and some eagles in the area. We hear the peent of the woodcock in several areas in the park. The males sky dance is going on nightly too. We have reports of yellow rumped and black throated green warblers, ruby crowned kinglets, white throated sparrows and winter wrens. The phoebe's are nesting again near the main office and the goldfinches plumage is turning bright yellow once again. Bluebirds are starting to nest in the boxes on our bluebird trail. We have several eggs in some of the nesting boxes and monitor them weekly. Stay tuned!- Beth Bartoli, naturalist
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Trout fishing has been excellent, with night crawlers the hot ticket. Water levels have been perfect for fishing. There were some reports of bluegills biting on area lakes. Be aware, ticks are very active right now. No biting flying insects yet, but there is enough standing water right now that they will be bad eventually. Turkeys are gobbling and grouse are drumming like crazy. Fawn drop is beginning - none have been observed yet, but adult does have disappeared. Lot of groups of two to four yearlings stumbling around after mom gave them the boot--beware this can be a dangerous time for car deer collisions. The first baby sandhill crane of the year has been spotted. No reports of anyone finding any number of morels yet. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Crappie fishing has been starting to heat up on some of the smaller lakes in Waupaca and Waushara counties. Anglers have experienced best success with a jig and minnow in 4-8 feet of water. White bass fishing on the Wolf River has been inconsistent for most of the spring. It is presumed the fishing has been inconsistent because of the cooler temperatures. A few people have found some morel mushrooms in the last week -concentrate efforts on areas that have southern exposure. Most experienced mushroom pickers feels the weather has been to cool so far this year for the morel mushrooms to grow. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Lake Winnebago System Sturgeon Update
The lake sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System tributaries predominantly occurred between April 11 and April 21. Sturgeon started spawning on the upper Fox River on April 11, but did not start on the Wolf River until April 17. The main run on the Wolf River lasted just five days and the majority of the spawning actually occurred during the first four days. However, there have been smaller numbers of sturgeon spawning at various locations since then. Sturgeon were observed spawning in New London (Sturgeon Trail at County Road X), Shiocton (Bamboo Bend), and Shawano (Shawano Dam) on April 27. It was unclear if this was a notorious second run or if it was continuation of the first run and these fish were just stragglers that waited for the water temperatures to come back up after cooling down the week before. As of May 8 things became a bit more clear, though as there were sturgeon spawning at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton, indicating this was a second run. The Winnebago system fisheries team put together a small crew to go up and check it out. They were able to capture 46 fish (one female and 45 males). The second run is never as large as the first and normally only has a few females ovulating at a time. Thus most of the fish observed are males, which was evident in the sampling, and it's hard to capture large numbers of fish. How often does a second run occur? It's pretty much an annual occurrence but it is very brief (usually less than 24 hours) and not always even observed or reported. 2017 marks my 10th spring with the DNR fisheries program in Oshkosh and this is the third time that crews have handled fish during the second run. 2016 was one of those years when we handled 19 fish at the Sturgeon Trail in New London on May 5 (primary tagging occurred from April 18-21). There have been other springs that we have heard of fish spawning weeks after the first run has completed, but we chose not to sample those fish or had other work taking place. There are even some springs where a third run takes place, but again the majority of the females will spawn during the first primary spawning run each spring. Crews handled 1,829 fish (1,605 males and 224 females) this spring. This ranks as the second most since 2007 and likely is the second most of any spring on record behind only 2014 (1,984 fish handled). - Ryan Koenigs, senior fisheries biologist/Winnebago system sturgeon biologist, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - Young wild animals such as rabbit and raccoon kits, fox and coyote pups, ducklings, and goslings are out and active all over Milwaukee County. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured or orphaned, visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" to decide what to do, or search keyword "rehab" to find a local wildlife rehabilitator. Spring bird migration seems to be nearing peak, with a wide variety of songbirds seen over the last few days. Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies are all active, and a variety of wildflowers such as spring beauty, trillium, and jack-in-the-pulpit are in full bloom. The spring turkey season is in full swing, with many turkey hunters successful so far this spring. This weekend would be a perfect weekend to get out and experience the great WI spring season, wherever your interests lie. - 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 - Fishing has been decent to slow, with anglers targeting brown trout lately. A few brown trout, carp, burbot and whitefish have been reported being caught on the south pier on a variety of baits from spoons to shiners on the bottom. Anglers also reported seeing alewives in the harbor last weekend. North and northeast winds have kept anglers off the north pier and most have been fishing inside the harbor fishing from the river mouth out to the end of south pier due to dirty water outside the harbor. Water temperature was 56 degrees inside the harbor and 43 degrees outside the harbor. The Sheboygan River was high and muddy for most of the week last week, but conditions had vastly improved by the weekend. Anglers were fishing for northern pike casting a spinner or the occasional steelhead using as spawn sac under a bobber. Water temperature has been around 55 degrees. Pigeon River angling pressure has slightly increased as anglers began to target gamefish, such as northern pike, especially in the lower stretches downstream from Lakeshore Drive. Anglers were catching pike on baits such as spinners and shallow diving crankbaits. Water temperature was 56 degrees.
Ozaukee County - Fishing at Port Washington has been slow lately, with the occasional brown trout or rainbow trout being caught. Northeast winds had dirtied the harbor, but conditions were fairly good by Sunday. Anglers were even catching carp using sacs of corn on the bottom. Alewives have moved into the harbor and have brought the terns and seagulls with them. There have been no reports of salmon being caught from shore, but if conditions improve, a few could definitely move in. Water temperature in the harbor was 55 degrees. Boat fishing is currently in a transition as anglers begin to search for salmon while the shallow brown trout fishing is slowing down. A few brown trout and the occasional lake trout can still be caught trolling planer boards with stick baits and other various crank baits shallow along the beaches when the water is slightly dirty. Those targeting salmon have been going to clear water varying from 40 to 130 feet of water trolling with red dodger with peanut flies or spoons with that are blue/green in color. Many of these boats have been bringing in one to four coho salmon with the occasional chinook when the weather allows. Surface water temperatures varied from 56 degrees near the harbor to 41 degrees or less out in 100-plus feet of water. Sauk Creek was high and dirty early last week, but stream conditions vastly improved. There have been a few anglers targeting steelhead still, but none reported success. A few suckers could still be seen in the stream as well. Baits of choice were spawn sacs under bobbers or egg imitation flies. Water temperature was degrees.
Milwaukee County - Fishing pressure on the shoreline was low due to another week with large waves and strong winds off the lake. Small craft advisories were in effect from April 30-May 2 and from May 4-7. The water along the shoreline was cloudy/turbid nearly half a mile offshore the majority of the week. Sunday night to Monday morning 1.18 inches of rain fell. Daytime temperatures were in the 40s and 50s. Cormorants and terns were diving on alewives in the Milwaukee River by the Hoan Bridge. Fishing pressure on McKinley Pier continues to be low due to difficult weather conditions. The surface water temperature on the lake side of the pier was 46-47 degrees May 6. Anglers on the harbor side of Summerfest continue to target brown trout and coho. Activity at the McKinley and Riverfront ramps was low for another week due to strong winds off the lake and large waves. The boats that went out of McKinley targeted browns and coho inside the Milwaukee harbor with some success. Anglers continue to land brown trout under the Hoan Bridge. Oak Creek was extremely high, fast, and muddy after the rain. A couple rainbows were landed on the creek on the weekend by anglers fishing with spawn sacks and small spinner baits. The water temperature in the creek was 56 degrees on Saturday. Boats out of Bender Park have been targeting brown trout and coho salmon at Wind Point, the Oak Creek Power Plant, the Oak Creek at Grant Park, and the Cudahy Towers off College Avenue. The Milwaukee River flow rate at Estabrook Park topped 3,000 cfs on May 1. The flow rate decreased last week to 1,460 cfs on May 7. The water temperature increased from 48 to 56 degrees. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass and northern pike below the Kletzsch waterfall, at Lincoln Park and Estabrook Park. The Menomonee River water level spiked over 3 feet at the start of the week. The river was high and fast downstream to Three Bridges Park. The water level dropped nearly 4 feet by the weekend. Anglers landed a couple of 3-4 pound brown trout.
Racine County - The Root River was flowing at 253 cfs and the water visibility is about 14 inches last weekend. Only one steelhead was reported and no anglers reported catching suckers. The water temperature upstream of the facility was 53 degrees and 55 degrees downstream of the facility. Anglers that fished for steelhead last week focused their effort at Quarry Lake Park or at the Horlick Dam. Only one steelhead was reported caught.
Kenosha County - Two brown trout were reported caught from the south pier on live roaches on bottom rigs. The water temperature was 51 degrees.
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - The south winds have brought new waves of migrants into the area. Baltimore oriole, scarlet tanager, rose-breasted grosbeak, vireos, great diversity of warblers and much more! Just in time for the 20th annual Horicon Marsh Bird Festival. Visit www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com to learn about the variety of events all over Horicon Marsh from May 12-15. Beginning birding, boat tours, guided hikes, expert speakers, bird banding, activities for kids will all be taking place during the bird festival weekend. The birds will be here, will you? - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Panfish were starting to be caught on a regular basis on area lakes, however, cold temps and rain has slowed the bite again. Turkey hunters still report having good luck with harvesting birds. Things have really started to green up which makes it harder to see through the woods for hunting. Numerous hatches of Canada Geese and ducks have been seen on local ponds and streams. Water has continued to stay high on the WI river which has made fishing there a bit more of a challenge. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - The third wild turkey hunting time period seemed pretty uneventful, even with more settled weather. Many turkey hunters reported modest early morning gobbler activity that ended abruptly about two hours after sunrise. Gobbler activity then picked back up from late morning into early afternoon. Most hens appear to be on their nests, incubating their clutch of eggs, which averages about 10-12 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. Wild geraniums and trilliums are just beginning to bloom. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - All 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 fishing and boat boarding piers are in. Launch A inside the park has been repaired from ice damage and will remain closed until Saturday, May 13. 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. 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 - The main gate and camping are now open. No food, pets or drinks are allowed on the stairway. Users are restricted to the stairway and it is open from 6 am to sunset. Many people hiking with the warmer weather. Turkey season closed on May 2. - Heather Wolf, park manager