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Outdoor Report

Published May 10, 2018 by the Central Office

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With sun and temperatures getting into the low 80s even in northern Wisconsin snow is now finally gone from the entire state. Ice went out on many lakes last weekend and went out this week on Trout Lake in Vilas County. Loons returned to the lakes as soon as the ice went out and could be heard calling once again.

Recent rain helped green up the landscape and reduce very high fire danger. However, fire danger can change quickly so take care to prevent wildfires. Get a burning permit, know and follow the rule of the day by checking the fire danger levels. This past week 88 fires burned 156 acres in DNR Protection Areas, destroying 12 buildings. Another 30 were saved with firefighter assistance. May 14 marks the fifth anniversary of the Germann Road Fire that burned 7,442 acres and 100 buildings, including 22 homes and cabins, in Douglas County

Bloodroot is among the many wildflowers blooming in southern Wisconsin.  Spring flowers are just beginning to emerge in the north. - Photo credit: DNR
Bloodroot is among the many wildflowers blooming in southern Wisconsin. Spring flowers are just beginning to emerge in the north.Photo credit: DNR

High temperatures and full sun allowed many anglers to enjoy the fishing opener and arrive home with a suntan or sunburn. Many anglers were out on the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers with mixed success. Anglers were out on Green Bay with some launches almost full during opener on Saturday. Most boats were catching three to five walleyes but some were harvesting limits. Anglers fishing the Fox River for white bass found themselves putting fewer than a dozen fish in the bucket.

All ramps are now ice free across Door County. Action is picking up in the Sturgeon Bay area with walleye anglers getting some action from shore and out in the bay. Brown trout action has been decent between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor.

Anglers fishing Lake Michigan off Kewaunee and Algoma reported success for brown and lake trout. Anglers targeting brown trout and coho salmon out of Milwaukee found some success. The Menomonee River continues to have fishing pressure but very few steelhead were being seen or caught.

This year's sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System is over and went fast. The warm temperatures last week condensed the spawning activity. The fish were spawning in large numbers at all of the traditional spawning sites but it lasted only about a week.

Turkeys are nesting and turkey hunters are reporting good success but many birds are responding to strutting tom decoys rather than calling. Multiple goose broods and ducklings are being seen and a sandhill crane colt was reported this week. Deer fawns are starting to be reported. Again a reminder that if you see a fawn alone, please leave it where it is as the survival strategy for deer is to leave the nearly scent free fawns "hidden" while the doe feeds somewhere nearby but the mother will return to retrieve the fawn after feeding.

Boreal chorus frogs, leopard frogs, wood frogs and spring peepers have been deafeningly loud on some of the warm evenings. Bees, mosquitos, ticks and other insects awakened with the warming temperatures.

Large numbers of white-throated and other sparrows arrived this week and the warbler migration is at or very close to peak with birders reporting outstanding diversity and numbers. Bird hikes and birding events are being held at many locations this weekend and in coming weeks.

Marsh marigolds, Dutchman's breeches, hepaticas, bellwort, spring beauties, trout lily, trilliums and blood root are blooming, or starting to bloom in the south but flowers are just starting to emerge in the north. Wild leeks - or ramps - and fern fronds are up. And morel mushrooms are being reported in southern Wisconsin with the warmer temps and rain.

Wildfire Report

Statewide fire danger ranged from Low to Very High this past week; 88 fires burned 156 acres in DNR Protection Areas; 12 buildings were destroyed and another 30 were threatened, but saved with firefighter assistance. The main wildfire causes this week were debris burning and equipment. The largest fire of the week burned 27 acres in Langlade County, caused by a campfire. 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 fifth 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 near your property? Ask the power company to clear them. - Jolene Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madison

Statewide Birding Report

After a great start to the month, birding remained fantastic across most of the state this week. The north saw its first rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, gray catbirds, house wrens, ruby-throated hummingbirds, bobolinks, upland sandpipers, and various warblers. Thrushes moved in too, including hermit, Swainson's, gray-cheeked, wood, and veery. Stealing the show, however, were the sparrows. Large numbers of white-throated sparrows have arrived, joined by excellent numbers of white-crowned and Lincoln's sparrows, swamp sparrows, and above-average numbers of Harris's sparrows. Flocks of Bonaparte's gulls foraged over open water bodies, which at long last welcomed returning common loons as well. May 9 saw a good migration of shorebirds, dominated by lesser yellowlegs but also featuring at least 10 other species such as pectoral and solitary sandpipers, willets, dowitchers, semipalmated plovers and more. Broad-winged hawks continued to fill the skies, although their migration is now waning.

A favorite of most birders, warblers such as this American redstart have returned to Wisconsin in earnest.  - Photo credit: Ryan Brady
A favorite of most birders, warblers such as this American redstart have returned to Wisconsin in earnest. Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Warbler migration is likely at or very close to peak across the south, where birders from Milwaukee to Green Bay and Madison to La Crosse reported outstanding diversity and numbers. Many were found foraging lower than a typical year and thus offered especially spectacular views. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and ruby-throated hummingbirds continue to adorn feeding stations, now joined by good numbers of indigo buntings. Ruby-crowned kinglets were abundant earlier in the week, while a couple olive-sided flycatchers and common nighthawks made somewhat early arrivals. American avocets at several locations were among the most noteworthy shorebirds.

Snowy owls continue to linger statewide with at least a dozen reported this month from as far south as Oshkosh. This week's list of rarities is again long, including a scissor-tailed flycatcher in Milwaukee, snowy egret in Dodge, blue grosbeak in Racine, white-faced ibises at multiple locations, northern mockingbirds in Milwaukee and Ashland, white-eyed vireos in Milwaukee and Walworth, yellow-throated warbler in Door, Kentucky warbler in Dane, worm-eating warblers in Dane and Milwaukee, yellow-crowned night-heron in Dodge, summer tanagers in multiple locations, piping plover in Sauk, and lastly both eared grebe and cattle egret in Portage. The next couple weeks will offer the peak of spring migration so be sure to get out and take advantage of events across the state. As always, find out what others are seeing and where they're seeing it at www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

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Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Friday, May 11

Saturday May 12

Sunday, May 13

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. No experience is necessary, you will be trained on site. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Monday brought some weather that felt like mid-July. With sun and temperatures getting into the low 80s, it was a brief preview of the summer days ahead. Late last week there were still small amounts of snow in some ditches and in shaded areas, but the snow is now finally gone. Leaves have started to pop and wildflowers are just beginning to poke up from beneath the dry brown grasses of last year. Wednesday's rain has helped to green up that brown landscape and reduce the very high fire danger we had been experiencing. However, fire danger level can change quickly and care needs to be taken to prevent wildfires. Get a burning permit, know and follow the rule of the day by checking the Wisconsin Burning Permits website or calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). Information is updated each day at 11 a.m. Because spring was so late in arriving, the early nesting birds are a bit behind their usual timeline. Normally we would be seeing goslings by now, but this year we'll have to wait a week or two yet. Migratory birds all seem to be back in the area, busy with feeding, nest building and sitting on eggs. The forest is noisy with the sounds of new life. Boreal chorus frogs and spring peepers are deafeningly loud on warm, still, humid evenings. This Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. to noon, the 5 year anniversary commemoration of the Germann Road Fire will take place at the Barnes Town Hall. On May 14, 2013 the Germann Road fire consumed 7,499 acres and destroyed 104 structures (23 of them residences) in the Towns of Gordon and Highland in Douglas County and the Town of Barnes in Bayfield County. The public is invited to learn more about the Germann Road Fire and the recovery that continues today. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Iron County - The last patch of natural snow was seen on May 4 within a forested area—spring has finally hit Iron County! Birds are slowly making their appearance and adamantly building nests. Buds on trees have started to swell in mass over the last couple of days. Bees, mosquitos and other insects have migrated in or awakened with the warming temperatures. The wetlands are singing with spring peepers, leopard frogs and black birds. High temperatures and full sun throughout this weekend allowed many anglers to enjoy fishing and arrive home with a suntan or sunburn. Fishing was successful on many of the lakes and flowages throughout the county and are expected to continue to perform. Although few, some flowers are starting to come up through last year's duff. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - The late spring weather has given us one of the best bird lists ever for this time period! This past week there were 105 species recorded. The waterfowl migration was intense this year but ended up being very short lasting. It only lasted a little more than a week. While there are not many birds now, the diversity is great! The waterfowl migration is pretty much over now, but and the songbird migration is just beginning. We have added several warblers to the list within the last couple of days. Common loons and red-necked grebes are back in the area. Look for the red-necked grebes across from the small parking area (about halfway up the road). Sharp-tailed grouse are continuing to dance, and a snowy owl is surprisingly still around. After the odd spring, everything is getting back to normal now. Numbers are normal for this time of the year. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - Sunshine and warm temperatures have melted away all the snowbanks. The cooler temperatures have delayed leaf-out but the sunshine has turned most of the grass green. Grazing wildlife is prevalent throughout the forest. Elk cows and deer does are in their third trimester of pregnancy and we're hoping for some large and feisty youngsters. A few of the does have already had their fawns. Bears and cubs are out feeding and filling up after the long winter we had. Kestrels and hawks have been hovering at road sides and open areas looking for prey, and eagles for prey and carrion. Tom turkeys are gobbling and displaying for the hens. Tundra swans, geese, cranes and ducks are flying overhead. Each waterhole seems to have some waterfowl in it. Robins, wood peckers, finches, indigo buntings, rose breasted grosbeaks, kingfishers, swallows, blue jays, grouse, woodcock and sandhill cranes are just a few of the birds being viewed by area residents and Forest staff. Spring flowers are starting to flower. Bloodroot, trout lilies, bellwort's, and leaks and fronds are popping. Most of the trees are in the bud or flowering stages. Chorus frogs can be heard in the warm low spots, peepers and wood frogs also. The South and North Fork are still high and moving fast. There has been some success fishing for redhorse. People that have been using the river have reported an enjoyable and quiet experience. The Flambeau River state Forest operates and diligently maintains 14 river sites and seven landings on the Flambeau River. These river sites have up to three camping units at each river site. The sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and toilet facilities. We also have three group sites in operation. ATV and UTV Trails open May 15, 2018. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for a 30 percent chance or rain Friday, with a high of 53 and low of 34. Saturday, mostly sunny, with a high of 65 and a low of 40. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high of 72 and a low of 48. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Mother nature blessed the north with some overdue warm weather this past week and took care of those winter blues. Trout Lake, the largest lake in the forest, opened this week. The songs of the spring peepers melted all those cold snowy memories. We may be cursing those robins that will be singing at 4 a.m. later in the season, but right now, their songs are a welcome sound! Returning hermit thrushes, white throated sparrows, phoebes and rose breasted grosbeaks can be heard singing, although not in great numbers. Chipmunks are filling their cheeks with bird seed and bears with cubs are making their debut at area bird feeders. More waves of migrants will be coming north in short order to find their nesting spot for the summer. Loons can be heard calling on the lakes once again, and the late night "ding,ding,ding" call of the saw whet owl tells us that winter is finally over! It's a great time to be outside and listen. Some trees are starting to bud while ones waits for the first flowering Juneberry to make its appearance. The popular Heart of Vilas County paved bike trail system will open Friday May 11. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Council Grounds State Park - It must be spring! The trout lily and blood root are blooming, the ice is gone, and the dock is in. The campground is open and we plan to have the showers and flush toilets open on May 15. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Many anglers were out on the Menominee River during the opening weekend. Anglers reported mixed results of success throughout the weekend. Some anglers were catching many small to medium sized walleye throughout the weekend. A few anglers had luck catching Northern pike and smallmouth bass. The water temperatures ranged from 58-60 degrees over the weekend. A lot of anglers also took to the Peshtigo River during the fishing regular season opener. Anglers fishing towards the mouth of the Peshtigo had great success catching northern pike. Anglers also had success catching smallmouth bass and walleye. Walleye were being caught in water depths of 11-12 feet. The water temperatures ranged from 54-57 degrees over the weekend. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - The last of the ice near Geano beach beach has melted during the week opening the water for anglers to fish. Anglers were out in full force on at the Oconto Breakwater Harbor during opening weekend. Little activity was found at the Stiles dam area this weekend do to the high numbers of suckers in the river. Farther downstream, anglers were catching decent numbers of walleye and northern pike toward the mouth of the Oconto River. Some anglers also reported catching some yellow perch and smallmouth bass at Oconto park II. The water temperatures averaged 50 degrees over the weekend. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - The Metro launch averaged about a dozen boats during the week and was almost full during opener on Saturday. Most boats caught three to five walleyes and harvesting one to two for half a days' worth of effort. Anglers reported having better success the farther north they went. Those who did harvest fish kept ones between 15-22 inches. While out for walleyes anglers also caught freshwater drum and Northern pike. Fewer boats launched out of Fox Point compared to previous weeks with fishing effort shifting towards trolling in the bay. There were a consistent number of anglers out at Voyager park over the past week with most in search of either white bass or a good time. Those harvesting white bass found themselves putting less than a dozen fish in the bucket for half a day worth of fishing. There were a couple boats out over the weekend in Duck Creek with limited success. Anglers went after the good weather, smallmouth bass, or common carp. Those using the hook and line method found themselves coming up short on bass. Those who bow fished for carp found moderate success bringing in around 30 fish for half a day on the water. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Shore anglers from Bay Shore to Rite's Cove were unsuccessful with catching any fish. However, boaters that went south close to University Bay were successful with harvesting their limits of walleye using flicker minnows. Most boaters that decided to fish near Bay Shore or Chaudoir's dock were unsuccessful in catching any fish at all. -Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Action is finally picking up in the Sturgeon Bay area. Walleye anglers are finally getting some action from shore and out in the bay. Water temps in the canal have been in the low 50s while the bay remains cooler in the mid to low 40s. Both jigs and trolling crank baits have produced fish. Most walleyes seen in the area appear to be prespawn yet. Pike action has been decent with anglers picking up the occasionally fish while looking for browns, bass and walleye. Pike seem to be in the process of spawning now depending on location. Brown trout action has been decent with most anglers finding some nice fish by trolling crankbaits between Sturgeon Bay and Egg Harbor. A few bass have been caught but action is very slow yet. Action will improve as water temps continue to rise. All ramps are now ice free across northern Door County. The rain over the week unlocked Ephraim and several boats were out there over the weekend looking for bass and browns. Rowleys Bay is already full of boats looking for smallmouth but action has been slow. The steelhead run in local streams peaked early in the week and seems to be dropping off quickly with high water from all the precipitation this week. Suckers are filling up all the creeks now. This spring has been unusually cold and most spawning patterns in the Door County area are at least two weeks behind normal. The last of the ice finally melted just this weekend and water temps will still take some time to warm up. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - Much of the detritus flowing from the Kewaunee River was washing out deep into Lake Michigan. This did not slow anglers mid week as there was a high success for brown trout and many lake trout catches. Good luck was had with chartreuse color and crank bait on browns. The shoreline saw the Kewaunee International Carp Tournament this last weekend as many carp anglers drove from Chicago, Minneapolis, and as far as Indianapolis to compete. Though slow, some folks were able to get over 15 pounds with one 26-pound carp catch. There was low fishing pressure at the Kewaunee pier due to windy conditions and choppy water mid week. Many folks traveled to hit walleye as the steelhead run slowed down on the Kewaunee River and murky water and tree debris flew through. There were full brown trout catches for most parties that launched this week out of Algoma. The Algoma shoreline was slow and fishing pressure was low at the Algoma pier due to windy conditions and an unfavorable east wind. Stoney Creek stream flow was fast and low with high fishing pressure at the mouth as the crick was pushed out a couple yards. Most of the steelhead catches were had early in the week, but dwindled as the water turned into a high heavy flowing chocolate colored water. There were a heavy amount of fly anglers on the Ahnapee River early in the week as folks caught the steelhead run before conditions deteriorated and the water turned into an overflowing milky sludge. Suckers were abundant. Good luck was had with spawn sacs. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing on the Manitowoc piers have decreased compared to last week. Possible reasons why fishing decreased could be due to the high amounts of rain that on Thursday night. Also, the increase in winds affected the number of anglers out on the piers. Catfish are still being caught in the harbor. Anglers have had little success over the past week fishing on the lake. The water temp of the lake is around 48-50 degrees. Most anglers were fishing around the 8-15 feet of water. Some anglers have tried going out farther, but they haven't had any luck. No steelhead were caught at all this week on the Manitowoc River, meaning that the run is probably over. A few suckers were being caught yet in the rivers, however, when it rained most fishing came to a halt due to the flow and water levels. Catfish were still being caught around Manitou Park even during the high flow. Brown Trout are still being caught occasionally off the Two Rivers North Pier using spawn sacs and smelt. The number of anglers decreased over the week as the weather declined. Vets Park in Two Rivers is still under construction but is still accessible. The fish cleaning station at Vets Park is still closed. Anglers that tried to go for brown trout haven't had success. Water temps are still around 48 degrees in shore. In 60 feet of water the water temp was 38 degrees, and the anglers that were out fishing did not have any luck out there as well. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Things are greening up quickly now in Marinette county. Many farm fields have been worked, and some have even been planted. Whip poor wills and woodcock can be heard calling in the evenings. Hummingbirds are back at nectar feeders. Many hen turkeys are now nesting. We've had the first reports of goslings. Fishing opened this las weekend with great weather. Good numbers of panfish were caught on some inland lakes as well as a few bass but the majority of anglers seemed to be fishing the bay for post spawn walleyes. Turkey hunting is still going strong with lots of opportunities to see and harvest birds. Wildlife and forestry staff conducted the first prescribed burn of the season on Peshtigo Harbor Wildlife Area this week. The burn will help keep the fields open for displaying woodcock and feeding grouse and turkeys and keep diverse habitats available for all wildlife and recreational users. The finishing touches are being done on the new boarding dock on the north shore of Lake Noquebay and the landing should be useable starting this weekend. The new handicapped accessible public fishing pier at the same site is unfortunately still a couple weeks from being finished. Wild leeks (ramps) are now up in hardwood forests growing alongside hepaticas, spring beauties, and trilliums. Foragers are eagerly anticipating the first morel mushroom—but none have been reported yet. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Oconto County - Most trout fishermen have been successful, anywhere from Suring to Lakewood seemed to produce fish. On other bodies of water such as on the Machickanee Flowage small mouth and largemouth bass were being caught. Turkey season is still in full swing and plenty of birds are out there. There are many places to hunt public land such as the Machickanee Forest near Stiles, County Land near Kelly Lake, and much of the Nicolet National Forest. There are also some state properties along the Green Bay Shore. Rain is in the forecast for today and Friday so dress appropriately. Ducks and geese are starting to have their young ones. Also be careful driving on the roads as there has been a rise in turtle crossings. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - The sturgeon spawning season is now done. The sturgeon were spawning on the Wolf River for about a week. High water hampered some of the viewing of the fish as the fish stayed in deeper water. The trout opener was successful but was also hindered by high water. Some anglers stated they were not able to get into some of their deeper holes to fish. Baby geese are now on the landscape despite having deep snow just a few weeks ago. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Marsh Marigolds and skunk cabbage now blooming. Most hardwood trees have broken bud and are beginning to leaf out. Geese have started to hatch, have not seen any other young birds yet. Trout fishing has been challenging with the high water levels and we keep getting more rain. Have not seen a fawn yet, but that should happen shortly as we are close to peak fawning. Insects are pleasantly absent except for a couple of wood ticks. That will change for the worse with all the standing water we have. Nice time of year. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Lake Winnebago System

This year's sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System will certainly be remembered as a weird one. The high water made it difficult to capture large numbers of fish and the warm temperatures this week condensed the spawning activity at each location. Normally we get two days at the Shawano Dam where we can handle large numbers of sturgeon. There were a lot of fish spawning at the dam yesterday, but spawning was all but over this morning already. We attempted to capture fish on each side of the river, but only combined to handle 16 fish. The 2018 spawning run is over. After a quick look at our tagging results, we handled roughly 1,078 fish. This number is quite a bit lower than what we have handled in recent springs, but that reduction is largely attributable to the high water this spring. The fish were spawning in large numbers at all of the traditional spawning sites, but they simply were spawning in deeper water and thus not as vulnerable to our sampling gear. - Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Milwaukee County - Perch season on Lake Michigan and its tributaries is now closed and will reopen June 16. The fishing cleaning station located at McKinley is now open for anglers throughout the season. Anglers targeting brown trout and coho salmon out of the McKinley Ramp found success in 20-30 feet of water using a variety of spoons. The occasional small lake trout was also caught, in deeper water ,also using spoons. With the changes in winds coming from the north-northeast with gusts up to 25 mph by Sunday afternoon, little to no action continues for anglers targeting salmon and trout both on the lakeside and harborside of the McKinley pier. Shoreline anglers targeting brown trout were observed by the Summerfest grounds( near the lighthouse), Lakeshore State Park and McKinley Shore, with little success using crank baits, spoons, artificial lures or minnows. Milwaukee River water temperatures range between 60- 62 degrees. Water levels and flow are slightly higher than normal with lower water clarity. Anglers are still seeing a few steelhead, and very few being caught throughout the river system. Smallmouth bass in Estabrook and Kletsch Parks continue to be caught by anglers using a variety of artificial lures and live bait. These bass continue to be undersize and are returned back to the water. The Menomonee River continues to have fishing pressure with most anglers gaining access through Miller Parkway and Three Bridges. Water levels and flow are higher than normal and water continues to be clear with temperatures ranging between 60-63 degrees. Very few steelhead are being seen or caught throughout the river system at this time. South Metro Pier, is now open to anglers until October. Fishing access and the parking lot located in Oak Creek off of 5th Avenue. Fish generally caught at this location include salmon, steelhead, and brown trout. The fish cleaning station at South Shore is now open for angler use. Very low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island through South Shore and the few brown that were caught were around the Old Jones Island, using a variety of baits. Low fishing pressure continues for anglers targeting brown trout or steelhead along Grant Park Shoreline and the mouth of Oak Creek. Oak Creek water levels and flow have remained low in this water system with clear waters temperatures at about 60 degrees. Through the weekend, with high fishing pressure, anglers, mostly fly fisherman, found very little success, catching mostly white suckers. Those anglers lucky enough to land the last remaining steelhead did so with spawn. Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pressure is low, anglers are targeting brown trout and coho salmon with a variety if baits, with little success. - Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The horse trails will remain closed until at least next Monday May 14, due to ongoing wet conditions and a forecast of rain through the weekend. The mountain bike trails will also remain closed through Saturday May 12, and staff will re-evaluate conditions for Sunday. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

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South Central Region

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Migrating birds have arrived including warblers, grosbeaks and orioles. Celebrate Mother's Day Weekend with the Birds at the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival.



This Black-throated Green Warbler was caught in a mist net during a previous Horicon Marsh Bird Festival bird banding demonstration. Measurements were taken and a small band was placed on the leg in hopes that it will be caught again in future years to learn more about this species' biology. - Photo credit: DNR
This Black-throated Green Warbler was caught in a mist net during a previous Horicon Marsh Bird Festival bird banding demonstration. Measurements were taken and a small band was placed on the leg in hopes that it will be caught again in future years to learn more about this species' biology.Photo credit: DNR

Bird enthusiasts can experience the sights, sounds and natural beauty of birds in peak spring migration as the Horicon Marsh Bird Club hosts the 21st annual Bird Festival at Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center May 10-14. From the backyard birder to the world traveler, four days of adventure awaits by foot, boat, bus and bicycle at Horicon Marsh, one of the largest freshwater marshes in the United States. The Horicon Marsh Bird Festival is the oldest bird festival in Wisconsin. Highlights of this year's Bird Festival include a keynote speech from birder and humorist Al Batt; 'Mom and Me, Birding Together', a beginner's guide to birding (and a great way to spend some time with mom on Mother's Day) and bird banding demonstrations by Dr. Sheldon Cooper from UW-Oshkosh.

To plan your birding adventure, visit www.horiconmarshbirdclub.com (exit DNR) and click on the Bird Festival link for a complete list of events, descriptions and registration information. For additional registration information, contact Liz Herzmann, DNR wildlife conservation educator, at 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Multiple goose broods are being seen and a sandhill crane colt was reported this week. Deer fawns are starting to be reported already. Again a reminder that if you see a fawn alone, please leave it where it is as the survival strategy for deer is to leave the nearly scent free fawns "hidden" while the doe feeds somewhere nearby. Deer can hide their fawns in some strange places (patios, by grills, etc.) but the mother will return to retrieve the fawn after feeding. Violets are beginning to bloom in both prairies and woods, Dutchman's breeches are blooming and may apple's 'umbrellas' are up. Mosquitoes are also starting to emerge. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Dane County - Lots of bird migration happening with good flights of warblers, thrushes, grosbeaks and other long-distance migrants. Turkeys are nesting! Turkey hunters are reporting good success but many birds are responding to strutting tom decoys rather than calling. The first fawns are now being reported in southern Wisconsin. Morel mushrooms are being reported with the warmer temps and rain. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Mississippi River anglers have the chance to offer input next week at a series of public meetings to kick off a multi-state review of bag and size limits for gamefish on the Mississippi River between Hastings, Minn., and the Iowa border. The meetings are held by Wisconsin and Minnesota DNRs; see dates and locations - Bob Hujik, fisheries program manager, Eau Claire

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - The spring bird migration is underway and 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, orioles and belted kingfishers. The trees have begun to leaf out. Marsh marigolds, hepaticas, bellwort, and the false rue anemones are starting bloom. Trilliums are emerging from the leaf litter. The campground and dump station is open. The pit toilets are open and we currently only have the right loop shower building open but we plan to open the right loop shower building by May 18. - Nathan Fries, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Visitors were hiking, boating, and fishing over the weekend. Boat boarding piers and accessible fishing pier are in. Canoes, kayaks and bikes are available to rent. All campsites and dump station are now open. Water is available in most areas of the park and shower/flush toilet buildings hopefully turned on by end of the week. Ticks are out so remember to use bug spray and check daily after being in the woods. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The gate and office are now open! Carter Creek was flooded over the bridge from the winter lot and part of Spring Peeper Trail over the weekend and water is going back down. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, May 10, 2018

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608-267-2773