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Outdoor Report

Published April 25, 2019 by the Central Office

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Spring finally has the upper hand across much of the state this past week with temperatures in the 60s and 70s and even a day with some 80s in the south. Only the most persistent snowbanks remain in the north. Lakes are now open in most areas except in the far north where some of the larger lakes still have ice cover.

Snowmelt combined with rain this week have rivers across the state running high. On April 22, the Bois Brule was flowing at 877 cubic feet per second. This topped a previous daily record for this date of 791cfs in 2001. The Wisconsin River in Columbia County remains very high with some areas and roads still flooded.

Now and Then Falls at Amnicon Falls State Park - Photo credit: DNR
Now and Then Falls at Amnicon Falls State ParkPhoto credit: DNR

All the water has made for some spectacular waterfall viewing at Copper Falls, Pattison and Amnicon Falls state parks, with even the "Now and Then Falls," that disappears in the summer, now running in full glory.

Despite the moisture, last week 72 wildfires burned 177 acres in DNR Protection Areas, half of which were caused by debris burning. Fire danger can vary greatly from one day to the next this time of the year, depending on weather and dryness of the vegetation.

The Lake Michigan tributaries walleye fish run is slowing down but high numbers of walleye anglers were seen this week with many full boat launches and many shore anglers. Fish were still being caught on the Menominee, Peshtigo, Oconto and Fox. The majority of walleyes being caught now are post spawn. A few whitefish were being caught by the boaters as well.

Steelhead were still being caught in some Door County creeks that had high fishing pressure throughout the week but steelhead runs on southern tributaries are tapering off and suckers and redhorses are now being caught. The Root River was still getting some steelhead fishing pressure with success both above and below the steelhead facility picking up slightly. Fishing pressure remained fairly low on Lake Michigan piers and shores as well as at boat ramps due to the windy conditions most of the days with waves crashing over the tops of the piers as well as on the shores.

Fisheries crews have been busy tagging lake sturgeon on the Wolf River this week with the sturgeon spawning run going very strong. On April 23 crews handled a number of very large fish including a 77-inch female that was captured at the Sturgeon Trail.

Fisheries crews conducting sturgeon assessments on the Wolf River caught some large fish this week, including the 77-inch female. - Photo credit: DNR
Fisheries crews conducting sturgeon assessments on the Wolf River caught some large fish this week, including the 77-inch female.Photo credit: DNR

First season turkey hunters were met with some fairly quiet turkeys. Even so, there was good success reported locally of bagging birds. Second period hunters should have the bug spray handy as mosquitoes were already buzzing around earlier this week. Tom turkeys are still being seen fanned out and responding to decoys well.

Some early spring bloomers like hepatica, bloodroot, wood violets, and marsh marigold are blooming in the south. Snakes and turtles have been seen crossing roads with the warm temperatures.

Bloodroot
Bloodroot is blooming on forest floors in the south and will soon bloom in the north.Photo credit: DNR

Perhaps the single best month for birding is underway. Many species of warblers are arriving in earnest. Pine warblers were reported at many suet feeders, while yellow-rumps have infiltrated the north, including reports of several hundred birds at several locations. A few hummingbirds, orioles, and rose-breasted grosbeaks have trickled into the south with other long-distance migrants beginning to arrive including whip-poor-will and chimney swifts. Sparrow diversity is also impressive now.

This Saturday, April 27, will offer the greatest opportunities to help out at state properties with 18 Work*Play*Earth Day and related events being held around the state. Come out and help Friends Group spruce up parks and trails for the busy season and then stick around and have some fun. Many offer refreshments as well.

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Statewide Birding Report

Perhaps the single best month for birding is underway. Warblers are arriving in earnest with reports from southern Wisconsin of prothonotary, yellow, Nashville, orange-crowned, palm, parula, black-throated green, and others. Pine warblers were reported at many suet feeders, especially in colder temperatures, while yellow-rumps have infiltrated the north, including reports of several hundred birds at several locations. A few hummingbirds, orioles, and rose-breasted grosbeaks have trickled into southern counties - expect more significant numbers in the week ahead. Other long-distance migrants that have begun to arrive include whip-poor-will, chimney swift, blue-gray gnatcatcher, and house wren. Sparrow diversity is impressive now as grasshopper, Henslow's, Lincoln's, and clay-colored arrive, joining building numbers of chipping and white-throated.

As usual, the phenology is later across northern Wisconsin. Waterfowl migration is near peak there, while several big land bird flights took place this past week featuring good numbers of American robins, various blackbirds, purple finches, both kinglets, brown creepers, and more. In Bayfield County, nearly 3,000 rusty blackbirds were tallied on April 20 and over 700 northern flickers on April 24. Dark-eyed juncos, American tree sparrows, and fox sparrows remain in decent numbers. Broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks, turkey vultures, ospreys, and subadult bald eagles dominate the skies, while lingering winter birds include snowy owl, Bohemian waxwing, and snow bunting. Night activity has been great with drumming ruffed grouse, displaying American woodcock, winnowing Wilson's snipe, barred owls, and the best showing of northern saw-whet owls in years.

While duck migration is near peak up north, southern Wisconsin birders eagerly welcome the arrival of warblers, whip-poor-wills, and other warm season birds. Photo of greater scaup, redhead, canvasback, and ring-necked ducks.  - Photo credit: Ryan Brady
While duck migration is near peak up north, southern Wisconsin birders eagerly welcome the arrival of warblers, whip-poor-wills, and other warm season birds. Photo of greater scaup, redhead, canvasback, and ring-necked ducks. Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Shorebird action is picking up at flooded fields and wetlands, including the first semipalmated plovers and spotted, solitary, and least sandpipers. Hudsonian godwit and American avocet in Chippewa were good finds, as were 22 avocets in Milwaukee. Look for godwits, avocets, and willets, especially along the Lake Michigan shore, in the week ahead. Rarity season is well underway now as the week featured a ruff in Fond du lac County, laughing gull in Dane, Eurasian wigeon in Douglas, scissor-tailed flycatcher in Racine, white-faced ibis in Dodge, summer tanagers in Green and Waukesha, eared grebes in Winnebago and Sheboygan, northern mockingbird in Kewaunee, loggerhead shrikes in Dunn and Chippewa, and white-eyed vireo in Grant. The week ahead doesn't look ideal weather-wise but birds will push north regardless - dust off your binocs, brush up on your bird songs, & get those feeders ready! Help us track the migration by submitting your finds to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

While duck migration is near peak up north, southern Wisconsin birders eagerly welcome the arrival of warblers, whip-poor-wills, and other warm season birds. Photo of greater scaup, redhead, canvasback, and ring-necked duck by Ryan Brady.

Wildfire Report

Last week 72 wildfires burned 177 acres in DNR Protection Areas;. Half of the fires were caused by debris burning (brush and leaf piles, burn barrel use, burning household trash and broadcast burning). Other minor causes included campfires, equipment, power line and improper ash disposal. Forty buildings were threatened by wildfires but saved by fire suppression actions; four were destroyed. The DNR wants to remind everyone to be careful with anything that can start a wildfire when you're out fishing, hunting, camping, doing yard work, or looking for mushrooms. Fire danger can vary greatly from one day to the next this time of the year, depending on weather and dryness of the vegetation. Check this site for current statewide fire danger and burning permit restrictions: dnr.wi.gov (search 'fire danger').

Firewise Tip: Wondering if your home is in an area at risk for wildfire? Go through our checklist and find out.

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

This Saturday, April 27, will offer the greatest opportunities to help out at state properties with 18 Work*Play*Earth Day and related events being held around the state. Come out and help Friends Group spruce up parks and trails for the busy season and then stick around and have some fun. Many offer refreshments as well. Plenty of opportunity to hike this weekend as well as Kettle Moraine North has a spring frog symphony hike and Newport has an Arbor Day hike Friday and Council Grounds and Kohler Andrae have candlelight hikes Saturday evening. In addition to its WPED event Interstate is also holding an outdoor skills expo on Saturday.
Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.
Friday, April 26, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

For all events search Get Outdoors

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

April 27, 9 a.m.-noon: Devil's Lake East Bluff and Sugar River Wetlands - Help cut invasive shrubs and use brush to block unauthorized trails in and around East Bluff SNA at Devils Lake State Park. Take in some of the most breathtaking views Wisconsin has to offer and help protect some of the most uncommon species and natural communities in the Midwest. If the trails are not snowy/icy we'll be concentrating work efforts around the prairie and the Devils Doorway trail segment. This will be part of a series of monthly stewardship activities sponsored by Ben Bomkamp and Kerstyn Perrett of NatureWorks llc through 2019, who are hoping to help build enthusiasm and understanding of the role that we can all be playing to protect our state's most treasured and irreplaceable resources.

April 27, 9 a.m.-noon: Sugar River Wetlands Workday - Help the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association (USRWA) restore the Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area. Volunteers will be cutting and burning invasive species like buckthorn, honeysuckle and more to promote the growth of native plant species. It promises to be rewarding, fun, and a great way to experience the outdoors in winter. If there is snow we'll have a fire. Refreshments including hot chocolate and coffee will be available to fuel you through the morning.

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

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - As of Monday April 22, the river was flowing at 877cfs. This topped a previous daily record with the maximum recording for this date taking place in 2001, with a flow of 791cfs. That night the river crested and peaked just over 900cfs. With the recent sunny and dry conditions, it has steadily decreased, with the most recent readings at 605cfs with a gauge height of 3.43 feet at 1 p.m. May 25. Keep an eye on the river's discharge on your own! Visit: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=04025500. The area's vegetation is slowly starting to green up a bit... Experiencing some daytime temperatures in the 60s and even hitting 72 on Wednesday, it won't be long before spring wild flowers will begin to emerge. Some of the first to usually show themselves include: hepatica, bloodroot, woodland violets, and marsh marigold. Based on current fire danger, the state burn hotline and the DNR website will provide you with the most up to date fire restrictions and burning information. These restrictions are updated daily at 11 a.m., and will inform you if burning is allowed, the legal hours, the size limitations, or if burning has been suspended all together. The Brule River Sportsmen's Club "Spring Clean-up Day" is set for this Saturday, April 27. If you are interested in getting involved, check out he the Brule River Sportsman's Club website at https://bruleriversportsmensclub.com. Volunteers gather at the Lion's Club Shelter in Brule at 9 a.m. for area assignment. Everyone gathers back together at the end of the clean-up around noon, for lunch. May 11 is the back-up date if the event needs to be rescheduled. - Mitch Pauly, visitor services associate

Amnicon Falls State Park - Spring finally has the upper hand at Amnicon Falls. Only the most persistent snowbanks remain, the alder catkins are fully blown, and the aspen leaves are starting to show. A few migrant birds are starting to reappear--a large flock of juncos also had a few fox sparrows and tree sparrows mixed in, and a single flicker was spotted. The first chipmunk was seen and robins are finally finding earthworms. Recent rain has saturated the ground and really brought the river up. Now and Then Falls disappear in the summer, but they are in full glory right now. Trails are in good springtime condition, meaning fun to walk but icy patches in the deepest shade and frequent wet spots. Dave Lindsley, ranger

Pattison State Park - The park received 1.6 inches of rain over the last week. That aided in snow melt as well as increasing the amount of water going over the falls. Now is a great time to visit the park to view the waterfalls! Just a reminder that the Beaver and Little Manitou Falls hiking trails remain closed from the flood event last summer. Visitors can hike to Big Manitou Falls from the park office and continue on the Big Manitou Falls trail. The cross-country ski trails are also available for hiking a the park. - Gervase Thompson, ranger

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Spring migration is in full swing in the Grantsburg Area! We are seeing new species show up almost daily, including a great variety of waterfowl, a couple of shorebirds, numerous sparrows, and even the yellow-rumped Warblers have returned. There are still some flowages with ice on them, but temperatures are supposed to be increasing this week! With the increase in temperature and some incoming rain should take care of the rest of the snow and much of the ice. There are a few areas that are muddy on the roads, so use caution when driving out on the properties. These conditions may worsen if we get a significant amount of precipitation. Highlights this week include: northern saw-whet owl, yellow-rumped warbler, greater yellowlegs, osprey, golden and ruby-crowned kinglets, northern pintail, river otter, red fox, and black bear. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The ice is off of the North and South Fork of the Flambeau and some folks are fishing for redhorse and catfish. The river level is very high. Ice is out of Lake of the Pines but Connors still has some ice cover though not the whole lake. In these temperatures it should only take a couple more days and the ice will be completely gone. The wood frogs and spring peepers are croaking and peeping, the ephemeral ponds are jumping and slithering. Walleye are spawning, wild leeks and fiddleheads are emerging. Early wildflowers are blooming, tree buds are bursting, and trees are beginning to flower. Early mornings are filled with bird chirping, grouse drumming and turkeys participating in the spring pre-nesting activities and mating. Robins, red-winged blackbirds, yellow warbler, yellow shafted flicker, mourning doves, pileated woodpecker, evening grosbeaks, kingfishers, turkey vultures, pelicans, sandhill cranes, kestrel hawks, geese, cranes, swans, a variety of ducks and a copper butterfly have been seen. Snowshoe hare and weasel coats are turning, river otters are giving birth; tics are starting to be active. The aspens are flowering. Groups of deer and elk are seen grazing and snoozing in the sun and feeding on down tree branches and grasses that are turning. Does and cows (ungulates) are getting heavy with fawns and calves, as they are in their third trimester of pregnancy, which is a period of quick fetus growth. The Flambeau River State Forest gained 48 new elk members from the state of Kentucky. We are looking forward to a genetic exchange and herd growth for the years to come. Most elk bulls have been dropping their antlers and antler hunters are combing the woods to find them. The Lake of the Pines Trail goes past an ephemeral pond that is filled with croaking and peeping frogs. This pond is about 1/10th of an acre in size and is located at DM Lat. 45 47.1888855: DM Long. Of 90 42.421156. Well worth exploring. When hiking Little Falls/Slough Gundy be sure to read the signs carefully. We suggest not traversing the Slough Gundy portion of the trail system as it is very dangerous with fast moving ice and water. After spring thaw and receding water levels you can cross to Slough Gundy. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Spring is making a comeback in the forest. Some dark stained lakes are open, clear waters remain ice covered. Hermit thrushes and warblers are joining the sparrows with their welcome calls. Some snow is still lingering in shaded areas and north facing banks. Turkeys are picking away near roadsides and bears are starting to hit bird feeders. Pussy willows are in full bloom in wet swamps and there is water everywhere! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Council Grounds State Park - We're patiently waiting for the remaining ice to clear out from the boat landing. Once the ice has gone we'll put the dock in. A loon was spotted on the river near the bay and cranes have been dancing near the park office. Most of the snow is gone, but there are muddy and wet areas to avoid on trails. Chorus frogs don't mind the water and can be heard calling most times of day. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - High numbers of walleye anglers were seen this week with full boat launches and many shore anglers. Stephenson Island area on the Menominee River had the highest concentration of anglers with good success observed. The first part of the week was better for anglers by the Hattie Street dam as high water made fishing difficult at the end of the week. Overall walleye fishing was reported better in the beginning of the week both by shore and boat anglers. Anglers were also fishing the piers at the mouth of the Menominee River but no reports were taken. Anglers on the Peshtigo River saw similar results as the Menominee as fishing became difficult after Wednesday night's rain brought water levels up over the banks. The city garage launch below the dam was flooded into the parking lot, which lowered the number of anglers using this launch. The launch at the mouth of the Peshtigo River was busy with good success reported early in the week and slower fishing by the weekend. Rippin raps and assorted plastics were most popular lures. Fish were still being caught with the majority in the bay being post spawn with some pre-spawn being reported below the dam. A few brown trout anglers were out with no success reported over the weekend. However these anglers reported catching a few brown trout during the week toward the Menominee River. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Walleye anglers were out in high numbers this week as most boat launches were full. Heavy fishing pressure was seen from Stiles dam to the mouth of the Oconto River and along the shore of Green Bay. Reports of good catches of walleyes early in the week with Monday through Wednesday being best. However, fishing slowed at the end of the week and into the weekend as fishing conditions were difficult with rivers reaching flood levels after Wednesday night's rain. The majority of walleyes being caught now are post spawn. Rippin raps were the most popular baits used with a few others trolling stick baits and crankbaits. A few northern pike were reported caught along with a few suckers. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Fox River boat launches were full all last weekend. The bite was very slow with only a hand full of boats catching one or two walleye. The fishing pressure was high during the weekend, but during the week it was low. Most boaters were having luck catching the walleye by casting a variety of shad raps and rippin raps. The anglers that were jigging were catching a few, but not as many as anglers casting. The average size of the walleyes being caught was 18-24 inches. A few whitefish were being caught by the boaters as well. The shore fishing was busy at Voyageur Park with this spot having the most luck with catching a few walleye. The average size being caught in this location was between 20-24 inches. The anglers that were casting shad raps and rippin raps was having the most luck. The channel for the Geano Beach landing finally opened up earlier in the week and there were a couple anglers launching this weekend. The Suamico River docks are in and they have had medium usage for this launch. The anglers weren't having much luck catching anything. The water temperature was only 40 to 41 degrees out on the bay. The bite for the shore anglers was slow, but there was a constant flow of them coming in and trying off of shore during the weekend. - Brandon Wagester, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Heins and Hibbard creeks had high fishing pressure throughout the week. Few steelhead were harvested as there were fresh spawn spotted along the bank where everyone parks. There was no activity along Whitefish Bay Creek or Shivering Sands Creek this week. Anglers could be found fishing from boats out of Baileys Harbor, Gills Rock, and Rowleys Bay. Due to the heavy north winds bayside anglers were forced to fish out of Portage Park and in the Sturgeon Bay Canal. There was heavy shore angling pressure throughout the canal, with no fish to show for. Majority of the people were targeting brown trout or northern pike. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Kewaunee County - Last weekend fishing was slow. However, anglers were still taking advantage of the weather and low water levels before we received large amounts of rain. Anglers were fishing throughout the Kewaunee River, Ahnapee River, and Stoney Creek. There were reports of anglers catching brown trout north of Kewaunee using stick baits. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Manitowoc County - The water levels and flow are faster than normal right now. Due to the high flows and water levels the number of anglers fishing on the West Twin River were very minimal. The number of anglers fishing on the East Twin River were high than the West Twin. Anglers fishing downstream from the fire station had the best luck. The water levels in the East Twin were little high but still fishable on Tuesday. There were no anglers fishing on the pier or on the lake due to windy conditions. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Oconto County - The walleye fish run is slowing down and individuals are catching suckers now in the Oconto River. Tom turkeys are still being seen fanned out and responding to decoys well. Trees are starting to bud out and grass is starting to green up. Northern portions of Oconto County still have snow, but should be gone soon. I've seen an abundance of animal activity including song birds, snakes, turtles, and a lot more night activity of bear, and other small animals. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Governor Thompson State Park - Visitors are seeing turkeys and deer in large groups on the trails. Most days you can hear woodcock, drumming grouse, sandhill cranes, wood frogs and spring peepers. The park's two inland lakes, Woods and Huber, are open. The campgrounds are now open for the season. The sanitary dump station and flush water toilets and showers are still turned off. Fresh (potable) water is always available to fill your camper at any of the blue hydrants throughout the campground.

Peshtigo River State Forest - The state forest's 15 boat landings are now ice free. Landings #1 & #5 on High Falls Flowage and landings #8 & #9 on Caldron Falls Flowage are ADA accessible, have boarding docks and restrooms. The campgrounds at Old Veteran's Lake is open for first-come campers.

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Flood waters in most area streams/rivers has made fishing difficult at best. White bass biting on the Fox River; walleyes are done spawning. Maples are budding and in bloom. Very little snow left in the far north end of my work Waupaca County, and only in the woods and ditches. Only new bird arrival noted is tree swallows. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - The weather is still acting confused with temps ranging from the 30s up to 80 degrees. Rain and maybe even a little snow is predicted this weekend, but that shouldn't stop people from coming out and enjoying spring time in Wisconsin. Turkeys are gobbling, Sandhill cranes are dancing, ducks, geese and other waterfowl are doing their thing and spring is pushing on. No fawns have dropped yet that I have heard about but that should start happening in the next couple of weeks. Under the bright moon Wednesday morning I even heard the whistle of waterfowl wings overhead making their migration north. Even with the recent rains the Ice Age Trail is in pretty good shape. There may be some wet spots but overall the trail should be good. If you are planning to come and get your boat wet, just be cautious that the lakes and rivers are all extremely high. Even if a slow-no-wake is not placed on the lake, please be respectful of the shoreline and take it easy while enjoying Waushara County Lakes. As always, have a great weekend whatever you are doing and maybe we'll see you out there. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Wild Rose Fish Hatchery - There will be a Spring Open House and Sturgeon Celebration on Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. FREE family fish activities! Kids Learn to Cast, fly fish casting, fly tying, build a spinner, Fish ID, Gyotaku - fish printing, make and take play dough fish, "Run for your Life Cycle" sturgeon migration maze. Guided Tours at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Event location: N5871 State Road 22, Wild Rose WI 54984. (one-quarter mile north of Village of Wild Rose; 15 miles south of Waupaca)

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Lake Winnebago System

Fisheries crews have been busy tagging lake sturgeon on the Wolf River. On April 23 crews handled 124 fish at the Sturgeon Trail in New London and another 16 fish at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton. The assessment included a number of very large fish including a 77-inch female that was captured at the Sturgeon Trail. Crews were out tagging lake sturgeon on the Wolf River system again April 24 with activity centered in the New London and Shiocton areas. One crew captured and collected data from 66 fish at the Sturgeon Trail in New London, one fish downstream of River Trail Park in New London and 14 fish at Pfeifer Park in New London. The other crew worked at Bamboo Bend in Shiocton handling a total of 79 fish. Spawning intensity decreased at the Sturgeon Trail relative to April 23, but I do anticipate that some fish will still be visible at this location April 25. I also anticipate that fish will still be active at Bamboo Bend; however, I wouldn't wait too long to make plans to come see fish spawn at either of these locations. The most intense spawning right now appears to be taking place in the Leeman area, but unfortunately there are no publicly accessible spawning sites in this area of the river. From reports I received, it appears that there are more fish staging below the Shawano Paper Mill Dam, but spawning at this location is likely still a day or more away. I plan to scout a number of spawning sites farther upriver and will have a more detailed report on the Lake sturgeon spawning page of the DNR website. - Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Tuesday evening was warm and slightly foggy in Sheboygan. Most anglers started later in the night, including some netting for suckers on the Pigeon River. A few boaters were also out. Some browns and steelhead were seen on the Pigeon, which was 50 degrees at Evergreen Park, with mentions of browns being caught earlier in the week. Saturday evening was warm, breezy, and sunny. Michigan waters were slightly turbid nearshore. While anglers were spread out at all points of access, most on the water were non-anglers. A brown was caught on the Pigeon, but otherwise no catches were reported. Sunday night started warm but, as the wind picked up and clouds rolled in, the temperature went down. Waves crashed upon the south pier, creating difficult fishing conditions. The Pigeon River was mostly clear, running swiftly and warmer at 56 degrees. There were more netters than pole fishers by the end of the night, but no catches were reported. The Sheboygan River was 48 degrees, running swiftly and slightly turbid. Very few anglers were out, with no reported catches. Saturday evening was also mild, bringing in more anglers during the holiday weekend. Anglers used the whole stretch of the river. Trout could be seen swimming at Kohler Dam, with reports of brown and steelhead catches earlier in the day. Some suckers and redhorses were also caught. Sunday evening continued the stretch of pleasant weather and increased effort. The Sheboygan was 56 degrees, running swiftly and mostly clear. No catches were reported.

Ozaukee County - Tuesday evening was mostly cloudy, warm, and had a fog settling in by 4 pm. The Port Washington power plant outflow was clearer than the last weekend. Sauk Creek was 50 degrees, slightly turbid and down a little. Anglers at the outflow caught steelhead, suckers, and an alewife. Anglers at Sauk Creek caught steelhead, and suckers could be seen in the water. Thursday morning was colder and rainier. Sauk Creek was clearer, slightly up, and colder at 48 degrees. Few anglers were fishing, including boaters. Anglers caught steelhead and suckers at Sauk Creek; a brown, a laker, and a chinook were caught by boat.

Milwaukee County - Trout fishing on the Milwaukee River has slowed down a ton, with effort mainly coming from just a few anglers at Kletzsch Park. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass near the North Avenue dam and a few families spent the weekend catching suckers at Estabrook. There was an overall decrease in angling effort at all access points except for behind the Biergarten at Estabrook. Fishing efforts have been slow on the Menomonee River the last couple weeks as steelheads move back toward the lake. Those who have been out reported catching a few fish off fly rods and saw many swimming downstream. Boaters have been launching out of McKinley this week and boats could be seen near Summerfest, Discovery World, Lakeshore State Park, and under the Hoan. The water was very choppy this week due to a moderately-strong northeast wind, so not too many boats were out at any given time. There was success with brown trout and a few coho. The shoreline saw the most action with perch fishermen/women under the Hoan Bridge. Although there was a lot of angling effort, success was quite low. A few guys caught a couple perch averaging around 9 inches, but most just enjoyed the beautiful weather. Anglers have also been having success with browns and lakers near the red lighthouse close to the Hoan. Very few boats launched from the Riverfront Ramp this week during survey times; likely due to wind and choppy waters. Fishing efforts remained slow this week on the south shoreline. Aside from a few smelt anglers fishing overnight at Jones Island, less than a handful of anglers were out. One angler did catch a good-size brown trout near the north part of the Jones Island public access area. The South Shore and Bender Park ramps did not get much use this week, likely due to water conditions. Oak Creek continued to see the most action. Thanks to the rain and snow accumulations last week, water levels are up at the creek and anglers were able to land some good-size steelheads near the dam and in the central bends. The pier at the Oak Creek Power Plant saw moderate angling effort but no success was reported from any parties. - Jessica Grace Jenkins, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Waves continue to crash over the shoreline along Racine. - Photo credit: DNR
Waves continue to crash over the shoreline along Racine.Photo credit: DNR

Racine County - Fishing pressure remained fairly low on the piers and shores as well as at the boat ramp. This was due to the windy conditions most of the days. Waves were crashing over the tops of the piers as well as on the shores. Fishing pressure on the Root River has slowed down a little bit as the steelhead run is starting to slow down. Fishing pressure is relatively similar both above and below the steelhead facility. Fishing success both above and below the facility has picked up slightly. Steelhead were being caught on spawn sacs as well as crank baits and spoons. Water clarity has improved over the past week as water levels have fallen. Fishing pressure along the piers and shores in Racine remains low. This may be due to the fact that it has been very windy as of late. This has caused waves to crash over the tops of the piers as well as on the shores. Fishing activity at the ramps has been very low. This can also be due to the rough weather conditions. It's has been very windy and wavy out on the lake. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

Kenosha County - Fishing pressure remained low on the piers and shores as well as on the ramp. This is due to the very windy weather conditions over the past several days. Fishing activity on the Pike River also has been very low as the steelhead run is ending. No fishing success has been reported. Water levels have dropped slightly. Water clarity has improved. Fishing pressure along the piers and shores in Kenosha has remained constant compared to past weeks. Some fishermen have been reported but the fishing pressure is still relatively low. Windy weather has kept fishing pressure low. Brown trout are still the most sought after species. No fish were reported to have been caught. Fishing activity at the Kenosha ramps has still been low. The windy weather has kept most fishermen off the water. A few trailers were reported. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

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South Central Region

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Migration is ramping up and a few oddities have already been spotted at Horicon Marsh. A ruff was seen on Highway 49 as well as at least one white-faced ibis. Cliff swallows are actively building nests at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and purple martins have begun to arrive as well. A big push of sparrows over this past week has increased numbers in field, white-throated and chipping sparrows. Brown thrashers have also arrived and are singing. Pelicans and cormorants are also being seen with more frequency. Bloodroot is in full bloom in the woodlands and marsh marigolds in the wetter areas. Many other woodland wildflowers will be blooming any day! Be sure to find time to stop at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and the Explorium. The center is located at N7725 Highway 28 between the cities of Horicon and Mayville. Visit www.horiconmarsh.org for information about upcoming events. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - First season turkey hunters were met with some fairly quiet turkeys. Even so, there was good success reported locally of bagging birds. Second period hunters should have the bug spray handy as mosquitoes were already buzzing around earlier this week. The woods are greening up with aspen, gooseberry, raspberries and the invasive honeysuckle already leafing out. Some early spring bloomers like violets and spring beauties are flowering while geranium and may apples are leafing out too. Snakes and turtles have been seen crossing roads with the warm temperatures. The temporary closure of the Pine Island Wildlife Area remains in place until the threat of levee failure abates and Levee Road is reopened by the county. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

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West Central Region

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - Recent warm temperatures have gotten people out and about. Unfortunately, cooler weather is on its way for the weekend and into next week. Fishing for panfish has been productive on area lakes. Many people are awaiting the opening of the gamefish season. Our trails system is fairly dry with an occasional wet patch here and there. The horse trailhead is open for use. Camping is available on a first come first serve basis. Reservations start May 13. Species of birds we have been seeing or hearing include: Goldfinches, ravens, turkeys, crows, phoebes, northern juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, red headed and pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, mourning doves, and blue jays. - Nathan Fries, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Boat boarding and fishing pier will be put in May 1. People have been fishing along the shore by the Buckhorn Bridge. The Work-Play-Earth Day is this Saturday April 27 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Call the office at 608-565-2789 to sign up for this volunteer park clean up day so activities and lunch can be planned. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground remain closed until the beginning of May. The Work-Play-Earth Day is this Saturday May 4 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Call the office at 608-565-2789 to sign up for this volunteer park clean up day so activities and lunch can be planned. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, April 25, 2019

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