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Outdoor ReportPublished May 2, 2019

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

Current fire danger

This Saturday, May 4, is opening day of the regular inland fishing season and state fisheries biologists say early season anglers stand a good chance of enjoying fast action and big fish.

Windy, warmer weather over coming days is expected to open up any lakes in northern Wisconsin that still have any remaining ice. Walleye spawning should take only three to five days on many lakes due to the late ice-out and when spawning is over fish will be hungry.

2019 Wisconsin Fishing Season Opener

The 2019 lake sturgeon spawning run on the Wolf River is over. There may still be a few fish below the dam in Shawano, but it is well past peak spawning.

Walleye runs are slowing on northeastern Lake Michigan tributaries, with suckers being caught more often than walleyes. There was still some heavy fishing pressure on the rivers with anglers fishing for smallmouth bass and northern pike. Fishing efforts for steelhead on Lake Michigan tributaries decreased dramatically compared to the last few weeks. Some steelhead were still being seen but not in any numbers.

Lots of anglers were fishing along the west shore of Green Bay with walleye catches steady in the bay throughout the week. Fishing pressure along Door County this week was the highest it has been all year due to a brown trout tournament out of Bailey's Harbor. The winning fish was 22.83 pounds measuring in at 33.5 inches.

Turkey season is in full swing with the third time period having started May 1. Flocks have broken up considerably now and small groups of birds are being spotted wandering over all types of habitats. Many hunters are reporting success with male turkeys coming into decoys well and responding to calling.

Southern Wisconsin saw its first goslings and mallard ducklings this week. Feeders were active in the poor weather with sparrows, woodpeckers, blackbirds, finches, and good numbers of yellow-rumped and pine warblers at suet. Rose-breasted grosbeaks arrived in better numbers in the south but Baltimore orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds made no greater strides due to the wet, cool conditions.

Fiddlehead ferns are emerging in the Northwoods. - Photo credit: DNR
Fiddlehead ferns are emerging in the Northwoods.Photo credit: DNR

Bloodroot, hepatica and some trilliums are up in the south but no reports of morels just yet. A few fiddleheads and wild leeks are coming up in the north. Wood and chorus frogs and spring peepers are calling. Ephemeral ponds are jumping and slithering. Grouse are drumming. Snowshoe hare and weasel coats have turned or are turning.

Campgrounds are opening and many, but not all, water systems have been turned on for the season. Under a new pilot program beginning this week campers can make same-day reservations at 15 state parks using the online system through computer, cell phone or other mobile devices, by calling the Camis USA call center (1-888-947-2757) or at the parks.

There are more opportunities to help out in state parks with five Work*Play*Earth Day events on Saturday. People who want to learn more about sturgeon management in Wisconsin can attend an open house at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery on Saturday. And anyone planning on visiting Peninsula State Park on Saturday should be aware that the park is hosting the 11th annual Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5K and most roads inside the park will be closed to traffic from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.


Statewide Birding Report

Migration was largely stymied by persistent northeast winds and wet conditions this week. The silver lining, however, was excellent numbers of willets and American avocets forced down by the weather en route to prairie nesting grounds in the Great Plains. Many were reported along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline, including multiple flocks of 70-100-plus willets and 15-30 avocets from Racine to Milwaukee. Avocets were also reported along Highway 29 at Horicon Marsh and along the Manitowoc lakefront, while willets turned up from Horicon to Killsnake State Wildlife Area to Eau Claire. A few marbled godwits were also found, as well as other shorebirds such as Wilson's phalarope, both long-billed and short-billed dowitchers, black-bellied plover, both yellowlegs, black-necked stilt and spotted and solitary sandpipers. Lake Michigan birders also found thousands of Bonaparte's gulls in some locations as they stage before heading north to breeding areas in the Canadian boreal forest.

American avocets and willets put on a show in recent days at various Wisconsin locations, especially along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline.  - Photo credit: Carol & Roy Toepke
American avocets and willets put on a show in recent days at various Wisconsin locations, especially along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline. Photo credit: Carol & Roy Toepke

Southern Wisconsin saw its first goslings and mallard ducklings this week. Feeders were active in the poor weather with sparrows, woodpeckers, blackbirds, finches, and good numbers of yellow-rumped and pine warblers at suet. Rose-breasted grosbeaks arrived in better numbers across the southern quarter of the state but Baltimore orioles and ruby-throated hummingbirds made no greater strides due to the conditions. However, expect that to change later this weekend into early next week as winds will finally turn south from Saturday through Monday and likely usher these species and the first indigo buntings into southern Wisconsin. A few may reach central Wisconsin while northerners will likely have to wait for a subsequent big migration event, which doesn't look likely until the following weekend. Nonetheless, take advantage of this weekend's better weather and pulse of new migrants, including more warblers!

Rare birds found this week included black-bellied whistling ducks in Racine, a little gull and cinnamon/blue-winged teal hybrid in Ozaukee, Smith's longspur and white-eyed vireo in Dane, summer tanager and hooded warbler in Marathon, and another summer tanager in Milwaukee. Find out what others are seeing and report your sightings at Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

American avocets and willets put on a show in recent days at various Wisconsin locations, especially along the southern Lake Michigan shoreline. Photo credit: Carol & Roy Toepke


Wildfire Report

for May 2, 2019

Widespread precipitation has kept wildfire activity low lately. In the past week, 63 wildfires burned 54 acres in DNR protection areas (approximately half the state); 35 homes and other buildings were threatened but saved with firefighter assistance and 3 buildings were destroyed. Debris burning was the most common cause (30 fires); equipment was the second most common cause (17 fires). Other minor causes included power line, campfires, and ash disposal. As the vegetation dries out on the days we don't receive rain, expect fire danger to increase, particularly in areas where standing dead grass and other dry vegetation remains.

If you choose to conduct outdoor burning, remember that a free annual burning permit is required to burn small piles of debris and to burn in a burn barrel in DNR protection areas. Burning permits are frequently suspended this time of year when fire danger increases. You must check the day's burning restrictions every day you intend to burn by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) or by checking online at, keyword 'fire danger'. Larger piles and daytime burning requires a special permit from a DNR Ranger. Piling your debris in a campfire pit does not make it okay to burn during the day. If your property is outside a DNR protection area, check with local officials for burning restrictions.

Firewise Tip: Homeowners are encouraged to make weekly checks around your home or cabin for windblown leaves and needles on your roof, around your foundation, and under decks and elevated porches; keep these areas clean. The debris that collects in these places could be easily ignited by flying embers produced during a wildfire.


Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Visitors to Peninsula State Park on Saturday should be aware that the park is hosting the 11th annual Door County Half Marathon and Nicolet Bay 5K. Beginning at 10 a.m., about 2,500 participants will be running through the park. Most roads inside the park will be closed to traffic beginning at 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. for the safety of the runners and spectators. Access to the Nicolet Bay Boat Launch in Peninsula State Park will be limited and from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. People who want to learn more about sturgeon management in Wisconsin can attend an open house focusing on this unique fish at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery on Saturday. There are more opportunities to help out in state parks with five Work*Play*Earth Day events on Saturday. Bird and spring wildflower are being held at a number of parks.

Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Monday, May 6, 2019

For all events search Get Outdoors


Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

May 4, 9 a.m.-noon- Waubesa Wetlands Workday - Join the new volunteer effort to restore Waubesa wetlands, which is known for its large, high quality wetlands and spring complexes. With increased prescribed burning and brush control DNR crews and volunteers have increased efforts to improve this site. This workday will focus on removing invasive garlic mustard on an oak ridge overlooking the meadow. Some areas will have sloping and uneven terrain.

No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane


Northern Region

Brule River State Forest - Wisconsin's inland fishing opener is May 4, and that means that fishing on the Brule, upstream from Hwy 2, opens this Saturday morning at 5 a.m. The river's flow has steadily decreased over the past week, despite the rather wet and cold weather we have been enduring. Last Thursday, April 25, the discharge was just above 650cfs. The most current reading, as of 11 a.m. on May 2, was 347cfs with a gauge height of 2.5ft. That is an average decline of just over 40cfs per day. Keep an eye on the river's discharge on your own! Visit: Forest staff were at Palmer's Landing May 2 on Upper St. Croix Lake. The dock at the boat landing has been installed for the season! Many DNR managed boat landings in our area have docks in the water for the fishing/boating season. Check out the WI DNR's website for a very useful "Lake Finder" tool. Here you can search/find lakes throughout the state and read an overview of the waterbody, look at lake statistics, and view maps of any particular lake. The woods are coming back to life with many sights and sounds of spring. Spring peepers are finally peeping, ruffed grouse are actively drumming, maple trees are blooming and the poplar trees are full of their catkins. Spring wildflowers still haven't begun to bloom quite yet, but changes are taking place slowly but surely. With warmer temperatures in the forecast, another week or so may bring out some flowers and possibly some leaves on the trees. Unfortunately, as soon as the snow decided to melt, ticks were eager to come out as well. But... that is a part of the season too. Although we have had plenty of rain and moisture recently, it doesn't take long for fire danger to change. The fact that forests and fields have yet to green-up means fire danger conditions are still very favorable for wildfires to take place. To learn more or obtain a burning permit, or call 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876). - Mitch Pauly, visitor services associate

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, shorebirds, numerous sparrows, swallows, and more! Look for great varieties of waterfowl on Phantom Lake and on Refuge Extension Flowage. Trumpeter Swan continue to congregate on Phantom Lake, many in the northern part of the flowage. American white pelicans have also been showing up in the area. Keep in mind that they do not stick around long when they migrate through, so be sure to visit soon! (Most recent sighting on Phantom Lake on Monday, April 29). There are a couple of bald eagle nests that are showing activity. Try driving up Phantom Lake Road and looking to your left for a LARGE pine tree- you may find the nest way up at the top! There is also a nest on the north end of Crex Meadows, near Town Hall Road. Also, be sure to drive past the Osprey platform off Abel Road- there is usually an active nest up there too! Highlights this week include: black bear, red fox, merlin, American white pelican, horned grebe, red-necked grebe, American woodcock, and sharp-tailed grouse. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The North and South forks of the Flambeau River have seen some sporadic fishing. Folks are fishing for redhorse and catfish, which seems to be a bit early. The river level is very high, still in a flooding stage but down from last week. Ice is out of Lake of the Pines and Connors Lake. The Connors Lake pier is in. This weekend is the fishing opener. Be sure to get tackle and poles ready for use! May is known as the Flower Moon month. Bloodroot and Virginia waterleaf are up and the a few fiddleheads and wild leeks are coming up. The pussy willows are budding, tree buds are bursting, some red maples are flowering and some are sprouting leaves. The forest floor is heavy with water ponding up. Road side ditches are full and flowing. Rain is still in the forecast and some snow was on the ground Wednesday morning. Grouse are drumming and the turkeys are strutting and gobbling and are gathering hens. Geese and ducks are starting to nest as well as many of the songbirds. They are defending their territories where the females are already sitting on the nests or very soon to be sitting. Robins, red-winged blackbirds, mourning doves, yellow finches, yellow warbler, yellow shafted flicker, evening grosbeaks, phoebes, owls, woodcock, sandhill cranes, a variety of ducks and some swans, kingfishers and even three pelicans have been seen in the area. The wood frogs and spring peepers are croaking and peeping, the ephemeral ponds are jumping and slithering. Walleye are spawning. Snowshoe hare and weasel coats have turned, and tics are starting to be seen more often. Staff have seen wandering porcupines, fishers, beavers, skunks, muskrats and bear prints and scat. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly sunny with a high of 60 and a low of 41. Saturday, mostly sunny then a chance of rain at night, with a high of 66 and a low of 40. Sunday, slight chance of rain, with a high of 59 and a low of 34. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Spring is slow to arrive on the state forest. Most of the snow is gone, although some stubborn snowbanks remain. The ice is off of many of the smaller lakes, but still persists on some of the large lakes, hoping to be mostly gone by the fishing opener. There is still plenty of water everywhere due to the heavy snow load runoff and recent rains. The Manitowish River is running very high. Many of the spring migrants are appearing at area bird feeders. Fox, tree, chipping and white throated sparrows are working through the vegetation along with flocks of juncos. Pine warblers are picking at suet feeders, Robins and Hermit thrushes are claiming their grounds with song and the lovely melodic song of the winter wren can be heard in the deep wet woods. Turkeys are being seen along roadways. Weasels are all brown except for their tails, and a few snowshoe hares are all brown but for their feet. A few spring peepers and wood frogs are braving the cold temperatures and blessing the evening with their calls. Everything is awaiting warmer temperatures! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate


Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Peshtigo River saw decreased fishing pressure this week upstream below the dam. Few shore anglers were out with limited success for walleyes. Suckers were being caught more often than walleyes. Boat anglers were having better success earlier in the week with good catches of walleyes reported from the Hwy. 41 bridge upstream to the train bridge. Jigs with minnows and plastics were the baits of choice. One lucky angler caught and released a rather large steelhead in its spawning colors this past weekend while walleye fishing. The lower Peshtigo River still had high fishing pressure this week. Most anglers were heading to the bay or the mouth of the river with scattered success. Fish were being caught with good success one day and limited success the next. Northern pike and smallmouth bass were also reported caught. Menominee River anglers were in high numbers fishing from shore from the Hwy. 41 bridge upstream to the dam. Many walleyes were seen caught especially off Stephenson Island. Walleyes with spawn in them were still being reported throughout the week. Sturgeon and suckers have now entered the river also. Many sturgeon were snagged accidentally resulting in lost lures. No reports from the lower river as most anglers were fishing the bay. Green Bay from Menominee River to Little River had good numbers of anglers seen at the launches. Walleye catches were steady in the bay throughout the week with trolling crankbaits being most popular in waters 10 to 30 feet deep. Northern pike were also being reported caught. Brown trout anglers had very little success early in the week but catches increased at the end of the week. Good catches have been heard along the shore from the Peshtigo Reef south of Marinette and up to the Menominee River mouth and north into Michigan. Spoons and stick baits were both working in depths of 5 to 15 feet. A few brown trout were reported off the Lighthouse pier on the Michigan side including a 33 incher. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Upper Oconto River sites had decreasing fishing pressure as the week progressed. Walleyes were being caught by Stiles Dam early in the week but by the weekend it was mostly suckers. The lower Oconto River had similar fishing reported with fair walleye catches with suckers, northern pike, and smallmouth bass also being caught. The bay off of Oconto to Oconto Park II was busy this week with heavy fishing pressure observed at the boat launches. Anglers were using jigging and trolling techniques to catch walleyes along with the occasional pike. Oconto Park II was a good spot early in the week as several good reports from there were seen. Later in the week the mouth of the Oconto River was producing fish. Also a few small muskies were reported caught along with some large perch. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Traffic at launches was slow for most of the week with wind challenging boaters launching and loading. Shore angler numbers at Voyageur park were low with general traffic also decreased. Sunday showed an increase in launches but with little reported angler success. Docks at Metro are not yet in place, this location also showed light shore angling close to the mouth of the river. The Geano Beach channel is open and dock in place, there has been some light use beginning at this location. A handful of boaters utilized this launch mainly during the weekend, some for recreation. Suamico River had steady light usage throughout the week. However, angler success was slow. - Riley Schultz, fisheries technician, Green Bay

During the week the fishing pressure was low to none at Bayshore Park due to how rough it was out on the Bay of Green Bay. The fishing pressure picked up during the weekend especially on Sunday, with it being so nice out. The water temperature was between 48 and 50 degrees. Anglers who ventured out were picking up on average three walleyes. Most of them being between the size of 20 to 24 inches. Fishing at night has been the best for anglers to pick up walleyes. The anglers that I interviewed that said they fished the previous night were averaging 8 to 10 walleyes. Trolling has been the most effective way to pick the walleyes up. A few whitefish were also being caught while the anglers were targeting walleyes. - Brandon Wagester, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - - Fishing pressure this week was the highest it was all year, due to the Bailey's Harbor Brown Trout Tournament. The winning fish was 22.83 pounds measuring in at 33.5 inches. There was boat traffic at every port along Lake Michigan. Anglers reported that fish were caught between 10 and 40 feet of water using crankbaits. The water temperature ranged from 39 to 44 degrees depending on what port. All the launches on the Bayside have docks in along the bay, expect for Ephraim as the road is still under construction. Fishing effort was found throughout the bay, with majority of the effort focused on brown trout. Sister Bay and Fish Creek each produced brown trout. There was a north wind so not many anglers were found fishing on the bay. The water temps around Sister Bay was 39 degrees according to anglers. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Kewaunee County - Fishing effort for steelhead decreased dramatically compared to the last few weeks. The water levels and flow were higher than preferred while I was at Kewaunee in the middle of the week. The only anglers I found fishing on the Kewaunee River were dip netting for suckers, and managed to get a few. There were anglers out fishing for brown trout with mixed results. The anglers I talked to did not have any luck. However, according to the results from the Bailey's Harbor Tournament there were fish caught out of Kewaunee and Algoma. Smelt were caught throughout the week. Smelt were caught off the pier in both Kewaunee and Algoma. While, majority of the smelt were caught using beach seines. I was not in Algoma area at all this week so I do not have a report for there. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility -  Six steelhead rainbow trout processing days occurred this spring (2019) on the Kewaunee River at the facility on April 1, 8, 10, 15, 17, and 23. Numbers of new steelhead processed each day respectively were 206, 211, 137, 26, 47, and 50 (total 677). Over 600 thousand eggs were collected for hatchery production, with more fish and eggs collected on the Root River too. The spring 2019 steelhead run seems to be winding down and steelhead work at BAFF is now complete for this season. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing pressure on the Manitowoc River near Cato Falls was high, with smallmouth bass being caught. Smallmouth bass were being caught on just a simple hook with a worm and were even hitting spoons while guys were casting for northern pike. Some northern pike were caught at Cato Falls as well. Anglers fishing at Manitou Park were catching a variety of fish; carp, suckers, and smallmouth bass were all caught there this weekend. There was no one seen fishing the Branch River or Silver Creek. Catfish are being caught inside the Manitowoc Harbor. The fishing pressure in Two Rivers was low this week with a few northern pike being caught off the north pier. Carp were being caught across from Seagull Marina. The flows on West Twin and East Twin are ideal, and some steelhead were seen swimming around in the water yet, however no such luck was had. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Cold and wet weather has settled over Marinette county for the last few days, but grass is greening up and some early spring plants have emerged. Bloodroot and hepatica have begun to bloom and some trilliums have flower buds lying in wait. Wild leeks are up but no sign of morels just yet. Buds are swelling on some trees as well. Ticks have been out but are being found in low numbers so far and , at the risk of jinxing something, mosquitoes have yet to make an appearance. DNR wildlife staff have installed the accessible fishing pier and boarding dock on the north shore of Lake Noquebay. This weekend marks the beginning of game fish season, but a number of anglers have been chasing panfish on inland lakes with some success. Hummingbirds have been reported on the southern end of the county and are expected to make their way across the county soon. Grouse can be heard drumming in the early mornings and woodcock continue to peent during lowlight hours of morning and evening. Trees have been delivered to the Wausaukee ranger station and private citizens will soon be establishing new forested habitats. DNR wildlife staff and volunteers will also be establishing some plantings (apples, crab apples, and hawthorns) on public lands within the week. Turkey season is in full swing with the third time period starting May 1st. Flocks have broken up considerably now and small groups of birds are being spotted wandering over all types of habitats from fields to swamps to pine plantations. Bear reports have increased over the last 2-3 weeks. As bears emerge from their dens, they seek out easy food resources. Please make sure that if you are living or recreating in close proximity to bear habitat that you take precautions to reduce interactions with bears. Store any potential food out of reach/smell of bears. This includes, but is not limited to; bird feeders, pet food, grills, camping food and garbage. Now is a great time to get out and experience what the county has to offer before the mosquitoes, gnats and flies do their best to stymie your enjoyment. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Oconto County - All of the lakes have ice off. The major Green Bay tributaries walleye run is over and suckers are now in the rivers. Individuals are catching walleyes on the bay of Green Bay though. Many individuals are having success turkey hunting and male turkeys are coming into decoys well and responding to calling. Most trees are starting to bud out but no leafing yet. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - Manitowoc County is seeing high fishing pressure on the Manitowoc River near Cato Falls with smallmouth bass and northern being caught. Manitou Park in the City of Manitowoc has been producing good fishing for shore fishermen with a variety of fish being caught. The remainder of the inland lakes will open this Saturday for game fish and I anticipate with the warm weather on Saturday it will be a busy weekend. Manitowoc County received steady rain showers throughout this week and according to the weatherman Saturday will be dry and highs in the 60's. Turkey hunters are reporting success in the woods with harvesting tom turkeys. Turkeys have been seen throughout the county on public and private property land. Trails at Point Beach State Forest are wet but open, as a reminder bikers need to stay on the designated bike trails and dogs must be on a leash at all times. Take advantage of the great outdoors and enjoy some time outside this weekend. - Conservation Warden Alyssa Neff-Miller - Alyssa R Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Wild Rose Fish Hatchery - There will be a Spring Open House and Sturgeon Celebration this Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with 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. ( mile north of Village of Wild Rose; 15 miles south of Waupaca)

Waushara County - Looks like we might squeak out a great Fishing opener this year. The trout waters will most likely be flowing pretty quick due to expected rains before the weekend, but the sun will HOPEFULLY be out come this weekend. I have heard of a number of early season catch and release streams doing well so I expect the bite to be good! The lakes will be a little more difficult as the water continues to rise on most of them. There have been some emergency slow-no-wake orders placed on lakes around the county, so please check the signage at the landings. If there is not a sign advising of a slow-no-wake ordinance please be respectful of your speed on all of the lakes. They are all high and repeated wakes could cause damage to shorelines or even private structures - so please be respectful of the lakes and owners on them. Turkeys have been out and about quite a bit, but seemed to be "henned up" at this point in the season. Look birds out on their own after the morning fly down to help increase success. Other than that green up and leaf out are happening quickly this year and the full spring transition is upon us. Birds are calling and nesting, deer look like they are getting ready to fawn, and the flowers are starting to grow. This is a great time to be out and about around Waushara County. Take time to enjoy the weather and the natural resources we have around us! Hope to see you out there! - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Lake Winnebago System

The 2019 lake sturgeon spawning run on the Wolf River is all but over. There may still be a few fish below the dam in Shawano, but we are well past peak spawning. We worked fish below the dam this morning and handled 40 fish. I'm not sure exactly how many fish we handled this spring, but I would guess that we handled 1,150-1,200 fish this spring. The total number of fish handled is down a bit from other years over the past 4-5 spawning runs, but I am more than satisfied with how this year went given the extremely high water levels this spring. - Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh


Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Milwaukee County - Trout fishing on the Milwaukee River has continued to dwindle, with just a few anglers putting forth effort and having little success. Some anglers were targeting smallmouth bass near North Ave and suckers at the Estabrook Park dam. Smallmouth success was hit-or-miss, while those fishing for suckers had a ton of success. Fishing efforts continue to slow down on the Menomonee, as steelheads head back to Lake Michigan. Only a few anglers were seen this week and no fish were reported. There was a lot of clean-up effort on the river this week by volunteers, so those heading to the river should expect litter-free water and banks. A few boats launched out of McKinley Marina this week, but the water was pretty choppy most of the week and snow came in on Saturday afternoon. Those that did venture out reported success with browns and lakers in the harbor. One boat also reported catching a few coho, so hopefully we can look forward to some salmon moving in soon. Restrooms are finally open at the marina, as well. The North City shoreline saw great effort from perch anglers under the Hoan Bridge. Although there was a lot of angling effort, success was hit-or-miss. A few anglers got bag limits, while others only saw one or two fish. Perch being caught averaged 9-10 inches in length and were being caught mainly off of shrimp. Anglers also reported success with a few browns under the Hoan this weekend. Fishing efforts were fairly slow at Jones Island, but a few anglers reported catching some smaller browns early in the day. Aside from that, shore fishing was very quiet this week on the south end of the city. The South Shore and Bender Park ramps remained fairly quiet this week, though a few boats were seen. Those coming in at Bender reported some success with browns and coho near the Oak Creek Power Plant, but choppy waters kept many from launching. Angling efforts have decreased significantly at Oak Creek, but a few anglers still gave it a go over the weekend. No fish were seen during survey times. Anglers reported a few hits but no landed fish. The pier at the Oak Creek Power Plant saw moderate angling effort with a few small browns being caught and one average-size steelhead. The most success was seen off of spoons and spinners. - Jessica Grace Jenkins , fisheries technician, Plymouth

Racine County - Fishing pressure was nonexistent on the piers and shorelines due to the continued windy and cold weather. Activity at the Root River is getting thinner by the week as the spring steelhead run is about done and fishing activity is getting very slow. Some anglers are still being reported though as they try to hopefully hook one of the few remaining steelhead in the river. The majority of the remaining anglers on the river are fishing above the steelhead facility. Most of the few remaining steelhead being caught are being caught above the steelhead facility as well. A few smallmouth bass have caught in the past week as well. Water levels are still down a little bit compared to previous weeks. Water clarity has remained constant, as it is still a little murky due to inclement weather. The river is about 55 degrees. Fishing activity along the piers and shorelines in Racine has still been very low. Waves continue to crash over the tops of the piers, which make for poor fishing conditions. Fishing activity at the Racine ramp has still been nonexistent as inclement weather has been keeping most boats off the lake. The lake continues to be very wavy with cold temperatures. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturdivant

Kenosha County - Fishing pressure still remains low on the piers and harbors in Kenosha. It still continues to be a little windy, but a few fish have been caught. Fishing activity on the Pike River has been nonexistent as the steelhead breeding run is ending. Nobody has been fishing the river as there don't seem to be very many fish left to catch. Fishing at the mouth of the river has been tough due to the recent construction to fix the mouth of the river. Fishing activity along the piers and shorelines in Kenosha has still been low but there are still some people fishing. Successful fishing trips have been few and far between though as very few fish catches have been recorded. One brown trout and one coho salmon have been caught within the past few days. The waves going into the pier have not been as much of an issue. Fishing activity at the Kenosha ramp has been very low. Only a few boat trailers have been spotted. The bad weather continues to keep boats off the lake. No successful fishing trips have been recorded. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturdivant


South Central Region

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Lake Kegonsa State Park -The campgrounds are open for the season. All campsites in this park are reservable. There are no first come, first served non-reservable sites. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made the same day of arrival or up to 11 months in advance. To make camping reservations, please call 1-888-947-2757 or go online to The boat landing and fishing piers have been installed and are open for use. - Sarah Bolser, park manager


West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - This is a great time of year to visit the State Forest. Trees are budding, birds are singing, frogs are calling and best of all insect populations are still low. Temperatures are expected to be in the 60s this weekend with a chance of rain Sunday. Spring migrants continue to move through the area. Ducks, geese, eagles, hawks and many species of song bird can be seen and heard throughout the forest. Toms have been observed strutting in front of hens and some hunters have reported good success the first couple weeks of turkey hunting. All hiking and biking trails are open; however trails may be slippery and/or muddy in some areas. The showers and dump station at Castle Mound will open Friday May 3. ATV and UTV trails are closed. ATV and UTV trails will reopen May 15, weather permitting. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - Area lakes have open water and things are looking good for the gamefish opener. There has been some good catches of panfish lately. Crappies are beginning to move into shallower water to spawn. Plants and grasses are starting to green up. Insects are becoming more active. 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, turkeys, pileated woodpeckers, eagles, osprey, orioles and belted kingfishers.- Nathan Fries, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Drinking water is on at the park office, north shelter and group camp. Others will be turned on as weather permits during next two weeks. Dump station is on. Flush toilets/showers are currently closed. Pit toilets are available in campground. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate will open Saturday, May 4 for the annual work and play day. Sign up at the park office before or day of the event. Bring water bottle, gloves, rake or leaf blower to help clean campsites and picnic areas from winter. Lunch is provided by Friends of Roche-A-Cri. Camping will open May 13. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Last Revised: Thursday, May 02, 2019

Contact information

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