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Outdoor Report

Published May 24, 2018 by the Central Office

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

Spring is exploding right into summer across Wisconsin. You would never know that just three weeks ago the Northwoods was covered with ice and snow. Memorial Day weekend kicks of the unofficial start to summer and many of the reservable campsite at state parks and forests are booked. The best remaining camping opportunities can be found in the non-reservable campsites in northern state forests. The lower Wisconsin River continues to run high, but there were signs of sandbars beginning to emerge in some areas as water slowly drops.

Fields and forests have greened up, and regular rains have kept fire danger low to moderate across most of the state with just a few areas still in high fire danger. Through the spring fire season 639 wildfires burned 1,800 acres; 53 structures were destroyed and another 441 were threatened, but saved.

View Slideshow SLIDE SHOW | 0 photos

What Wisconsin musky anglers will find in 2018

Wisconsin's northern zone musky season opens this Saturday and spring fish assessments are showing anglers won't be disappointed with what they find, with many fish over 40 inches netted and released.

Overall, fishing success was fair along west shore of Green Bay this week. Some anglers were catching good numbers of walleye, smallmouth bass and northern pike. Fishing pressure was high Sunday at Oconto for the perch opener. Anglers on the pier were having a lot of success catching perch, northern pike and the occasional walleye. The walleye bite on the east shore was more consistent with many boats at Bayshore catching close to their limit.

Bass fishing has started to heat up off Door County with some anglers reporting fish moving onto beds at Little Sturgeon Bay. The Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament last weekend attracted anglers not only from Wisconsin but competitors traveled from Illinois and Michigan. The winner caught five smallmouth bass for a total of about 29 pounds. Cold, windy, and foggy conditions caused very little boat traffic on Lake Michigan. The few who did go out had little luck; however, a few anglers reported landing mostly coho and the occasional chinook.

Young wild animals such as deer fawns, rabbit and raccoon kits, fox and coyote pups, ducklings, and goslings are out and active all over. Most wild mothers watch their young from a distance, and what you think is an abandoned baby animal may be perfectly safe. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured or orphaned, visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" to learn what to do.

Coyote pups are becoming more active, and their parents are traveling more in search of food for their young. Although coyotes rarely cause a problem people should keep a close eye on pets whenever they are outside.

The spring turkey season is almost done, with many turkey hunters successful this spring.

Fledged young have been reported for mallard, wood duck, hooded merganser, Canada goose, great horned owl, sandhill crane, mourning dove, red crossbill, and American robin.

Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies are all active. Unfortunately, mosquitoes, flies and ticks have also made an appearance. Wood anemones, violets, marsh marigolds, blueberries, wild strawberries, Juneberries and pin cherries are in bloom. Hepatica are still showing blooms in cooler areas, and bellwort, jack-in-the-pulpit Canada Mayflower, clintonia, dwarf lake iris and other ephemerals starting to bloom. Morel mushrooms have begun to pop up

Universe in the Park astonomy program begins this weekend with program at Blue Mound and Kohler-Andrae state parks. - Photo credit: UW-Madison Dept. of Astronomy
Universe in the Park astonomy program begins this weekend with program at Blue Mound and Kohler-Andrae state parks.Photo credit: UW-Madison Dept. of Astronomy

The popular Universe in the Park program conducted by the UW-Madison Astronomy Department kicks off this Saturday at Blue Mound and Kohler-Andrae state parks, among a myriad of other Get Outdoors programs being held this weekend.

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Wildfire Report

Green up of vegetation and regular rains have kept fire danger Low to Moderate in southern Wisconsin. Fire danger ranged from Moderate to Very High in northern Wisconsin. The progression of green up statewide and predicted rain over the weekend is expected to quell the fire danger even further. Over the past week, 72 wildfires burned 147 acres in DNR Protection Areas. Recent wildfire causes have been equipment, debris burning, fireworks, power line, railroad and campfires.

Firewise Tip: Make sure campfires are made in a fire-safe pit or container. Clear an area 10 feet around the fire pit and never burn when it's windy. Before leaving, drown your campfire thoroughly with water, stir the ashes and add more water until it's out cold.

This concludes the wildfire report until conditions cause the fire danger to rise. As a recap, 639 wildfires burned 1,802 acres this spring; 53 structures were destroyed and another 441 were threatened, but saved with firefighter assistance. Be mindful of the weather and any drying conditions as we head into summer. Stay informed of statewide fire danger by checking our Fire web page as a part your outdoor work and recreation routine. - Jolene Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madison

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Statewide Birding Report

Although migration activity is now past peak, birders statewide continue to find a nice mix of migrants and newly-arrived breeding species returning from tropical wintering grounds. Warblers are still moving through, especially the later species like Canada, blackpoll, bay-breasted, Wilson's and mourning, although expect numbers to decrease almost daily now. Swainson's thrush, gray-cheeked thrush, and ruby-crowned kinglets also linger. Red-eyed vireos made a big move into the state over the past few days, as did the flycatchers, including least, willow, alder, great crested, olive-sided, and Eastern wood-pewee, as well as black-billed and yellow-billed cuckoos, cedar waxwings, and common nighthawks. Look for more of these species over the week ahead.

One of the state's most ubiquitous forest birds, red-eyed vireos returned to Wisconsin in a big way this past week. - Photo credit: Ryan Brady
One of the state's most ubiquitous forest birds, red-eyed vireos returned to Wisconsin in a big way this past week.Photo credit: Ryan Brady

Shorebirds are notably late migrants and flights are now near peak at sites with suitable habitat, such as flooded fields, exposed mudflats, and sandy beaches. Look for black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, dunlin, semipalmated sandpipers, sanderlings, and ruddy turnstones, among others. Hudsonian godwits, marbled godwits, and American avocets were seen at several locations this past week. Among the lingering winter birds found this week were rough-legged hawks, snow goose, and pine siskins, the latter with breeding documented well into southeastern counties. In other nesting news, fledged young were reported for mallard, wood duck, hooded merganser, Canada goose, great horned owl, sandhill crane, mourning dove, red crossbill, and American robin. Nest building was documented for recently-arrived neotropical migrants such as ruby-throated hummingbird, baltimore oriole, rose-breasted grosbeak, and various warblers.

Rare birds spotted this week included western tanager in Ozaukee County, Eurasian wigeon in Bayfield, laughing gull and whimbrel in Milwaukee, red knot in Kewaunee, white-eyed vireo in Washington, summer tanager in Bayfield, and northern mockingbirds at several locations as far north as Lake Superior. Find out what others are seeing and report your sightings of common and rare birds alike at www.ebird.org.wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sunday, May 27, 2018

For all events search Get Outdoors

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Haskell Noyes Woods Workdays: Saturday May 26 9 a.m.-noon - Please help to remove garlic mustard during the peak season of this highly invasive plant. Haskell Noyes is a premier southern mesic forest. It's plant community is threatened by the invasion of garlic mustard. Haskell Noyes is located in the Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit.

Sugar River Wetlands Workday: Girdling aspen and removing invasives May 26, 9a.m.-noon - Help the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association restore the Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area during our "4th Saturdays" volunteer work days. Volunteers will be spraying invasives and girdling aspen. As you remove these species you will be promoting the growth of desirable native plants. It promises to be rewarding, fun, and a great way to experience the outdoors in spring. Refreshments including 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 - We seem to be in full summer mode now. Fields and forests have greened up, we are experiencing warm and humid days and occasional thunderstorms. The nights are staying warm too, our most recent below-freezing temperatures occurred this past Sunday but the 10-day forecast predicts frost-free nights. Blueberries, wood anemones, and violets are in bloom, the hummingbirds have been back for a couple of weeks now, and spring babies are being born. Keep in mind that many animals will leave their young for long periods of time. These babies are not abandoned...leave them where they are so their parents can find them later. No one takes care of them better than their parents. Many well-meaning people bring these animals home only to have these animals die of stress, sickness, or improper nutrition. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - The songbird migration is picking up in the Grantsburg Area, with new species added to our list every day. Many different warblers are now being seen in the area, including black-throated green, yellow, black-and-white, golden-winged, Cape May, Nashville, magnolia, and more. The waterfowl migration is mostly over, but there are still many species around. Check out Refuge Extension Flowage on Main Dike Road to see some of the shorebirds that are passing through the area, including solitary sandpiper, great and lesser yellowlegs, and more. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Spring is exploding right into summer on the forest! One would never know we had ice and snow three weeks ago! The electric greens and pastels of the newly emerging leaves will soon turn darker if we get the much needed moisture. The ticks are loving the dry weather and await the eager hiker! Violets, barren strawberries, polygalas, wood anemones, wild strawberries, June berries and Pin Cherries are all in bloom. The understory is quickly creating "the green wall" so be wary of critters darting across the road. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Fewer anglers were out on the Menominee river this weekend in part due to the cooler air temperatures, however some anglers were still having successful trips. The water temperatures on the Menominee ranged from 55-62 degrees over this past week. Anglers fishing out of the Boom Landing ramp were reporting some success catching 16-23 inches walleye throughout the week. Anglers also reported success catching northern pike, rock bass, crappie, and suckers. Fishing pressure at the Mystery Ship Ramp has remained steady over the past week. Anglers were having some success catching catfish, northern pike, and walleye. A couple anglers reported catching a muskellunge this week. Less fishing pressure was observed this past week at the Ann Arbor Ramp. Anglers were having success catching both walleye and some brown trout while trolling. Anglers did not report having much success on the shore of Stephenson Island this past week. Fishing pressure remained low this week. Menekaunee Harbor anglers reported having success catching walleye, brown trout, and northern pike this week. Little fishing pressure was observed at Red Arrow Park this week. Very low fishing pressure was observed at the little River Ramp this week. Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo river was more concentrated on the river mouth area over the past week. The water temperatures ranged from 61 - 65 degrees over the weekend. Fishing pressure is low along at the Peshtigo dam area. Anglers were catching some suckers and smallmouth bass this week. Fishing pressure has decreased at the Peshtigo Municipal Garage Ramp over the last few weeks. Anglers were still having some success catching walleye that ranged from 15-20 inches. Anglers were having success catching northern pike and smallmouth bass. Good fishing pressure was observed at the Peshtigo river mouth ramp over the last week. Anglers were having success catching walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass this week. Very low fishing pressure was observed at the Klingsborn's Ramp this week. - Ben Olson, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Overall, fishing success was mixed among anglers this week. Some anglers were catching good numbers of walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike. The water temperatures for the Oconto river ranged from 60-68 degrees over the past week. Fishing pressure has remained good at the Oconto Park II area this week. Anglers were reporting success catching some perch, walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass over the weekend. Fishing pressure was high this past Sunday at the Oconto Breakwater Harbor Area on the perch opener. Anglers on the pier were having a lot of success catching northern pike and perch this week with the occasional walleye. Anglers using the boat launch were reporting success catching walleye, northern pike, perch, and smallmouth bass. Light fishing pressure was observed at the Oconto Municipal Boat Ramp this week. Light fishing pressure occurred at the Pensaukee River Boat Ramp over the past week. Anglers reported catching a few walleye and northern pike this week. While fishing pressure has decreased over the last few weeks at the Stiles Dam and Iron Bridge Area, a handful of anglers were reporting success catching crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, and suckers week. Fishing pressure was overall relatively low over this week. - Ben Olson, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Few Walleyes were harvested from the west shore of Green Bay due to the cool water temperatures and windy conditions. Those very few fish were harvested believed to be due to the cool water temperatures from the cold front. The only other species that were reported caught was a few freshwater drums and northern pike. Shore anglers fishing at Suamico were unsuccessful. Longtail, Duck Creek and Geano Beach locations only had a few anglers. Few walleyes were harvested on the Fox River due to the cool water temperatures and windy conditions. Those who were catching walleyes were harvesting keepers and were finding them in pockets of warm water at the mouth of the bay. Few were harvested while jigging. Boaters and shore anglers at Voyager park reported catching white bass, carp and a few catfish.. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

The walleye bite at Bayshore has been consistent with the previous week. Many of the boats caught close to their limit for a day spent on the water. Harvested fish had lengths from the mid-teens to low 20s. Anglers found success on both flicker shad/minnow. While out anglers also caught the occasional northern pike. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - Fishing action slowed down at the end of last week with the cold front but smallmouth action is slowly getting better. There are no reports of bass on beds north of Sturgeon Bay yet but anglers are catching them in many areas as they move up into shallow water. Bass can be seen around most marinas and have been caught on small jigs, worms and minnows. The occasional pike has also been caught. No word on any walleye or perch. Angler pressure and tourist activity will increase as we move toward Memorial Day weekend but has been very low up to this point. Along the Lake Michigan shore, Rowelys Bay bass action has remained consistent with anglers catching and releasing 20-plus fish per trip depending on conditions. Wind direction is a major factor as a southeast wind can blow water in directly from the lake making boating conditions rough and the water murky. No fishing pressure out of Gills Rock yet. No word on any brown trout or salmon action north of Sturgeon Bay. Shore fishermen have been catching pike in the Baileys Harbor Marina but fishing pressure has been very light. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

There was very little pressure on the Sturgeon Bay Shoreline. Saturday was fairly windy and accompanied by rain. Most folks fished in the evening with no luck on smallmouth. Anglers were seen preparing for the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament Thursday. By Friday and Saturday folks had caught some weights of 28 pounds for five smallmouth bass and the largest being a 29 pounds. Many competitors traveled from the Winnebago region of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan to enjoy fishing Sturgeon Bay. It was windy for the duration of the weekend. Good luck was had with crank baits. The heavy wind made it too dangerous for anglers to venture out on the Sturgeon Bay piers. Tournament pressure was heavy at the Stone Quarry ramp. White caps were visible most of the time. People seeking a limit that averaged 5 pounds per fish went North Friday toward Egg Harbor or directly south a couple meters to warmer pockets. Heavy fishing pressure on the Stone Quarry shore with very little hits due to boat wake and oncoming wind. Many spectators were out jigging. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Bass fishing has started to heat up at Little Sturgeon Bay with some anglers report fish moving to beds in the shallow bays. Reported catch was from 10 to 50 fish for 5-plus hours out on the water. A few walleye anglers were out but no one reported landing fish. While out anglers also caught the occasional northern pike. Sawyer Harbor anglers saw similar trends to Little Sturgeon. Bass fishing is becoming more consistent as the water warms and as more fish move to their beds. Anglers reported catching 10-40 fish for half a day out on the water. Walleye anglers have moved on to other launches.- Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Kewaunee County - Low fishing pressure was had mid-week with very little wind and still water. A few boats were out with a little luck on brown trout. Saturday rains kept folks in. Very few were out at the Kewaunee pier and it was reported that water temperatures were still warming and should be better for casting out in a week and a half to two weeks. A couple of boats were out mid-week from the Algoma ramp. The lake has completely cleared out from storm debris. Very good visibility was had and a slight wind. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Water temperatures have stayed steady over the past week. The water temp ranges from 43 to 47 degrees depending on depth. In 130 feet or water the temp is 39. A few fish have been caught, with some of the success happening around the 60-80 feet of water mark. The pier fishing for trout has decreased and is hard to come by. The number of anglers fishing has decreased compared to last week. In addition, a few catfish have been caught along the south pier on spawn sacs. Fishing pressure in the harbors have been low in the last week. Anglers trying for bass have had no luck. A few sheepshead have been caught. Anglers who have gone out on the lake from the Two Rivers ramp have not had any success. Water temperatures are 43 to 47 degrees near shore. The farther out you go the cooler the temps are. The parking lot at Vets Park is paved finally. The fish cleaning station is also opened and operational. The anglers who have ventured out to fish the Two Rivers piers did not have any success this past week. The few anglers that were found fishing within the harbor had decent success this week catching bullheads. A catfish was mixed in here and there but most of fish that were caught were bullheads. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Snapping turtles emerging. - Photo credit: DNR
Snapping turtles emerging.Photo credit: DNR

Governor Thompson State Park - The 16 miles of hiking trail are open and ready for your next adventure. The turkeys are gobbling, frogs are peeping, toads are singing and we are seeing baby turtles hatching. Spring flowers are up along the trails. Hepatica, bloodroot, trilliums, wood sorrel and violets are now blooming. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - Along with the bloom of trilliums, trout lily's, and other wildflowers, so too are the insects blooming; Mosquitos have hatched at Potawatomi State Park. An abundance turkeys in are still giving motorists a show with multiple toms on display in area fields. Smallmouth bass are readily being caught by boat and shore anglers along Green Bay. Questions about paddleboards and the need for a wearable personal flotation device...the answer is YES, check the DNR boating webpage and regulations handbooks, PFDs are required, and should be worn. - Christopher J. Kratcha, conservation warden, Sturgeon Bay

Newport State Park - Spring has finally arrived in northern Door County. The park is carpeted with large white trillium and ramps. Other spring wildflowers are coming and going quickly as the canopy slowly fills in. Hepatica are still showing blooms in cooler areas of the park, as well as spring beauty and many types of violets. Long spurred violet, a plant of special concern, has been seen on the Poetry Trail. Bellwort are just starting to open. Canada Mayflower, clintonia, dwarf lake iris and other ephemerals typical of boreal forest habitat are just starting to show buds. Migrating birds have been plentiful this week. Substantial amounts of warblers are moving through. Thanks to the tiny midges, there are plenty of insects to feed on. Indigo buntings, Baltimore orioles and scarlet tanagers are being seen at seed and orange feeders. Bluebirds are nesting in the boxes being monitored at the park. Campers and visitors were treated to some clear nights for star gazing at Newport, Wisconsin's only International Dark Sky Park. - Beth Bartoli, naturalist

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Leaf out complete in Waushara Co. and 80 percent complete. Has been a wet spring and we are extremely green and lush. Morel mushrooms have begun to pop up. Have not observed any broods of upland nesting birds at all. Should be plenty of fawns on the ground, have not seen one yet - they lie low in their first week or two of life. Interesting bird sightings of the week - an indigo bunting and a redstart. Insect report - not many ticks all spring (excellent!), mosquitos have hatched and are thick. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Milwaukee County - Young wild animals such as deer fawns, rabbit and raccoon kits, fox and coyote pups, ducklings, and goslings are out and active all over Milwaukee County. Most wild mothers watch their young from a distance, and what you think is an abandoned baby animal may be perfectly safe. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured or orphaned, visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" to learn what to do, or search keyword "rehab" to find a local wildlife rehabilitator. Coyote pups are becoming more active, and their parents are traveling more in search of food for their young. Although coyotes rarely cause a problem for people, keep a close eye on your pet whenever they are outside. Dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies are all active, and a variety of wildflowers such as wood anemone, trillium, and jack-in-the-pulpit are in full bloom. The spring turkey season is almost done, with many turkey hunters successful so far this spring. This weekend would be a perfect weekend to get out and experience the great WI spring season, wherever your interests lie. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - All trails in the Northern Unit are open; however, horse riders may still encounter some muddy stretches on the north end, and the Tamarack Trail around Mauthe Lake is still holding some water. All campgrounds are open, and the entrance stations at Mauthe and Long Lakes are now open seven days a week. Long Lake and Mauthe Lake fishing piers are installed and ready for use. Swimming Area buoys are installed near the Mauthe Lake and Long Lake beaches, but no lifeguards are on duty. The beach houses are open daily for the season. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Cold, windy, and foggy conditions caused very little boat traffic this past week. The few who did go out had little luck; however, a few anglers reported catching two kings, one weighing 2 pounds and the other weighing 15 pounds. The salmon were caught on spoons in 30-40 feet of water. Pressure on the Sheboygan piers was moderate in the beginning of the week, but tapered off as the week progressed. Fishing has been terribly slow with only one report of a whitefish being caught using an alewife off of the South Pier. Alewives can be found in abundance along the piers. One angler who was fishing for carp near the 8th Street ramp landed 6 carp and 1 channel catfish. The fish were caught with worms. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Ozaukee County - Undesirable weather conditions kept most boats home this week. On Saturday, boat traffic increased, but despite all efforts fishing was mostly unproductive with only one report of a 12-inch coho being caught on a spoon in 20 feet of water. Fishing effort at the Port Washington Piers was moderate on Saturday, but very low on Sunday due to the weather. Most anglers were unsuccessful catching anything, although one fisherman did manage to catch a white fish using an alewife. Like last week, the WE Energies discharge is turned off for maintenance and the water in the harbor is a dirty brown. Fishing pressure remains low in this location. One angler who was targeting carp landed three fish using corn. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Milwaukee County - Anglers targeting salmon on Lake Michigan are finding success in mostly 30 - 40 feet of water, some fishing deeper up to 50-plus feet , using a variety of dodgers, flickers, or flies. Through the weekend morning anglers tended to have better luck then afternoon landing mostly 2 -3 pound coho and the occasional chinook averaging around 12 pounds. Sunday's early morning 20-plus mph winds and larger wave action limited boaters from heading out on the water. Large schools of baitfish, mainly alewives, continue to be seen at the surface lakeside. Anglers targeting salmon and trout both on the lakeside and harbor-side of the MiKinley pier continue to see little to no action. Anglers targeting brown trout or coho salmon were observed by the Summerfest grounds, Lakeshore State Park and McKinley Shore, with little success using crank baits, spoons, artificial lures or minnows. The fish cleaning station for angler use at South Shore continues to be closed for maintenance. Very low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island through South Shore. Anglers targeting brown trout found little success and those that had luck occurred during the shifting east-northeast winds that occurred on Friday afternoon using a variety of spoons. Grant Park shoreline anglers targeting panfish using live bait or rainbow trout using a variety of artificial lures had little to no success. Anglers targeting coho salmon out of Bender Park found success in 30-40 feet of water using a variety of spoons or flies. Anglers also reported heading farther south, sometimes all the way to Racine, to have greater success catching coho salmon. Sunday's early morning 20-plus mph winds and larger wave action limited boaters from heading out on the water. Afternoon anglers found continued success off the Oak Creek power plant landing brown trout using a variety of crank bait or alewives. Most browns landed were 2-4 pounds; however, the largest weighed at this site, came in at just over 12 pounds. Occasional coho salmon were also caught using the same bait types.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Video Report - At the Town of Eagle Boat Landing. Mosquitoes hatched last week and they are out in abundance. A rare site: a sandbar is emerging. River levels have dropped in the last week but a bit of an uptick with rain in the last week. Should be a good Memorial Day weekend for paddling or boating on the river. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Prairie smoke with violets and shooting star in the background. - Photo credit: Sara Kehrli
Prairie smoke with violets and shooting star in the background.Photo credit: Sara Kehrli

Columbia County - Now is a great time to talk a walk in the remnant prairies! The early blooming flowers are putting on a spectacular show, and it's one of the few places in the county where the mosquitoes aren't horrendous. This picture is from the Northern Empire prairie SNA - Mud Lake Wildlife Area unit. Fawns are being born in earnest. Blanding's turtles and western slender glass lizards were both spotted last week. Many hen turkeys are sitting on nests - it won't be long until their eggs are hatching. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

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West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - The State Forest is alive with signs of Spring. Trilliums and other wildflowers are blooming. Fawns are starting to be seen following after their mothers. Goslings (baby geese) and colts (baby Sandhill cranes) have been seen along roadsides and near flowages. Unfortunately, mosquitoes, flies and ticks have also made an appearance, so remember to bring bug spray. Temperatures for Memorial Weekend are expected to be in the high 80s to low 90s with a slight chance of rain Saturday night. All reservable campsites have been taken for the coming weekend but we do have a limited number of first-come, first serve sites available at the Pigeon Creek campground.- Emily Alf, visitor services associate

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. Ticks are out so remember to use bug spray and check daily after being in the woods. Mosquitoes hatched Friday night too. For Memorial Day weekend, there are six first come sites (4 drive-in A5, 103-105 and 2 walk-in tent only 34, 199) - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. If office is closed, please self-register at the park office. Camping and dump station are open. No food, drinks or pets are allowed on the stairway. There are three first-come sites for Memorial Day weekend. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, May 24, 2018

Contact information

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