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Wisconsin Fishing Reports, Outdoor & Hunting Report

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MADISON, WI - The weekly Wisconsin fishing reports & hunting report from 4/12/13 are gathered local DNR officials, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. They are compiled. There are always current Wisconsin Fishing Reports and hunting reports as well as outdoor reports in this forum. Enjoy.

For Current Wisconsin Fishing Reports - Click Here

Wisconsin looks and feels very more like November than April this week as rain, snow and unseasonable cold moved in across the state. Needless to say, the weather has dampened the spirits of anglers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts, and created additional challenges to hunters looking for turkeys.

Many rivers in the south are running very high with some approaching flood stage. Slow-no-wake rules are in place on the Rock River in Rock County.

All trails are open to hiking but they are wet and soft. Most mountain bike trails are closed. Mountain bike trails typically remain closed each spring for several weeks until adequate drying of the trail base. Trails managers are asking people to please stay off the soft limestone screened trails until the tread hardens to minimize damage to the trail surface. Deep ruts or footprints are difficult to fix and the trail is easier to grade without these obstacles.

Opening day turkey hunters from the Brule River State Forest down through Columbia County were greeted with a sleet storm. Tom turkeys have been seen all over Iowa, Sauk and Trempealeau counties displaying for hens.

A variety of ducks in large numbers are migrating back from the south, especially on the Wisconsin River between Spring Green and Sauk City. The Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is also filling up with mergansers, wood and mallard ducks, shoveler, northern pintail, green-winged teal, golden-eye, bufflehead, tundra and trumpeter swans, Canada geese and more.

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway vsitors have reported hearing spring peepers and chorus frogs in the evenings. They are also beginning to call in Vernon County. Black bears have been seen emerging from their winter dens, so now is the time to secure any possible sources of food that could attract bears.

Ice fishing continues in the north, including Ashland and Polk counties, but icy conditions hamper the efforts of anglers across much of the state.

Good numbers of rainbow trout have been taken out of the Kewaunee River, near Footbridge and Bruemmer Park by using spawn sacs. In Milwaukee County, when the winds have been light, boats were reporting a good number of brown trout and a few lake trout being caught either jigging or trolling the gaps with spoons. Inland trout fishermen have been having good luck in the early catch and release season catching nice sized brown trout in Iowa County’s Love Creek.

On Racine County’s the Root River, anglers casting flies and spawn sacks reported good catches of steelhead earlier in the week at the Horlick Dam. The most productive Manitowoc County steelhead fishing continues to be on the West Twin River, with many fish holding up by Shoto Dam.

Freezing temperatures at night and warm days last week resulted in the best statewide maple syrup production of the year. Areas of southern and east central Wisconsin continued to have good runs of sap, while areas in the north and central parts of the state started seeing significant sap flows for the first time this year. Northern counties still have significant snow making sap collection challenging for producers using pails or bags. Producers are reporting higher than normal sugar content in their sap across the state this year. Several have reported 20-38 gallons of maple sap producing 1 gallon of syrup this year while the annual average is around 40 to 1. A cold front predicted for this week should extend the season in the south to a much later date than normal while the north is expected to have sap production continue for at least another week and potentially more.

Statewide Birding Report

This past weekend’s warmer weather finally brought an influx of migrants into all portions of Wisconsin, but colder temperatures and rain during the week and in the forecast are slowing things down once again. Birders in southern Wisconsin reported our first large push of kinglets, fox sparrows, phoebes, tree swallows, sapsuckers and some of the early shorebirds and water birds. Some lakes have opened up in the south bringing common loons, pied-billed and horned grebes and a continuing push of diving ducks. Tree swallows, barn swallows and purple martins are beginning to arrive and some robins have begun nest building in the south. In the north, things are much different. Some waterfowl have moved into open rivers but a thick ice-pack remains on most lakes. Redpolls are still quite abundant at feeders and a few folks even report large numbers of evening grosbeaks and other winter finches. The weather forecast doesn’t look great for the next week, but birds will continue to push in. Birders can expect some early shorebirds and water birds along with good numbers and diversity of waterfowl in flooded agricultural fields in southern and central Wisconsin. Other expected migrants should include thrashers, towhees and some of the grassland sparrows. People who missed this week’s online birding chat on the DNR website can review the questions and answers from the chat by clicking on the link for “ask the experts” on the DNR home page and selecting "birding" from the list of chats. As always, please report your sightings to Wisconsin eBird (www.ebird.org/WI) so that we can better track our migratory bird populations.- Andy Paulios, wildlife biologists and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative coordinator

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General | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region | Top

Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - April Fool’s Day 10 days late? The once bare patches of ground are quickly filling in with new snow Thursday. The weather has given people much to talk about recently and the National Weather Service is predicting chances of snow into next week. A four year old recently commented as she looked out the window at the blowing snow: “When will it be all the way spring?” Opening morning turkey hunters commented that hunting was difficult due to the noisy, crusty snow and wind. It was hard to enter many areas without making too much noise.- Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Ashland County - Last week saw a return of snow showers following the warmer weather that preceded it. Ice fishing on all area lakes continues. Maple sapping is underway and seems to be the most popular outdoor activity behind fishing.- Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Polk County - Ice conditions are still okay for fishing. Many of the landings are starting to go with last weekend’s rain and runoff. There is still more than 2-feet of good ice on the lake. Panfishing has still been slow, but should pick up when the snow cover melts off the lakes. - Jesse Ashton conservation warden, Luck

Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area – Many spring birds have been spotted on Crex Meadows or Fish Lake Wildlife Areas. Birds that have been spotted: Hooded mergansers, wood and mallard ducks, shoveler, northern pintail, green-winged teal, golden-eye, bufflehead, tundra and trumpeter swans, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, and red-winged Blackbirds. Other highlights include: sharp-shined hawk, great blue heron, short-eared owl, and kinglets. The first birding tour will be Saturday, April 27 at 8 a.m. To learn more, visit http://www.crexmeadows.org/events.htm- Heidi Rusch, natural resources educator

Interstate Park - The Friends of Interstate Park invite you to the annual Spring Gathering of Friends on Saturday afternoon, April 20, at the Ice Age Center. This year’s featured addition is a children’s program from 3-3:30 p.m. After the children’s program there will be free refreshments followed by a special program in the auditorium. At 4 p.m. local author and biographer Phil Peterson will share a visual presentation about Verlen Kruger from his book, “All Things are Possible.” Kruger became a renowned 20th adventurer are stepping into a canoe for the first time at the age of 42. Between 1963 and 2004, Verlen paddled more than 100,000 miles. His canoe trips have inspired paddlers throughout the world, and his canoe designs continue to set records. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator

Rhinelander DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - The Wisconsin River has open sections of water which are attracting tundra swans, trumpeter swans, Canada geese and numerous duck species. Bear sightings are being reported and one person observed a loon flying outside of Eagle River. A good place to observe the bird species near Rhinelander is at the public boat landing north of Rhinelander off Apperson Drive. Panfish anglers are still driving on area lakes although the shoreline edges will begin to break up very soon. - James Jung, conservation warden, Rhinelander

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Langlade County - The first spring turkey season has arrived. Although only hunters with period A permits will be allowed to hunt, it is a great time for hunters of other periods to begin their equipment preparation and scouting to prepare for their seasons. Waterfowl are migrating through Langlade County on their way north. Hunters have commented that it seems there are more ducks in the area in April than there are in October. Male woodcock have begun peening in the area. - Tim Otto, conservation warden, Antigo

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General | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region | Top

Northeast Region

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County – The boat landing at the Peshtigo municipal garage is open and being used by anglers targeting walleye. Catch rates at this time remain low, but expect things to start heating up this coming week. Fishermen at the Peshtigo Harbor are targeting walleye, trout, and pike, with little success. Menominee River anglers are catching a few walleye, trout, and whitefish around the Hattie Street Dam. The boat launch at Stephenson Island and Boom Landing are open and boaters are reporting that fishing is slow, but a few whitefish and walleye are being caught jigging with crawlers on the down river side of Boom Island.- Kevin King, creel clerk

Oconto County - Most of the fishing pressure has been observed in the Stiles Dam area or at the Oconto Breakwater. Walleye, trout, and pike are the species being targeted. Success rates are still very low as are the water levels in the rivers. The Oconto River is open to the mouth with fishermen casting Cleo's and stick baits for walleye and trout. A few fishermen are walking out on the ice north of the causeway to fish for pike with tip ups. - Kevin King, creel clerk

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - The most productive steelhead fishing continues to be on the West Twin River, with many fish holding up by Shoto Dam. Silver Creek, Little Manitowoc River, East Twin River, and Branch River are all holding steelhead in fair numbers. Water levels are high and precaution should be used when wading, especially since water temperatures are still in the upper 30-degree range. The Manitowoc River also has high and fast water and because of this, many areas are now unfishable. Cato Falls on the Manitowoc River, which usually holds some trout and northern at this time of the year, is a roaring whitewater presently and would be difficult to fish. Successful anglers are fishing tributaries at opening fishing hours and having some success with spawn and spawn imitating flies and lures fished under floats. Smaller in-line spinners and spoons are also starting to get a reaction from fish. Ability to read current breaks and other fish holding areas have been important to successful anglers. Some brown trout have also been taken on the West Twin River. Pier and harbor fishing in Manitowoc and Two Rivers has been slow overall. A few browns and channel catfish have been caught on bottom presentations. Browns have also been caught casting spoons. Seagull Marina boat ramp is open and boats have been utilizing it with limited success. Some browns have been caught trolling north of Two Rivers and south of Manitowoc on stick baits behind planer boards. Most browns have been on the small side so far. Whitetails are moving frequently and waterfowl are ubiquitous along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Many species of migratory birds are resting along the shoreline and a large flock of swans was even observed. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County – Fishing pressure has been low due to frozen waters and undesirable fishing conditions. It has snowed, rained, and been cool and windy over the past few days. Ice is still present in many locations on the Green Bay side, but is quickly deteriorating. The remaining ice is no longer safe for ice fishing. Trout do not seem to be in the creeks yet but will be soon. There may be some opportunity near shore from brown trout but fishing has been limited so far. No angler activity was observed on county creeks. Water temperatures are running about 33-degrees for all creeks. Most had moderate flows, and all had clear waters. No fish were seen at Whitefish, Heins and Shivering Sands creeks. here was no fishing pressure observed on the shores and piers of northern Door County. Lake Michigan surface temperature was 39-degrees. A few anglers have been fishing around Sturgeon Bay where the ice is breaking up or melted. The ramps on Green Bay are still frozen over, therefore no boats have been launching from them. Boats have started putting in at Baileys Harbor and the City Dock Ramp in Sturgeon Bay.- David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay

It was very windy throughout the week slowing fishing. Along the lower west shore of the bay the ice is still not open, but more snow is melting on top of the ice. The Fox River was very busy this week with both boat and shore fishermen. Anglers were targeting walleye, but the numbers were low. The main baits used were jigs and minnows, various colors of rapalas, crank baits (chartreuse and green), and other various plastics (purple). Other species caught were whitefish, the numbers were low and all were released. The water temperature was around 38-41 degrees. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Ice conditions on Green Bay are deteriorating rapidly. Anglers choosing to venture out on to the ice should use extreme caution. With increased flow steelhead should start moving into the streams. Anglers choosing to fish the Ahnapee River should be reminded of the refuge located below the Forestville dam that exists for 500 feet. - Neal Patrick, conservation warden, Sister Bay

Potawatomi State Park - About 3-inches of heavy wet snow fell Tuesday. Ice conditions are deteriorating. The Coast Guard has been breaking ice off the park’s shoreline so ships can depart winter lay-ups at Bay Shipbuilding. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Kewaunee County - Over the past couple weeks, large flocks of tundra swans have been migrating through Kewaunee and Brown counties and can be viewed feeding in corn fields in large numbers - David Allen, conservation warden, Kewaunee

Fishing pressure has been low due to frozen waters and undesirable fishing conditions. It has snowed, rained, and been cool and windy over the past few days. Trout seem to be running in Kewaunee but not the other rivers or creeks yet. Quite a few rainbow trout and a brown trout have been taken out of the Kewaunee River, near Footbridge and Bruemmer Park. They were caught using spawn sacs. White suckerfish were also taken off of County Road E. Most of the effort has been at these locations. Kewaunee River has been pretty high with brown, murky waters and a moderate flow. The water temperature rose from a slushy 29- to 33-degrees. On the Ahnapee River, fishing pressure was extremely low. Near the dam the water temperature was 32-degrees, and 37-degrees nearer the Ahnapee Trail. Water was slow moving and was a dark, rusty color. There was no fishing pressure on the shores. Lake Michigan surface temperature was 39-degrees. Fishing effort was very small on the Kewaunee Pier, with none on all other pier.

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan the piers have had a fair amount of angling pressure the past few days, however, there have been very few fish being caught. Most successful anglers are fishing earlier in the morning and are casting spoons or spawn. Anglers targeting steelhead on the Sheboygan River have not had much luck. The occasional steelhead or northern pike was caught near the Kohler Dam. Steelheading in Weedens Creek has also been slow, but a few fish have been taken in the Pigeon River near the wayside on County Highway LS and upstream at the County Highway Y bridge. The water temperature in all Sheboygan area tributaries is around 38 degrees.

Ozaukee County - Fishing in the Port Washington area was somewhat slow this weekend. Saturday’s high winds made fishing the north break wall nearly impossible, and very few boats were venturing out of the harbor. However, anglers were able to find a few rainbows and brown trout near the utility discharge. In the past week water levels have dropped in Sauk Creek and the water clarity has increased. Water temperatures have now risen to 42 degrees as of Saturday.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee McKinley, Riverfront, and South Shore boat launches are all open. When the winds have been light, boats were reporting a good number of brown trout and a few lake trout being caught either jigging or trolling the gaps with spoons. Anglers fishing the Summerfest area were reporting a few browns caught on medium golden shiners under a float. Shore fishing has been best when the winds have been light. A few fishermen were under the Hoan Bridge at Jones Island fishing for browns, and a few fish have been reported caught on live bait. There were some steelheaders in Oak Creek, but fishing was slow with only a few rainbows seen. Fishing at the Oak Creek power plant has been slow. The Milwaukee River is at moderate to high levels with low water clarity due to the recent snowmelt. The water temperature was 38-40 degrees. Anglers below the North Avenue dam were reporting some steelhead being caught on spawn sacs, and a few walleye and northern pike have been caught as well. Upstream of the dam fishing has been slow. The Menomonee River is at normal water levels with clear water and the temperature is in the upper 30s. A few anglers were catching some brown trout over at MMSD; however, anglers targeting perch were reporting minimal catches. Fly fishermen at Miller Park caught a few rainbows in the deeper pools, but not many fish were seen in the area overall.

Racine County - In Racine the ice has finally disappeared from Reefpoint Marina. Boat anglers were casting crank baits and spoons while maneuvering around the docks on Sunday. Good catches of brown trout were reported by shore anglers fishing the marina with spawn sacks on the bottom. Fishing success has been hit or miss on the lakefront due to shifting winds and large variations in temperature. A few anglers were seen on North Pier with no reports of fish taken. Surface temperature on the lake was 39 degrees last Friday. On the Root River, anglers casting flies and spawn sacks reported good catches of steelhead earlier in the week at the Horlick Dam. Large numbers of suckers filled the river by the dam on Saturday morning, providing anglers with nonstop action. Anglers at Quarry Lake and Lincoln Parks hooked into suckers as well, with reports of a few northern pike taken. Anglers at Island Park and Washington Park landed several steelhead using spawn sacks and wax worms. The steelhead averaged from 3 to 7 pounds. Adding two or three wax worms to a jig head or a plain hook while fishing under a slip bobber worked well. The flow and water level has steadily dropped during the past week with the river temperature at 41-42F on Saturday. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, April 8. A total of 75 steelhead have been passed upriver so far this spring, and our next processing day is scheduled for Monday.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha a few boaters ventured out from the ramps on Sunday. Most worked the harbor area and the piers. A few boaters landed brown trout and steelhead using wax worms and crank baits. Shore anglers fishing at Southport Marina report catching a few brown trout and the harbor continues to produce steelhead and a few brown trout. Anglers using wax worms, spawn sacks, and jigs tipped with white plastic twister tails reported success. Anglers casting crank baits landed a few brown trout while fishing the rocky shore around the 50th street bridge. Fishing pressure on the Pike River picked up a bit on Friday as the water level and flow rate continued to drop. Anglers drifting spawn sacks and fly fishing with egg patterns were kept busy landing suckers. One fly fisherman landed a few steelhead while casting green sucker spawn and egg sucking leeches.

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General | Northern Region | Northeast Region | Southeast Region | South Central Region | West Central Region | Top

South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Trails are all open and in passable condition; however trees that blew down during the winter may create temporary obstructions. The trails will be in very muddy conditions with all the rain we received. Warm days have seen several visitors hiking and viewing wildlife. Visitors have reported hearing spring peepers and chorus frogs in the evenings. Turkeys have been gobbling more and are beginning to separate from their groups. Turkey hunting will be occurring throughout the river way so hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing. Bird watchers are reporting an excellent spring waterfowl migration with several species passing through. The waterfowl have their spring plumage and look beautiful. - Matt Sequin, property manager

Iowa County - The walleyes have been biting mile just up from the Hwy. 14 bridge on the Wisconsin River. The smallmouth bass have been biting off of Hwy Y on the Wisconsin River. Inland trout fishermen have been having good luck in the early catch and release season catching nice sized brown trout in Love Creek. Tom turkeys have been seen all over Sauk and Iowa counties displaying for their hens. Scattered sightings of sandhill cranes have been seen in northern Iowa County. Turkey hunters are reminded to be sure of their target and what is beyond that tom turkey they are shooting at. If you see another hunter approaching your decoy set up, don’t wave at them (some hunters shoot at movement and may think you are a turkey), speak in a loud and clear voice that you are a hunter. There are a good number and a lot of variety of ducks migrating back from the south, especially on the Wisconsin River between Spring Green and Sauk City. - David Youngquist, conservation warden, Dodgeville

Blue Mound State Park - All trails are open to hiking and a little wet and soft. Mountain bike trails are closed. The mountain bike trails typically remain closed each spring for several weeks until adequate drying of the trail base. Please contact the park for current trail conditions at 608-437-5711. The campground and roads are open. All water facilities are currently closed. A cold water hydrant is located at the campground entrance near the recyclable container. - Kevin Swenson, park manager

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Winter does not want to let go of its grip. Opening day turkey hunters were greeted with a sleet storm, and more snow in the forecast. However, spring continues to roll in, evidenced by the spring peepers being heard at Swan Lake Wildlife Area this week. Waterfowl continue to provide excellent birding opportunities around the county. Many traditional spots, such as Whalen Grade at Lake Wisconsin as well as flooded farm fields are sporting many species of water birds. Species seen this week include mergansers, buffleheads, ruddy ducks, shovelers, redheads, blue-winged teal, mallards, scaup, canvasbacks, coots, tundra swans, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, red-winged blackbirds, and kill-deer. Turkey flocks are beginning to break up with lone toms and small groups of toms seen roaming the countryside. Mallards are reported to be searching for nest sites. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Water levels are up in the Wisconsin River system. There is open water down to Lake Wisconsin. Walleyes are starting to move upstream. Turkeys are still in their winter flocks. Ice fishermen are still catching panfish on local lakes. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Water levels on the Rock River continue to rise causing flooding throughout Rock County. Slow-no-wake restrictions are in effect, but boating on the river is not safe at this time because of the high, fast-flowing water. The walleye run is on and fishermen report having good success below the dams on the Rock River with jigs and minnows. Northern pike are also biting on the Rock River with several fish over 30 inches being kept at Indianford. Game-fishing for walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge is closed on all inland waters until the first Saturday in May. The only open waters for game-fish in Rock County are the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong. Closed areas for game-fishing include all tributaries to the Rock River, such as Turtle Creek, Yahara River, and Traxler Pond. Traxler Pond continues to produce crappie. Anglers are reminded that 2012 fishing licenses expired March 31 and new licenses are available. Several hunter and boater education classes are being offered in the county over the next couple months. Check the DNR webpage for class details and contact numbers. The spring fish and game hearing was held April 8 and had 96 attended. Spring hearing results can be found on the DNR website. The spring turkey season is now open and turkeys are starting to break away from the winter flocks. The youth spring turkey hunt was held last weekend and weather was ideal. Several youth hunters reported harvesting birds, but participation in Rock County seemed to be light. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville

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West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

Willow River State Park - Willow Falls is running approximately 10 times its normal flow right now, according to the USGS. The weather turned ugly Wednesday and bad weather is expected to stay for a couple days. It is an opportunity to see the falls at considerably higher than normal flow. Unpredictable things can happen off trail along a river in flood, even to those with years of off trail-back country experience. Stay on the trail. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - As water temperatures in ponds, lakes, and marshes approach 50 degrees during the next several weeks, frogs and toads will begin calling. Like male songbirds, male frogs and toads announce their presence to females by singing or calling. Also like birds, each species of frog and toad has a unique call. Because frogs and toads are amphibians, they require water for breeding and have specific breeding habitat preferences, just as birds have preferred breeding habitats, and water temperature preferences. Some breed in woodland pools, some in spring seeps, and others in cattail marshes. Frog and toad eggs, which are laid in water, hatch into tadpoles and metamorphose into adult frogs or toads. Chorus frogs are the first frog to call in the spring, beginning from March to mid-April. Their calling is soon followed by that of wood frogs and spring peepers. Toads usually begin calling or trilling in late April or early May, followed rapidly by leopard and pickerel frogs, then green frogs, gray tree frogs, and cricket frogs. Mink frogs usually call by early June, and bullfrogs begin calling shortly thereafter. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Spring doesn’t want to arrive at the state forest. There is still some snow in the woods and temperatures are predicted to be 10-15 degrees lower than average for the next several days. Trails are closed and will reopen for the summer season on May 15. We will be working on the Pray connector this spring to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system - Peter Bakken, superintendent

Trempealeau County - Even with snow still on the ground, the tom turkeys are gobbling and quite active at dawn. Spring birds are being seen in the northern parts of Trempealeau and Jackson counties, although winter birds such as Juncos, are still visiting bird feeders in the area. Walleye fishing on the Mississippi River has slowed with the rising water levels and the cool-down of the water from snow-melt. Boat registrations and most hunting and fishing licenses expired at the end of March, so be sure to check yours before venturing into the Wisconsin outdoors. - Robin Barnhardt, conservation warden, Osseo

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Red Cedar State Trail - Flooding is expected the next couple of days. Some sections of trail maybe closed especially between Menomonie and Irvington. Please use caution and never walk or bike through flowing water. Please stay off the trail until the tread hardens to minimize damage to the trail surface. Deep ruts or footprints are difficult to fix and the trail is easier to grade without these obstacles. Bicyclists 16 years or older must buy a state trail pass before using the trail. Trail users may buy trail passes at the self-registration station in Menomonie or in Downsville if no trail attendant is present. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Campsites 8, 9, 16 are first come basis. Drinking water is available at the park office next to the restroom. All other sites are closed to camping for the season due to roads, trails and campsites still being ice and snow covered. There are open areas by the Buckhorn Bridge where people have started shore fishing. The bridge is also a good early morning bird watching spot. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the office lot. Buckhorn State Park is Zone 1F and open for those drawn for the special permits for the first three periods. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are closed. Parking is in the winter lot and park stickers are still required. Please do not block the main gate. The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset and is not maintained for winter use. No food, drinks or pets are allowed and visitors are restricted to the stairway to protect the natural area. The transition from winter to spring is a great time to take photos for the 20th annual photo contest. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the winter lot. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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MADISON, WI - The weekly Wisconsin fishing reports & hunting report from 4/18/13 are gathered local DNR officials, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. They are compiled. There are always current Wisconsin Fishing Reports and hunting reports as well as outdoor reports in this forum. Enjoy.

For Current Wisconsin Fishing Reports - Click Here

Snow remains deep and the ice thick in the Northwoods while rain continues to fall and rivers continue to rise in the south. And most everywhere conditions have been cold and soggy, which has made many anglers and turkey hunters understandably surly.

Turkeys, more often than not, are bunched up and hunters have had limited success. Rain, snow and cold have frustrated turkey hunters from Bayfield to Pepin counties, but there have been some successful hunts in Grant, Lafayette and Sauk counties.

Sandhills in the snow

Sandhill cranes foraging this week through the snow in the Brule River State Forest

Photo by Catherine Khalar

Lake Superior is open along the south shore in Bayfield County, but Chequamegon Bay is still locked in ice.

Anglers are reporting limited success, overall, and miserable weather conditions.

Ice fishing is still an option in many northern regions, including the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, where up to 36-inches of ice remains, along with 17-inches of snow on the ground. Anglers there have had some success with panfish.

Elsewhere, including, where rivers are high, anglers are finding steelhead opportunities and success on tributary streams of Lake Michigan and several anglers are doing well fishing just outside the harbors for brown trout on Lake Michigan. Inland lakes still are covered in ice, although they have begun to show signs of melting around the edges. In Racine and surrounding Lake Michigan counties, rivers are discharging large amounts of muddy water into the lake, resulting in a cloudy mess along the lakefront.

The Mississippi River is also on the rise and fishing activity has been heavy, but with limited success. The Wisconsin River is high, fast and boating and fishing is not advised.

Forest migrants arriving back included sapsuckers, winter wren, hermit thrush, kinglets, fox sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers. Birders also reported the first few early warblers of the spring including yellow, palm and pine warblers.

A pair of bald eagles is setting up house in Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area. A pair of ospreys was also confirmed nesting in an old hawk nest on the west side of the Theresa Marsh. Robins are being seen everywhere, including Brule River State Forest.

Chorus frogs were heard this week, but amphibian activity has been low. Some white-tailed bucks have been spotted with new antler growth visible. Coyote pups have been born over the last week. Wildflowers have been slow to bloom, but spring beauties pasque flowers have been seen emerging, but not blooming yet.

There are more opportunities for people to work and play at state parks this weekend, with Work*Play*Earth Day events scheduled this Saturday, April 20 at Big Foot Beach State Park near Lake Geneva, the Hank Aaron State Trail in Milwaukee, Kohler Andrae State Park near Sheboygan, Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee, the Lapham Peak Unit Kettle Moraine State Forest near Delafield and Newport State Park near Ellison Bay.

The maple syrup season is in full swing in northern Wisconsin with snow covering most of the north making for high quality sap. A very successful season is winding down in central and southern Wisconsin with many producers reporting higher than normal sugar content and excellent sap runs this year. The weather forecast will likely extend the maple syrup season in northern Wisconsin for at least another week.

Statewide Birding Report

Warm fronts early in the week finally brought the expected push of mid-April migrants into southern and central Wisconsin, but northern Wisconsin birders are still firmly entrenched in the throes of a very late spring. Forest migrants arriving this week included sapsuckers, winter wren, hermit thrush, kinglets, fox sparrows and yellow-rumped warblers. Birders also reported our first few early warblers of the spring including yellow, parula, water thrushes, palm and pine warblers. These birds should linger in high numbers as the northern half of the state is locked in ice and snow. With recent rains there is an abundance of sheet water in farm fields and very high water levels in area wetlands. Recent migrants include American bittern, great egret, Virginia rail and swamp sparrows. Our first shorebird reports are coming in including avocets, godwits and a black-necked stilt at Horicon Marsh. High water levels and cooler temps should produce excellent shorebird viewing conditions in farm fields and lowlands across most of southern and central Wisconsin. Lakes are open now south of the tension zone bringing large numbers of loons, grebes, waterfowl, pelicans and our first Forster’s terns and Bonaparte’s gulls of the year. Large flocks of tundra swans are still feeding in flooded fields in western and northeast Wisconsin. South winds on Monday and Tuesday brought our first broad-winged hawks of the year along with a nice push of accipiters, red-tails and immature red-shouldered hawks. Grasslands are beginning to pick up with meadowlarks, field sparrows, savanna sparrows, vesper sparrows and harriers all back on territory. Look for Henslow’s sparrows and upland sandpipers to arrive on the next warm front. Canada geese, sandhill and whooping cranes, American robins and other early nesters are now sitting on eggs while great-horned owlets are starting to leave their nests in the south. Look for a large push of birds across all habitat types on the next warm front. Hopefully this will bring some hope to those birders still feeding redpolls in northern Wisconsin. As always, please report your sightings to Wisconsin eBird www.ebird.org/WI exit DNR) so that we can better track our migratory bird populations.- Andy Paulios, wildlife biologists and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative coordinator

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - It may be cold and snowy but that is not enough to cool the romance in the air. Male red-winged black birds, woodcock, and robins are setting up their territories before the females make their way up north. Male sharp tail grouse are displaying on their leks (dancing grounds) and tom turkeys are still gobbling, trying to attract hens. Other birds that have come back recently are turkey vultures and killdeer, and sand hill cranes. The Bois Brule River is open (other than shelf ice), yet area lakes remain ice covered. The ground remains snow covered and more snow is expected. The Douglas County Fish and Game League will be hosting their annual Sports Show April 19, 20, and 21 at Wessman Arena. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Ashland County - Last week saw even more snow. Ice conditions on Lake Superior are not good. Approaches are melting out and open areas are starting to appear at predicted locations as well as many unpredicted locations. So, extreme caution should be used on the ice. Deer are starting to show up in large numbers along road ditches and out in open fields where grass is starting to show. The area is under several inches of snow and robins can be seen waiting in trees and on wires for a chance to find food. So robins along with many humans are confused by this Northwood’s spring weather pattern we are stuck in. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland

Bayfield County - The area keeps getting snow. Last week some areas of the peninsula had 20-inches of snow with more to come with the latest storm. Some of the tributary streams opened a few weeks ago, but with the snow so deep not many people have been fishing them as of yet. Lake Superior is open along the south shore, but Chequamegon Bay is still locked in and it is expected to be a couple weeks before any kind of smelting may be done. Turkey hunters have been having a hard time in the north trying to find the birds as well as wanting to have to sit out in the present conditions. - Amie Egstad, conservation warden, Bayfield

Douglas County - Spring is still not in sight for the northwest corner of the state. An additional 10-inches of wet snow is predicted for the end of this week. Fishing is almost non-existent around the area as it appears most anglers have put their ice fishing equipment away for the year. Period A turkey hunters were faced with terrible conditions, although a few birds were reportedly taken in southern Douglas County. Walleye spawning is easily two or three weeks away, and that assumes a return to seasonable conditions. - John Krull, conservation warden, Superior

Copper Falls State Park - All of the trails are still trying to break free of winter. With the crazy weather this spring at the park the trails are still left snow covered and slippery. All ski trails are closed for the season and are currently open to hikers and snowshoers. Access to the trails is still limited to the winter access parking lots. Anyone wanting to see Copper Falls and Brownstone Falls should limit their hike to the designated winter trail. There are several rock steps along the Doughboy Trail that are snow covered and icy. Visitors are advised to not traverse these areas. Visitors are still able to view both of the falls and Tyler Forks Cascades from the designated winter loop. The local lakes are still under a sheet of ice with the shorelines starting to show open water edges. Visitors are advised to stay off of the ice at this time of year. The waterfalls within the park have just started to break open from under the ice that locked them in time over winter. We have yet to see high amounts of runoff to raise water levels to normal springtime conditions. We expect that good viewing of spring waterfall conditions to begin by the weekend of April 26. We still need to see a warming trend in the weather in order for the local rivers to rise to spring like conditions. There are still only 6 plowed winter camping sites due to the amount of snow within the park. More than 8 inches of snow remains on the ground. As the weather hopefully warms and melts the snow, more sites will open as they become accessible for availability. Due to the freezing weather conditions, the pressurized water systems to the campgrounds and picnic areas remain shut down. Visitors can access drinking water at the parks maintenance building located near the North Campground. - Emily Anderson, visitor services associate

Pattison State Park - With the recent snowfall, the park currently has 8 inches of snow on the ground. The ski trails are now closed for the season and are open once again for hiking as well as snowshoeing. Both Big Manitou Falls and Little Manitou Falls are starting to open up and running water is visible once again. The hiking trails are snow covered and slippery going to Little and Big Manitou Falls from the park office parking lot. The trail to Big Manitou Falls from the parking lot on County Highway B is currently cleared of snow. Please call the park at 715-399-3111 for up to the minute park conditions. The number of campers has increased over the past month with the onset of spring approaching. - Phillip Brown, Ranger

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Spring is slowly arriving. Some highlights include: black ducks spotted on Middle North Fork, common mergansers spotted on Dike 6, several ring-neck ducks and hooded mergansers on open water, yellow-rumped warbler, American tree sparrow, vesper sparrow, and fox sparrow. The northern part of Phantom Lake has a good amount of open water as well as the south end of the refuge (Main Dike Road). Other flowages are spotty with open water on the edges. Grettum Flowage on Fish Lake Wildlife Area has high numbers of a variety of ducks as well as coots. In celebration of Earth Day, there will be a showing of “Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time,” Monday, April 22 at 6 p.m. To learn more, visit http://www.crexmeadows.org/events.htm - Heidi Rusch, natural resources educator

Washburn County - Although the weather is tough on all of us and is postponing wildlife activity, the osprey are all back to Washburn County and sharp-tailed grouse are still dancing at the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area, although not as much as they will once the weather improves. - Nancy Christel, wildlife biologist, Spooner

Cumberland DNR Service Center area

Baron County - The second turkey period started with similar conditions to last week. Temperatures were in the low thirties with a good layer of crusty snow across the Cumberland area. Some reports of success are coming, but turkeys area still grouped up in larger numbers. The deer are being observed in agricultural fields during the mid-afternoon hours searching for food in areas where the snow is melting away. The ice is still over 20-inches thick on most area lakes and fishermen are still getting on the lakes for some panfish action. - Phil Dorn, conservation warden, Cumberland

Ladysmith DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Ice conditions are slowly deteriorating on waters across the Northwoods, but most lakes still have 20-to-22 inches of ice cover. Most of the snow on top of the ice has melted down and refrozen to form some decent walking conditions. There are some soft spots in the ice along the north and west shores and near the access areas, and there are also some small areas of open water near inlets and outlets. A few panfish anglers have still been out on the ice trying their luck and have been seeing some fair success, with a few decent catches of crappie, perch and bluegill being reported. The big question in the Northwoods is whether the ice cover will be gone for the opening of fishing season on May 4. Given the current conditions and weather forecast for the next week, it is anticipated that many, if not all lakes, will still have some ice cover for the fishing opener. As such, anglers should have alternate plans in case their favorite lake is still iced in. These could include some smaller lakes which usually see ice-out before the larger lakes, and area streams and rivers, which will be running high but should be fully open. A comment often heard with late ice-out conditions is that the fish will just spawn under the ice, which for the most part is just not true. While some northern pike and walleye do run up streams and rivers to spawn, the majority of them spawn in the shallows of lakes and flowages just after the ice goes out. Water temperature is the key to spawning for these species, and temperatures under the ice are only in the 32-to-36 degree range. Once the ice does go out, water temperatures quickly rise and this triggers the spawning urge for the fish. With late ice-outs, this usually happens very quickly and most spawning is then completed in just a matter of days. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Trails are very wet. The Flambeau River State Forest ATV trails are tentatively planned to open back up on May 15, but due to wet conditions please call ahead before heading out. Local lakes still are ice covered, but both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are open. Early paddlers are likely going to experience lots of ice going down the river and very cold conditions, please use caution. There is still 6-12 inches of snow in the woods. Most banks and tree bases where the sun is hitting have melted off and lots of open patches are showing in lawns. Robins, wood ducks and geese are being seen in the area. The woodcock is doing its spring dance. Turkeys are gobbling and it definitely sounds like spring even if it doesn’t look like it just yet. Local maple syrup makers are reporting a good sap run with high sugar content in the sap. Lake of the Pines Campground is open, but still has snow cover in much of the campgrounds. Expect very wet conditions. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area - With 17 inches of snow still on the ground and more forecasted, spring is nowhere in sight. Early mornings provide great snowshoeing before the snow softens. The early turkey seasons prove to be tough this year, requiring snow camouflage and lots of snowshoeing to find birds. We hear some reports of toms strutting in the middle of roads since it is the only bare ground available. Some of the smaller creeks are running and ice free. With 30-36 inches of ice on the lakes, ice fishing for panfish can still be done. Vehicle traffic is not recommended on the flowage. Based on future weather forecasts, the May opener for fishing will be an ice fishing experience rather than open water. - Christine Paulik, parks and recreation specialist, Mercer

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Northeast Region

Marinette County - Rain has melted almost all the snow in southern Marinette County and in open areas in the north. Some wooded areas have a foot of snow yet, but that is becoming more the exception than the rule. Turkey hunters are having a rough go of it with some crusty snow, large groups of birds, and nasty weather. Toms gobble a little on the roost at daybreak and then all the birds are nearly silent. Successful hunters are finding the birds’ pattern and getting in their way, then using soft calling to convince the birds within range. Some ice anglers have been seen on Noquebay, but the open water near shore and prediction of 1.5 inches of rain this week will likely put an end to lake access. Woodcock are back in good numbers now and can be heard peenting during low light periods. No frogs calling yet and most plants have yet to begin growing. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Water temperatures at the dam in Peshtigo rose last week from 34 degrees to 38 degrees. Catch rates and fishing pressure were both moderate to heavy, with fish in the 20-30 inch range being caught using Rapala's (fire tigers) and jig heads and twister bodies working well. The Menominee River is starting to produce walleye, whitefish and brown trout from the dam at Hattie Street to Stephenson Island. Boaters are launching from Boom Landing and fishing down river to the mouth with some success catching walleye and whitefish. - Kevin King, creel clerk

Oconto County - Northern pike are up in most west shore ditches for the annual spring spawning run, which is about 2-3 weeks later than normal. The walleye run is also heating up with several 8-10 pound fish being caught below the Stiles Dam. Crank baits seem to be the preferred baits. Swans seem to be staging in the area as they wait for ice and snow to leave farther north. A number of fields have swans in feeding and getting ready for the rest of their migration. Turkey hunters for the first period said hunting was poor at best, but some hunters did reports some success between the rains and snow. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

The walleye bite at the Stiles Dam is starting to improve. Most anglers are using stick baits fished in the current with a very slow retrieve. Others are using live bait presentations such as the Carolina rig or slip bobbers and jig heads tipped with minnows. Fish are ranging between 21-30 inches. Some fish are being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River. Oconto Park II is still frozen. - Kevin King, creel clerk

Shawano County - There is still ice out on most of the area lakes with anglers still walking out on Shawano Lake and fishing. Some panfish are being caught. Anglers are reminded that wearing a life jacket is a very good idea. Lots of migrating birds are moving in, including swans flying west and geese and ducks flying north. Fish are starting to spawn in area waters with walleye and northern starting first. Turkey hunters are having a hard time with cold and rain. Snow on the ground has made it harder to get out and about. When the sun comes out the birds are displaying but those moments are few and far between. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano

Governor Thompson State Park - It is April, but you can’t tell that by looking out the window here. Winter’s snowy grip is still felt here. All trails are open to hikers, but most are still covered in snow and ice. Snowshoes are recommended for hiking. It’s a late spring this year and the ground is still too frozen to turn on the campground water system. The east and north loops of the family campground will open on Friday, May 10 and reservations are being taken - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - High and fast river conditions have affected fishing. On many stretches of Manitowoc County tributaries the flood stage conditions are a double edged sword that is limiting fishing success. There’s much more water moving through the river, lowering the odds that an angler’s bait or lure will cross the path of an active fish and also making it more difficult to present properly. Secondly, the suspended sediment in the water reduces visibility to the point where a fish is unable to see your presentation. It’s not all bad news though; there are areas where fish are concentrating in relatively high numbers on account of their spring spawning migrations, and they can be caught, high water and all. The Shoto Dam, on the West Twin River is holding the most steelhead in the area. Steelhead spawn and other tied spawn sacs are the most productive baits, followed by egg mimicking soft plastics and flies. Most successful presentations are being fished under floats. Since water temperatures are still in the upper 30s range, floating a stretch of water with your presentation many times may be needed to trigger a strike. The Mishicot Dam on the East Twin River is also holding fish and there is more area to fish downstream. The water levels on the Branch River, Little Manitowoc River, and Silver Creek have begun to recede and are somewhat fishable, though limited success has been reported. The Manitowoc River is still under a flood warning and would be difficult to fish in most areas, and dangerous if wading. Some channel catfish have been caught in Manitowoc harbor and a few browns have been caught on spoons or spawn off the piers. There have been few boats venturing out because of the poor weather, though some boats north of Two Rivers are having success with brown trout in 10-25 feet of water with minnow imitating lures. Few if any kings have been caught yet. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - Fishing pressure has still been relatively low due to bad weather and frozen conditions on most of the Green Bay side. Temperatures ranged from low 30s to low 40s, with some heavy precipitation mid-week that made fishing conditions even worse. Nevertheless, a few anglers are fishing in the creeks for steelhead and off the piers for browns. A few anglers have been spotted fishing the creeks for steelhead and, although there has not been great success, they are reporting seeing both trout and northern pike in the waters. The creeks have come down some from the rain earlier in the week but are still running high and wide, flooded in some places. Water temperatures remain in the low to mid 30s, except for Heins Creek, which is running just above 40 degrees. Several anglers have been fishing off the piers in Sturgeon Bay for brown trout, but we haven’t heard of anything being caught out there yet. The other piers in the county are either completely iced in, or barely have open water, and have not seen any pressure. Shore access is also limited in the area, with ice over most of the Green Bay side. The canal looks really good, but we have not seen any anglers on its shores yet. Boats still can’t launch from the frozen harbors on the Green Bay side. With the weather conditions, the ramp in Sturgeon Bay was not accessible for the majority of the week, but there were a few boats out on Sunday. Baileys Harbor had a trailer or two this week as well, but we were not able to find out for sure if they were having success. - David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay

Overall temperatures are slowly staying in 30s and low 40s with rain/snow all week. Fishing pressure this week was a slower than that last few weeks. The shoreline at Geano Beach and the Suamico River are open now. On the Lower West Shore of the Bay, fishing pressure was very slow. Along the Fox River, fishing pressure was moderate. There were more people fishing off of the shore than boats. Walleye numbers were lower this week than past weeks. Fishermen were targeting walleye using minnows, stick baits (blue, gold, silver in color) for bait and in about 3-25 feet of water. Walleyes were anywhere from 16 inches up to 28 inches. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Winter continues to hold on in northern Door County. The bay of Green Bay is still ice covered with ice that is not safe to venture out on. With recent warm temperatures the spring runoff has brought decent amounts of flow to numerous streams in the county allowing fish to beginning their spring migrations up to spawn. Anglers should be reminded that northern pike fishing is closer in all of the tributary streams north of Manitowoc County along the Lake Michigan and Green Bay shorelines. Angles should also exercise extreme caution if venturing out into the waters of Green Bay or Lake Michigan as ice has begun to move and may impede safe travel.- Neal Patrick, conservation warden, Sister Bay

Kewaunee County - Poor weather still plagues turkey hunters, although toms have become more responsive than the last few weeks. Rivers remain running high and are providing steelhead fishing opportunities on the tributary streams of Lake Michigan and several anglers are doing well fishing just outside the harbors for brown trout on Lake Michigan. Inland lakes still are covered in ice, although they have begun to show signs of melting around the edges and should not be trusted to walk or fish on. - David Allen, conservation warden, Kewaunee

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Marguett County - Turkey hunters are reporting difficulty in harvesting birds with continual rain and windy conditions. Hunters are stating the birds are still in their winter flocks and have not been responding very well to calls. The ice is off area lakes and rivers, but the marshes and small ponds are still partially ice covered. The water level on the Fox River is high, but fishermen are catching some nice walleyes near Montello. - Judi Nigbor, conservation warden, Wautoma

Waupaca County - The Wisconsin River is high and fast. The water temperatures are hanging around 35 degrees which seems to be keeping the fish bite relatively slow below the Nekoosa dam. Some anglers are finding a few keepers, but most are going home empty handed. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, New London

Spring is trying to arrive. It is very wet and river levels high. Even with bad weather conditions, walleyes are still biting on the Wolf New London on downstream. Ducks are back in large numbers including blue-winged teal, normally a late arrival. Poygan Wildlife Area would be a good place for waterfowl viewing right now. Very little green up has happened to date and the only vegetation that has started to grow here is Skunk Cabbage. Ice is still present on most area lakes but is looking downright ugly. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - Rain and cold has slowed any early trout fishing in Waushara County. The turkey hunters report things are slow and quiet in the woods. Birds have been starting to gobble more, but only for a short time in the morning. I would like to remind folks that a majority of state property restricts vehicle access and unless you have specific permission from the property manager to stay in the parking areas with your vehicles. The wet conditions can tear up the ground quickly and really impact the resources. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Winnebago County - Even though it doesn’t seem much like spring it is here and with spring comes new wildlife. In the animal world many mothers will be having young and people are encouraged to keep their distance. Wildlife animals work in different ways and although one may think the baby animal is abandoned it more than likely is not. Viewing baby animals from a distance with little disturbance is the appropriate way to enjoy their presence. However, people should not be touching or picking up baby animals. More than likely the mother is around but keeping her distance to keep predators away. People should leave these baby animals in the wild and handling them or raising them without specific licenses is illegal. It is more appropriate to enjoy them in their natural environment and let nature take its course. If someone believes strongly that the baby is abandoned then they should contact a licensed local animal rehabilitation facility by going to the DNR website and searching for the rehabilitation directory. The directory lists the licensed rehabilitation centers by county including animals the can or will take in. - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan there has been no activity recently on the Sheboygan River due to high, fast, dirty water. Water levels have gone down approximately three-feet over the past week, with a water temperature around 34 degrees. The river is largely confined to its banks, but current is still fast with very low clarity. Weedens Creek has experienced a similar drop in water levels, but water remains dirty and cold (around 36 degrees). There has been no activity on the Pigeon River for the past few days due to high, fast, dirty water. Water levels have gone down approximately two feet over the past week, with water temperature around 38 degrees. The river is still high, fast, and dirty and covers near shore areas, but the trails at Maywood Environmental Park are exposed and accessible. Access at Evergreen Park is still blocked, as is the wayside on County Highway LS. On the Sheboygan piers there has been light fishing pressure over the past few days. This past weekend anglers mainly targeted the South Pier using shiners and spoons for browns and rainbows, but nothing was caught. Water on the lake side of both piers is quite clear, while water in the marina has very low clarity. The fish cleaning station on South Pier Road is still closed, as is the 8th Street ramp. The 14th Street ramp, along the Sheboygan River, remains under a massive snow pile and will likely be unusable for the remainder of April.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing pressure is low because of high water levels in Sauk Creek and overall cold weather conditions. Like other streams in the area, Sauk Creek has dropped considerably over the past week and has a water temperature around 38 degrees. Water within the Port marina is dirty, but water on the lake side of the pier has increased in clarity. A couple of people netted for smelt at the base of the North Pier over the weekend, but they did not catch any. The fish cleaning stations in port are still closed.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee the McKinley, Riverfront, and South Shore boat launches are all open. Fishing has slowed for boaters trolling or jigging in the harbor for browns, and fishing has also been slow for shore anglers working under the Hoan bridge at Summerfest and Jones Island. Steelhead fishing has improved in Oak Creek since the flows have dropped back down to a fishable level. The Milwaukee River remains high with low water clarity due to the recent rains. The water temperature is 38-40 degrees. Before the high flows, anglers below the North Avenue dam were reporting some steelhead being caught on spawn sacs, and a few walleye and northern pike had been caught as well. Flows on the Menomonee River have dropped back down, but the water remains turbid with temperatures in the upper 30s. Fishing on the Menomonee has been slow.

Racine County - In Racine the Root River discharged a large amount of muddy water into the lake for several days, transforming the water along the lakefront into a cloudy mess. After the thunderstorms moved out, anglers were challenged by strong winds gusting at 20-25 mph, temperatures in the 30s, and snow flurries. Only a few boats were seen leaving the Pershing Park boat ramps. Some anglers tried casting spoons and crank baits for brown trout off South Pier and around Reefpoint Marina with no reports of fish taken. Anglers fishing the marina and boat launch area with spawn sacks reported little success. The surface temperature on the lake was 38 degrees over the weekend. The Root River was at flood stage late last week, and although flows have dropped down, the river is still high. A few anglers tried to fish the fast and muddy water below the dam with no reports of fish taken. The road to Colonial Park and the parking lot at Island Park were still barricaded on Sunday due to high water. Anglers at Washington Park were casting flies and spinner baits with limited success. The river temperature was 40-41 degrees on Sunday. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday. Both Chambers Creek and Ganaraska strains were spawned, and 89 steelhead were released upstream. A total of 164 steelhead have been passed upriver so far this spring, and the next processing day is scheduled for Monday, April 22.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha a few browns have been taken by both boaters and shore anglers in the harbor. Crank baits have produced the best, and browns up to 15 pounds have been reported. Fishing pressure on the Pike River has been very light since last week’s heavy rain and thunderstorms. On Saturday, the water level was still near the top of the banks on some of the bends at Petrifying Springs Park. The water was fast with the bottom visible at 6-8 inches. Some anglers were seen working the river around the bridges on Hwy A with no reports of fish taken.

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Rain arrived and if the forecasts are accurate we will receive several inches of rain in the area over the next few days, resulting in localized flooding. Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Marsh Wildlife Areas will be affected since river water levels are already very high due to snow/ice runoff and heavy April rains. Turkey hunters can expect a few road closures and/or standing water in the areas where they have turkey hunted in past years. Advanced scouting is advised to make sure access is available, and you can also call (262-670-3409) about conditions on the three properties. A pair of bald eagles continues to be seen nesting west of Highway 41 and north of Highway 28. A pair of ospreys was also confirmed nesting in an old hawk nest on the west side of the Theresa Marsh. Now is a great time to view the abundant waterfowl, wading birds and shore birds on the many flooded fields and wetlands surrounding the marsh. A large flooded area south of the junction of Highway DD and N. Pole Road is being used by large numbers of blue-winged teal, coots, hooded mergansers, northern shovelers, and other waterfowl. Several harriers, otter, mink have also been seen at the main dam area. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - There hasn’t been much activity lately due to the amount of rain we received and the cold weather. The water levels are very high and much of the low river bottoms are submerged. The high water has negatively impacted much of the fishing activity throughout the riverway. Several gates are open at the Prairie Du Sac dam and there is a lot of water moving through. It is not recommended to launch a boat during these conditions. Shore fishing at night below the dam has had mixed results with best luck using crank baits or twister tails. Turkey hunting is occurring throughout the riverway and hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing. - Matt Sequin, property manager

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Grant County - The weekend in Grant County was cold and windy. Youth turkey hunting was difficult with the lingering cold weather. Many folks were out trying to get the youth a turkey. However, the bluebirds are back despite the cold. Area rivers are running high. Fishing was fair.- Martin Stone

With the addition of the past rainfalls and the spring melt water from the north, most all of the rivers and streams are at or near flood stage. The Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers continue to rise. Most all of the boat landings along the Mississippi have been closed due to the flooding. Fishing has stopped for most of the area, with the exception of the backwaters known as O’Leary Lake below lock and dam #11 near Dubuque, with anglers reporting varying success. Turkey permit holders for week 2 are not overly optimistic about hunting opportunities for this week based on the weather forecast. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville

The Wisconsin River flow at Muscoda is currently 34,600 cfs, or about twice the normal flow rate for this time of year. The river is approaching action stage, which happens when the gage height at Muscoda reaches 7.0 feet. What this means for resource users is that most of the boat landings and parking areas along the river are under water. Boating should not be considered. The first turkey season was slow and soggy, but some hunters had success despite the conditions. Most of the riverway properties saw less hunter pressure than in recent years. Toms are actively strutting, fighting with jakes, and tending flocks of hens. Turkeys are obviously not being found in the bottomland forests. However, ducks are enjoying the conditions. Great rafts of the demure coot have descended upon the marshes, with a few hooded mergansers, mallards, buffleheads, northern shovelers, blue-winged teal and even some redheads mixed in. There are currently several trumpeter swans and great egrets visiting the marsh below the Highway 61 bridge in Boscobel. Some Canada geese began laying eggs last week. Others are searching for a new place to build a dry nest. - Daniel Goltz, wildlife biologist, Boscobel

Iowa County - Rain and more rain expected through the weekend and into next week. Rivers and streams are all high, with fast moving water. Second season turkey hunters best chance for dry weather appears to be Saturday, although it will be chilly. More rain is expected after that. Turkey hunters are reporting that birds become very active during the short dry windows we have had, and hunters should try to take advantage of these as best they can. Otherwise, expect to have a difficult time calling in birds as they seem to be hunkered down and keeping quiet. Chorus frogs were heard on Tuesday, when it was warm, but amphibian activity has been low. Deer activity has been reported often, with deer sighted in ditches eating green grass. Some bucks have been sighted with new antler growth now visible. Coyote pups have been born over the last week. Wildflowers have been slow to bloom, but spring beauties have been sighted and pasque flowers are up, but neither are blooming yet. Some early season violets are popping up as well. Leaf buds on lilacs are swelling, but not opening up yet. A reminder: oak trees are susceptible to oak wilt from now until a hard freeze. Trimming or pruning any oak trees should be avoided. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville

Lafayette County - The ice is completely out all around the area. Turkey hunters have been doing well despite the wet weather. Area residences who want to get a good look at some birds we don’t get to see hang around the area very long can travel to Yellowstone Lake to see loons as well as common and hooded mergansers. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington

Lots of migratory waterfowl present in Lafayette County especially in flooded fields. Turkey hunting is slow due to the weather but should pick up if the rain quits. Frog are just starting to sing. - Bruce Folley, wildlife biologist, Darlington

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Some snow continues to hold out in shaded north facing aspects, but for the most part the ground is snow free and ice is fading fast from area lakes. Area rivers are swollen and with predicted heavy rains over the next few days, many areas will likely see flooding. Garter snakes were reported to be emerging from their winter hibernacula this week and a loon was spotted on the Wisconsin River near Sauk City. Waterfowl continue to provide excellent birding opportunities on flooded farm fields. White pelicans were spotted this week at Okee Bay on Lake Wisconsin. Turkey hunters had mixed reports of success with the poor hunting weather the first season hunters were served. The forecast for the early part of Period B doesn’t look much better. Some areas of the county are still reporting birds that are flocked up. Wildlife staff conducted pheasant surveys this week, with completely new pheasant survey routes in effect this year. Pheasants were heard crowing on all routes, though numbers seem low on many of the routes. The best bet for hearing wild pheasants crowing is around the Goose Pond Sanctuary near Arlington. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Water levels are continuing to rise. Local creeks and streams are at full bank or above. The Wisconsin River is being closely watched as predictions are moving closer to record levels especially with rain this week in the 2-4 inch range. Roads in the Blackhawk Park area are already underwater. Turkeys are still in the large winter flocks yet. Fishing is hard to do with the high fast water. Most lakes are now ice free.- Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Dane County - Opportunities are great for viewing waterfowl. With wetlands replenished and flooded farm fields, pairs can be found just about anywhere right now. - Nancy Frost, wildlife biologist, Madison

Jefferson County - A no wake restriction is in effect due to the high water levels on all bodies of water in Jefferson County. In addition, all boat launches on the Rock River in the cities of Jefferson and Fort Atkinson are closed until the river levels recede. Jefferson County Emergency Management has requested the closing of the boat launch at Koshkonong Wildlife Area, under the South 26 bypass. This boat launch is expected to close. Barricades and signs will be in place to inform the public. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County

Sauk County - Several turkey hunters had success despite the cold raining weather last week. Fishing has been slow below the Prairie du Sac dam due to the high water levels and the cold water temperatures. Last week the water temperature in the Wisconsin River was 38 degrees. The bluebirds are back and they are building nests in the nesting houses - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac

With the recent rains, the Baraboo River is up near flood stage but holding steady despite any future rains. Narrows Creek has receded back within its banks. Flocks of northern ducks and swans can been seen across the area. Redheads, bluebills, ring necks, and even a loon were observed on Dutch Hollow Lake. Several flocks of swans flying through the area and resting out in flooded farm fields were also seen. Large groups of sandhill cranes are hanging out at the old Sauk County Health Care center ponds. Large flocks of turkeys are still hanging together in the fields. Some turkey hunters have had good success the first period despite the unfavorable weather conditions. Fishing in the Reedsburg and La Valle area has been limited on the Baraboo River due to the high water. All the snow on the 400 State Trail is melted and the bed of the trail is very soft with the wet conditions at this time. - David Horzewski, conservation warden, Reedsburg

Devil's Lake State Park - It’s been soggy and cold at Devil’s Lake State Park with spring popping up here and there. The lake still has ice on it, but it looks like any day now it will finally break open. The trails are, for the most part, open but there are still some icy, snow covered spots in shady areas, but the majority of the trails are open. The trails in the Steinke Basin and Johnson Moraine area are pretty muddy and wet in spots as everything is thawing and with the rains we are having. The colder weather has set the spring flowers back a bit but you can just start to see Dutchman’s breeches, skunk cabbages, and mayapples popping up. The frogs don’t seem to be deterred by the cooler weather. You can hear western chorus frogs, spring peepers, and wood frogs in the kettle ponds on the Johnson Moraine Trail. Birds are starting to return and you can hear golden and rub-crowed kinglets signing in the woods. Song sparrows, eastern meadow larks, sandhill cranes, red-wing black birds, flycatchers, eastern phoebes, brown-headed cowbirds, tree swallows, turkey vultures, great blue herons, wild turkeys, and osprey can be seen in various parts of the part. Hopefully, when the lake opens the ducks, gulls, and loons will inhabit the lake for a bit. - Sue Johansen, natural resources educator

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West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

St. Croix County - Most area lakes still have plenty of ice. Flowages on the Willow River and Apple River are partially open. The St. Croix River still is has ice cover, but not safe to go out on. Fishing activity has been heavy on the Mississippi River near Lock and Dam 3, but success has been limited. River levels here have increased, but no flooding yet. Migrating waterfowl are present in good numbers on shallow marshes and sheet water from melting snow. Some coyote hunting is still going on with recent fresh snows. Black bears are active and hitting bird feeders and garbage cans so it is a good idea to remove these food sources now. - David A. Hausman, warden supervisor, Baldwin

Willow River State Park - For the moment, the Willow River water level is stable and clearing on Wednesday. Trout anglers have 12 more days of the catch and release season including today. However, the National Weather Service has a Flood Watch up for the area with the rain that is predicted to roll in. With that in mind, Little Falls Lake is not a storage basin. What comes in must go through. There is no set pattern to when flood gates are opened. The river rises quickly and it goes down slowly. Little Falls Lake is beginning to open up. It is slippery out there anywhere that has snow cover. The Willow Falls Hill is mostly snow covered this morning. Trekking poles or ski poles would be a help. Trails in general are going to have wet snow, puddles, wet and dry ground. Mud season is not far off. It’s really tough to run in that mixed condition and keep feet reasonably dry. Runners might want to stick to road shoulders for a while yet. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Pepin County - Turkey hunters are frustrated with the weather. Rain, snow and wind have hampered their efforts. Some hunters have talked about knee deep snow in some areas and claim their decoy stakes are not long enough. Most lakes are ice covered yet with the Chippewa River hovering near flood stage. This has limited fishing efforts. - Bill Wrasse, conservation warden, Durand

Vernon County - Turkey hunters reported fair success during the first spring turkey hunting season. Unsettled, variable weather created difficulty for some hunters in their efforts to anticipate turkey behavior. Rufous-sided towhees, yellow-rumped warblers, white-crowned sparrows, and savanna sparrows are songbirds that should rapidly move into the area as soon as the cold, wet weather breaks. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - The area received two inches of snow on Sunday. Temperatures are expected to remain 10-15 degrees below normal through this week with a wintry mix predicted for Thursday. Trails are closed and will reopen for the summer season on May 15. We will be working on the Pray connector this spring to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system. Due to flooding and snow East Fork campground did not reopen on its normal date of April 15. We hope to have it open by next week. Castle Mound campground will re-open in mid-May. - Peter Bakken, superintendent

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - The woodlands are still holding snow, over one foot deep in some areas. With the frost leaving the ground in some areas, maple sugaring has been productive this year. The rivers have open water, as do a few of the larger lakes. Small lakes and most bays continue to hold well over one foot of ice. Species of birds seen or heard include: Goldfinches, ravens, crows, phoebes, northern juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, red headed and pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, mourning doves, and blue jays. The bald eagles are moving back into the area and have been seen feeding along the roadsides. The barred owls have been aggressively trading territorial calls during the early night hours. The sandhill cranes, robins and red winged blackbirds have begun to arrive. - Dave Hladilek, park manager

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - It still looks like winter by the lake. There is still some ice on the lake, even with all the rain. There are open areas by the Buckhorn Bridge where people have started shore fishing. The bridge is also a great early morning bird watching spot. Piers will not be out until the lake is back up to normal level as they are floating piers. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the office lot. The whole area of Buckhorn State Park is Zone 1F and open for holders if special turkey permits for the first three periods. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are still closed. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the winter lot. Check out maps before going out turkey hunting. The park is open for the first three periods. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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MADISON, WI - The weekly Wisconsin fishing reports & hunting report from 4/26/13 are gathered local DNR officials, angler creel surveys, and county and state parks staff. They are compiled. There are always current Wisconsin Fishing Reports and hunting reports as well as outdoor reports in this forum. Enjoy.

For Current Wisconsin Fishing Reports - Click Here

Spring’s Jekyll and Hyde act appears to have had its -- now its spring, now its winter -- run. Warm weather and sun shine are in the forecast for the coming days. The remaining snow and ice across the northern part of the state are melting. Song birds are signing. Turkeys are finally starting to move. And, while much of the north is white, a little budding has begun in the south.

Forty-four inches of snow has fallen at the Brule Ranger Station the last two weeks in Douglas County, but to the west in Interstate Park, the St. Croix River is open and to south on Devil’s Lake, the ice is off the lake. This pattern, from north to south, and west to east, is repeated throughout the state.

Many northern waters remain ice covered, including the Upper Chippewa Basin, where 22-inches of ice remains and Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas counties have as much or more frozen ice.

In addition to northern ice fishing opportunities, steelhead anglers have had success in Door and Milwaukee counties. Steelhead anglers near Miller Park were catching some on flies or floating spawn sacs. Walleye interest and action is also picking up in many places, including on the Oconto River were nice fish are being caught below the Stiles dam using crank baits. Walleye were also biting on the Wolf River.

Depending on where you are, and how much and how fast the snow melt, water levels are rising, or falling. Most of the snow has melted and Manitowoc County’s river by the same name is running high and fast. The Rock River in Rock County is running high. The Mississippi River in Grant County has stopped rising and the Grant and Platte rivers have returned to normal levels. In Sheboygan County, the Sheboygan River has gone down considerably in the past week.

As weather conditions improve, more turkey hunters are out in Washington County and there has been more turkey activity in Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area, where more hunters have had success, but overall many hunters were frustrated last week.

Bears are also reacting to warm weather and hungry, so put your bird feeders up, or remove them. Western chorus frogs, spring peepers, and wood frogs have been heard in various wetlands. In Vernon County, some brown or Dekay's snakes are on the move.

Woodcock have been heard peenting in Marinette County. Across the south birders are reporting good numbers of kinglets, sparrows, hermit thrushes, and good numbers of yellow-rumped warblers.

Camping and trial conditions are sloppy, but conditions could rapidly improve with warm weather.

The prolonged spring conditions this year have produced an excellent maple syrup crop across Wisconsin in stark contrast to last season. Colder than normal conditions resulted in very high quality syrup being produced throughout the season, which translates into quantity and quality. Backyard hobbyist and large producers have been wrapping up syrup cooking in the southern and central portions of the state over the past week and the season is winding down in the north with warmer conditions predicted over the next week.

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A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling (608) 266 2277.

A new report is put on the line each week.

Statewide Birding Report

Predicted south winds have birders across the state making plans for this weekend. This past week has brought new migrants into the southern and central parts of Wisconsin, but more snow to the north. Northern Wisconsin birders are focusing on what little open water exists and having some success with duck and water bird diversity. There has also been a trickle of the expected early April migrants into the north, but overall they are two to three weeks behind the normal migration patterns. Across the south birders are reporting good numbers of kinglets, sparrows, hermit thrushes, yellow-rumped warblers and the other expected mid-April migrants. Some birders have been lucky to detect three to four species of warblers in a morning. Most surprising have been the large number of typically western birds making appearances across the state. These include Franklin’s gulls, eared grebes, Eurasian widgeon, marbled godwits and piping plover. The high snows in the plains and the consistent jet stream flows out of Kansas are the likely reason for this phenomenon. Looking forward, the next few days of south winds should bring the first real push of Neotropical migrants including warblers, hummingbirds, orioles and rose-breasted grosbeaks. Tree phenology is behind so viewing should be good as birds forage at multiple heights within the forest. Focus on wooded wetlands for peak numbers of migrants as bug hatches from the water will augment food resources missing from the trees due to the late spring. Birders should also be checking wetlands and flooded agricultural fields in the upcoming week. Shorebird numbers should be starting to increase including your best chance for some of the larger shorebirds like avocets, willets and godwits. Wilson’s phalaropes have been reported this past week and should increase over the weekend. Grassland bird diversity should be on the increase as well with Henslow’s sparrows, grasshopper sparrows and upland sandpipers all arriving. In summary, dust off your oriole and hummingbird feeders, make sure your house wren box is cleaned and up and get out to your favorite local hotspot as spring migrants really pour through in the next 7 days. As always, check the DNR birding page for the latest information on birding and bird conservation efforts in Wisconsin. .Birding events, festivals and other opportunities are coming up across the AND consider taking part in the second Annual Great Wisconsin Birdathon. There are currently over 40 teams with more than 110 people participating to support the Bird Protection Fund - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologists and Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative coordinator

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Forty-four inches of snow has fallen at the Brule Ranger Station the last two weeks. A 6 year old was recently overheard saying: “I hope winter has its last finger on the cliff and someone stomps on it.” Quite a few people are relating to that analogy lately. It does appear that spring may finally be on the way with warmer temperature forecasted. Due to the extended winter-like conditions, migratory bird arrival is being delayed and ground nesting birds such as Canada geese, turkeys will have later hatching dates than normal. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Numerous species of waterfowl are moving into the area and many of them can be found on Grettum Flowage at Fish Lake Wildlife Area. Greater yellow legs, coots, great blue heron, pied-billed grebes, hooded mergansers, and common mergansers are on the flowages. Loons located on refuge extension and Dike 1. Sandhill cranes have are scattered throughout the property. Hundreds of pelicans have been on Phantom Lake. Rough legged hawks and northern harriers are commonly spotted. Saw-whet owls, barred owls, and great horned owls are commonly heard. Sharp-tailed grouse survey conducted Thursday with a dozen birds located near the northeast corner of Crex. The snow is melting and with warmer temperatures more birds are expected to arrive soon. The ice is starting to come out of the flowages on Crex and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas. Turkey hunting has been frustratingly slow with the new snow last week. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator

Interstate Park - Hiking trails are open, although hiking is not recommended on the bluff trails until they are snow and ice-free. Ice conditions are variable on Lake O’ the Dalles. The St. Croix River is open. Bald eagles, turkey vultures and great blue herons are active overhead. Deer are also active and easy to see throughout the park. A coyote was spotted in the River Bottoms picnic area on Tuesday. Check at the park office for recent sightings and recommendations for best wildlife watching opportunities. Migrant songbirds are returning to northern Wisconsin and Interstate Park. Many species of birds will remain here while others are passing through on their way further north. Don’t miss the opportunity to view and listen to these messengers of spring. Please join us on Saturday, May 4, for a full day of activities about birds and for all ages. From 7-9 a.m. join local birder Brian Collins for a Spring Bird Walk on Silverbrook Trail. Meet at the Pines Group Camp, and bring binoculars and a bird field guide if possible. At 10 a.m. meet Aztec, a live owl, and Barb Walker, naturalist, at the Ice Age Center. At 11 a.m. join Barb at the Skyline Shelter for Owl and the Mouse, a fun activity for the whole family. In the afternoon, from 1:00-3:00pm, there will be a Round Robin of bird fun for everyone. Join naturalists Julie and Barb for a variety of drop-in bird-related activities at the Ice Age Center. There are other Birding Day activities scheduled for May 4 throughout the St. Croix River Valley. For more information contact Julie at 715-483-3747 or [email protected] The Pines Group Camp and the South Campground are open. Vault toilets are available throughout the park. Water is available at the Ice Age Center and outside the Stone Building. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator

Cumberland DNR Service Center area

Baron County - The Cumberland area received more snow this past week, but the forecast calls for some warm weather to help melt snow and ice. Ice conditions were still good as of the beginning of the week with 22-inches or more on most lakes. Ice fishing success was okay with bluegills and crappies biting on the lakes. Warblers and sparrows have been observed in the area along with large flocks of robins searching for food. Spring fish run is very slow as the water temperatures in the creeks and streams are in the mid 30s. - Phil Dorn, conservation warden, Cumberland

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Ice conditions have not changed much in the last week and ice thickness still ranges from 20-22 inches on most northern lakes. In addition, 4-6 inches of heavy, wet snow has been added to the top of the ice and this has made for some very sloppy conditions on waters in the area. Most shorelines (especially along the north and west shores) have a lot of slush and very soft ice, and there are also some small areas of open water near inlets and outlets. As such, any anglers that may be trying some late season fishing should be extremely careful when venturing out on any of the lakes or flowages. And despite the sloppy conditions, a few panfish anglers have still been trying their luck. They have been having some fair success, with a few nice catches of crappie and perch being reported. With the current conditions, it is almost a given that most northern lakes will still have some ice cover for the May 4 fishing opener. As such, anglers should have alternate plans in case their favorite lake is still iced in. These could include some spring ponds or smaller lakes which usually see ice-out before the larger lakes, and area streams and rivers - which will be running high but should be fully open. A comment often heard with late ice-out conditions is that the fish will just spawn under the ice, which for the most part is just not true. While some northern pike and walleye do run up streams and rivers to spawn, the majority of them spawn in the shallows of lakes and flowages just after the ice goes out. Water temperature is the key to spawning for these species, and temperatures under the ice are only in the 32 to 36 degree range. Once the ice does go out, water temperatures quickly rise and this triggers the spawning urge for the fish. With late ice-outs, this usually happens very quickly and most spawning is then completed in just a matter of days. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Trails range from very wet to snow covered. ATV trails are tentatively scheduled to open May 15, but please feel free to call ahead to check on conditions first due to the wet spring. Local lakes are still frozen over but both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are open. Folks are catching red horse and we even saw a few early paddlers out this week. We received 6 inches of new snow Tuesday and ground cover varies from none to 12 inches in the woods. We are seeing lots of spring wildlife as well as [me] willows. Turkeys are gobbling and the robins are finally able to find open spots of earth to look for worms. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - There is still a lot of snow on the ground, along with 26-32 inches of ice, on Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas counties. It appears temperatures will finally be more spring-like by the weekend and next week. It is very unlikely, however, that ice will be off many northern lakes for the fishing opener. Fisheries crews have begun working in Lincoln County as of today, but only on the Wisconsin River flowages. Lakes in the Tomahawk area are still very much socked in with ice. There’s still a fair amount of ice fishing going on here, but that will likely wind down toward the end of next week. Unfortunately the ice will most likely be unsafe to walk on for the opener, yet too thick for hope of launching a boat. - Mike Vogelsang, fisheries supervisor, Woodruff

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Northeast Region

Marinette County - Spring is starting to get a foothold in Marinette County. The majority of the county is snow free and frogs have begun calling. Woodcock are peenting and swallows have been feeding on insects near the Peshtigo River. The walleye have begun to run and fishermen are stacked shoulder to shoulder in the hopes of taking home their one fish. Yellow-rumped warblers are back in full force and very visible right now. Other birds, including kinglets, phoebes, white-throated sparrows, sapsuckers, flickers, osprey, red-shouldered hawks, and broad-winged hawks, have all been heard or seen this week. Early spring is a great time to find garlic mustard, because their basal leaves stay green all year. We have very little garlic mustard in the county and we want to keep it that way. If you find garlic mustard on public or private land in Marinette County, we would like to hear about it. Spring brings with it a few not so good things. Ticks are now out, so it is time to begin checking yourself and pets for ticks after outdoor recreation.- Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Oconto County - Walleyes are the hottest ticket in the area right now with many nice fish being caught below the Stiles Dam using crank baits. Fishermen are cautioned that any foul hooked fish caught by hook and line must be released immediately. Turkeys have gotten more active this week and it should continue with the predicted warmer weather. The bay of Green Bay is opening up and some trollers are reporting success for walleyes and northern pike. Spring peepers have started their chorus in the area the last couple of nights. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County – Along the lower west shore of the bay, the ice is breaking up more and you can see an ice shelf about a quarter- to a half-mile out. Both the river and the landing in Suamico are free of ice, but it might be a few days before boats can head out. At Geano Beach, the bay is largely free of ice, but the landing still has ice. Due to poor weather conditions, the Fox River was not very busy throughout the week. Shore and boat anglers were targeting walleye and were experiencing less success than in previous weeks. Anglers were using stick baits (fire tiger, black, gold, silver, and blue/orange in color), jigs with artificial twister tails, and crank baits (blue/silver in color) for bait. Boat fishermen were fishing in about 20 feet of water. Other species caught were whitefish and white suckers (very low in numbers) and all were released. Fishermen from shore reported that the average size walleye being caught were in the 18-20 inch range. Winter is slowly losing its grip on the eastern shore of Green Bay. As of Sunday there was open water from the mouth of the Fox River up to the Red River Park area (Kewaunee County). However, there remains a considerable amount of ice that starts on the shoreline and extends out into the Bay several hundred feet. Due to the ice shoves, shore fishing in the bay is impossible from Bayshore Park up to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal. In addition, all harbors and boat ramps from Bayshore Park to the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal are ice locked and unusable. The only real action that was seen this week has been a small sucker run at Red River Park and Sugar Creek. Using dip nets, anglers have been able to catch a decent amount of fish, but no major run has occurred yet. Both the boat launch and the shoreline at Potawatomi State Park were ice locked for most of the week. As of Sunday morning, the boat launch and shoreline are now accessible to fishermen. Boaters should be wary of both the low water levels and floating ice chunks when leaving the boat launch. A few boats were seen trolling the shoreline with planer boards; no fish were caught. The fishing pier at Potawatomi State Park has not been placed in the water yet.- Andrew Rieth, fisheries technician, Green Bay

In Brown County, turkey hunting season has been slow due to the unseasonably cold weather. Turkeys can still be seen feeding in fields during late morning and early afternoon times. Tundra swans are still around the area in large numbers and can be seen along the bay of Green Bay and on inland fields. - Andy Lundin, conservation warden, Green Bay

Manitowoc County - The last of the snow is almost melted in forested areas and water levels vary from high to moderate throughout the region. High and fast water is still limiting angler success on the Manitowoc River from Clarks Mills to Manitowoc Rapids, though kayakers are capitalizing on this stretch, especially near Lower Cato Falls. Pike are starting to be taken near barriers and current breaks on the Manitowoc, though the 42 degree water temperatures are still a bit cold, and water a bit too fast for a consistent bite. Steelhead fishing on the Manitowoc has also been tough on account of the cold temperatures and high water. Channel cat fishing has been sporadic on the lower sections, though some large fish have been caught. Successful anglers are using spawn, night crawlers, and cut-bait. Steelhead fishing around the Shoto Dam on the West Twin River has been fairly consistent all spring. Water levels have dropped all week and there is now relatively good water clarity. Egg imitating flies, soft plastics, and spawn continue to produce fish. Most anglers are using strike indicators with a few split shots above the main presentation. When the water is lower there is more of a morning bite. The East Twin River has also given up quite a few steelhead. The dam in Mishicot has been the most productive, though there are some deep stretches and many areas under bridges downstream to access this water. Water clarity is also good, though there is considerable tannin staining from upriver wetland draining. There has been little action in open water for browns, partly because the weather hasn’t permitted most boats out. There has been some success north of Two Rivers near the power plant discharges. Shad style cranks and stick-baits have reportedly been productive. Anglers that have found shallow baitfish in 10 to 25 feet of water have had the best action. Very few salmon have reportedly been caught. The lake temperatures outside Manitowoc are around 39 degrees and there has been a 4 degree warm up in the last three weeks. There has been little action on the Two Rivers or Manitowoc piers or in the harbors so far except for anglers pre-fishing for the carp tournament in Two Rivers. Many carp were caught with some in the mid-20 pound range. A good warm up would help inshore and offshore fishing considerably. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot

The Twin Rivers and Manitowoc River are producing steelhead. Most anglers are using spawn sacs but flies and other artificials are also working. Rivers and streams are high and fast flowing right now so please be careful while fishing. Suckers are also running in the Kewaunee and Manitowoc county streams with sucker anglers having great success in getting these bony but tasty fish In general, weather has not been very conducive to successful brown trout fishing but some fish are being caught off of Bailey’s Harbor and Manitowoc. There was very limited fishing activity out of the Kewaunee landing this past week and the Algoma (Olsen Park) ramp is currently closed due to damage. Up till now Green Bay ports have been iced in but after this past weekend many landings became ice free so anglers will surely be taking to the water to try brown trout fishing. - David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries report

Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay. Northern Lake Michigan fishing hotline -- 920-746-2873

Wind, snow sleet, and cold temperatures could not deter anglers this past week. Spring is here and the various species of fish are running and biting. As of last week, ice still clogged some locations in Green Bay but this weekend saw a big breakup due to the winds so many locations that were iced-in are now open. Expect to see better access and more anglers over the next week. Steelhead fishing has remained good and is now also going strong in Door County streams as well as Kewaunee and Manitowoc streams. Look to all steelhead tributaries right now for steelhead action. Door County streams are in the high 30s to low 40s. Whitefish Bay, Hibbards, and Heins creeks are all producing fish. Stony Creek, Silver Creek, Ahnapee River, and Kewaunee River are all in the low 40s. Anglers are catching fish at all these locations.

Walleyes are running in Green Bay tributaries. This is their annual spring spawning run and unlike many inland waters walleye season is open on Green Bay and its tributaries to the first dam. The Fox River continues to see a strong run with lots of fish in the 18-22 inch size range with some larger fish in the mix. Fish are biting on crank baits, jig and minnow and jig and plastics. However, the Fox has either peaked or will peak soon. Other west shore Green Bay tributaries are getting warmer now and fish are running strong. These include the Menomonee, Oconto, and Peshtigo rivers. On the Oconto, Stiles Dam is a popular fishing location as is near the Highway 141 and County J bridges. In the Peshtigo River, just below the dam is very popular shore spot and there are also many boat anglers enjoying this productive fishery. A lot of fish in the 18-22 inch size range are being caught as well as some larger (mostly female) walleyes as

a bonus. The Menominee River is seeing its share of anglers also but catch rates have been a bit lower. Shore anglers are doing best during low light periods of early mornings & evenings casting crank baits and jig heads tipped with a minnow or soft plastic bait. Boaters on the Menominee River are concentrating from the Turn Basin to the mouth of the River using jig heads tipped with scented plastics or minnows. If you like walleye fishing now is the time to get out and go fishing. Also, now is also the time to get out and enjoy some shore fishing because later in the year shore fishing will not be nearly as productive.

Northern pike are spawning or just finished spawning in many locations throughout Green Bay and northern Lake Michigan. There are some very impressive 30 to 40 inch fish running up many of the streams. Northern pike season is open on Green Bay, Lake Michigan and major tributaries but closed on minor tributaries. This closure is to protect spawning populations in many of the very small locations that could easily be harmed by catching too many of these large fish. So in those locations look and enjoy the large fish but let them do their thing so that we will have strong populations into the future. Where open, anglers are having success on large northern pike by drifting live or dead bait (like suckers and shiners) and casting and trolling crank baits.

Potawatomi State Park - The campground faucets, fish cleaning station, and sanitary dump station are open for the season. All roads in the park are open to vehicles and bicyclists. The shower building will be open by May 1. Ice is out of Sawyer Harbor and Sturgeon Bay, but still visible in Green Bay. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Green Lake County - A large number of sandhill cranes in the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area have been seen. There is also a pair of whooping cranes hanging out just east of the Berlin area. Another single whooping crane has been seen off of South Road west of Berlin. Most of the walleyes have spawned in local marshes and walleye fishing should continue to improve. Sturgeon spawning on the Fox River near Princeton is also expected by the end of the week. - Nate Ackerman, conservation warden

Waupaca County - Most area lakes still have some ice and inland fishing has been at a standstill. Walleyes are reportedly biting well on the Wolf River. Sturgeons are still not spawning. The water is still too cold. Turkeys still aren’t gobbling much and remain bunched up; their breeding season is well behind schedule. Greenup and tree budding have not started. Most migratory birds have returned for the summer. Water levels in area streams have been so high due to rains that trout fishing has been a non-event. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Hartman Creek State Park - Horse trails and family bike trails remain closed at this time due to lingering snow and muddy conditions. Anticipated warmer weather this weekend may allow both trails to open sometime next week. The family campground and group campground are open for the season. The first loop of the family campground opened April 1 with the remaining loops opening May 3. The campground has two shower buildings, but one, the Pine shower building in the outer loop, may be delayed due to new tile being installed. The Orchard shower building, in the first loop should be open on May 3 barring any problems. Water is currently available near site #21 in the family campground and also at the park office. The park’s dump and fill station will not be operational until May 3. The park will update conditions on its website and here on its voice mail if there are any changes. Please call the park office, 715-258-2372, for further information. - Michael Bergum, park manager

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Outagamie County - With the cooler spring weather bear are becoming active and foraging for food that is not there and many are resorting to bird feeders and animal food left outside. If you are experiencing damaged bird feeders, quit feeding for a week or two and the bear should move on to greener pastures. Numerous geese and waterfowl are still in the Outagamie County area waiting for the spring thaw to move north. Yellow-rumped warblers are also being sighted in the area on their migration north. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee Southern Lake Michigan fishing hotline -- 414-382-7920

Sheboygan County - There has been little activity recently on the Sheboygan River due to high flows and dirty water. Water levels have gone down considerably in the past week, and the temperature is approaching 40 degrees. A few steelheaders were using flies and spinners over the weekend, but no fish were taken. Weedens Creek anglers have reported a few steelhead taken on spawn. Fishing activity has increased on the Pigeon River, and some steelhead have been taken on flies and spawn sacs. Dip netters have also been catching fair numbers of suckers in downstream locations. Pigeon River access at Evergreen Park is still blocked, as is the wayside on County Highway LS. On the Sheboygan piers there has been light fishing pressure over the past few days. This past weekend anglers mainly targeted the South Pier using shiners and spoons for browns and rainbows, but nothing was caught. Near shore water clarity is low around both piers. The fish cleaning station on South Pier Road is still closed, as is the 8th Street boat ramp. The 14th Street ramp, along the Sheboygan River, remains under a massive snow pile and will likely be unusable for at least the remainder of April.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing effort has been increasing recently. A few boats have been trolling in and around the harbor and have been catching brown trout. Crank baits fished in 15-20 feet of water have been the most productive. Shore anglers have been fishing the rocks north of the power plant, as well as near the mouth of Sauk Creek. They have reported catches of browns and steelhead on spawn at the power plant discharge. Sauk Creek has dropped to fishable levels and has a water temperature around 40 degrees. A few steelhead have been seen in the creek, but fishing has been slow. A couple of people netted for smelt at the base of the North Pier last week, but they did not catch any. The fish cleaning near the Port Washington marina remains closed, however the cleaning station near the mouth of Sauk Creek is open for the season.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee fishing has slowed for boaters trolling or jigging in the harbor for browns, and but fishing has improved for shore anglers working under the Hoan bridge at Summerfest and Jones Island. Effective presentations have been shiners or spawn sacs fished under a bobber as well as casting spoons. Steelhead fishing has improved in Oak Creek since the flows have dropped back down. Small flies have been the most productive bait. The Milwaukee River remains fairly high with low water clarity due to the recent rains. The water temperature is now 40-42 degrees. Anglers have been fishing below the North Avenue dam for walleye and northern pike, but catch rates have been low. Flows on the Menomonee River have dropped back down, and although water clarity has improved, it is still somewhat cloudy. Steelhead anglers near Miller Park were catching some on flies or floating spawn sacs in the slack water.

Racine County - In Racine boaters reported coho and brown trout taken while trolling near the Oak Creek power plant using fluorescent orange, or white land green spoons. The wooden boat dock has been installed around the Pershing Park boat harbor. Some anglers tried casting spinner baits from the pier while others fished with spawn sacks, with no reports of fish taken. The Reichert Court fishing pier in the harbor has been installed as well. Anglers who fished the north pier this week had their trips cut short by cold temperatures and stiff winds. The surface temperature on the lake was 42 degrees over the weekend. At the Horlick Dam, a few anglers tried fishing with spawn sacks close to the shoreline with reports of only suckers taken. The parking lot at Colonial Park is open, but the river was flowing over the some of the pathways over the weekend. Several anglers were casting bright green flies below the weir with reports of only a few suckers taken. The parking lot at Island Park is closed again due to high water. The river temperature was 41 degrees on Sunday. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility April 15. Both Chambers Creek and Ganaraska strains were spawned, and 89 steelhead were released upstream. A total of 164 steelhead have been passed upriver so far this spring, and the final processing day of the season is scheduled for Monday.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha a large amount of muddy water from the Pike River flowed into the lake this past week as another round of heavy rain moved through the area. The muddy water along the lakefront extended nearly a quarter-mile out from shore. Along the rail at the small boat harbor, anglers reported a few brown trout taken using wax worms, spikes, and tube jigs with a very slow presentation. A few anglers worked the rocky shoreline near the 50th Street bridge with no reports of fish taken. Anglers are waiting for the water to clear up along the lakefront and for the weather to return to normal. The Pike River was raging last week, but has now dropped back down to a fishable level. Petrifying Springs Park was closed on Thursday and Friday as the river flowed over the parking lots and into the golf course. The park reopened on Saturday as the water level quickly receded. Fly fishermen working the river on Saturday reported fast and dirty water with no fish taken. Anglers tried casting crank baits and soaking night crawlers at the mouth of the river with limited success. The average water temperature was 41 degree on Saturday.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Washington County - Lakes in Washington County are now ice free. With the more favorable weather recently, more turkey hunters have been observed hunting. There are still some large groups of turkeys hanging together, but smaller and smaller groups are being observed as the weather continues to become more seasonable. - Sean Neverman, conservation warden, Plymouth

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Area flowages and rivers are beginning to return to normal levels, including flooded areas on Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Marsh. The Pike Lake Wildlife Management crew will begin prescribed burns this week on Theresa Marsh with more burns planned for next week on area properties. Turkey activity is in full swing and hunter success has picked up now that the weather has moderated. Two early morning roadside pheasant crowing counts (one in Washington County, the other in Ozaukee County) will be completed during the next couple weeks. Most migrant Canada geese have left the area on their way to their breeding grounds in Canada- Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Grant County - The waters of the Mississippi River have stopped rising in the area, but many areas, lowlands and all of the boat landings remain under water. The area water levels are 5-7 feet higher than normal. The Grant and Platte rivers have returned to normal and the water has cleared. Anglers reported catching a few fish while fishing from the Eagle Point fishing barge, including sheep head, buffalo, red horse, carp and an occasional striped bass. Turkey hunters report less than ideal hunting conditions this past season and many toms were with several hens, which made for some stiff completion between the hunters calls and the real thing. Vegetation is delayed due to the weather and the woods have not started to green up yet. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Dodge County – Good crappie fishing from shore on Beaver Dam Lake is being reported.- Paul Nell, conservation warden, Horicon

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County – Spring has finally arrived. Daffodils can be seen blooming as you drive through the county. Spring also means that wildlife management staff are busy conducting wildlife surveys and prescribed burns. Staff have burns planned at Mud Lake, Peter Helland, French Creek, Paradise Marsh and Pine Island Wildlife Areas, though the burn units at Pine Island are likely too wet to be burned this spring. The Baraboo River levels are receding some, but Wisconsin River levels have come up, meaning that most of Pine Island Wildlife Area is wet. The dog trial event planned for this weekend has been cancelled. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Devil's Lake State Park – Spring is reaching Devil’s Lake. The ice finally disappeared off the lake last Friday. With the ice out, lots of birds can be seen as they migrate through. There have been lots of ducks lately such as ruddy ducks, red-breasted mergansers, and lesser scaups. Visitors can also see a pair of loons on the lake as well. Last week, they could be seen doing their mating dance on the north end of the lake. The ospreys have been fishing in the lake and, if you’re lucky, you can see it come up with a fish. A visitor saw one this week eating a fish up in a tree by Messenger Creek on the south shore. The lake flies are just starting to emerge and there are lots of spring migrants taking advantage of them. Along the Tumbled Rock trail you can get close looks at ruby- and golden-crowed kinglets and yellow-rumped warblers. There are also lots of tree swallows flying over the lake feasting on the hatch of flies. Another exciting spring migrant was the Louisiana warbler inhabiting the stream along the north end of the East Bluff Woods trail. The spring flowers are slowly making an appearance and visitors can just start to see spring beauties, Dutchman’s breeches, mayapples, and hepatica all coming up in the woods. The “gobs” Dutchman’s breeches that sprout along the north shore entrance are still not quite up yet, but with the 70 degree weather predicted, they should start coming up soon. The frogs are singing as well, despite the recent chilly temperatures. Visitors can hear western chorus frogs, spring peepers, and wood frogs in the various wetlands throughout the park. Fish are starting to spawn in the lake as well. The northern pike and yellow perch have come up to lay eggs in the shallows. Once the water temperatures warm up, the pan fish will start moving into the shallows as well. - Sue Johansen, natural resources educator

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Water levels on the Rock River remains at major flood levels and could remain high for many more weeks with spring rains. Slow-no-wake restrictions are in effect and boating on the river is not safe at this time because of the high, fast-flowing water. Many of the boat landings around Rock County are under water and currently closed. Crappies are being caught below the Indianford Dam on the Rock River with minnows being the common bait used. Buffalo carp and common carp are also abundant below the Indianford Dam and fishermen have been foul-hooking the carp, while fishing for walleye. Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to keep foul-hooked fish and they must be released back to the water. Game-fishing (walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and muskellunge) is closed on all inland waters until May 4. The only open waters for game-fish in Rock County are the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong. Closed areas for game-fishing include all tributaries to the Rock River, such as Turtle Creek, Yahara River, and Traxler Pond. Kiwanis Pond and Lions Beach Pond have had increased fishing activity over the last couple weeks. Both ponds were recently stocked with trout. Anglers 16 years old and older are required to purchase a fishing license and inland trout stamp to fish for trout on these ponds. Trout fishing on Rock County lakes and ponds opened Jan.1 and closes Sept. 30 with a 3 fish bag limit and 9 inch size limit. The spring turkey season is now open and turkeys are starting to break away from the winter flocks. Hunters in the first two turkey seasons have seen cold and wet weather. Hunters have reported limited success because of the weather. Numerous flocks of turkeys around Rock County with most being in flocks of less than 10 birds. This is a good time of year for bird-watchers to get out and see migrating bird species. Loons have been seen on Kiwanis Pond in Janesville and Clear Lake in the Milton area. Brown Pelicans have been seen on the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong over the last week. Waterfowl are abundant all over Rock County because of the additional standing water in the area.- Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville

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West Central Region

Baldwin DNR Service Center area

Willow River State Park - Trails with snow cover are slippery. There will not be any trial grooming since all trails are open to pets and hiking. Mud season is approaching. The Willow River is running high and discolored. The river is running high and the dam is spilling extra water. Trout anglers can pretty much write off the Willow until the general opener. River gauge watchers may see an overnight surge as water comes down through the watershed. The 300 and Group campground loop openings will be delayed until May 9 due to snow and ice. The campsites will not be durable enough for use without damage until May 10. Reserved campers will be contacted by Reserveamerica. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Rufous-sided towhees, yellow-rumped warblers, white-crowned sparrows, field sparrows, and savanna sparrows have moved into the area. Some brown or Dekay's snakes are on the move. Generally, these snakes exhibit a major migration from their winter hibernacula in late April. These small, docile snakes feed on worms, slugs, and snails and are preyed upon by shrews, weasels, cats, other snakes, and some birds. Chorus frogs and spring peepers are finally singing, while spring ephemeral flowers are just beginning to appear. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Merrick State Park - The trails are open but muddy due to recent rains. Egrets and great blue herons are back and can be seen in the backwaters in the south campground. Early morning is a good time to see the vultures drying off their wings in the sunshine. Pelicans are starting to arrive and many of the migrating ducks are still in the area. The river is rising due to recent rains. The upper and lower boat landings are open. The dock has not been installed. All campsites in the north campground and the shower building are open. The south campground and island campgrounds are closed until the campsites dry out.- Lois Larson, park manager

Great River State Trail - The trail is very soft due to recent rains and the late spring thaw. Please stay off of the trail when it is soft to minimize damage to the trail surface. Spring grading and packing is much more effective when the trail is not deeply rutted.

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Nicer weather is finally on the way. We are expecting temperatures in the 60s into the 70s in the coming days. Trails are closed and will reopen for the summer season on May 15 if conditions allow. It has been a wet spring and we still have ice and snow on the trails and have not been able to do any spring rehab work yet. We will be working on the Pray connector this spring to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system. Jackson County Forestry and Parks Department grooms and maintains all ATV trails in the state forest. Please check their website for up to date trail conditions. East Fork campground has re-opened for the season. Pigeon Creek is also open for camping. Castle Mound campground will re-open in mid-May. We are nearing completion of the new office at Castle Mound; we will be completing the final steps of installing new sidewalks, blacktop, and seeding disturbed areas. Castle Mound, East Fork, and Pigeon are on the reservation system from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. The group camp is on the reservation system year round. - Peter Bakken, superintendent

Trempealeau County - A variety of duck species are being seen on the open waters of area lakes and ponds. Seen recently were redheads, buffleheads, scaup, hooded mergansers, and loons. Turkeys are being seen in good numbers in fields where the snow has finally melted off. This time of year many well-intentioned people rescue what they believe to be abandoned wild animal babies. Unlike humans, it is normal for wild animal mothers to leave their young alone for periods of time. Humans often discover a wild animal baby which they think has been abandoned, but in reality the baby’s mother is hiding from the human presence a short distance away. Please leave wild animal babies in the wild where they belong. The Buffalo River State Trail, which runs from Mondovi to Fairchild, has been opened for the use of UTVs. Operators of UTVs must be at least age 16 and have graduated a DNR-approved ATV Safety Course in order to legally operate UTVs on trails and ATV Routes. - Robin Barnhardt, conservation warden, Osseo

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Chippewa County - Spring turkey hunters have had a challenging spring in Chippewa County, with some reports of more than 18-inches of snow on the ground. Hunters who have had success are finding most toms coming in quiet to their calls or decoys. Spring bear sightings seem high, likely due to their visibility and lack of spring forage. Remember to keep bird feeders, trash and other human food sources stored away until their natural diet appears this spring. Anglers are gearing up for fishing season, however most of the lakes still have plenty of ice left. Walleye and smallmouth anglers might have better luck throwing crank baits or jigs in the river systems, especially below the dams. There have been complaints of anglers attempting to catch walleye prior to opener. Remember it is unlawful to actively attempt to fish for game fish during the closed season. Open pockets of water on Lake Wissota are holding several species of migratory birds, including swans, snow geese and a variety of diving ducks. - Shaun Deeney, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls

Chippewa River State Trail – Due to flooding along the Chippewa River, the Chippewa River State Trail will be temporarily closed between Jopke Road and Porterville Road in Eau Claire County. Water is currently flowing over the trail near mile marker 5, which is intended to happen during high water events. Barricades and signs have been placed along the trail. The river level is predicted to stay above the trail for at least the next week. Once the river recedes, DNR staff will inspect the trail for any damage and for any further closures or openings. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - The bridge is a great early morning bird watching spot. Piers will not be out until the lake is back up to normal level as they are floating piers. We are looking for a camp host for the month of July and for the first two weeks of October. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the office lot. Turkey hunting – The whole area of Buckhorn State Park is Zone 1F – open for those drawn for the special permits for the first three periods (statewide youth turkey hunt in park - youth must have zone 1F permit). The Yellow River Wildlife Area is open for turkey hunting for Zone 1 permits Join Friends of Buckhorn for a work day on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring work gloves, dress for weather and help stain the woodshed, split wood, pick up litter, and other activities to be determined. Call 608-565-2789 to sign up. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate and campground are closed. Please do not block the main gate. The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset . No food, drinks or pets are allowed and visitors are restricted to the stairway to protect the natural area. Hunting maps for the spring season are available online and will be in the map box in the winter lot. Check out maps before going out turkey hunting for the first three periods. The main gate will open on Saturday, May 4. Join Friends of Roche-A-Cri for a Work and Play Day on Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring work gloves, rakes, and dress for weather. Lunch provided by Friends group. Call 608-565-2789 to sign up. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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