Friday, June 21, 2013

Wisconsin Outdoor Report

English: Big Manitou Falls, the 165 waterfall ...
Big Manitou Falls
It finally looks summer has arrived and not just on the calendar, but in the woods and on the waters of Wisconsin. For the most part, the state has enjoyed sunnier, warmer days in the past week and more of the same is in the forecast.
Events are really picking up at state park, forest and trail properties, including a solstice celebration this weekend at Aztalan State Park in Jefferson County. Visitors will be able to view an archeological dig going on that was being filmed this week for an series that will run next spring on PBS. For a list of other activities, search the DNR website for “get outdoors.”
Water levels are finally beginning to drop on river systems. The North Fork of the Flambeau is at normal levels for early summer. Both the Lower Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers are also continuing to drop.
The mayfly hatch seems to have just started on many northern lakes, including the Upper Chippewa Basin, and this has upset the walleye bite on most of these waters. Most walleye that are being caught are being taken on leeches or night crawlers fished on a floating jig head or below a slip bobber. The mayfly hatch, however, should make for great trout fishing soon.
Smallmouth bass fishing on the Wisconsin River has been good. Walleye fishing activity on Lake Wisconsin has been the best in years, with numerous limits of walleyes reported.
On Lake Michigan, salmon fishing has been fair in the Kewaunee and Door county areas, but the fish being caught have been big with some laker trout in the 10 to 20 pound range, steelhead in the mid-teens and chinook well over 20 pounds. Lake Michigan has yet to stratify for the summer, so the fish are still all over the place, from 70 to 300 feet of water. Walleye have been biting on Green Bay from Wright’s Cove south to Chaudoir’s Dock. Perch action is picking up some with good catches in Little Sturgeon and the shipping canal. Muskie anglers have been catching a few nice ones in Little Sturgeon.
The weekend storm disrupted fishing activity some from southern Lake Michigan ports, but trollers were still bringing in good catches with more of a mixed bag containing mostly coho, as well as some steelhead, lake trout and chinook. Action was relatively slow for the perch season opener on Lake Michigan, but some nice perch were reported out of the Kenosha harbor.
With warm weather comes increased wildlife movement, so be on the lookout during your travels for ducks, geese and turtles along the roadways. Painted and snapping turtles are looking for places to lay eggs and note that the turtle season does not open July 15.
Fawns are following does around and bears are in their breeding season. So please leave the wild in wildlife and do not interfere to “rescue” a fawn or feed a bear. There have been reports of some loon chicks hatching while others are still nesting. Please do not disturb loons on their nests and give wide birth to loons with young chicks on their backs on lakes.
A bufflehead has nested on the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and hatched seven young bufflehead. This is only the second documented nesting of a bufflehead in the entire state of Wisconsin.
Karner blue butterflies were sighted on lupine at the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, and with the good, well, there is a little bad news. After all the rain, mosquitoes are out in force in many areas, so don’t go into the woods unprotected.

Northern Region

Ashland DNR Service Center area
Ashland County - Last week we saw warmer weather and a good fish bite. A change in weather patterns came into the area over the weekend with strong winds and lightening. Fishing success over the weekend was mixed with most people catching a few fish. Most things remain soggy and the bugs are terrible. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Pattison State Park - Summer has finally arrived with the trees and the flowers in full bloom throughout the park. Both Little Manitou and Big Manitou Falls are still flowing well from the recent rain received in northern Wisconsin and are excellent to see this time of year. All hiking trails are open and in good condition. The bathhouse located near the beach is open and the water temperature has warmed up enough to allow many swimmers to enjoy Interfalls Lake. The cross country ski trails are available for use as hiking trails throughout the summer and fall. Camping season has begun with all the campsites open and available for use as well as the shower building located in the campground. - Phillip Brown, Ranger
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County – No doubt the mosquitos are particularly obnoxious this year. But here are a few tips for mitigating the annoyance of mosquitos that might allow folks to maximize enjoyment of the Northwoods until the mosquitos naturally subside in mid-summer: If you don’t usually go fishing in lakes, try it. Mosquitos become sparse as the distance from shore increase. Plan your lake fishing adventures for early morning and late evening when most fish are biting the best and mosquitos are out in force onshore. Rather than anchoring or moving slowly along shorelines within striking distance of mosquito squadrons, fish locations in open water (large weedy bays, underwater bars, underwater humps, other structures) where mosquitos are unlikely to find you. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the call of the loons and the smell of wood smoke. If you want to go fishing along shorelines, target windward shores where many fish species bite the best, and where the mosquitos are being blown back into the woods. Spend most of your onshore time at night (while sleeping or socializing in lodges and cabins) and during mid-day when mosquitos are less active due to lower humidity. If you own property along a lakeshore, leave fallen trees in the water. They are excellent substrate for many species of dragonfly nymphs, and an “air force” of predaceous dragonflies can keep the local mosquitos at bay during the daylight hours. Also consider leaving a few large dead trees standing on your property if they pose no threat to humans or structures, in hopes that mosquito-eating bats will take up residence and form the “night squadron” of aerial protectors. Don’t leave the screen door open. - Dave Neuswanger, Hayward fisheries supervisor
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Polk County - Fishing was slow. Some bluegills were being caught on smaller lakes with some of the larger lakes having crappies caught. Temperatures on small lake were around 70-72 degrees with larger lakes between 64-67 degrees. - Shaun Tyznik conservation warden, Amery
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Crex has become a nursery for wildlife. Common loon chicks are present and colts have been seen in the sedge marshes. Swan families are on the south end of the refuge along Main Dike Road. Phantom Lake and North Fork have goose families with a few goslings each. Eastern meadowlarks are nesting along Grettum Dike Road, just off of Highway 87. A long-eared owl was heard calling from a nest last week north of Crex. Karner blue butterflies were sighted at Reed Lake Road and found near the lupine that is their caterpillar host plant. White-tailed deer fawns are being sighed in the area. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Cumberland DNR Service Center area
Baron County - Recent rains have brought snapping turtles and painted turtles out to the roadsides to lay eggs. Motorists should be on the lookout for the turtles as they are commonly found along the roadside. Turtle season is not open and it is illegal to harvest them at this time. Smallmouth bass are still on spawning beds along with panfish. The recent heavy rainfall in the Cumberland area cooled the water temperatures down, but predicted warm weather for this week should speed the spawning process along. - Phil Dorn, conservation warden, Cumberland
Ladysmith DNR Service Center area
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The erratic weather conditions have made for some variable fishing success in the past week. Musky anglers have been out in pretty good numbers and most have reported catching a few fish. Smaller bucktails and jerk baits have been the most productive and most of the musky have been in the 30 -38 inch size. The mayfly hatch seems to have just started on many northern lakes and this has upset the walleye bite on most of these waters. Most walleye that were being caught were being taken on leeches or night crawlers fished on a floating jig head or below a slip bobber. Some fishermen have even tried fly rods with streamers and mayfly imitations with some success. Panfish action has been very good, with bluegill and crappie providing some very good action. Crappie have been found in shallow along any emergent weed lines and brush piles, and many bluegill are still up on the spawning beds. Look for the bluegill spawning period to start petering out in the next week. Northern pike action continues to be good, with fish still being found in shallow water around and over weed beds. Most largemouth and smallmouth bass have completed their spawning period, though some nesting can still be found on many waters. A word of caution to all anglers in the Northwoods: bring your bug repellent, as the all the biting insects are out in force. The mosquitos are especially thick this year, and there are also plenty of deer flies, gnats and black flies out as well. Pest numbers should go down in the coming weeks with a good hatch of dragonflies and some dryer weather. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - The north fork of the Flambeau River is at a normal level. Blooming on the property is bunchberry, clintonia and columbine. cinnamon fern is sporulating sending up its tall cinnamon stick-like stalks. Fairy ring mushrooms are abundant in lawns. Wood, painted and snapping turtles are laying eggs. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Rhinelander DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - Panfish are on the beds and are biting. Northern bass zone will open for catch and keep this weekend. Turtle season is not open and people should not be keeping turtles they find on the roadways as they are trying to lay their eggs. Walleye were biting in 12 to 14 feet of water with jigs and a leech being the most popular lure. Surface temperatures on area lakes is only in the mid-60s so the area lakes are mainly filled with fishers not recreational boaters. Do not pick up fawns, they are not abandoned and their only defense is to hide and lay down until the doe returns. - James Jung, conservation warden, Rhinelander

Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report, compiled from creel clerks by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Salmon fishing in this area is still a bit inconsistent, though lake trout and rainbows are being taken with some regularity. Rainbow trout are being caught in the highest numbers followed by coho, kings, and then lake trout. Rainbows have been caught off the highest lines, generally in the upper 40 feet of water. Many trollers have been running two to four colors of lead core behind planer boards and having good success with rainbows and cohos. Most kings are being taken with flies and flashers fished deep using downriggers. Green or blue flies and flashers are working well. Dipsy divers have been utilized in front of spoons from 20-feet down and deeper. Some boats report the Dipsy rods are the only ones catching fish. This could be from the more erratic action/vibration that they give to lures. Surface temperature reports are from 48-52 degrees. Most anglers are fishing in water from 60-to-180 feet deep and fish are reported to be widely scattered. Alewife numbers in shore are still very high. Boat numbers are moderate and increase on the weekends.
Kewaunee County - It has been a mixed bag for anglers out of Kewaunee and Algoma this week, with a lot of big lake trout being caught. Many charters were reporting the 2-per person limit on lakers. Most of the action has been within 4 miles of shore from 80-to-150 feet of water. Steelhead have been biting in the top 30-feet of water on brightly colored spoons, while anglers are getting lake trout by keeping their bait tight to the bottom. Salmon are biting on flasher flies, fly and dodger combos, large spoons and cut bait. Now that we are finally getting some consistently warm weather, the lake will settle into layers of water at different temperatures, referred to as stratifying. Fish will be much easier to target once the lake stratifies because there will be sharp borders between layers (called thermoclines) so the fish will be more likely to stick within their preferred temperature and not be all over the place.
Door County - Salmon fishing is still being classified as fair, but the fish being caught are really big with many lakers in the 10-20 pound range, steelhead in the mid-teens and Chinook well over 20 pounds. The early morning bite has been the best on fly and dodger combos. Lake Michigan has yet to stratify for the summer, so the fish are still all over the place, from 70-to-300 feet of water. The lake side has seen a bit of salmon action in the last week, with fly and dodger combos in around 70-feet of water being a popular choice. Rainbow trout are being caught in the top 30-feet of water on different colored spoons. There are also some coho and nice lake trout mixed in. The bass are still biting good up in Rowley’s Bay. Riley’s Bay, the Flats, Sawyer’s Harbor, and all of the harbors along the peninsula and the islands are still all doing well for bass, mostly in the shallow waters, but some deeper out. Tubes, grubs, suspending jerk bait, spinner baits, and drop shot style baits are all working well. In Sturgeon Bay, walleye are biting from Wright’s Cove south to Chaudoirs Dock. Perch is picking up some with good catches in Little Sturgeon and the Shipping Canal. Possibly a few anglers are reaching their limits. In deeper waters, Chaudoirs Dock north to Hendersons Point and Snake Island are good places to try for perch. Nightcrawlers, fathead minnows and leaf worms are the best baits to try. Muskie anglers have been catching a few nice ones in Little Sturgeon. Lake fishing for trout and salmon is progressing well at northern Lake Michigan ports with some nice catches of lake trout, rainbow trout and chinook salmon. Though fishing has not always been consistent, good catches are being had out there.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Peshtigo River State Forest - Fishing for panfish has begun to pick up on the area flowages, with some good reports of bluegills and crappies being caught. The newly developed Musky Point beach on Caldron Falls is seeing more and more beachgoers everyday as the days turn warmer. Hikers and campers are reporting many wildlife sightings, including does and fawns, bears and cubs, variety of song and water birds, and lots of ticks and mosquitoes. - Sara Pearson, Ranger/Assistant Manager
Marinette County – Anglers are reporting some small mouth action on the Peshtigo River along the entire length, tube jigs and crank baits are working well. At the Peshtigo River Harbor the catfish bite is starting to heat up. Crawlers fished on bottom have been working well. Anglers on the Menominee River have been catching small walleye, catfish, and sheep head from the dam to the mouth of the river. Crank baits and live bait are being trolled from Stephenson Island to the mouth of the river. No reports of salmon have come in yet. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Oconto County - Recent rains have raised the river levels in the area and catfish are biting on the Oconto River. Some nice fish have been reported. Try using night crawlers or for those strong of stomach stink baits maybe the ticket. Panfish activity continues to improve but fishermen are reporting lots of small fish. Some of the Canada geese goslings are starting to show there cheek patches and are beginning to color out. Sandhill chicks are becoming more abundant every day. There were report of subjects harassing loons on Kelly Lake and causing them to abandon a nest with two eggs. People need to stay away from nesting birds if they wish to see them hatch. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Fishing catch rates have slowed from the dam at Stiles to the mouth of the Oconto River. Anglers are reporting catching some smallmouth in the upper reaches of the river using mainly spinners and live bait. The lower portion of the river is producing some nice catfish and rock bass, live bait and slip bobbers are the methods of choice. Walleye action has also slowed on the bay from the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II. Trolling with crawler/harness in 8-to-20 feet of water has been producing some fish. Perch action on the Bay has been poor. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Shawano County - Lots of animals can be seen with their young ones from this year. Drivers should use extra caution as many are trying to cross the roadways. Young ducks and geese are travelling long distances to get to water. Fawns are trying to keep up with the does so if you see one deer cross wait because another will probably follow. I have not seen too many young turkeys yet but will soon. Fishing has been good with lots of panfish being caught in the shallows. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Tick numbers starting to decline, but being replaced by deer flies. Mayfly hatch beginning and there should be great trout fishing soon. New fawns now following mom all over. Have not yet seen any turkey broods, but did see one ruffed grouse brood last week. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - The weather is definitely warming up and so is the water. Trout streams have been pretty good as of late and they are not seeing too much pressure. As usual for this area early, late, and cloudy days are the best fishing here. The bluegills are making beds and I saw one or two defending yesterday. Water temperatures are warming up and summer visitors to the lakes are able to enjoy swimming, boating, and jet skiing. Many birds are starting to fledge babies and may start to make new nests. This is a good reminder that if you find a baby bird on the ground chances are there is a nest nearby. Either set the baby back in the nest or place it on a raised branch away from ground predators and the parents will still take care of it. These birds are trying to learn to fly and sometimes are not strong enough the first time they hop out of the nest and can’t get back up. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Harrington Beach State Park – Most trails are relatively dry and in good condition for hiking. The campground, shower building, and vault toilets are open for the season. Quarry Lake and Puckett’s Pond are part of the Urban Fishing program and have special regulations. We’ve had an interesting year thus far at Harrington Beach State Park. Mother Nature has not followed our schedule and seems to have her own agenda this year. While strolling through the park, you may find trout lilies, crabapples, wild leek, and May apple. We have reports of cedar waxwings, ruby-throated hummingbirds, and yellow-throated vireos. The shuttle bus route operates from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day weekend and will provide transportation to the beach area from selected locations in the park. - Robin Miller, ranger
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing pressure has increased, and wave action on the lake has remained light over the past few days. Anglers were bringing in a mixed bag on Friday night, with some groups getting skunked, others bringing back a couple coho, and others with coolers full of coho, rainbows, and a couple nice chinook ranging from 16-to-20 pounds. From secondhand reports, Saturday was much the same, with fish being generally caught in 100-to-180 feet of water and most out of 150-feet on flasher flies, dodgers, and spoons. Catch rates on Sunday dropped, with most coolers only containing one or two coho. This may be due in part to the storm front that moved through the area the previous night, as well as the bright, clear day on Sunday. Some trollers suggested the fish may have been in deeper water. The 8th Street ramp remains closed. The Cleveland Ramp has had only light usage. One boat was out fishing for the perch opener and managed to catch a couple of 14-inch fish on crab tails in 11-feet of water. Catch rates off the Sheboygan piers remains low. Water clarity in the harbor is still low with a fresh load of sediment from recent storm activity extending well out into the lake. Alewives in and around the marina appear to be thinning out.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing pressure increased through the weekend on the ramp, and has remained at moderate levels on the pier and shore. Trollers have been bringing in good catches with more of a mixed bag containing mostly coho, as well as some steelhead, lake trout and chinook. However, a few fishermen have reported low catch rates, and few groups have been limiting out in the past couple weeks. On Friday and Saturday, fish were caught between 130-and-200-feet of water, with most catches at around 180-to-195 feet on flies and spoons. On Sunday, fishing pressure was high, but catch rates were quite low. Most trollers were working in over 200-feet of water without much success. Fishing off the Port Washington pier has been slow. Anglers casting off the rocks in the harbor reported catching a few small browns. Those fishing near the power plant have also been catching many small trout using spawn, worms, and spoons, but one 8.5 pound brown was also caught on spawn. Recent storm activity has reduced water clarity in the marina. The path to Fisherman’s Park is still closed for construction. Anglers can reach the park by walking down Wisconsin Street (north of Sauk Creek) and following the Harborwalk along West Slip.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee, trolling for coho was fairly consistent over the weekend. Trollers continue to have success fishing 25-to-50-feet down in 80-120 feet of water, though more boats to go to 150-200-plus feet to get into more coho. The best presentations were orange flashers paired with peanut files in variety of colors. Blue and green flies still seem to produce the most coho. Additionally, a few lake trout were also picked up 20-40 feet down while anglers were targeting the coho. The number of total fish caught per trip remains about five to six caught per boat. Fishermen off of McKinley pier reported only a few coho caught Sunday morning on alewives. Fishing near Summerfest and along the rest of the shoreline was slow. Perch fishing opened Sunday morning with reports of only a handful of perch caught among all the anglers using either minnows or jigs off of McKinley pier. The Oak Creek power plant pier has produced a few brown trout and coho salmon in the current and off of the end of the pier, with the best presentations being minnows fished under a float. Casting plastics or crank baits has also produced on occasion. A few small perch have been taken off the pier on minnows. Bender Park is back open for boat launching. The boats that went out of the harbor over the weekend reported that the channel now around 5-feet deep.
Racine County - Racine trollers had a hard time finding the fish on Sunday and said that the recent storms scattered the fish. On Sunday, anglers were catching between two to six coho per boat with a bonus lake trout or chinook. The coho have been averaging 4-5 pounds and 24-nches in length. A handful boats looking for perch formed a tight circle around the bubbler in front of the Racine water treatment plant on Sunday. One of the boats at the ramp reported no luck while fishing for perch. South pier anglers have also had little success fishing for perch, but a few were caught by anglers fishing from the rocks below the DeKoven Center and from the wooden pier in the Pershing Park boat harbor. Wax worms under a slip bobber produced the most perch. Pier anglers who were targeting coho have been having a tough time lately as most of the fish have moved out to deeper water. One or two coho are being landed on the piers on a good day. Repair work is slowly progressing on the end of South Pier. Large steel forms have been set in place on the first section of the pier and work has begun on the next section. When all the forms are in place, it will be impossible to fish from the end of South Pier until the concrete work is completed. The water along the lake has been crystal clear lately with visibility down to 10-15 feet. Anglers have been watching schools of bait fish and game fish as they swim along the shoreline. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 57 degrees on Sunday.
Kenosha County - The Kenosha Coho Classic was held this weekend at the Simmons Island boat ramp. The top fish included a 24-pound chinook and coho weighing in at almost 10 pounds. Sunday was the opening of the perch season, and the first boat back to shore Sunday morning caught its limit of 10 perch within two hours. They were fishing on the inside of the breakwater outside the harbor. The average length of the perch was 11.5 inches. Fishing pressure was heavy on the piers Sunday morning, and a few perch anglers caught their limit of five early, while other anglers struggled to get a bite. The most productive bait was a small plastic jig in white or pearl tipped with a wax worm or a spike. Most of the perch were landed on the South Pier near the pines, and a few were also taken from the rocks between the south pier and Southport Marina. Anglers fishing from the North Pier landed a few small perch, but South Pier produced the most fish. Shore anglers in Kenosha also caught some nice size brown trout and a coho on spoons and spinner baits near the Best Western hotel. Large schools of alewives were seen near the Pike Creek outlet over the past week.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - The snapping turtles and geese with their goslings are continuing to stop traffic on local roads. The northeast winds and cool temperatures have slowed the fishing action on local lakes this week, but the carp are spawning on local lakes. The carp bow fishermen have been finding success after dark. - Robert Lee, conservation warden, Hartford

South Central Region

Iowa County – The Lower Wisconsin River is still high, but starting to come down. Fishing is good, but bring your mosquito repellent. Biting flies/gnats are still present. There have been a few bear sightings in Iowa County in recent weeks. June to July is bear breeding season, so they are on the move. As a reminder, a few tips when encountering a black bear: Never feed bears. Intentional feeding will create a bear that is habituated to humans, and may become a possible nuisance to you and other people in the area. The bear will not forget the feeding experience, and will tend to get more demanding with time. Bring in pet food at night. Clean up and put away outdoor grills after you are done using them for the day. Make bird feeders inaccessible to bears by hanging them at least 10 feet off the ground, and 5-feet away from tree trunks, or on a limb that will not support a bear (you can still refill the feeder easily by using a pulley system). Consider taking bird feeders down at the end of winter (mid-April) when bears emerge from their winter dens. During spring and summer, bring feeders inside at night, a time when bears frequent stations. Clean up spilled bird seed below feeder stations. If you see a bear at a bird feeder during the day, take the feeder down and discontinue all feeding for at least two weeks. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville
Lafayette County - Walleyes and bluegills are hitting well around the area and many incidental suckers are being pulled out as well. Robins are already on their second clutch and fawns are abundant. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park -Trails should be in excellent hiking condition. The current forecast calls for warmer weather through the weekend. Campsite availability is good for non-electric sites for this coming weekend. All of the reservable sites have been reserved, but there are approximately 20 sites available on a first come first serve basis, including a few electric and bluff sites in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground. Please keep in mind that this will change as we get closer to the weekend. Campers are welcome to call to check on availability. There are many nice tent sites available in the Homestead Campground for this weekend. There are no showers or flush toilets at this time in Homestead Campground. Campers are welcome to drive to the Wisconsin Ridge Campground for showers and flush toilets. Concession stand is open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent. The park maintains a marked canoe trail on the backwaters of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River level today at Prairie du Chien is 12.4. River is slowly dropping and is expected to be near 11 feet by next Tuesday, June 25. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Snapping and painted turtles continue to be on the move around the marsh to find locations to lay eggs. Please drive carefully on the roads around the marsh. Young geese are nearly large enough to be banded and wildlife biologists will begin banding operations in the next week or so. A bufflehead has nested on the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and hatched seven young bufflehead and four wood ducks. This is only the second documented nesting of a bufflehead in the entire state of Wisconsin. Photos and video can be found on Facebook by searching for “Horicon Marsh Bird Club.” Check out the upcoming events at Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center by visiting Liz Herzmann, wildlife conservation educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Sauk County - The Wisconsin River is starting to go down. The smallmouth bass fishing on the Wisconsin River has been good. Walleye fishing activity on Lake Wisconsin has been the best in years. There have been numerous limits of walleyes being caught on Lake Wisconsin. Numerous hummingbirds have been seen at feeders. Home owners that enjoy birds should try putting out a hummingbird feeder. These little birds are great to watch. Boaters are reminded to be careful on the water and check over their safety equipment. Please remember to remove weeds and drain live wells when leaving the lakes. This is very important for the health of the lake and to prevent the spread of invasive species. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac
Fishing across the area has been up and down along with the weather. Walleyes were biting on the Baraboo River at Douglas Park off Douglas Road. When the water levels are at normal levels the walleyes had been biting. When the river rises with the local storms, the fishing shuts down. Bass and bluegills have been biting on Dutch Hollow Lake. Dutch Hollow Lake has good water clarity with visibilities past 10 feet. Fishing across Lake Redstone has been sporadic. Some crappies and bluegills have been biting along the breaks and weed lines. Both plastic tube jigs and minnows for crappies have been working along with worms for the bluegills. Bass fishing has been slow as well as musky and walleye fishing. The new handicap fishing pier of the north end of Lake Redstone off the County F launch is completed and available for wheelchair access. Water temperatures as of this past weekend were 71-72 degrees. The 400 State Trail is open and in great shape. Bikers and hikers alike can enjoy the trail. Be sure to stop off at Hemlock County Park and enjoy a nice hike through the tall hemlocks along the bluffs. Young fawns have been seen in the fields along with many turtles along the roads. Motorists should watch out for turtles crossing the road. Turtle season does not open until July 15. - David Horzewski, conservation warden, Reedsburg

West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Finally the Black River area has experienced a long stretch of drier, sunny weather. Warmer temperatures are predicted for the upcoming weekend with chances of scattered showers. All ATV trails, with the exception of the Wildcat Loop, will re-open June 20. A relatively dry week has greatly improved trail conditions. Much of the trail was groomed today. Crews are working on the Pray connector to improve three key wetland crossings. This work helps maintain the long term sustainability of the trail system. Please keep safety on your mind as you are riding. Remember to use your headlights whenever you are on a road route as they are required by law. All campgrounds are currently open. Castle Mound, East Fork and Pigeon campgrounds are on the reservation system from Memorial Day through Labor Day weekend. The indoor group camp is on the reservation system year-round. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Trempealeau County - Mississippi River water levels continue to fall. Anglers and pleasure craft operators are now able to utilize most landings in the Trempealeau area without having to get their feet wet. Panfishing has been good with many bluegills being caught on live bait in backwater areas. Northern pike fishing has been fantastic with many trophy sized fish being observed in anglers bags by local wardens. Pleasure craft activity dramatically picked up over the weekend with water temperature around 70 degrees and river flows near normal spring time levels. Trempealeau River anglers have been catching good numbers of northern pike, carp, and catfish. - Christopher Shea, conservation warden, Trempealeau
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Portage County - Turkey broods are starting to show up in the Stevens Point area. Drivers are urged to use caution on roadways, especially when a lone turkey is seen on or along roadways as there may be any number of very young turkeys on the roadway as well. Turtles are also out in numbers as they move from waterway to waterway and to look for sites to lay their eggs. Please watch for turtles crossing the roads so as not to hit them. Citizens are reminded that the season for taking turtles is still closed so resist the temptation to pick them up and take them home. - Barry Meister, conservation warden, Stevens Point
Buckhorn State Park - Visitors over the weekend were swimming, hiking, geocaching, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Mosquitoes are here, so remember to bring bug spray and thermocells. Mosquitos hatched over the weekend but campers and visitors got a break from them with breezes or hanging out at the beaches. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park – The stairway is open from 6 a.m. until sunset. Mosquitoes are here, so remember to bring bug spray and thermocells. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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