Friday, April 24, 2015

Wisconsin Outdoor Report

Despite some recent light snow, signs of spring abound


Signs of spring abound, despite some recent light snow, with dusting in the south and up to a couple of inches in the north. Lakes are now open statewide and only a little floating pack ice is reported in some spots on Lake Superior.

Angling pressure on Northwoods waters has been generally light, with just a few sucker and panfish anglers out there trying their luck. However, expect that to pick up with the warmer weather and the end of several spawning periods. Walleye spawning started very quickly but the unsettled weather and cold water temperatures have extended it, with a few ripe male and female walleye still being found near the spawning grounds. Perch are now in the middle of their annual spawning ritual and musky spawning gets in full gear when the water temp gets in the low 50-degree range and a few fish have been observed up in the shallows. Sucker fishing has been fair with some decent catches of redhorse and white sucker coming from the deeper holes on the Flambeau and Chippewa rivers.

Walleye are done spawning on both Fox and Wolf rivers and are biting well. The sturgeon spawning on the Winnebago System was fast and furious, with spawning beginning on the April 14 and peak spawning occurring Friday and Saturday, with Monday finishing the run.
Steelhead fishing picked up on Lake Michigan tributaries, including the Manitowoc, The East and West Twin, Sheboygan, Root and Pike rivers and Sauk Creek. The Root River Steelhead Facility continued to process fish this week.

First period turkey hunters reported good success in northwestern and eastern counties, while hunters in south central area reported turkeys seemed quiet so far this year. Despite the reported lack of gobbling, some success has still been reported.

Bike trails are drying out and crews have been out getting them prepared, with the Red Cedar and Chippewa River trails in excellent condition for the coming bike/running season. Crews are also working on getting campgrounds ready and a few are starting to report modern bathroom and shower buildings are beginning to open.

Look for a state-wide "green up" coming in the next week, but forestry officials are still cautioning that conditions are dry and fire danger could rise again quickly in the coming week.

Mallards, wood ducks and bluebirds are nesting, and eagle chicks will be hatching soon. Recent bird arrivals include swallows, early warblers including yellow-rumped, palm, yellow and pine, Henslow's sparrow, and marsh birds such as sora and Virginia rails.
In counties across the state, near area waters, chorus frogs are in full roar, with wood frogs and spring peepers out and singing as well and snakes are being seen along with painted turtles sunning themselves on logs after emerging from their winter homes on the non-rainy days.

Spring ephemerals including prairie smoke, dutchman's breeches, hepaticas and bloodroot are blooming beneath decaying leaves in the upland woods, and skunk cabbages and marsh marigolds are blooming in wet lowlands. Wild leeks or ramps are also leafing out. These next few weeks are great opportunities to break in your hiking shoes before the mosquitos return!