|Fishermen at the Fox River in Montello, Wisconsin, . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Wisconsin's general inland fishing season opens this Saturday, May 2, and fisheries biologists are reporting opening day anglers should find some excellent conditions. Water temperatures on northern lakes have climbed into the low to mid-50 degree range and lake levels are about normal. Most lakes across the Northwoods are about one to two weeks past the main walleye spawning period, so the fish should be mostly recovered and getting back to active feeding. Northern pike should also have recovered from their annual spawning ritual. Largemouth bass have just begun to move up shallow and after a few more days of warm temperatures, action could be good in the shallow bays. Stream and river levels are generally low for this time of year.
In the Northwoods, anglers should be aware of new walleye regulations that maintains a three walleye daily bag limit on most lakes and rivers in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory.
The steelhead run on Lake Michigan tributaries is winding down, but anglers were still reporting some success, especially on the East and West Twin Rivers as well as the Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Root rivers. The Root River Steelhead facility processed fish for the last time on Monday, April 27, collecting a total of 654,000 eggs for state fish hatcheries. Lake Michigan temperatures are at around 42 degrees and trollers on the lake have had some success catching brown trout along with some lake trout and coho salmon.
As the weather has improved over the week so has the fish bite on the Winnebago System. Fishermen were catching some walleyes on the Fox and Wolf rivers and lakes Winnebago and Butte des Morts. White bass fishing on the Fox River has picked up over the last few days. crappies and bluegills are moving in and preparing to spawn on the Wisconsin River in central Wisconsin.
More state parks and forests are reporting modern bathroom and shower facilities are opening. Conditions are again very dry and fire danger has risen back to high and very high, so forestry officials are asking anglers, campers and everyone else to be extremely careful with fires and any sources of ignition.
Turkey hunting is in full swing with hunters having fairly good success hunting late morning. Birds have been very active with toms gobbling and displaying. To turkey hunters' dismay, mosquitoes started coming out in larger numbers this past week and ticks have also been abundant.
Whip-poor-wills are back and calling at dusk. Bitterns can be heard calling from marshes around daybreak. Woodcock are peenting from opening areas at dusk. Sandhill crane and goose nests have been found. Osprey have returned to their nests at Buckhorn State Park and a whooping crane has been visiting the park this week.
Weather looks fantastic for the last of the Work Play Earth day events will be held at Hartman Creek, Merrick and Roche-A-Cri state parks, Cadiz Springs and Richard Bong state recreation areas, Havenwoods State Forest and the Stower Seven Lakes State Trail.
Bloodroot, hepatica, marsh marigold, early meadow rue, trout lilies, and spring beauties are booming. Yarrow and wild leek have also emerged. Mushroom hunters out looking for morels report they seem to be lagging a bit. Those being found are just the small grays and are dry. No sign of yellow morels yet.