Friday, June 5, 2015

Wisconsin Outdoor Report

Saturday and Sunday are Free Fun Weekend in Wisconsin; 50th anniversary of rail trails on Saturday
This Saturday and Sunday are free fun weekend in Wisconsin. No fishing licenses or state trout stamps are required to fish waters of Wisconsin, no vehicle admission stickers are required for entry into state park or forest properties, no trail passes are need to bike or horseback riding on state trails and no Wisconsin all-terrain vehicle registration or non-resident trail passes are needed to operate ATVs or UTVs on state trails. Anglers must comply with all fishing regulations and bag and size limits, and campers must still register and pay camping fees in state campgrounds.

This Saturday is also National Trails Day and it will have special significance in Wisconsin with a 50th anniversary celebration of rail trails in the state. Wisconsin was the first state to convert an abandoned railroad corridor into a recreational trail--the Elroy-Sparta State Trail--in 1965. The celebration includes a tunnel tour a series of rides beginning at five different communities along the trail and an 50th anniversary ceremony at 2 p.m. at the historic Kendall Depot, which is the Elroy-Sparta State Trail headquarters. People can find out more about the event at www.50elroyspartabiketrail.com (exit DNR).

Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau are up with the recent rains and are providing some great paddling. The lower Wisconsin River is very high, with a flow nearly three times normal for this time of year and no sandbars in sight as of Wednesday.
Erratic and generally cool weather conditions in the last week made for some variable fishing success. In the north, panfish were the highlight of the week - with some good catches of bluegill, crappie and perch being reported. Bluegill are just beginning to congregate for spawning and some nice fish have been found the break lines and weed edges. Musky fisherman have been out in moderate numbers and success has been fair. Mayflies have begun to hatch on a few northern lakes and this has begun to upset the walleye bite on most of these waters. Largemouth bass action has been generally good, but the early catch and release smallmouth season has been hit or miss. The season remains catch and release for smallmouth in the northern zone until June 20.

Menominee River
The walleye bite on Lake Winnebago has been consistent, but not outstanding, with anglers finding walleye scattered throughout the area and fishing them with multiple techniques. White bass are still being caught on the Fox River and Wolf River areas, along with catfish, bass and walleye.

Cool, wet, and windy weather also kept fishing pressure low most of the week on Green Bay and Lake Michigan. Strong winds and high waves hampered fishing both from boats and off of piers this weekend. Though the rain slowed the increase, the water temperature has continued to rise in both Lake Michigan and Green Bay.

The Menominee River continued to produce musky this past week, with a few fish over 50 inches. Anglers out of the Pensaukee and Oconto have been catching walleye. Smallmouth bass have been seen in moving into the shallows in large numbers over the past week throughout the Door peninsula, many sitting on beds and getting them to bite has been more about triggering the defensive response than about triggering a feeding response.
Those trollers that made it out onto the lake from southeastern harbors were generally working the nearshore waters and reported good numbers of browns and a few rainbow and lake trout along with decent numbers of chinook and coho salmon.

Whitetail deer are continuing to drop fawns and elk are also now having calves. Black bear sightings with cubs are becoming more prevalent, with a sow in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest seen with four cubs this week.

Mosquitos have emerged in full attack mode in the Northwoods, but that has also thankfully been accompanied by a huge hatch of dragonflies.