Recent rains lower fire danger in state
MADISON - The green up is still in full swing this week, with the help of consistent rain events and temperatures between the 50s and 70s. This, combined with recent snow in the northern portions of the state continues to put a damper on recently high fire danger and has brought fire danger to “Low” throughout the counties, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Water levels are still running above normal, and the Wisconsin River is above flood stage. Trails across the state are likely to feature more than a few hints of mud. Rubber boots or waterproof hikers will be needed to enjoy the scenery as the banks, forests, marshes and prairies respond to the influx of moisture.
Challenging weather made for tough angling across the board last week. Anglers from Marinette County to Brown County reported numerous attempts at walleye and brown trout. Murkier water didn’t help, but reports came in from anglers that they were seeing success for non-target species, particularly northern pike.
In Oconto County, the sucker run is rolling along and disturbing the bite. In Brown County, those that did see success for walleye noted that the fish were fully spawned and on their way back to the bay. Stream anglers are reporting a difficult steelhead bite in eastern Door County, while suckers have dispersed in Kewaunee County, leaving the steelhead there more visible as temperatures climb upwards. Water temperatures range from the upper 40s to the low 50s.
Anglers at the McKinley Pier in Milwaukee are looking for coho and chinook salmon, while brown trout were being landed behind Summerfest. Anglers in Racine County reported boaters and pier anglers landing brown trout as well as a few coho. At the Root River, water visibility was around 12 inches, with an improving steelhead bite and a few remaining suckers caught. Anglers in Kenosha saw more success for browns from the harbor than the south pier. Though no catches were reported from the Pike, the mouth of the river is open and visibility is good. Temperatures for these waters ranged from 47 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hunters out for the first spring turkey season reported seeing and hearing numerous toms, though many took their time leaving the hens and venturing into range. Reports of success came in from Learn to Hunt groups and youth turkey hunting in general.
Elk are dropping their antlers and herds of deer continue to be spotted in farm fields.
Bird sightings are flying in from across the state. Swallows have returned and were reported in both Marinette and Dodge counties, broad-winged hawks and belted kingfishers have been seen in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine, while yellow-rumped and palm warblers have set down at Horicon Marsh along with purple martin scouts.
Leopard frogs were heard this past week at Peninsula State Park. The American toad chorus has drowned them out in the Southern Kettle Moraine.
Spring azure and red admiral butterflies have arrived to add color to the trails, which are getting more shade by the minute. Shrubs and several tree species have begun leafing out, maples are flowering and oaks are budding. Leatherwood, trout lilies and arctic primrose join the already blooming bloodroot, dutchman’s breeches and marsh marigolds. There were reports of a few trilliums from Hoffman Hills and wild geranium will bloom in the next couple of weeks.
Few morel reports have been coming in; many patches still have some sizing up to do. Start to look for them through this week and next.