General inland game fish season opens May 6

Wisconsin State Farmer
Along Lake Michigan, boaters landed pike along with browns and a few walleye.

MADISON - In Northern Wisconsin, the weather had been colder, but rain, sleet and snow seem to have finally passed, leaving a more true May feel in its wake. Watch for a fast and vibrant green-up in the Northwoods thanks to the heavy moisture as leaves fill out and flowers unfurl.

Wisconsin's general inland game fish season opens May 6 and fisheries biologists say anglers can expect to find some trophy potential fish as well as abundant numbers of popular game species this spring. The musky season opens on southern Wisconsin waters while on northern waters the season opens May 27 to give musky additional time to complete spawning. Smallmouth bass are also divided into northern and southern zones with catch and release only in the north until June 17.

Fishing reports from the last week tell of tough weather and a difficult bite. Rivers across the state are still running high. Trout streams are in similar shape, but should be in better shape by the opener Saturday. Along Lake Michigan, boaters landed browns, pike and a few walleye in Marinette, while anglers at Oconto were able to land smallmouth, northern pike and a rare walleye. Brown County anglers saw an increase in white bass and freshwater drum, with Door County reporting a slight increase in night walleye bite. Boaters out of Sheboygan and Port Washington saw occasional catches of brown and lake trout.

Southern Lake Michigan tributaries have been running high. Most of the steelhead left in Sauk Creek were being pushed by the recent rains and high water. Action for brown trout improved at Racine and Kenosha, though the steelhead bite in Racine seems to have fully tapered off.

The spring turkey season has been going well with a lot of hunters reporting success, but hunting conditions during the second time period weren't the greatest with rain and high winds having turkeys hunkered down. The weather forecast for period three looks like a nice stretch of dry weather that should have turkeys really active.

Wetlands in the Northwoods are ripe with frogs and salamanders and turtles are becoming more mobile. Newborn foxes, coyotes and wolves are taking cautious steps out into the new world. Grouse are drumming, while turkeys continue gobbling and bears are digging for protein.

Bird sightings are now far too numerous to count, with mentions of blue-winged teal returning, bluebirds digging into feeders or sitting on eggs and great blue herons looking for nesting locations. Tree swallows are being seen more widely and reports of a yellow warbler and Myrtle's Warbler came in from the Flambeau area. Great-crested flycatchers and multiple vireos have been spotted in Milwaukee, while a scarlet tanager was heard in Wyalusing State Park.

Virginia waterleaf is flowering along with trillium, jack in the pulpit, Canadian anemone and downy yellow violet, to name just a few. There have also been a few reports of morel mushrooms being found, not a bad time to go hunting before the mosquitos and blackflies truly arrive.