Elk imported from Kentucky move to temporary compound

Wisconsin is now mostly snow free, though some areas of the far north received a dusting to a couple of inches earlier this week. Lakes are open throughout southern Wisconsin and are opening in the central part of the state. Northwoods lakes still have ice cover but, conditions are deteriorating quickly and the ice is extremely soft.

Despite somewhat still damp conditions, 36 wildfires were reported in the last week, half of which were caused by debris burning. Fire danger ranged from Low to High across the state. Burning permits were suspended a few days in areas where the fire danger was High. Rain is forecast through the weekend, which will lower fire danger temporarily, but as things dry out, fire danger will increase.

Most trails are now open only to hiking; most mountain bike trails are closed to prevent rutting in the soft soil, and bikers are asked to refrain from riding the limestonescreened rail-trails if the surface is soft, which can leave deep ruts when the trails dry out.

The Menominee River has been producing some nice brown trout and a few wall- eye mainly below the Hattie Street Dam down to Stephenson Island in Marinette. The boat launches and rivers along the west shore are mostly still iced in. All of the landings on the bay side of Door County are still frozen shut. The bay itself is fairly open with some ice chunks out on the water and some ice shoves forming along shore. Along the lake, the Kewaunee Harbor is open and anglers took advantage of the calm weather last weekend out on the lake, mainly trolling close to shore for brown trout.

Lake Michigan tributaries are open but low flows are being reported on most rivers and the steelhead run so far has been slow. A few steelhead were reported from the Branch, Manitowoc, She- boygan and Root rivers. The Port Washington harbor has been producing a fair amount of brown trout, with the occasional steelhead.

Anglers were out in droves last weekend on the Fox River in hopes of catching some early season walleye. Anglers were fishing both from shore with moderate success and many anglers also took to their boats and lined the Fox fishing the middle of the river.

Male turkeys can be seen fanned out and displaying as the breeding season in nearing. Leftover spring turkey permits went on sale Monday and the licensing center processed 13,000 permits that day. All remaining leftover permits go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 25.

After an early start, the migration timeline has returned to a more average schedule. Recent arrivals include tree swallows, eastern phoebes, American white pelicans, and common loon. Marshes and shallow lakes are hosting a wide variety of dabbling and diving ducks. Tundra swans made a big push this week as well. American woodcock are displaying on territory, so this is a great time to get out and check out the timberdoodles.

Twenty-eight Kentucky elk have arrived at their new home in the Flambeau River State Forest in Sawyer County. The elk will be enclosed in a 7-acre holding pen to satisfy quarantine and animal health testing requirements and to allow the elk to become familiar with their new surroundings. The area surrounding the holding pen is closed to the public during this period and people are asked to avoid the general vicinity of the closed area.

Maple sap collection seems to be in full swing with buckets and bags hanging in many woodlots right now. Other signs of spring were spring peepers being heard in wetlands this week and skunk cabbage emerging in the south.

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