Walleye anglers lining the riverbanks

from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Spring has sprung in much of the state and nature has taken the hint. Recent rains may have laid the groundwork for a muddy run, hike or bike, but it will strengthen the ongoing green-up, and many sections should be dried, or drying, by the weekend.

With the dryer weather, fire danger is increasing, and was at high across the northern two thirds of the state. Burning permits have been suspended in 44 counties. Fire danger will likely remain high through the weekend and until the state receives more rain.

Lakes have now opened up through Sawyer and Washburn counties and the remaining ice in far northern counties is trending black, rotting and is unsafe, with anglers reported falling through the ice in Oneida County.

The walleye run is picking up speed in the Peshtigo, Menominee and Wolf rivers and fisherman are flocking to the shores ahead of the peak run. Fishing on the Wisconsin River had been good last week with the walleyes just about at spawn stage and numerous fish being caught below the dams. There are a few sturgeon on the Wolf River, but the water temperatures are still too cold for their annual spring spawning run. Ice shoves along the east shore of Lake Winnebago have melted and anglers are starting to fish from boats, but the water is still cold and most fish have not started spawning activity yet.

Along Door County, the sunshine last weekend helped clear out some of the ice and the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal is now completely open. The Sawyer Park ramp was open and busy with most boats catching two to three browns but most of the landings on the Green Bay side of the peninsula are still mostly blocked in with ice.

Despite rain that raised Lake Michigan tributaries last week, the steelhead run has been a mixed bag. The Sheboygan River and Kewaunee County streams have been producing a few steelhead and the occasional brown trout. Fishing pressure on the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Root rivers was lower this week but pressure on the Oak Creek was heavy, with nice catches of rainbows landed.

Turkeys have moved out of their overwinter flocks with a few toms displaying already in the fields. The statewide youth turkey hunt weekend of April 15 and 16 is just over a week away. Shed hunters are out and about and elk will soon be shedding antlers as well. Bird feeders at some department properties have been taken down due to black bear interest.

Wood and chorus frogs and spring peepers are making their voices heard. Pasque flowers have been spotted blooming, pussy willows are popping up in open swamps and trees are budding. Next week’s full moon is often known as the Full Pink Moon, after the wildflowers that may be blooming at this time of year. During the sunnier moments basking turtles have been spotted, soaking up the warmth and waiting for a few more degrees.

Migration continues strong across the state. This past weekend brought large numbers of new birds to the state and the weekend ahead promises more of the same with warm temperatures and strong southerly tailwinds in the forecast. The majority of short distance migrants have moved in including golden crowned kinglets, northern flickers, eastern phoebes and hermit thrushes. A Dane County birder tallied more than 500 lapland longspurs, while a massive flock of nearly 1,300 Bohemian waxwings was photographed in Ashland and a flight of about 1,200 American robins was recorded on the Lake Superior shore in Bayfield County last Sunday.

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