It’s open season for outdoor fun throughout state

Intermittent rain and high winds couldn’t slow down the thousands of local and out-of state visitors spending their Memorial Day weekend at Wisconsin’s parks, campgrounds and piers.

Those outdoor destinations were packed as families, groups and individuals got in sunsoaked fishing and paddling, cool weather hiking and running, and hopefully a story or two around the picnic table or the campfire.

The first weekend in June offered a great time for people to enjoy the outdoors in Wisconsin. Admission stickers were waived for Wisconsin's state parks and forests, trail passes normally required for those 16 or older who bike, in-line skate or horseback ride on state trails are waived, and no fishing licenses were needed to fish state waters.

Water levels are still above average across the state, with common sense and caution emphasized to those spending their time on the water. Anglers across the state are seeing an uptick in bites and reports of bites and follows from musky anglers off the Fox River Metro Launch in Oconto and the Menominee River, though elsewhere in Marinette the bite remains slow.

The walleye bite stayed spotty last week, but those looking for large and smallmouth bass were in luck, with dozens of catches reported across the water. Catfish are becoming more abundant on the Wolf River, where anglers are having luck with them and bluegill in shallow water.

Those fishing Washington County saw success for bullheads, some pan fish and northern pike. Northern bite was also reported in Oconto, Eau Claire and Brown County. Salmon and trout were the big hit from counties near Lake Michigan, with reports from Kewaunee to Milwaukee of coho and kings pushing limits along with rainbows and brown trout mixed in.

Most trails are drying back out and should be in good condition. Keep your eyes peeled for ticks, as the population has increased dramatically this season. Mosquitos are also quite aggressive in the woods.

While you’re watching for insects, check out a few of the flowers blooming this time of year alongside the unfurling ferns, scrambling young maples and blankets of moss.

Wild ginger, fringed polygala, nodding trilliums and forgetme nots, along with blueberry bushes, apple trees and lilacs are all blooming or showing blossoms.

The recent rain has cemented the leaf-out of the past several weeks and the woods on either side of the trails are often a wall of lush green.

A huge variety of birds can be found depending on your location, keenness of ear and the time of day.

Juncos, phoebes, wrens and woodpeckers are a common sight and sound, with great blue herons, osprey and bald eagles spending time on their nests.

Numerous wildlife species have young this time of year and while you may be concerned for their well-being, please visit the “Keep Wildlife Wild” section of the DNR website to learn more before interacting with a fawn or other young animal.


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