Wildlife in suspense as winter continues to flirt with spring

Winter is not fully letting up on Wisconsin, with Mother Nature playing an April Fool’s joke on the state bringing just a couple inches of snow in the south to 10 or more inches in the north.

The Brule River State Forest, Pattison State Park and the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters area groomed ski trails. All other properties have discontinued grooming and trails are open to multi-use including skiing, snowshoeing and on some properties fat biking. All snowmobile trails are closed for the season.

Lakes Mendota and Monona are now open. Some central Wisconsin lakes are also completely open and while others still have a fair amount of ice the quality is poor and the shorelines are bad, makfrom ing access difficult.

The snow, cold temperatures and ice didn’t deter opening day anglers for the spring steelhead fishing opener on the Brule River. Angler numbers were good and there were reports of success. It also didn’t stop Fox River anglers out to catch a trophy walleye as hundreds were fishing from boats and shore.

Fishermen were also out after walleye on the lower Wisconsin River with some on and off action.

The Manitowoc River has been producing some steelhead. Upstream in both the East and West Twin Rivers, anglers have been doing well catching steelhead.

The Sheboygan River has been producing decent numbers of steelhead and the occasional the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources brown trout. Good numbers of steelhead are being spotted throughout Sauk Creek but fishing has been reported as slow. We may be in for a slow drawn-out steelhead run.

Snowshoe hare and weasel coats are beginning to turn brown. The snow and cold temperatures have temporarily slowed or suspended a lot of wild animal activities.

Skunks, raccoons, and opossums that previously emerged have reduced their nocturnal forays. They adjust rapidly, however, to weather changes, as the urge to eat and procreate is difficult to suppress for any length of time.

Robins, black birds, geese and trumpeter swans may be regretting their decisions to make their appearances “early” this year in Iron County, where there is still deep snow and 1-2 feet of ice on most lakes.

A newly-arrived saw whet owl looking for an unsuspecting mouse didn’t know what to do from its perch in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. The snow on the ground in Washburn County has postponed sharptailed grouse viewing at the Namekagon Barrens Wildlife

Area. Normally viewing blinds to watch sharp-tailed grouse dance are available starting April 1. This year it won’t be until the snow has melted.

Turkeys are still starting to get fired up in spite of the snow. Gobbles can be heard and birds have been strutting and displaying too.

Maples trees trying to break bud, but the weather will put them in a holding pattern. The cold nights and slow warming days put a damper on tapping operations last week.

The annual Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings and county Conservation Congress meetings were held across the state on Monday evening in every county of the state. Check the DNR website for a list of questions voted on.

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