29 warbler species cheer on the arrival of warm weather

Wisconsin’s general inland fishing season opened Saturday and while lakes across the lower two-thirds of the state are ice free, many lakes in the north are still locked in ice.

As of Thursday lakes were opening up across Barron, Rusk and Price counties. Anglers who want to fish in the Northwoods should check out smaller lakes, or fish the open water of the Wisconsin and other major rivers.

Most of the snow cover is now gone statewide, but snow banks still remain in northern areas. Prior to this week’s rain, fire danger conditions had reached extremely high in some areas and Red Flag Warnings went into effect in several counties.

In the past week, 161 wildfires burned 520 acres in DNR protection areas and 15 buildings were destroyed while another 88 homes and other buildings were threatened but saved with firefighter assistance.

With recent rain many trout streams are high and even out of their banks in some locations. Trout anglers who fish stocked waters should be aware that while stocking of catchable size inland trout has occurred in southern inland waters, deliveries of fish to some northern inland waters is delayed beyond the fishing opener due to road weight limits and ice conditions.

Both the South and North Forks of the Flambeau River are completely open, high and running fast and there has been some success fishing for redhorse.

Anglers on the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers reported fewer walleye and increasing numbers of suckers.

Anglers are still making some great catches of walleyes on the Wolf River and now white bass are showing up as well.

Walleyes haven’t been active on the Fox River, with both boat and shore anglers catching very few.

Ice is still being reported at some locations on Green Bay and even at ramps that have opened floating ice is still a serious hazard.

People interested in watching fish should note the Fox and Wolf river sturgeon runs are underway.

This year’s spawning run is starting a bit later than normal due to the colder temps, and there is a good chance that it will be a quick run due to the warmer temperatures.

Fish are expected to be spawning on the Wolf River at Shawawo by the weekend.

Tom turkeys are gobbling and displaying for the hens. Spring turkey hunting is in the third period and many hunters are having success. Ruffed grouse are drumming.

Groggy bears and cubs are out of hibernation and have started to visit bird feeders so remove feeders if they attract bears.

Pussy willows are blossoming and most of the trees are in the bud or flowering stages in the north and are leafing out in the south.

Swamps are full of water, and chorus frogs, spring peepers and wood frogs are singing. Pasque flowers, bloodroot and hepatica are blooming in the south.

Loons are stacked up in central and southern Wisconsin patiently waiting for the northern lakes to open up.

Literally millions of birds winged into Wisconsin this week on favorable south winds.

They included Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, ruby-throated hummingbirds, the first indigo buntings and scarlet tanagers, chimney swifts, thrushes, flycatchers, bobolinks, eastern kingbirds, and whip-poor-wills. And a remarkable 29 species of warblers were found statewide.

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