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Complete DNR Outdoor Report (Reports from conservation wardens, wildlife and fisheries staff and property managers from around the state)
Massive wildfire in Douglas and Bayfield counties this week burnt more than 8,000 acres and 47 structures including 17 homes
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Outdoor Report summary for May 16, 2013
A massive wildfire in Douglas and Bayfield counties this week burnt more than 8,000 acres and 47 structures including 17 homes. The Germann Road fire,while the largest, was just one of more than 60 wildfires in DNR protection areas of the state this week. Fire danger levels remain very high or high statewide and the DNR has suspended all burning permits until further notice. Fire officials are urging people to use extreme caution with any sources of ignition, such as smoking material, hot engines or exhaust systems on vehicles. Dispose of as from stoves or grills in fire-proof covered containers.
Nearly all lakes in the state were ice-free by last weekend, with only a few of the large and deep-water lakes still having some ice cover, but even that should be cone by this weekend. Water levels on rivers remain very high in many areas but others are beginning to drop. Some sandbars are beginning to reappear along the lower Wisconsin River, but the river levels are still high and only experienced canoeists and kayakers should be on the water. Lake Michigan water temperatures off the tip at Rock Island State Park off the tip of Door County were only at 40 degrees.
Currently most Northwoods lakes have water temperatures in the mid to upper 40-degree range, but look for that to climb into the 50s with the warm weather predicted for the next few days. Even though most anglers had open water for the second weekend of the fishing season, the constantly changing weather made for some very erratic fishing success. A few anglers found some concentrations of walleye and reported some nice catches of fish.
The Wolf River was still giving up a few walleyes to those anglers putting in their time, but the white bass run has been spotty so far. Anglers reported catching muskies and largemouth and smallmouth bass on Waukesha County lakes.
Bass fishing was great this week off Door County, with many anglers participating in a bass tournament last weekend and more preparing for another tournament out of Sturgeon Bay this weekend. Bass were being caught on both the Green Bay and lake sides with anglers reporting success from piers and boats on a variety of bait. Yellow perch fishing opens May 20 on Green Bay and its tributaries.
High waves made for rough fishing on Lake Michigan this week. Those who ventured out reported some brown trout and also some good coho fishing, especially out of out of the Kenosha harbor. A few steelhead anglers are still fishing Lake Michigan tributaries, but action has slowed considerably.
With the weather finally warmed up it is looking like the last time period may offer the best hunting of the spring turkey season, with more birds than ever gobbling and strutting in fields. The spring season closes May 21.
Many species of young wildlife are being spotted including whitetail deer fawns, Canada geese goslings, cottontails and woodcock. A reminder to residents that young wildlife observed on their own are often not abandoned, but left there to await the mother’s return from feeding. Leave them along and their mothers will return to care for them.
Warblers have been slow to arrive in the north but southeastern Wisconsin north to Green Bay reported excellent numbers this week, with 20-plus species being found regularly. American toads, leopard frogs, and gray tree frogs are calling wildly. Morel mushrooms s are beginning to appear but still in low numbers. The Muscoda Morel Festival is this weekend.
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