Spring is taking root. And if we can believe the long-range forecast, it appears spring may actually linger. Snow and ice are melting rapidly in the Northwoods, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground and ice on the lakes. To the south, most areas are bare ground in Madison finally, but the lakes are still ice covered.
Spring wild turkey hunting begins this weekend with a two-day special youth hunt Saturday and Sunday April 6 and 7 and the first of six 7-day regular spring turkey hunting periods begins on April 10. Each time period begins on a Wednesday and goes to the following Tuesday. The 2013 season closes on May 21. Wildlife biologists say that hunters should look forward to a good season, thanks in large part to last year’s mild winter and early spring. Male turkeys are gobbling in the Brule River State Park and have been seen strutting or looking for food in Columbia, Dunn, Washington and Waupaca counties.
Turkey hunters considering hunting in a state park are reminded that the previous 16 state parks that were open to turkey hunting by permit only remain open only to those hunters who have permits to hunt in those parks. Other state park properties are open to any hunter who has a permit for the zone in which the state park is located. State parks are only open for the first three hunting periods.
The early trout season opened on some stretches of Lake Superior tributaries last week and it was a wet, cool opener, creating lighter than normal fishing pressure. Anglers did get out reported that they did catch some steelhead and browns. Along Lake Michigan, fishing at Port Washington has improved. Both rainbows and brown trout were caught during the week. Steelhead fishing had picked up considerably on the East Twin and West Twin rivers in Manitowoc County, but most other tributaries were running high and still fairly cold, with some action reported on the Sheboygan and Root rivers.
While spotty due to remaining ice and snow on many waters, ice fishing was still going on in the north where a few bluegill, perch and crappie have been caught.
Open water fishing season on the Wisconsin River has begun, especially below the various dams. Some keeper walleyes are being taken by anglers but with waters temperatures in the mid-30s, the actual walleye run is some time away.
There has been a large influx of song birds in the last week across the Badgerland, including robins, killdeer and red-winged blackbirds. Ducks, geese, swans and sandhill cranes continue to arrive in numbers. Eagle migration has peaked and resident birds have initiated nesting activities .
Loons were being seen on open water in southern Wisconsin this week, waiting for the lakes to open farther north. Where you won’t see a loon this season is on the Wisconsin income tax form. Wisconsinites can no longer “look for the loon” to donate to the state Endangered Resources Fund, as all images have been removed from the form, but there is still a line for making your donations.
Warm weather late last week resulted in decent sap runs in southwest and east central areas of Wisconsin. Cold temperatures starting last Saturday have limited sap flow with the exception of the southwest portions of the state where there have been decent runs. Some producers are reporting the quantity of maple sap seems to be down a bit this year, but high sugar content is some areas have resulted in extra sweet sap making up for the reduced sap flows. Northern Wisconsin is still in the grips of winter with only a couple of small sap runs reported last week. Warmer temperatures are predicted for later this week which should jump start sap flows in the north, but nighttime temperatures above freezing in the south may slow sap flows in that part of the state.
Image courtesy Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources