Ice is finally off all the lakes in the north, but a midweek snowstorm dropped 6 to 10 inches of snow from Bayfield to Douglas counties. Widespread rain and even snow in the northwest has lowered current fire danger, but earlier in the week, 89 wildfires burned 155 acres, destroying three buildings and most were caused by debris burning.
What a difference a day makes. Fiddlehead ferns sprouting in the Brule River State Forest had a chilly awakening to 8 inches of snow Thursday morning.
Although there have been continuous fluctuations in the weather, anglers were catching crappies and walleyes on the east shore of Lake Winnebago. Crappies are just starting to move into the shallow water in central Wisconsin lakes to spawn. Near Shiocton, recent rain had the Wolf River up near record heights, but now the water is beginning to recede and a few walleyes and white bass were being caught.
Some walleyes continue to be caught on the Menominee, Peshtigo, Marinette and Oconto rivers, but action has slowed from previous weeks. Suckers, northern pike, perch and muskies were also reported as species caught.
High winds and rain at the start of the week kept a lot of boats off Green Bay. Temperatures rose, and conditions calmed considerably by the weekend, and high numbers of anglers and boats were going out of the launches. Most anglers were interested mainly in walleyes and bass, but success was low. Success was a bit better along the bayside of Door County, with anglers averaging two to three walleyes.
Anglers trolling Lake Michigan out of Kewaunee were catching brown trout on crankbaits and spoons. After a quiet week, the McKinley Marina in Milwaukee was fairly busy on the weekend, with anglers coming in reporting browns and coho caught in the harbor. Anglers launching out of Racine and Kenosha were targeting coho salmon, with one boat bringing about a half dozen coho, along with a few brown trout as well.
Turkeys have quieted and gobbling activity has decreased, with many hens apparently in nesting mode as they were wandering around by themselves. But grouse are drumming. Fawns should start to drop over the next week or so. Sandhill cranes, wood ducks and Canada geese are fledging young across the south. Up north, young Canada jays were seen already in Ashland County.
Bloodroot and spring beauty were blooming in Ashland County before being covered with snow. Wild geranium leaves are out and May apples are fully emerged in the south, where more reports have also started coming in; this weekend should be excellent for them to really pop. The invasive garlic mustard is bolting—if you pull it, bag it now or it will still have enough energy to produce seed.
Backyards across southern Wisconsin were alive this week with Baltimore and orchard orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks and ruby-throated hummingbirds, as well as the first indigo buntings and scarlet tanagers enjoying orange halves, jelly dishes and nectar feeders. Warbler reports out of Milwaukee were especially spectacular, including 24 species seen early in the week, a rare yellow-throated warbler among them.