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By Lucas Koenig / Sunday, May 1, 2016 10:01 am
Outdoor Report May 2016

A wet start to the week, after a warm and dry weekend, saw large regions of the state experience sporadic and, in some cases, heavy rain for the past several days. While this weekend is predicted to be slightly cooler, this moisture has driven down wildfire danger across much of the state that had reached very high last weekend. Most of the state is currently at "low" fire danger, but areas in the northeast and northwest remain at moderate levels.

Inland game fish anglers were greeted with unseasonably warm temperatures accompanied by strong winds on opening day. Angling pressure was generally moderate in the Northwoods, with a strong northwest wind creating some tough conditions for anglers on the larger lakes and flowages. Winds moderated on Sunday, but that meant anglers were greeted by healthy swarms of black flies that hatched during the warm spell. Walleye was the primary target for most anglers and success was generally fair to mediocre. Crappie and bluegill have really started to concentrate in the shallows, and anglers that were trying to escape the wind seemed to find them tucked along shore in the warmer bays. 

Anglers fishing off Door County reported catching smallmouth bass and an occasional northern pike. Anglers fishing along the Sturgeon Bay canal, Bayview Park, and Stone Harbor have been catching walleyes.

Turkey season is now in the fifth period with just one remaining after this. Turkey harvest numbers have been high this season, with many turkey hunters reporting they harvested large birds this year. Hunter in some areas are now reporting reduced activity as most hens appear to be on their nests, incubating their clutch of eggs. Grouse are still drumming, woodcock are still peenting, and more Canada goose broods have been seen this week. 

The May birding blitz is on, with Neotropical migrants hitting the state in force. Much of the southern half of the state found large numbers of warblers, thrushes, vireos, grosbeaks and tanagers. More than 25 species of warblers were found in some locales. Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, indigo buntings, and ruby-throated hummingbirds are arriving statewide. Butterflies seen include the tiny, yet striking spring azure, as well as American copper, and the feisty red admiral.

The rains have brought a significant "green-up" to the state. Trees are well-leafed out in the south and now progressing in the north. Fiddleheads are nearly ready to frond. In the southern prairies and savannas, the brilliant orange-yellow of hoary puccoon, purple wood-sorrel, and prairie violets are blooming. In the woods, large patches of mayapple are on the verge of blooming, and bellwort, wood anemone, trilliums and trout lilies are blooming.

Door County - Boats returning to Egg Harbor reported catching smallmouth bass and an occasional northern pike. Anglers fishing from the piers in Rowleys Bay have been catching smallmouth bass, small northern pike, and an occasional walleye using shiners. Boats fishing near Gills Rock have been having success catching smallmouth bass using jerk baits and flashy plastics.

Anglers launching at the Stone Quarry and Sawyer Park have reported a tough smallmouth bass bite, but have reported catching a few 4-6 pound fish. Anglers fishing from boats and from shore along the Sturgeon Bay canal, Bayview Park, and Stone Harbor have been catching walleyes using suckers, shiners, and rippin raps.

Steelhead have been observed in Heins Creek downstream from Hwy 57 and Hibbards Creek downstream from county road A. Over the weekend anglers canoeing Rieboldt Creek upstream to Mud Lake have been having success catching Northern Pike in Mud Lake using various spinner baits.

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