The warm weather has greatly increased recreational boating activity on lakes, and conservation wardens are reminding boaters of rules in place to avoid the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boaters must remove all plants from boats and trailers and drain all water from live sells and bilges before leaving a boat landing.
Bluegill spawning is winding down in the south with fish moving off nests. Panfishing has been good at many locations. Fishing for catfish has been very good in the last week on the Mississippi, Wisconsin, Rock, Chippewa, Fox, and Oconto rivers and many spots along Green Bay. Lake Winnebago anglers were still reporting some limits of walleye, along with good numbers of sheepshead, white bass and crappie. A husband and wife out trolling landed a 15.5 inch black crappie last Monday.
Smallmouth bass action has really picked up on Green Bay with bass being caught at many locations on the bay and lake side. On Sunday, two anglers reported catching 60 smallmouth in six hours, a rate of 10 fish per hour. Lake Michigan trollers report fish have become more spread out and are moving into deeper water, but good populations of alewife also continue to keep fish near shore. Most report a mixed bag of rainbows, coho and chinook.
Whitetail deer fawns are now starting to move around more and there have been increasing reports of vehicle deer collisions, so be alert for deer and if a deer crosses the road watch for a young fawn that could be following. The recent warm and moist weather has resulted in large hatches of mosquitoes and biting flies being reported across the state, but especially in the north. The bugs aren’t only bothersome to people but also to wildlife. There have been reports of loons in the north being driven off their nests by the biting flies. In Vilas and Onedia counties there are estimates that 70 to 80 percent of loons have abandoned nests due to extremely high black fly numbers. Deer being seen during the day using open areas seeking breezier spots to escape the stings and bites.
Flowers currently blooming include wild rose, wild geranium spiderwort, columbine, wild lily-of-the-valley, and blue bead lily. Lady’s slippers are blooming in Door County and spiderwort, golden alexander, flowering spurge, and puccoons are all in flower in the prairies. Butterfly numbers are starting to peak including pearl crescent, little wood satyr, black, eastern tiger and giant swallowtails, viceroy, monarch and silver-spotted skippers. There have also been many hatches of dragonflies including many kinds of skimmers and dot-tailed whiteface and green darner.