View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Heavy rains across much of the state in the last week have almost all major river systems and some lakes at very high levels. The southwestern portion of the state received the heaviest rain, with areas of Grant County reporting up to 15 inches of rain in the last week. The Mississippi, Lower Wisconsin, Trempealeau, Black, Pecatonica, Sugar, Rock and Crawfish rivers are all at or near flood stage levels. Finding a sandbar on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway to camp over the upcoming Fourth of July holiday week is going to be difficult. Slow-no-wake ordinances are in place on a number of southern lakes and rivers.
Most reservable campsites will be booked for the upcoming extended holiday weekend, but as a reminder people can check the new Northern Highlands-American Legion State Forest campsite availability page to fine what non-reservable sites are available in the state’s largest forest.
To help protect the trees and forests on public lands from harmful pests and diseases that hitchhike on firewood, all firewood brought to a state property must be from within 25 miles of that property. Or campers can buy Wisconsin certified firewood, which has been processed to be free of harmful tree pests and diseases. More information is available by searching the DNR website for keyword “firewood.”
Also a reminder that most fireworks are prohibited on state park and forest properties, so people planning on camping in a Wisconsin state park or forest for the Fourth of July should enjoy fireworks displays in nearby communities. A citation for illegal fireworks in a state park or forest can cost up to $200.
High water levels have disrupted fishing on many southern lakes and rivers, but some very good panfish and musky action was reported in the north. The bluegill spawn is in full swing, with bluegills sitting on their beds on many lakes. Musky success has been very good at times in the last week, with some anglers reporting multiple catches in a 3 to 4 hour trip. The mayfly hatch has begun on many lakes and this will disrupt the regular walleye bite for the next few weeks. Bass action has been good, with some very nice catches of largemouth and smallmouth bass being made. Both largemouth and smallmouth are in their final stages of spawning on many lakes and look for action on larger fish to pick up in the next week or two.
Rough waters on Green Bay and Lake Michigan kept fishing pressure down this week, but when trollers have been getting out they have been catching a mixed bag of a few coho, rainbows, or chinook. There have been some limits of perch caught in the past week around Door County. On Lake Superior, smallmouth bass action has been great in Chequamegon Bay.
Bear sightings have also increased due to it being the peak of the bear breeding season. Dozens of nuisance complaints have come is as sows have chased off yearling bears who are now fending for themselves. Deer are also becoming more active now as fawns have begun to move around with does. Moose sightings have been reported east of Rhinelander.
Buttercup, birds-foot trefoil, daisy, orange hawkweed, and garden lupine are blooming in the north. Black and red raspberries are beginning to bear fruit in the south, while blueberries are still a couple of weeks off in the north.
And with all the water, mosquitos continue to be out in full force especially in central and northern areas, but actively feeding bats and recent hatches of dragonflies should begin to thin the mosquito population.