There are reports of at least one black bear roaming around in our neck of the woods. We haven't seen it yet, but hope to in the near future. "Junior" Muetze and I have been fishing again this week and doing better except today as the cold front moved through. It should be quick as a warm front hits the Coulee Region early Friday. It's going to be hot and humid most of next week. Saturday's high temperature could reach 95 degrees with a heat index of 105. Considering the hot weather next week, we're going to toss in our catfish poles in Junior's boat and try for a few channel cats early in the day. In fact, I'm going to fish for them off the boathouse this weekend. I have only been trout fishing once this year, but hope to get out again soon. Meanwhile, fawns are following their mothers around. Mature deer are wearing their summer coats. I'm seeing lots of squirrel roadkills as of late. I almost hit one the other day. Birds are plentiful as are waterfowl. Until we meet, have a great day outdoors.
From Southern Wisconsin
Now, with more biomass (living weight) in the fields, forests, flowages, and lakes, populations begin competing with one another. The simple scenario might be: trees produce leaves; caterpillars eat leaves; birds eat caterpillars; hawks, coyotes and snakes eat birds. Some of these populations can’t carry their own weight. The dead are left to the vultures, fungi and bacteria to recycle the remains. Food (energy) chains are interesting and informative to follow. Some populations are successful. Others collapse because one link got out of hand. In most, everyone gives and takes a little. The three-county deer predator study in southwest Wisconsin is partly about populations of coyotes and bobcats taking white-tailed deer. Of course other factors take a piece of the pie, too. Hunters, vehicles, wolves, bears, accidents, starvation and diseases take a major portion of the deer population each year, too, or at least that is what most suspect, but science will eventually place estimates on each consumer when the study concludes about 2021. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers and ruby-throated hummingbirds recently provided an interesting food and predator study, too. Sapsuckers consume tree sap from more than 200 plant species, including paper birch. Numerous thieves - flies, moths, small mammals and hummingbirds - take from the sapwells sapsuckers “drill” into trees. Hummingbirds follow sapsuckers into southern Wisconsin “anticipating” tree sap will be flowing before red flowers bloom and insect populations explode. Were it not for the sapsuckers arriving first and setting the dessert table for hummers, many may return, but perish. There is an interesting war that goes on with the larger sapsucker guarding its energy table. The thieves wait for the woodpecker to leave to feed its young, while flies and moths are content to feed simultaneously with the hummingbirds who sneak in the moment the woodpecker flies. The birch trees are usually not seriously harmed. Those that die have been weakened by other factors before the sapsuckers found their sap content conducive to provide sugar and a few insects caught in the sticky exudate. Both hummingbirds and sapsuckers eat insects, too. Deer populations are undergoing constant transformations. Fawns are running, following and starting to feed. Bucks’ antlers are forking. Some family groups are getting back together. Bucks accept the company of other males. Crops, including corn and soybeans, are candy to deer of all ages. Potatoes are flowering, looking a lot like their cousin the tomato. The fruit that follow are even more similar. Turkey poults are beginning to show, while bird dogs and their keepers are wondering what ruffed grouse counts will reveal. Studies are about to try answering. Bluebirds have started their second nesting. Pull the old nest from the box. There is something about rebuilding a nest the starts the process over and may be necessary to the male and female. Black raspberries (blackcaps) will be prime for picking well before flags are omnipresent. Patriotic roadsides of red, white and blue blooms are ahead, too. Wild roses, blue spiderworts and various white daisies showed true through the raindrops weeks early. Prairie pale blue coneflowers are opening and compass plants are close behind. Deeper into the woods, wild ginseng and vine poison ivy, sport tiny blooms. The Wisconsin DNR is planning a biological study of ginseng plants, from emergence to dieback. Young rabbits, squirrels and skunks are hopping, climbing and roaming. But don’t count on all animals’ scent being latent. Oak, hickory and hazelnut fruit crops can begin to be assessed. June is filled with an abundance of blooming birthdays, births and deaths, and maturations. A sign of an early autumn or a long, difficult winter? But first summer comes up to bat next week.
BUCKHORN STATE PARK - Visitors were hiking, boating and fishing over the weekend. Canoes, kayaks and bikes are available to rent. Ticks and mosquitoes are out, so remember to use bug spray and check daily after being in the woods. People were escaping the heat and bugs by being near the water at the beach or out on the lake. There is a dog beach on Water St, west of the Buckhorn Bridge, according to Heather Wolf, park manager.
ROCHE-A-CRI STATE PARK - Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. Campers have been going a mile down the road to the free beach at Friendship Lake. Lupine are blooming out in the prairie, said Wolf.
Karen Perry from Wild Birds Unlimited
Hey guys! - Happy Early Father's Day! Make sure you family knows Wild Birds Unlimited has all your birding nature items that you love so much. We have gift cards and right now, if anyone spends $50 they get $10 off! What's going on in the birding world? Well, we've had some fledglings leave the nests, lots of baby house finches and unfortunately house sparrows, grackles and starlings. What a mess. I have changed out all my feeders to safflower, finch mix (thistle and fine sunflower chips) upside down suet feeders and then have my squirrel proof feeder with the good mix in it set to allowing only one bird perhaps two light birds at a time. No grackles and starlings for sure! The final work is that with all the damp weather, rain and humidity, we have a large amount of mosquitoes, gnats and ticks in the area. Please be careful with the ticks. Make sure if you are going for a walk in a wooded area to check yourself carefully and if you have children and/or pets you should check them daily. Make sure you remove the WHOLE tick and if you need assistance check out https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html Make sure you use a good bug spray on your body to keep the mosquitoes and gnats at bay. NEVER, NEVER spray any type of bug spray on your face! Spray on your hands first, then wipe your face and keep your hands AWAY from your eyes! Wild Birds Unlimited has an awesome bug stick that we sell called Murphy's Mosquito sticks. These are AWESOME. They keep the mosquitoes away as well as those nasty annoying gnats. Use together with a spray while camping or on your deck and you have it made! Happy Summer! Karen Perry
Around the Badger State
With the equinox not just a week away, summer is moving into full swing with visitors steaming into parks and campgrounds filling up. Pattison State Park had over 1,100 vehicles come through last weekend with many attracted by high flows over the waterfalls. The hexagenia mayfly hatch has begun, making for great fly fishing on central Wisconsin streams. Walleye fishing on the Winnebago System has been very good, with many anglers catching limits of 15- to 20-inch fish and some anglers are starting to target and catch yellow perch. Anglers are having the best luck trolling in the mud flats on Lake Winnebago. Lakes Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts are also producing fish for anglers through a variety of presentations. Fewer anglers were out on the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers this past week in part due to cooler air temperatures and high wind. Some anglers were still having successful trips catching northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, crappies and rock bass. A couple anglers reported catching a musky at the mouth of the Peshtigo River. On lower Green Bay, anglers at the Metro launch were catching their limit of walleye or close to it. Many anglers reported high numbers of freshwater drum and catfish being caught. High numbers of white bass were still being harvested at Voyager Park. Bass fishing is picking up in northern Green Bay. Many anglers were catching smallmouth off the beds from Egg Harbor north to Ellison Bay. Water temps are still cool in the upper 50s, but should continue to warm. The bass catch was good at Stone Quarry with the numbers reaching the 90s for some parties. Lake Michigan anglers were reporting a variety of catches, but mostly king salmon and lake trout with a few coho and rainbows were caught. There was heavy pressure out of Algoma where anglers were limiting out. Fishing was good to start out the week in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, but as the week progressed fishing slowed down a little bit. Salmon fishing was picking up out of Sheboygan and Port Washington. The Sheboygan Salmon Cup Tournament was held last weekend and competitors registered some nice chinook, many of which weighed in the high 20s. Trollers out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha reported mainly lake trout and coho along with a few kings. Fawns and bear cubs are a more common site as they are getting pretty mobile. A variety of snakes are being seen in sunny spots including garter, western fox, ring necked and water snakes, all nonvenomous. Snapping and other turtles are finishing up laying their eggs. Swallowtail butterflies are busy looking for nectar from blooming dogwoods and high bush cranberries. Chickadees are starting to look for food for their newborns. Blackberries are in bloom and some wild strawberries are ripe for the picking. Bunchberry, false lilly of the valley and star flower are still in bloom, and the lovely maroon flower of the pitcher plant is starting to show up in the bogs. This week is a new moon and this weekend half a dozen properties are holding astronomy or Universe in the Park programs, so if skies are clear there should be some excellent viewing. For a list of all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
Billy Isbell from Island Outdoors on French Island
It's me, Billy from Island Outdoors. Here are your fishing reports. Bluegills are about done spawning, so start looking for them to recede to the weed edges instead of the thick weeds. I think the popper bite is starting to slow down . My bait of choice would be the night crawler or red worm. Crappies should be moving into the deeper summer holes around snags and cooler water. Usually, plastics will outfish any live bait. Catfish are on fire right now. Channel catfish have been doing great on chicken liver in the back sloughs. Flathead cats have been doing great throwing a bluegill out along sand drops and also around fallen trees. Bass are running around the weeds real shallow. My best bait has been the sunfish colored swim jig with a baby paca craw sun perch colored trailer. Any swim jig should produce. Thank you all for your patronage. Tight lines!