Around the Badger State

The snow that fell last week across the north is diminishing and has disappeared where it fell in the southeast.
NOAA satellite images show the rapid loss of snow from April 15 to 16. One on April 15 one shows the southeast snow band well. Then by the 16th it's gone.
Most lakes south of Highway 64 are now ice-free. There are still some flowages and lakes in the north with ice, but temperatures are supposed to be increasing this week.
The ice is off of the North and South Fork of the Flambeau and soon the redhorse will be running. The river level is very high, nearing the flood stage.
Walleye are running up the major Lake Michigan tributaries such as the Oconto, Menominee, Peshtigo and Wolf rivers. There was heavy fishing pressure reported on all rivers this week. This last week was slower for anglers on the Fox River, with the slower bite attributed to cool temperatures and wind.
There was quite a bit of fishing activity on Door County's Whitefish Bay, Hibbards and Heins creeks on Saturday. Steelhead were seen in the streams that were running a little high, but clear. Steelhead fishing on other Lake Michigan tributaries was slower this week. Anglers fishing the Kewaunee River had mixed results. Suckers have begun running and anglers fishing for steelhead were catching upwards of 10 suckers. Fishing pressure on the Root River remained fairly high both above and below the steelhead facility but catches were few and far between.
Windy and cold weather had Lake Michigan waters rough, with significant waves and whitecaps and waves crashing over piers and break walls. The few anglers that were out on the Milwaukee River did not report any fish caught.
Fisheries staff anticipate that the lake sturgeon spawning run on the Winnebago System will commence at some point over the next week. Water temperatures are still a little cold, but warmer temperatures in the forecast later this week and weekend could get the fish more active.
Many areas of the state had a wet day for the spring turkey opener. The first period started Wednesday and hunters reported male turkeys have been seen moving frequently.
Deer are feeding very heavily on new growth right now.
Raccoon, skunks and bears are starting to make appearances. Chorus frogs are calling. Pussy willows are starting to bloom in the swamps.
In spring, sharp-tailed grouse perform an elaborate mating dance on a matted patch of ground called a lek. The Namekagon Barrens Wildlife Area is home to Wisconsin's largest population of sharp-tails. The Friends of Namekagon Barrens host sharp-tail viewing opportunities from blinds. There are limited opportunities and spaces fill rapidly. The group recently created additional viewing opportunities. There is a minimum donation of $10 per sharp-tailed grouse blind reservation. Reservations can be made through the group's website at www.fnbwa.org.
Several large raptor flights unfolded, especially on the April 16, when hundreds of red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures and sharp-shinned hawks were on the move.
Loons are starting to shift northward, but some impressive counts continue on southern lakes, including 80-plus on Lake Monona this week.
Earth Day is right around the corner and this Saturday and Monday seven properties are holding Work*Play*Earth Day events. Come out and volunteer with Friends groups and help get parks ready for the busy season ahead. Then stay around and enjoy the fruits of your labor.