Wild things: cold, wet and windy spring prolongs hot fishing

Wild turkey hunters having fun

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected]

A cold, wet and windy spring hasn’t been an idea for wild turkey hunters, but most anglers don’t mind.

This is because there has been plenty of water even in the small tributaries of the lake, extending the spawning grounds of rainbow trout and sucker. Additionally, cool weather means a longer spring bite after spawning for walleye and northern pike.

Anglers casting or trolling spoons and stickbaits were able to attach themselves to pike and walleye along the Kewaunee and Door County coasts of Green Bay, and large brown trout were active in the ports and bays of the northern peninsula.

Catch-and-release bass fishing has been slow so far. However, this should improve by the time the regular fishery opens around May 7.

Most rainbow trout have finished spawning now, but a few late fish are still at the litter sites. Others rest in deeper holes, munching on whatever they can find before heading back to Lake Michigan.

Department of Natural Resources fisheries staff sorted more than 2,000 rainbow trout at the Root and Kewaunee river spawning grounds this month. Staff have been collecting more eggs than usual in an effort to raise and store more colorful rainbows this fall and next spring.

On the hunting scene, gobblers and jakes do their thing as breeding heats up. Large groups have broken up recently, providing opportunities for hunters in areas around winter hotspots.

The less than stellar weather necessitated wearing extra layers on the ground, but that didn’t detract from the success of those who explored well since the turkeys have been active from the time they fly at dawn until the when they fly to roost at dusk.

Many hunters choose to sit in closed blinds in areas where the turkeys are strutting, feeding or moving. Others like to be more mobile, nestled in cedars or other thick cover at the edges of fields, forests, or tree farms, and able to adjust their position if the birds aren’t cooperating.

Some prefer to use fans or turkey decoys to sneak up on birds that hang around for hours in open fields, but with full camouflage, realistic decoys and calls, it is not recommended if there is a chance someone else is hunting at the same time.

Upcoming colorful migrants

Birders in southern and central Wisconsin have reported the return of colorful spring migrants such as Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted cardinals and ruby-throated hummingbirds.

A warming trend, with southerly winds in the forecast, could bring these and other colorful visitors to backyard feeding stations in our area next weekend.

Sugar water nectar (mixture of four parts water, one part sugar), orange slices, grape jelly, and sunflower seeds work well for many spring migrants.

If you haven’t already, clean your bluebird nesting boxes as some have already been sighted.

To learn more about how to build the right birdhouses to attract the cavity-nesting birds you most want to attract, check out this: https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/features-of -a-good -birdhouse/.

Canada All In On Financing

The Canadian government has included full funding to implement the 1954 Great Lakes Fisheries Convention, a treaty between the two nations. Under the treaty, Canada and the United States agree to fund the United States Great Lakes Fishery Commission in accordance with a funding formula.

For several years, Canada underfunded the Survey, which undermined Great Lakes science, transboundary cooperation, and control of the invasive and destructive sea lamprey.

The goal of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission is to protect and enhance the $7 billion fishery in the Great Lakes.

In 1954, the two nations agreed to a formula for funding the work of the Commission, which includes science support for fisheries management decisions; helping the states, the province of Ontario and the tribes coordinate their myriad fisheries management policies; and the implementation of a sea lamprey control program.

Sea lampreys invaded the Great Lakes through shipping channels in the early 20th century and wreaked economic and ecological havoc. Each sea lamprey is estimated to kill up to 40 pounds of Great Lakes fish.

Thanks to the Commission’s programmes, sea lamprey populations have been reduced by more than 90%.

Native wolf control

Indigenous communities in British Columbia have hunted mountain caribou for centuries, but dwindling herds mean recent generations barely see the caribou and have never hunted them.

Now two tribes have focused on increasing the herd by killing wolves.

West Moberly First Nations Chief Roland Wilson told National Geographic that by saving caribou, “we are saving ourselves.” He added: “Shooting wolves was not something we wanted to do. But the wolf population was unbalanced. There were too many. We understood that the wolf population had to be reduced to protect the caribou.

The herd has tripled in size over the past eight years, but is still too small for subsistence hunting.

Fishing for many species is open all year round in our region. That includes salmon and trout, like these steelhead trout spotted in a lakeside cove last weekend. Besides the obvious one, look to the far left for the tail of another hidden in cover. The general opening of the indoor game fish will take place on Saturday May 7th.

Consecutive bass events

The Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament catch, weigh-on-water and take-out format will take place on Monday and Tuesday of this year, May 9-10, four days before the Cabela’s North American Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Challenge.

Check out the events online at http://www.sturgeonbaybasstournament.com and www.sbobt.org.

A list of all fishing tournaments that have applications so far this year can be found at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/topic/Fishing/tournaments.

Weekly water levels

Lake Michigan water levels are seven inches higher than a month ago, but down 10 inches from a year ago and two feet below the monthly record set in April 2020. levels are expected to rise about three inches by the end of May.