Wild Things: April Fish Tales Start to Grow

An April snowstorm and the heavy rain that preceded it Tuesday was just what the fish doctor ordered for Great Lakes water levels.

Lake Michigan and Green Bay tributaries got a boost, as did the wetlands so vital to more than 100 species of birds, amphibians and other creatures large and small.

Green Bay has been producing some very good catches of walleyes and northern pike, with some bonus muskies, bass, whitefish, perch and other species also hooked.

Meanwhile, Lake Michigan’s shoreline areas have been very good for brown trout when conditions allow, and lakeshore tributaries are hosting spawning runs of steelhead and suckers. 

Some smelt could move in off creek mouths and near piers as air temperatures warm in the coming week. 

Spring Hearings

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) fish and wildlife hearings and Wisconsin Conservation Congress county meetings will be held April 8 in all counties, with an option to provide input on natural resources issues online from noon April 10 to noon April 13. 

Locally, hearings will be held at Sturgeon Bay High School (Alumni Hall), Kewaunee High School (Theater) and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay (Room SC130). 

DNR staff presentations begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, followed by Conservation Congress delegate and alternate elections. After that, DNR spring hearing questions, WCC questions and any citizen resolutions will be discussed and voted on. Results are advisory only, but sometimes lead to rule changes. Learn more at

State Park Meeting

The DNR is hosting an open house about upcoming trail projects at Peninsula State Park April 16 from 4-7 pm at the Gibraltar Town Hall, 4097 Hwy. 42, Fish Creek. 

Attendees can review maps and other displays and discuss trail updates with DNR staff. Can’t attend? Learn more online at

Upcoming changes include the construction of segments of accessible trail, the removal of unsustainable trails within wetlands and the addition of mountain bike trails. The trail will be a 1.5 to 4-foot wide tread that meanders through the property, utilizing desirable topography to minimize soil displacement while avoiding ecologically-sensitive areas.

The DNR welcomes questions about the project through May 2 at [email protected].

Steelhead Egg-Taking

DNR fisheries staff have been operating the Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine since late February, with more than 1,000 fish captured and more than half of them spawned. 

No totals were available on the Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility page, but the pumps were running and trout were seen in the underwater viewing windows last weekend. 

The Besadny site is open to the public and is located at N3884 Ransom Moore Lane, about two miles west of Kewaunee.

Rainbow trout (steelhead) spawning is ahead of schedule this spring, with many females already dropping eggs in lakeshore tributaries. Photo by Alberto Rodriguez Toro.

Field Trips Fill Fast

More than a dozen field trips in the Door County and Green Bay areas are among 275 offered this year by the DNR and the Natural Resources Foundation (NRF) of Wisconsin.

Registration opened April 4, and some trips fill up within minutes, hours or days. Foundation membership is required to participate, and fees vary by trip.

The NRF was formed 38 years ago as declining budgets compromised critical DNR programs. Learn more at

Fishing Tournaments

New this year, fishing tournaments that are statewide or regional in nature, seasonal without specific fishing dates or that have fewer than 20 boats or 100 participants will be required to register with the DNR free of charge.

A screening tool that asks questions will help organizers determine whether they need a registration or permit. 

To learn more, visit, or contact Kayla Sasse at [email protected].

Youth Turkey Hunt

Next weekend, April 13-14, is the youth turkey hunt. Youths must have a tag, and if successful, they can’t use it during the regular season. However, if they don’t bag a bearded bird, they can hunt in the week specified.

If the youth doesn’t have a permit, there were some Zone 2 leftovers for the final period that could be purchased. 

Check out the rules at

Trout Tourneys

A pair of brown trout tournaments will be held the next two weeks: the Blue Door Brown Trout Derby, April 13, and the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament, April 18-21.

Learn more at and