River Currents

by Free Speech on May 28, 2009

Lodi, WI~

Lodi Valley News serving Lodi, WI & the Lake Wisconsin area with local information since Earth Day 2008.

Lodi, Wisconsin
5/28/09
by Gary Engberg
©2009 Gary Engberg Outdoors

Enjoy the Beauty of Wisconsin Close to Home

Tasty Spring asparagus and morel mushrooms

Tasty Spring asparagus and morel mushrooms

Southern and south-central experienced the kind of Holiday weekend that one could only wish for if you were forecasting the weather a month ago. The roller-coaster weather this spring has had us guessing on any weather more than a day in advance. I know that there was a reason why I hadn’t put my tomato and pepper plants in the ground. My plans this past weekend were to stay close to my home on the Lower Wisconsin River and work outside on the never-ending list of “projects” that I have to do around my small acreage.

There was the lawn to cut, trees to trim, weeds to pull, firewood to stack, hummingbird and oriole feeders to clean and hang, a deck to repair, and many more jobs that rural homeowners have to do every spring.

In the last two weeks, there has seen been a tremendous increase in the growth of foliage and the emergence of perennials. The morel season is all but over after a very good month or so of the tasty fungi. The lilacs and apple trees are almost done flowering while the honeysuckle is hanging in there with its white and pink flowers.

The summer birds have returned with orioles, hummingbirds, bluebirds, finches, and cedar wax-wings back in mass. If you are a bird-person, make sure to clean and wash out your feeders if you continue to feed year-long as I do. The numerous bird species are devouring bird food, so nesting time is here with parents bringing food back and forth to their nests. Though birds can survive on their own this time of year, I find joy in feeding them throughout the year. It also adds a melodic and serene feeling to being outside even if you’re pulling weeds or trimming brush! This time of the year, it seems that the nesting and mating birds get along or at least tolerate each other. My squirrel population seems to be thriving as always.

Two geese with their goslings along the secluded shoreline.

Two geese with their goslings along the secluded shoreline.

I have the same pair of mallards back with a brood of five as they waddle around to the bird feeders looking for waste sunflower seeds. There also are 2 pairs of Canadian geese with goslings that visit “me” everyday. While cleaning the shoreline, a saw an osprey and an eagle. I hope that the eagle is from the pair that have nested downriver for the last few summers and raised young.

My home and land borders the Wisconsin D.N.R. (Mazomanie and Black Hawk Wildlife Units) land and that now turkey season is over, it is a great place for hiking or walking, viewing wildlife and fantastic fauna and flora, and outdoor photography. Almost everyday, I see sandhill cranes (that now have young), turkeys with their poults, and deer with fawns and that is mainly from the road without getting into the thousands of acres that are available for all. Check the DNR web site (www.dnr.state.wi.us) for the map and description of the state’s numerous public lands in the immediate area.

You can see that wildlife is doing well in my little world and area. Being only a half an hour or less than 30 miles from Madison, much of the beautiful Wisconsin outdoors is at your fingertips and only a short drive away. One does not have to drive hours and burn many gallons of gas for the serenity, natural beauty, and wildlife of late spring in Wisconsin.

Another thing that I noticed and was glad to see was the increased number of people using the Wisconsin River for a variety of activities including; canoeing, kayaking, floating tubes, and of course, fishing. The last few spring’s and summers haven’t been the best for river use with bad weather and low water being the major causes for the decline in activity. Whatever the reasons for the increased numbers; be it people looking for a vacation spot closer to home, the economy, or the discovery of what a great location the Lower Wisconsin Riverway is for recreation have all contributed to more people on the water enjoying the outdoors.

This happy angler hoists a fine Wisconsin River smallie.

This happy angler hoists a fine Wisconsin River smallie.

This is also a good time for fishing the Wisconsin River. The smallmouths are active and going on their beds, the walleyes are recovered from the rigors of spawning and are hungry, and there are white bass chasing minnows up and down the River. The current and flow is also at a navigable level making boating and fishing much easier than when the rock bars are exposed and outboard motors must be trimmed up for travel. This is one of the best times of the year for doing any outdoor activity of choice on the Wisconsin River. Try to get out in the area to enjoy the outdoor splendor of the Wisconsin River Valley and the large number of public areas available for us to enjoy. Everything that you could want and need is here for a day’s outing or a few days’ stay. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at my web site, www.garyengbergoutdoors.com . I’ll be glad to steer you in the right direction.
Web Sites of Interest

Canoe Rentals

Black Hawk River Runs, Highway Y, Mazomanie, Wisconsin. (608)-643-6724.
Sauk Prairie Canoe Center. (608)-643-6589.

Campgrounds

Cedar Hills Campground, 9798 Dunlap Hollow Road, Mazomanie, Wisconsin 53560. Scenic hilltop campsites for tents and trailers overlooking the Wisconsin River Valley. (608)-795-2606.

Motels

Skyview Motel (608)-643-4344.

Cedarberry Inn (608)-643-6625.

Wisconsin River Retreat, Clean cottages, fully furnished, located on the Wisconsin River. (6080-643-220-3795 or www.wisconsinrivverretreat.com

Equipment and Gear

Wilderness Fish and Game, 500 Water Street, Sauk City, Wi. (608)-643-2433. They carry anything for camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, etc.

Restaurants

Leystra’s Venture Restaurant, 200 Phillips Blvd. Sauk city, WI. (608)-643-2004. A great place for breakfast and good, home-style food.

Fishing Guide

Wally Banfi, (608)-644-9823.

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