Seasonal weather this past week has put a slight kink in our unseasonably early spring. But some annual events—such as turkeys getting active—have already activated their species-specific “launch codes.”

Finding success means adjusting to nature—while navigating through the unwavering structure of society like game regulations and laws.

The youth turkey season is this weekend. There is a surprising amount of greenery in the woods for this time of year. The young guns should do well.

But staying focused on calling longbeards may be tough for mentors. A few of the little grey morels are showing up near the top of verdant hills with southern exposure in Green County.

Conventional wisdom says this vanguard of morchella fungi shouldn’t pop up until about May 1. This same natural framework says white bass should be rampaging up rivers to spawn as walleyes slide back downstream.

But weather dialed itself back to highs in the 50s this past week. A few white bass are showing up on the Wisconsin River between Petenwell flowage and Nekoosa now. When we get about two consecutive days with ambient temperatures between 50 and 70 degrees or higher it will be white bass showtime.

Smallmouth bass have already started their biannual migration into tributary streams of the Mississippi River. DNR tracking studies done several years ago revealed these sportiest of fish living in major systems like the Miss and Green Bay migrate up to 12 miles into some tributaries to spend the summer when water temps warm to 55 degrees, returning back to the grander flow in the fall when the water cools to about the same temperature.

This coincides with spring and fall turnover in many Wisconsin lakes, a natural fact which will require substantially more pondering.

There is no closed gamefish season over on the Miss, so I’ve been guiding over there a bunch lately. This past week clients averaged one smallmouth every five minutes on five guided trips—a total of about 140 quality brown bass boated and released.

Most fish came on B-Fish-N tackle Pulse-R plastics and Rat-T-Traps. This bite is still going on, even though the river has come up almost two feet and dropped 10 degrees in water temperature over the past week. Once initiated, the launch sequence can’t stop.

It caused great angst to vector south to Rockford on Wednesday to do a seminar for Rock Valley Anglers fishing club. But as you read this I’m likely a half-mile downstream from Nekoosa “educating” the vanguard of the spring white bass migration.

So much water. So little time. I know little about politics or change in American society.

If you check the St. Croix rod website, you’ll see most rods are out of stock. Great news! The shortage of fishing rods says more folks are discovering what is truly important in life.

If those kids can focus more on gobble than Google, tomorrow society’s decline may change course.

Ted Peck, a certified Merchant Marine captain, is an outdoors columnist for The Gazette. Email him at


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