Outdoor Report for August 28, 2014 Published by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
The Labor Day weekend traditionally signals the end of the summer season and signs of fall are beginning to appear with some trees in the north already beginning to change color.
State parks are reporting most reservable campsites have been booked for the holiday weekend. People looking for last minute camping opportunities can check the availability of non-reservable sites in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. Campers in state parks are reminded they may only bring in certified firewood processed to be free of harmful pests and diseases or wood obtained from within 10 miles of state properties. Maps and more information is available by searching the DNR website for "firewood." Sandbars are still available on the lower Wisconsin River but recent rains have raised water levels above the Prairie du Sac dam and many sandbars are under water.
Boaters will be out in high numbers over the holiday weekend and conservation wardens will be on duty checking for adequate life jackets, impaired operators and a special unit will be working with to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species.
The first of the fall hunting seasons are also around the corner. The early Canada goose and mourning dove seasons kickoff Monday Sept. 1 as does a new experimental early teal-only duck hunting season that will run from Sept. 1-7.
Fishing activity in the north has been variable. Musky have still been the focus for many anglers in the area and action was inconsistent with the changing weather. Walleye success has remained fair, with many anglers still making decent catches and panfish activity has continued to be fair as well, with some catches of crappie, perch and bluegill.
Some very good musky action was reported on Green Bay this week with anglers catching multiple fish with the largest coming in at 55 inches. Perch and walleye action was also good along both west and east shores. On Lake Michigan action picked up with trollers getting some of the best catches of the summer with many boats getting limits out of Sheboygan, Port Washington and Milwaukee.
Recent rains have caused river and wetland water levels to rise significantly while also refreshing muddy farm fields flooded in the wet spring. This is providing good shorebird and waterfowl migratory habitat.
Bird migration is in full swing with recent cold fronts bringing our first good waves of warblers, orioles, hummingbirds and tanagers. Common nighthawks have been seen darting overhead at dusk this week. This should continue over the next one to two weeks so keep an eye to the sky for these acrobatic birds as daylight wanes.
The last of the blueberry crop is beginning to wane in the north, but decent numbers are still available to pick. Many of the prairie plants are done blooming except the late ones such as goldenrods and asters and the grasses are fully mature. Bugs are starting to decrease and it's a great time to explore parks and trails.
Statewide Birding Report
Though shorebirds have been migrating for a couple months now, and are past their peak in both numbers and diversity, land bird migration got underway in earnest this week with 18-plus species of warblers reported in the north and 12-plus in the south. Among them were the first bay-breasted, blackpoll, and yellow-rumped warblers from the boreal forest, as well as Swainson's thrush, dark-eyed junco, and various flycatchers. Backyard favorites such as ruby-throated hummingbird, Baltimore oriole, and scarlet tanager were also on the move to tropical wintering grounds. Shrubby and edge-filled woodlots are excellent habitats to scour this time of year, especially when associated with water or fruiting trees and shrubs. Many birders also noted common nighthawks darting overhead at dusk this week. This should continue over the next one to two weeks so keep an eye to the sky for these acrobatic birds as daylight wanes. Likewise, chimney swifts are staging at fall roost sites and concentrations of the birds should be reported to eBird at www.ebird.org/wi (exit DNR). Shorebird migration isn't over and recent rains have replenished a number of sites that were good in mid-summer but had dried out since. Keep an eye out for yellowlegs, pectoral sandpipers, sanderlings, plovers and other late season favorites. Several piping plovers and whimbrels were also seen. In addition, the first parasitic jaeger of the season was reported at its typical Wisconsin Point hotspot in Douglas County. Other rare birds spotted this week include snowy egret and tricolored heron at Horicon Marsh, rufous hummingbird in Dodge County, eared grebe in Lafayette, western grebe in Forest, and up to six white-faced ibis in Winnebago, where the presence of several food-begging juvenile birds is suggestive of the state's first-ever breeding evidence for this western species. Be sure to get out and enjoy the fall migration in the months ahead! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Summer has somehow slipped past and the Labor Day weekend is upon us. That doesn't mean that the fun has to end though. This is a great time to come out and visit the Brule River State Forest. The camping is still great, cooler temperatures are great for long hikes, the biting insects are less vicious, the lake run fish are coming into the Brule River, and the fall colors will soon begin to put on their show. Right now the late summer purple and gold wildflowers are putting on a show. Native sunflowers, tansy, goldenrod, Large-leaved aster, thistle, Joe-pye weed, and jewelweed, and harebell are just a few that can be seen. Mushrooms have become plentiful and are putting on their own show. Blackberries are ripe, a perfect treat along the trails! The Bois Brule River is flowing nicely due to the rain from a few days ago. This will help the canoes through the rocky areas. It will also help the fishermen searching for the trout that won't spook as easy in the now "stained" water. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the continued erratic weather of the past week, fishing activity has been quite variable across the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Musky have still been the focus for many anglers in the area and action was inconsistent with the changing weather. Most of the anglers were reporting quite a few sightings, follows and short strikes, though catches were a bit tough to come by. Most of the musky that have been caught were in the 30 to 38-inch size, but a few in the mid-40 inch range were also reported. Artificial baits are still providing most of the action and some of the favorite lures have included large bucktails, jerk baits and top waters. With water temperatures holding in the low 70s on most waters, musky have been found in a variety of locations - including the shallow break lines, mid-depth weed beds, and the deeper weed edges. Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing has started to get quite variable; some days have provided good action while others found bites hard to come by. Smallmouth success has been fair to good on the local flowages and larger rivers, with fish being found near cover around deeper water areas. The best baits have been spinner baits and small plastic finesse lures. Largemouth action probably showed the most consistency in the past week, with most of the fish being found in the mid-depth areas around cover. The top-water/frog bite never seemed to develop this summer and largemouth have been holding around cover in 3 to 6 feet of water, with jig/craw combinations and soft plastics being the more successful baits. Walleye success has remained fair, with many anglers still making decent catches on the weed edges with crawlers and leeches. Panfish activity has continued to be fair as well, with some decent crappie, perch and bluegill being found suspended around deeper water cover. Water levels in the area lakes and flowages remain at relatively high levels for the late summer period, with the rivers and streams varying a bit with recent rainfall. Weed densities have been generally low, as the high water levels throughout the summer seem have hindered full development of many weed beds. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - The last of the blueberry crop is beginning to wane. Decent numbers of berries are still available to pick. Mourning doves are beginning to concentrate on harvested wheat fields and sandhill cranes are starting to visit staging areas in preparation for their migration south later next month. Recent rains have caused river and wetland water levels to rise significantly.- Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - Anglers fishing the Peshtigo River proper are reporting good catches of smallmouth bass and northern pike throughout the course of the entire river. Some anglers are putting smaller boats in at the City Garage Landing and floating to the Klingsborns Landing casting spinner baits and top water baits. Anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo are reporting the same kind of success. Perch are being caught out of Little River landing; fish are running small. The walleye bite in the Menominee River remains good with most being caught in the evening trolling with stick baits. Shore anglers on the Menominee River are catching some pan fish, bass, and walleye fishing live bait on the bottom. I have no reports on the salmon and trout bite this week. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Panfish and some small bass are being caught below the Dam at Stiles using live bait suspended a foot off bottom using slip bobbers, or casting small spinners or using wet fly's. Perch fishing on the Bay from the Pensaukee landing to Oconto Park II remains fair to good with fish being caught in 9 to 14 feet of water using both minnows and crawler chunks fished near or on the bottom. Most anglers are reporting fish between 7 1/2 to 14 inches being caught. Anglers also report an up tick in the walleye bite fishing in 14 to 25 feet of water trolling large stick baits or crawler harness. Bass fishing around the mouth of the Oconto River and the Bay remains good once you find where the fish are holding. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
At Geano Beach, musky fishermen continue to dominate the area. Reports of many fish being caught last week brought an increase in pressure to the area with mixed success. Anglers fishing the beginning of the week reported catching multiple fish with the largest coming in at 55 inches. Unfortunately the second half of the week saw very few fish, and none reported boated. Plugs were the dominate bait with attempts spread along the entire shoreline north and south of the launch. A mix of trolling and casting showed no favored winner, however both did produce catches of northern pike. Water temps ranged from 67-71 degrees. -John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Duck Creek continues to build vegetation hampering angler's attempts to fish. The anglers spotted in the creek area stated they went out with the intention to fish but decided against it after failing to find open areas. Walleye fishermen out of the Suamico launch have been returning with mixed success. Anglers pulling cranks have continued to produce decent numbers of fish, while crawler harnesses have been bringing in the size. 16-20 feet of water has seen the most action with daybreak being the most productive. Green and purple have been the colors of choice when using cranks, while orange has been productive with harnesses. Some perch continue to be caught while trolling however no perch anglers were interviewed this week. -John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers in search of smallmouth bass are having success between Egg Harbor and Sister Bay in 12-20 feet of water using worms, tubes, and plastics. Shore anglers had success using worms in 12-20 feet of water as well. Perch anglers had success from Egg Harbor to Sister Bay along the shore in the weed beds, several limits reported using worms and minnows. Walleye anglers have had success off of Hat Reef fishing just off the bottom in 20 feet of water using crawler harnesses. Smallmouth bass anglers were successful in Rowleys Bay in 10 feet of water using worms. Salmon anglers have had success around Cana Island and straight out of Baileys Harbor in 80-140 feet of water, 60-120 feet down for Kings and less than 50 feet down for Steelhead. Anglers have had success using spoons and flasher flies. At Sawyer Harbor, the combination of abundant bait fish and lots of cover has made summer walleye fishing out of Potawatomi Park rather challenging. Using cranks and crawler harnesses, few walleye were reported caught this week. Anglers here are still waiting for the fall walleye bite to begin. Perch fishing in Sawyer Harbor has been tough as well. Fortune perch fishermen have had to first find the schools, then pick through the smaller fish in search of the ones 7-8 inches and up. Minnows, crawlers, and leeches continue to be the favorite bait. Anglers choosing crawlers have had to sort through good numbers of round gobies as well (one group of anglers swore they had caught 60+). Several perch anglers here remain confident that mid-fall will bring in the larger perch. Smallmouth fishermen have not reported the high catch numbers of a few weeks ago. It seems the best time this week was early morning. Crawlers, tubes, and leeches have been some of the most used baits. Other fish caught out of Sawyer Harbor this week included freshwater drum, channel catfish, and rock bass. Salmon anglers launching from Sturgeon Bay have had success this week fishing the banks, using lead core and flies. Anglers have reported a few hits with flies on the dipsy diver as well. Catches have been large in size. Anglers launching from Stone Quarry have had high success for smallmouth bass out on the bay using cranks and flicker shads fishing the weeds. Anglers in search of walleye are still having low success, but the farther south you go on the Bay the better the bite gets. Anglers fishing from shore at Stone Quarry have had success for smallmouth bass using artificial worms and cranks, although size has been small. Perch anglers fishing in the canal have had the best luck when fishing around structures using night crawler pieces. Smallmouth bass fishing out of Little Sturgeon this week has been almost as unpredictable as one could imagine. While some anglers seemed to have trouble catching a handful, others were landing 30-60 fish. Several smallmouths were reported caught in 6-10 feet of water, others reported getting lucky in 15-18 feet, and a group of walleye anglers said they got two dozen trolling cranks around 1.5 mph in close to 30 feet. Most smallmouth anglers said an early week cold front made it so you had to be patient with your bait. Early morning has been the best time to catch these fish. Tubes, crawlers, leeches, drop-shots (w/ 4-inch worms) and even cranks have landed smallmouths this week. Despite semi-turbid waters with a little chop and cloudy skies late in the week, it was a tough week for most walleye anglers. The luckiest ones were using crawler harnesses in 18-23 feet of water. While most perch anglers had a tough week, others have said they are having very good luck. It seems that once you have located a school, you need to stay with it. A lot of times anglers would have to pick through smaller sized perch until getting to decent ones. Minnows, leeches and crawlers are the favored bait. A number of northern pike are starting to be landed. Most of them have been in areas with decent amounts of vegetation. Many northern anglers got lucky this week on spinner baits. Other fish caught out of Little Sturgeon this week included several freshwater drum and gobies, as well as large catfish and some rock bass. -John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers on the piers in both Algoma and Kewaunee have been have little to no success fishing with spoons of all colors and live bait. There have been many sightings of steelhead and kings surfacing at the entrance of both the Kewaunee and the Ahnapee rivers. There have also been many sightings of kings in the rivers already as well. Anglers launching from both Kewaunee and Algoma this week have had a tough week. Catches have been low to none, although many of the fish being caught are large. In Kewaunee anglers are fishing 40-170 feet and 20-70 feet down having the best of luck on lead core lines and flasher flies this week. In Algoma anglers are fishing in 100-200 feet and 40-90 feet down, again the best luck has been on the 10 color lead core line and flies. Many anglers reported having success in the overnight hours this past week as well. Surface water temperature in Kewaunee and Algoma on the lake is hovering around 70 degrees. Shore anglers are trying their luck in Kewaunee all around the harbor. Some have reported catching channel cats and carp but no luck for Salmon. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Salmon anglers are having low success in 70-200 feet of water, a couple limits reported. Successful anglers are using flasher flies and green/silver and green/gold spoons. Fishing pressure has been low. Pier and shore anglers have had low success throwing spoons of all colors. Smallmouth bass and northerns are being caught in both Manitowoc and Two Rivers harbors using soft plastics for smallies and bucktail spinners for northerns. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Shawano County - Fishing and boating are still in full swing. Seems like people are trying to fit everything into the short summer we are having. Lake traffic is as busy as ever the last week or so. People are starting to turn their attention to the fall with hunting just around the corner. Turkeys are commonly seen out in hay fields and deer with fawns are spotted out in the day time feeding. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Monday, Sept. 1 marks the opening day for mourning dove, early goose and teal seasons. Wardens ask all outdoor users to be respectful of one another. Hunters participating in the teal season are reminded to be absolutely certain of their target and to be only shooting at blue wing or green wing teal species. Also pay attention to the special hunting hours on opening day and 7 p.m. closing hours the entire season. Recent rains have brought up the rivers slightly, and have caused fishing activity to increase. Everyone is encouraged to get out and enjoy the last long weekend of the summer. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Green Bay
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waushara County - Lakes and streams are ready for the holiday weekend. Waters are still warm for boating and swimming activities if the weather holds out. Streams are flowing at a pretty good clip, but are not too high to prevent folks from enjoying some fishing. A reminder for folks that Monday does kick off the early goose season, early teal season, and mourning dove season. Whether folks are participating in those activities or they are just out enjoying the woods or waters keep in mind that everyone is able to recreate within the limits of the law and to be courteous to others in the outdoors! - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Winnebago County - With Labor Day approaching the perch bite has begun to improve on Lake Winnebago. With so much bait fish in the system the bite has been slow but if anglers are able to locate the schools they might see some improved fishing. Sept. 1 starts the Early Goose season and the new seven-day teal season. Nothing has changed in regards to the early goose season, hunters still need to be licensed, have their early season permit and report the geese harvested. However, this year there is also a teal season which is in a trial period. Only teal may be harvested during this day season so hunters need to be proficient at identifying waterfowl on the wing and know what they are shooting at is a teal. Refer to the DNR website for further information or regulations.- Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - With the coming of fall, animals are moving around all over Milwaukee, to begin planning for winter temperatures. Coyotes, skunk, squirrels, and ducks are all looking for food to fill up on. A variety of migrating shorebirds have been spotted in Milwaukee County and along Lake Michigan, including some rarities! The fall migrating songbirds and raptors are also beginning their move south, so keep your eyes open for them. Early season dove, teal and goose hunting will begin soon, and other bird hunting will also begin in the coming weeks. Search for "FFLIGHT" on the DNR page to find dove fields, pheasant stocking sites, and grouse and woodcock habitat in your area.
Lakeshore State Park - Lakeshore State Park has over a mile of concrete-paved trails. All trails are open and in good condition, including the Summerfest Loop. The marina will remain open until November 1. The prairies are starting their fall blooming period. Watch for the asters and goldenrods in the coming weeks. The demonstrations gardens at the front of the park are in especially good this year. The red foxes have been very active. The best viewing times are early morning and at dusk. Anglers are having some success with trout and salmon along the river and dock wall on the south end of the park. You can access that area from the park road that starts at Erie Street. Parking is available along the road. - Thomas Kroeger, parks and recreation specialist, Milwaukee
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing has really improved most boats heading out are catching better numbers than most of the season, best depths have been all over from 30 feet of water out to 140 feet of water the most consistent bite seems to be from 80-120 feet of water fishing in the top 50 feet. Dipsy divers and leadcores have been hot best lures have been magnum spoons and jplugs in pearl or silver. The fishing should only get better as more and more salmon head near-shore on their annual spawning migration. Unfortunately there is still very warm water near-shore and most pier fishermen struggled with little to no activity, colder water will be needed to improve pier fishing.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing has also picked up with boat trollers getting some of the best catches of the summer with many boats getting limits, best depths seem to be a little deeper off of port in 130-150 feet of water fishing anywhere from 30 to 60 feet down. There has also been an early morning bite in some-what shallower water in 50-60 feet of water but that bite window is short and the most consistent action has been coming from the deeper water through the day. Best lures have been just about everything white flashers and flys, spoons, and jplugs all seem to be taking fish, fished off of leadcore, dipsys, or downriggers. Shore anglers fishing off of the south pier and the power plant discharge area are beginning to catch a few salmon early in the morning along with a few smaller browns and an occasional smallmouth. Best baits for the salmon and trout have been a spawn sac fished near bottom or drifted in the current on a 3 way rig, night crawlers fished off of a jig has worked for the smallmouth.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee fishing has improved as well for boat trollers, limit catches have been reported many times this week and most boats are doing very well fishing in 80-100 feet of water best times have been early morning of right at dark. All lures have been taking fish but spoons and jplugs have been taking some of the larger chinooks fished down deep. Downriggers and dipsys seem to be the hottest presentations with 100-300 foot copper rods taking some fish as well. Fishing should only get better in the coming weeks. Shore and pier fishermen are still struggling with the warm water but a few chinooks have been taken through the night off of the Mckinley pier, glow spoons worked near bottom seem to be the best lures, shore fishing should improve nears shore with some rain and cooler weather in the coming weeks.
Racine County - Activity at the Pershing Park boat launch was low this week. The few boats did that venture out had decent success fishing in 70-8- feet of water any were from 30-50 feet down, jplugs and magnum spoons fished off of downriggers or dipsy divers seem to be the best methods. Pier fishing remains slow but there was some reports of a few chinooks and coho biting very early in the morning off of the south pier, best lures have been glow in the dark spoons have been the most productive spoons jigged off bottom. A few browns have also been taken on crank baits and jigs and plastics. Pier fishing will improve in the coming weeks for all species with some colder water and rain expected.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - During the past week the Pike Lake DNR crew and several volunteers assisted the Plymouth DNR crew and Sheboygan Co. volunteers with duck banding on Sheboygan Marsh. A total of about 200 mallards, wood ducks and green-winged teal were captured using a rocket net over a baited site in two attempts. The ducks were released on site after we recorded their species, age and sex, and leg-banded them. Local duck and goose numbers are slowly building up on local marshes wetlands in preparation for fall migration. All Canada geese are still the "local" variety, with the migrant "Interior" subspecies not arriving until mid-September. On Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, a dike "armoring" project consisting of placing large rock rip-rip along the side of the dike to prevent erosion and to discourage muskrat burrowing, was completed last week on a section of the "Erdman Impoundment" located across from the Peterburs monument along Highway 28. The gravel access drive along the dike top has since been re-opened to public vehicle access after it was closed for a few days during re-construction. The water level on the Theresa Marsh main marsh continues to slowly rise as more stop logs are being gradually added to the marsh dam. The water level is expected to be close to the management goal of about 4 feet on the dam gauge for the Sept. 1 early goose and teal season opener. That level is a few inches below the "full pool" level seen in October. Keeping the water level lower in August and early September allows smartweed, bidens and other waterfowl food plants to fully mature in mudflat areas before they are reflooded, providing the maximum food value for migrating waterfowl in fall. Wading bird, shorebird and other bird use on the drawn down impoundments along Highway 28 continues to be good, providing people with good viewing opportunities from the Highway 28 right-of-way west of Highway 41. Low to moderate numbers of geese, mallards, teal, wood ducks and sandhill cranes are also using the marsh and surrounding areas. Two "dove fields" were planted on the west side of Theresa Marsh to improve mourning dove hunting opportunities. Locations of dove fields on state land around the state are on the DNR website. Sponsors and hunters are reminded to submit their applications for fall "Learn to Pheasant Hunt" events as soon as possible. Left-over public land and private land antlerless deer permits are still available for both Washington and Ozaukee County. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water level on August 28, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 9,690 cubic feet per second. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. There are plenty of sandbars throughout the Riverway providing ample locations for camping. Mourning dove and goose hunting will be opening in the area on Sept. 1 and there may be hunters on the Riverway. Dove hunters should be finding many birds, especially around some of the sunflower fields that were planted within the Riverway. Hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing when afield. The hiking and horse trails are all in good shape. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Recent rains have brought the water level up on the Wisconsin River. Most, if not all the sandbars above the dam are under water now which will limit camping opportunities. Smallmouth bass fishing has been steady. Sunflower fields are full of dove for the upcoming opener. Not many farm fields have been harvested yet for the early goose season.- Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Dane County - Mourning dove and goose activity (and turkeys) seems to be concentrated on recently harvested small grain fields. Wood duck activity at banding locations has really picked up in the past week. Turkey broods are now becoming very visible in fields during the day. This is a good time to scout for the turkey season. Bird migration is in full swing with recent cold fronts bringing our first good waves of warblers, orioles, hummingbirds and tanagers to Dane County. Still some flycatchers and swallows around but we are past peak on most of those species. Recent rains have refreshed muddy farm fields flooded in the wet spring. This is providing good shorebird and waterfowl migratory habitat. Good numbers of bats are being seen foraging at dusk near wetlands. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Sauk Prairie Recreation Area - Starting to see birds gathering in larger groups such as nighthawks, ducks, geese, and cranes. - Nancy Frost, wildlife biologist, Madison
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Catfish in the 13-15 inch range continue to be caught with live bait on the Rock River below Indianford. There is no size limit for catfish, but the daily bag limit is 10. Each fisherman has their own bag limit, so group bagging is not allowed. Walleye, northern pike, and largemouth bass are being caught below the Indianford Dam on jigs and spinner-baits. The water levels on the Rock River and Lake Koshkonong are back to summer low levels, so boaters don't have to worry about the slow-no-wake restrictions that were in place earlier in the summer on the entire river. Boaters should be cautious, however, and watch out for rocks, logs, and other obstructions that appear when water levels drop. Boating pressure on the Upper Rock River and Lake Koshkonong has gone down in recent weeks since the unfortunate fire at the Anchor Inn in Newville. Hunting seasons are just around the corner with Sept. 1 marking the beginning of the dove, early goose, and early teal seasons. Sunflower fields are doing well on several of the public hunting grounds in the area, so dove hunters may want to do some scouting to find the best locations. Field locations can be found on the DNR website and most are visible from adjacent roadways and/or DNR parking lots. The goose population is high in Rock County, so hunters should have good success in 2014. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville
West Central Region
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Three nice bears were harvested during a recent learn to bear hunt program, which was a great success. The bears were harvested using both tree stands over bait, and bear dogs. Many people have been asking about the upcoming deer regulation changes, and the changes to deer management units and the hunting season structure has been well received overall from the people. Please remember to read through the regulations and changes as you prepare for the season. - Bryan Harrenstein, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls
Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - Early signs of fall are starting to appear. Some trees are already changing color and a variety of goldenrods are blooming. Many of the other prairie plants are almost done blooming and the grasses are fully mature. Bugs are starting to decrease and it's a great time to explore the trails and hike up to the observation tower that overlooks Dunn County. All trails are open and in good condition. You may notice additional colors on some trees along the trails beside green. Parks and Forestry staff are marking trees as part of a timber sale. Forest management practices are being setup to promote forest regeneration, remove hazard trees, and to site prep for additional trail work to be completed in the next year or so. You can view some recent forest regeneration cuts east of the group camp to see the benefits of improved trails and the oak/aspen regeneration. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Chippewa River State Trail - Trail is open and in good condition. The Chippewa River is running a little above normal for this time of year due to recent rains but is still easily navigable by paddlers. Higher waters are allowing boaters more access to some good fishing spots and fishing seems to be heating up in the rivers with the cooler temperatures. If planning a canoe and bike trip use caution as the river is constantly changing and always wear a life jacket. Many of the public sand bars and islands are accessible and provide a great resting area. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Red Cedar State Trail - Signs of fall are beginning to appear with some trees already beginning to change color. Many of the prairie plants are done blooming except the late ones such as goldenrods and asters. This also means hunting seasons are around the corner. Trail is open and in good condition. Heavy rains in June caused multiple landslides between mile 3 and 5. Repair work is complete. New tread material was placed and packed in that area but it may remain soft for a while. The Menomonie Depot Visitor Center will be closed on weekdays after Labor Day. Visitor Center will remain open on weekends and Labor Day from 9 am to 4 p.m. The Red Cedar River is running at or a little above normal flow. If planning a canoe and bike trip be away that there are still a lot of overhanging trees and submerged logs along and within the river. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Wausau DNR Service Center area
Marathon County - Steady rain and has increased river flow in areas with plenty of water going through the dams. Boaters should use caution. Also, with the upcoming early goose and experimental teal season, hunters should be extra cautious when hunting water bodies that have recreational boating traffic. Lake Wausau is of special concern with hunting blinds already built along weed beds near heavy boating traffic. - Benjamin Herzfeldt, conservation warden, Wausau
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - The lake has been busy with boating, fishing and swimming. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent for use on the canoe interpretive trail and at the beach. Algae has been moving around the lake and beaches recently. Check out the blue-green algae webpage for information. Check out a gps unit at the park office or bring your own to discover the Ranger Rick Geocaches or history of Buckhorn caches. Horseshoes and volleyballs are available to checkout for use by the beach or in the group camp. The beach is a great place to enjoy the sun, grill out and enjoy summer. Not too many bugs at this time of summer! - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Trails are in great shape for hiking and geocaching. GPS units are available to check out at the park office. Horseshoes and volleyball are available to check out to use at the mound shelter. Many picnic areas in the park to enjoy the weekend weather. Not too many bugs at this time. There are three non-reservable, 1st-come/1st served sites for the holiday weekend. - Heather Wolf, park manager