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Outdoor Report for September 25, 2014  Published by the Central Office

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).

Fall colors are at or near peak this week in far northern Wisconsin and many areas are reporting some spectacular colors this year, as state forestry officials had predicted, because of excellent leaf growth from a wet spring and summer. The weather has cooperated this week with bright sunny days and cool nights, which is the formula for the brightest colors. Colors are at 30 to 50 percent in central Wisconsin and expected to peak in one to two weeks. Some areas of the south are also reporting 30 to 40 percent colors while others are reporting very little color yet. Check current information on statewide fall color on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).

Sawyer County colors
Fall colors are near or at peak this week in areas of Northern Wisconsin, like this area in Sawyer County.
WDNR Photo

The nice weather and great colors caused fishing pressure to spike up on many Northwoods lakes. Most have been angling for musky, with fairly consistent action reported at nearly all times of the day. The most successful baits continue to be artificial baits but some anglers have been able to find large suckers, and they have also provided some good success. Most fish have been in the 34 to 40-inch size but there have been rumors of fish up to 46 inches landed in the last week. Water levels have dropped some on rivers and sturgeon anglers had fair success with most fish in the 40 to 54-inch size, but a couple legal 60 inch reported.

The Lake Michigan tributary fall trout and salmon runs are beginning with some fish moving up northern Door County streams as well some fish moving up the Kewaunee, East Twin, Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Root rivers and Sauk Creek. The Root River Steelhead facility began operations this week processing 105 fish Wednesday with a mixed bag of chinook and coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout.

The inland trout bite has also picked up, with brook trout biting on central Wisconsin stream, where water levels have been excellent. This is the last weekend for the general inland season, which closes September 30.

The cooler mornings have started to get some white-tailed buck deer very active, despite very warm weather. Archers have registered some nice bucks in the last week and hunters in Dane County even reported already finding some scrapes. Hunting conditions might be tougher this weekend with highs near 80 predicted and a fresh bumper crop of mosquitos to pester hunters in the woods. Bull elk are bugling in the Clam Lake area, and are guarding their harems from other bulls.

Bear hunters are starting to get the baits hit more regularly again and several hunters had good success this week, including one bear shot near Ogdensburg weighing in at 780 pounds.

With the mild weather, Canada goose numbers are generally still low with most migrant geese from Canada yet to arrive.

But the Badger state did see two major migration events this week on the nights of the September 20 and 21. These brought very large numbers of yellow-rumped warblers to the northern half of the state and more modest numbers to the south, both serving as indications that warbler migration is reaching its end. Raptor flights were also good this week with near-peak diversity of birds on the move, ranging from the small American kestrel and sharp-shinned hawks to the mid-sized broad-winged hawks and larger osprey, vultures, and some eagles.

And for mushroom aficionados, shaggy manes have been emerging in abundance as well as puff balls.

Statewide Birding Report

It's a great time to be a birder in the Badger state! This week saw two major migration events on the nights of the October 20 and 21. These brought very large numbers of yellow-rumped warblers to the northern half of the state and more modest numbers to the south, both serving as indications that warbler migration is reaching its end. However, at least 16 species of warblers remain across the north and nearly two dozen in the south, so there's some time to enjoy these little beauties. Short-distance migrants made their first big surge this week as well, especially white-throated sparrows, American robins, rusty blackbirds, and both ruby-crowned and golden-crowned kinglets, along with excellent numbers of Swainson's and gray-cheeked thrushes. Hummingbirds are clearing out, with just a few straggling in the north and small numbers persisting in the south - keep those feeders up at least until mid-October as the notion that this will keep the birds from migrating is a myth! Raptor flights were good this week with near-peak diversity of birds on the move, ranging from the small American kestrel and sharp-shinned hawks to the mid-sized broad-winged hawks and larger osprey, vultures, and some eagles. The much-awaited Winter Finch Forecast was released recently as well, indicating that redpolls and siskins may stage a good flight into Wisconsin this year but numbers of pine and evening grosbeak, bohemian waxwing, and white-winged crossbill should remain to our north. Bottom line? Get those thistle (nyger) seeds ready for the small finches. On the water goose, diversity has been limited so far but the first cackling and snow geese pushed into the state this week. Waterfowl migration has been light to date. Some of the rarities spotted this week include Sabine's gull in Bayfield County, red knot and in Douglas, Townsend's solitaire in Oneida, and parasitic jaegers in Milwaukee, Brown, and Douglas. As always, report your sightings to www.ebird.org/wi and good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Bayfield County - Fall colors are here! Recent cold night temperatures have increased the abundance of color and it seems the fall color season will be extended with temperatures in the 70s during the day. Fishermen are flocking to the river mouths of Lake Superior tributaries early in the morning and late in the afternoon to attempt to find any fall runs. Catch rates of sizable trout and salmon in the river systems are hit or miss but are expected to pick up closer to October. Fishermen have reported they are still catching brown trout and coho salmon by boat off of river mouths currently. - Lynna Gurnoe, conservation warden, Bayfield

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Sawyer County - Fall colors are peaking in the Winter area of Sawyer County. Other areas of Sawyer County are pre-peak, but will come on soon. The forecast over the next several days is for sunny, Indian Summer days; it's a great time for a "color tour." Turkeys are still feeding in large groups on grasshoppers and crickets along road sides and in forest openings. Most Fawns have lost their spots and bucks have just lost their velvet. Bull elk are bugling in the Clam Lake area, and are guarding their harems from other bulls. Though some black flies and mosquitos still linger, recent frosts have reduced their numbers. - Laine Stowell, wildlife biologist, Hayward

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With fall colors nearing their peak and some nice weather in the last few days, fishing pressure spiked up a bit on many lakes across the Northwoods. Most of the angling has been for musky and they have provided some fairly consistent action. Reports indicate that musky have been active at nearly all times of the day and most fishermen continue to report some sort of action (follows, swirls, short hits, etc.). The most successful baits continue to be artificials, with bucktails, jerk baits and soft-bodied lures being the favorites of late. Some anglers have been able to find large suckers, and they have also provided some good success. A good number of musky in the 34 to 40-inch size have been caught, and there have been rumors of fish up to 46 inches being landed in the last week. Sturgeon anglers continue to have fair success with most anglers reporting catching a few of these ancient fish. Most of the fish have been in the 40 to 54-inch size, with just a couple legal 60 inch fish reportedly being caught. The larger rivers have been the most popular spots, with the best action coming on a gob of night crawlers or cut bait fished in the deep holes or deep river bends. Just a few reports of walleye success have come in as most anglers seem to have given up until the good fall bite begins. Fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has continued to be very erratic and many of the serious anglers are thinking of putting away their gear for the season. Panfish success has been mixed, with some decent perch, bluegill and crappie showing up along the deeper weed edges. With the cool night-time temperatures and high water levels of the past couple weeks, the aquatic weeds have begun to die back and densities have declined from their summer levels. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North and South forks of the Flambeau River are at a good level for paddling. The water temperature is changing and should help the musky fishing to pick up. The forest is alive with color. We are definitely at peak for fall color and the drive especially from Phillips to Winter along Hwy. W is beautiful. Won't be long -- likely within two weeks the forest will begin to lose most leaves. We are seeing a fair amount of grouse and the turkey population is strong. Geese are on the move and it is definitely feeling and looking like fall. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Langlade County - Fall colors are fantastic in the Antigo Area and will likely reach their peak by this weekend or early next week. Grouse hunters are reporting reasonable success early into the season. Many young grouse are being harvested suggesting decent brood success this summer. Waterfowl hunters will be greeted with water levels well above average. The first flocks of migrant Canada geese have started to show up in surrounding farm fields and decent numbers of wood ducks and mallards will be found as well. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Some smallmouth bass are being caught on the Menominee on plastics around current breaks. No reports of salmon being caught on the rivers yet. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Musky anglers out of Geano Beach continue to report high catch percentages. Large bucktails in 10 feet of water or less produced the most luck. The largest one reported this week was 53 inches. The lone walleye boat interviewed this week reported one freshwater drum. Crappie and bluegill are being caught by the north side of the Dam in Stiles using slip bobbers and minnows. Perch fishing remains hit and miss with anglers fishing in 9 feet of water using minnows out of Oconto Park. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Floating worm pieces under a bobber or off of the bottom with a river rig, shore fishermen on Duck Creek continue to catch good numbers of yellow perch. Most of the perch caught are in the 5 inch range. Shore anglers in Voyager Park are beginning to catch fall walleye. Crank baits, crawlers and minnows are all popular baits. Using worms off the bottom was catching fair numbers of channel catfish. Carp anglers in Voyager Park did not report any luck this week. A few smallmouth bass were caught by an angler jigging crawlers. Other fish caught in Voyager included freshwater drum, round gobies and white bass. Fishermen at the mouth of the Fox were predominately using crawlers off the bottom with a hook, line and sinker setup. The only fish reported from the shore of the mouth this week were channel catfish, freshwater drum and common carp. One angler mentioned that the shad appear to be moving into the river now and should be followed by predator fish, including walleye. Shore anglers casting from the docks and sidewalk off of Main Street were catching channel catfish this week. Once again, worms off the bottom were working best. Musky boats launching out of Suamico did not report much luck this week, although some stated they saw other boats netting fish. The cloudy water late in the week did not help. Large bucktails continue to be a favorite lure. Shore anglers reported mixed results. One angler reported catching 10-12 perch (some averaged 8 inches), a 13-inch northern pike and two smallmouth bass (one at 20 inches and one at 22 inches). Minnows were outperforming crawlers for shore fishermen. The winds continued to blow hard this week. With the northerly shift in wind towards the end of the week, heavy wave action kept the majority of fishermen away. Very few boats were counted near midweek with none through the weekend. Water temperatures ranged from 71 degrees at the beginning of the week to 58 degrees over the weekend. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay

Door County - Fishing pressure has remained low in much of Door County north of Sturgeon Bay. Although reports have been sparse, the areas around northern Door should continue to provide good smallmouth bass opportunities. Using plastics, crank baits, drop-shots, or worms should produce results. There have also been reports of chinook salmon being caught off the tip of the peninsula in 100 to 200 feet of water using spoons and flasher flies. Chinook salmon have begun running up the creeks north of Sturgeon Bay, biting best in the early morning and late evening on a variety of baits. The creeks continue to have good clarity, depths generally of 1 to 4 feet, moderate to fast flows, and temperatures in the 50s. Anglers fishing the piers from Egg Harbor to Sister Bay have had mixed success for smallmouth using worms. Boat anglers have had success for Bass at a variety of depths using tubes, drop-shots, and crank baits with varying success. The water in the area around Sawyer Harbor continued to be clear; however, the shift to north winds through the weekend has begun to stir the water. Water temperatures dipped to 58 degrees by Saturday. Heavy waves and high winds dropped the usage of the area to very low numbers this week. Fishing pressure was moderate around Sturgeon Bay. Many anglers fished in or around the bay were catching smallmouth bass and northern pike using various artificial lures and baits as well as worms at a variety of depths. Anglers have also been fishing the canal for salmon, both from shore and boats, with varying results. A variety of baits were used but crank baits and spoons were the most common. Although fish were caught throughout the day, best results were seen in the early morning and late evening. The bay provided some relief from the heavy waves through the week; however, the high winds continued to make fishing difficult. The water in Little Sturgeon Bay was mostly clear and temperatures hovered near 60 degrees at the end of the week. Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's dock continued to be plagued with high winds and heavy wave action throughout the week. The water in the area was able to stay clearer when compared to farther south; however, the north wind began to mix it up over the weekend. One boat reported 19 perch caught until a cloud of turbid water moved though their spot, effectively shutting down the bite. The average size of these fish was 7 inches with nothing being larger than 9 inches. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay

Kewaunee County - Pier anglers in Algoma have been out in high number with mixed success using spawn, spoons-neon green and blue/silver colors, and flies. Anglers fishing the Ahnapee River had good success below the Forestville Dam and along the river using spawn and occasional spoons. The Ahnapee River is 63 degrees, high water with a fast flow, and low clarity. Anglers on the lake have been trolling the entrance of the river for king salmon or fishing out 2-8 miles and are catching rainbow trout, king and coho salmon. There has been moderate pressure on the pier this week with the dredging going on in the river side of the pier, which is driving anglers to fish farther upstream. Those who tried their luck on the pier had low success casting spoons, plugs and stick baits. Anglers have had moderate success on the Kewaunee River, mainly at Bruemmer Park and Footbridge using spawn and fly fishing. At this point no trout have been passed upstream of Besadny so fishing upstream for trout is not productive--salmon are not passed upstream of Besadny. The river temperature is 52 degrees, high water, fast flow and low clarity. Anglers fishing the lake have had success in 170-200 feet of water and again at 300-325 feet of water using flasher flies and spoons. The catches have been mixed, mostly rainbow trout, with a few chinook and coho salmon. The catch rates on the lake have been averaging 1-2 fish per boat. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Pier pressure in Manitowoc was low this week, while anglers on the river up to Clarks Mills Dam and shores had better success catching king salmon, brown trout and northern pike. The Two Rivers pier anglers and along the shore had high success catching king salmon, brown trout, drum, carp and northern pike. Anglers on the East Twin River in Mishicot and downstream from the dam were having success along with anglers around the Shoto dam area. Anglers are using spawn, yarn balls, spoons, and plugs. Low numbers of anglers have been fishing the lake with moderate success, others have moved to fishing on the rivers using flicker shads, medium sized white in color. - David Smith, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Shawano County - Geese can be seen moving across the area lately. Ducks, mostly mallards and wood ducks, can be seen grouping up on area waters. Bear hunters are starting to get the baits hit more regularly again. Bow hunters are seeing many deer while out and can afford to be choosey. Some of the better fishing is going on and the weather is perfect. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano

Governor Thompson State Park - Visitors are seeing great fall colors on the trails and in the campgrounds. Turkeys with their poults are frequently seen feeding along Paust Lane. The boat launch facilities remain open at Caldron Falls Flowage. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Whitefish Dunes State Park - Chickadees and nuthatches can be seen in large numbers throughout the forested dunes. A hike along the black or brachiopod trail will provide a glimpse of various woodpeckers; redheaded, pileated, downy and hairy. Be sure to bring a camera along to try and catch a glimpse of wildlife sightings. Migratory waterfowl such as buffleheads, common mergansers and golden eyes are being seen along the shoreline. Don't forget to bring some warmer clothes as winds off the lake can be brisk. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Archery hunters are reporting great success early in the season - especially hunting along or near hayfields and food plots. Several bear hunters have also had good success -- one bear harvested near Ogdensburg weighed in at 780 pounds. Fall colors are just starting to show up in the Waupaca area, and will continue to increase in the next few weeks. Anglers have been making some good catches on the Waupaca River, where the DNR has released their large brood trout near downtown Waupaca. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Fall trout bite is on! Brook trout are biting on spinners. Stream levels are excellent, slightly high and strained. Woodcock flight has not arrived yet; hunting is very slow for them right now. Leaf colors are well under way, maybe 40 percent color. A very wet, late summer and early fall may make for excellent and prolonged fall colors this year. Deer are very active as of late, despite very warm weather. Very tough hunting conditions coming this weekend - hot, highs near 80 with a fresh bumper crop of mosquitos to boot. Still nice to get out and about! - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Waushara County - Waushara County is starting to enjoy the beauty of fall. Colors are beginning to change here with our cooler nights. The few trees that have turned are being accentuated by the sunshine and slightly warmer daytime temperatures we are having. There have been a few grouse taken as well as woodcock in the early going of the season. The cooler mornings are starting some deer moving and a number of good bucks have been harvested since the open of the season. Even if you don't hunt or fish, the weather is great to enjoy the colors of fall. Take the time to enjoy the Ice Age Trail or many of the state properties in the county. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Outagamie County - The cool crisp weather is a welcome change for the bow hunters since deer are moving more in the cooler temperatures. The dryer weather is bringing the Wolf River down, making the fishing a little better; it's still not fantastic, but the fall crappie bite will be coming soon. For the mushroom aficionado shaggy manes have been emerging in abundance as well as puff balls. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Milwaukee County - Hunting season is in full swing, with bow season open as well as grouse, woodcock, dove, turkey, squirrel, and northern rabbit. Visit a nearby wildlife property such as Big Muskego, Turtle Valley, or Vernon Wildlife Areas, or visit Kettle Moraine State Forest for hunting opportunities. If you are not a hunter, migratory songbirds are traveling through Wisconsin, and a variety of migrant shorebirds and waterfowl have been spotted along Lake Michigan. Butterflies are also active this time of year, and the last of the wildflowers are in bloom. Get outside for the crisp weather and enjoy these beautiful fall days. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist & regional educator, Waukesha

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - Fall has arrived in the forest, with colors approaching 50 percent. Asters are blooming, staghorn sumac is turning bright red, and hickory nuts are beginning to drop. We have had a few light frosts, but the mosquitoes are still active. The horse and mountain bike trails are open and in good condition. We ask that riders refrain from using the trails within 12 hrs of a rain event, to prevent long-term damage. The summer flooding has left a few muddy stretches on the Tamarack Nature trail, but the hiking trails in general are in great shape. The Bridle, Greenbush, New Fane, and Zillmer trails will be mowed one more time this season to prepare for winter ski and snowmobile season. The fishing pier at Long Lake will be removed by the end of September, but the Mauthe Lake pier will remain in place all winter. Bow deer, fall turkey, woodcock, goose and squirrel seasons are now open. About 95 percent of the forest is open to hunting within established seasons. Visitors are encouraged to wear brightly-colored clothing when venturing out in the forest, and hunters are encouraged to consider other forest users when pursuing game. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - There are many boats still trolling in the harbor and anglers are having some success catching several chinooks and browns using spoons or j-plugs ran off of planer boards. There has also been some anglers that are heading out to deeper water straight east of the ramp in 200-250 feet of water they are having good success catching lake trout and rainbows, the best lures have been spoons and flashers and flies fished off of lead-core or downriggers. Pier fishermen have had some decent luck throughout the week catching chinook and coho salmon and brown trout on spoons. The south pier has produced the most action with anglers fishing mostly on the harbor side. Using skein with a bobber has been the hottest bait on both the lakeside and harbor side early in the morning, one angler even reported catching his limit fishing with a bobber rig and night crawlers. On the Sheboygan River there have been reports of large chinook caught behind on spinners and bobbers with skein. There are also some chinook salmon being caught at the wayside off of Taylor Drive; the best method has been casting spawn into a deep hole and allowing the bait to drift downstream.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington Public access to the north pier is not allowed. There are signs that have been posted at the entrance to the pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety. Anglers were fishing the south pier this week catching a few chinook salmon, but had limited success. The most successful bite has been at the We energies power-plant discharge were some chinooks and browns have been caught in the morning using chinook skein. Anglers were catching chinooks using skein on a three way rig. The anglers were fishing on the northern most corner of the west wall fishing a deep hole. All other spots along the west slip wall were also successful over the week using skein. A few anglers reported catching a few coho salmon in the same manner as the chinook and brown trout. There were many anglers fishing in the north slip throughout the week, using a bobber rig hooked with skein they have had some success catching large chinook salmon in the north slip and on the rocks around the marina. Anglers have also been casting spoons along the rock point in Rotary Park and catching some chinook and small brown trout. Also, near the blue bridge in Rotary park, anglers have had success catching many chinook. The fish cleaning station that is nearest the north slip is currently closed for repairs. There is a cleaning station open behind Ewig's Fish Market on the south side of Sauk Creek. The fish cleaning station is located over the bridge and on the right side of the road across from the Coal Dock Park. There has been many boats trolling and casting in the harbor having success catching both large chinook and coho.

Milwaukee County - Fishing in Milwaukee has been rather slow this week with boat anglers bringing in the bulk of the catch. Boat trollers and anglers have been fishing in the inner harbor and out around the gaps mostly having success catching both browns and chinook salmon on spoons, j-plugs, and crank-baits. Most fishermen are mixing up trolling and casting in an outing and no one method seems to out produce the other. Best lures have been jigging or casting spoons and jigs and plastics, there has also been a few boats fishing the marina area using spawn fished below a bobber and catching larger chinook and brown trout, best times have been early or late in the day. Some shore anglers casting spoons or soaking spawn off bottom off of Mckinley Pier and the Summerfest grounds caught a few browns and chinook early in the morning but overall action has been slow. The Milwaukee River is still low and clear and no fishing activity was reported this week, but a few salmon and trout have been seen in some of the deeper slower stretches of river.

Racine County - Boat traffic at the Pershing Park boat ramp was low this week with only a few boats venturing out. Boat anglers continue to work the shallow water in front of the Root River and from the mouth of the river to the Main Street Bridge. The best lures for catching mostly chinook salmon and brown trout have been spoons fished off of planer boards or dipsey divers. Fishing pressure on the piers was steady this week with anglers showing up for the early morning bite. There's been a 50-50 mix of coho and chinook landed on the piers over the past few days. Spoons have been working well for coho. Skein or spawn sacks under bobbers have been working well for chinook. Anglers reported as of recently that the catch rate has tapered off. The Pershing Park boat harbor had steady fishing pressure during the week. There were only a few chinook and coho caught in the boat landing basin on crank baits or spawn fished beneath a bobber set at 8-10 feet down, a few fish have also been taken casting spoons early in the morning. The DNR'S Root River Steelhead Facility processed fish for the first time on Wednesday the September 24 there was 105 total fish caught with a mixed bag of chinooks and coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout. The processing days for this fall will most likely be Mondays and Thursdays in the morning.

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Waukesha County - Water levels at the main flowage off of Benson Road at Vernon Wildlife Area remain low while the new dike becomes vegetated. There will also be lower water levels at some of the flowages on the west end of Turtle Valley Wildlife Area in preparation for water control structure replacement. County Deer Advisory Council Meetings for September have been completed, but please consider joining us for your respective county during the October meeting. We are just starting to see some fall colors, but cool nights and dry weather should really bring out leaf color in the next few weeks. - Kelly VanBeek, wildlife biologist, Waukesha

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Washington County - Goose numbers in the area are generally still low with most migrant geese from Canada yet to arrive. Geese that have arrived are spread out all around the state, as are locally nesting "Giant" subspecies, so goose hunters need to spend time scouting to find good hunting spots. General waterfowl habitat conditions and water levels on Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Marsh Wildlife Areas and around the area are good, with normal seasonal water levels and abundant natural foods. Fall colors are getting close to peak in our area. Now is the perfect time to take a drive or hike around the Kettle Moraine area. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - This week the Pike Lake DNR Wildlife Management crew used an airboat and another boat to dislodge floating cattail bogs blocking the Rock River and side channels upstream from the marsh dam on Theresa Marsh. As of today most channels are clear, but waterfowl hunters should expect more blockages as winds switch and blow more floating bogs around. Record rains and flooding last April dislodged several acres of bogs in the main pool. The main problem areas are in the "ox-bow" area in front of the dam, and the Rock River channel about a quarter mile upstream from the dam. Because of the potential bog issues, to improve canoe access on the east side of main pool we will be posting the gravel access road on the west end of the parking lot at the Mohawk Road overlook open to vehicle access so that hunters can drive to the bottom of the hill to load and unload their canoes and gear. The change will be in effect for the October 4 duck season opener. Access points around the marsh will have information about the changes. Contact Wildlife Management at the Pike Lake DNR office for a current update about cattail problems and access issues at 262-670-3409, or email thomsa.isaac@wisconsin.gov. Smartweed production on the mud flats on Theresa Marsh north refuge was excellent this year and should attract and hold waterfowl as the season progresses. Goose numbers will slowly build up on Theresa Marsh between now and freeze-up in November. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Iowa County - Squirrel hunters have reported mixed success. Some have been having good luck on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway property and some have reported that they had a hard time finding squirrels in Iowa County on the various public lands. Archers enjoyed cool mornings, with the afternoons warming up noticeably and deer really starting to move. Some fishermen have reported that flathead catfish have been biting on the Wisconsin River near Lone Rock. Goose hunters in the Arena area have reported that there have been a number of geese around in the last few days. Squirrel hunters at White Mound park public hunting land have been finding a lot of both gray and fox squirrels. - David Youngquist, conservation warden, Dodgeville

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Dane County - Dane county staff have been seeing and getting reports of buck scrapes. Deer Bow hunters are having success targeting red oaks with heavy acorn crops. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg

Governor Nelson State Park - For the Fall Colors, there are some Ash Trees and Sumac that are now turning brilliant colors. The boat landing and accessible fishing piers are still on the lake. All but one boat landing pier will be removed the first week of October. Beach Building restrooms are now closed for the season but our boat landing restrooms will remain open for the fall colors. - Rene' Lee - park manager

Glacial Drumlin State Trail - On Wednesday October 1 the trail will be closed from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. between Mickle Road (to the west) and Main St in Wales (to the east) during overhead girder placement for the Hwy 83 overpass construction project. Due to obvious safety concerns, through traffic will not be allowed during that time period and there are no approved re-routes so please plan accordingly. All other sections of the remain open and in good condition.

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West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Yellows, oranges, golds, and reds paint the forest landscape as more and more leaves change color. The Black River area is at about 40 percent color and still a week or two from peak, which is usually around the second week in October. This weekend is looking to be almost perfect with temperatures expected to be in the high 70s. All ATV trails are open and in rough condition. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Juneau County - The trees are beginning to turn in Southern Juneau County, but only a small percentage of them are in full fall color. Currently most of the crop fields are still standing un-harvested. Archery hunters have harvested some antlerless deer and only few bucks. Squirrel hunters have had great success. It is a little early yet, but the crappie fishing is starting to pick up. A few walleyes are being caught, as usual, on the Wisconsin River but the fall walleye bite hasn't begun yet. - Kyle Lynch, conservation warden, Mauston

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Water levels on the Chippewa River have dropped to levels that provide for a better boating environment. Lake sturgeon anglers are able to use boats while fishing below the Dells Hydro Dam and downriver of the Interstate 94 Bridge. Green leaves are beginning to change into vivid orange and yellow colors throughout the Chippewa River Valley. Warm temperatures and an abundance of mosquitoes challenge woodland and wetland hunters. Now is a great time to bike area trails or canoe the Chippewa River. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Chippewa Moraine Ice Age State Recreation Area - - The hint of fall is in the air, and the prairies are awash with a colorful bouquet of blue asters, yellow common goldenrod and daisy fleabane. Sumac is transitioning to the deep reds and maple leaves are starting to turn as well. As of September 24 the area is about 30 percent in color mode but leaves should turn quickly with the sunny days and cool nights we've been having. Bugs are diminished except for the many bumble and honey bees trying to get in their last sips of nectar. Trails are in very good condition but with water levels higher than seen in many years, some low lying spots can be springy. Bridges may be at water level or slightly above. Except for the trees turning into their fall hues, much of the other vegetation has remained unusually green far into the season. Many of the transient birds have left and only a very few female hummingbirds are still here. Common birds such as robins, blue-jays, chickadees prefer the deep woods this time of year, but pileated woodpeckers, ruffed grouse, and a wide variety of water fowl can be seen. White-tailed deer are often seen in the prairie areas, with many of the fawns having already lost their spotted coats. Animals are trying to fatten up now and we all hope this winter is kinder than last years. - Brenda Rederer, natural resources educator

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Portage County - Some good numbers of muskies were being caught on the Wisconsin River near the dams, mostly on smaller baits. Walleyes were being caught are still running undersize for the most part. Fall colors are starting to turn quick and the recent mosquito hatch is pestering many archery hunters out in the woods. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point

Buckhorn State Park - Fall is here! Birds are migrating, colors are changing and people are out on the lake walleye fishing. The drive north on Hwy 58 to the park is full of reds, yellows, oranges. Fall colors are starting in the barrens, prairies woods in the park. Send in photos from this past year for the photo contest before the October 6 deadline. The lake has been busy with boating and fishing. Boat boarding piers and fishing piers will be removed after October 15. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent for use on the canoe interpretive trail and at the beach. Check out a GPS unit at the park office or bring your own to discover the Ranger Rick Geocaches or history of Buckhorn caches. Hunting is occurring in the Yellow River Wildlife Area and Buckhorn Wildlife Area. Bow hunting has started in the park and wildlife areas as of Sept 13. Check out hunting maps online or at the park office. Deer can be registered at the park office during open office hours. Park and wildlife areas are in Central Forest, buck only unless a hunter purchased an antlerless public tag for central forest. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Fall colors are starting in the prairie and in the park. Send in photos from this past year for the photo contest before the October 6 deadline.Trails are in great shape for hiking and geocaching. GPS units are available to check out at the park office. Many picnic areas in the park to enjoy the start of fall weather. Campsites are non-reservable, first-come and camping is open through October 12. The main gate will be closing on October 13. When the gate is closed, park in the winter lot on Czech Avenue, park stickers are required. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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Last Revised: Thursday, September 25, 2014