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Outdoor Report

Published September 14, 2017 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).

A lot of hunters will be going out in the woods this weekend for the numerous season openers, including the archery and crossbow deer, fall turkey, Canada goose, ruffed grouse, cottontail rabbit and squirrel. Many areas of the state are reporting a great crop of acorns, hickory nuts and walnuts. These foods will help deer, turkey, black bears and more build up fat reserves to survive the winter and areas with a good mast crop should provide great places to hunt for squirrels, grouse, and deer. Just in time for this weekend's season openings, the 2017 Fall Forecast is now available at by searching the DNR website for keyword "forecast." [PDF]

Leaves are continuing to change, with several northern counties already reporting fall color at 50 percent on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).

Fishing has been very good on the Wolf River from New London down the mouth at Lake Poygon, with anglers having good success with catfish, bass, northern pike and panfish. Mid-September is typically the peak of the Lake Superior coho run on the Bois Brule river, and there have been some reports of angling success. The fall salmon run on Lake Michigan is picking up some, with a few kings moving up tributaries, but there haven't been huge numbers reported yet, and some rain and cooler temperatures would be helpful to get more fish moving up.

Fly fishermen have been targeting the first few pods of kings moving upstream on the Kewaunee River with limited success. Both chinooks and browns have been caught upstream of the harbors in the East and West Twin Rivers. The Root and Pike rivers are currently extremely clear and very low and very few anglers have been fishing and no fish were reported caught this week.

On the western shores of Green Bay, anglers have been targeting crappie and smallmouth bass, with some attempts at walleye and musky as well. While there was some success for yellow perch, the bite was inconsistent for walleye and musky, with more success reported from early morning anglers. On the eastern shore anglers found themselves, again, with tough odds for walleye and greater success for perch.

Along Door County smallmouth bass fishing has been consistent and good with a better offshore bite. Yellow perch fishing was great this past week and some anglers reported catching limits while fishing in the Sturgeon Bay canal.

In the southeastern harbors, a few salmon balanced out the brown trout catch at Port Washington, Racine and Kenosha.

The early teal and goose season is showing moderate success. Birds are still spending time around weedy fields and standing water, with the abundance of water on area wetlands keeping duck populations dispersed.

Bull elk are starting to bugle in the Clam Lake area and this week a woman captured a couple of bull elk sparring on video that is available on the DNR Facebook page. Whitetail deer are transitioning from a red to grey winter coat.

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Friday, September 15-17, 2017
Friday, September 15

Saturday, September 16

Sunday, September 17

For all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
Find a park, forest trail or recreation property

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Sunday, September 17, 9 a.m. - noon. York Prairie SNA

Join us to collect seeds on the 3 units of the York Prairie State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of these prairie remnants. The seeds will be used for a new prairie restoration at the York sites and at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area, near Albany. We have several days scheduled so come to one or all. No experience is necessary, we'll teach you! This is a great way to start learning prairie plants.

Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - We are in the middle of a stretch of unseasonably warm and humid weather this week, but by next week, temperatures should be back to normal for mid-September. Some rain is in the forecast for the weekend, too. Even if the weather doesn't seem like September weather, other events remind us that we are ramping up to full-scale fall. Deer archery and crossbow season opens on Saturday, Sept. 16. Small game (Northern Zone), ruffed grouse (Zone A), and turkey seasons also open on Saturday. Bear hunting is underway as well. Be sure to visit dnr.wi.gov, Keyword "hunting" to find links to regulations and tips that pertain to the type of hunting you are planning to do this fall. Lake-run fish are in the river, and there have been some reports of angling success! Historically, mid-September is the peak of the coho run. Trout and salmon migrating upstream in the Brule River are monitored with digital video equipment as they pass through the fish ladder at the lamprey barrier. Year to year comparisons are made in fish populations and sizes. The campgrounds continue to be busy with anglers and families. It is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the still-mild weather, see the beautiful colors of fall, and do some canoeing and kayaking. Reservations continue to be busy—especially for the weekends. Reservations can be made at ReserveAmerica.com or 1-888-947-2757. First-come, first-served sites are available as well. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Pattison State Park - Sumac are in full color and red maples are about 50 percent. Burr oak are shedding acorns on area golf courses and deer are lovin' it. A staff member saw seven deer while golfing in Solon Springs on Monday. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The forest is at about 50 percent for fall color. Acorns and hickories are dropping. Bull elk are starting to bugle. The weather forecast for the weekend is for Friday to be partly sunny with a high near 77 and a low of around 60 with a slight chance of showers. Saturday partly sunny with a high near 76 and a chance of showers & thunderstorms Saturday night with a low near 57. Sunday partly cloudy with a low of 47 and Monday mostly sunny with a high near 66. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The past few glorious days have brought outdoor enthusiasts to the state forest. Red maples, pin cherry and sumac are showing off some lovely reds, especially along Highway 47 north of Lac du Flambeau to Mercer and points north and east of there. Fall mushrooms are popping up luring the hunters and gatherers to the woods! Conditions are a little drier making for good walking on area trails. It is a great time to be out in the woods and out on the water. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for the week of Sept. 3-9. With the Labor Day weekend the boat launches were packed with fishermen and pleasure boaters.

Oconto County - Bluegill are still the main attraction below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River. Fish are being caught from below the dam to the Highway 141 Bridge Live bait is working the best. There were reports of a few trout being caught in the vicinity of the Iron Bridge by fly fishermen. The lower Oconto River is producing some smallmouth, catfish and drum fishing from the causeway casting plugs and using live bait. Perch and walleye fishing is still hit and miss with good days out numbering the bad. Walleye are being caught in 16 to 30 feet of water using crawler/harness and large stick baits. Walleye are still being caught around the Oconto Shoals and Young's Reef Rip Jigging and trolling - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

The Genoa Beach launch was consistently full throughout the week and weekend despite the strong winds that kept many anglers home. Anglers were in search of walleye. Some spent a short time on the water due to the weather change and came home empty while others had a couple fish to take home. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Brown County - Many anglers were out over the Labor Day weekend. Those who were out for walleye did not have as much luck as those who were out for perch. Many walleye anglers found themselves bringing in zero to five fish max. Perch anglers had better luck bringing in their limit or very close to. Toward the end of the week fewer anglers were observed, most going after walleye and found themselves coming back with one or two fish per trip. Anglers also reported catching freshwater drum and white bass. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay

At the Metro Launch, inconsistent weather over the past week led to a low turnout for both boat and shore anglers. A couple anglers were out fishing from shore in search for smallmouth bass and black crappie but came up empty. The There were a few people out fishing Voyager Park and some found fish to take home. They were after black crappie, smallmouth bass and a good time. Those after black crappie found some fish to take home. There was a mixed group of hunters and anglers out in Duck Creek over the past week. Those in search of fish specifically targeted yellow perch and found a decent amount for the freezer. Anglers interviewed harvested at least 15 perch per boat for half a day spent on the water. Fish that wear measured were between 8-10 inches. Both boat launches averaged at least two trailers throughout the week and weekend. Boat anglers were out targeting walleye and musky in force over the past week up in Suamico. The launch was at least half full during the week and spilled over into the over flow parking area during the weekend. Both groups of anglers found inconsistent success. Some musky anglers found fish early on in the day while others struggled all day to locate fish. It was the same deal with walleye anglers, some had a few fish for the freezer while others couldn't land a bite. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Fishing pressure was fairly low this past week. Walleye fishing has been very good from Sturgeon Bay North to Sister bay and trolling, casting, and jigging methods have all been successful. The bite from shore has been best after dark and hit or miss during the day. Anglers have reported catching a few walleye from piers or structures adjacent to deep water using crank baits with a slow retrieval. Smallmouth bass fishing has been consistent and good with a better offshore bite in 15-30 feet of water. Anglers from shore have still reported a good bite but less consistent than the offshore bite. Yellow perch fishing was great this past week and some anglers reported catching limits while fishing in the Sturgeon Bay canal in town. Anglers having the best success have been mobile and finding active schools of feeding perch. Salmon fishing pressure has been minimal out on the lake and most anglers have been fishing the Sturgeon Bay canal. Trolling spoons and deep crank baits has been successful, along with a fairly good bite from shore. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Most anglers were observed over the Labor Day weekend and few anglers interviewed during the week. Anglers were after walleye with similar success, bringing in two to four fish per trip. Anglers also caught freshwater drum, white perch, and catfish. Some anglers were after musky but did not have any luck. A small number of trailers and anglers were observed off Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor. They were targeting walleye with little success. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Kewaunee County - Action on the lake has been slow with very few anglers to report. Boats fishing shallow water and near the piers have been able to pick up the occasional 4-year old king while other boats are heading out to 400-plus feet of water in search of rainbows and younger kings. Most anglers have been focusing their efforts on the piers. In Algoma a few kings have been caught in the morning off the south pier on spoons. The Kewaunee pier has been slow but not for lack of effort. Fly fishermen have been targeting the first few pods of kings moving upstream on the Kewaunee River with limited success. Look for salmon action to pick up as the water cools off and more chinook keep moving in for the fall run. - Benjamin Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Manitowoc and Two Rivers have had some salmon action start to pick up as of last weekend. Both chinooks and browns have been caught upstream of the harbors in the East and West Twin Rivers. All reported fish from the West Twin River have been chinooks caught near the dams in Shoto on spinners, beads, and artificial spawn sacs, and fish have ranged from about 10 to 20 pounds. There haven't been huge numbers reported yet, and some rain might be helpful to get more fish up, as no water was coming over the small dam as of Sunday night. The East Twin River has had a mix of browns and chinooks caught, but more fish can be seen sitting in pools farther downstream of the dam. Fish have been caught all the way up to the dam in Mishicot though, and the same tackle mentioned from the West Twin has been taking fish. Pier anglers have had no success this weekend for any species of fish, but some have reported silver fish jumping out of casting range. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - There are already some small pockets with full fall color! The days are getting shorter and cooler and more hunting season are about to begin. This weekend marks the opener of small game and archery deer seasons. Deer hunters are reminded that a valid tag must be carried with them while hunting and that tag must be validated upon harvesting a deer. All deer harvested must be registered online or over the phone and the tag must be attached to the deer if you leave the deer for any reason. Doves are still being found in decent numbers. The highest number of birds have been around weedy fields with some open ground and standing water. Hemlock Curve Nature Trail (south of Peshtigo) had been impassible due to fallen trees, it has now been cleared and is ready for hunters and hikers alike. Deer are transitioning from their red summer coat to their heavier, more grey, winter coat. Hummingbirds have been reported migrating--some were even spotted hovering over boats in the middle of the bay of Green Bay. Bear season is moving along with many successful hunters, and a few frustrated ones too as some bears switched patterns shortly before season started. Acorns have begun to drop providing a great place to hunt for squirrels, grouse, and deer. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Shawano County - The fishing season isn't finished yet. The bluegill are still biting in White Clay Lake in depths between 9-14 feet. The warmer weather is bringing plenty of recreational boaters out to Shawano Lake as well. Although they've slowed down recently, the bears in Navarino State Land are still hitting baits. Be mindful of the location of other hunter's baits and be respectful to other hunters using the property. Teal and goose hunters have been hunting Navarino State Land as well. Although there aren't many birds flying yet, there are plenty of geese in the area. The newly cut hay fields are the best place to find the early season geese. - Clark Delzer, conservation warden, Shawano

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - A lot of hunters will be going out in the woods this weekend for the numerous season openers. Maybe one of the biggest is the opening of Archery hunting. I just want to remind hunters that this year the tag validation rules have changed again. Hunters should read over a regulation booklet, or at the very least read their tags. Antlerless tags are once again county and land-type specific. Each carcass tag also comes with instructions on how to validate the tag, how to register the harvest, and when to attach the tag. Any questions about the new regulation changes should be directed to customer service, or your local conservation warden. Stay safe out there. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Good acorn crop, would be a good bet to hunt deer and turkeys in oak stands this opening weekend. Trout are biting like crazy on area streams, water levels are excellent. Panther martins and small stick baits are the hot baits. Trees just starting to change colors, getting pretty on the north end of the county. Deer ticks have not reappeared yet, a few mosquitos and no flies - nice! Lots of geese on area lakes, but not many ducks. Lots of water in area wetlands may have the ducks really spread out. Stay cool, supposed to be a very warm opener. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Fishing has been very good on the Wolf River from New London down the mouth at Lake Poygon. Anglers are having good success with catfish, bass, northern pike and panfish. If the weather holds, it is still not too late to kayak or paddleboard on area lakes. You might just have some lakes to yourself. Keep watching for early bird migrations. Night hawks are still being seen in the evening. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Waushara County - There is no shortage of whitetail deer on the landscape. The early teal and goose showed moderate success near Auroraville and wood ducks have been seen in good numbers in the White river. A very good mast crop is being reported throughout the county. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Fishing pressure was relatively low during the week due to windy and rainy weather conditions. Only one catch of chinook salmon and two smallmouth bass were reported on the Sheboygan River. Most anglers were using worms, plugs, and spoons. Water temperature of the Sheboygan River ranged from 62-64 degrees.

Ozaukee County - Fishing pressure remained low at the beginning of the week due to poor weather conditions. However, many anglers were observed fishing off the shoreline and utility area over the weekend. Most of the success was reported from anglers off of the utility area as few boaters were present throughout the week. Sauk Creek water levels remain low, and the water temperature was 55 degrees. While only a couple of rainbow trout and chinook salmon were caught off the piers and shoreline this week, several chinook salmon and some brown trout were reported off the utility area. Most of the chinook salmon weighed 12-21.5 pounds, however, there were a couple smaller ones that weighed in the 5-8-pound range. The brown trout weighed on average 7 pounds. Most catches were made on spawn sacs, although some were also made on spoons. The surface temperature of the water was 61 degrees. With so few boats present this week, there were only two reported catches of chinook salmon off the ramps. These chinook salmon weighed 14 pounds and 17.5 pounds, and were caught in 40 feet of water on spoons.

Racine County - Three brown trout and one king salmon were reported caught off the pier this week. The king salmon was caught on a green/white glow spoon. The brown trout were caught on blue/chrome spoons and blue/white glow spoons. The fish were caught during the early morning and late evening. The water temperature was 64 degrees. The Root River is currently flowing at 17.6cfs. The water is extremely clear and very low. No fish were reported caught this week and very few anglers fished the river this week.

Kenosha County - Five king salmon were reported caught from the shore this week. All of the salmon caught were reported to have been caught on skein under a bobber. The anglers that caught the fish said orange was the best color and that time of day did not seem to matter. The water temperature was 65 degrees. An angler fishing the Pike River this week did not report catching any fish. The mouth of the river was barred off by sand.

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Video Report Gotham landing. River flow is just about normal. Sandbars are abundant. Lots of anglers are out in the river. Still time to get out and enjoy a canoe or kayak trip. Water temperatures are still pretty good. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - There is a bumper crop of black walnuts, hickory nuts, and acorns, and they are falling from trees like mad. Animals are responding to this bountiful food resource and will be focused on them for the duration of the fall. Animals such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, black bears, and numerous species of songbirds are gorging on these hard mast foods and building fat reserves to help them survive the upcoming winter and time of food scarcity. Other animals, such as chipmunks, squirrels, blue jays, and mice, are hording vast quantities of nuts which they will periodically feed on throughout the winter. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Join UW Madison astronomy students this Saturday evening at the amphitheater and South shelter parking area, Sept 16 at dusk, to view the stars with a telescope. Presentation before at the amphitheater. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, September 14, 2017

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