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While much of the state has received additional rain in the last week - with areas of the north receiving several inches - water levels throughout much of central and southern Wisconsin have begun to finally drop.
In the north, the Flambeau River remains high for summer, and is offering great paddling opportunities, but the St. Croix, Wolf, Baraboo, Rock, Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers have all been dropping. Sandbars have finally returned to the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and paddlers, sunbathers and campers were out in force over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend.
Even with the recent heavy rain in the north, fishing success has been generally good. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have provided the most consistent action, with largemouth getting well settled in to their typical summer patterns. Musky action has been continually improving, with some mid 40-inch fish being reported in the last week. Walleye success continues to be erratic, but a few nice catches have come along weed edges or deeper rock bars. Panfish action has been generally good, with crappie and bluegill found along deep weed edges and suspended near mid-depth cover.
Smallmouth bass and northern pike fishing is picking up on the Wolf River. Anglers reported catching bass and some walleye on Washington and Waukesha county lakes. Bluegills and walleye were being caught on Sauk County's Lake Redstone. Catfish - both flatheads and channel -- have also been caught on the Lower Wisconsin River. Panfish are also being caught at many of the sloughs, and there have been reports of large muskies caught below the Prairie Du Sac dam.
Lake Michigan trout and salmon fishing was improving in some areas but slower in others. Some large fish were caught in a salmon derby last weekend in Manitowoc, with a 28-pound chinook taking the prize in its division. Sturgeon Bay north to Baileys Harbor has been one of the better places for salmon in the Door County area. Port Washington trollers were catching four to five fish per trip, but action farther south was slower out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha.
White-tailed buck deer are developing this year's antlers. Fawns are more active now and are being seen with their mothers out eating in the fields. There continue to be many bear sightings, but with the berry season starting, there should be fewer bears coming to feeders and garbage cans.
With all the rain, in some areas the berry crop for all kinds of berries looks better than it has in many years, but other areas are reporting seeing very few blueberries. Juneberries, blueberries, and even some raspberries have started to ripen. Blackberry plants are also setting their fruits, and many areas are reporting it looks like the upcoming blackberry crop will be high-yielding.
While it seems that summer is just getting going, the southbound "fall" migration is already underway with sightings of least sandpipers, lesser yellowlegs, ruddy turnstone, black-bellied plover, short-billed dowitcher, and other shorebirds at wetlands and along the Great Lakes. These represent the vanguard of adult shorebirds that nested in the arctic tundra of northern Canada and are headed to wintering areas from the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts south to portions of South America.
Summer birding is at a turning point. This is a great time for backyard bird watching or visiting your favorite local patch as bird song declines and family groups with fledged young become more visible. Forest edges, brushy fields, and emergent wetlands should be excellent this time of year for spotting a wide variety of species. Bird feeders may see a slight increase in activity. Providing water sources for birds is a great idea during these drier, warmer months. Believe it or not southbound "fall" migration is well underway with sightings of least sandpipers, lesser yellowlegs, ruddy turnstone, black-bellied plover, short-billed dowitcher, and other shorebirds at interior wetlands and along the coastal Great Lakes. These represent the vanguard of adult shorebirds that nested in the arctic tundra of northern Canada and are headed to wintering areas from the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts south to portions of South America. Their offspring will make the trek on their own in August-September. Federally-endangered piping plovers successfully hatched young from five nests on Lake Superior's Long Island, while Kirtland's warblers in Adams County suffered a tough breeding season - most nests were lost to predation and only a handful produced fledged young. Birders seeking unusual gulls continue to find success at Sheboygan's North Point, where rarities such as laughing, little, and Franklin's gulls are still being seen. Find out more about summer birding opportunities at dnr.wi.gov/topic/outdoorrecreation/activities/birding.html and help us track bird populations by reporting your observations from field or feeder at ebird.org/wi. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - There are many young families present on the meadows including: eagles, ducks, swans, loons, grebes, flycatchers, robins and many more. Turtles are still wandering across the roads to lay eggs and the warm, moist weather has brought out lots of insects of the biting sort including mosquitos and deer flies. The red-necked grebe chicks hatched out a couple weeks ago at Auto Tour #3 pullout on Phantom Lake. Bald eagle young may be attempting flight soon, watch for them near Dueholm and Grettum flowages on Fish Lake Wildlife Area. Wolf howling surveys are being conducted at Crex to determine general location, home site locations, general abundance and pup production in wolf packs. Surveys usually should be done from June 20 through October, with July and August being the best period. Time of day should be from half an hour after sunset until 1 or 2 a.m. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With about 2 inches of rain in the early part of the week, most rivers and streams are running at a high level - but not quite at flood stage. Most flowages and lakes have normal water levels to a couple inches high. With the late spring, weed growth has been real variable this year. Some waters have moderate densities of floating and submergent weeds, and many other waters are seeing much lower abundances for this time of year. And with the continued wet weather that we've had - watch out for the bugs! There's still large numbers of mosquitos, deer flies, and "ankle-biters" that have been a nuisance to both stream fishermen and lake anglers. Even with the heavy rain of the past few days, fishing success has been generally good. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have provided the most consistent action, with largemouth getting well settled in to their typical summer patterns. They have been holding fairly tight to weed beds and woody cover, with rubber worms and sinko-type baits providing some very good action. In addition, some good success has been experienced in the early morning hours on top-water baits fished over the lily pad beds. Smallmouth bass have been moving to the mid-depth woody cover and rock bars, and some nice catches have been made on small finesse plastics and crayfish-type baits. Musky action has been continually improving, with some mid 40-inch fish being reported in the last week. Medium-sized buck tails and bulldawg-type baits have been the most productive baits for many of the anglers. Walleye success continues to be erratic, but a few nice catches have come on leeches fished in and along weeds edges or night crawlers fished on deeper rock/gravel bars. Panfish action has been generally good, with some good catches of crappie and bluegill coming from along the deep weed edges and from suspended fish near mid-depth cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North and South Forks are a bit above normal, but should be great for paddlers. Both Lake of the Pines and Connors Lake campgrounds have plenty of empty sites open and the weather has been beautiful. Wild hops and wild cucumbers are vigorously climbing into other vegetation. Blooming are honeysuckle, tall meadow-rue, panicled dogwood, moonflower, rough hedge-nettle, staghorn sumac, and wild rose. Red elderberries and red baneberries are ripe. Blanding turtles are laying their eggs. Canadian geese are molting and so are flightless at this time. Saturday July 20 there will be an Annual wolf Howl Trek and Presentation - 9:45 p.m. to midnight. Enjoy this night time activity with our special trek leaders, Laine and Diane Stowell. They will lead you on a car trek stopping at several areas to call the lonely call of the wolf, waiting for an awe inspiring answer call. This event will be cancelled should it rain. Meet at the Flambeau R.S. Forest Headquarters at 9:45 p.m. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Vilas County - Significant rainfall throughout the summer has resulted in a great year for two kinds of harvest in northern Wisconsin. They berry crop for all kinds of berries looks better than it has in many years and should afford great picking opportunities in many locations. At the same time the harvest of human blood by mosquitos and other evil insects is equally as good but will have a negative impact on the berry harvest. Donations to blood banks will likely drop significantly this summer as many pickers will be donating several quarts in the woods. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - In the Antigo area we have received another 1.5 inches of rain on top of an already wet summer. Forest trails are wet so hikers should plan for potentially muddy conditions. The rainy and warmer weather are paving the way for what could be a very good berry season. Blackberry blossoms are very vigorous this year and if the moisture persist picking will be very good. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Hot and humid weather this past week brought fishermen and pleasure boaters alike out in force. Kayaks and tubers were especially heavy on the rivers leading to Green Bay.
Marinette County - Heat and rain have kept Marinette County lush and green. Mosquito numbers have declined, but are still out in high numbers. Juneberries, blueberries, and even some raspberries have started to ripen. Broods of turkeys can be found feeding on insects along roadsides and in open areas. Knapweed has begun to bolt and even bloom in some areas. Wild parsnip is in full bloom and can easily be identified right now. Garlic mustard is now seeded out and plants should be pulled, bagged and disposed of in a landfill. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Sheepshead and catfish are being caught by anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo Harbor fishing on bottom with crawlers. Perch and salmon fishermen are reporting no fish as of yet. Menominee River anglers are catching some nice walleye, cat fish, and sheep head trolling and fishing from shore using live bait and sticks baits and tube jigs. - Kevin King, creel clerk, Marinette
Oconto County - Turkey broods are being seen with most chicks looking fairly small. The recent rains may cause some more problems for the young turkeys. Wood duck chicks are looking very large along the Oconto River and it may not be long before they begin testing their wings. Fishing on the inland lakes in the southern half of Oconto County remains slow. Smallmouth bass have been active on the Oconto River if you're not having luck try crayfish tails. Fawns are more active with a number of them now being sighted with their mothers while out eating in the fields. Mosquitoes are still terrible. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Geano Beach fishing activity was moderate with most fishermen targeting walleye and a few targeting yellow perch. Perch numbers were not high, but the average size was about 8 inches. Perch were caught in about 30 feet of water using minnows. Walleye numbers were low and fishermen used night crawlers and crawler harnesses (bluegill color) in about 10-22 feet of water. The average size of the landed walleyes ranged from about 17 inches to 24 inches. Other species caught were sheepshead and catfish. - Steve Hogler, senior fisheries biologist, Green Bay
The Iron Bridge boat landing overflowed with canoeist and kayakers, some brought fishing equipment with smallmouth being the target species. Spinners, small stick baits, and live bait were catching some nice fish. A few panfish were being caught by the Stiles Dam using slip bobbers and crawlers. Some walleye and bass are being caught from the mouth of the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II. Most walleye action has been in 16 to 20 feet of water, jigging with zip lures or tube jigs and trolling with crawler/harness. - Kevin King, creel clerk, Marinette
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Overall, the weather was nice with warm temperatures and increasing water temperatures. Water temperatures were about 75 degrees by Suamico and Geano Beach and up to 78 degrees at the Green Bay Metro launch in the shallows.
Brown County - There was a lot of activity in and out of Suamico River this week. The majority of the boats were pleasure boaters with few fishing boats being seen. Fishermen were targeting walleye with limited success. Walleye anglers were using a variety of baits including night crawlers, crawler harnesses (purple), and stick baits (any color) and were fishing in 18 to 25 feet of water. A few fishermen were looking for yellow perch using minnows in about 10 feet of water. Very few perch were landed. Sheepshead and catfish were also caught by anglers. Fishing activity out of the Metro Fox River launch was moderate, but pleasure boaters dominated the launch over the weekend. Fishermen were targeting walleye with very low numbers being landed. Baits used were cranks baits (purples) and crawler harnesses (copper) in about 10-15 feet of water. Fox River-Shore fishing pressure was moderate with fishermen looking for walleye and smallmouth bass at the mouth of the river. None were caught, but fishermen did catch catfish, sheepshead, white bass, and a few gobies on night crawlers. - Steve Hogler, senior fisheries biologist, Green Bay
Manitowoc County - Lake Michigan trout and salmon fishing is starting to improve out of Two Rivers and Manitowoc. Water temperatures are rising and 60 to 62 degrees can be found in most areas at the surface. A layer of cooler water is reportedly setting up 50 feet down, but this is sure to change with variable wind and weather. Many boats are reporting a good early bite in the top 50 feet of water. Later in the day anglers are having a hard time connecting with feeding fish, though schools of alewives and occasionally game fish are being seen regularly on locators. Boats are fishing many depths, locations, and with many techniques to take fish. It has been described by one angler as a "random pattern out there." Flies and flashers as well as bright colored and metallic spoons have all worked. Most boats are trolling in depths of 70 to 200 feet of water, but some boats are fishing out deeper for rainbows, up to 12 miles out of Two Rivers. The N.E.W.G.L.S.F Salmon Derby took place from July 5-7 in Manitowoc and some large fish were caught. A 28-pound chinook took the prize in its division and there were many nice coho and rainbow, brown, and lake trout caught. Pier and shore fishing has been slow overall, but slowly heating up. Some brown trout in the 3- to 6-pound range have been caught off the piers in Manitowoc. Casting spoons such and Krocodiles have worked. Heavy spoons are needed to get as much distance as possible with casts. Few salmon have been reportedly caught from the piers in Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Bullheads are being caught regularly from Vet's Park and boat landing in Two Rivers. A large pike was caught and released from Two Rivers harbor. Occasional smallmouths are being caught from area rivers along with channel catfish during lowlight conditions. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries report July 1 to 7 - compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
After a hot start to salmon fishing in the area, things cooled off significantly during the week; however, the salmon that are being caught are huge (up to 30 lbs.!), so landing one fish can really turn a trip around. We saw 5-15 fish per boat early in the week, down to 1-5 fish per boat by the weekend, with many anglers returning with empty boxes. Part of the reason for the slowdown could be the south wind bringing colder water and the return of the alewives in full force after a brief absence. One can walk the lakeside piers in Kewaunee and Door counties to see the continuous procession of baitfish which, according to weekend anglers, goes out as far as 600 feet into the lake. Before the big 31st annual Kewaunee Door Salmon Tournament, held July 20-28, there is the Eighth annual Kewaunee Trout Festival Offshore Challenge on July 13. Anglers can sign up at the Kewaunee Marina or on the website www.kewaunee.org for this team tournament for all salmon and trout species. Information for the K-D Salmon Tourney can be found at www.kdsalmon.com. Outside of the KeDoor area, the AIM Pro Walleye Tournament (www.aimfishing.com) will be in Oconto July 18-20; the 39th annual Northeastern Wisconsin Great Lakes Sport Fishermen Salmon Derby will be held down in Manitowoc this weekend, July 12-14; and the 35th Two Rivers Kiwanis Club Fish Derby is July 19-21.
Kewaunee County - The salmon bite has been inconsistent this week, the majority of them are still coming at first light, but quite a few have been spread out during the day, so it could pay off to stay out a little longer if the weather is good. Most anglers start fishing for chinook in 70 to 100 feet of water during the early hours, with bait down 50 to 80 feet, then moving out as far as 600 feet with bait in the top 50 feet to fish for steelhead. Kings are biting best on the fly and dodger combo, while brightly colored spoons work best for the 'bows. In the past week, some nice 5- to 7-pound coho salmon and even the occasional lake trout have been mixed in with the 'bows in that top 50 feet. Not too many anglers have been out pier fishing in Kewaunee County yet but casting spoons or spawn could land a nice trout, which have been seen swimming amongst the baitfish. The Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers have many public access points and are nice places to fish for panfish, bass, pike, catfish and bullheads. Look on your map for places where the road crosses the river or parks that are right next to them, like Bruemmer Park in Kewaunee or Blahnik Park in Algoma.
Door County - Sturgeon Bay north to Baileys Harbor has been one of the better places for salmon in the area, especially the bank reef out of Sturgeon Bay. Charters have been reporting 5-10 fish with most success coming by fishing in the top 60 feet of water at a depth of 90 to 130 feet. Gills Rock and Washington Island have seen a few fish in the top 70 feet of water at 80 to 120 feet. Anglers can pick up rainbow trout on brightly colored spoons fishing in the top 30 feet of the water column. Schools of trout have been spotted rounding up baitfish off the piers in Sturgeon Bay. Bass are still going pretty well in Door County, with many piers, harbors and off-shore islands giving up 5-pound-plus fish, including all the bays and shore around Washington Island, Sand Bay, Andersons Dock in Ephraim, the flats in Sturgeon Bay, and Rowleys Bay on the lakeside. Tubes, grubs and spinners baits are good choices, but don't be afraid to throw out some crawlers on a slip bobber, just watch out for the gobies. Fishing the bottom transitions in 3 to 11 feet of water is recommended. Walleye action has slowed around the county, but they can still be consistently found from Chaudoir's Dock south and usually around the islands near Sister Bay. They were being found 15 to 20 feet of water with flicker shads, smash shads, reef runners, deep husky jerks, deep diving rouges or crawler harnesses being good bait to try. As the weather heats up, so too should the walleye fishing from Henderson's Point north, but this time of year, don't be surprised to see a lot of sheepshead and large alewives taking walleye bait. Perch action seems to be really good early in the morning, but shuts off around 8 a.m. The newly formed weeds in the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal, Sawyer Harbor, Riley's Bay, Little Sturgeon, the rocky shoreline at George K. Pinney (formerly Stone Quarry), and the docks in Egg Harbor are some nice places to try. On Washington Island, Petersons Bay is reportedly giving up some nice catches. Fathead minnows, crawler pieces, flatworms and leaf worms are all good bait choices. Muskies have been caught on big spinner and big body bait in perch and walleye colors on the flats and inside the bridges of Sturgeon Bay, Little Sturgeon, and Rileys bay. They can also be found in East Alaska Lake near Algoma in Kewaunee County.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Turkey broods are being seen in the Waupaca area. The poults are about the size of a football. Still too early for berry picking in the area. The late spring may have caused a delay. Prairie flowers are just starting to bloom - a good place to the prairie flowers is Hartman Creek State Park. Waupaca area streams have good water depth for kayaking and canoeing. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Trout have been biting well on area streams; water levels are beautiful for this time of year. Black raspberries are starting to ripen. Blackberry crop should be extremely heavy if we continue to get periodic rains. Insects are surprisingly light - some deerflies, mosquitos and no-see ums. Fawns are out and about with mama and can run very fast. Saw my first turkey broods last week. No recent reports on lake fishing. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - With the holiday behind us, warm weather and scattered storms have dominated day to day activities. Some folks have seen decent success on trout streams, but if you want to go, the time to do it is either very early or very late and beat the heat of the day. Many of the song birds have fledged their first nests of the season and are working on their second nesting cycle. A few hen turkeys have been spotted around the area with poults and more should be on the way. There has also been an increase in bear sightings in the last few weeks, included one of a sow with cubs. Berry season is starting so we should see fewer bears coming to feeders and garbage cans, but it is a good reminder for folks to make sure to follow some precautions to minimize bear and human conflicts. If you know a bear has been in the area make sure to take down and store any bird feeders, outdoor domestic pet food dishes, make sure all garbage and food scraps are secured in a building, and don't forget to clean any grease trays on your grills. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County - The Wolf River is finally dropping to summer levels after the longest consistent high level witnessed in nearly 20 years. The smallmouth bass fishing is picking up as well as northern pike. Anglers are reminded that bass have to be 14 inches and northern need to be 26 inches in order to keep them. With the lower water levels boaters and anglers should use caution as they navigate the river due to hidden hazards such as sand bars and sunken logs.- Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan there was a constant stream of boats coming and going over the holiday weekend. Catch rates were slightly higher on Thursday, with most groups catching three to five fish; most catches included coho, but some bagged nice rainbow trout and chinook also. Catch rates tapered off by the end of the weekend, with about half the trollers interviewed catching nothing. Anglers continue to have success, and mark fish, in 80 to 140 feet of water and seem to be catching most fish on spoons. There has been a consistent southeast wind the past few days that has grown stronger from late morning and continues into the afternoon, generating some sizeable waves. The 8th Street ramp in Sheboygan remains closed. Fishing off the north and south piers in Sheboygan has been slow, with only a few reports of occasional brown trout caught. Despite wave action, water clarity on the lake side of both piers remains good.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington most trollers have been catching four to five fish per trip. Catches have consisted mainly of coho, but also fair numbers of rainbows and Chinooks were taken, as well as a couple lake trout. Anglers continue to troll in 90 and 130 feet of water and are marking a lot of baitfish. Most success this past weekend was with spoons. Anglers have reported large slicks of dead alewives in open water. Shore fishing pressure has increased on the pier, but catch rates remain relatively low. Anglers have reported a couple small perch being caught, as well as a few nice browns. Water clarity on the 4th was low near shore, but clarity improved by the end of the weekend, mainly due to only light wave action generated by a consistently Southeast wind the past few days. This wind has made the lake quite choppy through the middle of the day and created some rough water near the mouth of the harbor as well. Anglers have also reported that water temperature near the end of the Port Washington pier is in the high 50s to low 60s. Fishing in the harbor has been slow, with only a few rock bass caught on worms in the past few days.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee area trollers have finally been able to get out on the lake consistently, although fishing has remained slow. Boaters averaged about two to three fish per boat over the weekend, so it remains slower than expected for this time of year. Trollers that were catching fish focused in 100 to 175 feet of water, with baits set up at a variety of depths. Those fishing between Saint Francis and Oak Creek also had success in 100 to 115 feet of water. Chinook and lake trout made up most of the catch, with spoons in blue and green producing the best. A few coho were caught along with rainbows on blue and white flies coupled with orange flashers. Anglers fishing off of McKinley pier caught a few brown trout on green spoons in the evening hours. A few small perch were also caught off of the rocks near McKinley on jigs or live bait under a bobber. Perch fishing was inconsistent around the South Shore pier, with only a few keeper perch caught on minnows off the bottom between 5 and 7 a.m.
Racine County - Racine trollers report that they're having a hard time finding schools of fish, but 80 to 90 feet of water around the 3rd hill has produced nice catches over the past few days. Sometimes it has taken 3 to 4 hours to find the school but when they do, coho, laker trout, and chinook have been caught. A couple of boaters also tried fishing for perch along the break wall by Gateway Technical College and by the bubbler outside the water treatment plant, but they reported limited success. Fishing pressure increased on the Racine piers this past week after a few days of warm and dry weather. A few anglers on the north pier reported some nice catches of perch earlier in the week, and they were taken on soft plastics or small golden roaches. By Friday, however, the perch disappeared. As the water temperature has been warming up, anglers have been catching more brown trout on spoons fished from the south pier. Repair work on the south pier resumed on July 3, after it was delayed for about a week due to strong winds and high waves. According to some anglers, the catch rate on south pier has dropped since the repair work began again. Fishing along shore in the Racine harbor has been slow, although some decent size perch have been taken from the rocks below the DeKoven Center. One angler also landed some nice size browns while fishing the point at the water treatment plant with a white twister tail. The surface temperature at the lakefront was 64 degrees on Sunday.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha trollers have been motoring out to the "hills" to start their fishing trips. A few returned with nice catches of coho and a few kings averaging 15-20 pounds. Most report that they are having a hard time finding the fish. A couple of boaters motored north to Wind Point, but they returned with only one or two coho in the cooler. Boat anglers fishing for perch have been active as well, but they're working hard to find them. The break wall outside the harbor has been a popular spot, especially the southern side where the water is deeper. A few boat anglers also reported some luck for perch fishing the rocks and woodpiles along the shoreline. Most are using plastics, and some of them report that they have better luck when they add a wax worm or a spike. A couple of boaters have been trolling the harbor for brown trout, and they've been having good luck. However, there isn't much room to troll in the harbor because of all the boat traffic and because of all the lines in the water from anglers on the piers. Fishing pressure has been heavy on the Kenosha piers and shoreline over the past week. Nice catches of brown trout have been reported all week long on both the north and south piers as well as in the harbor. Some anglers have been catching their limit of browns, and artificial lures are taking most of the fish. The browns have been hitting a variety of spoons, tube jigs, white twister tails, and spinners, though the majority has come on blue and silver or green and silver spoons. Anglers fishing with alewives are having only limited success. The browns have been rolling on the surface of the water all day long for over a week. Anglers on both piers are still fishing for perch, and some of them have been catching brown trout incidentally. Shore anglers in Kenosha also reported catching a few perch while fishing from the rocks between the south pier and Southport Marina, but they're working hard to catch them. The perch were hitting best on minnows and on small soft plastics.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - In the Oconomowoc\Delafield area lakes, paddle boarders seem to be dangerously misinformed regarding their sport. By legal definition a paddle board is a boat. As such, those craft require a personal flotation device for all occupants. Many people contacted by local wardens claim to be oblivious to that very important fact. The reality is that a person is far more likely to need a personal flotation device on a paddle board, than on virtually any other type of watercraft. - Doug Zeihen, conservation warden, Delafield
Anglers reported catching bass on Pewaukee, Keesus, and Pine lakes. Some anglers were catching walleyes on Pine Lake. Many boaters and anglers are reporting high amounts of blue-green algae on area lakes. Swimming in algae can cause rashes and should be avoided. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - The recent rains that had caused flooding and emergency slow-no-wakes on some lakes have subsided. The lake levels are back to normal and the slow-no-wakes have expired. The recent warm weather has warmed the lake temperatures. Bass and panfish action has been good. Several reports of spawning carp have had the bow fishermen out in force. - Robert Lee, conservation warden, Hartford
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Some locally hatched goslings are starting to fly. More turkey broods have been seen and recorded for the DNR Upland Game Bird Survey that runs from June through August. Pike Lake Wildlife and Parks staff recorded five broods seen this week including broods of 3, 5, 6, 8 and 12 young. Four of the five broods were very young poults, suggesting a late hatch. Many wild flowers in the prairie areas are in bloom. The small prairie area on the south side of the Pike Lake DNR office has butterfly weed, yellow coneflower, black-eyed susan, milkweed, purple prairie clover and other flowers in bloom. Between now and mid- August is a good time to enjoy viewing the prairie fields. Beware of the light yellow colored wild parsnip which can cause severe blisters and is abundant in many fields and along road right-of-ways. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - There has been a lot of canoeist and sunbathers on the Riverway taking advantage of the warm weather lately. The water levels have dropped significantly and many of the sandbars are again exposed, providing ample places to camp along the Riverway. Please remember that camping is restricted to no more than three days on state owned islands and sandbars. Camping at these locations is restricted to persons and their equipment arrived by watercraft only. A camping permit is not required. The water levels on July 10, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 14,810 CFS. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac Dam. The catfish have been biting with some large flatheads being caught around Boscobel. Good catches of channel catfish have also been caught using cheese bait. There have been some reports of large muskies being caught below the Prairie Du Sac Dam. Panfish are also being caught at many of the sloughs throughout the Riverway. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Lafayette County - The recent rain events has done a fair amount of damage to the area Tri County trail system closing the trail from Calamine to Mineral Point. Area waterways are mostly back to their pre flood levels and fishing has started pick up. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park -The Mississippi River level Wednesday, July 10 at Prairie du Chien was 13.4. The Mississippi River is expected to drop to 13 feet by Saturday. Trails are in good hiking condition. Due to the high water the concession stand is not renting canoes or kayaks at this time. The road to the boat landing is closed until further notice due to severe washouts caused by the torrential rains last weekend. The forecast is favorable for the upcoming weekend with sunny skies and highs in low - mid 80s. Most of the reservable sites have been reserved for this weekend. There are still a number of non-reservable sites available in both the Wisconsin Ridge and Homestead Campgrounds. There are no electric sites available for this weekend. The Prairie Garden near the Wyalusing State Park Office is in full bloom and very beautiful. Flowers in bloom in the Prairie Garden include: royal catch fly, pale purple coneflower, butterfly milkweed, swamp milkweed, joe pyeweed, white indigo, culver's root, thimbleweed, prairie onion. black-eyed susans can be found in the fields near the office. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Black raspberries are ripe for picking. Bergamot, butterfly weed, and purple coneflower are all in bloom. More butterflies are being seen but still slow for this time of year. Visit www.horiconmarsh.org for a list of events going on at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - The water level on the Wisconsin River is starting to drop and expose camping sites on Alliant Energy property. Fishing was better last week, but people are still picking up fish on the lake and in the river as well. Deer are developing this year's antlers.- Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Jefferson County - The slow no wake ban on all area lakes and rivers has been lifted. Water levels remain higher than normal so those taking to the water should double check all the safety equipment on their boats. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County
Sauk County - Lake Redstone has been offering some good fishing lately. Bluegills are still biting and some of the gills are still on the beds. Leaf worms and night crawlers have been working well. Fishermen can also try using top water baits since the water temperatures are rising this last week. The current water temps were in the upper 70s. Some nice schools of perch have also been caught. Crappies have slowed down but appear to be suspended off the break and mid lake structures. Walleye fishing on Lake Redstone has been fair to average. Some fishermen have reported some nice catches of walleyes on crank baits while casting and trolling. Dutch Hollow Lake has been good on bluegills yet this year. Some bluegills have also been located on the beds in deeper water. Bass fishing has been slow and the bass have been small. The Baraboo River is back down to normal summer levels. For some great kayaking and canoeing, try a short trip from the North Dutch Hollow Lake Road bridge downstream to La Valle. For a longer trip, launch off the Strawbridge Road bridge near Wonewoc and head downstream to the Dutch Hollow bridge or La Valle. Trip times for the short trip should be around 1 hour and about 4-5 hours for the long trip. The 400 State Trail is in excellent shape for a nice bike trip. Bikers can take short day trips or head out for an overnight trip towards Wilton and Kendall towards the tunnels for a nice cool experience. Hemlock County Park offers some nice short hikes around and on top of the bluff on the east side. - David Horzewski, conservation warden, Reedsburg
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Many anglers have been catching catfish along the Rock River with stink bait and chicken livers. The waters are still very fast moving and in many cases still over their banks in all Rock County rivers and streams. Canoe and kayak operators are reminded that wearable personal floatation devices are necessary by law and with extremely high water in many locations caution should be used and serious thought as to whether or not the float trip is the safest option on that body of water. Many baby animals are on the move and hiding in areas that people may encounter them on their travels outdoors. Please remember to leave the baby animals in the wild so they may be raised by their own parents even if the parents are not immediately visible. The parents are likely nearby keeping an eye on you and their young. - Mike J Dieckhoff, conservation warden, Janesville
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County - Mississippi and St. Croix rivers are starting to drop slowly. The slow no wake restriction on the St. Croix River has been removed. Trout stream in Pierce and St. Croix counties are in good shape and very fishable even with the recent rains. Bass and panfish action is still good on area lakes, but fishing on the Mississippi and Lake Pepin has still been slow, but should be improving with receding water levels. Deer flies are pretty bad on area wildlife areas and State Trails. - David A. Hausman, warden supervisor, Baldwin
Willow River State Park - It is a tough year for wild fruit production around west central St. Croix County. Most productive places are transitioning from mature plants to a younger generation with no fruit this season. Even the domestic blueberries at home are fruitless this year. At best, it will be pick and eat, nothing will be taken home. If you are not seeing much for ripening fruit, that is correct in the park and beyond. Ox-eyed daisies are blooming in front of the office-the white flower. Camping demand remains strong on weekends but there tends to be something open on Sunday-Thursday evenings. Turtles are done with egg laying and small turtles should be around soon. The stairway to the overlook will remain closed for the season. Please use the trail to ascend the hill instead of scrambling up along the stairs. Erosion resulting from scrambling killed one of our big pine trees before the stairway went in.- Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Blackberry plants are setting their fruits, and it looks like the upcoming blackberry crop will be high-yielding. Look for blackberries to begin ripening in about a month. Blackberries are common along roadsides, field borders, fencerows, and forest openings. Blackberries are of great importance to a wide range of wildlife for food and cover. Two reasons for the importance of blackberries are their widespread occurrence and palatability. In excess of 100 bird species eat blackberries, including such species as the ruffed grouse, robin, catbird, cardinal, and brown thrasher. Raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and black bears are fond of blackberry fruits, while deer and rabbits consume the leaves and stems. Thorny blackberry brambles provide ideal cover and security for many types of small mammals, birds, and reptiles. Blackberry pickers may want to keep an eye out for Himalayan blackberry, a non-native, invasive look-alike. Recent sightings of this plant have occurred in Crawford and Vernon Counties. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Boating activity was high on Lake Wissota and Lake Holcombe. Wardens checked several boats that are not storing their life jackets in an accessible location. Remember to keep PFDs handy in the event of a crash or emergency. Otter Lake bluegill action is slowing, while crappies continue to bite on micro jigs and soft plastics. Lake Wissota walleyes continue to bite on leeches in 8 to 10 feet of water; however, many fish are smaller in the 10 to 11 inch range. The Chippewa River below the Lake Wissota Dam fishing action is heavy, with crappies and walleyes biting throughout the day. Try twister jigs in white, pink and yellow. Smallmouth bass are taking pumpkinseed plastic worms near large boulders. Long Lake fishing is slow, while Round Lake is producing some small to medium size bluegills on jigs tipped with waxies. - Shaun Deeney, conservation warden, Chippewa Falls
Dunn County - Fishing pressure has been low as the summer heat and rain run-off has caused Lake Tainter to turn very green due to an algae bloom. Several wildlife sightings have been observed in the area including wolves, bears and fawns. Mosquitos are out in force this summer. - James Cleven, conservation warden, Menomonie
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - There is some green algae, not blue-green, floating around the lake and at times it is near our shores. We have two beach areas so chances are if one is green the other will not be and if it is green in the early morning, it has been blowing back out by lunch time. Universe in the Park will be here Friday, July 12. Meet at the amphitheater around 9 p.m./dusk to check out a slide show and then use the big telescope in the south parking lot to check out the stars. Visitors over the weekend were swimming, hiking, geocaching, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. Mosquitoes are here - remember to bring bug spray and thermocells. Campers and visitors get breaks from mosquitoes with breezes or hanging out at the beaches. - Heather Wolf, park manager