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Outdoor Report for August 1, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Cool and even some cold night temperatures in the last week along with at least a little rainfall across the state had lots of people thinking about the approaching fall season. The cold front dropped water temperatures in some areas, with Lake Michigan surface temperatures in the low 50s. Water temperatures on most inland lakes have been holding in upper 60s to low 70s.
With only minimal rainfall, river systems continue to drop and the lower Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers are now at the lowest levels they have been all summer. In the north, the Flambeau River is still at normal summer levels and is providing good paddling conditions on both the north and south forks.
The cold front that came through made for a big decrease in both fishing and recreational boating activity. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have continued to provide the most consistent action on northern lakes. Walleye fishing continues to be erratic with the best catches made in the deep weed beds during the low light periods. The cool weather kept musky success down and many anglers have been having a tough time finding fish, but northern pike action continued to be good. Panfish action has been variable, with some nice perch being found along deep weed edges and crappie suspended near any deeper water cover.
Panfishing is almost always a good bet in summer. Panfish, as a category, are by far the most frequently caught fish in Wisconsin. Read results from a survey of anglers on what their desires for their Wisconsin panfishing experiences.
On Lake Michigan, a 41.5 inch, 32.41 pound “King” salmon caught last weekend near Washington Island in the Kewaunee-Door Salmon Tournament. The 2013 tournament saw 404 fish over 20 pounds, with the top 50 fish all over 25 pounds. This is in sharp contrast to last year where there were only 14 fish over 20 pounds.
The cold snap seems to have slowed the bass action a little along Door County, but there are still some decent catches coming all around the county. But perch fishing has been going pretty good, with some nice sized fish being caught at several places around the county.
Trolling out of southern Lake Michigan harbors was a bit slower, with winds and waves keeping boats closer to shore. Some of the best fishing was out of Milwaukee with chinook making up the majority of the catch, but a few lake trout and rainbows were also taken.
With the cooler weather, bear hunters were very active training dogs. Some fawns are beginning to lose their spots and bucks are in velvet. Skunks, raccoons, and woodchucks are busy raiding gardens and lawns. Many homeowners are calling to report nuisance activities of these animals. Lots of turkey broods are being seen with the poults now about chicken size.
Prairies are displaying a full bloom of black-eyed Susan, yellow coneflower, blazing star, cup plant, ox-eye sunflower, prairie dock, rattlesnake master and others. Yellow swallowtails and monarchs are starting to show up as well, and unfortunately, deer and horse flies have been out in full force.
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Ashland County - Last week was wet and cool and perhaps even cold at times. Bear hunters training dogs were very active. Fishing activity was light and talk of football seemed to dominate conversations since training camps started during the week. Talk of deer hunting and other fall seasons are starting too. Blueberry picking has started. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The major cold front that came through Wisconsin last week made for a big decrease in both fishing and recreational boating activity. Water temperatures on most lakes have been holding in upper 60s to low 70s and this at least has allowed a few patterns to develop. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have continued to provide the most consistent action, with largemouth becoming less related to the weeds and lily pads and more associated with 'firm' overhead cover such as wood, brush, docks and bog edges. Smallmouth bass have also become more wood-oriented and look for this to increase as the water warms back up in August. Plastics worked slowly around this cover have produced the best success for both species of bass in the past few days. Walleye fishing continues to be erratic with the best catches made in the deep weed beds during the low light periods. Weedless jigs tipped with a leech or crawler piece dropped into open pockets in the weed beds have been the most successful method. The continued cool weather has kept musky success down and many anglers have been having a tough time finding fish. The deep weed edges have been producing a few fish, and the best lures have been medium buck tails and jerk baits. With the cool water temperatures, northern pike action continues to be good. Good numbers of pike are still being found along and in the weed edges, with shallow running crank baits and spinner baits producing the best success. Panfish action has been variable, with some nice perch being found along the deep weed edges and crappie suspended near any deeper water cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North & South Forks of the Flambeau River are at a normal level and should be good for paddlers. Anglers are reporting good fishing conditions for smallmouth bass. Blooming are: swamp and common milkweeds, Canadian fleabane, common skullcap, water dock, common mullein, spotted knapweed, wild pink, water hemlock, great St. John’s-wart, climbing buckwheat, wood nettle, swamp thistle, wild cucumber, spreading dogbane, wild bergamot, common evening-primrose, agrimony, butter & eggs, enchanter’s-nightshade, Indian-pipes & vervain. Red raspberries and swamp currents are ripe. Fawns are losing their spots and bucks are in velvet. Saturay, August 3 there will be a “The Nights Alive!” program. Take a journey into the night with us as to see if the night is really as creepy as people think it is. Be sure to bring along a friend to be scared with! Also bring along a flashlight and camera in case we come across something extraordinary! Meet at Dusk - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Rhinelander DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - Raspberries and blueberries are being picked in Oneida County, there also appears to be a lot of blackberries on the plants and if they all ripen up it should be a good year for them as well. Fishing has been slow except for bass and bluegills. - James Jung, conservation warden, Rhinelander
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks
The beginning of last week brought warm weather and sunny temperatures but fishing activity remained low around the Fox River and the lower West and East Shore of the Bay. By the end of the week, air and water temperatures dropped considerably with the cold weather that moved in. The water temperatures ranged from 77 degrees down to 68 degrees in Fox River and in the Lower Bay fishermen were reporting water temperatures about 69 degrees. Weather conditions ranged from windy to rainy this weekend and a considerable drop in fishing activity was noted on the lower East Shore. Two big tournaments, the two-day National Walleye Tour and the nine-day Kewaunee-Door Salmon Tournament wrapped up over the weekend making for one of the most exciting times for fishing in the area this summer! The results for the K-D Salmon Tourney will not be official until Monday night, but the unofficial winner is a 41.5 inch, 32.41 pound “King” salmon caught last weekend near Washington Island by Terry Gfeller of Minnesota. Rounding out the unofficial top five are chinook weighing 29.66, 29.17, 28.43 and 27.83 pounds. The 2013 tournament saw 404 fish over 20 pounds cross the scales, with the top 50 fish all over 25 pounds. This is in sharp contrast to last year where there were only 14 fish over 20 pounds and just one (the winner-26.2 pounds) over 25. More tournament information can be found at www.kdsalmon.com. The Cabela’s National Walleye Tour www.nationalwalleyetour.com (both links exit DNR) was in Sturgeon Bay July 26-27. This ProAm event pairs one pro angler with a different drawn amateur each day to go for the largest 5-fish bag per boat. Two day totals (up to 10 fish) are combined to crown individual professional and amateur winners. Pro winners [number of fish – weight in pounds]: 10 – 75.04, 8 – 62.77, 8 – 60.91; Amateur winners: 10 – 73.31, 7 – 57.79, 9 – 56.46.
Oconto County - Geano Beach fishing activity was very low with only a few trailers being seen. No interviews were taken this week. Some walleye are being caught between the Pensaukee River and Oconto park II in 14 to 20 feet of water. Jigging with live bait, zip lures, and rattilin jigs are out preforming trolling with crawler/harness. Walleye are averaging around 6 pounds. Some perch are also being caught in 8 to 14 feet of water fishing a foot off bottom with minnows.
Marinette County - Some sheep head, bass and catfish are being caught at the Peshtigo Harbor using live bait, fishing on bottom. Some trout and salmon were caught on the Bay this weekend during the M&M Brown Trout Derby, numbers were low and the weather was bad.
Kewaunee County - Kewaunee County was abuzz this week with the K-D tournament in full swing. As the week progressed, fishing seemed to pick up a little with the private boats getting 2-7 per trip. Long-time tournament participant Steve Seilo, Green Bay, got his (unofficial) 2nd place fish of 29.66 pounds out of Kewaunee, and both Kewaunee and Algoma saw their share of 20+ pounders over the past week. In Kewaunee, many anglers had success in 120 to 160 feet of water, with most of the fish in the top 70 feet. In Algoma, 120 to 185 feet of water in the top 50 feet was best, however, both ports reported some fish coming farther down, 85 to 100 feet. Flasher fly combos and spoons did the best, but plugs and cut bait took a few as well. A good sized king was reported caught off the end of the south pier this week. Seeing the boats trolling closer to shore, we do not doubt that a good west wind will help pier anglers get those spoons out to the fish that could be moving in, especially during the early morning and last light of the day.
Door County - Sturgeon Bay was at its busiest over the weekend, right in the center of both the K-D salmon tournament and the National Walleye Tour. Salmon anglers had good luck trolling off the bank reef with baits up in the top 70 of 100 to 170 feet of water. Flasher fly combos got the most and running spoons in the top 50 feet also did well. Baileys Harbor probably saw biggest number of large fish in the tournament, routinely weighing in more than ten 20-plus-pound fish in a single day, and a whopping 25 fish over 20 pounds this past Wednesday. The top 70 of 100 to 180 feet was the best, but a few anglers reported getting fish a bit deeper. Gills Rock to Washington Island saw some nice catches as well, some as shallow as 70 feet of water fishing in the top 45 feet. As reported above, the unofficial winner of 32.41 came out of Washington Island. There was also a 29.12 pound fish weighed in at the island that could take third. The walleye tournament anglers faced some rough conditions over their two days, with some seasoned pros returning without a fish on at least one of the days. It sounds like crawler harnesses in 15 to 25 feet of water was the top bait, but for those getting out this week, crank bait, flicker shads, smash shads, deep diving husky jerks and deep diving rouges are all good baits to try. Most of the action is still south of Henderson’s Point. The cold snap seems to have slowed the bass action a little, but there are still some decent catches coming all around the county. Try Sand Bay, George K. Pinney (formerly Stone Quarry), the flats in Sturgeon Bay, Anderson’s Dock in Ephraim and Washington Island. Live bait, twister tails, grubs, and spinner baits are all good choices. Some bass can still be found in 3 to 8 feet of water, but many are moving out a bit deeper, 10 to 20 feet of water. Look for transitions (from rock to sand for example) or trenches to fish in. Perch fishing has been going pretty good lately, with some nice sized fish being caught at several places around the county. The bridges in Sturgeon Bay, the Potawatomi State Park shoreline, North of Dunlap’s reef, Chaudoir's dock and Egg Harbor are good places to try. Minnows and crawlers are top bait choices anywhere from 8’ to 25’ of water, depending on weather conditions and the underwater terrain. Fishing on the edge of a newly formed weed bed is a great place to try. No news on any recent musky action. Chaudoir's Dock fishing activity was quite low this week. Fisherman in the area targeted walleye and perch. Yellow perch were caught in 25 feet of water using minnows as bait. Walleye were caught in 20-25 feet of water using crank bait. Sheepshead were also reportedly caught as fisherman targeted walleye. Little Sturgeon Bay fishing activity was very low this week with only a handful of trailers observed in the beginning of the week. No trailers were seen through out the weekend. No interviews were obtained at this location this week. Sawyer's Harbor fishing activity was very low this week. A few trailers were seen in the beginning of the week but none by week's end. Fisherman in the area targeted walleye, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass without any luck. A few shore fisherman reported targeting yellow perch and rock bass without luck but did report catching a smallmouth bass and a sheepshead.
Brown County - Suamico River fishing activity was a little higher than the weekend with fishermen targeting walleye. Fishermen using crank baits (rainbow color) in about 14 feet of water and rate of catch was not high. Other species caught were Sheepshead. Metro Boat Launch fishing activity was slow with fishermen targeting walleye and musky. Fishermen had no luck with musky and they used large stick baits (perch and blue) in about 4 to 10 feet of water. Walleye numbers were low as well with only a few coming in. Fishermen used crawler harnesses (pink color) in about 24 to 26 feet of water. Other species caught were Sheepshead. Fox Point boat launch fishing activity was very low with fishermen searching for Walleye. Walleye numbers were low and the fish were small. Fishermen used night crawlers and were fishing in about 8 feet of water. Other species caught were sheepshead, catfish, a goby and a white bass (all released). Fox River fishing activity was low with some fishermen looking for smallmouth bass and bluegill. A handful of bluegill were caught on night crawlers. A few smallmouth bass were caught on tube jigs (white, yellow and crayfish colors). Other species caught were white bass, catfish, and sheepshead. Bayshore Park fishing pressure was low this week with the majority of fisherman targeting walleye and a few targeting yellow perch. Fisherman reported catching Walleye in a variety of depths from 10 to 25 feet of water. Walleye were caught on flicker shads (purple, pearl, and black) and night crawlers. Rate of catch were low but those caught and kept were large (24-26 inches and 6-8 lbs). Yellow perch were caught with varying rates of success. Those caught were caught in depths of 17-20 ft with the use of minnows and night crawlers. Other species reported caught were white perch, white bass, sheepshead and bullheads. One Bullhead that was caught and kept measured 29 inches in length with a weight of 10.5 lbs.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Shawano County - Recent timely showers should help with the fields and crops in the area. Lots of turkeys are starting to be seen along with plenty of fawns. Ducks and geese are plentiful on area waterways. Water levels are higher than normal for this time of year. Canoeists and kayakers are taking advantage of the nice water levels. Deer and horse flies are however out in full force. Fishing activity has been good with panfish and bass being the most common fish seen in the live wells. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - The fishing and boating pressure has been down on the Fox River and the Bay due to the cooler weather we had over the weekend. Some fishermen believe the perch fishing was best during the warm snap we had, and hope that the fishing will improve this week. Muskie fishing will most likely pick up, especially after a 64 inch fish was caught and released from shore at the mouth of the Fox River. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Green Bay
Manitowoc County - Changing weather has made locating fish difficult. Prevalent winds and storms have also made fishing tough by limiting time on the water for many. After surface waters warmed back up last week, they have dropped to the mid to upper 50s again following recent west winds. Some boats are hooking smaller chinook with occasional large fish mixed in from 40 to 75 feet of water. This shallow bite seems more pronounced southeast of Manitowoc. Many boats are still working that 100 to 170 feet of water range and are finding moderate numbers of kings and rainbows. A handful of boats were targeting rainbows and were fishing in the upper 50 feet of water in depths up to 300 feet. Brown trout have shown up in 20 to 50 feet of water and are hitting spoons and crankbaits. Some lake trout are being caught in around 70 to 100 feet of water north of Two Rivers. Alewife numbers and water temperatures inshore have decreased enough that salmon are moving shallower than they have all year. As of 7/27 some kings and browns are being caught off the piers in Manitowoc with casting spoons. Pier fishing has been the best during low light conditions. Brown trout are averaging around 23 inches and nearly 8 pounds. The average weight for salmon has decreased because the fall 2011 year class is now getting large enough to hit standard sized lures and because of this, many anglers are unknowingly pulling them around the lake, wondering why no fish are coming off that line. Water temperatures inshore are now 55-58 degrees and temps increase to the low 60s a few miles off shore. A thermocline was said to have been present out of Manitowoc with cooler water 60 feet down, but this most likely has changed with the current strong westerly winds. - Thomas Gerbyshak, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Whitefish Dunes State Park - Summer has arrived and all trails are open to hiking and in good condition. The Park is alive! This can be seen everywhere, from the sandy dunes through the wetlands, its summer! Blue-eyed grass, cow parsnip, harebells, grass of parnassus, wild bergamot, field wormwood, joe-pye-weed, bouncing bet, milkweeds, stinging nettle, black-eyed susan, heal-all and Mullein can be spotted blooming within the park. For the forager, thimbleberries, elderberries and raspberries are beginning to ripen. Goldfinches can be seen in the meadow areas feeding on seed heads. Porcupines are along the forested segment of the red trail. The wetland is teeming with life, with macro invertebrates, frogs, turtles, snakes, and an assortment of birds. Our most popular trail to hike is the red trail to Old Baldy, the tallest sand dune in Wisconsin. On top of Old Baldy is a great spot for photo opportunities, so make sure you bring your camera. The staff trail pick is the Brachiopod trail, where you can see robin fledglings learning to fly, young chickadees, and if you’re lucky, the resident doe and fawn! The mile and a half beach is a wonderful spot for swimming, catching some Vitamin D, and relaxing in the sunshine. Make sure to pack the sunblock and some snacks! Birders can spot white pelicans, herring gulls, ring-billed gulls and cormorants on the water.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Wonderful weather this week, and it is supposed to continue for the next week. Blackcap raspberries almost done but blackberries now just starting – and should have a bumper crop. Young of year geese now almost fully grown. Lots of Turkey broods around-the poults are now chicken sized. Very few reports on fishing, the only one received is Bluegills biting in 18-19 feet of water in area lakes. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
DNR fisheries crews on Aug. 1 found a welcome sign for efforts to restore lake sturgeon to Lake Michigan. On their second day of setting gill nets in the Milwaukee Harbor area to look for lake sturgeon, they captured a young sturgeon. The sturgeon had an identification tag marking it as having been raised at the streamside rearing facility DNR operates with Riveredge Nature Center volunteers. The fish was stocked into the Milwaukee River on Oct. 2, 2010. The fish was 8.5 inches and 41.3 grams when it was stocked; when it was captured today, it was 21.9 inches and 950 grams.
Says Brad Eggold, DNR fisheries supervisor for southern Lake Michigan: “Pretty exciting news. This is the first sturgeon we have caught via an independent fishery survey in Lake Michigan. Others have been caught by other agencies. This shows that we are getting survival from fish stocked via our facility. It also shows fish are in the area which we also saw in spring when we caught some via electro fishing.”
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing pressure increased through the weekend, but catch rates seemed to decrease. Saturday’s average was about 4 fish per boat with a couple of groups approaching bag limits. Sunday’s average was about 2 fish per boat with many groups catching nothing. Most fish are still being caught on spoons, and anglers have reported catches ranging from 50 feet of water to as much as 190 feet. A strong Southeast wind created rough conditions on Saturday morning, which switched to a more breezy Northwest wind in the afternoon and decreased wave action on the lake. A more Westerly wind was blowing on Sunday, occasionally producing some strong gusts. The 8th Street ramp remains closed. Fishing pressure has increased on both piers in Sheboygan, and catch rates increased slightly over the weekend. Some browns were caught near the mouth of the marina late last week from South Pier, and a couple of chinooks were caught off North Pier as well. Jigs and spoons both took fish, but anglers reported only a brief window of action. Anglers have also reported having difficulty catching alewives for bait, and no large schools have been observed in or around the marina.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington area trollers have been catching about 4 fish per boat, with some even limiting out. Most fish were caught around 70 feet of water, but catches ranged from between 50 and 130 feet. There seemed to be an even split between success on spoons vs. flies. A strong Southeast wind created rough conditions on Saturday morning, which switched to a more breezy Northwest wind in the afternoon and decreased wave action on the lake; a more Westerly wind was blowing on Sunday, occasionally producing some strong gusts. Fishing pressure has increased on the North Pier in Port. Despite high fishing pressure, the only fish caught this weekend were a few small perch; while salmon and trout fishermen reported no catches and few strikes. Wave action has remained low the past couple days, and water clarity is good on the lakeside and has improved in the marina. Large schools of alewives have been seen near the end of the pier on the marina side. Fishing pressure has increased on shore in Port, mainly near the power plant discharge. Some small trout were caught on spawn sacs, along with a nice coho, but catch rates are still low overall. Water clarity in the marina has improved. The path to Fisherman’s Park remains closed.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers saw an increase in the numbers of fish caught over the weekend. Most were focusing 35 to 60 feet below the surface in 80 to 140 feet of water. Chinooks made up the majority of the catch, but a few lake trout and rainbows were also taken. The average catch was about 5 fish per boat on Sunday morning, and spoons in blue and green produced the best. Shore fishing around Milwaukee has been slow overall; however, McKinley pier anglers have caught a few browns on green spoons and white plastics. Perch fishing was inconsistent around the South Shore and Bender Park piers, with only a few keeper perch caught on minnows off the bottom between 5 and 7 am.
Racine County - In Racine strong winds and 3-5 foot waves kept many boaters off the lake this week. Most anglers who ventured out trolled close to shore in 50-60 feet and returned with a mixed bag of coho, rainbows, and Chinooks. One group of anglers on a charter boat returned with a nice cooler full on Friday. They landed one 10 pound rainbow and twelve kings while fishing in 120 feet of water, and the largest king weighed 28.4 pounds. Perch anglers fished the south breakwall and the bubbler during the week with limited success. A couple of anglers landed a few small perch near the south breakwall while fishing with jigs and plastics. Strong winds made fishing off the Racine piers difficult this week, but a few perch were landed by anglers fishing with plastics from the end of South Pier near the harbor. One angler also landed a 12 pound chinook on Saturday evening while fishing from the end of South Pier near the Root River. The kings have been jumping near the mouth of the Root River after the sun goes down, and they move out to deeper water after the sun comes up. There were no reports of brown trout being caught off the piers this week. The surface temperature at the lakefront averaged 62-67F during the week.
Kenosha County - Trollers in Kenosha fished fairly close to shore this weekend due to the strong winds and high waves. Some stayed in 30 feet of water while some larger boats reported a mixed bag of cohos, kings, lakers, and rainbows while fishing around the hills. Some nice size kings, up to 25 pounds, were landed on Sunday by a boat fishing in 90 to 100 feet of water. Some of the local anglers reported that it’s been a good year for perch fishing in Kenosha this year. They’ve caught twice as many perch this year as compared to last year, but the size of the perch has been smaller. A couple of perch anglers reported good luck recently while fishing the jetties near Southport Park. Fishing pressure was heavy on both piers this week. 20-30 anglers have been showing up for the early morning or late evening bite. Nice catches of brown trout have been landed from the piers over the past four weeks. Anglers were having success using white tube jigs, green/silver spoons, and spinners. It’s not uncommon for anglers to land 1-2 fish when the browns are active. A few lucky anglers have caught 3, 4, or even 5 browns on a single trip. The average weight of the browns was between 5-7 pounds with some running up to 10-12 pounds. One of the locals said that this has been an exceptional year for brown trout fishing in the Kenosha harbor. A couple of anglers tried fishing for perch from the rocks behind Southport Marina, but they had limited success. The surface temperature at the lakefront averaged 61-67F during the week.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Anglers report that musky fishing is slow on Pewaukee Lake. Anglers report catching smallmouth and largemouth bass on Pine Lake along with some walleye at night. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - Lakes around northern Washington County have cooled slightly with the recent below normal temperatures. Surface temperatures are still in the low to mid 70s and great for swimming or other water activities. Fishing around the area continues to be decent. Anglers are beginning to pick up good numbers of bluegills off weed edges in 12 – 16 feet of water. Bass continue to be caught in good numbers with a few really nice fish being caught. Reports of walleye being caught have also become more common on some lakes. - Sean Neverman, conservation warden, Plymouth
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Pike Lake DNR Wildlife Management staff spent time on Theresa Marsh during the past few days painting repaired areas on the dam catwalk and railings and removing cattail bogs in the Rock River above and below the dam. Birds seen in main pool or along the river during that time included several broods of blue-winged teal, wood ducks and Canada geese, plus cormorants, green herons, American bitterns, great egrets, belted kingfishers, coots, Sora rails, sandhill cranes, and many other birds. Water levels are drawn down on the marsh right now to allow smartweeds, bidens and other waterfowl foods to mature on the mud flat areas. Prairie fields are near peak viewing conditions with many coneflowers, black-eyed susan and other forbs in full bloom. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water levels along the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway is low and there are a lot of sandbars exposed providing ample places to camp. Boaters should use caution when operating along the Riverway due to the ever changing water levels which expose new sandbars and other hazards. The water levels on August 1, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 4,053 CFS. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac Dam. 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. People must take the trash they create with them. We have a "carry-in, carry-out" policy. Riverway law requires a waterproof container for trash in every boat/canoe and glass containers are prohibited. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - The Big Rivers (Wisconsin and Mississippi) are both running quite low. This is good news for paddlers on the Lower Wisconsin, who have been waiting a long time for sandbars to camp on. Mosquitoes and deer flies are present, but not enough to carry you away. Sandbars have popped up in new places this year, so use caution when wading. Prairies are displaying a full bloom of black-eyed Susan, yellow coneflower, blazing star, cup plant, ox-eye sunflower, prairie dock, rattlesnake master and others. Yellow swallowtails and monarchs are starting to show up as well. - Daniel Goltz, wildlife biologist, Boscobel
Iowa County - Numerous sandbars are exposed on the Lower Wisconsin River. These provide ideal locations for fishing and canoe stopping points. Many bird species have finished nesting, but some are just starting, such as American goldfinch. Some of the blackbird species have been sighted flocking together. Wildflowers in bloom: woodland sunflower, tick-trefoils, rosinweed, cup plant, compass plant, prairie dock, yellow coneflower, wild bergamot. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville
Wyalusing State Park -All reservable sites in both the Wisconsin Ridge and Homestead Campgrounds have been reserved for this coming weekend, August 2-3. As of Wednesday, July 31 there were nonreservable sites available. Country on the River, a country music festival runs through Saturday night. The festival grounds are located about 8 miles from Wyalusing State Park on Hwy. 18 between the park and Prairie du Chien. Country on the River may put added pressure on the non-reservable site availability for the weekend. Last weekend was the first and only weekend that Wyalusing has filled both of the campgrounds this year. The road to the boat landing has been repaired. The boat landing road is now open and the concession stand is once again renting canoes and kayaks. Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is at 8 feet. 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 and grey-headed coneflowers. black-eyed susans, grey-headed coneflowers and purple coneflowers can be found in the fields near the office. Hazelton Grazing Goats, courtesy of our neighbors, Driftless Land Stewardship, arrived on Wednesday of last week. Currently they are in a fenced in area just north and east of the Lawrence Interpretive Center and along the entrance to the Outdoor Group Camp. Seventy five goats will clear that area of unwanted invasive species before being “relocated” to other areas of the park. An electric fence will keep the goats in as well as coyotes out. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Purple martins have fledged and fewer numbers are now being seen as they begin to move south. Blackbirds have begun to flock in small numbers. The two osprey young that have occupied the nesting platform have fledged and we expect the family will begin going south in the next few weeks. Shorebirds are being seen around the marsh but still in low numbers. Highway 49 has been a great spot so far. A Hudsonian godwit was spotted on 49 just east of the pumphouse. Prairie wildflowers are still in full bloom around the marsh. For a list of special events at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center please visit www.horiconmarsh.org. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Fall came early this past weekend with much below temps and some rain. Not a lot of activity due to the weather. However, northern pike were active on a local water body, but I was sworn to secrecy by the fishermen there as not to advertise the location. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Turkey brood sightings are finally starting to happen with regularity across the county, indicating that turkeys either got a late start nesting or had to attempt a second nesting effort. Most of the planted sunflower fields are looking good and should be ready to go for the dove opener (September 1). A timber sale to promote oak regeneration began this week at Mud Lake Wildlife Area off of Drake Rd. Cutting and timber removal should be completed in the next few weeks. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Sauk County - Fishing is still good on area Lakes and the Wisconsin River. Smallmouth bass are biting on the Wisconsin River. The Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam is very low and people using boats are cautioned about hitting rocks and stumps as they navigate the river. Hummingbird activity is very high on backyard feeders. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac
West Central Region
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Skunks, raccoons, and woodchucks are busy raiding gardens and lawns. Many homeowners are calling to report nuisance activities of these animals. Homeowners are especially annoyed when garden crops are destroyed, outdoor pet food eaten, or garbage cans and bird feeders are raided. Sanitation is an important aspect of reducing nuisance problems caused by these animals. Lawns can also be targets of skunks and raccoons, as they search for grubs in the turf. Skunks tend to dig cone-shaped holes in turf, while skunks and raccoons are capable of rolling back chunks of sod as they search for insect larvae. Effective control methods can be employed to deter these animals. Contact your local DNR wildlife management office for control advice or check out the University of Wisconsin Extension website: wildlifedamage.uwex.edu (exit DNR). - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Great weather for camping is here. Highs are expected to be in the upper 70s with lows in the upper 50s to low 60s predicted through the weekend. The bug population has also decreased dramatically at the property. All-terrain vehicle and UTV trails are open for riding other than the Wildcat Loop. Trails were groomed last week and are in good condition for riding. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Trempealeau County - Water levels in area lakes, ponds, streams, and rivers are finally down to “normal” mid-summer levels. Trout anglers are reporting good action while using artificial flies in the deeper pools on the Buffalo and Trempealeau rivers. Looking for a great place to take a kid fishing? Look no further than the pool below the dam in Strum. The bluegills have been biting on worms and crawlers there, and it’s always a good place to cast a spoon for northern pike. Now is the time to think about enrolling novice hunters in a Hunter Safety class. Go to the DNR website at dnr.gov and enter the keywords “hunter safety” in the search box. You can search for upcoming classes by county, and don’t forget that an open class may be scheduled in an adjacent county near you. Many classes are scheduled in the fall, but they fill up fast, so check the website often. - Robin Barnhardt, conservation warden, Osseo
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Dunn County -Fishing pressure on Tainter Lake is very low, due the Lake being green with algae bloom. Wild prairie flowers are in bloom especially bergamot. Bear hound dog training has increased recently due to the unusually cooler temperatures. There has been increase in bear baiting in Northern Dunn County. Songbirds and their young are returning to feeders after raising their young on insects. Turkeys are now visible with their young. - James Cleven, conservation warden, Menomonie
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - 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. There is some green algae, 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. Saturday, August 3: 7 p.m. “Moon Madness” Join us at the amphitheater for moon stories and activities and learn about nighttime in the forest around the campfire. - Heather Wolf, park manager