Outdoor Report for August 22, 2013 Published by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Fall and winter are closer than we want to admit but there is still a lot of time to get out and enjoy the wonders in our backyards. Take the family camping, canoeing or to the lake for a picnic. Or just take the family fishing or on a bike ride. Get those last summer memories with the kids before they are back in school.
Fishing success has been pretty good in the Northwoods in the past week with the weather and the fish cooperating. Sunny skies and warm temperatures made for some pleasant angling conditions, with musky and bass especially active. Musky success continued to be good and most anglers reported some good action from small and medium-size fish (32 to 42 inches). Walleye action did pick up a notch and a few anglers have been reporting some decent catches. Leeches and crawlers fished along the weed edges and in weed pockets have produced most of the fish, though some also have been found on the deeper gravel and rock bars. Panfish action continues to be fair. Larger bluegill have been a little tough to find but some decent catches of crappie and rock bass have been reported.
Anglers fishing Lake Michigan waters out of Manitowoc County are reporting that good fishing for chinook and steelhead can be found in deeper water. Best catches have come from 120 to 350 feet of water and generally east of the commercial fishing nets.
In Door County, the 9th Annual Sturgeon Bay Offshore Challenge was a success. Winners of the ladies and kids division on Friday had a 5-fish bag weighing just over 68 pounds. Last week's Shanty Days tournament in Algoma saw 10 kings over 20 pounds, with a 25.68 pound chinook taking the top prize. Top steelhead was around 12.5 pounds and the largest lake trout around 10 pounds.
Check the Lake Michigan fishing hotlines for more information: 920-746-2873 for northern Lake Michigan and Green Bay and 414-382-7920 for southern Lake Michigan.
On Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area in southeastern Wisconsin, staff has begun slowly reflooding the areas and will continue to do so over the next few weeks. Waterfowl hunters can expect water levels to be low during the early goose and youth duck hunts, but should be back to normal fall levels for the Sept 28 duck season opener.
More than 20 wildfires burned across the state this week. The largest fire of the week burned 13 acres of swamp and forest land in Sawyer County. If you are considering outdoor burning, please put it off until enough rain has occurred to lower the fire danger.
Bird migration is now in full swing, most notably including large numbers of land birds this week. Warblers such as blackpoll, Wilson's, Cape May, Tennessee and others have begun their push into the northern part of the state from breeding areas in the boreal forests of Canada. Southern Wisconsin also saw its first wave of warbler migrants, including chestnut-sided, Tennessee, black-and-white, and N. water thrush. Expect warbler numbers and diversity to build with each passing cold front over the next few weeks. Birders should focus in woodlots along lakeshores, stream corridors, city parks, and other local hotspots. Many flycatchers are on the move now as well, including the highly sought olive-sided and yellow-bellied, while large numbers of cedar waxwings also have been reported. Common nighthawk migration is underway as hundreds are being seen almost daily as far south as Sheboygan. Keep an eye to the sky in evenings for flocks of these unique birds winging their way to South America.
Blackberries are starting to ripen in the Waupaca area. Pickers are reported finding ripe berries in sunny areas. Along the Mississippi River, 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, joe pyeweed, 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.
This week marks the retirement of Jeffrey Bolte, a visitor services associate at Willow River State Park. Jeffrey has been contributing to the Outdoor Report for 15 years. Jeffrey has supplied the Outdoor Report writers with very up-to-date and helpful information, and we want to thank him for helping people enjoy the great outdoors. Have a wonderful retirement Jeffrey, best wishes from the Outdoor Report staff and thank you for your service to DNR and the citizens and natural resources of Wisconsin!
Spotty rain and high heat? The dog days of summer may be upon us. This drying trend is accompanied by elevated fire danger across the state and we are seeing wildfire activity increasing. More than 20 wildfires burned across the state this week. The largest fire of the week burned 13 acres of swamp and forest land in Sawyer County. Five fire departments assisted DNR in putting out the fire. Wildfires are started by a variety of sources this time of year: equipment, people burning brush or trash, railroads, power lines, etc. People are urged to be extra cautious this time of year when working or playing outdoors. If you are considering outdoor burning, please put it off until enough rain has occurred to lower the fire danger. In many areas, DNR burning permits have been suspended until conditions moderate. You can always refer to the DNR web site for more information. Go to dnr.wi.gov and enter the keywords "fire danger." Or call 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) after 11 a.m.
Statewide Birding Report
Bird migration is now in full swing, most notably including large numbers of land birds this week. Warblers such as blackpoll, Wilson's, Cape May, Tennessee and others have begun their push into the northern part of the state from breeding areas in the boreal forests of Canada. Southern Wisconsin also saw its first wave of warbler migrants, including chestnut-sided, Tennessee, black-and-white, and N. water thrush. Expect warbler numbers and diversity to build with each passing cold front over the next few weeks. Birders should focus in woodlots along lakeshores, stream corridors, city parks, and other local hotspots. Many flycatchers are on the move now as well, including the highly sought olive-sided and yellow-bellied, while large numbers of cedar waxwings also have been reported. Common nighthawk migration is underway as hundreds are being seen almost daily as far south as Sheboygan. Keep an eye to the sky in evenings for flocks of these unique birds winging their way to South America. Another evening ritual to enjoy this time of year is the communal roosting behavior of chimney swifts at select chimneys in our urban areas. Swallows have largely vacated the north but are congregating at wetlands in the south. These wetlands are also hosting concentrations of duck broods, rails, egrets, herons, and other water birds. Shorebird abundance and diversity is outstanding right now at suitable habitats and viewing locations, including rarities such as American avocet, buff-breasted sandpiper, and ruddy turnstone. Closer to home, backyard birders are reporting high numbers of baltimore orioles and ruby-throated Hummingbirds at their feeders this past week although adult males of both species have mostly vacated the state now. Another adult male Rufous hummingbird was found in Wood County. As always, help us track bird populations and their migration patterns by reporting your sightings to www.ebird.org/wi. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Ashland County - The week started with cool temperatures but turned hot and humid by the weekend. Berry picking continues with blue berries and raspberries. Overall, fishing has been good on inland waters and outlaying waters. Bear dog training continues. Hunters are starting to think fall and trees are already starting to show some color to indicate it is getting near. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Interstate Park - Don't miss the final Storytime of the season at 10 a.m. on Thursday, August 29. Join Naturalists Julie Fox and Barb Walker as they welcome author Phyllis Root to the park. Root will read from her published children's stories to young children and their parents at the final Storytime this summer. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Fishing success was pretty good in the Northwoods in the past week with both the weather and the fish cooperating. Sunny skies and warm temperatures made for some pleasant angling conditions, with musky and bass especially active. Musky success continued to be good and most anglers reported some good action from small and medium-size fish (32 to 42 inches). The fish seemed to be active along the weed edges and in the shallower weed beds. Top-water baits, soft-bodied lures and slower moving stick baits were the most productive. Any time of day has produced action and was mostly dependent on local weather conditions. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been consistent and some very nice fish have been caught and released in the last week. Largemouth are well settled into their summer pattern and have been relating to the thick cover. Weedless top-water baits and soft plastics have been the most productive and have to be fished in the weed pockets, in the woody cover, or tight to the bog/marsh edges. Smallmouth have been a bit tough to find in the lakes but action continued to be good on the flowages and larger rivers. Soft plastics and finesse baits have been the most productive lures and the fish have been relating to wood that is near deeper water areas. Walleye action did pick up a notch and a few anglers have been reporting some decent catches. Leeches and crawlers fished along the weed edges and in weed pockets have produced most of the fish, though some have also been found on the deeper gravel and rock bars. Panfish action continues to be fair. Larger bluegill have been a little tough to find but some decent catches of crappie and rock bass have been reported. Rainfall in the far north has been relatively light in the last month and as such, river and stream levels continue to be very low. In addition, most area lakes and flowages have also seen water level declines and are near their typical summer lows. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Marinette County - On the Peshtigo River some nice bass and the occasional pike were caught using surface baits and plastics. Catfish, sheepshead, and smallmouth bass were also caught at the Peshtigo Harbor using live bait, spinners, and plastics. Walleye continue to be caught in the evenings on the Menominee River trolling stick baits or crawler/harness's from Stephenson Island to the river mouth. Smallmouth bass, sheepshead and some perch were also caught by shore fishermen. Salmon fishing on Green Bay remains slow. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Oconto County - Anglers from the Stiles Dam to Holtwood Park on the Oconto River reported some nice catches of smallmouth, panfish, rock bass, and sheepshead using live bait, spinners, plastics, and chug baits. Anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River also caught these same fish with the added bonus of catfish and a few perch. Some nice walleye were caught in the vicinity of the Oconto Shoals trolling with crawler/harness and stick baits. Anglers reported some nice catches of perch in 8 to 20 feet of water using crawler bits and minnows fished with slip bobbers or crappie rigs. Some 12-inch and bigger fish were reported.
Shawano County - Fishing has slowed a bit in recent weeks but some nice panfish and bass are still being caught especially on Shawano Lake. Some bigger perch have been seen in the bag but lots of fish are caught to get some nice ones. Plenty of deer and turkeys can be seen in fields around the area. Some are pretty small yet. Geese are grouping up and can be seen working area hay fields. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - At Bayshore Park fishing activity was high this week with the majority of anglers targeting perch. High numbers of perch were reportedly caught though not many kept. Only two anglers came in with their daily limits this week. Many anglers reported catching very small perch that they opted to release. Perch were caught in 14-22 feet of water using mainly minnows with a few night crawlers. Just one group of anglers targeted walleye this week, coming in with their daily limit. Walleye were caught in 7 to 9 feet of water using crankbait and flicker shads (purple, blue, and green). Other species caught were sheepshead, gobies, white perch and white bass. Water temperatures ranged from 64-67 degrees.
Manitowoc County - Fishing has been sporadic overall and anglers are doing the best during low-light time periods. Compared to earlier weeks, good fishing for chinook and steelhead can be found in deeper water. Best catches have come from 120 to 350 feet of water and generally east of the commercial fishing nets. Surface temperatures closer to shore are in the mid 60s and drop to the low 60˚s the farther out you go. A thermocline developed about 50 feet down in most areas offshore and many fish were caught at the thermocline or just below it where the water is reportedly in the mid-40s. Some large fish were caught including a 32 pound chinook, a few 12-pound coho and a 15-pound rainbow. Some of the larger chinooks have hit flies and flashers but most fish were caught on spoons. Pier fishing has been slow but some decent chinook and browns have been caught off of both the Two Rivers and Manitowoc piers. An average of three or four kings and a brown or two were caught from each city daily, mostly in the morning or late evening. The anglers having the most luck are using light line and making long casts using an eight-foot or longer rod to cast heavy spoons or bottom rigs using alewives or spawn sacs.
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - The 9th Annual Sturgeon Bay Offshore Challenge was a success. Winners of the ladies and kids division on Friday had a 5-fish bag weighing just over 68 pounds. Last week's Shanty Days tournament in Algoma saw 10 kings over 20 pounds with a 25.68 pound chinook taking the top prize. Top steelhead was around 12.5 pounds and the largest lake trout around 10 pounds. Anglers heading out of Sturgeon Bay say trolling the bank reef in 100 to 150 feet of water remains productive for catching kings, while some are going out into the deeper water, 200 to 500 feet, and getting more of a mixed bag of salmon and rainbows. Flasher/fly combo and spoons are the most popular with plugs taking a few. Baileys Harbor continues to see some large fish caught on flasher flies and spoons in 90 to 250 feet of water. We have also seen some nice catches come from the Bues Point ramp, located near the Cana Island lighthouse off of County Q. This little-used launch has a nice ramp and is very close to Lake Michigan out of Moonlight Bay. Drive toward the lighthouse, but go straight (towards the dead end) when the sign directs you to turn left. Be aware that the automated gate opens at 5 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m.. We have not been able to talk to many anglers fishing for salmon in the Gills Rock/Washington Island area, but we've heard that they are catching a few nice ones up there. With the launch at Gills Rock currently closed, Ellison Bay and Rowley's Bay are the closest on the peninsula -- or take the ferry over to the island and launch from there. The larger bass seem to have moved out to deeper water, 12 to 15 feet, but are still being caught all over the county including Washington Island. Use tubes, twister tails and live bait along the transitions areas or trenches. Some smaller bass are still being caught near shore at Anderson's Dock in Ephraim, the pier at Rowley's Bay and Weborg's Point in Peninsula State Park. The best walleye fishing is still in the southern part of the county, south of Chaudoir's Dock, but we are starting to see a few around the bayside of the peninsula. Try Fish Creek, Peninsula State Park, Ephraim and Sister Bay around the islands and reefs trolling in 20 to 35 feet of water with crawler harnesses, crank bait, husky jerks or deep diving rouges. We've heard of a few being caught around Washington Island as well. Perch fishing is going really good some of the time in a lot of places around the county. Some days the shipping canal has been hot, while the Potawatomi State Park bays and shoreline are bringing limits on other days. The southern part of the county, around Henderson's Point, Sugar Creek and the deeper water off Chaudoir's Dock also have had some really good days. Wherever you go, try minnows and crawlers along the edges of weed beds in 10' to 15' of water. At Chaudoir's Dock fishing activity was high throughout the week with anglers targeting perch. Success was limited. Perch were caught in 18-22 feet of water using minnows. At Little Sturgeon Bay fishing activity was moderate throughout the week as nearly half of the trailers belonged to pleasure boaters. Anglers in the area targeted perch and smallmouth bass with limited success. Perch were caught in 10 feet of water using night crawlers. Anglers opted to release all perch caught, citing small size. Anglers also reported catching a couple smallmouth bass in their pursuit of perch. Anglers targeting smallmouth bass caught them in 9-12 feet of water using tubes of various colors. Other species caught were gobies. Water temperatures ranged from 68-71 degrees. At Sawyer's Harbor fishing activity was moderate throughout the week. Anglers targeted perch and smallmouth bass. Perch were caught in 6-12 feet of water using minnows and night crawlers. Numbers of perch caught were low, and even fewer were kept. Smallmouth bass were caught in 10-12 feet of water using crank bait. Other species caught were rock bass, a bluegill, gobies, and two northern pikes that were kept. Water temperature was reported at 68 degrees.
Kewaunee County - The big news on the lakeside of Kewaunee County is that there have been several salmon caught off the piers in the last couple of days, including Monday morning (Aug. 19), mostly on spoons. As we head into September, more fish will be hanging around the river mouths waiting to start their fall runs. Spoons and stickbaits work fine but the best bait to throw out once the run begins is probably a spawn sac, a small bunch of salmon/trout eggs tied around a hook. Many of the large females being caught right now are ripe with eggs, so bring some extra bags to get ready for the fall run. On Lake Michigan flasher flies and spoons were bringing in the most fish, usually high up in the water column. Many anglers are starting shallow at first light, in 75 to 160 feet of water, then heading out anywhere from 250 to 600 feet of water during the warmer part of the day. On the afternoon runs most boats run out to the deep water, trolling back in to the shallows as the sun sets. The fly/dodger combo and spoons were the most popular baits again, but the 5-color lead core did well this week too. We have seen one or two boats in shallow water trying to catch some brown trout. Browns like water in the 65-75 degree Fahrenheit range, so they usually aren't found with the salmon. With the full moon this week, night fishing on Lake Michigan could be productive as the fish will be a bit more active. Look for water between 50-57 degrees Fahrenheit, the preferred temperature of chinook. Another popular night fishing option in Kewaunee County is Krohns' Lake, just south of Algoma. Bass, panfish and trout can be caught on live bait or spoons -- just don't forget the bug spray! At Red River Park fishing activity was low this week with just one trailer observed. Anglers targeted perch with very little success. Night crawlers were used to catch perch and anglers reported a very high number of gobies caught. Most action was on flasher flies and spoons, usually high up in the water column. Many anglers are starting shallow at first light, in 75 to 160 feet of water, then heading out to anywhere from 250 to 600 feet of water during the warmer part of the day. On the afternoon trips most boats ran out to deep water and troll back into the shallows as the sun sets. The fly/dodger combo and spoons were the most popular baits, but the 5-color lead core did well also. There have been several salmon caught off the piers mostly on spoons. As we head into September, more fish will be hanging around the river mouths waiting to start their fall runs. Spoons and stickbaits have produced well. Many of the large females being caught right now are ripe with eggs. Bass, trout and salmon were also seen around the piers in Kewaunee County. There have been a few reports of brown trout being caught during the early morning when there is cooler water near shore.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Good catches of panfish have been observed on the Chain O Lakes. Anglers are finding fish in 18-25 feet of water and have been using worms. Blackberries are just starting to ripen. Some pickers have reported finding ripe berries in sunny areas. Water levels are starting to drop on area rivers in the Waupaca area. Most rivers are still easily navigable, but some have reported hitting bottom in some area. Blackbirds are starting to flock together. Turkey poults are starting to venture into the hay fields to locate insects. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Winnebago County - Wardens Tom Truman (Winneconne) and JJ Redemann (Recruit Warden) report fishing pressure on the Winnebago System has declined over the past weeks. The perch bite has been inconsistent but some anglers are finding success on the Lake Winnebago reefs. Fall is in the air as cooler temperatures have arrived. Many deer can be seen in area green fields and hunters are beginning their preparation for the upcoming archery season. - Tom Truman, conservation warden, Oshkosh
Sheboygan County - There has been a consistent light southeasterly wind the past couple of days with light wave action on the lake and near shore. In Sheboygan many boats were launched out of the Deland Park ramps this weekend. Most trollers did better fishing further offshore, in 250 to 400 feet of water. Those who stayed in the 60 to 150 foot range caught noticeably fewer fish. Rainbows, coho, and chinooks were taken, mostly on spoons. The 8th Street boat ramp is now open. Fishing pressure has remained low on both piers in Sheboygan. Shore fishing has been fairly slow, although anglers report sporadic catches of brown trout and large chinooks. Schools of baitfish can be seen on the lakeside and the end of the South Pier.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington, catch rates for trollers markedly improved this past weekend, with most groups averaging around 4 to 5 fish per boat both days, though some caught more than 10. Bags consisted of mainly chinooks and large coho, but many rainbows and lakers were caught as well. Most boats had success trolling between 250 and 400 feet of water, and fish have been biting on both spoons and flies. Anglers have reported marking lots of baitfish. Fishing pressure has remained low on the pier in Port; however, a few perch anglers caught their limits of 10 to 12 inch perch. Most were caught on jigs, but minnows were also effective. Salmon fishing remains slow both off the pier and in the harbor.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee large chinooks along with good numbers of rainbows and coho are being taken by trollers working in 80 to 100 feet of water. Flashers and flies have been effective on downriggers and lead core, and spoons on planer boards have produced as well. Trollers have reported water temperatures at 45 degrees about 60 feet down in 80 feet of water. Those fishing further offshore, in 200 to 300 feet of water, have been catching big coho 50 to 60 feet down. Some mature chinooks and browns have also been caught in the gaps and in the harbor. Shore fishing around Milwaukee County has been slow, although it should improve over the next couple of weeks as mature chinooks begin staging for their spawning run.
Racine County - Racine trollers have reported their best catches have come from 120 to 250 feet of water. A mixed bag of chinooks, rainbows, coho, and lake trout has been taken, with most fish caught 50 to 100 feet down. The late evening bite has been productive also, with decent numbers of fish caught when the sun begins to set. Fishing pressure has increased on the Racine piers, and there have been a few reports of 20 pound chinooks hooked by anglers on both the north and south pier. More fish have been lost than landed, but they have been biting on spoons. Crappies have been caught in the evening hours on minnows fished under a bobber under the Main Street bridge. Shore anglers fishing for perch at the mouth of the Pershing Park boat harbor had good luck earlier in the week. Small spinners tipped with raw shrimp and small golden roaches produced. The surface temperature at the lakefront averaged 66-70F over the past week.
Kenosha County - Trollers in Kenosha were averaging 3-4 fish per boat for those fishing on the "hill." Anglers that went out to 120 to 250 feet of water or deeper caught better numbers of rainbows, coho, and chinooks. The majority of fish were caught at or before sunrise, or right around sunset. J-plugs and glow spoons have produced. Fishing pressure on the Kenosha piers decreased a little over the past few days. Anglers have been landing nice catches of brown trout over the past five weeks but recently, the catch rate has been on a steady decline. The browns are still active and splashing on the surface of the water, but they've lost interest in hitting spoons, crank baits, and jigs. A few large perch were caught and released by anglers fishing for browns with white tube jigs. The Simmons Island boat harbor has some nice weed beds that are providing good structure and cover for bait fish and game fish. Anglers have been landing bluegills, sunfish, and rock bass in the boat harbor all summer long.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Here in Waukesha County the lakes are now officially in the "late summer blues". Fishing action has been slow, and will probably continue to be until the cool September nights turn the fish on again. - Doug Zeihen, conservation warden, Delafield
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Hunters and other users of the Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area need to be aware that work will continue into October before anomaly repairs are completed on the gas pipeline project north of Highway 60 and west of Highway G. We are asking hunters to scout for other hunting areas and avoid that area of the marsh until the repair work is completed. Hunters may contact the DNR property manager for Jackson Marsh if they have questions (262-670-3409). On Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, water levels on the main pool area upstream from the dam and in some of the sub-impoundments along Highway 28 are currently drawn down to allow growth and maturity of waterfowl foods such as bidens and smartweed. We have begun slowly reflooding the areas over the next few weeks. Waterfowl hunters can expect water levels to be low during the early goose and youth duck hunts, but should be back to normal fall levels for the Sept 28 duck season opener. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Fall and winter are closer than we want to admit but there is still a lot of time to get out and enjoy the wonders that's in our backyards. Take the family camping, or canoeing, or go to the lake for a picnic, or just take the family fishing, or go on a bike ride. Get those last summer memories with the kids before they are back in school. Anglers are reminded there are some amazing trout streams in the area. They don't get a lot of fishing pressure and the fishing can be great. Even if you haven't ever fished for trout and don't have a fly rod, don't worry about it. Get your inland trout stamp and grab a rod and reel with a # 1 spinner, and enjoy trout fishing. If you are a trout angler and like using a fly rod, San Juan worms or hoppers can be the ticket right now. If you are in search of big trout, fish early in morning and in the evenings and try a mouse pattern. If you decide to go, remember to pick up the Trout Fishing Regulations and check your local trout regulations because each stream could have its own set of rules and regulations. With summer winding down keep in mind that hypothermia doesn't always happen when it's cold and snowy outside. When the water and evenings start to cool down and a cool breeze is blowing your chances of getting hypothermia increase. Hypothermia can set in when the temperatures are as warm as 50 and 60 degrees. Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include: shivering, clumsiness, lack of coordination and slurred speech/mumbling . If you see someone with signs and symptoms get them into a warm dry place, cover them up with a warm blanket, and have them change out of any sweaty clothes immediately. If symptoms persist call 911 and seek medical attentions. - Lee Postwa, conservation warden recruit, Iowa County
Wyalusing State Park -The Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is at 7.4 feet today and is expected to remain at that level for the next week. 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, joe pyeweed, 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, continue to clear certain areas of the park of unwanted invasive species. Last week the goats were "relocated" to an enclosure between the park office and the Astronomy Center. They are often seen near the road. An electric fence will keep the goats in as well as coyotes out. The hummingbirds have finished nesting and are back at the feeders with a vengeance. Hummingbirds number between 30-40 during the day and reach between 60-70 just before dark and on rainy days. Hummingbirds are consuming 2 gallons of sugar water per day. I believe the hummers have had their pictures taken more than anything else in the park this weekend. According to a phenology calendar in the office, the hummingbird migration should have started Sunday, August 18. Obviously, the hummingbirds are not aware of their expected migration schedule. On Friday, August 23 the park will be hosting Movie in the Park which will be showing The Lorax (The original movie by Dr. Seuss). This film will be screened at the Wyalusing Room at the Peterson Shelter at 6:00 p.m. and there will be popcorn available at the concession stand. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Highway 49 on the north end of Horicon Marsh is still one of the best places to watch for migrating shorebirds. Diversity and numbers have been good. Sightings include pectoral, least and semi-palmated sandpipers, Wilson and red-necked phalaropes, semipalmated plover, Baird's sandpiper, stilt sandpiper and a variety of others. The Horicon Marsh Education Center is offering three great free events this weekend! Movies, music and stargazing at the marsh. Check out www.horiconmarsh.org for more details! - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Willow River State Park - Camping demand remains strong on the weekends and weeknights have been running at just under half full. Electric sites are the most in demand. Those could be running scarce on weeknights without a reservation. As a rule, campers do show up for Labor Day reservations, they don't cancel. Anything that is still open for reservations that weekend will likely be up on the prairie with no shade or electricity. The Nelson Farm Trail remains incomplete but it is mowed and open for hiking. Pets must be leashed. There is a tiny bit of fall color on some of the ash trees. Be a considerate wildlife watcher and pull the vehicle off to the side of the road. Plan to walk at least a mile to see Willow Falls on weekends and on weekday afternoons. The closest parking lot has 12 spaces which fill up quickly. Do not use your GPS navigator to find the park. It DOES NOT WORK. Call the park for driving directions before the GPS gets you lost. This is it from this scribe from Willow River as retirement occurs this week. I've been reporting for 15 years and your feedback tells me you are reading-and visiting. You will still find my always accurate skiing reports on a popular Midwest Nordic skiing web site come ski season. Thank you for visiting Willow River and Kinnickinnic State Parks. - Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -
Boaters on Lake Altoona are taking limits of perch using European worms to fish just off the bottom in about 10 feet of water. Lake Altoona has a daily bag limit on panfish of 10 in total. Shoreline anglers below the Lake Altoona Dam, north and south side, have been catching a lot of undersized smallmouth bass and some panfish using a simple hook with worm presentation. An osprey with a nearby nest is often seen fishing the waters of Lake Altoona and the Eau Claire River. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Visitors over the weekend were swimming, hiking, geocaching, fishing, canoeing and kayaking. There is some green algae, floating around the lake and at times it is near our shores. This past week the lake was great for fishing and swimming with no green! Beat the heat and check out a beach and enjoy the water. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Saturday, August 24th Meet at the kiosk shelter at 9 p.m. for Universe in the Park. - Heather Wolf, park manager