Outdoor Report for September 5, 2013

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

Last week northern Wisconsin was very wet with heavy rain on multiple days and some areas also experienced winds of 50 mph or more with the rain. Water levels in some area are very high. Meanwhile, the west central part of the state remains very dry and fire dangerremains high in many counties, with burning permits suspended in some areas.

The Lower Wisconsin River continues to be at fairly low levels for the fall. However, there have been some big fluctuations in the past week, caused by discharges at the Prairie du Sac dam. The river has come up or dropped down as much as one foot in 36 hours, so paddlers are urged to take that into account when choosing sandbars for camping.

Musky have been the highlight of the past week in Northwoods fishing and action was very good. Nearly all anglers were reporting sightings, follows and strikes. Artificial baits have provided most of the action. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have also provided some very good action, northern pike fishing remains excellent and panfish activity has been sporadic with some decent crappie and bluegill found suspended around deeper water cover.

Lake Michigan trollers have been reporting decent catches with a mixed bag of large rainbows, coho, and chinook. Fishing pressure has remained steady on harbor piers with some chinook reported at Sheboygan, Port Washington, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha. A few chinook were caught near the mouth of the Pike River, but there were no reports this week of salmon moving up rivers.

The early goose and dove hunting seasons opened last weekend and some hunters did very well on doves during opening weekend, especially in the Columbia County area. Some goose hunters reported success, while others reported that it was pretty hard to locate geese due to the late farming season. Few fields have been cut so the birds are still spending time in retention ponds and elsewhere.

Whitetail bucks are starting to shed their antler velvet and the red coats on deer are starting to turn to the darker winter color. Fawns are also changing, their coats are starting to turn dark and they are beginning to lose their spots. Cooler weather is increasing deer movement, especially during the day, so drivers should beware.

Coyotes have been very vocal over the last several weeks, enlivening quiet nights with their barking, howling and yipping. Family groups have established rendezvous sites where family groups will meet to socialize and prepare for hunts. Coyote pups are especially vocal this time of year and will readily respond when howled at by a human.

Some of the late summer-early fall flowers that can be seen now are large-leaved aster, native sunflowers, evening primrose, goldenrod, and jewelweed. Wild rice on northern lakes is ripe and will be harvestable for the next few weeks. Numerous regulated wild rice lakes have opened in the last week. Search the DNR website for wild rice for information on what lakes are open and harvest rules.

Wildfire Report

Fire danger remains high in many Wisconsin counties. Burning permits have been suspended in many areas. Check the DNR web page for county-specific information: dnr.wi.gov (search 'fire danger'). As vegetation begins to cure and leaves fall, the dried out plant material becomes easily ignitable. Many of our fall wildfire starts can be attributed to equipment sparks or the hot exhaust of a vehicle too close to dry grass. Roadside fires can start when vehicles pull off the road and hot exhaust pipes or axels come in contact with dry grass, during roadside mowing operations, when tow/safety chains are dragging and throwing sparks. Other equipment-related fires this time of year are caused by disc blades striking rocks, sparks emitted during welding operations, bearing failure on farm equipment, torches used too close to dry vegetation, and dry vegetation getting wrapped around exhaust systems, hot manifolds or moving parts. Here are some tips to help keep you from starting a fire as you work outdoors this fall: Keep equipment clean and free of debris. Make sure spark arresters are in place and in proper working order. Take frequent breaks to give equipment a chance to cool down. Check for debris trapped or wrapped near heat sources or moving parts and clear it away. Do not pull off roadways or ATV trails onto dry grass. NEVER use mowers in dry vegetation. When towing a trailer, check to make sure the safety chains are off the ground (dragging chains throw sparks). Make sure all workers carry a cell phone and know the directions to the work site. Always carry a fire extinguisher. Call for assistance early if you do start a wildfire.

Statewide Birding Report

Songbirds are next up in the parade of migratory birds to stop in Wisconsin this late summer and fall as they fuel up and rest before heading south. Following the shorebirds of late summer, millions of songbirds comprising dozens of species represent the second large wave of migrants and they're now on the move. Songbirds often ride northerly winds behind cold weather fronts en route to wintering grounds thousands of miles to the south, so recent fronts brought greater numbers of warblers, thrushes, grosbeaks and vireos. That trend that should continue in the weeks ahead - mid-September typically features the greatest abundance and diversity of migrating songbirds across the state. Having nested anywhere from Wisconsin north through the Canadian boreal forest, these long distance, neo-tropical migrants - including such familiar friends as Baltimore orioles, ruby-throated hummingbirds, indigo buntings, scarlet tanagers and rose-breasted grosbeaks - face many challenges en route to wintering areas in the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Labor Day may have come and gone but Brule River State Forest is still open for business and remains so year round. Camping is great this time of the year, the biting insects are diminishing, the Brule River is flowing nicely, and the cooler nights welcome the campfires. Don't forget the beaches on Lake Superior...they are open year round as well, whether it is for swimming, beach combing, or in winter, checking out the ice formations. Although Sept. 22 is the first official day of fall, signs of fall are becoming more apparent. Bucks are starting to shed their velvet on their antlers. The red coats on deer are starting to turn to the darker winter color...which sure blends in with the vegetation along the roadsides. Fawns are also changing, their coats are starting to turn dark and they are beginning to lose their spots. Canada geese can be found in large flocks in preparation for migration. Fall color peak may be weeks away but keep the Wisconsin state parks or forests in mind if you plan to view the fall colors this year. In the past years the colors have peaked around the end of September to beginning of October in the Brule River State Forest area. Some of the late summer/early fall flowers that can be seen now are large-leaved aster, native sunflowers, evening primrose, goldenrod, and jewelweed, which seems to paint the area with gold and purple. Jewelweed goes by another name...touch-me-not. If the ripe seed capsule of this plant is touched the capsule will shoot its seeds out. Milkweed plants have some very noticeable seed pods that will eventually break open to let the wind carry its seeds away... another interesting way plants disperse their seeds. To learn more how plants disperse their seed check out the DNR's EEK! Environmental Education for Kids website. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate

Lake Superior at Brule
Lake Superior shoreline at the mouth of the Brule River
Catherine Khalar Photo

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Ashland County - Last week was very wet with heavy rain on multiple days and some areas also experienced winds of 50 mph or more with the rain. Area water levels are very high and fishing success is mixed. Night time temps are dropping and skunks are starting to feed along roadways at night as such. Dove season and early goose hunting opened on the weekend and bear season with dogs open this week. - Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Burnett County - Fishing on area lakes will be picking up as cooler nights bring the water temperatures down. The St. Croix River is at a very low level for upcoming canoeing and fishing trips. Wild rice on area lakes is ripe and will be harvestable for the next few weeks. Crex Meadows is an excellent place to observe migrating waterfowl over the next few months. Does and fawns have been very active in the area, so use caution while driving. - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Even with the erratic and ever changing weather, fishing activity has been pretty good in the Northwoods. Musky have been the highlight of the past week and action was very good. Nearly all anglers are reporting sightings, follows and strikes, and many catches have been made. Artificial baits have provided most of the action and some of the favorite baits have included jerk baits, bucktails, and top waters. The musky have been found in a variety of locations including the less-dense weed beds, the deeper weed edges, and some even suspended in the deeper water areas. Most of the musky have been in the 30 to 38 inch size but a few in the 42 to 46 inch range have also been reported. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have also provided some very good action, with smallmouth being very active on the local flowages and larger rivers. The smallmouth bass have been found near cover around deeper water areas, with the successful baits being small plastic finesse lures and spinner baits. Largemouth action has also been very good, with most of the fish being found in the mid-depth areas around cover. The shallow-water bite never really developed this summer and it seemed the largemouth have been holding around cover in 3 to 6 feet of water. Soft plastics, jig/craw combinations, and crank baits have been the more successful baits lately. Northern pike action continues to be good to excellent. The cooler water temperatures favor this species and great action can be had on spinner baits along the mid-depth weed edges. Walleye success has remained slow, with many of the anglers having given up until the fall patterns set in. Panfish activity has been sporadic with some decent crappie and bluegill found suspended around deeper water cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - compiled by Ashley Poehls, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Overall fishing pressure was slow during the week across all of the Fox River and the Lower West Shore of the Bay and picked up by the weekend. The weather was nice with sun and warm temperatures keeping water temperatures around 72 degrees at the Mouth of the Fox River and about 73 degrees up by Geano Beach. Fishing pressure along the East Shore of the Bay was low most of the week and picked up during the weekend. Water temperatures were down to 65 degrees at Bayshore Park and about 70 degrees at Chaudoir's Dock by the end of the weekend.

Oconto County - Geano Beach fishing pressure was slow by the end of the week, but it picked up by the weekend. Fishermen were targeting perch, walleye and musky. Walleye numbers were low with fishermen using cranks (all colors), spinners with worms, and plugs in about 30 feet of water. Only a handful of sheepshead were caught and all were released. The fishermen looking for perch did well, but did not keep their limit due to them being very small. They used minnows and night crawlers for bait in about 11-12 feet of water. More fishermen are targeting musky with having no luck. Fishermen were using mainly bucktails (black and gold junior cowgirl) for bait in about 8-15 of water and no other species were caught while targeting the musky.

Brown County - At the Fox River-Metro Launch fishing pressure was very slow during the week with a few fishermen looking for catfish and carp using night crawlers on jigs in about 8-24 feet of water. Only a few catfish were caught and a handful of white bass were also caught. By the weekend, fishing pressure increased as well as pleasure boaters. Fishermen were looking for walleye and musky. Walleye numbers were low with fishermen using night crawlers and cranks (gold) for bait in about 12-14 feet and up to 20-25 feet of water. No musky were caught, but fishermen were mainly using buck tails (orange/black) in about 10-14 feet of water. Only a handful of sheepshead were caught in the pursuit of walleye. At the Fox River shore fishing pressure was very spread out during the week and weekend. Fishermen were looking for walleye, catfish, and smallmouth bass. No walleye were caught and a handful of smallmouth bass and catfish were caught. The main baits fishermen used were night crawlers with jigs (green), leeches, minnows, and a few cranks baits (blue). Some other species that were caught while looking for those species were yellow perch, sheepshead, and white bass (all were released). At the Suamico River fishing activity was slow over the week and picked up by the weekend including pleasure boaters. Fishermen were looking for walleye and musky. Walleye numbers were doing okay with a few catching their limits. The main baits used were cranks (shad color, minnows, and crawler harnesses (various colors) in about 12-24 feet of water. No musky were caught and they were using buck tails (chartreuse) in about 10 feet of water. Only a handful of sheepshead and a catfish were caught in the pursuit of walleye and musky. At Bayshore Park fishing activity was moderate during the week and high during the weekend with fishermen targeting perch and walleye. High numbers of perch were caught but many were released due to small size. Walleye numbers were decent and sizes of 18-28 inches were reported. Perch were caught in 12-22 feet of water using night crawlers, worms, and minnows. Walleye were caught in 10-20 feet of water using minnows, crank baits (perch color, firetiger, purple), flicker shads (purple, blue, silver) night crawlers, and crawler harnesses (red). Some other species caught while targeting walleye and perch were sheepshead, gobies, catfish, white bass, and white perch.

Door County - At Chaudoir's Dock fishing activity was moderate throughout the week with fishermen mainly targeting perch with a few looking for walleye. Perch numbers were low and most were released due to small size. The main baits used were night crawlers and minnows in about 22-25 feet of water. Other species caught while targeting perch were sheepshead and gobies. At Sawyer Harbor fishing activity was slow during the week with only a few fishermen looking for perch and northern pike. Fishermen targeted perch using night crawlers and minnows in about 10 to 12 feet of water. Perch numbers were decent but no bag limits were reached. Northern pike were targeted in about 10-12 feet of water using an orange and green tail dancer stick baits. One northern was caught weighing 8.4 pounds. While targeting perch and northern pike, gobies were also caught. At Little Sturgeon Bay fishing activity was moderate during the week and very high during the weekend. Fishermen were targeting walleye and smallmouth bass. Low numbers of both species were reported, but interviews were only taken early in the day. Baits used for walleye included crank baits (black, gold) and flicker shads (purple, white) in about 11-20 feet of water. Smallmouths were targeted using plastic and live worms in 5-13 feet of water. Other fish species caught included sheepshead and gobies.

From Sturgeon Bay most choose to run off the bank reef, in about 125 feet of water. From Baileys Harbor, anywhere from 90 to 300 feet of water caught a few salmon, with a handful of anglers launching from Bues Point and getting them in 50 to 150 feet. Most of the fish are still being caught up high, in the top 70 feet of water or so. There have been no reports of any salmon off the piers in Door County yet, but a huge, golden colored sheepshead was caught off the north pier by the coast guard station over the weekend. Brown trout are stocked at Stone Quarry, Bailey's Harbor, Rowley's Bay, the Northport Ferry Dock, Detroit Harbor (Washington Island) and the Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Station and chinook are stocked in Ellison Bay and Strawberry Creek (just inside the shipping canal), so these are good places to start looking for these fish to return in the coming weeks. The most popular target for Door County anglers is definitely smallmouth bass. Fishing in water that is 6 to 20 feet deep along drop-offs or transitions areas, like where rock turns to sand with, tubes, grubs, twister tails or live bait will give you a good chance at landing a few. Try Pinney Park (formerly Stone Quarry), Weborg's Point in Peninsula State Park, Anderson's Dock in Ephraim or the marina in Bailey's Harbor for smallmouth bass. Fire tiger, blue/silver and purple have been good colors for walleye with anglers slow trolling around the off shore islands and reefs from Sister Bay down to the county line. Crawler harnesses, crank bait, husky jerks, and live bait set up about 15 feet deep are recommended. Perch fishing is still fairly hot around Sturgeon Bay with some limits caught in around the canal, inner bay, flats and Henderson's Point south. Crawlers, minnows, leeches, and crab meat all work for bait. Many anglers have had success in 10 to 18 feet of water launching out of Sturgeon Bay, or in water as deep as 40 feet in the southern part of the county. - Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technician

Kewaunee County - Flashers, dipsys, spoons and 10-color lead cores were working in Kewaunee County. The top colors were green and blue, with watermelon also getting a few. Water between 150-250 feet was most popular; however some boats went out deeper and had success. A nice mix of chinook, steelhead, lake trout and a few coho, almost all the fish are being caught at a depth between 20 and 70 feet. Private boats averaged 2-4 fish per boat with a few limits and charters reported several kings over 30 pounds. There was lots of pressure on the piers in Algoma and Kewaunee, with several fish caught early in the morning and a few caught in the evening. Casting heavy spoons, stickbaits and crank baits when the water is cool near shore or before and after a good rain has been working for some nice brown trout, salmon and sheepshead. Fishing the pier after dark is still allowed after night fishing closes on Sept. 15 because you are technically fishing in Lake Michigan. On the Ahnapee River, Kewaunee River, or any other tributary to Lake Michigan (or Green Bay), it is unlawful to fish from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunset from September 15 to December 31. - Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technician

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Whitefish Dunes State Park - Fall is around the corner and all trails are open to hiking and in good condition. Don't forget to bring your jacket, mittens and hat when you visit the park. Wind from the lake cools the park and it can be more than a 20 degree difference with fog along the shoreline. Park staff recommends hiking the Green trail with a side trip to Clark Lake. The beach is in good condition. Stroll along the shoreline for views of migratory waterfowl. Don't forget to bring some warmer clothes as winds off the lake can be brisk. Watch diving ducks such as buffleheads, common mergansers and golden eyes hunt for food in the water. Be sure to bring a camera along to try and catch a glimpse of wildlife sightings. Look high in the treetops and you might spot a porcupine. Walk quietly and you might come across a deer or turkey. Hike along the Brachiopod trail and discover four different habitats for our returning winged residents. Pull up a chair in the fourth parking lot to enjoy a good view of the birds. Over 15 different bird species can be seen and heard from one location. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Nighthawks are staging and will soon head south. Deer activity has picked up with cooler weather, with much more daytime movement. There appears to be a good white oak acorn crop, but red/pin oak crop doesn't as good. Blackberries are done for the season in the area. Trout streams extremely low, some rain would really help fall fishing out. Wood ducks are starting flock up and stage for the fall migration in Waupaca County. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Calumet County - Fishing on Lake Winnebago along the east shore in Calumet County has been slow. Anglers have been catching a mixed bag of drum, catfish, and perch; along with an occasional walleye. Most area outdoor lovers have turned their attention to the early goose and dove hunting seasons. Hunters did very well on geese and doves during opening weekend with birds being harvested in multiple locations throughout the area. A large concentration of sandhill cranes and white egrets can be found on the Killsnake and Brillion Marshes. Hunters are reminded to properly identify their targets. Hunters are also reminded to report their goose harvests within the required 48 hours. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Chilton

Outagamie County - Goose hunters are finding it pretty hard to locate geese in Outagamie County due to the late farming season. Few fields have been cut so the birds are still spending time in retention ponds and elsewhere. Fishing is starting to pick up again with the cooler temps coming into fall. Hunters are starting to place stands and cut shooting lanes as bow hunting is just around the corner. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

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

Sheboygan County - Trollers in Sheboygan have been reporting decent catches with most boats having 4 to 5 fish. A mixed bag of large rainbows, coho, and chinook has been taken. Most fish seemed to be caught in 40 to 60 feet of water, but some groups had luck in 80 to 140 feet. Most fish have been taken on spoons. Fishing pressure has remained steady on the piers in Sheboygan. A few chinook were caught off the end of North Pier, and a few chinook, coho, and brown trout were caught off South Pier. Alewives fished on the bottom as well as spoons have produced, with most fish taken between sunset and sunrise. Schools of alewives can be seen on the marina side of both piers. Near-shore water temperatures have fluctuated with the changes in wind patterns and have been reported to swing from the low-50s to the mid-60s within a day or two.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington trollers have been catching fish in a variety of locations. Some boats have done well in 400 feet of water, 75 to 80 feet of water has also produced, as well as 140 to 220 feet. Flashers and flies have taken the most fish in all locations, though spoons have taken some fish also. A mixed bag of coho, chinook, rainbows, and few lake trout has been reported. The Port Washington pier has produced a few chinook and coho, with the most productive times between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Glow spoons have worked well, as alewives are scarce along the pier. Fishing pressure has increased on shore, mainly along the newly opened park next to the power plant. Anglers continue work around the power plant discharge; a handful of browns, chinooks, and coho have been caught on skein and spoons. Water clarity in the marina remains good.

Milwaukee County - Trolling for chinook has slowed in Milwaukee. Most boats were focusing in 50 to 120 feet of water, with baits 35 to 60 feet below the surface. Chinooks and a few lake trout made up the majority of the catch with spoons in blue, green, purple, and glow producing the best. A few boats were also seen jigging in the gaps for chinook, and they caught a few. Anglers fishing off of McKinley pier caught brown trout and a few chinook on green spoons or white plastics, with the most productive area being on the lakeside of the rocks and the pier. The fish cleaning station at McKinley Marina is closed for repairs until further notice. A few small perch have been taken on minnows in the river channel under the Hoan Bridge, and a few browns have been taken at Jones Island on spoons fished in the evening hours. Perch fishing picked up around the South Shore pier and the pier off of the Coast Guard station. Keeper size perch averaged 10 to 12 inches, and they were hitting minnows fished off the bottom.

Racine County - In Racine trollers have been catching a few rainbows, chinook, and coho in 120 feet of water north of town. A steady line of boats has been seen trolling in 20 to 30 feet of water as the mature kings have started moving closer to shore. Fishing pressure increased on the Racine piers as more anglers have been showing up to fish for kings. A few have been landed off of both piers in the past several days, along with some brown trout and sheepshead. Chinook up to 30 pounds have been taken, and the majority of fish have been caught between sunset and sunrise. Glow-in-the dark spoons have produced. Fishing effort along the Racine shoreline increased over the past few days, and some fishing spots were close to being overcrowded. The Main Street Bridge fishing pier has seen a lot of pressure lately. Anglers continue to show up to fish for crappies during the evening bite. A couple of anglers reported that the crappies were hitting as late as 10:30 p.m. Anglers have been catching perch in the Pershing Park boat harbor, but the fishing has been spotty. One angler caught a few perch (up to 13 inches long) several days in a row near the mouth of the harbor. The perch anglers were having better luck recently with small minnows and baby roaches.

Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers have been reporting chinook outside the hill, as well as mature chinook nearshore. Flashers and flies have been producing. Some boats have worked inside the harbor with white tube jigs and have caught fair numbers of brown trout. Boaters were catching their limit of perch (around 8-10 inches in length) from the bubbler near the Kenosha water treatment plant. According to the anglers, the perch were ignoring jigs and plastic but were hitting on small roaches. The Kenosha piers and shoreline have been fished steadily. Brown trout, chinook, and sheepshead have all been reported, with spoons and tube jigs producing after sunset. A couple of chinook have also been landed along the shoreline near the mouth of the Pike River.

Waukesha DNR Service Center area

Waukesha County - Anglers are reporting catching muskies and bass on Pewaukee Lake. Anglers are reporting catching bass on Pine Lake. Hunters who are accessing county properties are reminded to check the following website: www.waukeshacounty.gov (exit DNR) to view maps of the property boundaries so they do not hunt in closed areas or trespass. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Two areas of the Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area are temporarily closed to public use during September and most of October to allow completion of preventive maintenance work on the West Shore gas pipeline west of Highway G between State Highway 60 and County Highway PV. A DNR crew will also be working on a wetland restoration project during the next few weeks in the area west of the pipeline project and north of the Cedar Creek bridge. Hunters and hikers are asked to use extreme caution and avoid the construction areas on the property. Questions about these projects or the Closed Areas are directed to the DNR Wildlife Biologist at the Pike Lake Unit office in Hartford (262-670-3409). Early goose and mourning dove hunting has been slow around the area. A small number of dove hunters were having moderate success on a small 5-acre sunflower field on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area. Water levels on the Theresa Marsh main body have been rising following the rainfall of Friday, August 30 and are now less than a foot below "full pool". Hunters are reminded that motor boats are prohibited on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area during open waterfowl seasons. No "migratory geese" (i.e., the "Interior" subspecies nesting in Canada) have been notice yet and we don't expect to start seeing them for another week or two. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

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South Central Region

Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Grant County - The Lower Wisconsin River is at fairly normal (low) levels for the fall. However, there have been some big fluctuations in the past week, caused by discharge at Prairie du Sac. The River has come up or dropped down as much as one foot in 36 hours, so take that into account when choosing a sandbar to camp on. Northern pike have been caught at the mouths of tributaries and gar are surfacing in smooth water. Mourning dove action has been slow the first week. Our sunflower fields are a little behind schedule due to the late, wet spring. Hopefully the seeds will continue to ripen and attract some doves as the season progresses. - Daniel Goltz, wildlife biologist, Boscobel

Green County - In Green County the early goose season and dove season has opened with most hunters being moderately successful. Dove fields in Green County all appear to be holding doves, with the best dove spots in the Albany area. Fishing has been fairly consistent with anglers reportedly catching catfish and bass in the Sugar River. Fishing pressure at Cadiz Springs State Park is very low due to the amount of weeds along the shoreline. - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus

Iowa County - The smallmouth bass have been biting in the evenings just upstream of the railroad bridge near Highway 14 on the Wisconsin River on night crawlers, stick baits and spinners. The walleyes are starting to bite just down from the Mazomanie beach on the Wisconsin River on minnows and the bass are picking up again after a brief slowdown in action. Goose hunters are having luck finding birds in the Spring Green area between the railroad bridge and the Highway 23 bridge. - David Youngquist, conservation warden, Dodgeville

Lafayette County - The crappie bite has slowed down over recent weeks. Goose hunters are seeing mixed success and a lower number of ducks hanging around in preparation of the waterfowl opener. The dove fields in the area are in poor shape with few doves and little hunting pressure. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Dodge County - The marsh is starting to show some early fall colors. Cattails are starting to get yellow, a few trees and sumacs are turning red and yellow. Wild cucumber is beginning to die back. Goose and dove hunters have had some early success. A few fall asters are beginning to bloom. We had a little rain this past week, but are still experiencing dry conditions. - Paul Samerdyke, wildlife biologist, Horicon

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall is on the way and so is a new list of events at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. Check out the fall events [http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/lands/documents/horicon/newsletter.pdf] to get more information about an Outdoor Skills Day, volunteer work day, special presentations, photography workshops and much, much more! - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - September opened with a bang in the county, or rather lots of bangs. Most of the managed dove fields were full to the brim with hunters, with most hunters having some degree of success. Area goose hunters also reported good goose hunting conditions, especially with the cooler weather on Monday morning. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

There was heavy dove hunting pressure on State Wildlife Areas planted with sunflowers. Every hunter checked was having some success, but a lot of missed shots were observed. Fishing on local lakes and rivers has been steady this last week. There has been a lot of recreational boating for the last weekend of summer. Water levels had been very low on the Wisconsin River this last week, but did get noticeable higher water on Monday. Some success with the early Canada goose hunting was also observed, but hard to locate fields that the birds are using as normal fall crop harvest is way behind this year. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Participation during the opening of dove season in Columbia County was high. Hunters utilized sunflower fields on several state lands and had great success. Hunters are reminded to follow the four fundamental firearms rules as hunter concentration on these fields is high. Goose hunting pressure was lower than expected as most agricultural fields were in standing corn. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Coyotes have been very vocal over the last several weeks, enlivening quiet nights with their barking, howling and yipping. Family groups have established rendezvous sites which are typically open areas including old log landings, abandoned quarries or grassy hillsides. Family groups will meet at these sites to socialize and prepare for an upcoming hunt. Coyote pups are especially vocal this time of year and will readily respond when howled at by a human. Give it a try the next time you hear vocal coyotes. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Wausau DNR Service Center area

Marathon County - Goose activity in Marathon County has been very slow the past week. Birds have been seen in the Lake Wausau area and Schofield Flowage, but nothing in great numbers. There is a few groups hunting geese on the water and also a few groups hunting on the fields with not much luck. Bottom line, in this area right now, you'll have to spend your time scouting to have any luck. Fishing has been slow, however I did see some pretty good smallmouth action on the Schofield Flowage. Smallmouth fishing usually picks up on the flowage this time of year. - Benjamin Herzfeldt, conservation warden, Wausau

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Adams County - Walleyes are still biting on Petenwell as well as catfish as always. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship

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Last Revised: Thursday, September 05, 2013