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Outdoor Report for October 10, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Fall colors (exit DNR) are now peaking in central Wisconsin, and while colors are reported as past peak in north central Wisconsin, they are still at peak in the northeast and northwest. Heavy rains in the last week brought down a lot of leaves across much of the state, but especially in the north.
Fall color at the Brule River State Forest
Catherine Khalar Photo
The rain and fog did put a damper on last weekend's youth deer hunt, but there were still many reports of successful young hunters. And the leaf drop should be aiding archery deer hunters as well as grouse, partridge and woodcock hunters.
With unseasonably warm temperatures recently, the waterfowl migration has been slow but this past week did see a major flight of northern ducks into the state, including many redheads, scaup, common goldeneye, buffleheads and an initial wave of canvasbacks. Canada goose numbers are slowly picking up with increased numbers at Horicon and Theresa wildlife areas.
The southern zone duck season reopens this Saturday, and with the federal government shutdown, DNR officials have been receiving many inquiries on what areas are open for hunting. While the Horicon and Mississippi national wildlife refuges are closed, the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area and all state, county and local access points on the Mississippi River and the waters of the Mississippi and all state and local public lands remain open. Additionally, while campground and facilities within the Chequamegon and Nicolet national forests are closed, the forest lands themselves are open.
The rain coupled with some strong winds made for tough fishing conditions in the Northwoods. Musky anglers continue to provide the most fishing pressure and success has continued to be generally good, with most anglers having now switched from artificial baits to live suckers. Walleye haven't settled into a solid fall pattern yet, but there has been a surge in crappie action.
The rain did draw more trout and salmon up Lake Michigan tributaries, with fish reported in the Oconto, Ahnapee, Kewaunee, East and West Twin, Sheboygan and Root rivers. Salmon were also being reported all over Door County with every major marina having some fish inside. Perch fishing has also been good along the bay side of Door County.
The Root River Steelhead Facility had more success this week and has now processed more than 375 fish. The facility will be hosting an open house this Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with guided tours, fish spawning demonstrations, fly casting lessons, knot and fly-tying, and tips for cooking fish.
The Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Spooner continues its harvest of walleye for stocking in state waters. The hatchery has more than quadrupled production of larger walleye fingerlings under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative, which aims to stock more larger walleye by expanding production at state hatcheries and at private, tribal and municipal hatcheries.
Lots of other events are also taking place this weekend with the 9th Annual Harvest Moon Festival at the Capital Springs State Recreation Area near Madison on Friday, and on Saturday, Smokey Bear's Spook-tacular candlelight hike at Peninsula State Park in Door County, and a candlelight hike and astronomy program at Governor Dodge State Park in Iowa County. For a listing search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
Statewide Birding Report
What a spectacular time to be out birding across Wisconsin! Great weather, beautiful fall colors, and large numbers of migratory birds made for some great bird watching this week. Friday Oct. 4 saw the first major flight of ducks into the state, including many redheads, both scaup, an initial wave of canvasbacks, common goldeneye, buffleheads, surf scoters, and long-tailed ducks, and various dabblers highlighted by later-than-average blue-winged teal. Numbers of common loons and horned grebes are building on the Great Lakes, along with some red-necked grebes as well. Geese continue to move in modest numbers. Snow geese in particular have been showing unusually well statewide. Few reports on diurnal hawk migration were made this week, though Hawk Ridge in Duluth has noted later-than-average flights of sharp-shinned and broad-winged hawks, American kestrels, and ospreys. Everyone's favorite little owl, the northern saw-whet, is now moving in good numbers and should peak in the weeks ahead. Late season shorebirds made a nice showing this week, especially off highway 49 at Horicon Marsh, where both yellowlegs, pectoral sandpipers, black-bellied plovers, dunlin, long-billed dowitchers, Hudsonian godwit, and an American avocet were reported. Songbird migration continues to be very strong. Yellow-rumped and palm warblers now heavily dominate the warbler scene across the state. White-throated sparrows and dark-eyed juncos made a surge into the southern half of the state, while the first American tree sparrows were reported in the north. Nelson's and Le Conte's sparrows continue to lure birders to weedy fields and wetlands across southern Wisconsin wildlife areas. Large numbers of American goldfinches were reported along the Lake Michigan and Lake Superior shores. However, there has been no evidence of any "winter finch" flights yet. Best rarities of the week include the white-tailed kite continuing in Adams County and an arctic tern photographed on Lake Wausau. In the weeks ahead, birders should focus on sunlit forest edges at their favorite parks, weedy shrub lands for sparrows, the Great Lakes shorelines for water birds and overhead raptor flights, and inland lakes and wetlands for waterfowl and other species. As always, help us track the migration by reporting your sightings to Wisconsin eBird (exit DNR). - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The Brule River State Forest is just past it's color peak but it is certainly worth the time to view the colors as they are still spectacular. The aspen and birch are beginning to lose their leaves but the oaks are starting to put on their show. The scent of autumn is becoming noticeable as the fallen leaves are beginning to decompose. The 2013 youth deer hunt started out cool and rainy around the Brule River State Forest. That did not stop all of the young hunters though, as several were successful in bringing some venison home. Eagles are a very common sight at the Brule Ranger station now as they are looking for fish. One was just spotted this morning (Thursday, Oct. 10) in the river, trying to drag a very large fish out. Multicolored Asian Ladybeetles near and sometimes in the warmth and protection of buildings and homes. For more information about these insects see asian lady beetle on EEK!--Environmental Education for Kids. Everyone is invited to the 17th annual Hunters Expo at the Mission Covenant Church in Poplar on Oct. 19. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be numerous wildlife mounts, hunting booths, great wild food, and of course...lots of hunting stories. For more information see missioncovenantchurch.org/FamilyHuntersExpo (exit DNR). - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Water levels in the Black River have increased with the recent rain and Little Manitou Falls and Big Manitou Falls have excellent water flow for this time of year. The fall colors are really starting to peak in the area, providing fantastic fall scenery. All hiking trails are open and in good condition. All buildings with flush toilets and running water have been shut down until next spring. - Phillip Brown, Ranger
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Leaves in Southern Sawyer County took a beating this week with wind and rain. A lot of trees are bare already. Heavy frost has also turned most, if not all the ferns brown. The plus side to this is the partridge are easier to see, which is good news since the population is low. Hunters looking for partridge are concentrating on the 4-8 year old aspen cuts bordering alder swamps. The more time spent in low lands is offering more opportunity for woodcock as well. Hunters are reminded that if they are also shooting woodcock or mourning doves they need to be HIP certified and the shotgun used can only be capable of holding three shells. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Deer movement continues to be spotty possibly because of the mild weather and lower deer numbers. Rubs and scrapes are showing up in the woods, but the best action is yet to come. There is still fairly heavy leaf cover in the woods and on area hiking trails. Waterfowl numbers seem to be good in western Burnett County. Grouse numbers in the area are okay. Governor Knowles State Forest campground and trails have autumn color and are in excellent condition and open for use. Good luck and be careful! - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg
Polk County - Some waterfowl hunters were having success harvesting teal and wood ducks in flowage type areas. - Shaun Tyznik conservation warden, Amery
Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery - Hatchery crews continue to harvest of walleye for stocking in state waters. This year the hatchery has more than quadrupled production of larger walleye fingerlings, also known as extended growth fingerlings, under the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative. The funding initiative aims to stock more of the larger walleye into Wisconsin waters by expanding production at state hatcheries and at private, tribal and municipal hatcheries. Research has shown the larger fish survive better than the 1.5 to 2 inch walleye DNR has stocked more of in past years because of budget constraints. The larger walleye are significantly more expensive to produce and require more space.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The nice Indian summer weather, coupled with some great fall colors, have made it nice to be in the outdoors in the last week. However, some strong winds have made for tough fishing conditions and overall, angling success has been fair to good. Musky anglers have provided most of the fishing pressure on the local lakes and their success has continued to be generally good. Most fishermen have switched from artificial baits to live suckers, and a medium-size sucker (12 to 14 inches) on a quick-set rig has been the most productive method. Most of the musky caught have been in the 32 to 40-inch size, though fish up to 46 inches have also been reported. Walleye success continues to be slow and it seems that the fish haven't settled into a solid fall pattern yet. Late October and early November should provide a little better walleye action with jig/minnow and slip bobber/minnow combinations working best near weed edges and along mid-depth break lines. There has been a recent surge in crappie action with some nice fish being found along and near the mid-depth cover, such as emergent weed lines and brush in 4 to 8 feet of water. With the cooling water temperatures (down to the mid to upper 50s on most lakes), bass fishing has been especially erratic and many bass anglers have put away their gear for the year. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the South and North Forks are up and great for paddlers. The colors are past peak but still very scenic. The forest is about 75 percent leaf off. Grouse numbers are down a bit but hunters are still having some success. Asian beetles are out in full force.
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Vilas County - Fall colors in Vilas and Oneida counties have peaked and are starting to decline. Stiff winds on a few occasions have accelerated the process. Archery hunters are reporting some signs of early rut activity and anglers are reporting an overall increase in fall pattern activity. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain
Rhinelander DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - A young bull moose has been seen in the Rhinelander city limits. DNR staff believes that the animal is the same one that has been observed the past few years east of Rhinelander near Monico. In the past five years an adult cow and a bull moose have been hit by vehicles. Much of the maple forests are past prime colors but the tamarack stands and oak ridge's remain colorful. The Rhinelander area has more than 100,000 acres of Heartland property enrolled in the Managed Forrest Law program and the company opened their gates for the weekend gun deer youth hunt. The gates have been closed but are scheduled to be reopened on a limited basis just prior to the nine-day gun deer season. (No ATVs/UTVs are allowed to operate on these properties at any time.) - James Jung, conservation warden, Rhinelander
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - In the Antigo area fall colors are beginning to wane. We reached peak color at the end of last week and recent rain and wind events have driven the area past peak. Large numbers of Canada geese and mallards have moved into the area following a recent cold front. Hunters are reporting great success in recently harvest corn fields as well as newly seeded winter wheat fields. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Salmon are present below the dam at Peshtigo with some fish being caught using jig head or doll flies. Salmon are also present at the Hattie Street Dam with some fish being caught on spawn sacks in the evenings and during the day on silver and blue or silver and green spoons have been working. Walleye are also being caught mainly in the evenings trolling raps or casting jig heads and twister tails. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Oconto County - Panfish are still biting at the Stiles Dam with crawler chunks or minnows fished in conjunction with slip bobbers has worked well this past week. Pink salmon and king salmon are being seen at the Iron Bridge on the Oconto River with a few fish being caught with flies or spawn sacks. At the mouth of the Oconto River smallmouth are still present in good numbers with spinners and plastics working well. Some perch are starting to show up at Oconto Breakwater and Oconto Park II. Minnows are the best bait. Most of the boats at the landings have been waterfowl hunters. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Geano Beach fishing pressure has picked up a little bit from previous weeks with a fishermen reporting targeting musky in about 8-12 feet of water using cranks baits (all colors) with having no luck. There were also a few duck hunters out of this launch as well. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Fishing on the Fox River Metro was slow during the week from the rain and high winds and picked up by the weekend. A few duck hunters went out of the launch and were out only a short time. Fox River shore fishing pressure remains low. The anglers that were out were targeting walleye, catfish, white bass, and assorted panfish. No walleye or panfish were caught and only a handful of catfish and white bass were caught with all of them being released. A few sheepshead were also caught while looking for catfish, but there were also released. The main baits used were night crawlers and wax worms. On the Suamico River fishing pressure was slow during the week, but picked up by the end of the weekend with anglers targeting perch, walleye, and musky. No walleye or musky were caught and only one perch was caught and was released due to it being very small. Anglers were using worms and minnows for perch in about 5-12 feet of water, crank baits and crawler harnesses (green and orange) for walleye in about 12-14 feet of water, and crank baits (black/orange, brown) for musky in about 6-20 feet of water. There were also a few duck hunters out, but had no luck. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - At Sawyer Harbor fishing pressure was light to moderate here during the week, but no observed fishing over the weekend. Anglers were targeting perch and smallmouth bass. Perch anglers returned with good numbers and sizes. Bait used was minnows in 13 feet of water. Good numbers of smallmouth bass were also caught and about half of them were reported to be good size, the rest a little small, but none were kept. Bait used was blue junebug plastics in 28-35 feet of water. Other species caught included gobies. At Little Sturgeon Bay fishing pressure was moderate here throughout the week, but no fishing was observed over the weekend. Anglers were mainly targeting perch, but there were some walleye and smallmouth anglers as well. Perch numbers were very good, but only a small amount were kept due to small sizes. Baits used were minnows and night crawlers in 9-12 feet of water. No walleye were caught. Few smallmouth were caught and all were released, but were reported to be decent sized. Baits used were rubber worms and minnows in about 10 feet of water. Other species caught were an 18 inch northern pike and gobies. - Elizabeth Turos, fisheries technician, Green Bay
The salmon are all over Door County with every major marina having some fish inside including those on the bay side; Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay. The only place we have seen anglers fishing from shore is Baileys Harbor on the lake side, so if you're looking for salmon fishing from shore away from the crowds, try the bay side of Door County. Out on the lake, the reports are that anglers are doing well from Washington Island down to Sturgeon Bay anywhere from 100 to 250 feet of water in the top 75 feet of the water column. Some say this is the best fishing of the year. Trolling in the shipping canal of Sturgeon Bay is also bringing in some nice catches of salmon with pike and walleye mixed in. With the salmon near shore, it seems that the smallmouth bass have moved out to deeper waters. Tubes, grubs, spinner bait or live bait under a slip bobber will give you a good chance at landing a few, but you may have to get out in a boat to do it. Looks for drop offs and transition areas, like where rock turns to sand, in water that is 20 to 30 feet deep for these fish. Perch fishing is going great in the Sturgeon Bay area, with most of the catches coming in crawlers or minnows. The Potawatomi Park shoreline around the marinas and between the bridges have been good places to find the weed beds that perch prefer. Perch were also seen in Egg Harbor, Rowleys Bay, and in the first hole below the culvert at Reibolts Creek on County Q, north of Baileys Harbor. Pike fishing is also going good around Sturgeon Bay in the same places that the perch are found. Big bodied baits and spoons work well in the perch pattern and red/white, while some prefer to soak large minnows like golden shiners. The walleye bite has been fair with the best catches still coming at night, but the fish that are getting caught are pretty big. From Monument Point up to Sister Bay, most are trolling about in 15 to 25 feet of water using crawler harnesses, crank bait, or deep diving husky jerks with purple, blue/silver and fire tiger color patterns. - Jill Ann Eekhoff and Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technicians, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Not much has changed over the past week. There were still a few private boats and charter trips going out to deeper waters and catching limits of younger salmon with a few trout mixed in. Most of that action is coming in the top 75 feet of water on fly/dodger combos and spoons. Others are trolling closer to shore for the fish that are staging before their spawning runs. On the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers, there are fish being caught all over with spoons, spawn, marshmallows and crank bait all taking their share. Lures with green and especially orange seem to be the most popular. Several anglers have also been fishing from the shore and in the harbor in Algoma now that the boat traffic has died off. With the recent rains, even more fish have been pushed up into the tributaries including Stony Creek and Silver Creek, where we have seen quite a few fish in the past few days so don't be afraid to go to the old Brummerville Dam or the bridge on County Highway U for a look. - Jill Ann Eekhoff and Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technicians, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - On the Manitowoc River fishing activity sharply decreased this week. Anglers had been targeting salmon and trout and did not report success. All activity occurred at the Mill Street Bridge this week. Periods of light rain occurred off and on this day. At Two Rivers Harbor fishing activity along the Harbor was low this week, with more anglers out during mid-week than weekend. Anglers targeted both salmon and trout with very little success. Just a couple of chinook salmon were during interview times. Anglers reported brown trout beginning to move into the harbor, but none had any success catching them during interview times. On the West Twin River fishing activity continues to be very high, with the highest amount of activity seen on Saturday. Activity continues to be centered around the Shoto Dam. Anglers had little luck during the week, but had great rates of success over the weekend. Rainfall over the weekend increased water levels just south of the dam. Fish species caught were chinook salmon, with some folks catching their daily limit. Some folks also reported catching gobies while targeting trout and salmon. On the East Twin River fishing activity continues to be high, though not as high as the West Twin River. Fishing activity continues to be centered around the Mishicot Dam and south of the Washington Street Bridge. Like the West Twin River, anglers found it difficult to catch salmon and trout they were targeting during the beginning and middle of the week. However, with the rainfall, anglers had much better rates of success catching chinook salmon over the weekend, and several anglers were able to catch their daily limit after several hours of effort. - Kara White, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Fishing is slow in the Menominee River with very few salmon in the river. The Peshtigo River has also been slow for salmon but anglers are catching a few nice bass at the mouth of the river. The Oconto River has a few salmon up by the Stiles Dam. Just a reminder to the anglers to purchase a Great Lakes trout and salmon stamp before they pursue trout and salmon in the rivers. Waterfowl hunters are having some success on the Peshtigo and Menominee Rivers. Hunters are seeing fair numbers of wood ducks and teal. There are a few divers on the bay with the open water hunters harvesting a few redheads. Archery deer hunters report that they are seeing good numbers of deer in the morning and evening hours. - Jeff Lautenslager, conservation warden, Peshtigo
Oconto County - With farmers getting crops off their fields, a number of Canada geese have been holding in the area and using the fields to feed and getting ready to continue their flight. The south waterfowl area re-opens Saturday and there are still a good number of mallards and teal using the shoreline areas. There are some divers down with bluebills and redheads being seen in hunter's possession. There has been reports of perch fishing picking in up in Green Bay in the Geano Beach area. Leaves are falling and grouse and woodcock hunting should improve. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Shawano County - Leaves are at or near peak and with the beautiful weather we are having it is the perfect time to be out in the woods or travelling around and looking at the fall colors. Waterfowl numbers are good especially geese being seen working recently harvested fields. Archery hunters are having good success and those not having any luck yet have decided to wait for the big one. Plenty of deer can be seen while driving around the area. Bear season just closed and hunters had a better than average year with multiple large bear harvested. Fishing remains good with most area waterways having little to no pressure. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Duck hunting on Green Bay has been pretty one sided with the west shore from Suamico north to Oconto producing pretty good hunting with a variety of species being harvested. Some of the more interesting species include widgeon and pintail which are not often seen on Green Bay. The east shore on the other hand has been relatively sparse of ducks. Typical diver species such as blue bills and ring necks are starting to show up but are not playing a big part in hunter's bags. Musky fishing has been day to day. One day the anglers can't keep the big fish out of the boats and the next day they can't land a single fish. As always when venturing out on the water, wear your life jackets. - Darren Kuhn, marine unit conservation warden, Green Bay
Now is a great time to get outside regardless of where you go. The fall colors are in full swing and the weather has been unusually warm for October. Archery hunters are taking advantage of the nice weather, although the youth deer hunters over the weekend saw limited success because of the recent rains. The southern duck/goose zone reopens this Saturday and a reminder to hunters that scouting ahead of time can greatly increase the chances of a successful hunt. - Cara Kamke, conservation warden, Green Bay
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility - The second chinook salmon egg collection for this season at Strawberry Creek occurred Thursday Oct. 3. Approximately 840 chinook were processed and almost 450,000 eggs were collected. Many chinook are still in the pond, so plenty of fish should be available for egg collections next week. Egg collections were scheduled for Monday Oct. 7 and Thursday Oct. 10 beginning at around 9 a.m. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Green Lake County - There is still good bluegill fishing on Big Green Lake. Several groups of dove hunters were having success on the Grand River and White River state wildlife areas. A pair of adult whooping cranes has also been seen using the fields near County Highways J and CC. Over the weekend waterfowl hunters were successful with the majority of the bag being teal and wood ducks. The Picture is from the White River Marsh State Wildlife area off White River Rd (rustic road). - Nate Ackerman, conservation warden, Berlin
White River Marsh State Wildlife area off White River Road.
Nate Ackerman Photo
Waupaca County - Turkey hunters have reported seeing large numbers of birds and some report having successful hunts. Fall colors are starting to reach their peak. The Lola area is a great place to visit and enjoy the colors. The Waupaca area has still not had a "good" frost, so much of the vegetation is still somewhat green in color. Large numbers of Canada geese have been moving through the Waupaca area. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
We are experiencing very mild weather for this time of year. Only a few migrant woodcock have arrived in central Wisconsin. Tree colors are at about 50 percent, with little or no leaf drop. Migrant ducks are not traveling through the area either. This warmth is making for perfect hiking and camping conditions. The area deer are only moving very early in morning or late in the evening. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - Waushara County has seen some more color as the fall moves on. There still quite a few areas that have not changed yet, but will soon. More crops are coming off the fields and waterfowl have started using them more as food sources. There are still plenty of birds around and prospects look good for the second opening Saturday morning. There were mixed reports on the youth season -- some were successful, some had opportunities, and others did not see anything. No matter what the outcome was everyone that participated learned something. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
High Cliff State Park - Fall colors at High Cliff State Park are nearing and expected to peak this week. Anglers are still reporting good catches of walleye and perch on the east shore. Large numbers of blue-spotted salamanders were spotted making their fall migration after several rainy days. Bald eagles are returning to the area as they make their way to the Fox River Watershed. - Cynthia Mueller, naturalist
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 - The Sheboygan River has received the majority of fishing pressure, with most anglers concentrating around Esslingen Park and the Kohler municipal sheds. Last weekend's rainfall helped push more fish into the river, but catches have been spotty with most anglers reporting light bites and spooked fish. Most fish were caught using flies, but anglers also had success on spawn sacs, spoons, spinners, and crank baits. Most catches consist of chinook, but anglers have also been catching quite a few coho, some brown trout and the occasional rainbow or two. Water clarity in the river has remained good despite increased flow. Most fishing pressure on shore continues to be from around the marina ramp. No fish were reported caught on Monday, though anglers did report some light strikes on crank baits and spoons, and one angler fishing from the rocks lost a large rainbow while fishing with skein and bobbers. Fishing pressure has decreased on the piers, with most anglers casting from South Pier. Many fish continue to rise in the harbor and the mouth of the river, but catch rates have remained low. The Pigeon River and Weedens Creek continue to receive little fishing pressure. Water levels have remained a little higher due to recent rainfall, and water temperature was 60 degrees on Monday morning.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington shore anglers have been working the north slip and near the power plant discharge. A few chinook, coho, and brown trout have been caught in the north slip on spawn sacs or skein on bobbers. The northeast corner of the slip has produced the most. Anglers around the power plant discharge reported relatively low catch rates, but a mix of chinook and coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout. Sauk Creek water levels are up somewhat, but few anglers have been working the creek. Fishing pressure has remained low from the ramp in Port Washington. Trollers had success between 70 and 150 feet of water, catching mostly chinook, but also a couple coho, a rainbow, and a lake trout. Most fish were caught on spoons, but flasher and fly combinations and J-Plugs also produced fish.
Racine County - DNR crews processed fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Wednesday, Oct. 9. More than 300 fish were handled, with more remaining in the facility for processing later this week. So far this season, 376 fish have been processed with 204 chinook, 1 coho, 3 rainbows, and 15 browns passed upriver. The Root River Steelhead Facility will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to attend this fun-filled event, whether you're a novice angler, a veteran angler, or just like to eat fish! Enjoy guided tours of the facility with DNR crews demonstrating fish spawning procedures. Volunteers from local fishing clubs will provide fishing rod casting lessons, fly casting, knot tying, fly-tying, tips for cooking fish, and much more! For more information, please call 414-750-8382.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Most of the trees still have their leaves and bow hunters report that deer are not moving very much due to the warm weather. Waterfowl season reopens on Oct. 12. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Sheboygan County - Lake Michigan king salmon, brown trout, and a few rainbow trout are being caught in the Sheboygan River. Spawn sacs or spawn imitations seem to be working best. Fish can be found all the way up to the Kohler Dam. - Michael Clutter, conservation warden, Plymouth
Washington County - The colors are starting to peak in southeast Wisconsin. The beautiful and unseasonable warm weather has brought many travelers to the Holy Hill and Kettle Moraine area of Washington County the vibrant colors. The fog from last weekend was a blessing for goose and duck hunters in the Theresa marsh as the birds were flying low and within shooting range. The fog was not so welcomed by the deer hunters who participated in the youth deer hunt. Pan fishing has been good on area lakes as anglers venture out on area lakes in the nice weather. Anglers have been working the warmer shallow areas of lakes and are catching bass along with panfish. - Robert Lee, conservation warden, Hartford
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - During the split of the duck season, Pike Lake DNR wildlife staff used an airboat on the Theresa Marsh main pool and several impoundments to access habitat conditions and waterfowl numbers, to conduct routine disease surveillance (nothing negative was found), to check refuge boundary signs and to remove a couple small floating cattail bogs near the dam. Water levels are at "full pool" on the marsh so canoe/duck boat access is good into all non-refuge areas open to hunting. A few floating cattail bogs continue to change positions depending on wind direction but the Rock River channel south from the dam has remained open. Duck, goose and sandhill crane numbers were most abundant this week on the 50-acre sub impoundment south of the Mohawk Road overlook, and in the sub impoundments north and south of Highway 28. Waterfowl and other bird viewing opportunities are excellent (especially at dusk and dawn when the birds fly in the out) from the Mohawk overlook and along both sides Highway 28 west of Highway 41. Canada goose numbers have been slowly building up and there are now about 5,000 geese around the marsh. Goose numbers normally peak in early November. Trees, shrubs, and ground vegetation (grass fields, wetlands, and cornfields) are now in beautiful coloration. The gas pipeline maintenance work continues on the Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area. Hunters are reminded that two Closed Areas were established west of County Highway G to allow completion of the pipeline work between State Highway 60 and County Highway PV. The closed areas extend about 100 yards on each side of the pipeline. The work is expected to be completed and closed areas re-opened at the end of October. Maps showing the closed area boundaries are posted at parking areas near the construction sites. Questions about the project are directed to the DNR Wildlife Biologist at the Pike Lake Unit office in Hartford (262-670-3409). - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Grant County - Bluegill fishing success is back on the rise. Several anglers report catching a fair number of hand-sized and larger bluegills, fishing lilly pads and stumps in Pool 11 near Bertom Lake and along the railroad tracks upriver from the Far Nuff boat landing. Bass anglers are reporting good fall fishing success on bass, especially smallmouth bass near rock outcroppings, wing dams, and rip rapped shoreline with one 5-pound smallmouth harvested in Pool 10 near Wyalusing State park. Local U.S. Fish and Wildlife service landings at Far Nuff, Lynn Hollow in Pool 11 and Bagley Bottoms boat landing in Pool 10 are closed according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and have barricades at the landings. The Corps of Engineers Campground and landing at downriver from Potosi is also closed. All other city, village, and private landings remain open. Many anglers were calling and asking which landings were open. O'Leary Lake Lock and Dam 11, Potosi Point, McCartney, Cassville, Schleicher's Landing, Glenhaven, River of Lakes and Wyalusing State Park landings are all open. Due to the recent warm weather, many of the early season exit birds, such as blue winged teal remain. Several large flocks were recently seen in Glass Lake in Pool 10. For those weekend waterfowl hunters hunting Pool 10, the beaver dam near the Bagley Bottoms boat landing has been rebuilt by the local resident beaver once again and has a differential of 1 ½ to 2 feet. The fall colors are about 25 to 30 percent. The soybean harvest has begun, as well as corn silage, with a few shelled corn fields being opened as well providing the bow hunters with more open areas. Waters are back on the rise with the recent rainfalls. - Richard S. DeWitte, conservation warden, Cassville
After a long dry fall, the recent rain events have caused the Lower Wisconsin River to rise about 1.5 feet in the past week. This should recharge many of the backwater sloughs and oxbows. Wood ducks will likely take advantage of the standing water and a good white oak acorn crop. Not many northern ducks have come down yet. Raccoon seem fairly plentiful this fall, judging by the number of dead ones on area roadways. There is some concern about muskrat numbers, following the abnormal recent pattern of floods and drought. Fall colors are picking up and the Riverway is a great place to view them. Birch and aspen are bright yellow, maple and sumac are red and the oak are thinking about changing color. Our prairies are blooming with asters and goldenrods. Enjoy the season. - Daniel Goltz, wildlife biologist, Boscobel
Richland County - Area sloughs along the Wisconsin River received some much needed rain. Waterfowl hunters should find better water conditions after the spit season reopens this Saturday. - Michael Nice, conservation warden, Richland Center
Wyalusing State Park -Typically on Columbus Day Weekend, this area is at peak for fall color. Autumn color in Southwest Wisconsin seems to be a bit behind other years. It is still beautiful with the sun on the trees but the vibrant reds and oranges are missing in many places at this time. It seems as if every day there is a significant change in the foliage. The bright red of the staghorn sumac certainly is showy this time of year. The bluff on the northwest side of the Mississippi River is spectacular! The Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is at 7.9 and should stay steady for the next few days. That rise should make paddling the canoe trail on the backwaters of the Mississippi River a bit easier. Currently, there is no hunting allowed in Wyalusing State Park. This weekend at Wyalusing State Park is typically one of the busiest of all weekends. As of Oct. 9, there were six reservable sites available in Homestead Campground and a number of non-reservable sites in both campgrounds. Electrical sites will be difficult if not impossible to obtain open for the weekend. The Concession Stand will close for the season on Sunday, October 13. Enjoy the sounds of the river music of Jon Stravers and Big Blue Sky on Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Peterson Shelter. Big Blue Sky is a changing line-up of local musicians with original music inspired by the river in the Driftless Region. Music includes blues, folks, bluegrass, reggae and music with the natural rhythms of life. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Dodge County - Crappies were being caught from shore on the Beaver Dam River in Lowell. Large catfish are being caught from shore on Beaver Dam Lake. - Paul Nell, conservation warden, Horicon
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall colors at Horicon Marsh are a little past 50 percent and it should be a great weekend for viewing. Waterfowl numbers continue to increase and a cooperative American avocet has been sighted on Highway 49 for the past week. Please remember that the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center (Highway 28) and the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area (southern 1/3 of marsh) are OPEN. The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge is CLOSED and all programs are cancelled until further notice due to the lack of appropriations. On Saturday Oct. 12 join us at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center for a program called "Homeward Bound." Stop by the education center anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to experience the real life struggles of bird migration. Play a migration game to see if you would survive as a bird traveling south. Or, test your hand at banding with a fun goose banding activity. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Recent rains have raised water levels making it easier to get boats to duck and goose hunting areas. Northern birds are still not in the area yet. Youth deer hunters were out this past weekend with several deer being taken by the youth deer hunters. Leaves continue to change color. Water temps are starting to cool and the fishing action is starting to heat up again for the fall bite. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Last weekend's pheasant Learn to Hunt program at Pine Island Wildlife Area was cancelled due to poor weather. It will be held this Saturday, Oct. 12 instead. Other property users at Pine Island should be aware that the area posted for the LTH will be closed to other uses from 8 a.m. to noon. Fall foliage is getting a new burst of color in the area with many of the maples showing their fall colors - the sugar maples are especially showy. About a third of the trees in the area are turning colors. There are reports of nice flocks of wood ducks along the Crawfish River. Fisherman report that the fishing for walleye and sauger is great near Okee Bay of Lake Wisconsin, and white bass fishing has been good at Swan Lake. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Anglers on the Rock River who have been catching catfish in many areas, including below the Indian Ford Dam and throughout Janesville. Local bait shop owners report northern pike and walleyes were biting bellow the Monterey Dam. A brief reminder that the trout season is now closed on all waters within Rock County. Duck Hunters had limited success throughout Rock County over the last week. Mallards, wood ducks, northern shovelers, and geese were reported in hunter's bag limits. Most duck hunting activity has been on the Rock River. Hunters are reminded that open water hunting and jump shooting is not allowed on the Rock River. Jump shooting ducks is only allowed on small streams such as Turtle Creek, Badfish Creek, or the Yahara River. Water levels remain average for the time of year, and recent rains have helped add water to local marshes and lakes. The southern waterfowl season is closed from Oct. 7-11. Also a reminder to migratory bird hunters that hunting hours close at sunset, while small game and deer hunting hours close 20 minutes after sunset. Shotguns used to hunt migratory birds must be plugged so that they cannot hold more than three shells, including both the magazine tube and chamber. Deer registration stations report good success over the first weeks of the archery deer season. Several archery and dove hunters were contacted during the weekend of the youth gun deer hunt that were not wearing blaze orange clothing. Hunters are reminded that blaze orange clothing is required for all hunters other than waterfowl hunters anytime a gun deer season is open. Wardens continue to receive complaints of hunters and landowners placing illegal bait and feed in the woods and fields. Baiting and feeding is prohibited in all of Rock County. Fall is coming on fast in Rock County with trees nearing peak colors. Crop harvests have slowed with recent rains. - Boyd Richter and Keith Meverden, conservation wardens, Janesville
West Central Region
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Tree leaves are really starting to fall, improving visibility in the woods. Hunters should keep in mind; however, improved visibility works both ways. Hunters have an easier time seeing game, but game animals have an easier time spotting hunters. Whether out turkey hunting, squirrel hunting, or bow deer hunting, proper camouflage techniques, patience, and stillness can help hunters to remain unseen by their quarry. Red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets, white-throated sparrows, swamp sparrows, song sparrows, and fox sparrows are some of the migratory songbirds currently passing through the local area. A couple merlins were reported in the La Crosse marsh vicinity. Merlins are small, compact, fast-flying falcons that prey on songbirds such as nuthatches, warblers, sparrows, and vireos. They migrate rapidly through the state, with a few of them breeding in far northern Wisconsin. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Beautiful weather is in the forecast for the Black River area this week. Highs in the low 70s are predicted each day through Saturday making for great weather to enjoy the peak color conditions. By the end of this week we should be at the first peak of the season. Reds, yellows, oranges, and some browns are all present. All-terrain-vehicle trails were groomed three weeks ago and are in good shape for riding. This the last weekend of riding for the year as the ATV trails will close for the season on Oct. 15. The flush toilet and shower building at Castle Mound are closed for the season. Vault toilets and water at the hand pumps are still available. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Trempealeau County - The Jackson County ATV trail system is in good condition. The ATV trails in Jackson County close on Oct. 15 and they will remain closed until Dec. 15, so this weekend will be the last opportunity to get out and ride for several months. The fall colors are progressing, with some trees showing off bright yellow and orange colors, while some trees are still green and have not yet changed. Hunter Safety classes fill up quickly this time of year. If you have a novice hunter who needs to take Hunter Safety, you can search for courses in your area on the DNR website at: dnr.wi.gov. Use the search engine box on the website's homepage to search for open classes in your area. Information about which DNR properties will be stocked with pheasants may be found on the DNR's website. Use the search engine box and enter "pheasant stocking." - Robin Barnhardt, conservation warden, Osseo
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Portage County - The duck numbers have been pretty low on the Point Flowage. The Mead Wildlife Area is producing some decent number of mallards, wood duck, teal and a few bluebills. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point
Sandhill State Wildlife - Thousands of sandhill cranes are staging at Sandhill State Wildlife Area. Take the Trumpeter Trail to the Marsh Tower at dusk for a spectacular show.
Buckhorn State Park - Some fall colors are starting!Bow hunting is going on in both wildlife areas and the state park. Small game is only in the Buckhorn Wildlife Area or the Yellow River Wildlife Area. Fishing pier and boat boarding piers will be removed on Thursday, Oct. 17. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Fall colors are starting! The main gate will close on Oct. 14. Parking after that time is in the winter lot on Czech Ave. The Pumpkin Walk is on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 3-9 p.m. Free admission, fun games, naturalist program, food and glow items for a fee, tiki torches and pumpkins around the mound road for the walk. There are no hayrides or hauntings this year. - Heather Wolf, park manager