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Outdoor Report for October 17, 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 will be peaking in southern Wisconsin within the next week, with only some stubborn maples and oaks hanging on to their summer colors. In northern Wisconsin the recent rain and heavy wind has all but nearly knocked most leaves off of trees, but the tamarack trees are making up for them with their increasing gold color. Leaf drop is providing for some better archery hunting and upland bird hunting. Morning frost in forecast for some areas of the state will provide for more leaf drop, along with the oaks beginning to turn to their fall reds and bronze.
The reopening of the southern zone duck season proved successful for many hunters last weekend with ducks in nearly everyone's bag. Some diving ducks, mostly ring-necks and canvasbacks have been seen throughout the state. Diving duck migration should continue as more seasonal temperatures arrive. Some more exotic birds such as trumpeter swans, egrets, and large flocks of cormorants have been seen around the Mississippi River.
This coming weekend will bring along several hunting season openers. On Saturday Oct. 19 the pheasant and bobwhite quail season will be opening statewide at noon. Many state properties are going to be stocked of pheasant for the opener. Southern area cottontail, statewide raccoon and fox seasons will also be opening. Several trapping seasons will be opening this Saturday as well. isconsin's second wolf season kicked of Tuesday morning, with a few successful hunts being confirmed in northern Wisconsin and also one in Columbia County.
Wardens and biologists from across the state are reporting that the classic signs of the pre rut are starting to show with many rubs and scrapes are beginning to cover Wisconsin's landscape. Smaller bucks are reported to be chasing doe, and there has been many large bucks harvested. In Sauk County, a buck harvested by bow and arrow was unofficially scored at 196. Look for cooler temperatures and the harvesting of crops to create more deer movement.
The Lake Michigan tributaries have been host to some heavy action for salmon. Perch and walleye have also been providing for good fishing across the state as water temperatures drop.
Just like clockwork, dark-eyed juncos arrived in the southern Wisconsin this week. These birds generally summer north of the Canadian border and spend winters south of it.
The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is offering a free Outdoor Skills Day this Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come participate in the DNR's archery camp, learn about cast iron cooking, firearm safety, backyard bird feeding, fishing and wilderness first aid. This Saturday night there will also be candlelit Halloween hikes held at Council Grounds State Park, Lake Kegonsa State Park, Mirror Lake State Park, and Roche-A-Cri State Park. And history and Halloween will come to life at Heritage Hill State Park in Green bay on both Friday and Saturday night. For details, search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
Statewide Birding Report
Land bird migration is slowing across the north, where the last of the neotropical migrants have moved out, just small numbers of yellow-rumped warblers remain, and dark-eyed juncos are now abundant, often flushing from roadsides in large flocks. Juncos have also greatly increased in the south, while fox, swamp, white-throated, Lincoln's, white-crowned, and other sparrows continue statewide. Other short distance migrants such as Amer. robins, eastern bluebirds, hermit thrushes, both kinglets, and various blackbird species, including rusty, red-winged, and common grackle, are also on the move. Some of the hardy northern Canadian birds have arrived to Wisconsin, including the first northern shrikes, rough-legged hawks, and golden eagles, while shorelines, plowed fields, and other open areas continue to host horned larks, Lapland longspurs, and Amer. pipits. Although no "winter finch" flight has materialized yet, Amer. goldfinches are being found in large numbers across the south, while small numbers of pine siskins are scattered throughout the north. Sandhill cranes are staging in large numbers now, with thousands of birds being seen near traditional roosting areas - one birder reported over 3000 individuals in just one evening hour at 6th Ave Marsh in Adams county. The ultralight-led whooping cranes have begun their southbound migration while the "direct autumn release" portion of the flock prepares for their journey. Waterbird migration continues to pick up as expected. Warm conditions to the north have delayed migration for most species but a cold week ahead promised to flush large numbers of birds south. Most wetlands are featuring a variety of species, especially dabbling ducks like teal, wigeon, gadwalls, and shovelers. Scaup, redhead, and all three scoter species are building in numbers along the Great Lakes. A few lingering ruby-throated hummingbirds were reported this week. Birders should check these closely as late season hummingbirds are just as likely to be an unusual vagrant species. Late October and November are excellent times for finding rare birds in general, so get out often and be open to the possibilities! As always, help us track the migration by reporting all of your sightings, whether common or rare, to www.ebird.org/wi. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The Bois Brule River is flowing higher and faster than average due to the rain on Tuesday. This is making fishing difficult due to the muddy and turbulent water downstream of Highway 2.While the colors are past peak, the fall color show is still going on with the rust and brown of the oaks and the gold colored maples as the stars of the show. The majority of the aspen leaves have fallen but the tamarack trees are making up for them with their increasing gold color. Grouse hunters are reporting that grouse are becoming more visible as the leaves are falling off of the trees. Bear are busy trying to "bulk up" for the upcoming winter. More information about these hungry omnivores can be found on Eek! Environmental Educaiton for Kids The 17th annual Hunters Expo at the Mission Covenant Church in Poplar is Oct. 19 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 - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Bayfield County - The leaves are starting to go fast now in northern Bayfield County with some wind and rain the past few days. The tributary streams (the sections that are still open) and Lake Superior have been quite nice this fall to the anglers with coho salmon being the main fish caught. The recent rains will bring the streams back up so be careful when out and about. Hunters are starting to go out hunting now that it has cooled down and there are some deer being shot by bow and arrow. Duck hunting has been okay for the hunters that have been going out. The latest storm and cool weather should bring more ducks to the area. - Amie Egstad, conservation warden, Bayfield
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Fishing on area lakes has been good with cooler nights bring the water temperatures down. The St. Croix River is currently flowing high. Deer movement has been slow in the past week. Fall color is past peak and a good number of leaves have come down with heavy rain and windy conditions. Pheasant numbers appear to be lower than normal possibly due to the cold wet spring. Waterfowl numbers still appear to be above average with the possibility of some northern birds showing up soon. - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg
Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery - Hatchery crews continued to harvest of walleye for stocking in state waters, with nearly 27,000 fish going out on Monday and Tuesday alone. 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. Statewide, as of Oct. 15, 320,897 of these larger walleyes from those DNR hatcheries that raise walleye had been stocked in 71 lakes. Stocking totals by DNR hatchery and a list of waters receiving these larger fish are available on the DNR website.
Fisheries crews harvest northern pike at the Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery that are later stocked into 71 lakes in Wisconsin.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Variable weather conditions with plenty of wind and intermittent rain showers have made for some erratic fishing success in the Northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures have been steadily cooling down and most fish species have retreated to deeper water. Along with cooler temps, fewer and fewer anglers have been venturing out. Musky have been the main species of interest and have been providing the some consistent action. Most of the musky anglers have been dragging medium to large suckers around and have been seeing quite a few fish. No recent reports of any large fish, but quite a few 34 to 42 inch fish have been landed. A few anglers are still throwing artificial baits and have been experiencing some action, with fish being more active on the sunny days when the water has warmed a bit. Walleye fishing has been inconsistent - some days provide good action on small and medium-size walleye and other days where bites are even hard to come by. Live minnows continue to best the best bait, whether fished below a slip bobber, on a jig or a bare hook dragged along the bottom. Cloudy days often produce some catches all day long, but on sunny days, look for the fish to bite in the hour right before dark. Some panfish success has been reported with a few nice crappie being caught on minnows in the larger flowages. The fish have been found near the old river channels in 25 to 35 feet of water. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Taylor County - Many people are asking trapping questions due to high prices expected from fur this year. Waterfowl hunters are reporting limited success due to lack of ducks. New northern weather fronts will be bringing new ducks throughout the remainder of the season. - Nick Nice, conservation warden, Medford
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North and South Forks of the Flambeau River are at good paddling levels. The forest is past peak for fall colors and at about 85 percent leaf off. Grouse are on the down cycle but hunters are reporting more success with the leaf-off conditions. Bucks are still about two to threee weeks out from the rut. Woodcock have not arrived yet but should be migrating through in about a week. Local waterfowl have shifted south and juncos are coming in. A few snow buntings have been spotted and flocks of Canada geese are being seen. Expect this cold front that has moved in to bring more northern birds through. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - Recent winds and rains have caused leaf drop to be almost complete in most areas. Grouse are being seen by hunters and it appears that most local waterfowl have started their migration south. Northern birds are beginning to appear and some good diver hunts have been reported. Deer hunters are reporting starting to see some scraping activity. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff
Vilas County - The warmer than normal month is coming to an end with snow flurries and freezing temperatures dominating the forecasts. Duck hunters are hoping for a flight of northern birds to be pushed down with the weather and should take care to make sure they have enough cold weather gear to enable them to participate safely. Anglers are reporting more consistent catches of walleyes with minnows being the preferred bait at this time. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - Fishing the Peshtigo Harbor for smallmouth bass and northern pike was slow. At the dam in Peshtigo some chinook were caught using flies, stick baits, and spawn. The Menominee River provided some good walleye action mainly during periods of low light trolling or casting stick baits. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Oconto County - Anglers fishing the structure below the dam at Stiles caught some bluegill and crappies using slip bobbers and minnows or leaf worms. Chinook were caught near the Iron Bridge on the Oconto River using spawn sacks, spoons and stick baits and wooly buggers. Perch were caught in the Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II landings using minnows or chunks of crawlers. - Kevin King, creel clerk
Brown County - At the Fox River Metro a 49 inch musky was caught as anglers used a variety of colored stick baits and crank baits in about 6 to 15 feet of water. At Fox River Metro Shore smallmouth bass, catfish and sheepshead were caught and released using leeches and night crawlers. At Voyageur Park walleye, a few perch, catfish and white bass were caught on minnows and night crawlers. On the Suamico River a handful of musky ranging from 41 to 53 inches were caught and released using green, perch, white and other various colored crank baits in about 6 to 12 feet of water. At the Suamico River Shore anglers caught limits of perch using night crawlers and minnows. - Ashley Poehls, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Salmon fishing has been called "excellent" by local anglers over the past couple of weeks, and Strawberry Creek has been overrun with salmon in the 20-30 pound class. From Baileys Harbor and Sturgeon Bay, double digits of younger chinook were caught fishing the top 75 of 100 to 250 feet of water using spoons and fly/dodger combos. In the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal, casting from shore or trolling with crank baits and spoons produced some really big fish. Bass were caught in 8 to 20 feet of water using tubes, grubs, spinner baits and live bait under a slip bobber. These bass seemed to congregate in a little bit deeper water and in transition areas where rock turns to sand. Fishing from shore at Anderson's Dock in Ephraim, George K. Pinney (formerly Stone Quarry) and Weborg's Point in Peninsula State Park were all productive. Perch were biting on crawlers and minnows while northern pike have been hitting large crank baits and blue/silver and red/white spoons. Perch fishing at Dunlop's reef, the Potawatomi State Park Shoreline or Egg Harbor all produced fish. For northern pike, fishing between the bridges in Sturgeon Bay or in Moonlight Bay north of Baileys Harbor produced fish. Walleye were active at night from Monument Point up to Sister Bay. Trolling at 1.8 to 2 mph in about 15 to 25 feet of water using crawler harnesses, crank baits or deep diving purple, blue/silver and fire tiger husky jerks was very productive. At Chaudoir's Dock a few Perch and no walleye were caught. Perch were caught on minnows in 24 to 26 feet of water and walleye anglers tried various colored crank baits in 10 to 12 feet of water. At
Little Sturgeon Bay many small perch were caught and released using minnows in 10 feet of water. Smallmouth bass were caught and released using suckers and tubes in 5 to 10 feet of water. Some northern pike in the 20 to 32 inch range were also caught. - Jill Ann Eekhoff and Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technicians, Sturgeon Bay and Ashley Poehls, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Most boats are fishing 2-3 miles off shore and catching a nice mix of chinook, coho and steelhead in the top 75 feet of water. Fishing the Kewaunee and Ahnapee Rivers with spawn sacs, spoons, crank baits and marshmallows produced good numbers of fish. The extremely popular spots were crowded, so people moved to spots outside of Kewaunee on County Highway E where the locals call "Shooters Park" or at the public boat launch. In Algoma, fishing at the DeMuese or Olson Parks or at the bridges crossing Washington Road and County Highway X has produced nice fish. The busy season is winding down, but the salmon will be running almost until the end of the year and there will be trout in the river systems all through the winter so don't be afraid to plan a late fall or winter fishing trip to Kewaunee County and possibly pull a monster brown trout through the ice. - Jill Ann Eekhoff and Thatcher Riggin, fisheries technicians, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - On the East Twin River fishing activity was extremely high along the Mishicot Village Park just south of the dam and by the Main Street/Washington Street bridge. Some success catching chinook occurred. On the West Twin River fishing activity remained very high with the majority of activity occurring around the dam in Shoto. Chinook were being caught on that portion of the river. Fishing on the Manitowoc River's piers, harbor, and ramps remained low and little fish were caught this week. - Kara White, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Oconto County - Canvasbacks and swans have started to show up on Green Bay. Bucks seem more active with several already chasing does. Leaves are past peak and falling with the recent winds. Perch fishing is starting to pick up in the Oconto River near Breakwater Park. Minnows are you best bet for catching these perch. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Shawano County - Fall colors are just past peak and yet it is still very pretty driving around on a sunny fall day. Many of the ducks and geese are around the area with most easily visible from overlooks around area lakes, and the Navarino Public Hunting Grounds. Sandhill cranes can be seen in large numbers around Navarino also. Archers are having moderate success with things slowing down a bit after the early season rush. Hunters are now just waiting for the rut to start up. Small game hunters are just getting to their peak when the leaves drop and pheasant opens. There is soon to be plenty of opportunity available in the woods for small game hunters. Fishing is still very productive on area lakes as fish seem to be getting ready for winter. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility - It was a very busy weekend at Strawberry Creek, with lots of fish. More than 1,200 chinook were processed at Strawberry Creek on Monday, Oct. 7 and over 900 were processed on Thursday, Oct. 10. Most (but not all) of the chinooks were removed from the pond during Monday's harvest, and after Thursday's harvest only a couple hundred chinooks remained. Almost 380,000 eggs were collected on Oct. 7 and approximately 325,000 eggs were collected on Oct. 10. Additionally, over 1,700 dead chinooks were removed from the pond during Saturday Oct. 5 through Monday Oct. 7. The cause of death for these chinooks was likely low dissolved oxygen, and the chinook's natural life-cycle probably another contributor (i.e., all chinooks die after spawning). Despite this large number of dead chinooks, more than enough live chinooks were available to complete two successful egg collection this week. The next egg collections at Strawberry Creek are scheduled for Monday Sept. 14 and Thursday Sept. 17 starting at around 9 a.m., and these may be the last chinook egg collections for this season. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - A few archery hunters have reported seeing small bucks chasing does around leading to me to believe that the rut may be just around the corner. Fall color in the Waupaca area is at peak or slightly past full color. Recent rains have flooded a few fields and waterfowl hunters should watch for waterfowl to be using the sheet water to feed. Raccoon (dry land trapping) opens this weekend. Because of the fur market being good, trappers should expect competition for good locations open to the public. Trappers are encouraged to respect each other's sets and to report violations. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Waushara/Marquette counties - The weather is finally getting cooler and game animals are starting to move. With the bow season in full swing and the rut getting closer, I want to remind everyone, when they are using designated use areas or public parking lots please use the "leave no trace" rule, which is take out what you brought in. Help us help keep the forests clean so future generation can come and enjoy the beauty of these FREE hunting and fishing grounds. I want to wish every hunter good luck on harvesting whatever you are hunting whether it be that mighty trophy buck or the first time hunters doe. Remember to take time to take a kid hunting. - Dave Westphal, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Woodcock arrived in central Wisconsin Saturday evening or Sunday morning. Hunting for woodcock now is excellent. Lots of wood ducks on area trout streams, excellent conditions for a float hunt. Deer movement is really picking up with cooler weather now here. Colors are at or beyond peak, and it's been not the best year for colors. Leaves often only went from green to yellow to on the ground. Underbrush is now nearly devoid of leaves making for much better grouse hunting. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery - This week fisheries crews stocked northern pike in 55 lakes across the state after receiving a total of 48,916 pike fingerlings from the hatchery. That number is on top of the 110,000 small fingerlings stocked from Wild Rose in June. Stocking this fall took longer than in past years, due in part to the warm fall weather and the large number of other fish (walleye, trout, etc.) the distribution crews had to stock. The fish stocked were some of the largest ever produced at Wild Rose, averaging over 10 inches long and weighing 3.3 ounces each. Steve Fajfer, operations supervisor
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County - Trappers are out and about looking over the marshes. Many calls have been received on legalities of trapping along the roadways and along rivers. Trappers are reminded that they need permission of the adjacent property owners in order to trap along roadways and river properties. Raccoon and skunk numbers appear to be up but muskrats seem to be down a little. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
Winnebago County - The cooler temperatures have arrived and with that crop fields are being harvested. This is a time of the year that generates excitement for bow hunting enthusiast. Hunters will begin seeing scrapes, more daytime buck activity and trail cameras start lighting up with buck pictures instead of does and fawns. Typical rutting activity within the area picks up around this time through the first couple weeks of November in Winnebago County and hunters will begin seeing scrapes and more daytime buck activity. This is the time of year that safety should also be on the mind for archery hunters. It is amazing the number of accidents around the country and in Wisconsin that are the result of tree stand safety. We also think of safety as firearm safety (which is very important) but the fact is many archery hunters fall from tree stands every year. Nationally, one out of three hunting injuries involves an elevated tree stand. These falls are preventable by using a few guidelines. 1) Check equipment and tree stands prior to the season. 2) Always wear a harness or fall arrest system. 3) Take your time getting in and out of a tree stand and wear a climbing belt. 4) Never carry equipment up or down with you. Instead use a haul line to raise and lower equipment. 5) Maintain as many points of contact with the ladder or tree steps. - Tom Truman, conservation warden, Oshkosh
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. Most catches around Esslingen Park have been large coho caught on spoons, flies, and spawn sacs. Many chinook can be seen just downstream of the Kohler Dam, where catches have consisted mostly of chinooks caught on flies or spawn sacs, but some coho and browns have been caught as well. Rainfall on Saturday afternoon increased water levels by a couple of inches, and water clarity has been slightly reduced. Most fishing pressure on shore continues to be from around the marina ramp. A couple of chinooks were reported caught on Saturday morning from the ramp docks, both using skein. One angler noted that the afternoon bite has been better than in the morning. The Pigeon River and Weedens Creek continue to receive little fishing pressure.
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 skein under a bobber. 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 have been taken on spoons and crank baits. A few browns have also been taken off the pier. Sauk Creek water levels are up somewhat, and a few anglers have been working near the mouth of the creek with reports of chinooks and browns caught on spawn and flies. Fishing pressure has remained low from the ramp in Port Washington. Trollers have reported marking lots of fish in and around 100 feet of water, and lake trout have also been caught in 250 feet.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers working outside of the break wall have been focusing in 40 to 90 feet of water for immature chinooks. Spoons in blue, green, and glow colors produced the best, and the catch was also mixed with a few lake trout. Quite a few boats were seen jigging or floating skein in and around the gaps and trolling the river channel and harbor for chinooks and brown trout with some success. Crank baits in red, purple, and chartreuse seemed to perform the best for those still casting in boats. The best area for anglers jigging was near the north and main gaps outside the breakwater using Gulp and jigging spoons in blue or green jigged off the bottom. Floating spawn around the boat docks was also productive for boaters, with quite a few chinooks being caught. Anglers off of McKinley pier produced a few chinooks and brown trout on spoons or blade baits along the pier and rocks, with gold and green colors producing the best. Shore anglers have had success using crank baits or floating spawn near the rocks or weed patches along the Sailing Center. There have been some perch and crappies caught on minnows off the bottom by anglers under the Hoan Bridge. Anglers fishing in Oak Creek have been catching chinooks and a few rainbows on spawn, crank baits, spoons, and small flies. Anglers at the Oak Creek power plant fishing pier caught chinooks, coho, brown trout, and lake trout in the discharge on skein. Most of the fish caught were lake trout with the number of chinooks in the area decreasing in recent days. Anglers have been seen fishing the Milwaukee River, with the majority of pressure concentrated in Kletzsch, Estabrook, and Hubbard Parks, as well as the area around the North Avenue dam. The majority of chinook were caught in Kletzsch Park and near North Avenue, and they were hitting spawn or small flies. A few coho, browns, and rainbows have also been caught. A few anglers have been seen on the Menomonee River near Miller Park, but success has been limited.
Racine County - In Racine, flows on the Root River remain fairly low. Anglers have been fishing throughout the river, but the majority of action has been downstream of the Root River Steelhead Facility. Fly anglers were catching the majority of fish with black woolly buggers and small orange, red, or pink flies. Skein and spawn sacs have produced a few fish out of the deeper holes. Decent numbers of chinooks and browns were taken by anglers fishing in Lincoln Park, Island Park, and Washington Park. DNR crews processed over 400 fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Saturday, October 12th. So far this season, 1,268 fish have been processed, and a total of 603 chinooks, 3 coho, 4 rainbows, and 107 browns have been passed upriver. Fish will be processed again on Thursday, October 17. Along the Racine lakefront, anglers fishing off the piers have been catching chinook, coho, browns, and a few rainbows, with the majority of fish taken around dusk or daybreak. Crank baits, spoons, and spinners have all been productive. Shore anglers working in the Pershing Park boat harbor and in Reefpoint Marina have been catching chinooks on spawn or dark colored spoons. Trollers fishing in 100 feet of water have reported decent number of immature chinook, rainbows, and coho.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha good numbers of shore anglers have been working the harbor, with the majority of them near the base of the south pier and behind the hotel. Fish continue to jump all over the harbor, but getting them to bite can be tricky. Crank baits, tube jigs, spawn, and skein have all taken fish on occasion. Anglers fishing off the beach near the mouth of the Pike River have been catching a few salmon on green and silver spoons, but numbers have been relatively low. Upstream on the Pike River, a few chinook have been caught near Highway A and 13th Avenue. Small flies have been productive. Kenosha trollers have reported catching good numbers of small browns in 40 feet of water.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Hunters are reporting that deer are starting to move much more with the cooler temperatures. Water levels have improved with recent rains and waterfowl hunters are finding access to hunting areas is much improved. Boaters are reminded to remove zebra mussels from their boats as they store them for the winter. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Pheasant stocking will occur on Theresa Marsh, Allenton Marsh and Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area prior to the Oct. 19 noon opener. Hunters are asked not to "work their dogs" on stocked pheasants prior to opening day so that the birds have a better chance of staying on the property and being accessible to hunters when the season opens. After opening weekend, the three wildlife areas will be stocked twice per week during the first three weeks of the pheasant season, once each week during weeks 4 and 5, and at least once during December. The three wildlife areas are "2 p.m. closure" for pheasant hunting from Monday, Oct. 21, through Sunday, Nov. 3, except that pheasant hunting is allowed after 2 p.m. on weekends. More information is available in the pheasant hunting section of the DNR website. Maintenance work continues on the gas pipeline project in Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area. Work will still be going on during the last two weeks of October. Swamp mat removal will take place the last week of October and into November. Two no entry "Closed Areas" extending approximately 100 yards on each side of the pipeline were established west of County Highway G between State Highway 60 and County Highway PV, where all public entry is prohibited until the pipeline work is completed. Pheasants will not be stocked within the closed areas, and the excess birds will be distributed around other open hunting areas of Jackson Marsh (Maple Road, Church Road, Hwy M, etc.). 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). Water levels are still at "full pool" on Theresa Marsh, and canoe access is good into all non-refuge areas open to hunting. Migratory duck, goose and sandhill crane numbers continue to build up on the marsh. 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. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
South Central Region
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The fall colors are at or near peak right now within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. It is a beautiful time to take a hike on one of our many hiking trails or to take a drive on the scenic state Highway 60. There are a lot of hunting opportunities within the 45,000 acres of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, so hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing when walking afield. All trails within the Riverway are open and in good condition. Duck hunters are having mixed results with wood ducks and mallards making up most of the harvest. Conditions should improve with the rain received lately making navigating some of the backwater sloughs a little easier. Walleye have been beginning to bite below the Prairie Du Sac Dam. Bright colored crank baits have been productive. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Fall colors are at their peak. This is a great time to get outside hiking, hunting or camping to enjoy the trees before their leaves are gone. Water temperatures continue to drop and fishing is starting to pick up again for the fall bite. The walleye at Blackhawk Lake are getting active. People are looking forward to the upcoming pheasant season which starts on Oct. 19 at noon. DNR staff has been busy stocking various sites along the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, so there should be plenty of opportunity for all. Take some time to enjoy the crisp fall air before the cold winter winds arrive. - Alan D. Erickson, conservation warden, Dodgeville
Green County - Waterfowl season has started back up again with most hunters finding success. The majority of waterfowl that have been shot are Canada geese and wood ducks, with a few teal thrown in the mix. A few diving ducks have been seen flying around the area as well. Archery season reports are that the season started fast and furious, but has since tapered off. Most hunters report seeing lots of does, but not many bucks to this point. The rut is just around the corner and deer hunting should start heating up again very shortly. Numerous illegal deer bait sites have been found around Green County; baiting/feeding deer in Green County is illegal. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe! - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus
Wyalusing State Park -Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien has stayed steady at close to 7.9 and is expected to rise by the weekend to 8.2. That rise should make paddling the canoe trail on the backwaters of the Mississippi River a bit easier. Fall is an excellent time to canoe the Mighty Mississippi. Many people have commented on the lack of color this past weekend (Columbus Day Weekend). There is still color and many leaves remain on the trees. No matter what the experts say about peak color, it is still beautiful with the sun on the leaves. Sugar Maple Nature Trail and Sentinel Ridge Trail are excellent picks for a fall color hike. Wisconsin Ridge Flush building and all fountains in the Wisconsin Ridge Campground will be closed for the season beginning Oct. 17. The shower/flush building and dump station will be open through the last weekend in October. The one remaining Astronomy Programs of this year will be held on Saturday, Oct. 26. The program will begin at 8:30 p.m. and will be held rain or shine. - Beverly Pozega, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Glacial Habitat Restoration Area - In addition to providing thousands of acres of grassland cover essential for sustaining wild pheasant populations, new this year, some Glacial Habitat Restoration Area properties are being stocked with pheasants to supplement existing hunting opportunities in Columbia, Dodge, Fond du Lac, and Winnebago counties. Hunters are reminded to be respectful of neighboring private landowners. - James T. Christopoulos, wildlife biologist, Horicon
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall colors in the Horicon area are at about 75 percent and the cattails are turning a golden brown. Some asters are still in bloom around the prairies. Waterfowl migration is in full swing with northerly winds and a cold front moving through region. White-crowned and white-throated sparrows, kinglets and yellow-rumped warblers are moving through the area. Sandhill cranes have been seen in large numbers around the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. The Palmatory Street Overlook near the south end of the marsh is a great place to watch the sunrise and the sunset and in turn watch the marsh come alive! The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is offering a free Outdoor Skills Day on Saturday, Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come participate in the DNR's archery camp, learn about cast iron cooking, firearm safety, backyard bird feeding, fishing and wilderness first aid. Join educators at 11 a.m. for a program focusing on wildlife identification called "Duck, Duck, Goose". For more information please visit www.horiconmarsh.org or call 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Large flocks of geese and sandhill cranes can be seen throughout the county utilizing harvested fields and in area wetlands. Fall foliage is probably at or nearing peak in much of the county with only the oaks stubbornly retaining their green foliage, though some of them are beginning to show off their fall brown colors. It seems that the western part of the county is a little ahead of the central part of the county. Some bucks have been reported chasing does this week indicating some "pre-rut" action. Pheasant stocking will occur this week on the six properties that receive birds to accommodate this Saturday's opener of the pheasant season. Good luck, and remember to practice the four rules of gun safety (TAB-K) with the high numbers of other hunters using these properties. Remember that Mud Lake and Pine Island Wildlife Areas have the 2 p.m. pheasant closure on weekdays until Nov. 3.
MacKenzie Environmental Education Center - Enjoy a family friendly spooky and fun Haunted Hay Ride around the property on Friday and Saturday Oct. 25-26. Zombies, witches, graveyards, ghosts and more. There is a $5 entry fee per person; includes the hay ride and campfire with s 'mores, popcorn and hot chocolate. Proceeds will benefit the Center. Dress for the weather as it is a 100 percent outdoor event, rain or clean skies, and are costumes welcome. MacKenzie Center is located in Poynette, on County Road CS. Call 608-635-8105 or visit www.mackenziecenter.com.
Dane County - As the crops go out and birds become more visible some fall turkey hunters have found success in the Dane County area. Deer activity is also picking up as rub lines are becoming more prevalent. - Jake Donar, conservation warden, Fitchburg
Jefferson County - Waterfowl hunters continue to harvest ducks. Most hunters report mostly seeing wood ducks, teal (blue and green wing) and mallards. Geese are still in the area but are getting more difficult to call into decoys in the water. Most farmers are harvesting soy beans which will provide more opportunities for field hunting geese. Archery hunters are reporting seeing more deer with the increase of machinery in the fields. However, very little corn has been harvested which provides deer with acres of cover. Leaf colors continue to improve providing great scenery for drives along lakes and rivers. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County
Sauk County - The fall color in Sauk County is nearing peak color and the Sauk County bluffs are beautiful. This would be the week to take a drive with family or friends to enjoy the Sauk County Bluffs and Devil's Lake. Fall fishing on Lake Wisconsin is just starting to pick up. Some nice catches of walleye and sauger are being reported on Lake Wisconsin. The Wisconsin River fishing below the Prairie du Sac dam has been picking up and will continue to get good as the water temperature drops. A buck was shot by an archery hunter this past week that scored 196. Archery hunters are starting to see good movements of deer and some nice bucks and does have been harvested. Archery hunters need to be careful getting in and out of their deer stands. Hunters should use safety equipment and be careful so they don't have a fall from a tree stand. All hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts can help get children involved in the outdoors. Try to take the time and do some outdoor activities to promote outdoor skills and appreciation for the beauty and lessons outdoor activities teach. - John Buss, conservation warden, Prairie du Sac
Devil's Lake State Park - About 40 percent of the foliage has turned to color, with peak color probably coming in the next week to 10 days. Maples are turning late this year, but other trees have come on fast lately. Wind or rain could change appearances any day though. The Nature Center will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the fall and winter season. Weekday and Sunday open hours will be sporadic, depending on the availability of park volunteers and on the schedule of programs, projects, training, and school groups. Northern Lights and Ice Age campgrounds are now closed for the season. Group Camp is open through October. Quartzite Campground (or a portion) will be open throughout the winter. Campsites are readily available on weeknights, but can easily fill on weekends if the weather is nice and fall colors are vivid for the next two or three weeks. Water facilities (hot showers, running water restrooms, RV dump/fill stations, outdoor water taps) will available for campers in the Quartzite Campground through the weekend of Oct. 19-20. After Oct. 20, water facilities at picnic areas, family camp areas, Group Camp, and shelter/concession buildings will be shut down and closed over several days. The north shore Chateau will be open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through the end of October. The Ice Age Store and south shore concessions are now closed for the season. - Richard Hesed, visitor services associate
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Anglers along the Rock River have been catching catfish and white bass in many areas, including below the Indian Ford Dam and throughout Janesville. Northern pike, walleye, and sauger were also biting in Janesville. A reminder that the trout season is now closed on all waters within Rock County, and it is illegal to fish trout streams with hook and line for any species during the closed season. The reopening of duck season brought limited success in Rock County, with mallards and wood ducks in hunters' bags. Most duck hunting activity has been on the Rock River, and wardens have received several complaints of hunters shooting near houses, pedestrians, and other recreational boaters, in addition to trespassing complaints. Hunters, even if hunting leally, are asked to be mindful of where their pellets are falling. All hunters need permission from the land owner when walking on the river banks of private property. Islands and exposed sand bars within the river are also private property, and trespassing laws apply to these lands as well. A reminder that waterfowl hunters are not allowed to possess lead shot while hunting. The archery deer season is gaining momentum with the falling leaves and the appearance of frost. An increasing number of deer hunters are seen in the field, and wardens remind those hunting on DNR-managed lands to remove their tree stands every evening. There have been multiple complaints of tree stands left overnight, and wardens continue to encounter unoccupied tree stands on state property that are not marked with the owner's name and address, or their DNR Customer ID number. Cutting shooting lanes, trimming branches, and using screw-in steps or bow hangers is damaging to trees and is not allowed on public property. Baiting and feeding is prohibited in all of Rock County. - Boyd Richter and Keith Meverden, conservation wardens, Janesville
West Central Region
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Buffalo County - Fall colors are starting to hit their peak in Buffalo County. Duck hunters experienced mixed success over the second opener in the Mississippi and Southern duck zones. The most commonly shot ducks were wood ducks and teal, with some mallards mixed in. Some migrant ducks are starting to show up in the Big Lake area. Some flocks of diver ducks have started to show up in the area in which most are Ring-Necks, though a few canvasbacks have been seen. Buck rubs and scrapes are just starting to show up in the woods. Other migratory birds are starting to show up on the Mississippi as well. Large flocks of cormorants have been seen, and several egrets have been using the Rieck's Lake area recently. Several pairs of trumpeter swans have been seen in wetlands along Highway 37 north of Alma. - Mark Rasmussen, wildlife biologist, Alma
La Crosse County - The Mississippi River re-opener for the duck season was a huge success even with the federal shutdown that closed refuge lands. Many hunters were observed throughout the weekend with ducks in nearly everyone's bag. A large number of blue-winged teal were found throughout the river's backwaters along with an unusually high number of northern pintails. Hunting is good and the river remains open. - Tyler Strelow, warden supervisor, La Crosse
Vernon County - Just like clockwork, dark-eyed juncos arrived in the area this week. Noted Wisconsin ornithologist Sam Robbins stated in his book "Wisconsin Birdlife" that even though birds know nothing about political boundaries, the US - Canadian border approximates the summer and winter range of the dark-eyed junco. These birds generally summer north of the border and spend winters south of it. Sparrow-sized juncos are easily identified by their uniformly slate-gray head, back, and breast, along with white outer tail feathers. The bill and belly are whitish. Juncos readily patronize bird feeders, where they prefer to feed on the ground. They are fond of black oil sunflower, white proso millet, cracked corn, peanuts, and grain sorghum. Juncos often feed among tree sparrows, fox sparrows, white-throated sparrows, and white-crowned sparrows. Woodcock hunters are reporting fair numbers of woodcock in the area, especially along the Kickapoo River. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Temperatures in the 50s are predicted through the weekend with small chances of rain. This is great weather for hiking, fall hunting, and enjoying the property. The first color peak of the year is winding down. Yellow is still visible in the aspens and some of the maples. Red is becoming less present. The second peak is in progress which is dominated by the oaks is starting with coppery browns and some scarlet present. Still good conditions for a fall drive through the state forest. Trails are closed for the season and will re-open to snowmobiles and ATVs on Dec. 15 as long as frozen ground conditions are present. UTVs, due to their weight are not allowed on the trails in the winter. The flush toilet and shower building and the dump station at Castle Mound are closed for the season. Vault toilets and water at the hand pumps are still available. We now have a new group camp that opened on June 7, and this would make a great place for fall hunting groups to use. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -At the Chippewa River State Trail utility work will be ongoing near the Highway 85 underpass until late November. The local snowmobile club will be repairing railings on the first bridge to the south of the Highway 85 underpass on Saturday Oct. 19. Trail will remain open.
Anglers fishing at the base of the Lake Altoona Dam spillway have been catching a lot of legal sized walleye. The minimum legal size for walleye at Altoona is 15 inches and the daily bag limit is 5 fish. The boat landing at Lake Altoona County Park remains closed for renovations, but should open in the near future. Boaters have been using the Indian Hills Drive access at the north shoreline. Lake Altoona anglers have been catching some bag limits (10) of nice sized perch and crappie. - Warden Scott Thiede
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Adams County - Fall colors are nice in northern Adams County, but beginning to fade. Bucks are starting to chase the does now as the weather is turning. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship
Portage County - Duck numbers are pretty low on the Point Flowage. The Mead Wildlife Area has been producing some okay numbers of mallards, wood ducks, teal and a couple bluebills. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point