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Outdoor Report for October 24, 2013
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
It is finally starting to feel like fall in Wisconsin. With temperatures dipping well below freezing the morning, the frost has been hitting the trees hard leading to more leaf drop. The leaf drop is assisting archery and game bird hunters in finding their targets easier. In parts of northern Wisconsin snow has started to cover the ground, which helps in the pursuit of game. Whitetail scrapes and rubs are becoming more prevalent, and more deer movement is occurring during the day time hours.
Mixed success has been reported during the opening weekend of pheasant season. Some areas that received controlled burns in the spring made it a little harder to locate game birds. Wolf season is off to a much faster start compared to last year's inaugural season. A second wolf was harvested in Columbia County this week, and one wolf was taken by bow and arrow in the northwoods. Wolf hunting and trapping Zone 2 is now closed, due to the zone reaching its quota. Do not forget that the Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing license deadline ends on October 31.
There will be several Halloween hikes occurring on state properties this weekend. On Saturday October 26 there will be Halloween hikes at Copper Falls State Park, Crex Meadows Wildlife Area, Devil's Lake State Park, Heritage Hill State Park, High Cliff State Park and Willow River State Park. The MacKenzie Center in Poynette will be hosting a haunted hay ride on Saturday as well. For more information on these events visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/getoutdoors/events.html.
Conifer, hardwood and shrub seedlings are available to purchase through the DNR nursery program beginning September 27, 2013. Landowners are required to purchase a minimum of 300 trees or shrubs and must use the stock for conservation plantings. An application is available online at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/TreePlanting/, by calling 715-424-3700 or from your local DNR office. Nursery stock is sold at cost with variable prices depending on the species, age and quantity ordered. Cost sharing may be available to help defray the cost of nursery stock, site preparation and planting. Contact your local DNR forester for more information.
Cool, windy and wet weather (and even some snow) seemed to limit a lot of fishing activity in the northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures have now dropped into the low 50's and upper 40's, and the fall turnover is now completed on most lakes in the north. Musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure on our northern lakes and their success has started to get inconsistent. Door County bass fishing remained hot from the county line to Washington Island. Fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway is also picking up due to lower water temperatures.
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Copper Falls State Park - The south campground and group sites are closed for the season. Sites within the north campground are open until we receive snowfall. Once snow has fallen the 1- 4 sites will be available. All pressurized water systems have been shut off for the 2013 season. This would include our shower building, beach house, concession, and all fountains within the campgrounds and picnic areas. There will be water available at the office when it is open and water available at the stone maintenance garage located off the maintenance road. The park visitors are hearing an occasional grouse drumming as they recreate the trails within the park. The trees are past peak color and a majority of them have lost their leaves. - Gregory P Behling, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Cool, windy and wet weather (and even some snow) seemed to limit a lot of fishing activity in the northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures have now dropped into the low 50's and upper 40's, and the fall turnover is now completed on most lakes. Musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure on our local lakes and their success has started to get inconsistent. Many anglers have reported some slow fishing in the last week, and active musky were a bit tough to come by. A fair number of anglers are still tossing artificials and their slow action is starting to be echoed by many of the sucker anglers. But there have been a few positive reports with some catches of 30 to 38 inch musky and a few upper 40 inch fish being sighted. There has been a recent surge in crappie action with quite a few reports of some decent catches. The crappie have been found near the mid-depth cover and suspended a few feet off the bottom in deeper water. Walleye success continues to be generally slow with only a few reports of catches being made. With the cold water temperatures, bass fishing is all but over for the year. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Florence DNR at the Florence Natural Resource Center
Florence County - Florence County has localized pockets of good ruffed grouse hunting. See Florence County Forest hunter walking trail maps, or county-wide grouse habitat area maps. www.exploreflorencecounty.com offers online access to these. - Anna Jahns, wildlife technician, Florence
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Most of the color show is over. Some leaves are stubbornly hanging on, providing a bit of color here and there but the majority of the of the leaves are from the oaks, which tend to keep their rust/brown leaves into the winter. Tamarack trees are putting on their Packer colors as they are changing colors from green to gold. The tamarack is the only conifer in our state that changes color and sheds all of its leaves each fall. Anglers on the Bois Brule River are reporting that the brown trout and coho salmon catch has dwindled, leaving the most sought after fish of the Brule...the steelhead. Fishing is open on the Bois Brule River from Highway 2 to Lake Superior through Nov. 15. The Copper Range Campground has been busy on the weekends with anglers seeking steelhead. Light dustings of snow have fallen over the past week reminding us that winter is around the corner. The temperatures have been just warm enough to melt the snow that we have been receiving, but in the northland...it's just a matter of time before the ice houses will be out on the lakes and the cross country skis will be dusted off. - Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Door County - Salmon fishing was fantastic with boats fishing out of Sturgeon Bay and trolling the bank reef in 100 to 150 feet of water catching limits of young chinook and steelhead. In Baileys Harbor fishing was also fantastic where boats fished the top 75 to 300 feet of water. In both Sturgeon Bay and Baileys Harbor the most popular baits were flasher flies and glow spoons. In the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal, boats trolled and shore anglers casted with some impressive chinook harvested on their way to Strawberry Creek. Glow spoons and spoons with dark and sparkly combinations, like black and gold, worked best. Chinook were also seen in all the major lake and bayside marinas in the county; including Baileys Harbor, Egg Harbor and Sister Bay, and in some of the lakeside tributaries; including Reiboldt's Creek and Stony Creek. Door County bass fishing remained hot from the county line to Washington Island. Tubes, grubs and spinner baits worked well, but the most popular and successful bait to catch big bass was minnow rigs. Most of these larger fish are generally being found in 15 feet of water or more, but Anderson's Dock in Ephraim and George K. Pinney (formerly Stone Quarry) are good places to try from shore. Perch were caught in the inner and outer parts of Sturgeon Bay using crawlers and minnows but small, bright spoons and tubes also worked. The shore at Sawyer Park, around the boats in the marinas or anywhere where there are weed beds near shore all produced fish. Other places in Door County to look for perch include Egg Harbor, Anderson's Dock in Ephraim and Moonlight Bay. Walleye fishing has improved, especially at night from Monument Point up to Sister Bay. Most of these walleyes are found in 15 to 25 feet of water using crawler harnesses, crankbaits, or deep diving husky jerks. With the full moon, walleye activity could pick up at night from now until the end of the month. At Little Sturgeon Bay perch were caught using minnows in 6 to 15 feet of water. Smallmouth was also caught using suckers in 12 to 25 feet of water. A few northern pike were caught and released in the 27 to 30 inch range. In Sawyer Harbor very good numbers of perch were caught on minnows in 5 to 11 feet of water.
Kewaunee County - Limits of young chinook, steelhead and even a few browns were caught a few miles offshore, in 200 to 300 feet of water, fishing 75 feet down. Fly/dodger combos and spoons were the most effective baits with no particular color being the best. The Kewaunee and Ahnapee Rivers were still packed with shore anglers trying to land a trophy fish. Best baits were various spoons, crankbaits, stickbaits, flys, jigs, spinners, marshmallows and nightcrawlers.
Manitowoc County - On the East Twin River chinook were caught at the dam in Mishicot and just south of the Main Street Bridge. On the West Twin River anglers fishing just south of the dam in Shoto caught brown trout, chinook and coho salmon. One group of interviewed anglers caught their daily limit in about 3.5 hours of fishing.
Marinette County - Chinook were caught below the Dam in Peshtigo fishing just below the power house using spawn. Smallmouth bass were caught using spoons and spinner baits. Some walleye and smallmouth were caught trolling Rapalas or plastics on the Menominee River.
Oconto County - Crappie and bluegill were caught below the Stiles Dam with slip bobbers using minnows and leaf worms. Perch were caught in the boat landing areas at both the Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II using minnows. One 47.5 inch musky was caught in 10 to 12 feet of water using an orange and black bucktail.
Brown County - At Fox River Metro walleye anglers reported catching fish using various colored jig baits in 3 to 12 feet of water using crankbaits and chartreuse, blue, orange, or silver crawler harnesses. Several musky were caught using fire tiger or chartreuse crankbaits in 6 to 14 feet of water. Some other species caught were catfish, white bass, and sheepshead. On the Suamico River a 42 inch musky was caught on a crankbait in 8 to 10 feet of water and a 44 inch northern pike was caught while targeting musky. At the Suamico River Shore perch in the 7 inch range were caught using minnows and night crawlers. At Bayshore Park perch were caught using minnows in 15 to 20 feet of water.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Fall is definitely here with Marinette County having several freezes already this year and even some snow flurries. Windy and rainy weather has chewed away at our fall color display with the brightest colors now off the trees. Woodcock should be making a migration south soon, but there have been no reports of migrants yet. The leaves in the understory are all but off now making for much better upland bird hunting and a great time to identify buckthorn. Common and glossy buckthorn are invasive shrubs that hold their leaves longer in the fall than their native competition. The full moon seems to be keeping deer more active at night, but hunters are still seeing deer during daylight hours. A reminder to hunters that a meeting on implementation of the Deer Trustee Report will be held at the Crivitz High School on October 30 from 7 to 9 p.m. (check the DNR website for more info-Keyword Deer Trustee). - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Oconto County - Pheasant hunters met with varying success. People with dogs did well and those without did not. Most birds in Oconto County are stocked by local clubs. Waterfowl hunters on Green Bay are finding a good number of bluebills with some canvasbacks and redheads. Some hunters are already reporting mergansers and goldeneyes showing up. The number of swans on Green Bay has increased over the past week. Most seem to be in the area just south of the City of Oconto. Deer activity is picking up with a number of vehicle deer collisions reported. - Mike Stahl, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Shawano County - The leaves are really flying off the trees, and the weather has turned much cooler. Deer activity seems to be picking up so the rut is probably just starting. Plenty of deer can be seen in the fields especially as the corn comes off. Ducks are flying around and more mallards are using the area. Geese are using area fields but the big migration hasn't happened yet. Lots of pheasants can be seen as you drive around the county and hunters are having good success. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Brown County - Fall weather has finally arrived to the area. With fall temperatures comes the typical fall winds. These winds historically bring rafts of diver duck species to the area as well as some rough waters on the Bay. While hunting can't get better the water and wave conditions often get to a hazardous level. Please don't get fooled that going out on Green Bay will be an easy boat ride, because it won't. If you read through the history of duck hunting on Green Bay you will read about some of the best duck hunting around. If you turn the page you will also read that numerous people have lost their lives in the pursuit of good duck hunting and a multitude more have had close calls with death. Remember that there isn't a duck worth a human life. If you do venture out wear your life jackets and make sure you have all of your safety equipment on your boat. - Darren Kuhn, marine unit conservation warden, Green Bay
Manitowoc County - The fall fish run along the lake shore in Kewaunee and Manitowoc County continues, although it has slowed down considerably. Anglers continue to harvest salmon along with some brown and rainbow trout. As always, anglers are advised that foul hooked fish or fish not hooked inside the mouth, must be release back into the water immediately. - David Allen, conservation warden, Mishicot
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Leaves are dropping very quickly, leading to a poor year for colors as it has been too dry in this area. Woodcock and wood ducks are still around in good numbers, but probably won't hang around much longer given the cold weather predicted in the next week. Deer are really starting to move, with hunters reporting greatly increased daytime activity. There are still plenty of geese around the area. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Archery deer hunters have reported a lull in the action but are waiting for the rut to occur. Several hunters have seen small bucks chasing does. The rut should be just around the corner. Goose hunters are reporting seeing a good number of birds around the Waupaca area. Hunters should concentrate their scouting efforts near picked grain fields for best success. Leaf color is well past its peak and leaves are falling rapidly. This is due to the recent rains received in the Waupaca area. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
High Cliff State Park - The fall winds have been creating white caps across Lake Winnebago and have kept most anglers on the shores for the past week. Wind surfers, however, have been enjoying the turbulent waters. Fall colors hit peak last week and the remaining leaves are falling fast. Campers are getting their last days of camping in before the snow flies and the family campground closes for the winter. - Cynthia Mueller, naturalist
Fond du Lac County - The Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge is loaded with ducks. Unfortunately, the viewing areas off Highway 49 still have low water and therefore, not as many birds as the interior sections of the refuge. Water levels have been rising in all parts of the marsh recently which will help spread the birds out more. Due to drought and low water the last two years, the marsh has lots of food for the waterfowl to eat. Crop harvesting continues in full force on area fields which should improve the field feeding for both the ducks and geese. - Ben Nadolski, conservation warden, Waupun
Outagamie County - With the cool rainy weather the ducks and geese have been flying into the county. Crops are being harvested which is assisting in moving the deer into the woods. The leaves are changing fast and being blown off the trees, opening up the woods for more effective bow hunting. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan the Sheboygan River has received the majority of fishing pressure, with most anglers concentrating around Esslingen Park and the Kohler municipal sheds. Most catches consisted of chinook and coho near the Kohler Dam; additional coho were caught downstream near Esslingen Park and below Taylor Drive, as well as a couple brown trout. Very few anglers have been observed fishing the downstream reaches of the river. Most fish continue to be caught on flies, but fish are also being taken on spawn sacs, spinners, and spoons. All fishing pressure on shore continues to be from around the marina ramp, although fishing has been relatively slow. Most action has been on spawn sacs. 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 coho and browns have been caught in the north slip on spawn under a bobber or tube jigs. Anglers around the power plant discharge reported relatively low catch rates, but a mix of chinook, coho, and browns have been taken on spoons and spawn sacs. Sauk Creek water levels are up somewhat, and a few anglers have been working near the mouth of the creek with reports of chinook and coho caught on spawn and spoons. Fishing pressure has remained low from the ramp in Port Washington. Trollers have reported marking fish from 30 to 150 feet of water, and have taken small chinook and browns on both spoons and flies.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers working outside of the break wall have been focusing in 40 to 70 feet of water for immature chinook, along with some browns. Spoons and crank baits in blue, green, and purple colors produced the best, and J-plugs or flies also took a few fish. Quite a few boats were seen jigging or floating skein in and around the gaps and trolling the river channel and harbor for chinook and brown trout with some success. Crankbaits in red, purple, and chartreuse seemed to perform the best for those still casting in boats. Floating spawn around the boat docks was also productive for boaters, with quite a few chinook being caught. Anglers off of McKinley pier produced a few chinook 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 and skein was effective from the launch ramps at McKinley. There have also been some perch caught on minnows off the bottom by anglers under the Hoan Bridge near the Sail Loft restaurant, as well as in the Summerfest Lagoon. Anglers fishing in Oak Creek have been catching chinook on spawn sacs and skein. Fishing slowed at the Oak Creek power plant fishing pier after the power plant stopped discharging water. 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. The best presentation has been using skein, small flies, or small spinning baits to trigger a reaction strike. There have been a few crappies and perch caught on minnows under floats near the MMSD building.
Racine County - In Racine, flows on the Root River remain low. Anglers have been fishing throughout the river, but the majority of action has been downstream of the Root River Steelhead Facility. The few anglers fishing upstream had plenty of room to spread out, and they caught decent numbers of fish on a variety of flies. Downstream of the Steelhead Facility, fly anglers were catching the majority of fish but some were also taken on skein and spawn sacs fished in the deeper holes. Decent numbers of chinook, coho, and browns were taken by anglers fishing in Lincoln Park, Island Park, and Washington Park. DNR crews processed over 300 fish at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, October 21st. So far this season, 1,868 fish have been processed, and a total of 945 chinook, 30 coho, 5 rainbows, and 153 browns have been passed upriver. Fish will be processed again on Thursday, October 24. 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 chinook 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.
South Central Region
Iowa County - Fall is definitely on its way out as juncos have been seen coming from the north, so winter won't be far behind! Look for these cooler temperatures and the harvesting of crops to create more deer movement. Reports coming in state that younger buck are moving so you may start to see more than does on your trail cameras. These cooler temperatures may also bring more northern birds to the south, which should delight duck hunters. The cold temperatures have also been cooling local lakes and rivers, making fall fishing interesting. The recent wind and rains are also quickly pulling leaves off the trees which will makes spotting pheasants easier in the low lands. Remember that October 26 is the opening of mink and muskrat season. There is still plenty of time left for a nice brisk walk in the woods, paddle down the river or one last overnight stay at Governor Dodge State Park. Winter is approaching fast! - Chris Weller, conservation warden recruit, Iowa County
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Dodge County - There have been many reports of a large number of ring-neck ducks and ruddy ducks being seen by hunters in the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife area and Mud Lake Wildlife area. - Paul Nell, conservation warden, Horicon
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Migratory birds continue to increase in numbers. Canada Geese, mallards, green-winged teal and shovelers are being seen in large numbers. Highway 49 is a great location to view large duck diversity. There have also been reports of American avocets, a white faced ibis and a marbled godwit over the last week on Highway 49. Migrant sparrows, kinglets and warblers are still being seen in brushy areas around the marsh. Enjoy the great fall birding around the Horicon Marsh area! If you are looking for great events this weekend, join landscape photographer Dave Edwards for a free photography workshop at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Saturday, October 26 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No registration is required and anyone is welcome to attend. The schedule includes how to take better images, iPhone-ography, Q & A and an optional field trip with an opportunity for critique of photos. Also on Saturday, October 26, join wildlife educators from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a "wildlife snapshots" program. Bring your family and your camera for a guided wildlife hike with opportunities to take home some great photos of the marsh. For more information please visit www.horiconmarsh.org or call 920-387-7893. The visitor center is located at N7725 Hwy 28, Horicon. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Pheasant hunting is off with a bang. Hundreds of hunters took to the State Wildlife Areas in Columbia County this past weekend. Fishing on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River is picking up. Trees are getting close to peak color with some trees already dropping their leaves. Wolf hunters have been fairly successful with two wolves being taken so far in Columbia County. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Geese are moving through the county in huge flocks, along with ducks, cranes and blackbirds as well. Area pheasant hunters had mixed success opening weekend. Many commented on how "rank" the native prairie fields were this year, especially fields that had been burned this past spring. Hopefully these fields will stand up to winter snows and provide more winter cover to any wild birds that may be in the area. They are also providing an added challenge to finding birds on the public hunting grounds. Users at Pine Island Wildlife Area should be aware that a timber sale will be beginning soon to remove aspen. The sale will take place south of Levee Road in Sauk County. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Jefferson County - There have been reports from duck hunters that many local ducks have left the area due to the recent cold temperatures. Waterfowl hunters on Lake Koshkonong reported seeing redhead, bufflehead, ring-neck and ruddy ducks on the lake. There have also been reports of small groups of snow geese being seen. Pheasant hunters have been pleased with success. Hunters report a better overall experience due to weather, more pheasants released and improved habitat. Dry land trapping opened on October 19. Several trappers have reported trapping fewer raccoons the opening weekend than in years past.
Fall colors are almost at peak in the area. Check out the fall colors at wildlife areas on the Glacial Drumlin Trail or float a creek or river. - Ryan Ellifson, conservation warden, Jefferson County
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - There has been a busy start to the fall hunting seasons in Rock County. Wardens have checked multiple waterfowl hunters along the Sugar and Rock Rivers, with little reported success from duck hunters. Wardens issued several citations on opening day for open water blinds. Please remember to read the regulations regarding open water blinds. Hunters participating in goose hunting seem to be doing a little better, and are reminded of the importance to call in and register your geese at 1-800-994-6673 (1-800-99-GOOSE). Along with the colder weather, the deer are moving a lot more, and archery hunters are doing well. Remember if you are hunting on state/DNR managed land, clearly place your customer number or name and address on your stand, and remove it at the end of each hunting day. Stands may not be left overnight on DNR managed properties. Be safe during this fall hunting season, and enjoy the cooler weather and beautiful scenery. - Mike Dieckhoff and Bryan Harrenstein, conservation wardens, Janesville
West Central Region
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County - Recent weather changes have brought more ducks and geese into the area including the Mississippi River and Upper St Croix River marshes. Fall colors are just getting at peak or past peak in far Western Wisconsin. The recent pheasant opener found quite a few hunters out, but much of the crops in the area are not harvested yet making finding birds at mid-day a little tougher. Wild bird numbers are down due to the tough spring and loss of grass lands. State lands in the Dunnville Area of Dunn County had good numbers of pheasants stocked this year with more to come. Good hunter success was seen in that area. Bow hunter success with deer has been good and good numbers of turkey have been observed for those with fall harvest tag. - David A. Hausman, warden supervisor, Baldwin
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Buffalo and Trempealeau County - Fall has come into full swing in Trempealeau and Buffalo County with nights getting into the low 30's. The leaves are in their vibrant colors and many trees are starting to slowly lose their leaves. The deer have been becoming more active during the day and some bucks have been seen feeding in picked cornfields. Scrapes and rubs are showing up near wooded field edges and the deer activity has been good. There has been great opportunity for pheasant hunting and a lot of nice roosters have been seen flying on public hunting grounds. The turkeys have been very active and a lot of good flocks have been seen along with nice toms. Hunters are strongly encouraged to wear their safety harnesses when hunting in elevated stands this fall season. - John Schreiber, conservation warden, Trempealeau.
La Crosse County - Fall is definitely now upon us; most of the leaves have changed colors and fallen to the ground. If you look to the skies you'll probably see the start of the waterfowl migration. On the Mississippi River droves of waterfowl have arrived in the last couple days staying ahead of the cold weather in the northern regions. Many hunters are having some luck hunting for both divers and puddle ducks. Hunters and bird watchers are reminded to be safe. Dress appropriately for the weather, temperatures can rise and fall in a matter of minutes along with rain showers and snow storms. Be prepared for changing conditions so you can have a safe and enjoyable outing. Fishing on the Mississippi river is still pretty good. Many anglers are having success fishing for bluegills, crappies, perch, and walleyes. A lot of fish are being caught over fish cribs, structures, and wing-dams. - Lee Posusta, conservation warden recruit, La Crosse
Vernon County - Bald eagle sightings have been increasing steadily during the past several weeks as the fall bird migration progresses. Good numbers of eagles can be seen along the Mississippi River and Kickapoo River. Eagles, however, are not confined to traveling exclusively along river corridors, so keep a sharp lookout wherever you go. For example, bald eagles have recently been seen flying over Viroqua in central Vernon County, 20 miles from the Mississippi River and 15 miles from the Kickapoo River. Fall turkey hunters have been reporting good success and plenty of birds to hunt. Turkey hunters should be aware that the acorn crop is smaller than that of the past several years. Therefore, wild turkeys may be spending less time feeding in oak woodlands. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Monroe County - It is time to get out in the woods, as archery deer hunters are reporting the rut happening with numerous rubs and scrapes created this last week. Duck hunters and goose hunters are having success with harvesting ring-necked ducks and Canada geese. A few days into the wolf hunting/trapping season, a licensed wolf trapper successfully trapped the first wolf in Monroe County in modern times. - Matt Modjeski, conservation warden, Monroe County
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Adams County - The deer have been very active in the last few days and the trappers are having success with coyote and wolf harvest in Adams County. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship
Portage County - With the cold weather deer activity has picked up. Scrapes and rubs are starting to appear and visibility in the woods has become much better as the leaves begin to fall in earnest. Angling success on the Wisconsin River is increasing with the fall walleye bite picking up. Anglers are finding success fishing channel edges with minnows and jigs or trolling crankbaits. The cold weather has also brought diving ducks into the area in small numbers but has driven out blue-winged teal and began to chase off the wood ducks.
Wood County - Local wardens report that they registered their first wolf of the season last week. The 65-70 pound male was trapped by a juvenile trapper in Shawano County with the assistance of his father. - Barry Fetting, conservation warden, Wisconsin Rapids