Published November 2, 2017 by the Central Office
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).
Snow has been on the ground a week in northern Wisconsin, with some areas having a dusting and others several inches. Some tamaracks are still clinging to their needles, but most other trees, with the exception of oaks, are losing their leaves. In the south only a handful of counties are still reporting peak color, mostly in the southeast on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Biologists across the state are reporting the white-tailed deer rut, or mating season, is in full swing. Deer are moving more each week, in the daylight as well as just before and after sundown. Archery hunters have reported good success in central Wisconsin. Drivers should keep their eyes open as deer are appearing frequently at roadsides.
Fall turkey hunters in southwestern Wisconsin have been reporting good success and plenty of birds. The nut and acorn crop in these counties is tremendously larger than the past several years, so wild turkeys are spending more time feeding in oak woodlands. Woodcock have apparently started another push south. Ducks and geese have been seen in many fields with the high water levels and waterfowl hunters have been successful lately.
Anglers fishing along northern Lake Michigan had cold, wet and windy weather to struggle through this week. The fall salmon run is winding down but an electro-shocking survey showed trout and salmon still active in the Peshtigo River. On the Menominee, brown trout, steelhead, walleye and coho were caught below the Hattie Street Dam.
Fishing is also slowing in Kewaunee and Algoma, though reports of coho and chinook are still coming in on the Kewaunee and Ahnapee rivers along with some brown trout. The run was also slowing on southern Lake Michigan tributaries. Fishing pressure was low due to weather the past week. Anglers fishing the Sheboygan River reported catches of chinook and coho. In Racine, numbers of chinook caught have dropped off, with only a few reported upstream and downstream of the Root River steelhead facility.
On Green Bay, boat anglers out of Brown County have been targeting walleye and musky with consistent success. With the water temperature dropping, greater numbers of walleye moved back into the Fox River, leading to a large increase in anglers fishing at Voyager Park with considerable success. Door County anglers were after smallmouth, with a somewhat slower catch off Stone Quarry and Rowley's Bay and reports of pike from those fishing the Sturgeon Bay Canal. Anglers continue to report good success on the Wolf River with decent catches of crappies and walleyes.
More than 10,000 sandhill cranes were tallied at Fish Lake and Crex Meadows wildlife areas on Oct. 30. Waterfowl diversity is outstanding now, with a wide variety of diving and dabbling species on inland lakes and marshes and the Mississippi River and Great Lakes shorelines. More than 20,000 red-breasted mergansers were counted in Ozaukee County, while 5,000-plus were tallied in Kewaunee, where hundreds of redheads were also found. Large rafts of American coots remain in some locations, including 4,500 reported in Shawano.
This is a great time of year to spot the invasive species buckthorn. This non-native is hanging onto its green leaves, making this the time to spot new and old stands for future control.
It's the full beaver moon this weekend and night hikes are scheduled at the Southern Kettle Moraine and at the MacKenzie center. For all events, search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
It's that time of year again. Snowy owls are moving into the state, so far in small numbers. At least nine individuals have been reported across seven counties as far south as Milwaukee and Crawford.
Birders also had good luck finding short-eared owls this week, as well as rough-legged hawks, snow buntings, and other birds of open habitats. Red crossbills and common redpolls continue to infiltrate the state, though the latter not at feeders quite yet. Cedar waxwings were observed at fruit sources in the south and central, while the first bohemian waxwings have moved into the north woods. Despite the cold weather, some of the warblers noted this week included northern parula, common yellowthroat, and Tennessee warbler among a few remaining orange-crowneds, yellow-rumps and palms.
More than 10,000 sandhill cranes were tallied at Fish Lake and Crex Meadows Wildlife Areas in Burnett County on the Oct. 30. Thousands are staging in other traditional sites in the south and along the lower Wisconsin River. Waterfowl diversity is outstanding right now. Look for a wide variety of diving and dabbling species on inland lakes and marshes, as well as the Mississippi River and Great Lakes shorelines. Over 20,000 red-breasted mergansers were counted in migration in Ozaukee County on the Nov. 1, while 5,000-plus were tallied in Kewaunee, where hundreds of redheads were also found. Large rafts of American coots remain in some locations, including 4,500 reported in Shawano on the Oct. 27. Of note in Dane were white-winged scoters, snow goose, and Ross's goose among a variety of other waterfowl.
Rarities spotted this week included white-winged dove in Racine County, glossy/white-faced ibis at Horicon and - very unusually - in Vilas, and barn owl in Sauk. Also noteworthy were gray catbirds in Milwaukee and Ashland, parasitic jaeger in Douglas, white-rumped sandpipers in Brown, and barn swallows in Grant. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds at www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Ryan Brady, NHC conservation biologist, Ashland
Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties November 3-6
Friday November 3, 2017
Saturday November 4, 2017
Monday, November 6, 2017
November 10, 9 a.m.-noon. Ridgeway Pine Relict: Whitewater Oak Opening: November 11, 9 a.m.-noon. Help volunteers during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays on the second Saturday. Protect some majestic oaks in the process. We will spray, cut and pile brush at a couple different sites including two remnant hill prairies. Buckthorn can spread and shade out savanna plants at this site. Bring a bag lunch to eat afterwards. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The past week has provided some early season snow, winter weather advisories and colder than normal temperatures. Snow has been on the ground for nearly a week. At this rate, it's going to be a very long winter! This view of the river on Halloween morning seemed more like a Christmas morning view. The weather can be seen as either a trick or a treat, depending on your perspective! Even with the snow, there are still fishermen casting their lines and a few campers in the campgrounds. Next week promises some sunshine and temperatures reaching 40 degrees. Maybe winter hasn't settled in to stay quite yet. The deer have been extremely active as of late. It seems any time of day or night, deer can be found somewhere along the roadways. The likelihood of deer-vehicle crashes increases with these shorter days and the unpredictable rutting behavior of the deer. Slow down and watch for deer—especially at night! The boat landing at the mouth of the Brule is closed until further notice. A strong storm and high winds last week, combined with high Lake Superior water levels eroded the road from the parking lot to the landing. It will be closed for an undetermined period of time. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Migration season is still going on in the Glacial Lake Grantsburg area. Many species have already moved south for the winter, but some of our winter residents have started to show up. This week, we got our first reports of snow buntings in the area. Look for them on Phantom Lake Road and near the Airport on County Road D. There were also sightings of northern shrikes, Lapland longspurs, and a red crossbill. The DNR also conducted an official sandhill crane count on Monday, Oct. 30. There were a total of 10,929 cranes. Approximately 3,600 of those were counted on Main Dike Road (south of the refuge), and about1,900 were counted flying out of the Grettum Refuge on Fish Lake Wildlife Area. There were a few interesting mammals sighted this week as well, including four river otters in Dike 1 and one in Phantom Lake, and a mink also near Dike 1. As temperatures continue to be in the 30-40 degree range, Grantsburg residents are preparing for winter. Lauren Finch, wildlife educator
Interstate Park - There is a small amount of snow in the park but most of it will melt in the coming days. Please use caution on the trails this time of year as wet conditions and leaves can result in slippery spots on the trail especially on rock surfaces. The rut is in fully gear at the park with several different bucks chasing the many does in the park. Camp Interstate, south campground, and the river bottoms picnic area are all good places to see deer if you are looking at taking some pictures. Geese, migrating ducks, and a beaver can be seen on the lake and on the St. Croix River. All campsites are still open, but water has been shut off in the campgrounds. Water can found at the Ice Age Center, at the old office, or the hand pump in the group camp. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Straight Lake State Park - The forest floor is covered with snow at this point. The rut is going strong in the park with bucks chasing does throughout the park. Grouse have been seen along the Straight Lake Trail and migrating waterfowl are gathering on Straight Lake. Expect trails to be muddy and possibly wet until the ground freezes. The campground is open. Campers will need to bring in their own water. All sites are first come first serve and must be paid for via self-registration. Rainbow Lake has been stocked with a few more trout. The season for trout is open until March. Both Rainbow and Straight are ice free. Park Stickers are now required at Straight Lake. Stickers can be purchased at self-registration boxes located in the picnic area, campground, and 280th avenue lots. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - The water levels are high on the South Fork and more normal on the North Fork of the Flambeau River. The Flambeau forest tree canopies are very sparse of leaves. Tamaracks are yellow and dropping their needles. Deer are moving a lot and the bucks are already starting their rut. Temperatures are dropping and early morning frost looks to be almost an everyday occurrence. When hunting on the Flambeau River State Forest be aware that elk calves are about the same size as an adult deer. Bird migration is in progress. Swans were seen on the area lakes. Robins have been grouping up for a move and the snow buntings are busy fluttering around on the sides of the roads. There are a few timber sales cutting on the Forest as the woods are very wet. Most logging operations are waiting for freeze up. The weather forecast for the remainder of this week, calls for Friday to be partly sunny with a high of 37 and a low of 28. Saturday, snow showers likely before noon and rain after noon with a high near 38 and a low of 35. Sunday, showers likely with a high near 47 and a low of 29. Dig out those warm clothes and have a good week and be sure to move your clocks back Sunday, daylight savings time ends. ATV/UTV Trail will be closed as of Nov. 15. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The plummeting temperatures of this past week has the Northwood's in shock, let alone the critters that live outside. Most leaves, except for the oak, have fallen and one can once again see into the woods. It may take the deer, grouse, turkeys and rabbits a little while to realize that you can see them even if they don't move! It is a great time to stop, look and listen and wonder who is watching who! Snow depths vary from a trace to several inches. The strong winds of late last week have brought many branches and trees down, so hikers and hunters please be cautious. All piers in the forest have been removed for the season so late season fishers may have to get their feet wet loading and unloading boats. The fishing may be worth it though. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for the week of Oct. 22-28. With the cold, wet, windy weather boating activity has been mainly water fowlers. According to the hunters good numbers and variety of ducks are being harvested along the Bay Shore.
Marinette County - Results of an Peshtigo River electro shock survey showed some trout and salmon from the Highway 41 Bridge up to the Dam on the Peshtigo River. Little River is producing some salmon at its mouth and upstream at Little River Road with spawn sacks the go to bait. The salmon bite has been very slow to materialize this year. Browns, walleye, and the occasional steelhead and king salmon are being caught below the Hattie Street Dam down to the Interstate bridge with live bait, plastics, and spoons. The shiver minnow has been working very well. Perch and pan fish are being caught at Red Arrow Park with the only draw being it is also being used by water fowlers. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Panfish remain the primary draw for anglers below the Stiles Dam on the Oconto River to the Highway 141 Bridge. Live bait such as crawler chunks and minnows are being fished below bobbers in the current seams. A few walleye, perch, and browns are being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River using live bait, plastics, and spoons. Shore anglers from Oconto Breakwater to Oconto Park II were catching perch and other panfish along with pike, using crawler chunks and minnows, plastics an spoons. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - At the Bay Beach launch, there were a variety of boaters on the water over the past week. The anglers out were in search walleye or musky. Both groups did well with consistent numbers of both walleye and musky caught despite the chilly weather. The rest of the boaters on the water were duck hunters. One angler fishing for white bass caught a handful of fish for a few hours on the water. At Voyager Park, with the water temperature dropping, greater numbers of walleye have moved back into the Fox River. This has led to a large increase of the number anglers out fishing in Voyager Park. The park averaged 5-20 anglers fishing from shore over the past week, even late after sundown. All the anglers were targeting walleye with considerable success. Most had their limit within a couple of hours. A few freshwater drum and white bass were caught as well. Plenty of trailers were observed at Duck Creek, but all were duck hunters. At Suamico, most boats out were duck hunters but there were a few anglers out on the water fishing for musky with moderate success. A fish was reported being caught every few boats. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Bayshore was pretty slow all week only averaging 6 boats on a few days throughout the week. Nearly all anglers were out for walleye this week with no luck. Anglers were even having a hard time catching other fish like freshwater drum, white bass, white perch, and round gobies that are normally caught when out for walleye. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Cool weather and wind has kept fishing pressure minimal across Door County. Most anglers have been targeting smallmouth fishing out of Stone Quarry, Sister Bay, Gills Rock and Rowley's Bay. The bass bite has been a bit slow but anglers are having some success fishing offshore structure in 20-30 feet of water using plastics and live suckers. In the Sturgeon Bay Canal most anglers have been finding a few pike. Shore and boat anglers have been finding a few walleyes using crankbaits in the evening and after dark. The salmon run is slowing down but fish can still be seen in the marinas and creeks around the county. Brown trout action should pick up as the water continues to cool. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
At Little Sturgeon Bay, anglers were only observed on one day of the week. The few anglers that were out reported targeting smallmouth bass with no luck. An average of 7 trailers were observed at Sawyer Harbor during at the beginning of the week. Anglers reported targeting yellow perch and came in with or close to their limits for a half day trip. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Salmon fishing may be coming to an end soon in Kewaunee. Fishing pressure has been considerably lower this week compared to the rest of fall, and those anglers out were fishing the Kewaunee River. Fishing in the river slowed proportionally with the decreasing pressure. Many anglers left with no fish this week, although some did manage fish. Those that hooked up caught primarily a mix of chinook and coho salmon, but a couple brown trout were pulled out too. One angler reported that the salmon seemed to be farther upstream toward Bruemmer park while the browns were further downstream. Most of the anglers fishing this week have been fishing with egg flies or beads, but no presentation was better than the next, given the poor overall fishing. Algoma continues to have some successful salmon fishing, although fishing pressure has been much lower this week. One lucky angler managed to catch a small coho off the pier, but only a handful of anglers have fished the piers or from shore in town all week with no other luck. Many anglers were successful fishing the Ahnapee River, mostly just below the Forrestville dam. Catches consisted of mainly chinooks, with a couple coho and a brown or two mixed in, but anglers have reported that fishing also slowed there. Regardless, those that were fishing came off with at least a couple fish per angler fishing mostly with lures resembling eggs. Stony Creek may have seen its last of the fall chinook run as the anglers fishing there had caught and seen only a couple coho. Fewer anglers headed up Stony Creek this week, and no anglers were fishing the pool right off the lake. No anglers have reported any trout in Stony Creek. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - The chinook run is coming to an end but anglers are still catching some of the rough looking salmon upstream. Anglers fishing the marinas and harbors are catching the occasional brown or rainbow. Coho and brown trout action is heating up. Mishicot and Shoto have been producing fish. Fly fishermen using yarn and beads have had the most luck. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Mishicot
During the last week of fishing, there was very low fishing pressure. The wind and waves made it difficult for anglers to fish off of the piers or on the lake shore. Rainy and cold weather made for short and few fishing trips all together. Very few anglers were seen fishing in the Manitowoc and Branch rivers. Despite the bad weather, a few anglers were successful with catching coho within the East and West Twin rivers. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - A few flurries fell this week and the temps are much colder than last week. Deer are moving more during daylight hours and reports of bucks chasing does are increasing. Woodcock have apparently started another push south. Snow buntings and juncos have made an appearance in good numbers. Tamarack is about the only tree hanging onto color and it's about to drop its needles fade away. A few smallmouth and northern have been caught on local flowages. Common and glossy buckthorn, non-native invasive woody plants, are still hanging onto their green leaves. They are easy to spot right now. This is a great time to get out and walk your property to see if there are any new plants to control. Flag them for later cut stump treatment or get the treatment done now—just be sure to read and follow the label! - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Governor Thompson State Park - The hiking trail system has been mowed out wide for winter use and ski trail grooming. Now is a great time to hike the 16 miles of mowed trails and see what landscapes were hidden by the leaves. Visitors are seeing deer and turkeys on the trails. The Family Campground will stay open until Nov. 27. The shower/flush toilet building is closed for the season. The sanitary dump station is open to dump, but there is no longer flush water. There is always fresh water available to fill your camper at the blue hydrants at either vault in the east loop. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - All trails are open. The tree leaf color is past peak but many trees still have leaves. The tower is the most popular location to view the fall leaf color. Several deer and turkey have been spotted closer to dusk. The shower building and all other water systems, including the fish cleaning station and dump station are closed for the season. Drinking water is available year-round near the campground shelter.
Whitefish Dunes State Park - Even though the fall leaves are past peak there is a lot of color in the park and many trees are still holding on to leaves. This a great time to walk the park trails. Visitors have reported seeing deer out on the trails more often this week. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Leaves way past peak, most have now fallen. Strangely enough very few migrant ducks or woodcock seem to have arrived yet. Very strange indeed. The rut is now in full swing, weather for hunting has been bad - rainy and windy. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
The deer rut is on! Hunters have reported good success in Central Wisconsin and have seen a lot of deer moving. Now is the perfect time to be in the woods. Anglers continue to report good success on the Wolf River and decent catches of crappies and walleyes are being seen. Most anglers are using a jig and minnow. Most trapping seasons are open now and despite the projected low fur prices, it is still fun to get out and enjoy this sport with little competition. Waterfowl hunters have reported a lull in the number of birds they are seeing, but with the cooler temperatures and snow in the north, hunters should keep an eye on their favorite areas in case new birds arrive to the area. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma
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 - Fishing pressure was low throughout the week, at times due to windy weather conditions. Anglers fishing on the Sheboygan River reported most of the success. Several chinook salmon and some coho salmon were caught on the Sheboygan River on skein and flies. The water temperature was 43 degrees over the weekend. No interviews were obtained on the Pigeon River, and the water temperature was 44 degrees. The water levels of both rivers have returned to normal heights since the rain last week. No interviews were obtained off the piers. The piers were often closed this week due to windy weather conditions. The surface temperature of the water was 41 degrees over the weekend.
Ozaukee County - Fishing pressure was low during the week. More anglers were present over the weekend with limited success. A couple of coho salmon and one brown trout were caught on skein. The water level has lowered since the rain last week, and the water temperature was 42 degrees over the weekend. Several chinook salmon, some brown trout, and one coho salmon were caught off the utility area. All anglers were fishing with spawn sacs. The water temperature off the piers was 41 degrees.
Racine County - The Root River is currently flowing at 41.7 cfs. Water clarity is good and the water levels are steadily decreasing. Most of the king salmon have died off with only a few being caught this week. Most of the fish caught were coho salmon and a few brown trout were landed as well. Anglers did not seem to prefer fishing upstream or downstream of the Steelhead Facility this week. The river was 50 degrees above and below the steelhead facility. Most of the anglers fishing upstream focused their efforts at Quarry Lake Park and at the Horlick Dam. Most anglers caught between one and three fish; however, a few managed to catch a limit of salmon. Most of the harvested fish were coho salmon, but a few kings were still caught as well. No trout were reported caught. Anglers had the most success on yarn egg flies, dark colored wooly buggers, and a few fish were caught on nymph imitations. Most of the anglers fishing downstream of the facility focused their efforts at Lincoln Park. Many anglers caught between one and three fish, however, a few managed to catch a limit of salmon and trout. Most of the harvested fish were coho salmon, but a few brown trout were reported caught as well. Anglers had the most success on yarn egg flies, dark colored wooly buggers, and a few fish were caught on nymph imitations and spey flies.
Kenosha County - No anglers were fishing at most locations this week and those fishing the shore reported no catch. The mouth of the Pike River was barred off by sand.
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Kenosha County - In the Racine, Walworth and Kenosha county area the deer are more active with buck following does around. Some good reports of waterfowl hunting on Bong recreational area. The pheasant hunting season is also in full swing at bong with stocking occurring daily. Has been only been one morning of freezing temperatures so far this fall Union Grove area and areas east in Kenosha and Racine counties. - Trent Leaf, conservation biologist, Kenosha
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Duck numbers continue to hold strong. Large numbers of pintail, gadwall, wigeon, shoveler, green-winged teal, ring-necked duck and ruddy ducks continue to congregate. Sandhill cranes and geese can be seen flying in and out of the marsh at dawn and dusk. Hwy. 49 on the north end of the marsh is great for viewing as well as the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Hwy. 28. An ibis species was seen at the education center this past week as well as good numbers of rough-legged hawks. Kinglets, fox sparrows, juncos and pine siskins have also moved into the area. Waterfowl migration is nearing peak and it is a wonderful time to come out and visit Horicon Marsh! Do you have an interest in learning how to make wild game sausage? Would you like to hone your sausage making skills or increase your sausage making knowledge? Or do you want to quench your curiosity about how sausages are made and what's in them? If so, attending the Wild Game Sausage Workshop is a must! The demonstration will be held on Monday, Nov. 6 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. Listen and learn from Dr. Jeff Sindelar, University of Wisconsin-Madison Meat Scientist, as he explains step-by-step how popular sausages are made and offers tips and tricks for being successful in making them in your homes. Dr. Sindelar will demonstrate how to incorporate your wild game into various sausages including summer sausage, bratwursts, and jerky with a hand's on demonstration. Plus...you'll be able to sample some of what we make together. Even if you do not have wild game at hand, these techniques will help in all aspects of sausage making! Make plans now to attend as this will be an experience like few others. $20 fee and space is limited to 50 participants. Contact 920-387-7893 or email@example.com to register. The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is located between Horicon, Wis. and Mayville, Wis. on Hwy. 28. For a detailed list of all Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center special events, please visit the Friends of Horicon Marsh website at www.horiconmarsh.org [EXIT DNR]. For more information regarding Horicon Marsh education programs, contact Liz Herzmann, DNR educator, at 920-387-7893 or via email at Elizabeth.firstname.lastname@example.org. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Lake Kegonsa State Park -The campgrounds, dump station and shower building are closed for the season and will re-open in May. All piers have been removed from the lake. - Sarah Bolser, park manager
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
Kinnickinnic State Park - The technicolor splendor that marks the end of summer is giving way to the muted tones of winter. White tailed deer activity is increasing as they near their breeding season. Many types of migratory birds can be seen while on their stopovers at the park as they make their way to southern wintering grounds. All trails are currently open for foot travel. Surfaces vary from dirt and dead leaves, to grass and gravel. Recent precipitation has resulted in wet and sporadically muddy trails. The Boating season on the St. Croix river has come to a close. Hearty fishermen frequent the water adjacent to the park and often try their luck on the North end of the channel. Fishing on the Kinnickinnic River is closed for the season. - Eric Klumb, ranger
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Fall turkey hunters in Crawford and Vernon counties have been reporting good success and plenty of birds to hunt. Turkey hunters should be aware that the nut and acorn crop in these counties is tremendously larger than that of the past several years. Therefore, wild turkeys may be spending more time feeding in oak woodlands and less time in open fields. Squirrel hunters in the same area are reporting mixed results, with numerous hunters remarking about the overall lack of squirrels. These observations likely resulted from last year's broad-scale nut and acorn failure which led to higher winter squirrel mortality and lower recruitment this year. Fortunately squirrel numbers increase rapidly with abundant food resources like those which currently exist. Like most animals, well-fed squirrels are more productive. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -In Eau Claire County the peak of leaf color has past, but the animals have started moving. Woodcock and pheasant have been seen regularly with many hunters having successful hunts. The weather has gotten colder and the ducks have started moving through the county. Ducks and geese have been seen in many fields with the high water levels and waterfowl hunters have been successful lately. Deer are beginning to move with the cold weather and this upcoming weekend should be a great weekend to get out in the woods. With all the recent changes with hunting regulations, it will be important to check the DNR website for up to date information. - Jake Bolks, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Lake Wissota State Park - The fall color season has come to an end. Fish in Lake Wissota adjacent to the park have been seeing very little pressure from anglers. For those who have not winterized their fishing equipment some of the best fishing of the year can be had now. Try the shallows with the floating stick bait early and late in the day for a chance at a nice walleye or rig a slip bobber/minnow and fish from one of our two accessible fishing piers. It is a great time to get out and enjoy Lake Wissota. Several anglers have stopped by to inquire about the upcoming ice fishing season and fishing the Yellow River channel, which can be quite good. Camping this time of year can be a bit of a "chilly endeavor" but for a few brave souls it is the best time to enjoy some solitude and the heat from a crackling campfire. The water and shower buildings are shut down in the campground for the season. The sanitary station is closed. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around. As the park office is not regularly staffed at this time of year, please use the self-registration station located at the park shop building. The park will be open to hunting for all species with an open season on Nov. 15. Orange maps showing the areas closed and open to hunting are available at the park and on the DNR web site. This hunting opportunity runs from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15 and late bow season. The Horse trails will be closed Nov. 15 until trails dry in spring. All park visitors are encouraged to wear blaze orange during the 9 day deer gun season. Orange maps showing the areas closed and open to hunting are available at the park maintenance shop self-registration area, and are posted in the information kiosks in the park. - Dave Hladilek, park manager