View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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The dog days of summer have arrived and park and forest campgrounds have been very busy with campers, hikers and bicyclist. With the warm and humid weather of the past week, recreational boating activity showed an increase on most northern waters and fishing pressure showed a bit of a decline with some generally windy conditions.
In the north, largemouth and smallmouth bass have been the species of interest for a lot of summer anglers lately and action could be termed very good. Both species have moved into their typical summer patterns, with largemouth taking up shop near firm overhead cover such as logs, stumps, reed beds or bog edges and smallmouth retreating close to mid-depth woody structure. Walleye action has started to become erratic, with variable success being reported at all different times of the day. Some musky anglers have been taking a break from fishing with the warmer water temperatures, but action has continued to be generally good, with those anglers still fishing reporting quite a few sightings and follows.
Fishing activity has been slow on Lake Winnebago, with temperatures ranging between 75-77 degrees, but a few anglers were catching low numbers of perch some small walleyes. Action on the Mississippi River has also been slow, with some success fishing for panfish with worms near logs and along the weed beds and a few walleyes caught on the main channel.
On Green Bay, anglers continued to have some success with walleye along the west shore off Oconto and farther south off Suamico and at the Green Bay metro ramp. Walleye anglers along the east shore were catching some fish off reefs and at Little Sturgeon Bay. Smallmouth bass anglers were reporting good results over the past week at Sturgeon Bay. On the lake side, anglers fishing from boats at Rowley's Bay had very high catch rates for smallmouth.
Farther south on Lake Michigan, anglers at the Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Two Rivers piers have been doing well over the past week, catching a mix of chinook, rainbows, and brown trout. Trollers out of Algoma and Kewaunee were catching between five and seven fish, typically a mix chinook and rainbows with an occasional lake trout. Despite rough waves Friday morning and a thunderstorm on Saturday, the Two Rivers Fishing Derby concluded Sunday with the largest fish registered a 20.9-pound king salmon. A Salmon-A-Rama fishing tournament also brought out good numbers of anglers at Milwaukee with a 25.58-pound lake trout winning the grand prize on the final day.
Ducks are entering into their eclipse plumage phase, when they have much duller than normal plumage and help keep them hidden from predators while they are without fully working flight feathers. Luna, cercropia, and sphinx moths are being noticed on the forest edges and gardens. Monarch butterflies seem to be in abundance this year.
Blueberries are ripening in the north. Cedar waxwings have been seen stripping Juneberry plants of its early fruit. Jewel weed, wild bergamot, culver's root, and bluebell are all blooming in the north, while many yellow flowers are showing off blooms in the prairies, including yellow coneflower, some goldenrod, and sunflowers.
Outdoor skills from birding and cooking to hunting and hiking will be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day on July 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Visitor and Education Center. No registration is required and the program is free to the public.
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Straight Lake State Park - Jewel weed, wild bergamot, culver's root, and bluebell are all blooming in the park. A family a swans can be seen swimming around Straight Lake. Other bird species that have been seen in the park include bald eagles, king fishers, wood ducks, and several different species of warbler. Monarch butterflies have been seen around the many blooming milkweed plants. A family of beavers has been busy damming up the Straight River. You can see their work from the Ice Age Trail on the eastern side of the park. Fishing on Rainbow and Straight Lake has been slow. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the warm and humid weather of the past week, recreational boating activity showed an increase on most northern waters and fishing pressure showed a bit of a decline with some generally windy conditions. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have been the species of interest for a lot of summer anglers lately and action could be termed very good. The largemouth seem to have taken up shop near firm overhead cover such as logs, stumps, reed beds or bog edges, and fewer fish have been found cruising the submergent weed beds. As such, top-water baits have become less successful, with jigs and soft plastics getting most of the action. Smallmouth have also gotten into their typical summer pattern and have been retreating close to mid-depth woody structure. The best action has been on the larger flowages, with small plastics and spinner baits catching most of the fish. Walleye action has started to become erratic, with variable success being reported at all different times of the day. A few small and medium size walleye have been caught along the weed edges and the mid-depth break lines in 8 to 10 feet of water. A small weedless jig tipped with a leech or nightcrawler half has been the most product bait for the walleye. Some of the musky anglers have been taking a break from fishing with the warmer water temperatures, but action has continued to be generally good and most anglers still reporting quite a few sightings and follows. Top-water lures, bucktails and bulldawg-type baits have produced the best success. Panfish action has gotten a bit inconsistent - some anglers have been able to find some nice bluegill and crappie suspended near mid-depth cover, but decent perch have been getting a bit tougher to find. Weed densities on the northern lakes have been variable, with some area waters showing thicker densities than normal and other lakes areas seeing much lower densities than past years. Many stained-waters lakes are also darker than normal this year and, combined with relatively high water levels, has resulted in less weed growth on these waters. And all outdoor enthusiasts are warmed to watch out for the bugs - seems like the recent rains have brought out a fresh hatch of mosquitoes, deer flies and "ankle-biters" and all have been a nuisance to both lake anglers and stream fishermen. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Our campers had lots of eagle sightings this week; one at Firefly Lake, two at Cathedral Point, and one guarding her nest near Muskellunge Lake. There was also a hooded merganser on Firefly Lake with two babies. A deer visited the South Trout campground, and someone also spotted a loon near the shoreline there. With many of the municipalities conducting their roadside mowing, a lot of the summer pallet of wildflowers and weeds has been knocked down. There is still a wide variety, but one may have to do some hiking to find the lovely pinks and lavenders of the wild bergamot, fireweed and Heal All that have added their colors to the summer pallet. Blueberries are ripening, if you can get them before the chipmunks do! Cedar waxwings were sighted stripping the Juneberry of its early fruit, and many birds are still feeding their fledglings, even though they are just as big as their parents! The deer and horse flies are awaiting visitors! Campgrounds have been very busy and will likely remain so for the next few weeks. Campground crews are working hard to keep facilities clean and campgrounds in good condition. If you don't already have a reservation, it might be difficult to find a site in some of our busiest campgrounds such as Clear Lake, Crystal Lake, Firefly Lake, and Musky Lake. However, there are always sites available in some of our outlying campgrounds. Ten of our 18 campgrounds on the forest are entirely first come-first serve and all campgrounds have some non-reservable sites. Also, some of the outlying campgrounds rarely exceed half of the sites occupied. You can check our campsite availability (updated twice daily) on our app and on the web. Last year gravel and grading work was done on the road just before the Firefly Campground entrance, which is the snowmobile trail, and the road to Firefly Carry-In Boat Landing. Last week Thursday and Friday staff brushed along the road and replaced steps, then put down gravel and wood chips at the landing. We also moved the rocks at the landing around to open the middle more to foot traffic and canoe/kayak carrying. The task is complete with exception of silt fence removal and picking up the brush piles. All trails are in good shape. Trail work is being performed on the Raven Red loop. Shannon lake loop has been brushed. It's that time of year! Oak wilt symptoms are showing up in parts of Oneida County. Trees infected with the oak wilt fungus are dropping their leaves rapidly, often dropping 75-100 percent within two weeks of symptoms first appearing. The leaves will have a water soaked, or brownish coloration at the tip of the leaf, but many leaves that drop will have a small area that remains green near the petiole. Oak wilt symptoms can show up anytime from July thru September. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Boaters out of Klingsborn's landing on the Peshtigo River report catching some nice catfish, smallmouth bass, and the occasional walleye fishing the deeper holes up and down from the landing. Live bait has been the most effective. Fishermen at the Peshtigo Harbor are catching some catfish, sheepshead and smallmouth casting spinners and stick baits and fishing with live bait. A few perch were being caught in the mouth of the Peshtigo River fishing with small jigs tipped with minnows. Boaters out of Little River and the Menominee River are reporting good numbers of browns being caught trolling the Trout Bar in 50 to 60 feet of water, with green working well. Reports of some salmon being caught are starting to filter in. The Menominee River continues to produce walleye, cat fish, sheep head, and small mouth with the best times to fish, early morning and evenings. Trolling crawler/harness and stick baits has been best. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Fishing has slowed a bit at the Dam at Stiles on the Oconto River, but anglers report still catching some bluegill, catfish, and smallmouth bass, mainly using live bait fished with slip bobbers in the current seams below the Dam. Anglers fishing the mouth of the Oconto River are having some success catching catfish, sheepshead, rock bass, and smallmouth bass, mainly fishing live bait on the bottom. The walleye bite from the Pensaukee Launch to Oconto Park II has been going well, with the majority of fish being caught in 30 to 37 feet of water. Anglers are reporting some very large fish (27 inches and bigger) being caught trolling crawler/harness and large stick baits. Pinks and greens with Colorado blades have been hot colors for the harnesses while perch and clown colors have worked well for the stick baits. A few anglers are reporting some perch being caught adjacent to weed beds or rock piles north of Breakwater Park on the Oconto River, but numbers have been low. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishermen at the mouth of the Fox River continue to catch large numbers of drum and catfish using a simple night crawler rig. Fishing early morning or late evenings have produced the best catch rates; however fish are being caught just about any time of the day. A few anglers using tube worms have been catching smallmouth bass and walleye but in small numbers. Most fishermen at Voyager Park continue to favor fishing off the bottom with a simple hook, line and sinker setup...or...put their bait a few inches of the bottom using a three-way swivel setup. Catch rates have slowed coming into the end of the week. A few anglers were using jigs and shad raps for smallmouth and walleye. Unfortunately catching these fish continues to prove difficult. Anglers out of the Metro launch continue to report good numbers of smaller walleye. Crawler harnesses trolled closer to the channel this weekend produced the largest number of fish, while shallow water fishing slowed drastically. Water temperatures in the area continued to climb into the weekend, with University Bay reaching 78 degrees on Saturday, July 18. Water clarity remains moderate to poor as the algae in the area continues to increase and water flow out of the river remains very low. The area around the Suamico River Launch continues to see a drastic increase of boaters, both fishing and recreational, into the weekend. Walleye fishermen out of the Suamico launch continue to boat good numbers of walleye with the best catch rates coming before 9 a.m. Crawler harnesses trolled at 0.8-1.0 mph have produced the most fish with sizes ranging from18-28 inches this week. Most early morning anglers continue to catch fish in 12-16 feet of water while others are reporting smaller numbers, but larger fish, in the 28-32 foot range. Once again color did not seem to play as much of a role as location. Water clarity in the area has been generally good, with some greening of the shallows and water temps continue to hold in the mid 70s. The launch at Geano Beach has seen a drastic increase in usage into the weekend. Many anglers are using the launch were searching for walleye and with the higher west wind into the weekend wave protection continued to push the trend. Most walleye fishermen have been able to boat multiple fish through the morning; however, numbers continue to be low. Crawler harnesses have produced the majority of fish. Average sizes in the area continue to be small however multiple fish over 25 inches are being caught. Once again, musky fishermen interviewed in the area this week reported no boated fish and only one follow. Bucktails and top-waters continue to be the baits of choice. Water clarity in the area continued to be good and temps are holding in the mid to low 70s.
Door County - Anglers near Sturgeon Bay targeting smallmouth bass have been reporting good results over the past week. Best results have been seen fishing a variety of depths from 8 to 20 feet of water using primarily plastics and crank baits. There hasn't been a best area as anglers have been producing from the flats, the canal, and rock drop offs. From shore, anglers have been doing well on smallmouth at the old stone quarry using worms and minnows. Perch anglers have been having luck fishing the weed lines using worms and minnows, although anglers report having to sort through the smaller ones. Shore anglers are also having luck with perch along the city shore and at the old stone quarry. Walleye anglers report success fishing out along the reefs and islands in about 20 to 25 feet within a few feet of the bottom using crank baits. Salmon anglers have been doing well over the past week. Catches consisted most of king salmon but there were also some rainbow and lake trout mixed in. Anglers were fishing anywhere for 60 to 200 feet of water with most fish coming in the top 50 feet, although some came deeper. Spoons and flies have been working equally well. Most anglers in Northern Door County were concentrated at Rowley's Bay and Egg Harbor this weekend. Anglers fishing from boats at Rowley's Bay were generally targeting smallmouth bass with tubes. These anglers had very high catch rates. Anglers fishing from the pier at Rowley's Bay were also targeting smallmouth with crawlers and spoons but had little success. Anglers on the Egg Harbor pier were mostly targeting panfish. Several rock bass were caught with crawlers. Water temps on both the Bay and Lake side of the Peninsula were between 65 and 68 degrees. The majority of anglers at Little Sturgeon Bay were looking for walleye, smallmouth or both. Cranks and crawler harnesses have been the lure of choice for walleye anglers. Jerk baits, tubes and drop shots were the preferred method for the smallmouth crowd. Unfortunately catch rates on each have been down. The size range of walleye weighed and measured this week was 19.7 to 29.1 inches and 2.2 to 8.9 pounds. It seems large smallmouth have been hard to find. Yellow perch anglers have been having a tough time finding fish. Worms and minnows in 25-pplus feet of water was the bait and target zone for most anglers. Using minnows has kept goby catches down. One largemouth bass was reported. Incidental catches included large freshwater drum, crappie and channel catfish. Water temperatures were between 68 and 72 degrees. When the wind wasn't blowing, water clarity was 5 to 6 feet. Yellow perch anglers launching onto Sawyer Harbor have reported variable catches, with small sizes remaining an issue. The most perch reported kept was eight. Fishing minnows in deeper water was the best way to hook into decent sized fish. Smallmouth anglers have been doing decently using soft plastics and jerk baits. A 12 inch steelhead was also reported. Water temperatures in the area around Chaudoir's Dock continue to hover in the mid 60s. Perch anglers have had little success; however communications from anglers to the south have given hope for the arrival of perch in the next couple weeks. Minnows and hellgrammites have produced the most fish. Walleye action also continues to be slow. Anglers are reporting large schools of baitfish and the walleye that are being caught are stuffed with bait. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers at the Kewaunee pier have been doing well over the past week, catching a mix of chinook, rainbows, and browns. Fish have been getting caught through the day with no one time seeming to be better than another. Anglers have been using both cleos and alewives to great effect, although alewives seem to be more productive. Fishing seemed to peak around Wednesday at ramps in Algoma and Kewaunee, with a lot of boats catching between five and seven fish, and most catching at least a few. Since then, fishing seems to have tailed off a bit but most boats are still catching fish. Catches were typically a mix chinook and rainbows with an occasional lake trout. Most anglers have been focusing there efforts in 60 to 120 feet of water and in the top 50 feet of the water column. Fish have been coming on spoons and flies but spoons seem to have become slightly dominant. Fish have been caught throughout the day, but early morning and late evening seem to be the best times.
Manitowoc County - Anglers have been hitting the piers in high numbers over the past week with good success. Anglers have been having luck catching chinook salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout using both cleos and alewives. Water temperature has been in the low 60's. It took some searching to find the cooler waters near the ramps, but those who did found some success with chinook salmon. Most boats averaged about 1 or 2 kings and a rainbow or lake trout. Despite rough waves Friday morning and a thunderstorm on Saturday, the Two Rivers Fishing Derby concluded Sunday July 19 at noon. The largest fish registered were a king at 20.9 lbs., a coho of 5.2 lbs., a brown at 17.2 lbs., a rainbow at 14.3 lbs., and a lake trout at 17.7 lbs. Cold water was marked north of Two Rivers between the power plants with one boat reading temperatures of 44 degrees at 40 to 50 feet. Anglers at the Two Rivers Harbors & Piers were doing well over the past week fishing for kings, rainbow, and browns. The best results were seen fishing midmorning with alewives. The water temperature in the harbor has been in the low 70s. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Rock Island State Park - Salmon fishing has picked up and KD Salmon Tournament will start Saturday July 25. Numerous wildflowers are in bloom on Rock Island. Monarch butterflies are being seen presumably starting their multigenerational migration. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
High Cliff State Park - The turkey vultures are soaring over the Ledge, with their young in large numbers. Best time to see them is mid-to late morning after they warm their wings in the sun, and later in the afternoon. Luna, cercropia, and sphinx moths are being noticed on the forest edges and garden areas, sometimes during the day. Monarch butterflies seem to be in abundance this year. The prairie areas are bursting with color as compass plant, prairie dock, bergamot, and even early goldenrod make their appearance. Nice catches of panfish are being reported on the east and north shores. - Cynthia Mueller, naturalist
Fond du Lac County - Fishing activity on the south end of Lake Winnebago has been slow with a few anglers catching perch about 1 mile out from the east shore near Fisherman's Road. Anglers have reported catching low numbers of perch, but the perch caught are between 5-8 inches on average. The walleye bite has also been slow with many walleye fishermen reporting catching walleyes between 9-12 inches both trolling and vertical jigging. Surface water temperatures on the south end of Lake Winnebago are ranging between 75-77 degrees, perfect for recreational boating activities such as waterskiing, tubing, and swimming. - Samantha Koscher, conservation warden, Fond du Lac
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 - Catch rates remained low at the ramps in Sheboygan, with around two fish per boat. Lakers and rainbows were most common, with one or two chinook mixed in. Most fishermen seemed to be fishing more shallow water than the previous two weeks, anywhere from 60-100 feet of water was most common. Spoons remained the most popular lure, notably in either orange or green glow. Catch rates off of north pier increased throughout the week. Rainbows were most common, followed closely by chinook. The vast majority of these fish were caught using alewives on the lake side. Unlike previous weeks, no lake whitefish were reported. On south pier, the majority of fish caught were browns, but a few chinook were reported off of the end of the pier during the early morning. The browns averaged 5 pounds, and most were caught during the early to late morning. The harbor side had produced the majority of fish during previous weeks, but the lake side produced an equal amount this past week.
Ozaukee County - Fishermen at the piers in Port Washington reported higher catch rates off of the breakwall than reported last week. A mix of chinook, coho, and rainbows were caught, with one or two browns mixed in as well. Both the harbor side and lake side produced these fish, and alewives were just about the only bait used. Very few fishermen targeted perch this week, and none were reported. The fishing inside the harbor remained very slow, but as usual some small trout around 10 inches were caught near the utility discharge. Only one nice sized brown around 6 pounds was reported from this spot for the whole week, and it was caught on spawn. Surface water temperature inside the harbor was down to 61 degrees on Sunday, two degrees colder than last week. The ramp was closed down most of the weekend for Fish Day. Just a little north at the Amersterdam Road ramp, a few fishermen reported two fish per boat on average. It was an equal mix of chinook and coho, and most of the fish were caught in shallow water around 50-70 feet.
Milwaukee County - Scattered thunderstorms, heavy rain, and 10-15 mph north/northeast winds (gusting to 22 mph) kept fishing pressure low at the start of the week. Small craft advisories were in effect Tuesday night with waves building to 4-6 feet. The water along the lakefront was cloudy Wednesday morning with visibility less than 6-8 inches. The most productive day on the pier during the week was Friday. At least a dozen brown trout (6-10 pounds) were landed during the early morning bite. The browns were taken with spoons and alewives fished on the bottom. Both sides of the pier were loaded with alewives Friday morning. Approximately half the anglers on the pier during week were registered in the Salmon-A-Rama fishing tournament. The winning coho in the Salmon-A-Rama shoreline division was caught on McKinley Pier. The coho weighed 5.5 pounds and was caught with an alewife. Some nice catches of perch were landed from the rocky areas on the harbor side of McKinley Pier but the catch rate has been spotty. Anglers used fathead minnows, night crawlers, and jigs & plastic to land some of the perch. Small rock bass, bluegills, and northern pike were landed in McKinley Marina near the old Coast Guard Station along with a couple of keeper size perch. Small shiners and night crawlers under bobbers worked well for a couple of anglers. A few small crappies were caught and released in Lakeshore State Park during the late evening bite. Boat traffic at the McKinley ramp tapered off this week due to several days with strong winds, thunderstorms, 4-5 foot waves, and lightning. The majority of fish caught were lake trout with the numbers chinook starting to increase. Most of the boats trolled in shallower water than last week. A kayak angler landed four kings while trolling 25 feet down with glow-in-the-dark spoons in 40-55 feet of water on the opening day of Salmon-A-Rama. Some of the brown trout measured this week had spawning colors and the males were starting to develop a kype. A 25.58-pound lake trout won the 2015 Salmon-A-Rama grand prize on the final day. Another cold front with strong northeast winds and heavy rain moved through the area at the start of the week. The water along the shoreline was cloudy/turbid up to a half mile offshore. A couple of 2-3 pound brown trout were landed on the Cupertino pier this week by perch anglers. A couple of smallmouth bass were landed on the long pier at the Coast Guard station this week. The boat harbor and the mouth of the Oak Creek are loaded with large carp. Anglers on the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier have been targeting warm water fish (perch and bluegills) with night crawlers and minnows but the catch rate has been low. Large numbers of carp and gobies have moved into the shallow water around the pier over the past 4-5 weeks. The carp are in the power plant discharge chute and have been cleaning the green algae off the sides of the pier. Fishing pressure on the South Metro Pier continues to be low with the majority of anglers looking for perch. The majority of boats out of Bender Park have been targeting perch on the south side of the Oak Creek Power Plant and on the boils at the South Shore Water Treatment Plant. Boaters out of Bender had good luck targeting kings Sunday morning. The boat launch at South Shore Park reopened on Tuesday, July 14. The boats out of South Shore averaged 2-3 fish per boat during the week. One boat landed five kings while trolling with white and gold spoons, straight out from South Shore, 25-30 feet down, in 60-90 feet of water on Saturday. All five of the kings were landed before 6:45 a.m.
Racine County - Salmon a Rama is over and boating traffic is returned to normal. As well as the fleets of anglers, large numbers of pleasure boaters were out over the weekend in order to escape the July heat, leading to very high boating traffic. Boats are still reporting a wide variety of species caught, with many of the anglers fishing in less than 150 feet catching browns, rainbows, coho and chinook occasionally. The most fish per hour was clearly the anglers who were willing to travel at least 4 or 5 miles out in the lake to target lake trout. Boats staying closer to shore reported the best success catching fish while trolling under 100 feet early in the morning, and then following the fish out to deeper water as the sun comes up. Fishing has been best very early in the morning, with bites coming sporadically throughout the rest of the day. Orange on spoons appeared to be an effective color and a favorite of many boats, while flies and spoons of blue or green mixed with silver have been popular as well. Fishing pressure at the piers in Racine was very high throughout the past week, although catch rates appeared to change little from the past month or so. By far the most common fish caught off the pier this past week has been brown trout, biting in the evening. Anglers have reported the most success on casting artificial bait such as spoons and flicker shads and by soaking alewives, with slightly more fish biting on live bait. Fishing pressure along the shoreline inside the harbor and on north pier is still at typical levels. Perch fishing has also changed little with most anglers reporting no perch, and only a few fish biting extremely early in the morning. The best fish per hour rate while fishing in the harbor seems to be from the small wooden pier behind the north pier, where some anglers have reported success while targeting northern pike.
Kenosha County - Fishing pressure from the Kenosha boat ramp has been steady throughout this week, and large numbers of pleasure boaters escaping the July heat over the weekend produced a good deal of boat traffic. Almost every boat coming back in is still reporting catches under their limit. Anglers have reported success with a large variety of species, although the most productive fishing appears to be coming form the boats traveling into deep water and targeting lake trout. Other species have been biting intermittently throughout the day, although action has been steadier in Racine, where the majority of anglers have been launching. Fishing inside the Kenosha harbor has been rather hit or miss this week, with decent numbers of fish biting one night, and nothing biting another. Most angler pressure and success has been recorded along the rocks behind Best Western, where browns and a few rainbows have been biting in the evening. Anglers have reported bites on a variety of bait such as casting spoons, flicker shads, and using tube jigs. Perch fishing has changed little over this past week as most caught fish requiring an angler putting in a few good hours of fishing. The best time for perch has been reported to be around 5 a.m., just before the sun comes up.
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Outdoor skills from birding and cooking to hunting and hiking will be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day on July 25 from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Horicon Marsh Visitor and Education Center. No registration is required and the program is free to the public. All ages are welcome. "There will be something for everyone at this hands-on, family-friendly event," said Liz Herzmann, wildlife educator at Horicon. "Even if you have a pretty good idea of which activities appeal to you, it can be a great learning experience for anyone with an interest in the outdoors." The Horicon Bowmen and the DNR are proud to offer the archery camp at this year's event. People of all ages can try archery using the National Archery in the Schools Program equipment. This is the same easy-to-use equipment dozens of schools all across Wisconsin use in their physical education programs. Watch a cast iron cook in action and taste delicious treats, such as peach crisp, all prepared over the campfire. Members of the Wisconsin Trappers Association will have a booth with pelts, traps and information for anyone who is interested in learning more about regulated trapping. A master naturalist will help participants learn about the wild berries of the area. Certified Hunter Safety Instructors will be available with firearm action sets to demonstrate proper firearm use and safety. An expert birder will be on hand to show the basics of binocular use. Then, you can put those skills to action on a bird scavenger hunt. Or, build your own bird feeder to take home! Expert wildlife callers will show you how to properly call for ducks, geese or turkey. Try your hand at tying your own fly as well! The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is located between the towns of Horicon and Mayville on Highway 28. For a detailed list of Horicon special events, please visit the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center website at www.horiconmarsh.org or call 920-387-7893. While visiting the Horicon area, don't forget to look for area prairies to be in full bloom right now. Coneflowers, butterfly weed, purple prairie clover and milkweeds are in full bloom and fields surrounding our center are alive with color! With local ducks entering into their eclipse plumage phase, now is a perfect time to hone your identification skills! - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Well the dog days of summer are upon us - if you step outside in the heat of the day it's nearly impossible not to hear the cicadas buzzing. Black raspberries can still be found on many bushes, but I still haven't seen any blackberries yet. Many yellow flowers of the prairies are showing off blooms this week, with yellow coneflower, some goldenrod, and sunflowers joining the cornucopia of color this week. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
La Crosse County - The Mississippi River in the La Crosse area has been slow for fishing. Fishermen are having success fishing for panfish with worms near logs and along the weed beds. Bluegills are being caught downstream of the French Island Spillway. A few walleyes are being caught on the main channel upstream of Lock and Dam 7. Bass have been biting in deeper water with minnows on Lake Onalaska, but fishing has been difficult this summer on Lake Onalaska because of the high volume of weeds. - Peter Wetzel, conservation warden, La Crosse
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s this weekend with a chance of rain Friday night and Saturday morning. ATV trails will be groomed this week and should be in good condition for the weekend. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate