Published July 30, 2015 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
A relatively dry period over the last week, with just a few thundershowers in the south, has lowered water levels slightly across the state. However, the majority of water bodies are in good shape for paddling, fishing and swimming. Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau and the Bois Brule remain in good summer paddling conditions. Landings and canoe sites in the Northern Highland-American legions State Forest have been in full swing.
In the Northwoods, largemouth bass action has proved consistent, particularly in shaded areas with thick cover. Smallmouth are tougher to find and musky and walleye action has slowed. Warmer temperatures seem to be pushing fish into deeper waters. Trout streams in central Wisconsin are now running low.
On Green Bay, perch action is starting to pick up with reports of more perch being caught all the way from Marinette south on the west shore through lower Green Bay and up along the Door Peninsula. Smallmouth bass fishing also continue to be good all along the peninsula, and up through Death's Door to Rolwey's Bay. Anglers in Marinette are reporting good action from brown trout, walleye and perch. Anglers out of Green Bay Metro and the Suamico River have had success for walleye. Salmon anglers have also been doing well off Door County over the past week. Catches consisted most of king salmon but also some rainbow and lake trout. The Kewaunee Door County Salmon Tournament last weekend had Ellison Bay, Gills Rock, Rowley's Bay and Baileys Harbor boat ramps seeing heavy use, with chinook again the most consistently reported catch. Anglers have been hitting Lake Michigan piers in high numbers over the past week with good success, catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout. The Two Rivers Piers had one of the busiest days of the season on Saturday, with one angler landing a 15-pound king.
In the southern Lake Michigan regions, rainbow and lake trout are being caught consistently, with browns, coho and chinook salmon rounding out the top catches. Alewives are credited with numerous catches, excepting the browns which have typically been caught by spoons.
DNR staff will begin conducting summer deer observation surveys at the beginning of August, along with Operation Deer Watch through which the public is asked to report deer sightings. Fawns and bucks continue to grow in size and some reports of great antlers spotted on trail cams are filtering through.
Birds abound and numerous reports of "loon sightings" are coming in from around the north. Loon researchers have been out attaching colored leg bands young loons to identify individual loons for future tracking. Turkey broods have also been spotted along with grouse starting to fly. Young eagles are out of the nests and working out any kinks in their wings. Nesting itself is slowing as we enter the warmest stretch of summer and many species of songbirds have stopped singing to molt before their next migration.
A banded loon.
In the south, bumblebee watching is at peak. Look for bumblebees pollinating bee balm, culver's root and other native species and garden plants. Also targeting flowers near you are the sphinx moths, whose long proboscis often resembles a hummingbird. There have been numerous sightings of sphinx moths this year, including of the most common species, the white-lined sphinx, a large, stout-bodied moth with a furry brown body crossed by six white stripes.
And a final reminder that this Saturday, August 1 is the deadline to apply for fall turkey, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, otter or Upriver Lakes sturgeon permits.
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The early part of the week has been hot and humid leaving everything sticky, and quite frankly, unpleasant. Heavy winds Tuesday into Wednesday brought needed relief from the heat temperatures and should be much more pleasant as we near the weekend. USGS stream flow rates as of July 29, show river levels flowing below average. American gold finches are nesting and sandhill crane colts are growing tall. From varying reports, berry reports have been hit-or miss. The sand country to the south of Hwy. 2 is your best bet when targeting places to find blueberries. Road-side ditches are filling with an abundance of wildflowers, adding changing color to the lush green canvas so popular around this time of year. Hot, humid weather, with little to no rain seems to provide a perfect environment that allows insects to do what they do best...bug us. Be sure to keep this in mind as you plan your outdoor adventures and make sure that you are keeping an eye on your pets. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Amnicon Falls State Park - The park had three wedding last Saturday afternoon. Park use was heavy with over 350 vehicles coming past the contact station before 6 p.m. Warm/hot summer days have brought out many people to enjoy wading in the water. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Pattison State Park - Pattison State Park has had several large picnics and family reunions. There is a snake and reptile interpretive program being offered on August 8 at 6 p.m. This is our third snake program for the summer. The previous programs had very large attendance, 61 and 74 respectfully. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the north in the midst of the dog days of summer, angling success has hit the mid-summer low point - while recreational boating pressure continues to be high. Largemouth bass have been providing the most consistent action as the fish have been showing a typical summer pattern. The best success has been coming from the shaded areas and thick cover--in the down wood, the thick reed and lily pad beds and under mats of vegetation. Top-water baits and soft plastics have been the most productive lures and the key has been to work them slowly through the cover. Smallmouth bass have remained a bit tough to find with just a few nice fish being caught on a slow presentation of plastic finesse baits worked near cover in the 6 to 12 foot depths. Musky action has also slowed up in the last week, with many anglers becoming frustrated with the variable success. The warm temperatures seem to have pushed the fish to deeper water and no consistent patterns have been found. Some anglers have reported a fair number of follows and sightings, but catches have mostly been of small fish in the 28 to 36-inch size, with the bigger fish seeming to be suspended off in deep water. Stick baits, smaller bucktails and bulldawg-type baits have been the favorite lures. Walleye success has also continued its erratic trend. Some days have produced some fair catches in and around mid-depth weed beds, and others days would find a person wondering if there's any fish in the lake! Weedless jigs fished with a leech or crawler-half have been the most productive baits. Panfish action has been fair. Larger bluegill have been tough to find but some decent catches of perch, crappie and rock bass continue to be reported. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - ATV trails are good condition. Both the north and south forks are in excellent paddling condition. Swimming is excellent at the beach and water temps are warm. Milkweed and sumac are flowering. Fawns are showing up and we are seeing lots of broods of turkeys and grouse that are starting to fly. Young eagles are off the nests and flying. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - It is hard to believe that we are two-thirds of the way through summer and that children go back to school in about a month. Speaking of "children," the majority of waterfowl broods are nearly full grown and young geese and ducks are often confused with adults now. Common loon chicks vary in size (based on their hatch dates) but some of the first to hatch are as long as their parents and have lost that fuzzy appearance; a few may even be wearing new Jewelry. Loon Researchers who use colored leg bands to identify individual loons have been out to place metal USFWS bands on some of our loons in the area. You may catch a glimpse of silver or a colored band on the legs of the loons on your lake. DNR staff will begin conducting summer deer observation surveys on August 1 and will continue to run summer brood surveys to count grouse and turkey broods. Young osprey can be seen flapping their wings up on the osprey platforms around Woodruff, St Germain and Rhinelander. Last week some of the osprey chicks on the platforms along Highway 47 fledged (left the nest) and might be seen sitting awkwardly on other power poles near the nest. Young osprey have more white on the tips of their feathers giving them a more speckled appearance than their parents. - Michele Woodford, wildlife biologist, Woodruff
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Loons, loons everywhere! Campers even spotted three of them at once on our small Crystal Lake. Crystal visitors have been also been entertained by a pair of almost ready to fledge pileated woodpecker chicks peeking out and calling from their nest cavity about 15 feet off the ground. Some bikers encountered a few turkeys right on the paved bike trail. Watch out for yellow jacket nests this time of year. Some of our campers have been stung while out collecting firewood. Lake and stream water levels on the Northern Highland American legion State Forest are still near normal levels for this time of year. The area flowages, Rainbow and Willow, are starting to recede with the Rainbow down what appears to be about 3 feet. The Manitowish River is near normal flow but has been slightly above normal so far this year. Most lake water temperatures are in the 70s so cool water awaits those who like to swim. Boat Landings and canoe sites are in full swing as far as activity and day time air temperatures have been in the high 70-85 range so many people are using the lakes to recreate. We have just finished constructing and signing a re-route on the Raven trail Red loop. We also abandoned a badly eroding section that was very difficult to groom for skiing. Campgrounds were very busy again this past weekend, with over 80 percent of campsites across the forest occupied on Friday and Saturday nights. Use will likely remain high for the next two to three weeks. 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 iPhone app and on the DNR website. Our third group of volunteer campground hosts will arrive this Friday. This group of hosts will be here through Labor Day, and they are the last hosts for the season at most of the campgrounds. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Catfish, sheepshead, and smallmouth are being caught on the lower Peshtigo from Klingsborns Landing to the mouth of river. The most effective bait has been worms or crawlers fished in the deeper areas of the river. The brown trout action remains good from the Peshtigo Light to the Trout Bar with a variety of spoons and plugs being used. Anglers fishing the Green Island area are catching some large walleye trolling with large stick baits and crawler/harness around the Green Island area. Boaters out of Little River are reporting perch being caught in 4 to 10 feet of water using minnows and fishing the weed edges. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Panfish and some smallmouth are being caught below the dam at Stiles using mainly live bait fished below slip bobbers. Anglers are concentrating on structure in the river and slack current areas. Fishermen at mouth of the Oconto River are catching a mixed bag of cat fish, sheepshead, and smallmouth using mainly live bait. Walleye are being caught from the Pensaukee landing to Oconto Park II with most fish being caught in 30 to 37 feet of water using crawler/harness or large stick baits. The perch action is starting to pick up with reports from anglers of fish being caught in about 10 feet of water using minnows and crawler pieces. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishing out of Bayshore this week continued to produce numerous walleye in the 15-20 inch range. A mix of cranks and crawler harnesses was observed with action coming consistently on both. Finding schools of fish at 12-16 feet deep and continually working that area provided the greatest catch numbers. Color did not seem to play a role this week with darks and lights working equally well. Perch are beginning to be caught just out of the launch area with anglers working 20-24 feet of water through the morning hours. Minnows provided the greatest action and best catch rates into the weekend. Water temps continue to hold in the mid 70s and water clarity remains good to excellent. Anglers on the shore of the Fox River have been having luck catching smallmouth using crank baits and spinner baits. Anglers have also been catching perch with worms under a bobber and walleye jigging worms. The majority of boating anglers heading north out of the Metro launch were looking for walleye. Catch numbers were spotty. Some boats landed more 10 fish. Most anglers favored trolling crawler harnesses over crank baits. Fishing pressure was very light at the Fairgrounds and Foxpoint ramps. Carp bow hunters did well on Duck Creek this week. Fishing pressure was light. Water clarity and flow were low. Overall, at Suamico River, the walleye catch numbers have been good. Crank baits and crawler harnesses were the most common approaches. Fishing depths of 8-15 feet early and late in the day worked well. Fishing pressure was light on the shores of the Suamico River. Most anglers were casting for yellow perch. Worm pieces under a bobber or just off of the bottom on a three-way rig were the favored methods. Catch numbers and size were both low. Water clarity was less than a foot. Water levels remained stable. Water flow was slow. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers near Sturgeon Bay targeting smallmouth bass have been decent 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 along the canal 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. 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. Though the ramps all along the Green Bay side of the peninsula saw heavy use this week, many of the users where pleasure boaters. The few smallmouth bass anglers interview this week reported consistent success. Fishing with the standard baits (plastic grubs, worms, and small stick baits) in 6 to 12 feet of water produced good success. The Kewaunee Door County Salmon Tournament begun on Saturday the 25, which meant that the Ellison Bay and Gills Rock boat ramps saw heavy use this weekend. Chinook salmon seemed to be preferring spoons and were consistently found in 80 to 100 feet of water. Considering the fine weather this week there was surprisingly few shore anglers. All along the Green Bay shore smallmouth anglers met with good success. The piers in Rowleys Bay and Ephraim continued to have the best consistent smallmouth bass bite. Smallmouth were taken on a wide variety of baits, that said live worms, brightly colored plastic grubs, and especially gulp minnows seemed to have the best success. Unfortunately there is no information available for rock bass this week because of a lack of interviews from anglers targeting this species. The Rowleys Bay and Baileys Harbor boat ramps saw an influx of salmon anglers this weekend because of the Kewaunee Door County Salmon Tournament. Anglers returning to Rowleys Bay reported good success with chinook salmon. Anglers had the best success with chinook in 100 to 120 feet of water and were running their baits about 40 to 50 feet down from the surface. Anglers reported that the Baileys Harbor chinook salmon bite slowed during the week. Anglers are still having marginal success in 80 to 130 feet, while running their baits in the top 60 feet of the water column. The steelhead bite has begun to slow, that said anglers are still catching a few individuals in shallower waters on their chinook setup. Though anglers where having success with a variety of baits, it appears this week that chinook salmon were preferring spoons. Anglers reported that there is not a consistent thermocline developing, and that water temperatures were inconsistent. They reported subsurface water temperatures ranging from 60 to 47 degrees. Anglers in the area of Sawyer Harbor continue to catch larger perch and with greater frequency. Perch in all size ranges are being caught; however, finding fish in the 8-10 inch range has proved easier than weeks past. Minnows suspended under a bobber and fished above structure have brought in the most fish this week. Walleye numbers in the channel continue to hold with multiple 28-plus-inch fish boated through the week. Trolling crawler harnesses at 0.8 to 1.0 mph in 14-18 feet of water has boated both the largest and most fish. Water temperatures in the area continue to climb with 78 degrees on Saturday afternoon and clarity remains good to excellent. Smallmouth fishing in the area near Little Sturgeon Bay continues to bring great action. White tubes produced the majority of fish this week however leeches proved to be a close second. Perch fishing has begun to pick up and anglers are bringing in decent numbers of 6-9 inch fish. Soft shells and minnows are the go to baits this week with shells providing larger and more numerous fish. Water temps in the area continue to hold in the upper 70s and clarity is good to excellent. Most anglers near Chaudoirs Dock have begun to target perch and decent numbers are just beginning to come in. Minnows fished anywhere one can find structure in 20-30 feet of water has produced the largest size and numbers of fish. Walleye continue to be caught west and north of the launch with all boated fish coming in on crawler harnesses this week. Working 12-16 feet of water in the early morning hours has been the go to tactic for most anglers in the area, with few fish being caught between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Once again color didn't seem to be important once a school was located. Water temps in the area continue to hold in the mid 70s and clarity remains good to excellent.
Kewaunee County - Anglers have been doing well off of the pier in Kewaunee, fishing for chinook salmon and rainbow trout. Anglers have been catching mostly rainbow using both cleos and alewives, although alewife have been slightly more productive. Catches have been coming throughout the day. Anglers at the Algoma and Kewaunee ramps have been doing well, catching mostly chinook salmon although rainbows and the occasional lake trout have been caught. Most of the catches have been coming from 60 to 120 feet of water and throughout the water column. Anglers have been using both flies and spoons to great effect, although spoons seem to be slightly more productive. A few anglers reported catching fish on j-plugs as well. The bite has been best in the early morning and at or just after dusk although fish have been caught through the day. Anglers at the Algoma pier have been doing with catching brown trout and the occasional rainbow and chinook throughout the day. The best baits have been cleos.
Manitowoc County - Anglers have been hitting the piers in Manitowoc in high numbers over the past week with good success. Anglers have been having luck catching chinook salmon and rainbow trout, using both sppons and alewives. Water temperature in the harbor has been in the low 70s. Anglers at the ramps have been having luck with rainbow trout and chinook salmon out on the lake. Rainbows have been caught with higher prevalence than kings but kings are still being caught with regularity. Spoons remain equally effective baits. Although the ramps in Two Rivers have been busy, reports have been difficult to come by. Reports have been that most activity has been in 90 to 200 feet of water. The Two Rivers Piers had one of the busiest days of the season on Saturday July 25. The bite started strong in the morning with one angler landing a 15-pound king while casting a green and silver spoon. Many anglers used alewives which helped catch rainbows, kings and browns throughout the day. The North Pier saw more activity in the morning while many anglers moved to the South Pier in the evening. The water temperature in the harbor has been in the low 70s. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - We finally have a dry spell on our hands. Trout streams are low right now and could definitely use some precipitation. Ticks are done for the time being although there will be deer ticks out again in October. The only other annoying insects out right now are deer flies. With warmer temperatures, the bass have been hitting top-water lures pretty good on area lakes. Walleye action has slowed on Poygan with the hot weather and an algae bloom. Should be an excellent blackberry crop this year but we need rain to ensure quality berries. The blackberries should start to be ready in about a week. Fawns are about the same height as a Labrador and are following mom everywhere. Lots of turkey broods out and about. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - Waushara county lakes have been busy as of late, but not with a lot of fish being caught. Folks have been out skiing, tubing, and boating while enjoying the warm water and sunny days. Fawns in the county are getting bigger as are the bucks. I have seen a number of trail cam pictures of bucks with their antlers growing well. Also the black raspberries have been starting to ripen in different areas too. One thing to be careful with as a caller noted was the presence of a black bear in his berry patch. If you are going to pick berries, make a lot of noise going into the patch, even if it is close to your home. Bears and other critters love the berries as much as we do, but should be afraid of the noises we make when coming to pick our share. - Ben Mott, 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 - In Sheboygan, most trollers continue to work pretty hard to find fish, with boats averaging just a couple. Rainbows have been caught most commonly, followed by chinooks. Fishing has been best for chinooks around 70 to 80 feet of water, and deeper at around 200 feet for the rainbows. Orange spoons have produced rainbows, while green and blue flies have been effective for chinooks. Early morning, before 6 a.m., has been significantly better than the rest of the day. Sheboygan shore anglers continue to do well off of both the north and south piers. Chinooks have been most common on the north pier, caught mostly using alewives on the lake side. A few browns have been caught on the harbor side using silver spoons. At least one laker has been caught off of the lighthouse as well. On Sheboygan's south pier, the majority of fish caught have been browns, with both the harbor and lake sides producing an equal number. All were caught casting lures, usually spoons with at least some silver on them. The surface water temperature inside the harbor was 57 degrees on Sunday, and off of the lake side of the north pier was 55 degrees.
Ozaukee County - Trollers in Port Washington have been doing well recently, with an average of nine fish per boat over the weekend. Rainbows and lakers have been most abundant, followed by chinook, as well as a couple of coho. Most trollers reported fishing in water from 100 to 130 feet deep. Brightly colored spoons have produced the majority of fish, with orange, white, and silver getting hits. Shore anglers in Port continue to do well off the breakwall. A mix of chinooks, coho, rainbows, and browns have been caught, with chinook being the most common. Most fish have been taken on the lake side of the pier, with only a few browns caught on the harbor side. Alewives have produced the most fish, with the exception of the browns that were typically caught by casting spoons. Very few anglers in Port Washington targeted perch this week, and none were reported. The fishing elsewhere inside the harbor remains slow for the most part, but a couple of 5-pound browns have been reported along the south wall.
Milwaukee County - A weeklong stretch of stable weather with winds out of the west has pushed the warm surface water along the lakefront offshore and pulled colder water in. The alewives are following the colder water close to shore with chinook and coho salmon following close behind. Nice catches of chinook salmon were landed in 35-50 feet of water during the week. Trollers produced fish north of Milwaukee between the Capitol Drive towers and Fox Point, as well as in the harbor gaps and outside the South Shore breakwalls. White flashers coupled with various flies have been effective. Decent numbers of coho, chinooks, and rainbows have all been caught off of McKinley pier in the past week, with a few limit catches reported. Alewives fished on the bottom have taken the most fish, but glow-in-the-dark spoons and white Gulp have also produced. Good numbers of fish can be seen in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon. Visibility is about 8 to 10 feet, and small bluegills, small brown trout, and nice size largemouth bass can be seen. Rock bass are being caught by shore anglers in the park. A few nice size browns have been landed on alewives on the harbor side of the Summerfest grounds, including a 15 pound brown. Anglers targeting perch had some recent success landing fish on the piers at McKinley, Cupertino, and Grant parks as well as at the Oak Creek Power Plant pier, but catches have been very spotty. Boats fishing for perch at the boils off of the South Shore Water Treatment Plant report that the fishing has slowed considerably. The warm, stable weather should continue this week, which will hopefully keep the trout and salmon in close and accessible to shore anglers.
Racine County - Racine trollers continue to report a wide variety of species caught, with many of the anglers fishing in less than 150 feet of water catching browns, rainbows, coho, and chinook occasionally. Boats staying closer to shore reported the best success while trolling in less than 100 feet of water early in the morning, and then following the fish out to deeper water as the sun rises higher. Fishing has been best very early in the morning, with bites coming sporadically throughout the rest of the day. Orange spoons have been effective, as well as flies and spoons in blue and silver or green and silver. Pier anglers in Racine have reported catching browns, with the majority biting in the evening. The most success has come on casting artificial baits such as spoons and flicker shads and by soaking alewives, with slightly more fish biting on live bait. Perch fishing has changed little in Racine with most anglers reporting no perch, and only a few fish biting in the early morning hours. Shore anglers fishing in the harbor off of the wooden pier near the yacht club have been catching a few northern pike.
Kenosha County - In Kenosha fishing pressure from the boat ramp was lower this week than last week, but large numbers of pleasure boaters escaping the July heat over the weekend produced a good deal of boat traffic. Almost every troller 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 from the boats traveling into deep water and targeting lake trout. Other species have been biting intermittently throughout the day. 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 and around Navy Park, where browns and a few rainbows have been biting in the evening. Anglers have reported hits 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.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Marsh viewing opportunities are still excellent at Theresa Marsh along Highway 28 just west of Higway 41 for egrets, herons, black terns and a host of other wetland birds. The "Tier II Master Plan for nine local state properties (Theresa, Allenton. Jackson, Mullet Creek, Nichols Creek, and Kiel Marsh Wildlife Areas, Onion River Stream Bank Protection Area, LaBudde Creek Fishery Area, and the Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area)" will be presented to the Natural Resources Board for approval during the August 12 meeting at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor's center. Some highlights of Theresa, Allenton, and Jackson plans include: Reconfiguring the Theresa Marsh waterfowl refuge areas to open up 880 acres to upland hunting m(only upland acres not needed for waterfowl management will be removed from refuge status), Establishing two Class II dog training areas (one on Theresa Marsh, and one on Jackson Marsh). "Project Boundary" changes (some expansions, and some deletions) for each property that would allow us to add key habitat parcels if and when funding and acquisition opportunities are available. expansion of three "State Natural Areas" within Jackson Marsh (the changes will not change or reduce hunting or other public access on the sites), eventual additional of several parking lots, enhancement of the trout stream on Allenton Marsh, expansion of some of the grassland and forest blocks on all properties, and many other changes and improvements. Guidelines for written comments and oral presentations are on the DNR website along with the master plan document, maps and related information. The deadline for submitting comments or registering to speak about the plan at the NRB meeting is August 7. Don't forget to apply for your fall turkey permit by August 1. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Racine County - Fall is just around the corner and that means waterfowl season is fast approaching. The Richard Bong State Recreation Area (RBSRA) will be taking blind reservation applications from August 1 to the fourth Sunday in August. A drawing will be held on the fourth Monday of August for reservation application cards that were submitted during August. Hunters may make a maximum 5 of reservations for the season. The recreation area provides two duck hunting options: 1) Jump shooting on the property North of Highway 142- only 16 hunters per day; 2) Hunting from waterfowl blinds (22) on the property South of Highway 142 - two hunters per blind. Due to low water conditions the six blinds on Wolf Lake will not be open for this fall's waterfowl season- 15, 19 -24. During the season hunters can sign up for blinds that are not reserved, at the park entrance station for that day. Dry conditions in the Kenosha County area have resulted in water levels slowly dropping at the park during the month of July. The larger ponds have moderate water levels, but several of the smaller ponds have very low levels. Water levels in Wolf Lake have returned, but not to the levels that will allow duck hunting from blinds. The refuge is maintaining good water levels and will provide good resting and feeding area for migrating waterfowl. You can contact the park regarding current water level conditions and/or waterfowl hunting at the park. To waterfowl hunt at RBSRA you will need a small game license; state and federal duck stamps; HIP certification; annual or daily park sticker; and a $1 Richard Bong daily hunting permit. For more information on the managed hunt contact the park office at 262-878-5600 or look at the Bong Naturalist Association website: www.bongnaturalistassociation.org/hunting-trapping (exit DNR). - Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist, Sturtevant
Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (Dodge, Columbia, Fond du Lac, and Winnebago counties) - Numerous great egrets, blue-winged teal, and a juvenile great blue heron were observed foraging in wetland enhancements on the Spirit property near Oakfield. Turkey poults were also being seen around a number of other properties. Bergamot and yellow coneflower were in bloom and coming in nicely on a more recently planted native planting at the Popp property west of Beaver Dam. - James Christopoulos, wildlife biologist, Horicon
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Dane County - Bumblebee watching is very good right now! Bumblebees are gaining popularity with concerns about their conservation status and websites like bumblebeewatch.org make it fairly straightforward to identify and report sightings for conservation. Look for bees pollinating menarda (bee balm), culver's root, clovers and other native and garden plants. Bird nesting is slowing down as we enter the peak of the summer. Many songbird species are now actively molting before August/September migration and have quit singing, making them harder to find. Now is a great time to watch hummingbirds come to bird-friendly garden plants that you've nurtured in your yard. Make sure to regularly clean feeders this time of year as the hot temperatures can result in bacterial growth and harm to the birds. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - The public is reporting numerous sightings of sphinx moths. Some sphinx moths are nocturnal; some are diurnal. Sphinx moths that forage during the day are often seen hovering at flowers in the act of gathering nectar with their long proboscis and may be mistaken for hummingbees or bumblebees. All sphinx moths are fast, powerful fliers. A short horn typically adorns the posterior end of their caterpillars, and they are known as hornworms. Instead of spinning cocoons, most sphinx moth caterpillars pupate in underground earthen burrows or cells. One of the most common species of sphinx moths in southwestern Wisconsin is the white-lined sphinx, a beautiful, large, stout-bodied moth with a furry brown body crossed by six white stripes. It has long, narrow, triangular forewings and shorter hindwings, with a wingspan of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Each dark olive brown-colored forewing has a broad tan band going from the base to the tip of the wing, crossed by a series of thin white stripes along the wing veins. The black hindwings are bright reddish-pink in the middle. Watch for these and other species of sphinx moths as summer begins to wane. Red raspberries are now at or just past their peak. Black caps are mostly dried up, but blackberries will probably be ready in about a week or so. Wild flowers currently blooming in Vernon County include culver's root, bee balm or bergamot, hemlock water-parsnip, spotted knapweed, and black-eyed susan. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - This weekend is looking to be a great time to visit the state forest. Highs are expected to be in the mid-80s with lows in the mid-50s. Most of the ATV trails were groomed this week and are in good condition. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - There are some lingering mosquitoes so remember bug spray and thermocells. Drop in at the beach on Wednesdays from 1-4 p.m. for fun nature activities and check out our weekend programs! The beach has been a great place to go swimming, picnic and enjoy the weather. There are also less bugs at the beach. - Heather Wolf, park manager