Published August 6, 2015 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Wisconsin experienced a fairly dry week, with some localized rains, especially in the north and northeast. Most rivers are running low and sandbars are open on many portions of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and ready for any late-summer campers.
The dry conditions have caused fire danger levels to increase, especially in central Wisconsin where fire danger was high this week, with 26 wildfires reported in DNR fire protection areas.
Campgrounds remain busy at parks, forests and recreation areas around the state, with most reserved campsites booked for weekends, but there are still sites in outlying forest campgrounds and some park campsites that remain non-reservable. Many trails are being cleared of debris after strong wind storms in the last week.
Musky and panfish have been getting most of the attention on northern lakes. Nearly all of the musky anglers have been seeing fish and having follows, but most of the catching has been of smaller fish in the 28 to 38-inch size. The panfish action has been fair, but fish have generally been small. Walleye fishing has been variable, though some decent fish in the 16 to 22-inch range have been reported. Bass fishing was generally erratic with the variable weather -- some days provided some great action, while bites were hard to come by on others.
On Green Bay, anglers fishing from the Sturgeon Bay ramp in Door County found strong success with steelhead and chinook, and an improving bite for perch along the ship canal. Anglers casting from Sawyer Harbor were catching increasing numbers of good-sized perch and walleye and perch fishing improved around Little Sturgeon Bay and Chaudoir's Dock.
Lake Michigan anglers out of Kewaunee and Algoma reported good success off the ramps, with steelhead and fair numbers of chinook taking the bait. The Manitowoc piers were packed on Saturday morning with anglers catching kings and browns. Anglers have been hitting the ramp and piers in Two Rivers hard over the past week and have been also doing well on chinook. Fishing out of the southeaster Lake Michigan harbors has slowed some for trollers, but most boats were still bring in fish, with chinook most common, followed by laker and rainbow trout and coho.
The early goose season is right around the corner and Canada geese are beginning to stage on a variety of areas: from cut hay fields, to oats and small grains, to wetlands. These birds aren't the only one's visiting the state's wetlands this time of year and waterfowl viewing in those areas is at peak, with egrets, great blue herons, bitterns and dozens more in attendance. Birds like swallows and purple martins are beginning to flock, as are sandhill cranes. Also on the move are turkey flocks, whose poults are almost the size of chickens, and many fawns that are still unaware of the rules of the road.
Prairie flowers and wetland flowers are at peak in portions of the state as goldenrod, bergamot, blazing star and more compete for the eye's attention along with swamp milkweed and mountain mint. Raspberries and blackberries are still ripe, or just now ripening in portions of the state if you can find them.
The Wisconsin State Fair opens today and people who are visiting the fair are encouraged to visit DNR park in the fair, to enjoy a shady oasis in the northwest corner of the state fairgrounds for respite from the crowds as well as visit the many displays, including live fish tanks and an expanded archery clinic and scavenger hunts for youngsters.
Fire danger has been increasing across the state. A reported 26 wildfires burned in DNR Protection Areas over the past week. The largest fire burned 103 acres in Marinette County. Wildfires are started by a variety of sources this time of year - vehicles & equipment, outdoor burning, railroads, power lines, campfires, fireworks, etc. People working and playing outdoors need to take all precautions to prevent wildfires. Do not park or drive vehicles, including ATVs, on dry grass. Keep campfires small and make sure they are fully extinguished before leaving the area. Don't set down hot equipment, such as chainsaws, on dead or dry vegetation. If you are considering outdoor burning, please put it off until enough rain has occurred to lower the fire danger. To find out the day's fire danger, go to dnr.wi.gov and enter the keywords "fire danger" or call 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) after 11 a.m. Smokey Bear's birthday is August 9. Smokey's message of wildfire prevention has endured for 71 years. Happy Birthday Smokey!
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists have confirmed a cougar sighting in Langlade County in Northern Wisconsin. On July 27, the department received a trail camera photo taken July 9 of a suspected cougar from a Langlade County landowner. After a site evaluation, DNR staff confirmed that the animal in the photo is a cougar.
This cougar was captured on a trail camera in Langlade County July 9, 2015.
On Aug. 3, a second Langlade County landowner submitted a trail camera photo of a cougar - this photo was also taken July 9.
This cougar was captured on a trail camera in Langlade County July 9, 2015
There is currently no evidence that cougars are breeding in Wisconsin. Genetic evidence suggests cougars known to have entered Wisconsin are male cougars dispersing from a breeding population in the Western United States. Cougars are a protected species in Wisconsin and hunting is not allowed. Cougars are not considered a threat to public safety, and in the unlikely event that a person is confronted by a cougar, face the animal and spread your arms and open your coat or jacket to appear larger. If the cougar approaches, make noise and throw rocks or sticks. Individuals who observe cougars in Wisconsin are urged to report their findings using the Rare Mammal Observation form. For more information, visit dnr.wi.gov and search keyword "cougar." - Dave MacFarland, wildlife biologist, Dane.
Join us! Come to our second Saturday monthly workdays on Southern Kettle Moraine SNAs [PDF]. We will bundle, cut, and treat the grass Phragmites. Phragmites has invaded the rich wetlands surrounding Bluff Creek, a cold, clear trout stream. It spreads quickly through a network of underground and aboveground stems, choking out native vegetation. This work will build on previous efforts to kill and stop Phragmites spread, allowing native sedges, grasses, and wildflowers to persist. No skills needed, you will be trained onsite. See the difference previous years efforts have made!
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The area has gone through a bit of a dry spell the past couple of weeks. Fire danger ratings have reached moderate for the Brule area which is just a reminder to be careful when having campfires. The lack of rain has brought river levels down significantly. As of Thursday, August 6, the USGS stream flow rate for the river was at 115 cfs. The weather this week has been cool and sunny and, although we need the rain, it is expected to make an inconvenient appearance this weekend. Even with low water levels, the river has been extremely busy with people getting out to enjoy the beautiful weather we have had this past week. Campgrounds have been well used as well on the weekends. Canadian geese have been spotted flying in the skies which means that gaggles are grown enough that they can fly independently. Song birds and starting their return migration, heading back to the area in which the typically over winter. Various wildflowers and plants are continuing to come into bloom on a daily basis. A few un-edible berries are ripening on plants like bear bearberry and blue-bead lily. Keep in mind, that these berries do have some poisonous attributes to them and may result in an upset stomach at best if consumed. Please be sure of what you are eating in the woods! As we enter into the later summer period, we can expect to see a larger number of deer showing themselves. As bucks focus on growing their antlers in the summer, it is rare to spot them but you can expect to see more in the weeks to come if you are looking. This Sunday, August 9, the Brule 5 mile/ 2 mile Race will be held at the Afterhours Ski trails off of Hwy. 2. The race starts at 9 a.m. and preregistration forms can be found by visiting Northlandrunner.com. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Amnicon Falls State Park - Trails are all in excellent condition, but the mosquitoes are enjoying them too so don't forget the bug spray. As is usual for this time of year, the water levels are quite low, so low that we are down a fall! Now and Then Falls is currently dry, but we're hoping the rain in the forecast brings it back to life! Until then, now is your chance to stand under a waterfall without getting wet! It is illegal to jump into the waterways at Amnicon, but swimming in the river and around the falls is allowed. We ask that you use caution and keep in mind that water levels can change very quickly and rocks can fall from cliff edges. Come check out the hummingbirds at the park office or the snowshoe hare that lives in the campground! You might even see the white-tail deer near the park office picnic area! The blueberries are ripe for the picking, but we're still waiting patiently for this year's thimbleberries. - Natalie Brown, ranger
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Governor Knowles State Forest - Fire danger levels have been moderate; as always please use caution when burning. Visit dnr.wi.gov/wisburn or call 1-888-947-2876 to obtain the current burning restrictions. General camping is on a first-come-first-served basis. There are campsites open most weekends, as we do not fill up that often. Trails may be blocked with trees from a recent storm; our maintenance crew has been working on clearing trails. Two more backpack sites have been added to our north trails. Remember to contact the state forest headquarters at 715-463-2898 for a special camping permit if you are interested in camping in our primitive campsites. Permits should be obtained seven days prior to occupying the site. Campers interested in staying in the Sioux Portage Group Camp can reserve their dates by contacting the office as well. - Brandi Larson, Visitor Services Associate
Straight Lake State Park - Fishing on Rainbow and Straight lakes has been slow. Boat access to the lakes is carry-in only and all motors are prohibited on Rainbow and Straight lakes. 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.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With quite a bit of wind and some localized thunderstorms in the last week, both fishing and recreational activity has been at just a moderate level on area waters. And with the constantly changing weather, fishing success has continued to be rather erratic. Musky and panfish have been getting most of the attention for the last few weeks, with the musky fishing continuing to be rather tough. Nearly all of the musky anglers have been seeing fish and having follows, but most of the catching has been of smaller fish in the 28 to 38-inch size. Jerk baits, bucktails and surface baits have been the more popular lures, with the deep weed edges and the less-dense weed beds producing the best action. The panfish action has been fair -- most people have had no trouble catching bluegill and rock bass, but fish have generally been small. Look for the bigger panfish to be suspended near cover in the mid-depth ranges in 8 to 14 feet of water. Walleye fishing has been variable, though some decent fish in the 16 to 22-inch range have been reported. Some success has been reported on the deep weed edges and deep rock/gravel bars, with leeches and night crawler halves being the best baits. A few walleye have been caught on minnow stick baits fished along weeds edges after dark. Bass fishing was generally erratic with the variable weather -- some days provided some great action, while bites were hard to come by on others. The largemouth continue to be found near heavy cover such as logs, stumps, and bog edges, with soft plastics and crayfish-imitation lures being the best baits of late. The lily pad and reed beds have become hard to fish as the stems seem to have 'hardened' and made it hard to get a lure through, and even tougher to pull a fish out of. Smallmouth bass fishing continued to be fair on local flowages and rivers. The smallies are still settling into their mid-summer pattern and have been relating more to wood, especially near deep water and hard-bottom areas. Small crank baits and finesse plastics have been getting most of the action. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - ATV trails are in good condition, ATV trail between Hwy. 70 north to County Road EE will begin with renovations. First stage is removing trees adjacent to the trail which will involve heavy equipment. The trail is posted use caution when passing equipment; make sure you make eye contact with operator before passing. Fishing on the South Fork of the Flambeau should be good, water levels are lower concentrating fish. A nice trip is from Hwy. 70 to Fisherman's Landing off County Road M. Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are good for paddling. The south fork is a bit on the low side, but doable. Fawns are becoming more visible and moving. Be cautious they are not vehicle wise yet. Berries are ripe, black, raspberry and cherry. Wild rice is still 4-5 weeks out. Join us at the Flambeau River State Forest Conners Lake Picnic Area this Saturday, August 8 from 1 to 2 p.m. for Smokey Bear's Birthday - Games, party favors and a cake too; you may even run into Smokey Bear himself. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The lavender flowers of the large leaved aster are making their appearance in the fields makes one quickly remember that it is August. They mingle with the goldenrods, St. Johnswort, tansy, bergamot, black-eyed susans and fleabanes to make a lovely midsummer color pallet. Spotted knapweed is blooming along the roadsides and purple loosestrife is showing up, not to be confused with the lovely fireweed in some of the swamps in the forest. Queen Anne's lace and yarrow bring some delicate white to the mix and the fragrance of milkweed is heaven to the monarch! Raspberries are ripe and even a few blackberries can be found in the sunny spots. The refreshing cooler nights of this week keeps the bugs down and reminds one that Labor Day is just around the corner. Campers have reported that the Crystal Lake loon population has grown to seven. The loons on Plum Lake have been really active too. A visitor spotted a fisher near Musky Lake campground. Be careful: it's wasp and hornet season. Hikers are reporting getting stung mainly on the Fallison trail. The trail crew went out to spray as many nests as they could find on Friday and ended up getting stung seven times. The crew put up signs warning visitors and went out again the next day to try to locate additional nests. A freak storm with strong winds brought down many trees on the trails. Most have been cleared. Shannon trail will be cleared in the near future. The See-Me-Try triathlon happens this weekend so portions of the Raven Trail are being prepared for the run. Campgrounds across the forest remain busy, with 80 percent of campsites occupied again this past Friday night. Use will likely remain high until mid-August when families begin to shift their focus to "back to school". 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 the 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 an iPhone app and on the web at this link: /topic/StateForests/nhal/Campgrounds.asp. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Anglers at the Peshtigo Harbor are catching a few smallmouth bass and catfish using live bait, the fishing has been a bit slow. The brown trout bite out of Little River and the Menominee River remains good with early morning and evenings being the best times to fish. Most anglers are keying on the area from the Peshtigo Light to the Trout Bar, greens have been working well. Some reports of perch being caught in 4 to 6 feet of water out of Little River have been confirmed, many fish are small, but those who spend the time are getting some nicer fish, minnows have been the most productive bait and most anglers are using larger minnows to dissuade smaller fish from biting. Walleye, sheepshead, bass, and catfish are being caught in the Menominee River trolling with crawler/harness and stick baits with most of the action coming in the evenings. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers at the Dam at Stiles are still catching bluegill and a few crappie using crawler pieces and minnows fished dead drift or in conjunction with slip bobbers fished in the current seams. The mouth of the Oconto River has been producing some nice smallmouth, catfish, sheepshead and a few small perch, live baits are working well along with spinners and crank baits. Walleye anglers are having some success from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II trolling crawler/harness or large stick baits. The fish are spread out with the bigger fish holding in 20-plus feet of water. Perch fishing reports are still few and far between with some anglers catching fish in 10 feet of water adjacent to weed beds, minnows and crawler chunks are the baits of choice.- Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Walleye anglers at Bayshore Park continue to produce good numbers of fish through the week. With the increase of wind mid-week, water temperatures began to vary day to day with a low of 63 degrees and a high of 82. Most anglers are reporting finding fish in 30-35 feet of water and hooking up with suspended walleye at 8-10 feet down. Wave action played a huge role this week with the majority of boated fish being caught in moderate wave action and almost no reported boated fish during calm periods. 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 clarity also varied day to day with anglers reporting poor to moderate visibility into the weekend. Fishing pressure was light on the Fox River this week. Most anglers were casting for catfish. Night crawlers, liver and cut bait were the most common bait. Freshwater drum were side catches. Fox River water levels were normal. The locks on the De Pere dam were closed, so flow rates were down. Water clarity was less than a foot. Yellow perch anglers are starting to show up on Duck Creek. Walleye anglers launching from the Suamico boat launch had mixed results. Catch numbers were best in 8-15 feet of water, early in the morning. Crawler harnesses were used at a higher rate than crank baits. Strong midweek West winds led to water temperatures in the high 50s. Water clarity was low. Fishing pressure was moderate during the week and high on the weekend. Walleye anglers did moderately well launching from Geano Beach. Crawler harnesses landed the most fish. The size range of walleye kept ranged from 19 to 25 inches and 2.4 to 4.4 pounds. Musky anglers are coming out in increasing numbers. Catch rates were low. Large spinner baits were the most popular method. Fishing pressure was high on weekends and low on weekdays. Water temperatures were around 58 degrees. Water clarity was low. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers returning to the Sturgeon Bay city ramp reported good success with chinook salmon this week. Anglers were concentrating their efforts between 100 and 140 feet of water and running their baits about 45 to 60 feet down. Anglers also managed to catch a fair number of steelhead trout this week as well. Anglers found the best success with steelhead trout in the top 45 feet of the water column. Both chinook salmon and steelhead trout appeared to be preferring flasher fly combos this week. Shore anglers concentrated their attentions this week along the break wall and pier at the Stone Quarry ramp. Anglers reported catching a good number of small to medium sized smallmouth bass on plastic baits, in particular lizards and grubs. Perch anglers have also been having luck fishing the weed lines along the ship canal using primarily minnows although worms have also worked. In Ellison Bay anglers were fishing in approximately 130 feet of water and running their baits 90 feet down. In Gills Rock anglers were focusing their attentions anywhere between 100 and 110 feet of water and running their baits 60 to 85 feet down. In both locations both spoons and flasher flies where successfully used. Anglers fishing from the Green Bay shore struggled to convince any species to bite this week. Anderson Dock continues to be a hot spot for smallmouth bass, though the bite was less vigorous than in previous weeks. Anglers fishing in the Egg Harbor marina also had good success with both smallmouth and rock bass. In both locations the best bait appeared to be live worms fished close to the bottom. Other than in Baileys Harbor fishing pressure was light from both shore and boat anglers this week. Anglers returning to Baileys Harbor averaged 3-4 chinooks salmon per boat and were concentrating their efforts in 70 to 90 feet of water. Anglers were still having fair success with steelhead trout in these depths as well. Anglers were running their bait in about 55 to 70 feet of water for chinook salmon, and 20 to 45 feet of water for steelhead trout. Both spoons and flasher fly combos found success this week. The few anglers returning to the Rowley's Bay ramp reported poor success this week. They reported surface temperatures in the high-60s and mid-70s. Anglers fishing from the Rowley's Bay pier reported good success with smallmouth bass using worms just off the bottom. Anglers in the area near 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 then weeks past. Minnows suspended under a bobber and fished above structure have brought in the most fish this week. Smallmouth bass continue to be caught in the shallows with anglers reporting pearl colored tubes producing the most fish. Water temperatures in the area varied from the 60s to the 70s through the week. Walleye anglers at Little Sturgeon Bay have begun producing larger numbers and sizes of fish towards the end of the week. Henderson Point and Larson's Reef were producing both the largest and greatest numbers. Most boats have reported average sizes near 26 inches with a half dozen over 28 and one fish measuring 32 inches. Trolling bottom bouncers of any color during the daytime and cranks at night have been the go-to choices of many successful anglers this week. Water temperatures varied slightly through the week with readings between 81 and 74 degrees and water clarity remains moderate. The area anglers at Chaudoirs dock continue to target perch and decent numbers are continuing to come in. Minnows, suspended over structure, in 20-30 feet of water have produced the largest size and numbers of fish with early mornings hours producing nearly all boated fish. Walleye action has also begun to heat up in the area, and like Bayshore, anglers are reporting locating schools in 30-35 feet of water but suspending in the 8-10 foot range. Black and white cranks trolled at short length and moderate speed have produced the most fish however just about any setup that included white out fished anything else. Water temps dropped to the mid to low 60s during the middle of the week, but have returned to the low to mid 70s by weeks end. Water clarity varied from poor near the shoreline to moderate at half a mile out.
Kewaunee County - Angler pressure was moderate from the piers this week. Unfortunately anglers had poor success regardless of the bait they used. There were a few small brown and steelhead trout caught. Alewives have been slightly more productive. Anglers returning to the Kewaunee city ramp reported a good chinook salmon bite this week. Anglers that found the best success were fishing in 70 to 200 feet of water and running their baits 35 to 70 feet down. There was also a fair number of steelhead trout taken with the same setup. Anglers found good success with both spoons and flasher fly combos. Spoons have been slightly more productive and the bite has been best at late night and early morning. Anglers reported that the water temperature at 50 feet down ranged between 41 and 43 degrees. Anglers returning to the Algoma city ramp also had good success this week with chinook salmon and steelhead trout. The majority of anglers were concentrated their efforts between 75 to 120 feet of water. For chinook salmon anglers had the best success when they ran their bait 30 to 75 feet down, whereas anglers had success with steelhead in the top 45 feet of the water column. Both chinook salmon and steelhead trout had general preferences this week and were happy to take both spoons and flasher fly combos. The bite has been best at night and the early morning. Anglers reported surface temperature ranging in the mid-60s.
Manitowoc County - The piers were packed on Saturday morning in Manitowoc. The south pier is still far more popular than the north. People have been catching kings and browns. Of those caught, several were on the river side of the pier. Most fish were caught casting, but a few were caught using alewives. The Manitowoc ramp was busy this weekend with the Lakeshore Festival underway in the harbor. Anglers who launched from here reported marking fish tight on the bottom on Saturday. Anglers have been hitting the ramp in Two Rivers hard over the past week and have been doing well on chinook salmon. Many anglers have been fishing from the piers and they have been reporting success with chinook salmon and rainbow trout, mostly using alewives. The water temperature in the harbor has been in the mid 60s. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Governor Thompson State Park - The hiking trails are mowed. Currently hikers are seeing turkeys with their poults and spotted fawns in the park. The native bergamot, coneflowers, brown eyed susans, and frost asters are in bloom. You might find blueberries ready to eat along the trails.
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Black-eyed susans, butter and eggs, common milkweed, and buttercups are in bloom and goldenrod are beginning to bloom. Cicadas are singing. Adult monarch butterflies can be seen near the common milkweed. Sawyer Harbor is a popular launch area for bass fishermen. The park's accessible fishing pier will not be in the water this year due to damage caused by high waves last fall. - Lois Hanson, visitor services associate
Whitefish Dunes State Park - With the warmer weather lots of wildlife sightings. If you take a hike on the Brachiopod trail make sure to look for snakes sunning on the boardwalk. Several pileated woodpecker sightings and also terns soaring along the beach. The raspberry-like berries ripening in the park on the large green bushes are called thimbleberries. The beach shoreline is a great place to stroll along and view the water. Some days there are huge waves and others very calm. There is less sand to walk on since the water level is above average. Expect temperatures to be 10 to 15 degrees cooler along the lake. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Lake water levels are okay, river levels have dropped to very low levels. We have had spotty to no rain for going on two weeks now. Tons of wild turkey broods out and about, the poults are mostly the size of big chickens right now. Lots of fawns out and about, they are the size of a Labrador retriever right now. Blackberries are just starting right now. Should be a very good crop, but some rain would be good right now. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Winnebago County - It seems like every day is hot and steamy with no end of summer in sight. But like other things in our life we can be assured that fall will come, kids will go back to school, and aquatic weeds are going to show up at our boat landings. Now is the time when boaters and waterway users need to be vigilant with weed removal from boats and trailers. With the hot weather and sunshine comes aquatic weed growth. We can all play a role in stopping the spread of invasive aquatic weeds. Here are a couple tips on how to do it. Inspect and remove aquatic plants, animals, and mud from boat, trailer, and equipment before leaving the water access. Drain all water from the boat, motor, bilge, live wells, and bait containers before leaving the water access. Spray or rinse boats and recreational equipment with high pressure and/or hot tap water (> 104 degrees F), especially if moored for more than a day, or dry boats and equipment thoroughly for at least five days. Minor things we do can go a long ways in preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species. For more information about aquatic invasive species, including identification, and more tips or mixtures to use when cleaning your boat, go to dnr.wi.gov and search "aquatic invasive species." - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
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 a few fish. Some have been able to land nine or 10, while others came in with nothing. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout were equally most common, followed by lakers, and then browns and coho. The most successful boats reported fishing in shallow water, anywhere from 40-70 feet. Similar to last week, many boats fished at these depths before sunrise for chinook, but after the sun came up it was common to fish 100-150 feet of water for rainbows. J-Plugs were the best lures for chinook, while spoons were most common for rainbows. 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. These chinook were caught at all times of the day, and most alewives were taken by jigging on the harbor side. Unlike last week, no rainbows or browns were reported off of north pier. South pier saw an increase in rainbows caught, but browns were caught as well. The majority of these fish were caught on the lake side casting spoons.
Ozaukee County - Fishing in Port Washington has slowed for trollers, with most boats averaging three fish over the weekend. Chinook were most common, followed by lakers, rainbows, and coho. Most trollers reported fishing in water from 100 to 120 feet deep. Shore anglers in Port continue to do well off the breakwall with a mix of chinook, coho, and rainbow caught this past week. All fish have been taken on the lake side of the pier on alewives, and there are still plenty of alewives on both the harbor and lake sides of the pier. All fish were caught on the lake side using alewives, and there are still plenty of alewives on both the harbor and lake sides of the pier. A few fish were caught in the early morning, but the afternoon continued to be the best time to go. Again, coho were only seen close to shore, and none were reported beyond the midway point of the pier. Very few fishermen targeted perch this week, and only a few very small ones were reported. Elsewhere inside the harbor, the fishing improved a little bit off of the south wall and near Rotary Park. Only browns were reported, and the early morning was the best time of day to go for them. These fish were caught using a variety of methods, including alewives, Gulp minnows, and flicker shads. The surface water temperature inside the harbor was down to 50 degrees on Sunday, 8 degrees colder than last week. The surface water temperature off of the breakwall on the lake side was 42 degrees, which was 11 degrees colder than last week.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee warm stable weather and winds out of the west kept the cold water close to shore for another week, and the baitfish continued to stay close to shore as well. Large numbers of alewives were seen in the gaps and along the walls in Veterans Park. Some Milwaukee trollers have been fishing shallow, in 50 feet of water or less, and they have been catching mostly chinook, coho, and browns. Those trolling deeper water landed more lake trout and rainbows. Other boats have been jigging in the gaps and catching fair numbers of chinook. The "jig bite" was good most of the week but tapered off during the weekend. Boats out of Bender Park targeted cinook and coho in 30 to 60 feet of water from the Green Can Reef to Wind Point. The majority of boats trolled during the early morning bite and were off the water by 10 a.m. with an average of three to four fish. The majority of fishing pressure on the shoreline continues to be on McKinley Pier, and occasional chinook, browns, and coho have been caught on alewives fished on the bottom or on glow-in-the-dark spoons. The surface water temperature on the lake side of McKinley Pier was 52 degrees on Sunday. A few nice brown trout were landed in Veterans Park on green and white glow-in-the-dark spoons and on alewives. Perch anglers fishing the south side of Milwaukee continue to struggle to find fish. The gate to the long fishing pier at the Coast Guard Station has been locked for the past week due to storm damage on one of the fences along the narrow pathway to the pier. Perch anglers have found a few keeper size fish at the South Milwaukee Yacht Club, and fatheads produced the most fish.
Racine County - Racine trollers continue to report a wide variety of species caught, with many of the anglers fishing in less than 75 feet of water catching browns, rainbows, coho, and chinook occasionally. Boats staying close to shore reported the best success 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 early morning or 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 has been fairly low since the end of the Salmon-a-Rama fishing tournament. Almost every troller coming back in is still reporting catches under their limit. Anglers have reported success with a 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.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Mature prairie fields are reaching their peak blooming period, with cup plant, bergamot, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, joe-pye weed, and numerous other species in full bloom in July and August. Young wild animals such as raccoons, fox, and fawns are beginning to move around. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured or lost, call the DNR Customer Service Hotline (1-888-WDNR-INFo; 1-888-936-7463) or your local wildlife rehab center, or visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "keep wildlife wild". You can also visit the Wildlife Booth at the Wisconsin State Fair, to learn more about Keeping Wildlife Wild. This summer, we have been treating for invasive woody plants on our properties in and near Milwaukee County. Invasive bushes such as honeysuckle and buckthorn form dense thickets that shade out native vegetation in woodland and grassland habitats. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Canada geese are starting to flock up and stage on oats and other small grain fields, cut hay fields, wetlands, etc., so now is a good time to start scouting and seeking landowner permission to hunt during the early goose season. Prairie flowers are probably at their peak in upland fields on Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Wildlife Area and other areas. One good viewing spot is around the "Safari Club" ponds off of Wildlife Rd at Allenton Marsh. Marsh viewing and picture taking opportunities for wetland birds are excellent right now at Theresa Marsh along Hwy. 28 just west of Hwy. 41 across from the "Legacy Greenwing" sign. At least 30 bird species are using the impoundment every day including an abundance of egrets, great blue herons, green herons, American bitterns, cormorants, and a variety of other wading birds and shorebirds, wood ducks, geese, mallards and coots. Walking and photographing around the impoundment is permitted until Sept. 1, when refuge restrictions go into place and access is restricted to along Hwy. 28. Right now, vehicle access is not permitted on the dike roads, but temporary parking is allowed along the Hwy. 28 shoulders and pull offs. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The river is very low. Water levels on August 6, at the Prairie Du Sac dam were 4,102 CFS. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. There are plenty of sandbars throughout the Riverway providing ample locations for camping. Please remember that camping is restricted to no more than three days on State owned islands and sandbars. Camping at these locations is restricted to persons and their equipment arriving by watercraft only. A camping permit is not required. The Lower Wisconsin State Riverway has a "carry-in, carry-out" policy which means people must take the trash they create with them. The DNR encourages everyone to always wear a personal floatation device when in or on the water. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Lafayette County - Wardens in Lafayette County have seen few fish coming out of Yellowstone Lake lately. Anglers are lucky to catch a few small ones that they are willing to put in the frying pan. Several wheat fields have been harvested and the doves are flocking to the fields with good numbers. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park -Flowers blooming in the prairie garden include yellow corn flower, milkweed, white indigo, blazing star, Joe-pye weed and prairie onion. Wildlife sightings include turkey, deer, raccoon, turtles and eagles.
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - There is a hint of autumn in the air near Horicon Marsh and birds are beginning to flock up. Purple martins, swallows, and blackbirds have all been observed in flocks and will be leaving the area shortly. Sandhill cranes have begun their staging and can be observed in large groups feeding in area cornfields. Prairie flowers are in full bloom right now as coneflowers, blazing stars and grasses show off their beautiful colors. Look for large numbers of pollinators and butterflies to be near these areas. Local giant Canada geese are starting to feed in cut grain fields. Now is a great time to make contacts with landowners to secure your early season hunting spot. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Fishing activity has slowed and water levels in the Wisconsin River are at traditional summer lows. Good for canoes and kayaks making a float trip. Reminder that everyone needs a wearable PFD no matter what kind of vessel (including tubes and blow up mattresses) when taking these trips. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Jefferson County - The stretch of the Glacial Drumlin Trail near Lake Mills that was damaged during the wind storm recently is fully cleaned and open. The trail is in excellent condition with the recent dry weather. Water temperatures have remained somewhat low due to the relatively cool temperatures this summer, despite the lack of rainfall and warmer temperatures we've experienced over the past two weeks. Blackberries are just starting ripen in Jefferson County and should be ready for picking in another week or two. If you are enjoying the outdoors and spot some deer between now and Sept. 30, don't forget to submit your observations to Operation Deer Watch. Your observations help provide valuable data on Wisconsin's deer herd. You can find more information on this citizen science opportunity at /topic/WildlifeHabitat/summerdeer.html. - Mark Witecha, wildlife biologist, Lake Mills
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Many wild flowers are blooming in a variety of habitats. Cardinal flower, swamp milkweed, mountain mint, and joe-pye weed are examples of wetland flowers currently blooming. Upland flowers in bloom include numerous species of asters, sunflowers, blazing star, common milkweed, and bergamot. Woodchucks and raccoons have been causing problems for gardeners and homeowners by raiding vegetable gardens and digging in lawns and flower beds. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Perrot State Park - Water levels have been fluctuating with recent rains. There is plenty of space for boats to make it under the railroad bridge. The current can pick up with the rains but it is still an easy loop around the Voyageur's Trail in a canoe or kayak. The hummingbirds continue to enjoy feeders at the park headquarters. The bluebirds and phoebes have fledged their broods and will be setting up for another batch. The white pelicans are enjoying their summer in the adjacent Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge and will often fly in groups above Trempealeau Mountain. Adult and immature eagles are seen soaring in the bluffs and above the bay.