Published August 20, 2015 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
Almost all of Wisconsin received some much needed rain this week, with some areas reporting 2 inches or more, while other areas received lesser amounts. Prior to the rain, river systems had been running low, but they are expected to rise. The north and south forks of the Flambeau River, the Bois Brule River, and the wild Pine and Popple rivers are all expected to be in good late summer paddling conditions this weekend.
The Lower Wisconsin River has been very low with many exposed sandbars early in the week, but as flows from the north move south, levels may rise, so paddlers should monitor conditions if they are heading out this weekend.
With last weekend's hot and humid weather being followed by rain and a cold front, fishing success was only fair in the Northwoods. Most of the fishing pressure has been for musky and bass, with musky success really tailing off with the hot and humid conditions. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been erratic, though a few very nice fish have been caught and released in the last week. Walleye action has been especially erratic and only a few anglers have been reporting any consistent success. Panfish action continues to be fair.
On Green Bay, walleye anglers began to see an increase in catch rates in the lower bay through the beginning of the week; however, the rains brought a slow start to the weekend. Along the Door Peninsula, anglers fishing for walleye found the best success in the waters surrounding the off shore islands between Egg Harbor and Ephraim, especially around Chambers Island, off Little Sturgeon Bay at Henderson Point and Larsons Reef and in the Chaudoir's Dock area. Anglers focusing on chinook found success in the waters off of both Ellison Bay and Gills Rock. Perch anglers were having the best success at Sawyer Harbor and along the canal at Sturgeon Bay.
Angler pressure was lighter on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula this week with anglers primarily focusing on chinook salmon and steelhead trout, with Baileys Harbor area providing the best bite. Trollers out of southeaster Lake Michigan harbors continued to report a mix of chinooks, coho, rainbows, and lake trout.
A fawn was seen without spots this week at the Brule River State Forest. Wild turkeys are now half grown, with lots of broods being seen all around the state. Nighthawks are beginning to stage for their fall migration. Geese are feeding heavily in wheat stubble fields. The early season starts September 1, along with the dove and early teal seasons.
The very first hints of fall migration are being seen, as larger numbers of blue-winged teal and shorebirds, some of our earliest fall migrants, have been seen in greater numbers in southern Wisconsin. Some fall warblers have also started to move through the state.
Late prairie flowers are in full bloom including prairie blazing star, stiff goldenrod, rattlesnake master, prairie dock, compass-plant, black-eyed and brown-eyed Susans and more.
This Saturday, Aug. 22 is the grand opening of the Explorium at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor center. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area off of Highway 28 between Horicon and Mayville. The day will feature tours of the new Explorium, opportunities for hands-on science in the center's learning lab, guided hikes with wildlife biologists and more. Visitors to the center will find a charging woolly mammoth, walk-through glacier, an airboat simulator ride and a giant great blue heron replica.
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest -The rain we have been waiting for has arrived. Having received just over 2 inches in the Brule area August 18, we can expect river levels to rise soon, making it a great weekend for canoeing the river. Light showers are expected to continue into the morning August 20 but by the weekend it should clear up. Fishing has been slow on the river in the past couple of weeks. Large numbers of humming birds and song birds can be seen prepping for their return migration south. We have been getting calls from folks that are witnessing young eagles fledging. A spectacular site to see this time of the year. If you weren't able to find black-berries this past weekend, hopefully this last dose of rain will help plants along. Focus on edges and recently cut forest areas for the best chance of finding these berries. A fawn without spots was seen this week. It seems like the spots disappear overnight. On that note, deer populations seem to be healthy in this area. Hatched wood turtle nests have been observed by wildlife biologists, a positive indicator for this unique turtle population. As summer comes to an end for many families sending their kids back to school this week, we are still surprised at the amount of people using our campgrounds this summer. First come first serve sites and reservable sites are available to meet your planning needs. The hot weather we had last week brought many water seekers to the river to cool off. With the opener of bow and small game hunting season fast approaching (September 12) be sure to read up on the rules and regulations to make your 2015 hunting season a success. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Copper Falls State Park - With the lack of rain the rivers in the park are low. The water falls have low flow. Loon Lake has water temperatures in the low 70s and many people are enjoying the sandy beach.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With the hot and humid weather being followed by rain and a cold front, fishing success was only fair in the Northwoods in the past week. Most patterns that were working have gotten turned upside down and it may take a few more days of some stable weather to get the fish back to biting. Most of the fishing pressure has been for musky and bass, with musky success really tailing off with the hot and humid conditions. Some small to medium-size fish (32 to 42 inches) were active along the weed edges and near the mid-depth weed beds, with topwater baits, soft-bodied lures and smaller bucktails being the most productive. Any time of day has produced action and was mostly dependent on local weather conditions. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been erratic, though a few very nice fish have been caught and released in the last week. Largemouth are still pretty much settled in to their summer pattern and have been relating to the thick cover. Weedless topwater baits and soft plastics have been the most productive and have to be fished in the weed pockets, in the woody cover, or tight to the bog/marsh edges. Smallmouth have been a bit tough to find in the lakes but action continued to be fair on the flowages and larger rivers. Soft plastics and finesse baits have been the most productive lures and the fish have been relating to wood that is near deeper water areas. Walleye action has been especially erratic and only a few anglers have been reporting any consistent success. Leeches and crawlers fished along the weed edges and in weed pockets have produced most of the fish, tho some have also been found on the deeper gravel and rock bars. Panfish action continues to be fair. Larger bluegill have still been a little tough to find but a few decent catches of crappie and rock bass have been reported. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Fishing has been a bit slow, but should pick up with the cooler temps that in the forecast. Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are good for paddling, but the south fork is a bit on the low side, but doable. Visitors are starting to see black bear on the move and some healthy broods of grouse. Blackberries are ripe and we should be seeing some early wild rice in about a week or so. ATV trails are in good condition, ATV trail between Hwy 70 north to Co. Rd. 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. Tag Along with the DNR elk biologist on August 29 as to monitor the elk. Listen to telemetry of the radioed collared elk and see if you can hear a bugling elk. Meet at the New Flambeau River State Headquarters at 6:30 pm. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Several visitors have had black bear sightings here on the NHAL, what a treat. There is a turkey family still hanging out on the bike trail. Lots of humming birds are hyper active at campground feeders, fatting up for their trip south. Deer are seen frequently along the bike trails and at the Musky shower building. Juvenile loons, who are as usual left behind by their parents at 12 weeks, are starting to gather into flocks on lakes. Soon they will be making their own journey south. Raspberries seem to be finishing up and blackberries are starting to ripen. Ground wasps/hornets still abundant, most reports coming from the Fallison trail. Trails crew went out yesterday to locate and spray. Due to the dry stretch of weather we have had most of the lake and stream levels have started to decline. Some are substantial and others less noticeable, for example Clear Lake in Oneida County. The Manitowish River could have several low water stretches but stepping out of the watercraft for a short section is normal for August paddling. Bring old shoes or knee boots if paddling in August. This decline should not be taken as anything out of the normal weather pattern and should not deter one from using the abundant water resources available in the area. Campground use is beginning to slow down as families wrap up their summer vacations and start focusing on back to school preparations. As always, you can check our campsite availability (updated twice daily) on our iPhone app and on the DNR website.. The group of volunteers who worked on clearing vegetation from the Razorback Lake Campground beach/swim area in June was back again last week and continued working on that project. Their help is greatly appreciated. If you haven't been to the Razorback beach this summer, check it out. After several years of low water levels and vegetation taking over, the beach is usable once again! - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - Large flocks of Canada Geese are beginning to use Wheat and harvested Oats fields in the Antigo Area. This combined recent heavy rains will set the stage for a good start for the Early Goose hunting season beginning Sept. 1. Berry pickers should find a good crop of black berries this year. Berry size is also a bit better than last year. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Florence DNR at the Florence Natural Resource Center
Florence and Forest counties - Summer is in full swing, so come and enjoy the north woods! Red and black raspberries are still ripening everywhere with the best sites along river access roads. The 150-plus miles of ATV trails are in excellent condition making them a wonderful attraction to the area and an excellent way to experience the Spread Eagle Barrens, Pine-Popple Wild Rivers, and the vast county and national forest public lands (approximately 200,000 acres in total). Pine-Popple water levels and flow are near perfect for kayaking and canoeing as well as observing the beautiful rush of the numerous waterfalls along the corridor. You can check the USGS website for real-time stream flow data on waters in the area. Check this link and focus on the Menominee-Oconto-Peshtigo River Basins: waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current/?type=flow (exit DNR). Early goose and teal season are right around the corner with bear, archery deer, and upland small game not far behind, so make sure to have your required licenses, double check this year's new rules and regulations changes, and remember that practice makes perfect. For information search hunt" on the DNR website. - Jason Cotter, wildlife Biologist, Florence
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by Daniel Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Brown County - Bayshore Park walleye anglers began to see an increase in catch rates through the beginning of the week; however, the Friday rains brought a slow start to the weekend. Higher numbers of fish continue to be caught to the south of the ramp with average sizes in the high teens to low 20s. Slightly larger fish continue to be caught to the north of the ramp but once again numbers are lower than to the south. Cranks, crawlers, and jigs are all producing fantastic action. Perch anglers continue to have luck in the area with some boats bringing in good numbers and good sized fish. Minnows have been the bait of choice with the best catch rates coming to those fishing schools of perch that are located just above structure and to the north/west of the ramp. The weekend brought water temperatures in the low 70s and fair to good water clarity.
Door County - Angler pressure along the Green Bay side of the peninsula peaked over the weekend, with anglers focusing most of their attentions on walleye and chinook salmon. There were also a lesser number of smallmouth bass anglers departing from city boat launches as well. These anglers reported good success with smallmouth bass while using plastic tubes and grubs in 10-18 feet of water. Anglers fishing for walleye found the best success in the waters surrounding the off shore islands between Egg Harbor and Ephraim, especially around Chambers Island. Anglers reported that walleye preferred either spinners or crawlers jigged close to the bottom. Anglers focusing on chinook found success in the waters off of both Ellison Bay and Gills Rock. The best results came from anglers focusing their attentions in 100 feet of water and running their baits either 45 to 60 feet down or 85 to 90 feet down. It was reported that chinook salmon were preferring spoons this week. Shore anglers found good success with smallmouth bass, especially during the either the early mornings or evenings this weekend. Anglers reported that live night crawlers fished close to the bottom produced the best success, though large brightly colored plastic worms also were somewhat effective this week. The Egg Harbor Marina and both the Anderson Pier and City Boat Launch in Ephraim were smallmouth bass hot spots this week. Also unintentionally this weekend a fair number of rock bass were caught by smallmouth anglers. The perch bite continues to be elusive but anglers did manage to catch a few from the outside break wall of the Egg Harbor Marina. These anglers reported the best success while fishing with night crawlers. Sawyer Harbor: Fathead minnows fished below a bobber and about 2 feet off of the bottom continue to produce the best results for perch fishermen. Good numbers of 9+ inch perch are providing limits to just about any angler that locates a school, with the largest numbers being caught in 12-16 feet of water. Smallmouth bass action has continued to increase into the week. Anglers throwing white and purple tubes have been producing the highest number of fish, however just about any color has managed to produce some action. Water temps are holding in the low 70's and clarity is holding at moderate. At Sturgeon Bay a few anglers were targeting smallmouth bass reported a tough bite. Best success was seen in the canal in 10 to 15 feet of water using plastics. Perch anglers have been doing well over the past week. Some limits have been reported but anglers have had to sort through the smaller ones. Best locations have been fishing the weed edges along the canal and Dunlap reef using worm pieces. Walleyes have also been hitting well out on the reefs. Anglers have been report the best bite in 15- 25 feet of water fishing 12 to 15 feet down using cranks and crawlers harnesses. Off Little Sturgeon Bay Henderson Point and Larsons Reef continued to produce good numbers of walleye but once again, with the rain on Friday, action was slow at the start of the weekend. Bottom bouncers fished just along the drop offs have been producing the largest and greatest numbers of fish this week. Some perch were beginning to be caught within the harbor with anglers using softshells and minnows. A slip bobber set at 2-3 feet off bottom has produced the most fish while minimizing bycatches. Water temps in the area are holding in the mid 70s and water clarity remains good to excellent. Just as last week, the Chaudoir's Dock area saw great action on walleye and perch to start the week off. Just about anything you threw in the water for walleye was producing fish. Minnows fished off the North Reef area produced the largest numbers and sizes of perch this week. The storm front late in the week brought a slow down to just about all fishing in the area however anglers are still producing perch early in the day. Locating a school and working the area has been key to catching limits and affording anglers the opportunity to be choosy on harvesting fish. Minnows continue to be the bait of choice with most anglers fishing 2-3 feet off bottom. Water temps are holding in the low 70s into the weekend with water clarity dropping from good to moderate. The angler pressure was lighter on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula this week with anglers primarily focusing their attentions on chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Baileys Harbor proved to have the best chinook salmon and steelhead trout bite, though anglers returning to Bues Point also reported moderate success. Anglers reported the best success fishing during the early/mid-morning hours in 60 to 90 feet of water while running baits 50 feet down. Both chinook salmon and steelhead trout seemed to prefer spoons this week. Smallmouth bass anglers fishing from boats found the best success in 10 feet of water along the reefs in the mouth of Rowley's Bay. Shore anglers focused their attentions in Rowley's Bay where the smallmouth bass bite continued to be good this week. Live bait, such as night crawlers, fished closed to be bottom produced the best success.
Kewaunee County - Fishing has been tough this past week but fish are being caught out of the Kewaunee and Algoma ramps. Anglers have been catching primarily chinooks and rainbows with some lake trout mixed in. The key has been finding the cold water but generally fishing has been best in 50 to 120 feet of water fishing 30 to 70 feet down. Spoons and flies have been equally productive. Fishing has slowed on the Kewaunee and Algoma piers over the past week but fish are being caught by those willing to put in the time. Catches have consisted mostly of brown trout and a few rainbows. Anglers have been using both alewives and spoons to equal effect.
Manitowoc County - Fishing on the Manitowoc piers was slow this weekend. Despite the slower salmon catch there are still brown trout present around the harbor. The water temperature in the harbor is 75 degrees. Anglers out of the Manitowoc ramps have been having some luck catching rainbows, chinooks, and lake trout but finding the cold water has been key. Most fish have been caught in 45 to 55 feet of water on spoons. Fishing has been difficult over the past week at the Two Rivers piers due to the poor weather but when anglers did get out, they were able to find rainbow trout and lake trout. Most of the fish were taken using spoons. The water temperature in the harbor is 77 degrees.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Wild turkeys are now half grown, lots of broods around. Nighthawks are beginning to stage for their fall migration. Geese are feeding heavily in wheat stubble fields, early season starts on the 1st of September. Timely rains have really kept things green north of Waupaca. Seems to be an absolute bumper crop of rabbits this year, they are everywhere. Blackberry crop about done. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - Our late prairie flowers are in full bloom. Keep your eyes open for prairie blazing star, stiff goldenrod, rattlesnake master, and many more. Birding for fall migrants is also starting to pick up, with a strong shorebird migration right now, and fall warblers starting to move through. Early season dove, teal and goose hunting will begin September 1, with other bird hunting beginning in mid-September. Search for "FFLIGHT" on the DNR webpage to find dove fields, pheasant stocking sites, and grouse and woodcock habitat. Make sure to check our hunting regulations for any changes. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee
Havenwoods State Forest - The prairies and grasslands are filled with wildflowers. Right now, the predominant color is yellow: stiff goldenrod, Canada goldenrod, prairie dock, compass-plant, black-eyed Susan, brown-eyed Susan and rosinweed. If you look closely among the abundant Queen Anne's lace flowers, you will find white whorled milkweed and upland boneset along with purple coneflowers and many more. Bring your camera to capture the flowers and their insect visitors. - Beth Mittermaier, natural resources educator
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Pike Lake Unit - Pike Lake is flourishing with monarch butterflies, swallowtail butterflies and the wild flowers are in full bloom! Staff has noticed that the new osprey nest platform that was installed by the eagle scouts has a new red-tailed hawk visitor using it as an opportunity to hunt from above. Make sure you look out for fawns and turkey poults while driving on the park roads! There have been multiple fawns spotted, along with large broods of baby turkeys (poults) of all sizes following adult hens throughout the property. Make sure you take note of the blooming bee balm (wild bergamot) plants and the bountiful cup plants as well.
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan trollers averaged a couple of fish per boat over the weekend. chinook, rainbows, and lakers were reported in similar numbers, with the most success coming from water 70 to 90 feet deep. The fishing has been better during the early morning, as most boats reported little to no action after 10:00am. Small spoons in a variety of bright colors were reported to work better than other lures. Pier fishing has been slow overall, but a few chinooks and rainbows were taken off the north pier near the lighthouse. All fish were caught by soaking alewives, and early morning hours produced the best. One or two browns and a sheepshead were reported off of the south pier, and they were taken on spoons. The water on the lake side of the north pier was 61 degrees on Sunday, and the harbor side was 64 degrees.
Ozaukee County - Trolling improved on Sunday, with boats averaging about five fish each. Rainbows were the most common, followed closely by chinooks. Most fish were taken by trollers working in 80 to 100 feet of water, and watermelon, white, and glow spoons all produced. chinooks and coho have been taken by shore anglers fishing off of the breakwall in Port, but fishing has been generally slow. Almost all fish have been taken by soaking alewives, but alewives have been harder to come by than in previous weeks. A few browns have been caught along the south wall of the harbor. Spawn and plastic Gulp minnows have taken the majority of fish. The Port Washington harbor is up to 67 degrees, but the lake side of the breakwall remains cooler at 58 degrees.
Milwaukee County - Milwaukee trollers have been fishing 90 to 110 feet of water from the filtration plant north to the towers on Capitol Drive. A mix of chinooks, coho, rainbows, and lake trout have been taken, with chartreuse spoons producing well. Success has tapered off for boats jigging spoons and Gulp in the gaps. To the south of Milwaukee, boats targeting chinooks and coho has decent luck trolling between the #14 and #16 cans off of Wind Point in 55 feet of water. Shore anglers in Milwaukee have been struggling to find alewives off of McKinley pier. Some anglers have been using golden shiners instead of alewives, but dead alewives have out-produced the shiners. A few chinooks and rainbows have been taken. Fishing pressure on the river side of the Summerfest grounds picked up this week. A few small, 8 to 9 inch perch and 2 to 3 pound brown trout have been caught at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. The gate to the long fishing pier at the Coast Guard station was open for anglers this week, but perch fishing has been slow. A few small brown trout were landed at the Lake Express Car Ferry fishing area on small blade baits and spoons. At the Oak Creek Power Plant pier large numbers of sheepshead have moved into the discharge chute over the past several days, and anglers have been catching them on small crank baits and spoons.
Racine County - In Racine the majority of boats fishing over the weekend were targeting chinooks and coho in 55 feet of water off of Wind Point. Two boats returned to the ramp with a two-person limit on Sunday morning. Boats that trolled near the 3 mile reef averaged a few fish per boat, mostly rainbows with a few chinooks and coho. Fishing around the Racine shoreline has been slow, and the water temperature at the lakefront was 66 degrees on Sunday.
Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers have been catching a few chinooks and rainbows in 60 to 70 feet of water, and others have reported some limited success for chinooks while fishing on the hill. Brown trout fishing has begun to improve for shore anglers in the Kenosha harbor, with white tube jigs and glow-in-the-dark spoons producing. A few rainbows have also been caught off the south pier on alewives. The weed beds in the Simmons Island boat harbor are loaded with bluegills and a few crappies. The water in the boat harbor is clear, and the fish are easy to locate.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - A bald eagle has been hanging out and hunting along either side of Hwy 28 near the north end of Theresa Marsh, just west of Hwy 41. Viewing and photography opportunities for other birds are also good in the same area (egrets, herons, other wading birds, sandhill cranes, waterfowl, etc. Locally nesting Canada geese are starting to flock up and stage. Rains during the past few days have helped bring up the water slightly in creeks and ponds, but conditions are still general dry due to below average rainfall this summer. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water levels on August 20, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 6,024 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 arrived 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
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - This Saturday, Aug. 22 is the grand opening of the Explorium at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor center. Whether you like history, hiking, herons or hearing about hunters and the hunted, you'll want to head to Horicon for the grand opening of the Explorium. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Horicon Marsh Wildlife Area off of Highway 28 between Horicon and Mayville. It will feature tours of the new Explorium, opportunities for hands-on science in the center's learning lab, guided hikes with Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologists and more. Visitors to the center will find a charging woolly mammoth, walk-through glacier, an airboat simulator ride and a giant great blue heron replica. Made possible with nearly $1 million in donations from the private Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center group, the $3.7 million project will benefit the surrounding communities as visitor numbers grow from 50,000 to a projected 150,000 per year within the first three years. In addition to school field trips, youth group visits and adult tours, the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is expected to draw more families and individual visitors to take advantage of the offerings. The grand opening event kicks off Aug. 22 with welcoming remarks starting at 10 a.m. Visitors may sign up for Explorium tours online. Advance registration for guided hiking tours of the marsh also is encouraged. Parking for the grand opening event will be available at the visitor center, N7725 Wisconsin 28, Horicon, Wis., 53032, and shuttles also will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. from the St. Stephen Church, 505 N. Palmatory St., Horicon, Wis. To learn more, visit dnr.wi.gov and search "Horicon Marsh."
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Dane County - Some bird migration is apparent through the area. Lots of shorebirds if you can find the right habitat (mudflats/shallow water). Flycatchers, orioles and hummingbirds along with some of the earlier warblers are on the move. Good flights of common nighthawks should be apparent over the next week. It appears to be a good acorn year for the white oak group (white oak, swamp white oak and burr oak). Hunters may want to scout their favorite areas for these tree species as I suspect that early fall the deer and turkeys will be targeting this mast. Recent rains have triggered a fresh "hatch" of mosquitoes! Take precautions. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Jefferson County - Water levels in the lakes, rivers, and wetlands around Jefferson County have been relatively low with the lack of rainfall; however, recent rains over the last several days have helped replenish some water in areas, though the rain has been somewhat scattered. We are seeing the very first hints of fall migration, as larger numbers of blue-winged teal and shorebirds, some of our earliest fall migrants, have been seen in greater numbers throughout Jefferson County. Nighttime temperatures in Ontario are predicted to start dropping into the 40s this week, which will accelerate early migration. The Virginia creeper has also started to turn red with the recent cooler temperatures, indicating that summer is waning, but there should still be plenty of beautiful weather left to enjoy. - Mark Witecha, wildlife biologist, Lake Mills
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Late last week a peregrine falcon was rescued from the Westby wastewater treatment plant. This beautiful female had been banded earlier this summer at Alliant Energy's Columbia Energy Center near Pardeeville, Columbia County. Somehow it found its way to the Westby area of Vernon County, about 100 miles from Pardeeville, when it apparently ran out of energy and landed at the treatment plant. The bird sought shade beneath a covered sludge bunker in the 90 degree heat, when vigilant workers recognized the plight of the bird and contacted the DNR. The bird was easily captured and transported to a local wildlife rehabilitator where it is regaining its strength before being released back to the wild. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Fawns are becoming a common site around the state forest as they follow after their mothers. More turkey broods are also being spotted with the young almost as big as the adults now. After several days of rain the weather is expected to clear up in time for the weekend. Temperatures are expected to be in the low 80s with a chance of rain Saturday night into Sunday. Campsites are available in all of our campgrounds for this coming weekend. All-terrain vehicle trails were groomed last week and should be in good condition although wet and muddy in areas. All state forest trails are open with the exception of the Wildcat Loop, which is having some wetland crossing upgrade work completed. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Juneau County - Things have been hot and dry in the last couple weeks in Southern Juneau County. Water levels have been very low which is typical of this time of year. We did just get much needed rain and a break in the hot weather this week, which should help water levels and fishing activity. Fishing has been tough lately. Some bass are being caught on the Lemonweir River. Fishermen on the Wisconsin River and Castle Rock Lake have been catching a few catfish, and white bass are being caught trolling crank baits. Deer and turkeys have been moving quite a bit lately. It appears we have a good number of fawns and young turkeys this year. - Kyle Lynch, conservation warden, Mauston
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa County - Fall is definitely around the corner as acorns are dropping and fall fishing is picking up. Fisherman have been doing well on panfish and walleye fishing in 5 to 15 feet of water on night crawlers. With bear season and archery season kicking off soon, hunters are strongly encouraged to check their local baiting regulations before baiting for deer and that baiting for deer is not legal until 24 hours before the opening bow season date. Hunters should remember that when hunting in bear country, to anticipate seeing a bear in their natural environment and consider using bear spray as a deterrent if necessary, to avoid lethal methods of deterrent. Some fawns are still being observed with spots and it seems that fields are quickly filling with Canada Geese which shows hopeful action for the early goose season. - John Schreiber, conservation warden, Cornell
Eau Claire County -Boaters and anglers have experienced some beautiful fog shrouded sunrises on area lakes and rivers. Cooler air temperatures are welcomed by countless bicycle riders enjoying the paved surface of the Chippewa River State Trail. Wildlife viewing opportunities abound as the young of the year are very active this time of the year. Fall is fast approaching - check the DNR website for upcoming hunter education classes. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Wausau DNR Service Center area
Marathon County - The Schofield Flowage, which is a popular recreational spot for fishing, hunting and paddling, has been drawn down for most of the summer for dam repairs. The work has been completed and they started filling the flowage last week. It's at full pool as of now in time for the fall hunting season and excellent late season small mouth fishing. Also, we have several hunter safety classes coming up in the area this fall. Check the DNR website for availability as there are several classes taking place throughout the county. - Benjamin Herzfeldt, conservation warden, Wausau