View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
With warm temperatures returning this week, conditions look excellent for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. As of Tuesday, only 37 reservable campsites were still available for the weekend at Wisconsin state parks and forests. Most parks have some non-reservable sites available, but they were expected to fill up quickly. People looking for last-minute campsites can check the camping availability at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest.
Continued rain over the past few weeks in the north have kept popular paddling rivers in good condition for the upcoming weekend, with both the Bois Brule and the Flambeau rivers flowing above seasonal norms. The lower Wisconsin River is flowing at seasonal normal levels, with many sandbars available for camping this weekend.
Musky fishing has been the highlight in the Northwoods and action continued to be good. Most anglers are reporting a lot of sightings, follows and strikes, and quite a few fish have also been landed. Most of the musky have been in the 30 to 38-inch size but a few in the 42- to 47-inch range have also been reported. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been sporadic, with smallmouth being most active on flowages and larger rivers. Northern pike and panfish action has been fair, but walleye action has remained generally slow.
Perch have started to bite along the east shore of Lake Winnebago, where white bass were also being caught. Perch fishing has also improved over the past couple weeks on Green Bay's east shore and the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal. Smallmouth anglers continue to report a tough time but there have been some reports of success especially for anglers returning to the Gills Rock and Sisters Bay boat ramps.
Lake Michigan anglers have been having mixed results over the last week. There was some success at piers for chinook and brown trout. A dense fog advisory over the weekend hampered boating getting out. There are reports that chinook salmon are beginning to stage inside the Port Washington harbor and at the mouth of the Milwaukee River.
Last Tuesday, Sept. 1 was the kick off for early teal, early goose, and mourning dove seasons. Early dove reports were mixed, with some areas reporting few hunters, possibly due to the heat and early fog in some areas, with other areas reporting excellent activity. Some areas of the state are holding good numbers of teal, while other areas reported sparse numbers of birds. Canada goose numbers are strong in most areas.
This coming week marks the beginning of bear and archery seasons, as well as turkey, rabbit, squirrel, and Zone A grouse seasons. Search for "FFLIGHT" on the DNR webpage to find dove fields, pheasant stocking sites, and grouse and woodcock habitat.
The nighthawk migration continues to be reported strong in many locations, with a group of more than 400 observed over Perch Lake in St. Croix County looking for roosting cover.
Chipmunks and squirrels are feverishly gathering and feeding on acorns, black walnuts, hickory nuts, pinecones, berries and seeds to cache away for winter needs. Many colorful mushrooms are popping up all over for the careful collector. Large number of leopard frogs and other frog species have been observed and turtle hatchlings are emerging. Very good numbers of monarchs are being seen amassing in a number of areas preparing for their migration.
New England aster, a stunning purple wildflower, is currently blooming, along with Indian pipe, mullein, Joe Pye weed, pearly everlasting, the pale and spotted jewelweed. Hints of red and maroon are showing up from a few red maples and staghorn sumac. The Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR) is now available online.
Join the Friends of Cherokee Marsh Friday, Sept. 4 to help bundle, cut, and treat Phragmites (giant reed grass), which is invading the rich wetlands of the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area. Phragmites spreads quickly through a network of underground and above-ground stems, choking out the native plants. This project will stop the spread of the Phragmites and allow the diverse native sedges, grasses, and flowers to persist. Click here for more information. Stay up to date with all State Natural Area volunteer opportunities . - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The forest received half an inch of rain Sept. 1, which raised river levels above average. Blackberries are still ripe for the picking and another excuse to get out in the woods and enjoy the beautiful weather. We are expecting campgrounds to be filling up this weekend for the Labor Day weekend. If you have questions when planning your canoe or camping trip in the Brule River State Forest, please call the Brule area office at 715-372-5678 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Maintenance of hiking trails on the Brule River State Forest is underway. We invite you to explore the many miles of hiking, historical, and hunting trails we have on the property. With cooler weather just around the bend, this is a perfect way to enjoy some leisure time with friends or family. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Many visitors have been enjoying the swimming area in Interfalls Lake. Big and Little Manitou Falls are providing wonderful photo opportunities for park visitors due to the rain we have received in the last three weeks. Visitors are reminded that there is no swimming below Little Manitou Falls and climbing in the gorge of Big Manitou Falls is prohibited. Come check out Wisconsin's largest waterfall! Whitetail deer have been spotted throughout the area, some with fawns. We have had a couple reports of black bear sightings in the area as well. When visiting the park make sure to keep your eyes and ears open for the many hummingbirds that frequently visit our feeders outside the office windows and the snowshoe hare that has been spotted in the campground. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Straight Lake State Park - The Ice Age Trail is in good shape, with a few muddy spots with the recent rain. Make sure to use some bug spray because the mosquitoes can be annoying in some locations of the park. As a reminder, Straight Lake is open to foot travel only. Jewel weed, golden rod, and big leaf aster 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. 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. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With some relatively stable and mostly dry weather in the last week, fishing activity has been pretty good in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Musky have been the highlight in the area and action continued to be good. Most anglers are reporting a lot of sightings, follows and strikes, and quite a few fish have also been landed. Most of the musky have been in the 30 to 38-inch size but a few in the 42- to 47-inch range have also been reported. Large-size artificial baits have provided most of the action and some of the favorite lures have included stick baits, double-bladed bucktails, and Bull Dawgs. The musky have been found in a variety of locations - including the less-dense weed beds, the deeper weed edges, and some even suspended in the deeper water areas. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been sporadic, with smallmouth being most active on the local flowages and larger rivers. The smallmouth have been found near cover around deeper water areas, with the successful baits being plastic finesse lures and spinner baits. Largemouth action showed a little more consistency in the past week, with most of the fish being found in the mid-depth areas around cover. The top-water bite never really seemed to develop this summer and the largemouth have mostly been holding around cover in 3 to 6 feet of water. Soft plastics, jig/craw combinations, and spinner baits have been the more successful baits lately. Northern pike action has been fair, as the cooling water temperatures will continue to favor this species. Some decent success has been found on spinner baits casted along the mid-depth weed edges. Walleye action has remained generally slow, with many of the anglers having given up until the fall patterns set in. Panfish activity has been fair - some decent crappie and bluegill have been found suspended around deeper water cover, and rock bass being found just about everywhere else! - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the north and south forks are good for paddling but the south for is on the low side. Fishing is picking up a bit. Monarchs are gathering for their long migration. Chickadees and warblers are feeding together. Birds grouping up to prepare for their flights south are: Canadian geese, sandhill cranes, black birds and hummingbirds. Black cherries are dropping and many beautiful mushrooms are popping up. Wild rice enthusiasts are having some success but should remember to periodically check GLIFWC's website (attps://data.glifwc.org/manoomin.harvest.info/) for the status of select ceded territory rice waters to help guide their ricing efforts. Be sure to have the proper licenses for harvesting rice. ATV trails are in good condition and recently mowed. The 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. We hope to start mowing the hunter/walking trails within the next couple of weeks. Both campgrounds are in beautiful shape for this Labor Day weekend. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Hints of red and maroon on the maple trees are showing up in the swampy areas and along the Manitowish River toward Powel Marsh. Shrubs and grasses are starting to show their brown and golden colors also as the fall dieback begins. Grouse and turkey broods are starting to visit the roadsides in search of grit and bugs and the crows and ravens are also checking things out! Nighthawks have starting passing through and the male ruby throated hummingbirds have left the wife and kids to fend for themselves as they start south on their journeys. Many varieties of golden rod and asters dot the trails and roadsides along with the black-eyed- Susan's. Blackberries are ripe here and there. The squirrels and chipmunks are feverishly carrying pinecones, berries and seeds away for their winter needs. Many colorful mushrooms are popping up all over for the careful collector. It's a great time to be out in the woods. As expected, campground use has been low this week. Campers are starting to trickle in for the holiday weekend, but we expect to see a tremendous amount of arrivals on Friday and a busy weekend across the forest. This weekend is the last opportunity this season to camp at Cunard Lake, Plum Lake, and South Trout Lake Campgrounds, with those three campgrounds closing for the season on Tuesday, Sept. 8. All other campgrounds on the forest are open until at least mid-October for your fall camping trips. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - In the Antigo Area nighthawks can be seen at dusk feeding over open areas. These birds as well as many other summer resident species are busy "fueling" up before heading south. Decent numbers of resident Canada geese await hunters. Most activity has been associated with harvested grain fields. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Anglers floating the Peshtigo River from the Municipal Landing to mouth report catching good numbers of northern pike along with some nice smallmouth. Crank baits and plastics have been the most effective. Perch are being caught out of the mouth of Little River, look for weed beds in 6 to 10 feet of water, minnows are working best. Brown trout and salmon are being caught by anglers trolling from the Peshtigo Light to Green Island on a variety of colored spoons. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Panfish are being caught below the dam at Stiles using worms and minnows, with most anglers fishing near the pilings below the dam. Some perch are being caught out of the mouth of the Pensaukee River using minnows and crawler pieces. Look for weed beds in 10 to 15 feet of water. The walleye bite from the Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II has slowed some. Anglers report the fish are in deep water and not very active. The mouth of the Oconto River is still producing some nice smallmouth, the occasional walleye and some perch. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Voyager Park continued to be slow through the week. Anglers targeting walleye have had good luck casting jigs tipped with night crawlers. Other anglers, using three-way setups, continue to catch moderate numbers of catfish and drum, with the best catches coming just before dusk. The locks on the dam continue to stay closed this week causing very little water flow in the area and water clarity to be low. Anglers fishing near the mouth of the Fox River have begun to catch white bass over the last few days. Catch rates continue to be highest in the early morning hours, with the exception of night time catfishing. Walleye anglers out of the metro launch are catching good amounts of walleye just outside of University Bay. Cranks trolled in the early morning hours and targeting 8-12 feet of water have produced the greatest catch rates this week. Silver and purple continue to produce the most fish however daily conditions seem to be the main driving force behind good catch rates. Anglers continue to target and catch perch throughout the area at Duck Creek. Worms and minnows are the most popular bait with either one producing equally. The majority of perch average 4-6 inches; however, anglers are beginning to catch fish closer to 10-inches. Water temperatures are holding in the mid 60s and clarity remained poor. Walleye anglers heading out of the Suamico launch had mixed results. Trolling crawler harnesses in 20-25 feet of water continue to produce the most fish however overall catch rates are down slightly. Musky anglers in the area have begun to catch multiple fish late in the week. Spinners have produced the majority of fish, with most catches coming just before or after dusk. Fishing pressure was moderate. Water temperatures have begun to return to the high 60s late into the week and clarity is moderate to good. Shore anglers are casting worms and minnows for yellow perch. Catch rates continue to climb through the week. Most perch kept were in the 7-inch range however more fish pushing the 10-inch mark are being caught this week. Multiple musky anglers were interviewed this week, with reports of multiple follows; however no reported fish boated this week. Cranks and double Colorado blades produced all noted follows. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay
Door County - Walleye anglers off Sturgeon Bay have been having success fishing the reefs in about 20 to 30 feet of water using both cranks and crawler harnesses with multiple 25+ inchers reported. Perch anglers have also been finding success along the canal, especially around the city ramp and center point dock. Results have been best using worms and minnows. Northern pike also have been hitting well through the canal. Most anglers have been catching them using crank baits and spinners. Smallmouth anglers continue to report a tough time but there have been some reports of success coming from the flats. None of the anglers fishing this week were targeting salmon. Fishing pressure was moderate this week along the Green Bay Side of the peninsula. Anglers found the best success with walleye in 10 to 30 feet of water. Though anglers reported using a variety of set ups by far the most successful set ups were either crawler harnesses or jigging raps. The small mouth bass bite has improved from last week, with anglers finding success with crank, jerk and swim baits in 10 to 20 feet of water. Anglers returning to the Gills Rock and Sisters Bay boat ramps reported the best success with smallmouth bass. Fishing pressure from shore anglers was light this week, with the majority of anglers focusing their attention at the Andersons Pier in Ephraim and at the Egg Harbor Marina. Night crawlers and plastic leaches fished close to the bottom proved to be the most successful bait for smallmouth bass. Yellow perch anglers fishing from the outer side of the Egg Harbor Marina break wall only found success with rock bass. Angler pressure was light this week on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. One group of anglers returning to the Baileys Harbor Marina reported success with Chinook salmon and steelhead trout in 120 to 240 feet of water, while running their lures in the top forty feet of the water column. Shore fishing pressure was also light this week on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. With the few anglers interviewed fining success with smallmouth bass at the Rowleys Bay Pier while using spinners and plastic baits. Perch fishing has improved over the past couple weeks on Green Bay's East shore. A number of limits have been caught launching boats from Bayshore Park, Chaudoir's Dock and Carmody Park. While many perch have been on the small side, several over eleven inches are also being landed. Fishing crawlers and minnows in about 20 feet of water has worked best. Staying on a school can lead to fast action, but staying in a familiar location and waiting for schools to move through has also worked. A few perch are being caught fishing off of the docks at Bayshore Park, Chaudoir's Dock, Carmody Park and Potawatomi Park. Most are small, but 9-10 inchers have been caught. Night crawlers and minnows are the most common used baits. Walleye fishing has been adequate. Catch rates from Bayshore Park North to Little Sturgeon Bay have been similar. A higher percentage of smaller-sized walleye are being caught in South Green Bay. Fishing reefs has been effective. Crawler Harnesses, crank baits and vertical jigging were all landing fish. Decent-sized northern pike were boated on Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor this week. Smallmouth bass anglers caught moderate numbers this week on Little Sturgeon Bay. Fishing near rocky bottoms in fifteen to twenty feet of water, and near weed beds, worked. Tubes, jerk baits and live bait were some of the most common approaches. Anglers fishing off of Chaudoir's Dock are catching decent numbers of channel catfish. Night crawlers and dried port, fished on the bottom, was the most popular method. Late evenings are the best time. Incidental catches of catfish are happening, primarily by boaters looking for walleye, throughout southern Green Bay. When the weather was decent, fishing pressure was high at Bayshore Park, Moderate at Carmody Park and fairly light at Chaudoir's Dock and Potawatomi Park. Water clarity was around 3-4 feet on Little Sturgeon and at least 6-8 feet on Sawyer Harbor. Water clarity near Bayshore and Chaudior's Dock was less than two feet. Side catches on Green Bay's East Shore included catfish, bluegill and rock bass.
Kewaunee County - Anglers have been having mixed results off of the pier over the last week. When the bite has been active, anglers have been catching mostly Chinook with a few steelhead mixed in. Fish have been coming throughout the day on a mix of alewives and spoons. Foggy conditions meant few anglers went onto the lake and even fewer were interviewed. Those who were interviewed reported a tough bite. Some anglers did find success with kings and rainbow trout in about 100 feet of water using spoons. Fishing on the Algoma Pier has been up and down throughout the week. On the good days, anglers have been catching a mix of coho, king salmon, brown trout, and rainbow trout. The fish have been coming on mostly spoons.
Manitowoc County - The Manitowoc Piers have been picking up lately, with king salmon caught off of the north and south piers. A coho was also caught off of the north pier, and some brown trout were being caught on the north side of the Marina. Brown trout have been caught on the harbor side of the south pier as well. Anglers continued to land a few king salmon on Saturday, and Sunday. These fish were caught throughout the day by casting a combination of green and silver. The temperature in the harbor is 58 degrees. Fishing remains spotty from the Manitowoc ramp. Going out deep proved unsuccessful for many anglers. One boater returned to fish inside the harbor and landed three kings on Saturday. On Sunday boats concentrated their efforts out front of the harbor with some limited success catching king salmon. Several steelhead were caught just outside of Manitowoc on Sunday as well. Surface temperatures are varying from 46-51 degrees on Lake Michigan. Traffic was slow at the Two Rivers ramps this weekend. A dense fog advisory on Saturday and Sunday hampered boating out of Two Rivers. One boat that ventured out had some success catching three kings, and a rainbow. Water temperatures at the surface were 51-52 degrees. The Two Rivers piers were very productive this past weekend. On Friday anglers reported the early morning waters were boiling with baitfish and Salmon. Fishing was best during mid-morning. Anglers landed several king salmon, a few steelhead, and a coho. The bite slowed down on Sunday with clearer water near shore. Alewives were the bait of choice, both floated and fished off the bottom. Water temperature in the harbor is 60 degrees. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Turkeys and their young are often seen in the park and surrounding areas. Just a few trees are starting to show signs of fall color. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Stream levels look great due to recent rains. Rains have also brought some new bug hatches. We now have some mosquitos and no-see ums to keep you company in the evenings. Geese are really feeding heavy in wheat stubble right now, that would be the place to try to bag some. Doves seem pretty scarce this year. The only place staff have noticed any is around stubble fields. We seem to have an excellent red oak acorn crop this year, which is where some will hunt deer on the opener next week. Most critters have kept a pretty low profile this week due to a brutal heat wave - that has been the biggest story of the week. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - This weekend is going to be hot, water is warm and I am sure it will be busy here in Waushara County. Reminder to all folks who are out and about there are hunting season going on already. Sept. 1 was the kick off for early teal, early goose, and mourning dove seasons. Early goose runs until Sept. 15 and early teal will go through 7 p.m. on Monday Sept. 7. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Calumet County - Perch have started to bite along the east shore of Lake Winnebago off County Park and Stockbridge Harbor in Calumet County. Many anglers have been taking home a dozen or more fish over several hours of fishing. White bass are also being caught with jigs and worms. The early teal, early, goose, and dove seasons are now open with good numbers of birds reported throughout the area. The Brillion State Wildlife Area is currently holding a large number of teal on the Conservation Road Flowage. Hunters are reminded that hunting hours for the early teal season close at 7 p.m. each day. Hunters are also reminded to bring some bug spray due to an abundance of mosquitos in and near the marshes. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge
Kohler-Andrae State Park - The white-tailed deer are visible grazing along the roadsides throughout the park. There have been several bald eagles observed near the Lake Michigan shoreline. Many song birds are visiting the rain garden feeders at the park office. There are many tree stumps and piles of brush from the ongoing ash tree cutting going on in the park. The ash trees in the picnic areas, campground and near trails are being cut due to the Emerald Ash Borer.
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Catch rates remained low over the weekend at about two fish per boat. Chinook were most common, followed by rainbows and then lakers. During the morning, boats fished in about 150-180 feet of water, but during the evening many boats fished much shallower in about 30-60 feet of water. The morning was slightly better, but not significantly. Spoons were the most popular lure by far, in green, blue, white, and glow colors. The fishing was pretty slow from both piers, but a few fish were reported on each side. Chinook were caught off of north pier near the lighthouse using alewives and jigging spoons. The morning seems to be the best time to be out there, but some were caught during the late afternoon as well. Many people have started to fish south pier at the mouth of the river, but catch rates are very low. A few browns and chinook were reported, but they are still hard to come by. Most fish were caught by casting cleos here. Surface water temperature inside the harbor was down to 51 degrees on Sunday, 13 degrees colder than last week. Surface water temperature off of north pier on the lake side was 42 degrees, 19 degrees colder than last week.
Ozaukee County - Fishing has been slow on the Port Washington breakwall. There are still some alewives near shore off of the breakwall, but they are hard to come by. The fishing along the south wall and into the utility discharge area is starting to pick up. Chinook are starting to stage inside the harbor, and a few nice sized ones were landed over the weekend. The most common bait was skein fished off of the bottom, and 6-9 a.m. seemed to be the best time to be out there. A few browns were landed as well, and gulp plastic minnows and skein worked for these fish. Fishermen have started fishing the north slip as well, but no fish were reported from that area. Surface water temperature inside the harbor was down to 49 degrees on Sunday, 9 degrees colder than last week. Surface water temperature off of the breakwall on the lake side was 43 degree, 1 degree warmer than last week. Catch rates remained rather low at the ramps, with around three fish per boat. Chinook were most common, followed by coho and then lakers. Boats targeting chinook did best by staying shallow and near the edge of the harbor in about 40 feet of water. Spoons were used most commonly, in watermelon and glow colors.
Milwaukee County - There was a spike in the Milwaukee River flow rate and water level after rain fell Aug. 27. The water level at Estabrook Park increased from 1.75 feet on Friday to 2.70 feet on Saturday. The water temperature at Estabrook Park was 75-76 degrees on Sept. 2. The hot and humid weather brought loads of people to Estabrook Park Wednesday. Anglers were targeting smallmouth bass with no success. At Kletzsch Park was clear with a copper colored stain. Anglers were targeting smallmouth bass below the falls. The average size of the smallmouth was 6-7 inches. An angler behind the Summerfest grounds landed a 7 to 8 pound king on the river side. Chinook salmon are beginning to stage at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. Boats were jigging for kings at the mouth of the Milwaukee River and in the Main Gap and trolling for kings along the break wall between the north and south gaps. Perch, bluegills, catfish, smallmouth bass, and suckers were being caught on the Menomonee River but most of the fish have been too small to keep. Larger fish are being caught at the confluence where the Milwaukee and Menomonee Rivers meet.
Racine County - Fishing traffic was low from the ramp on Saturday and slightly heavier on Sunday. The lake was a little choppy and foggy on Saturday and a majority of boats had short trips. Fish were hard to find and a majority of the boats reported very low catches. The fishing on the south pier heated up on Saturday and Sunday. Alewives fished on the bottom were successful for chinook. Jointed crank baits in perch colors caught multiple coho salmon. Gulp minnows fished on darter head jigs also caught multiple chinook. The fish were caught along the entire length of the South Pier with no one spot catching all the fish. Mornings seem to be the most productive time of the day. A few shoreline anglers reported occasional catches of crappies under the Main Street bridge.
Kenosha County - This weekend fishing traffic was relatively low from the ramp. Heavy fog and rough water kept many boats away. The boats that did make it out reported one to two fish per boat with the catch consisting mainly of browns and an occasional coho. Fishing pressure on the south pier was heavy this weekend with a majority of anglers targeting brown trout. Success was inconsistent throughout the weekend with multiple brown trout being caught on Thursday night and Saturday night, but very low numbers of fish being caught on Friday and Sunday night. Pearl or green tube jigs were the hot lures when the brown trout were biting. On Saturday night an angler caught an 18-pound chinook salmon on the south pier. The fish was caught on a jig with a pearl, 4 inch plastic minnow. A few shoreline anglers tried their luck at the mouth of the Pike River over the weekend. During the week a 16 pound chinook was caught at the mouth of the Pike River on an orange, jointed crank bait.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Stay safe this Labor Day weekend as you take advantage of the warm weather to camp, fish, hunt, or hike. Keep your eyes open for migrating song and shorebirds, as well as early raptor migrants. Red maples and staghorn sumac are beginning to show their fall colors, and some late season prairie wildflowers are still in bloom. Sept. 1 marked the beginning of early season dove, teal, and goose hunting. This coming week marks the beginning of bear and archery seasons, as well as turkey, rabbit, squirrel, grouse (Zone A), and crow. 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. Leftover fall turkey permits and antlerless deer tags are available in many parts of the state. They can be purchased online, by phone, and from your local ALIS vendors. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Hunting pressure was light this week on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area during the first three days of the early teal, early goose and mourning dove seasons. The hot, humid weather and mosquitos probably kept some hunters from getting out. Canoe access into the marsh for duck and goose hunting is very good, with no major cattail bog blockages. The main marsh water level on Theresa is about at "full pool". Goose and teal numbers on the marsh and around the area are generally low. Viewing and photography opportunities for waterfowl, egrets, sandhill cranes and other birds are still excellent long the Highway 28 pull off areas just west of Highway 41. Some of the marsh vegetation is starting to turn brown and gold. Hunters and visitors are reminded that public entry into the two Theresa Marsh Waterfowl Refuge areas is prohibited from Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 except for gun deer hunting during the nine-day gun deer season. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water levels on Sept. 3, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 3,714 CFS, about average flow for this time of year. 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. Mourning dove and early goose hunting is open in the area and there may be hunters in the Riverway. Dove hunters should be finding many birds, especially around some of the sunflower fields that were planted within the riverway. Hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing when afield. The hiking and horse trail are all in good shape. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board - Weekly video report from director Mark Cupp (exit DNR).
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Green County - ATV trails are currently OPEN for use. Remember if you abuse it you lose it, so make sure you are only operating on trails and properties open to public use. Mourning dove season is almost here and the sunflower fields are looking very good. Remember the four rules of firearm safety as dove hunting is done in close proximity to others and could easily result in a hunting accident. As always, please report any violations you observe and stay safe. - Ryan Caputo, conservation warden, New Glarus
Lafayette County - Dove fields in the area did not produce a crop of sunflowers well enough to hunt. There is basically zero hunting pressure for doves in the area and the teal population is extremely low in most locations. The ATV trails are dusty and riders need to watch what roads they operate on, as only properly signed ATV routes are open for ATV use. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park - The road to the boat launch that was severely damaged by heavy rains in June 2013 and 2014 making it unsafe for vehicle traffic will be closed for up to a month for a major repair project. Long Valley Road has a history of temporary closures due to washouts from storms and Mississippi River flooding. The repair project will begin Sept. 8 and run through Oct. 9. It will involve the removal and replacement of six culverts, cleaning of ditches, asphalt pavement, and site restoration along the road. If the project is completed ahead of schedule the road will be re-opened to the public at that time. The work being completed is expected to reduce the impacts of future heavy rain events, which should result in safer conditions; minimize temporary road closures and reduce damage to road infrastructure during rain events. There is a county park boat launch and beach just south of Wyalusing State Park, and several additional public boat launches north of the park in the City of Prairie du Chien. - Chad Breuer, property supervisor
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Dove activity was excellent in southern Columbia County on the first two days of the season with good hunter success being observed at Grassy Lake and Mud Lake state wildlife areas. Hunters were reporting mixed success with the teal and early goose seasons. Hot weather has made it uncomfortable for most hunting activities. Boating activity on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River will remain high through Labor Day weekend. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Dane County - The early teal and goose seasons have been very lightly hunted. The hot weather has likely reduced hunter numbers and goose activity. Opening day dove reports were mixed from Rock/Green/Dane counties. The fog slowed things down a bit early on opening day. Some good shooting was had at fields with good numbers of birds. Hunter numbers were lower than is typical at many fields which may also be due to the weather. Despite the heat warbler migration is moving along nicely. Good numbers of Tennessee warblers are being seen in thick shrubs and forest edges in wildlife areas. Bobolinks are being heard overhead as they start their long migration to the gulf coast and then eventually to Argentina. Good numbers of monarchs and migratory dragonflies are being seen in prairies and grasslands. Now is a great time to check out sedge meadows for blooming joe pye weed, turtlehead, swamp lousewort, and a wide array of asters gentians and other spectacular late summer flowers. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Jefferson County - Early teal and goose seasons, as well as dove season, opened on Tuesday. Reports from both teal and dove hunters in Jefferson County have been very positive, and large numbers of teal were observed on Lake Mills Wildlife Area. Hunters have commented on the extremely high number of juvenile doves being harvested this year, possibly indicating a strong hatch this past spring. You can search for managed dove fields on state wildlife areas using the FFLIGHT tool available on the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource's website. New England aster, a stunning purple wildflower, is currently blooming. New England aster is a common wildflower that can be found in moist prairies and meadows, and along the banks of streams and lakes. A large number of leopard frogs and other frog species have been observed recently on Zeloski Marsh Unit of Lake Mills Wildlife Area. Early migratory activity is picking up, with larger flocks of teal and shorebirds being seen on wetlands throughout Jefferson County. Also, some of the first leaf color changes have been observed on trees, primarily maple trees, likely from the brief cold spell that preceded the current warm weather we've been experiencing. - Mark Witecha, wildlife biologist, Lake Mills
Devil's Lake State Park - Right now, only the slightest tinges of color are starting with the reds of some of the early Virginia creeper and staghorn sumac. Fall colors are impossible to predict with any accuracy. But usually, the middle two weeks of October are the best dates to shoot for, for a day of touring to see nice leaf colors.
Baldwin DNR Service Center area
St. Croix County - A group of more than 400 night hawks were observed over Perch Lake in St. Croix County Sept. 1 looking for roosting cover. The fall flight is on. Monarch butterflies are amassing around cemeteries where tall columnar white cedars are found. The wind-blocking shelter of the limbs provides excellent protection and energy savings as a calm roost site. - Harvey Halvorsen, wildlife supervisor, Baldwin
Willow River State Park - A drawdown of Little Falls Lake in progress. The draw down is in response to safety issues identified with the dam structure. Currently the lake has been drawn down approximately 8 feet. The entire lake basin is expected to be drained. The river will continue to flow through the lake bed throughout this process; however, the water will no longer be impounded to create the lake. While the lake is drawn down, the swimming beach is not available but the sand area at the beach site is open for public use. Due to the receding water level, the boat launch is closed to trailer use. Canoe and kayak rental is not available. At this time, visitors may access the remaining impoundment by carrying in their own non-motorized boats. The waterfall, camping and hiking trails are unaffected by this project.- Jeffrey L. Bolte, visitor services associate
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Deer activity is picking up despite the warm, muggy weather. Early mornings and evenings are best times to observe deer along roadsides and in fields. Chipmunks and squirrels are busy gathering and feeding on acorns, black walnuts, and hickory nuts. Both of these animals cache massive quantities of nuts for use later. Chipmunks cache nuts and seeds in excavated underground chambers and feed from this stockpile. Sometimes other animals, such as bears, mice, squirrels, or other chipmunks, discover a chipmunk's cache and feed from it. Squirrels bury nuts individually and dig them up later for consumption. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Brunet Island State Park - Fishermen have been catching a few panfish in the park bays. Trails are open and in good condition. Species of birds seen or heard include ravens, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, piliated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, osprey, bald eagles and Canada geese.
Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds we have been seeing or hearing include: ravens, rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, osprey, bald eagles, Canada geese and belted kingfishers. Indian pipe, harebell, wintergreen, common mullein, white snakeroot, marsh skullcap, lesser daisy fleabane, Joe Pye weed, pearly everlasting, the pale and spotted jewelweed, rabbits foot clover, marsh hedge nettle, some of the aster varieties, and wooly yarrow are still flowering. The maples and ash have started to show fall colors. From Labor Day through early May our campsites are available on a walk-in basis. The campgrounds are open with shower facilities available in the left loop until Sept. 14 and in the right loop until Sept. 28.
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Portage County - A second wave of night hawks has been moving south along the Wisconsin River. Good number and size of musky's being caught on the Point Flowage. - Bryan R. Lockman, conservation warden, Stevens Point
Buckhorn State Park - Visitors have been seeing turtles, deer, osprey, eagles, herons and more while canoeing/kayaking. Very few bugs this time of year and great weather for hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. There are six non-reservable, sites for the holiday weekend. The 2015 photo contest will be ending Sept. 30. Photos can be sent in anytime!