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).
Numerous hunting seasons have either opened in the last week, or will open this Saturday. Mourning dove and early Canada goose are open and the early teal season has already come to a close. The bear season opened Wednesday and archery deer, fall turkey and various small game seasons open this Saturday, September 12.
There were many teal seen along the Mississippi River but hunters reported the weather was almost too hot to hunt them. Geese are still feeding heavily in stubble fields but goose hunters have been seeing low success so far.
Turkeys and deer are being seen eating acorns in the woods and aren't moving as much out in the open during daylight hours. White and burr oaks have heavy acorn crops and may be worth targeting for the next two weeks in the early portion of the hunting season. A big change for deer hunters this year is that they can register their deer on line or by phone. For details search the DNR website for "electronic registration."
Wisconsin experienced some heavy rains in the last week and water levels on many river systems are markedly higher. Sandbars on the Lower Wisconsin Riverway will be difficult to find until water levels decrease. The rains washed out bridges on the Buffalo River State Trail, which remains closed until further notice.
The warm and humid weather made it nice to be around the water and provided some pleasant angling and boating conditions for the Labor Day weekend. The sunny skies also bumped water temperatures up a bit, which increased action for most gamefish species. Musky success showed a nice surge and anglers reported some good action. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass was also a little more consistent and some very nice fish have been caught and released in the last week. Walleye action also picked up a notch and a few anglers have been reporting some decent catches. Panfish action continues to be fair.
Fishing also picked up in Pools 6 and 7 of the Mississippi River. Bass, panfish, and walleye have been biting some good-sized walleye and bass caught. Fishermen have had good luck fishing below wing dams and from the shore.
The perch bite remained good at locations along the east shore of Green Bay and the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal. Chinook salmon have been staging at the mouth of the Milwaukee River and near other Lake Michigan tributaries but no fish have been seen moving up rivers yet.
Mushroom hunting has been very good this year, with all the ample moisture bringing out a wide variety of fungi. Make sure that you take the time educate yourself on mushroom identification before you go foraging. With hunting seasons opening, mushroom hunters, hikers and others out in the woods are encouraged to wear bright colors while walking on trails.
Songbird migration is peaking with multiple reports of 10-plus warbler species along with vireos, thrushes, hummingbirds and tanagers. The slow but steady southward raptor migration has begun. Numerous red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, and kestrels are moving through western Wisconsin. Also in peak migration are monarch butterflies.
Look for asters, goldenrod and other late bloomers on your next walk in the woods or on the prairie and more intense reds are showing up in maples across the Northwoods.
Bird migration is now in full swing across Wisconsin. Most notable has been the mass exodus of local and Canadian breeders en route to tropical wintering areas, including warblers, vireos, thrushes, hummingbirds, grosbeaks, and tanagers. Warbler migration has been excellent across much of the state and should peak across the south this week. In the north, overall warbler diversity is slowly on the decline while numbers of late-season palm and yellow-rumped warblers are on the rise. Northern birders are also reporting the vanguard of other short-distance migrants, such as golden-crowned and ruby-crowned kinglets as well white-throated, Lincoln's, and other sparrows. Adult male hummingbirds have largely moved on, leaving feeders and gardens for a couple more weeks to the territorial battles of adult females and juveniles hatched just this year. The large flights of common nighthawks seen around the start of the month have also subsided with most birds now south of Wisconsin. The true hawks, falcons, and other raptors are on the move, however, dominated in this early season by immature red-tailed, broad-winged, and sharp-shinned hawks, along with some osprey, American kestrels, northern harriers, and bald eagles. Canada goose migration also got underway this week with small flocks winging their way south into the northern tier of the state. They were joined by some initial influxes of divers such as redheads and dabblers like blue-winged teal. Shorebird migration continues wherever shallow mudflats, sandy shorelines, or open sod farms provide suitable habitat. Some species still on the move include least, semipalmated, stilt, and Baird's sandpipers, American golden-plover, and sanderling. Nesting activity has declined dramatically as expected but late nesters like American goldfinch, northern cardinal, cedar waxwing continue to harbor dependent young, as do some waterfowl such as wood duck and trumpeter swan. Rare finds this week include western kingbirds in two locations, scissor-tailed flycatcher and red knot in Winnebago County, parasitic jaegers in Douglas, American avocets in Dane, and an early black scoter in Ashland. As always, help us track the migration by reporting your observations to Wisconsin eBird at www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, wildlife biologist, Ashland
Several SNA Workdays are coming up around the state!
YORK PRAIRIE, September 17, 10 a.m.-noon: Please join us to collect seeds on the 3 units of the York Prairie State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of these prairie remnants. The seeds will be used for a prairie restoration of a former agricultural field at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area near Albany, WI. Because various plant species' seeds are ready at varying times, we have collection days scheduled every two weeks so we can collect things when they're ready. No experience is necessary! Click for more information.
CHEROKEE MARSH, September 18, 9 a.m.-noon: Join the Friends of Cherokee Marsh and 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.
ROCK RIVER PRAIRIE, September 19, 9 a.m.-noon: Please join us to collect seeds at Rock River State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of this prairie remnant. The seeds will be used for a prairie restoration of a former agricultural field at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area near Albany, WI and at Rock River to increase the quality of the site. No experience is necessary! Click for more information. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Jackson County's new wild elk were released from their holding pen nearly three weeks ago, and the herd is adjusting well to a new home range. Each animal is fitted with a GPS tracking collar that allows local Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources biologists to monitor the location of each animal daily. The elk have traveled as far as three miles from the release site, and have remained within the Black River State Forest and surrounding lands. Two animals have been lost since their release - one death has been attributed to wolf predation, while the other resulted from injuries sustained from a vehicle collision. The public is reminded to be very careful when driving in the area, and fall hunters are reminded to always know your target before shooting.
Fall is an exciting time for outdoor enthusiasts in the area, and elk bugling will give listeners a chance to experience this unique opportunity from a distance. It is important to give these elk space and not pressure them during their first year in a new environment - avoiding any disruptions to breeding activities will help provide for the herd's growth. For more information regarding elk in Wisconsin, search keyword "elk." - Kevin Wallenfang, big game ecologist, and Sawyer Briel, communications specialist, Madison
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Weather during this past holiday weekend was warm and sunny. Campers filled our campgrounds for one last hoorah of summer and the river was teaming with canoers, and fisherman. Flow rates for the Brule River are above average with help from periodic rain showers received this past week. With weather cooling down, fisheries biologists expect lake-run fish to be entering the river for fall spawning. With Labor Day behind us signifying the end of summer, we look forward to the fall activities that flourish in our area, most significantly, hunting season.Canada goose, mourning dove, and teal (blue-winged and green-winged) opened statewide September 1. Bear with the aid of dogs for surrounding areas opened September 9. On September 12, small game and archery deer seasons open statewide. Probably the leading adjustment that will need to be made for many hunters this fall is the requirement for on-line or "E" Registration of all deer and bear harvests. After harvesting your animal and immediately attaching the carcass tag to the animal, there are several ways that you can register your harvest. Phone: Dial 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG) and follow the prompts to provide harvest information. Online: On a computer or mobile device, go to gamereg.wi.gov and enter your harvest information. In person: Visit a designated in-person station that offers a phone or computer to hunters for the purpose of registering your deer or bear. Hunters may locate in-person stations prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons at dnr.wi.gov, keyword "registration stations". This info can be found by visiting dnr.wi.gov, keyword "electronic registration" If hunting isn't your thing, there are a number of other activities that can get you off the road and into the woods this fall. Mushroom hunting is a popular activity in the fall as many varieties are available in the forest. Make sure that you take the time educate yourself on mushroom identification before you go foraging. Campsites on the Brule River State Forest will not be reservable for the remainder of the year. They will once again be available by reservation next Memorial Day weekend. Reservations can be made 11 months in advance by contacting Reserve America at 1-888-947-2757 or visiting reserveamerica.com. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Highlights this week include many nighthawks and olive-sided flycatchers. Phantom Lake holds a lot of ducks. A few shorebirds are still around including: greater yellowlegs, solitary and spotted sandpipers. Eastern phoebe, eastern wood-pewee, red-eyed vireo, ovenbirds, American goldfinch have been spotted on the property numerous times. - Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - Fishing success was pretty good in the Northwoods in the past week with both the weather and the fish cooperating. The warm and humid weather made it nice to be around the water and provided some pleasant angling and boating conditions. The sunny skies also bumped water temperatures up a bit, which increased action for most gamefish species. Musky success showed a nice little surge and most anglers reported some good action from medium-size fish in the 32 to 42-inch size. The fish seemed to be active along the weed edges and around the shallower weed beds. Top-water baits, soft-bodied lures and slower moving stick baits were 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 was also a little more consistent and some very nice fish have been caught and released in the last week. Largemouth have still been settled in to their summer pattern and have been relating to the thick cover. The various forms of soft plastics have been the most productive and have to be fished along the weed edges, near the woody cover, under docks, or along the bog/marsh edges. Smallmouth action continued to be fair on the flowages and larger rivers, and were being found in the deep-water areas of the larger lakes. Soft plastics and finesse baits have been the most productive lures and the fish have been relating to wood and rock that was near the deeper water areas. Walleye action also picked up a notch and a few anglers have been reporting some decent catches. Leeches and crawlers fished along the weed edges and in weed pockets have produced most of the fish, though some have also been found on the deeper gravel and rock bars. Panfish action continues to be fair. Decent crappie have been a little tough to find but some decent catches of bluegill, perch and rock bass have been reported. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - The south fork of the Flambeau River is up. Both the north and south forks are doable for paddling but the north fork is on the low side. We are seeing a bit more color on some of the trees. Bracken ferns and spreading dog bane are turning yellow and some of the sumac is turning red. Goldenrod, asters, and yarrow are blooming. 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. Many beautiful mushrooms are popping up. 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. Connors Lake Campground closed after Labor Day but Lake of the Pines is open till December 15. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - More intense reds are showing through in some low-lying maples, and as plants start to die back more wildlife will be visible in the woods. Many types of mushrooms are out for the knowledgeable gatherer and the squirrels are busy with pinecones and acorns. Turkeys are becoming more commonplace along the roadsides. Lower humidity days are welcome for the avid hiker and hunter and early morning fog gives a mystical aura to the forest. Many consider this is the best time to camp on the forest. No bugs, less people, warm days, cooler nights; and to top it all off the Northern Lights have been visible the last couple of nights! The Crystal and Clear Lake ranger station hours have changed. Through the end of September they will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Campers arriving after close are able to self-register near the front door of each station. Posted maps will advise campers which sites are open. Weather permitting, dump stations and shower buildings will be kept open until Columbus Day. Firewood is available for purchase whenever the ranger stations are open. Labor Day weekend saw campgrounds busy once again with some campgrounds near capacity, though some of the outlying campgrounds had plenty of sites available. Campground use is much slower now that the holiday weekend has passed. Cunard Lake, Plum Lake, and South Trout Lake Campgrounds, are now closed for the season. Campground operations crews are shifting their focus to fall project work. One of the main projects that they will be working on is cutting hazard trees in all of the campgrounds. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Klingsborns Landing off of Highway BB saw a lot of activity this past week with duck hunters pleasure boaters and fishermen all using the landing. Anglers report catching good numbers of northern pike and smallmouth bass floating the Peshtigo River from the Municipal landing in Peshtigo and taking out at Klingsborns. Top-water baits are working well and so have jigs tipped with live bait in the deeper holes. Anglers are also catching some moderate numbers of walleye, ranging in size from 15 to 18 inches. With the recent rains fishing on the Menominee River has improved with shore anglers reporting catches of perch, walleye, panfish, catfish, sheep head, and smallmouth bass. Live bait has been working best fished on bottom. Some salmon and trout are still being caught from the Peshtigo Light to the mouth of the Menominee River trolling spoons and J-plugs in 60 feet of water 40 feet down, fishing has been a bit slow. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Bluegill, crappie, and bass are still being caught below the dam at Stiles down past the Highway 141 Bridge. Crawlers and minnows have worked well as have mighty mites, streamers, and bead headed nymphs. The mouth of the Oconto River is producing some nice smallmouth using spinner baits, tubes and jigs. Some perch are being caught from the break water marina to the mouth of the river using crawler chunks and minnows. Walleye are also being caught in the lower portion of the Oconto River mainly using jigs tipped with minnows, fish are in the 16 to 18 inch range, and are found in the river channels. Perch fishing from the Pensaukee River launch to Oconto Park II has been slow. Anglers who are having some success report having to move frequently and do some sorting. Weed beds in the 8 to 12 foot range seem to be producing the best. Jigs and minnows or crappie rigs are being used. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - In Green Bay, city boat ramps throughout the county saw heavy use this week from both anglers and pleasure boaters. Many smallmouth bass anglers reported moderate success with plastics all along the shore on the Green Bay side of the peninsula. On the west shore of Green Bay, 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 gates on the dam continue to stay closed this week causing very little water flow in the area and water clarity to be low. Night crawler setups continue to dominate however cranks have been able to produce some smallmouth bass and walleye. Catch rates continue to be highest in the early morning hours, with the exception of nighttime catfishing. Fishing at the Metro Ramp has been spotty throughout the week. Musky anglers continue to work the Longtail Beach area, with multiple 40-plus-inch fish this week. The water temps in most areas have risen to the mid 70s once again, slowing action down into the weekend. Walleye anglers continue to work structure north of the launch. Crawler harnesses have produced the majority of fish this week while slow trolling in 18-24 feet of water. Duck Creek anglers continue to target and catch perch throughout the area. Worms and minnows are the most popular bait with either one producing equally. Water temperatures are holding in the low 70s 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 continue to report fish in the area but hookups this week slowed down also. Water temperatures continue to rise into the mid 70s late into the week and clarity is moderate to good. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - In Sturgeon Bay, walleye has slowed a bit but anglers are still finding success out on the reefs in about 20 to 30 feet of water using both cranks and crawler harnesses. The perch bite remains good fishing the weed edges along the canal using worms and minnows but anglers still need to sort through the smaller ones. Anglers are also having continued luck catching northern pike along the weed beds in the canal using spinners and cranks, although perch anglers also report catching pike while using worms. Smallmouth bass anglers caught good numbers of fish 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. Tan and black were effective colors. There were also some reports of success out of Sawyer Harbor and along the flats. Pressure from shore anglers was light and anglers received a moderate return for their efforts. They primarily had success with smallmouth bass, particularly at Andersons Pier in Ephraim. Smallmouth bass continue to prefer night crawlers fished close to the bottom. Shore anglers have begun targeting salmon along the canal but have not reported any success yet. Angler pressure on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula was considerably lighter than the Green Bay side this week. A few chinook salmon anglers were interviewed in Baileys Harbor and they reported mixed success. Anglers found the best success a good distance south of the harbor in 90 to 150 feet of water while running spoons. Shore anglers concentrated their efforts at Rowley's Bay pier this week. Anglers who had the most consistent luck with smallmouth bass were using live leaches fished close to the bottom. Perch fishing on Green Bay's east shore was hit or miss this week. Limits were caught launching boats from Bayshore Park, Chaudoir's Dock, Carmody Park and Potawatomi Park. Most perch kept were in the 8-9 inch range. Sizes measured this week were from 6.7 to 13 inches. Staying on a school of fish produced the highest catch rates. Most perch were caught using crawlers and minnows in ~20 feet of water. When the water is clear, decent-sized schools of perch have been seen off the piers at Potawatomi Park. Shore anglers were also catching fair numbers of perch on Little Sturgeon Bay. Fishing crawlers and minnows under a slip bobber worked best. East shore walleye fishing was decent this week. Catch rates south of Little Sturgeon Bay have been higher than those above. Overall, larger walleye were caught in the northern part of Green Bay as compared to the southern portion. Walleye measured this week have ranged from 18.9 to 27.8 inches. Trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits are the most common approach.
Kewaunee County - Fishing at the ramp in Kewaunee has been up and down but on the good days anglers have been having success with catching rainbow trout in about 100 feet of water or deeper with most catches coming up near the surface. Anglers have been catching some king salmon farther down in the water column. Both have been coming mostly on spoons but flies have also produced. Fishing has been hit and miss at the pier. Anglers have been having luck catching a mix of kings, rainbows and browns over the past week. Fish have been coming throughout the day with no one time being better than the other. Anglers have been using cleos and alewives to equal effect. Anglers have begun fishing the river over the past week but none have had any luck. The water remains low and slow. No salmon have been seen yet. Anglers have been having a tough time over the past week at the ramp in Algoma. There has been some success with kings and rainbows but it has been sporadic. The best bite has been seen fishing in 100 to 200 feet of water at a variety of depths 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. The Anhapee River remains slow and murky. No anglers or salmon have been seen.
Manitowoc County - River water levels seem a bit low as of the weekend, were muddy and had a temp of 77 degrees near Manitou Park. People are starting to fish the Manitowoc River near the harbor mouth. A few trout and salmon were reportedly caught on the south side of the river near the harbor. The Branch River has had very little activity thus far. The West Twin River in Shoto and the East Twin River in Mishicot were not being fished this weekend. The water temperature in the West Twin River is 72 degrees, and the water temperature in the East Twin River is 73 degrees. Both rivers are clear below the dams, but darken quickly downstream. Silver Creek in Manitowoc has a temperature of 70 degrees. The water is very clear, and very low. Water flow slows to a crawl within Silver Creek Park. Manitowoc Harbor temperature is 64 degrees. Most boaters have reported the lake at a temperature of mid 50 to low 60 degrees. Anglers on the lake have had some success catching rainbows again this week. Most fish were caught before 7:30 a.m. at varying depths from 8 to 70 feet in about 150 feet of water. Many fish are marking inside the harbor, but they don't want to bite. The pier fishermen are still catching King Salmon, and a few Rainbows. Most of these fish are caught casting. The best time to fish the piers has been about 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. The water temperature in the harbor at Two Rivers is 65 degrees. Anglers launching from Two Rivers have also been catching rainbows this weekend. Several boats reported marking fish that wouldn't take to any kind of lure. Wave action from a south wind kept some boats out of the water on Sunday. The Two Rivers piers are still busy. Anglers are catching kings, rainbows, and browns. Between the north and south piers fish are being caught throughout the day. Many of the fish were landed using alewives, and some with spawn sacs. Casting has also been effective this week using a blue or green spoons. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Hot and muggy conditions have begun to subside giving way to more fall like weather. Large groups of nighthawks have been seen gobbling up insects on their migration south. Early teal season has come and gone, but dove and early goose seasons remain open. Bear season is also underway with hunters using dogs going first this year in the northern portions of the county. Bow deer and small game seasons open on Saturday Sept 12. A reminder to all big game hunters that all deer and bear harvested must be registered online at gamereg.wi.gov or on the phone by calling 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG). There will still be a few in-person registration stations across the state that have agreed to make a phone or computer available--check the DNR website for the current list of these participating stations. Leaves have begun to turn and drop on many ash trees in the county and some of the more stressed maples are beginning to turn red. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Deer have really started moving with the onset of cooler weather - just in time for the opener. Heavy red oak acorn crop this year: oak woods would be a great place to deer hunt as acorns are dropping right now. Maybe 15 percent of the leaves have changed colors, mostly very green yet. Grouse hunting will be very sporty until we have a couple frosts. Geese are still feeding heavily in stubble fields. Unfortunately, we have a fresh mosquito hatch with all of our recent rains. Stream levels are very nice in Waushara and Marquette counties and quite high in Waupaca county. Don't put away your trout gear just yet as September trout fishing can be excellent. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Sheboygan trollers are still averaging a couple of fish per boat, but many have come back skunked. Those that caught fish have been seeing rainbows. The harbor was packed with boats over the holiday weekend, and others stayed close and fished just north of the north pier. Trollers reported marking many fish but had difficulty getting them to bite. Fishing off of both piers in Sheboygan has been fairly slow, but a few fish have been reported on each. The fishing pressure remains high near the mouth of the river, but only a couple of chinook and browns have been caught. A couple of anglers were seen casting inside the harbor area near the Deland ramp, but no fish were caught. There have been abundant alewives on the lake side of north pier, and many birds were seen taking advantage nearby. More anglers have been casting spoons and crank baits than using alewives, but neither method seemed more effective than the other. A few Sheboygan River anglers have been targeting smallmouth bass and northerns over the past week, but no chinooks have been spotted yet. No anglers have been seen fishing the Pigeon River.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing pressure by boaters has been low for most of the past week, and no boats were interviewed by the DNR creel survey clerk. The week prior, catch rates remained rather low at 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. Fishing has slowed on the Port Washington breakwall, and the majority of fishing pressure has shifted to the harbor area. Very few alewives were seen in the area, but they have still been effective when used as bait. However, the most popular and effective bait has been skein fished anywhere inside the harbor. Chinook remain inside the harbor in good numbers, and the best time to fish for them has been very early morning until sunrise, at which point the bite cools off. A mix of chinook, browns, and coho were caught near the power plant discharge over the past week, and the fishing pressure remains high. The south wall has been good for chinook, including the outer parts of the south pier. The north slip received much less fishing pressure, and no fish were reported from that area. No anglers have been seen fishing in Sauk Creek. The surface water temperature inside the harbor was up to 51 degrees on Monday, two degrees warmer than last week. The temperature off of the breakwall on the lake side was 43 degrees, which is the same as last week.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee chinook salmon are beginning to stage at the mouth of the Milwaukee River. Fair numbers of boats have been jigging for chinooks at the mouth of the Milwaukee River and in the gaps, while others have been trolling along the break wall. Elsewhere, a few rainbows were caught in 50 feet of water at Fox Point with flashers and blue and green flies. Boats have also been targeting lake trout in 50 to 70 feet of water off the Green Can Reef, or targeting brown trout off of the Oak Creek Power Plant. Chinook fishing for shore anglers in Milwaukee has been hit-or-miss. When the alewives and kings have been in, good numbers have been caught off McKinley pier and behind the Summerfest grounds. Occasional lakers, browns, and coho have also been caught off of McKinley pier. Alewives, spoons, and jigging Gulp have all produced fish at times, but alewives have taken fish most consistently. Anglers fishing behind the Summerfest grounds have been catching a few small browns. South of Milwaukee lakers and browns, along with a few sheepshead and chinooks have been caught at the Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier. Spoons and crank baits produced the most fish. Water levels are low on the Milwaukee River, and the water is fairly clear. The water temperature is in the low to mid-70s in the river, and most anglers have been targeting smallmouth bass. On the Menomonee River, construction work continues on the removal of the concrete lining of the river channel from 45th and State Streets to just upstream of Miller Park. Parking access for anglers in the Miller Park lots will be impacted by Brewers home games until early October. On game days, the roads around the stadium and the parking lots are closed to traffic about three and a half hours before the start of the game. The Milwaukee area received about an inch of rain on Tuesday, September 8, which may trigger a push of early run chinooks into the rivers.
Racine County - In Racine, there was an increase in boat traffic over the holiday weekend. Fishing improved over last week with trollers bringing in a mixed bag of chinook, lakers, and browns. Many boats trolled fairly close to the harbor mouth. The fishing on the piers in Racine was hit or miss, with mornings producing most consistently. Alewives caught fish off the south pier, and silver crank baits and Gulp minnows were effective off the north pier. At times over the weekend alewives could be seen from both piers.
Kenosha County - Kenosha trollers have been catching a few chinooks and lake trout, but fishing pressure has been quite low. A few boats fished in the Kenosha harbor for browns but reported having no luck. Shore anglers fishing off the south pier have reported spotty catches of chinooks on minnows and silver crank baits, with fishing most productive at first light. Off the end of the south pier, anglers caught coho and chinooks on alewives fished on the bottom. There are decent numbers of browns in the Kenosha harbor, but angler success has been fairly low. White and green tube jigs under a bobber took the most browns. A few anglers have been trying their luck at the mouth of the Pike River, and a couple of chinooks have been caught during low light hours on crank baits and spoons.
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Southern Wisconsin received a lot of rain this past week and the water levels have risen considerably. The water levels on September 10, at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 15,042 CFS. This is high water conditions for this time of the year. It will be difficult to find camping locations along the Riverway until the water levels recede. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. Many hunting seasons open this Saturday including bow deer hunting. Hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing when afield. The Hiking and horse trails 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
Lafayette County - Goose hunters are seeing low success and only a few mallards and wood ducks are hanging around in advance of the waterfowl hunting opener. The dove fields in the area are non-existent in the area with very little hunting pressure. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - With heavy rains up north, the Wisconsin River is running higher than normal with many sandbars again covered by the river. Large numbers of nighthawks and pelicans have been noted moving through the county this past week. Sandhill cranes are beginning to start staging for their migration. Dove fields received lower than normal pressure due to the hot weather, so the fields still are offering good potential for hunting opportunities - the weather looks great for the start of many seasons this weekend! - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Dane County - Songbird migration is peaking with multiple reports of 10-plus warbler species mornings along with vireos, thrushes, hummingbirds and tanagers. This next seven days will be our best for fall warbler migration. Still good numbers of shorebirds lingering in wetlands that have shallow, exposed mudflats. The best find was an American avocet at Lake Barney in Oregon this week. The weather looks good for this weekend's hunting opener. Local reports suggest that turkeys and deer are eating acorns in the woods and aren't moving as much out in the open during daylight hours. White and burr oaks have heavy acorn crops and may be worth targeting for the next two weeks in the early portion of the hunting season. The monarch migration is in full swing with many butterflies seen moving across the county. Asters, gentians, goldenrods and other late-blooming flowers are currently in full bloom. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - September is the month in which white-tailed deer shed their summer hair and replace it with winter hair. Summer hair is reddish-brown and rather short and thin. Winter hair, on the other hand, is brownish-gray, dense, and long. Deer hair is hollow, trapping more insulating air than non-hollow hair. Winter deer hair insulates so well that a deer may become covered with a layer of snow during a snowstorm that does not melt. Watch this transition occur over the next few weeks. The slow but steady southward raptor migration has begun. Numerous red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, and kestrels are moving through the area. Keep your eyes open for different color phases of these birds and for less frequently observed raptors, such as rough-legged hawks and harriers (marsh hawks). A birding field guide may be useful to assist with raptor identification. Red-tailed hawks are on their way to areas of the central and southern US. Broad-winged hawks migrate all the way to Central and South America, with some birds going as far as Argentina and Chile. Kestrels head to the southern US and as far south as Central America. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Trempealeau County - Fishing is picking up in Pools 6 and 7 of the Mississippi River. Bass, panfish, and walleye have been biting and many people have had great days out on the water. Wardens have seen good size to the walleye and bass caught and kept. Fishermen have had good luck fishing below wing dams and even from the shoreline. The Trempealeau Lakes have also had fishing pick up. Many anglers are going home with their limit of bluegills on those lakes. Wardens have noticed that almost all of the anglers are catching these fish with just a bobber and a hook baited with a worm. The Buffalo River State Trail is closed until further notice due to heavy rains and washouts over the weekend of Sept. 5-6. DNR staff are assessing damage and trail sections will be opened again as soon as repairs can be made. There are many teal and geese in the area, but the weather has almost been too hot to hunt them. Wood ducks are a common sight and large numbers have been seen. The Mississippi River has been holding at a low water level for some time now and it is difficult to get a boat into the backwaters. However, after the heavy rains it will probably been rising soon. After the heavy rainfall during Labor Day weekend many of the smaller river water levels are up. These rivers include the Trempealeau River and the Buffalo River. The trees have not begun changing colors yet in this area. - Jacob Bolks, conservation warden, Trempealeau
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Archery deer hunting starts this weekend in the park and wildlife areas. Hunting maps are available online or at the park office to see regulations and closed areas. Small game, waterfowl and trapping are only in the Buckhorn and Yellow River Wildlife Areas, not in the state park until November 15. - Heather Wolf, park manager