Published October 1, 2015 by the Central Office
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).
Recent rains and a passing cold front brought frost to areas of northern Wisconsin and a drop in water temperatures across the state, speeding up what has otherwise been a gradual transition to fall. Fall color is now ranging from 25 to 70 percent from central to northern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR), with peak color expected in about a week across much of the north.
The recent rains did entice some salmon and trout up Great Lakes tributaries, but in general it has been a slow start to the fall runs. Good numbers of anglers took advantage of the great weather last weekend, but catch rates remained fairly low. Fishing activity has begun to pick up on the Kewaunee River, and some fish were moving up the Twin, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Root rivers. The C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility near Kewaunee will have an open house this Saturday, Oct. 3 and the Root River Steelhead Facility near Racine will have one on Saturday, Oct. 10. The open house events feature egg collection demonstrations as well as fly casting and tying lessons.
An increase in hunting activity has led to a drop in fishing pressure in the Northwoods, with those anglers venturing out enjoying mostly good weather, but slower catch rates. Musky have still been garnering a fair amount of attention but action has been on the slow side with bucktails and stick baits the most productive baits. Walleye fishing has been erratic, though large and smallmouth bass action has stayed consistent, particularly in the afternoon. Crappies were being caught on the Chippewa Flowage and large numbers of sturgeon were caught on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam before the season closed Wednesday.
Lake Michigan fishing activity has generally been slow, with most anglers continuing to focus on harbors, with some chinook, coho and brown trout caught. Perch action on Green Bay remained fair to good, with anglers out of Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon Bay having success. Northern pike and walleye catches have also been reported, with action for pike said to be on the rise.
Archers are moving afield with the cooler temperature and hickory nuts are starting to fall. The first scrapes and rubs are being reported by hunters in southern Wisconsin. Recent rainfall has helped bolster low water levels before the northern duck season opener and with the southern zone opening this weekend, an increase of wood ducks and blue-winged teal has been noted.
The recent cold front has brought the first major influx of migratory Canada geese to the state, with good numbers being reported at Horicon and Theresa marshes. Sandhill cranes are forming large groups with thousands now being seen at Crex Meadows and at least 500 at Theresa marsh.
Open prairie and fields, as well as shorelines are often now hosting American pipits, Lapland longspurs and horned larks moving in from the Canadian arctic. White-throated sparrow numbers are peaking statewide, while dark-eyed juncos have become abundant across the north. Broad-winged and red-tailed hawks, along with bald eagles and peregrine falcons are some of the raptors flying south.
Seed collecting on the York Prairie State Natural Area in Green County.
Fall colors aren't limited to trees turning. Prairies are ablaze with purple and white asters and goldenrod in the fields. Seed are being collected at a variety of state natural areas that will be used to start new prairies next year. To learn how to help, search the DNR website for "volunteer" and click on the link for the state natural area volunteer program.
Fall colors on the prairie - t's the peak of seed collecting season and the harvest is on. Volunteers are actively collecting on several State Natural Areas including York Prairie in Green County, shown here. These seeds will be used to start a new prairie in an agriculture field nearby. There are still a few chances to help out this fall. To find out more search the DNR website for "volunteer" and click on the link for the state natural area volunteer program. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Change is a common theme this time of year, especially in the bird world. After a brief lull last week, large migrations occurred Sunday and Monday nights on the heels of a passing cold front. This brought a major wave of short-distance migrants from the Canadian boreal forest, such as sapsuckers, flickers, both kinglets, American robins, rusty blackbirds and a wide diversity of sparrows. White-throated sparrow numbers are peaking statewide, while dark-eyed juncos have become abundant across the north. Others on the move include white-crowned, Lincoln's, swamp, chipping, savannah, and fox sparrows. Small numbers of Harris's and Nelson's sparrows were also found in the north and south, respectively. Now is also a good time to check open fields and shorelines for horned larks, American pipits, and Lapland longspurs moving in from the Canadian arctic. On the other hand, we're seeing the last of the long-distance neotropical migrants such as grosbeaks, flycatchers, nighthawks, and warblers. Warbler diversity is waning daily. Dominating now are yellow-rumped and palm warblers, along with some orange-crowned warblers and a few hardier species such as Nashville and Tennessee warblers and American redstarts. Most ruby-throated hummingbirds have now departed, though a few stragglers remain across the southern half of the state. Birdwatchers should check all October and November hummingbirds carefully for other rare species that sometimes show up this time of year. Waterbird migration is beginning to ramp up as some loons, geese, and ducks are on the move. Peak flights are yet to come, however. Shorebird reports have been few with black-bellied and American golden plovers being most notable. Raptor migration is excellent now as diversity peaks with broad-winged hawks, red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, turkey vultures, merlins, peregrine falcons, and other species headed south. As breeding activity drops off, the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas is wrapping up its first field season with spectacular results . Most of us would rather not think of winter but the much-awaited Winter Finch Forecast is now available (www.jeaniron.ca/2015/forecast15.htm) and predicts fruit-lovers like pine grosbeak and bohemian waxwing could occur in above-average numbers this winter, along with some common redpolls and evening grosbeaks. The only sign of movement so far is for the pine siskin, which is being seen by the hundreds in the north woods and has already been reported south to Ozaukee county. The rarest find this week was a black vulture in Bayfield County, furnishing roughly the 10th record for the state. Help us track the migration by reporting your bird observations to www.ebird.org/wi. - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Nearing the end of September, it is evident that fall is here. Last weekend the area experienced seasonably warm temperatures for this time of year, which was a positive thing for those looking to get away for a weekend of camping. Temperatures cooled off, however, as it reached freezing in many parts of the area the last couple of nights. River levels are just below average for this time of year according to the USGS. The fall migration of fishermen is returning to the area in search of trout and salmon. Fishing reports are fluctuating but overall, it seems to be a slow year thus far for anglers. There will be an influx of traffic to the area as the Bayfield Apple Fest will be held this weekend (Oct. 2-4). As the leaves change and begin to fall, visibility in the woods will increase. This is especially helpful for grouse hunters who appreciate that extra time to get as hot off at those explosive birds. Wildlife staff in the area are estimating healthy numbers of grouse this year. With temperatures lowering, deer movement will pick up as they will be looking to pack on weight for the winter. Whether bow hunting, duck hunting, or grouse hunting, there is plenty of state forest land to explore in preparation for your hunting preferences. Be sure to visit dnr.wi.gov, Keyword "hunting" to find links to regulations and tips that pertain to the type of hunting you are planning to do this fall. For those of you hoping to plant trees on your land this next spring, seeding and shrub applications are opening on Oct. 2. If you have questions about this, please contact your local forester or visit dnr.wi.gov key word "tree planting" to place your order as soon as possible. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
A misty evening on the Brule River
WDNR Photo by Edwin Koepp
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Crappie fishing on the Chippewa Flowage has picked up. Minnows seem to be doing better than plastics at this time. Fish are still relatively deep hanging on the break lines and cribs. Many are drifting over the deep water until fish are located. Once located, they will anchor and fish. Partridge are slowing starting to show up more and more now that vegetation is starting to drop and die off. Morning and evening have them at the edge of roads picking gravel. After this week's string of cold nights, more vegetation will die and drop making hunting improve. Woodcock are very sparse right now with only a few pockets being found here and there in the alder swamps and young aspen growth. Those hunting both partridge and wood cock are reminded that when wood cock hunting a person can only use a firearm capable of holding no more than three shells and must be HIP registered. Waterfowl hunters are getting some shooting at local wood ducks, mallards and geese. Not many divers around yet outside of a few ring necks. This hunting will pick up as cold weather moves those from the north down south. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Sandhill cranes numbers are climbing into the thousands, and they are moving around from field to field looking for food. A good place to look for them is the crop fields on the north side of the refuge. Larger flocks have been seen together at times. They should begin coming in in good numbers within the next week or so, with peak numbers occurring around the first or second week of October and remaining into November. Northern flickers are thick along the roadways, as well as late migrating warblers, including palm and yellow-rumped. Sparrow migration comes next, so expect to see a lot of little brown birds in the fields and ditches in the next couple weeks. Horned larks were spotted on Friday. Trumpeter swan families are present in good numbers. You should see families along Main Dike Road and other wetland areas in Crex. Canada geese are present mainly in the crop fields, but also along Dike 5 many times. Hawks are moving through - many bald eagles are present, sharp-shinned hawks, broad-winged hawks and others stop over in the Wildlife Areas to hunt on their way south. Turkey vultures are still present in good numbers.
Governor Knowles State Forest - The forest is a beautiful place to be this time of year. The Raspberry and Benson Brook hiking trails south of the St. Croix Campground, west of Grantsburg, are wonderful places to see fall colors. If you have horses, check out the fall colors using the equestrian campground and trail on the south end of Governor Knowles State Forest. The Trade River Equestrian Campground has been busy the past few weeks, keep in mind we currently do not accept reservations; look for Governor Knowles State Forest soon on ReserveAmerica. Visitors have been seeing lots of wildlife throughout the forest. A porcupine was spotted walking across a bridge on the Brandt Pines Interpretive trail, a dozen turkeys were spotted at the Trade River Day Use Area, and many deer can be found walking through the forest. Visitors interested in camping in primitive campsites should contact the state forest headquarters at 715-463-2898 for a special camping permit. Permits should be obtained seven days prior to occupying the site. - Brandi Larson, visitor services associate
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With nearly all of the major hunting seasons open, fishing pressure has really dropped off on the waters across the Northwoods. Musky have still been garnering a fair amount of attention and anglers have been enjoying some real nice weather - but action has been on the slow side. The most productive baits have been bucktails and stick baits, with most of the fish being seen along the deep weed edges. Water temperatures had been holding in the mid-60s and are just now starting to drop into the upper 50s. This should start to get the sucker fishermen going a bit more, though initial success for the live bait anglers has been rather low. Walleye fishing has still been quite erratic and with water temperature just starting to drop, a few more fish have started to show up in the shallows. Jig and minnow combinations worked on the mid-depth gravel bars and along the weed edges have produced a few decent catches. Largemouth bass continue to be found in shallow water, though they've been a bit temperamental in their biting. The best action has been in the late afternoon hours after the water has warmed up over the course of the day. Smallmouth bass have still been fairly active and some nice fish have still showing up in the local rivers and flowages. They are still been found near cover along the deep water areas--but look for the fish to go deeper (and become harder to catch) with the declining water temperatures this fall. Panfish action has also been a bit erratic and there haven't been a whole lot of anglers out trying for them. A few nice catches of crappie have been made in the late afternoon hours, with the fish being found suspended near mid-depth cover and small minnows producing the best success. Anglers are reminded that the general trout season closed on September 30, with most streams, rivers, and spring ponds now closed to trout fishing. Many stocked trout lakes do remain open and those can be found in the Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide pamphlet. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are good for paddling with the north fork a bit on the low side. Over the next few weeks it should be a great that time to take that trip down the river to see some beautiful scenery. Fall colors along the river should be peak within the next week or two. The drive between Phillips and Winter on Higway W is a beautiful drive. There are actually quite a few trees dropping leaves, but the maples are about 75 percent turned; peak color for maples should be within this next week. Roadside sumac is turning red as well. Geese and cranes are flocking up and chickadees are hitting the bird feeders. Some frosty nights are forecast over the next couple of days. Hunters are again hitting the woods as bear, grouse and deer archery season are underway. Both hunter walking and ski trails are being mowed. All-terrain vehicle trails are in good condition, ATV trail between Highway 70 north to County Road EE is being renovated. 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 is closed for the season but Lake of the Pines is beautiful and open till December 15. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - With the onset of cooler weather fall colors have begun to change rapidly. Currently fall colors are at 50-75 percent. Over the past few days we have had an influx of migrant Canada Geese to the Area. Large flocks of geese are feeding in area farm fields. Turkeys continue to form larger flocks as we edge towards winter. The acorn crop is excellent this fall. Turkeys, grouse and deer have feeding heavily in areas that have red oak.- Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - A few catfish are being caught at the mouth of the Peshtigo River fishing crawlers on bottom. Pink salmon are also being seen in the upper reaches of the Peshtigo along with a few walleye and small mouth. Perch anglers are having some success out of Little River and the anglers report the fish can by in quite shallow water. The king salmon have yet to show up in the Menominee or Peshtigo Rivers. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers at the dam at Stiles report fishing has slowed some but mainly crappie and a few blue are still being caught up by the dam. Minnows and slip bobbers have been the bait of choice; Pink Salmon can be seen from the Iron Bridge as they prepare to spawn. Some smallmouth and the occasional perch are being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River fishing with bobbers and live bait and casting jigs tipped with plastics. When the weather permits some nice catches of perch are being reported from the Pensaukee River to Oconto Park II. Fish location varies from 4 to 14 feet of water with minnows being the best bait. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Walleye anglers at Bayshore Park continue to produce good numbers of fish through the week. Water temperatures vary throughout the bay with a low of 54 and a high of 67. Cranks and crawlers are producing equally well with most anglers reporting finding fish in 30-35 feet of water during midday and 12-16 feet in the early mornings and late evenings. Perch are continuing to be caught just north of the launch area with anglers working 20-24 feet of water through the morning hours. Minnows provided the greatest action and best catch rates into the weekend. Water clarity also varied day to day with anglers reporting poor to moderate visibility late into the week. Musky fishing on Green Bay's West Shore has remained good. Suamico, Metro and Geano Beach boaters landed fish at decent rates. Fishing large cranks and/or spinners in 8-15 feet of water worked best. An increasing number of musky fishermen are choosing to troll as opposed to cast with some 50-inch fish continuing to be caught. Late week walleye catch numbers were good. Trolling crawler harnesses and crank baits in fifteen to twenty-five feet of water has been the most common approach. Several undersized fish are being caught. Fishing near reefs has been a good starting point. Very few walleye are being caught in the Fox River by shore anglers. West shore perch fishing was spotty this week. Limits are being caught from Duck Creek through the bay. Many of the fish are on the small-side. Fishing night crawlers and minnows near the bottom is the most popular method. Perch measured at Duck Creek ranged from 6.3 to 8.8 inches. Perch measured from the Suamico River were from 6.5 to 9.8 inches. Channel catfish are being caught by shore anglers at the Fox Point boat launch and the Green Bay Metro boat launch. The larger fish are at the latter. Live bait fished off of the river bottom has been the most effective method. Water flow and clarity on the Fox River and Duck Creek remain low. The Fox River is green from the Fox Point launch to the dam in Voyager Park. Water clarity on the bay, for most of the week, was between 3 and 4 feet. Fishing pressure was very heavy at the Suamico boat launch, moderate at the Green Bay Metro launch and light at the Fairgrounds, Fox Point and Geano's Beach. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay
Door County - Anglers targeting perch in Sturgeon Bay have been doing well fishing 10-15 feet of water in front of the stone quarry using mostly worms and some minnows. Anglers targeting northern pike have been doing well in the canal fishing about 10 feet of water using daredevils. Smallmouth anglers have been fishing the bottom in 13 to 16 feet of water using plastics. Although salmon anglers have been having a tough time fishing the canal, anglers have been having success with walleye from shore. There has been no observed fishing pressure over the past week on the Door Peninsula. The streams have moderate to good flows, good clarity and have not had any observed fish. Perch at Sawyer Harbor continue to be caught in the area, with anglers continuing to catch larger than average size fish. Minnows, suspended under a bobber and fished above structure, have brought in the highest numbers again this week. Northern pike action also continues to increase, with multiple boats catching fish between 17-25 inches. Fishing drop offs with either minnows or cranks baits have proven effective anywhere along the shoreline. Water temps in the area have dropped to the high 50s and clarity is good to excellent. Fishermen targeting perch off Little Sturgeon Bay have been able to boat good numbers of fish throughout the week. Worms and minnows have produced equally well this week, with the ability to locate and hold over schools being the main driving factor to good catch rates. Smallmouth bass action continues to be slow with water temps in the area dipping into the low 50s. Water clarity has improved from good to excellent throughout most of the bay. The Chaudoir's dock anglers continue to target perch with the majority using minnows, suspended over structure, in 20-30 feet of water. Black and white cranks trolled at short length and moderate speeds have produced the most walleye through the week, although schools continue to be finicky. Water temps continue to hold in the low 60s through the week, but has varied along with the wave action. Water clarity ranged from poor near the shoreline to moderate at half a mile out. - John Taylor and Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technicians, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Activity continues to be slow for those fishing out on the lake off the Kewaunee and Algoma ramps. Fishing has been best in the shallows and by the piers heads in 90 feet of water and 50 to 60 feet down. Anglers have been catching brown trout, king salmon and rainbow trout in these areas using mostly spoons, plugs and crank baits. Anglers at the pier have been having some success catching browns and rainbows using spoons and spawn sacs. Spawn sacs have been the more dominate bait. Fishing activity has begun to pick up on the Kewaunee River and there has been some success using yarn. The river has moderate flow, decent clarity, and was 54 degrees. Some salmon have been observed. Some fishing activity was observed along the Ahnapee River but there haven't been any reports of success yet. The river has moderate flow, middling water level, and is slightly murky. No fish have been observed. There has been no observed fishing effort on Stoney Creek. There was moderate flow, levels were a little low, and temps were in the high 50s. - Dan Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - People are catching king salmon in Manitowoc City Park. More effort was concentrated at this location than in Manitou Park. A few kings were caught casting spoons using blue and white, or silver and green. Downtown Manitowoc remained active on both sides of the river with sporadic success landing kings. The Manitowoc River levels are good and the water temperature is 65 degrees. More people were fishing upriver in Manitowoc this weekend. A few kings were caught all the way up to Manitowoc City Park. Areas as far East as Clark's Mills were not active as of yet. The Branch River remained inactive this past weekend. A few fish have been spotted in the West Twin River near the Shoto dam. Still, the numbers remain low and only a few people tried fishing near the dam this weekend. The flow is strong from the Shoto dam downstream to Two Rivers, and the water temperature is 68 degrees. Brown trout were still being caught in Mishicot this past weekend. The fishing was not as active as the previous weekend. Only a few king salmon were landed in this location over the weekend. The water is fairly clear, and fish can be seen swimming below the dam. Most people were fishing with spawn sacs. The water levels in the East Twin River are good allowing people to fish south of the fire station as well. The water temperature in the East Twin River is 67 degrees. Silver Creek remains inactive. The water is clear, and low. Silver Creek's water temperature is 61 degrees. Manitowoc Harbor water temperature is 63 degrees. Surface temperature on Lake Michigan is around 58 degrees. The piers were quiet this weekend as many shore anglers moved inland. The North side of the Marina was busy on Saturday with people catching some brown trout. The river in downtown Manitowoc remained popular with sporadic success landing king salmon. The water temperature in Two Rivers Harbor is 65 degrees. Boats are marking a lot of fish in water from 20 to 50 feet, but it is hard to get these fish to strike. Most boats came in with one or two kings, or a rainbow or two. The piers remained busy, but the catch rate was slow. Most fish were caught on the very end of the north pier; some of these fish were landed in the pre-dawn hours around 2 a.m. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - The warm weather coupled with a full moon has had daytime deer activity slowed. Cold weather settled in last night bringing frost to most of the county and with the cold air comes the hope of more active daytime deer. Woodcock migration is on the horizon but few birds are being seen right now. Oak trees are dropping a lot of acorns in some areas of the county. Fall colors are starting to show and with the frost we had last night and the cold weather in the forecast I expect the full display to be not too far off. Remember after the majority of the leaves fall off is a great time to locate and control buckthorn in the understory. Common and glossy buckthorn both tend to keep dark green leaves for a while longer than other native shrubs. Be sure to properly identify any invasives before starting any control efforts. Youth gun deer season is just over a week away--remember all upland hunters must wear blaze orange the weekend of Oct 10 and 11. If you haven't already scouted and found a spot, try to find a white oak dropping acorns near some protective cover and you have a good chance of seeing deer during the youth hunt. Remember any deer that is harvested must be registered online gamereg.wi.gov or over the phone by calling 1-844-426-3734 (1-844-GAME-REG), you are no longer required to go to a local other business to register and get a metal tag. After you submit your information, you will be given a confirmation number that must be written on your carcass tag (this replaces the metal band you would have received at an in-store registration). - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Kewaunee County - With the cold nights beginning, the deer are moving around quite heavily in Juneau County. Farmers are starting to harvest their crops, and deer hunters are finding the first scrapes and rubs. Most deer hunters are also reporting seeing deer while out in their stands. It is also shaping up to be a good opening weekend for duck season. There are plenty of wood ducks and mallards in the area, and the geese are beginning to move around in the last week or so. There is very little fall color as of yet, but that will be changing quickly. - Kyle Lynch, conservation warden, Kewaunee
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Cooler weather has finally arrived. Until Tues. the 29th, 80 plus degree weather had really put a damper on hunting activities. Deer weren't moving, no woodcock had arrived yet and the mosquitos were terrible. Bugs aren't so active with the cooler weather and some woodcock have drifted in with the latest cold front. There seem to be a decent number of grouse around, but the "green monster" has won out so far. Leaf color change is at about 40 percent right now in central WI. Very little leaf drop as of right now. Tons of geese and turkeys around right now - just a matter of scouting their patterns to achieve success. Inland trout now closed. No current report on inland fishing. Completely perfect weather for any kind of outdoor recreation. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Calumet County - Archery deer hunters have been taking advantage of the cooler weather to hit the fields in search of that big buck. Perch anglers along the east shore of Lake Winnebago have been coming up short trying to find and catch enough for a fish fry. Most anglers are catching less than a dozen perch during half day trips. The leaves are just starting to show some color and the acorns have dropped in most spots. Waterfowl hunters are preparing for the southern zone duck opener. Falling temperatures have created nice rafts of birds in and around the water-holes in the Brillion and Killsnake State Wildlife Areas. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Stockbridge
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - With cooler temperatures, local wildlife in Milwaukee is on the move in search of food to cache (squirrels, chipmunks) or food to fatten up in preparation for cooler weather (raccoons, deer, skunk). Coyotes and coyote movement has been a common topic in the media lately. There is a strong coyote population in Milwaukee, with an abundance of food and habitat, especially within green spaces and along parkways. In fall we sometimes see an increase in coyote activity, with this year's coyotes dispersing out of the pack and moving through new and unfamiliar terrain. Coyotes are most active at dawn, dusk, and nighttime hours, but are also seen during daytime hours, especially urban coyotes comfortable with human presence. Deter coyote activity in your yard by removing food sources such as bird feeders, open garbage and compost, and pet food. Always keep a close eye on your pets when outside, and never leave them unattended unless secure in a kennel with a covered top. If you see a bold or aggressive coyote, scare it away by acting big and loud, or using a noise maker such as a pop can filled with rocks. Contact the DNR Customer Service Hotline at 1-888-DNR-INFo (1-888-936-7463) if a coyote is acting aggressive. You can also attend a public meeting on Oct. 6 at 6:30 p.m. at Underwood Elementary School's gymnasium (11132 W Potter Road) to learn about and how to deal with urban coyotes. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee
Havenwoods State Forest - While you wait for the fall colors to appear, you can still enjoy purple and white asters and golden yellow goldenrods blooming in the fields. With the arrival of cooler temps, we are starting to see more snakes on the move toward their hibernacula. And, there is still time to catch a glimpse of birds migrating through the area. In the last week, visitors and staff have seen merlins, turkey vultures, and many warblers and other small songbirds. - Beth Mittermaier, natural resources educator
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan a few boats continue to fish inside the harbor with little success. Catch rates have been low, but a few lakers have also been reported out near 150 feet of water. Fishing from the piers in Sheboygan has been hit-or-miss. Some days are decent off the south pier, and other days are slow. Spoons and crank baits fished near the mouth of the river have produced mostly browns, followed by chinooks and coho. Fishing pressure off the north pier has been minimal. The Sheboygan harbor temperature is 58 degrees. On the Sheboygan River, chinooks can be found throughout most stretches, but in relatively low numbers. Decent numbers of browns have been reported in upstream areas, and many have been caught by fly anglers using brightly colored egg patterns. A few chinooks have been landed near Esslingen Park on bright spoons. The fishing has been slower in downstream areas near the 8th Street ramp. The water temperature was 60 degreeson Sunday near Esslingen Park. The Pigeon River has low water levels, and no salmon have been reported.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing has been generally slow throughout the harbor area. The best spot was right by the power plant discharge, where anglers reported a fairly equal number of chinook, browns, and coho caught on skein. Crank baits and plastics were successful on the south wall and harbor side of the breakwall, but fewer fish were reported here than farther inside the harbor area. A few chinook were reported from near Rotary Park, mostly on skein but also a few on crank baits. Few fish were caught in the north slip. The Port harbor temperature is 58 degrees. No anglers have been seen fishing Sauk Creek, but some salmon were seen moving upriver on Tuesday.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee the number of shore anglers has increased as chinook and browns continue to move into the Milwaukee harbor. Despite trout and salmon being seen jumping on the surface in the harbor, fishing has been fairly slow. A couple of chinook have been taken on spoons, Gulp, and crank baits off McKinley Pier. Two anglers in Veterans Park landed a couple of kings and a coho on shad and firetiger colored crank baits. Anglers at Summerfest landed a few coho, rainbows, and brown trout recently with minnows and shiners. The Summerfest gates in Lakeshore State Park were opened this week, and the rock shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds is now open for fishing. Large numbers of trout and salmon are in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon, but only a few anglers have been targeting those fish. A few trout and salmon were landed on Oak Creek over the weekend. On the Milwaukee River, the majority of fishing pressure has been at Kletzsch Park, with the area near the falls rather crowded at times. Most of the fish caught at Kletzsch have been brown trout, along with a couple of coho and rainbows. Orange yarn flies, black spey flies, and spinner baits have all taken fish. A few nice size smallmouth bass and rock bass were caught near the Estabrook Park falls on twister tails and artificial night crawlers. A couple of 3-4 pound catfish were caught at Estabrook by anglers fishing with chicken liver. Fishing effort on the Menomonee River remains low. Very few trout and salmon were seen or caught on the river during the month of September but that should improve with the next rainfall.
Racine County - In Racine the few boats that were interviewed reported catches of both chinook and coho salmon, and most of the fish were caught trolling within a couple hundred yards of the south pier. The number of coho caught recently has been increasing. Fishing pressure has been high on Racine's south pier and slightly lower on the north pier. Anglers have had success in both the early morning and late afternoon fishing with spawn on bobbers. Chinook and coho have been caught in decent numbers from the end of south pier to the rocks extending into the harbor. Decent numbers of browns have been caught from shore by the Pershing Park boat ramp and off the floating dock. In addition, shore anglers fishing in the Racine harbor have been catching chinooks and coho on spawn under a bobber. On the Root River, the number of anglers has increased since rain fell last Thursday. Fish have been caught at multiple spots along the river by fly anglers using spawn imitations. The Horlick dam has been a productive spot for chinook, as well as in Quarry Lake, Lincoln, and Island Parks. The Root River Steelhead Facility is up and running, but very few fish are moving upstream at this point. Since the facility was started on September 21, DNR crews have handled a total of 21 Chinooks, 5 coho, and 12 brown trout. Don't forget to mark your calendars for the Root River Open House on Saturday, October 10!
The Root River Steelhead Facility will be hosting an Open House on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to attend this fun-filled event, whether you're a novice angler, a veteran angler, or just like to eat fish! Enjoy guided tours of the facility with DNR crews demonstrating fish spawning procedures. Volunteers from local fishing clubs will provide fishing rod casting lessons, fly casting, knot tying, fly-tying, tips for cooking fish, and much more. For more information, please call 414-750-8382.
Kenosha County - Kenosha shore anglers have been catching browns and occasional chinook from the north and south piers. Most anglers have switched from using tube jigs to fishing with spawn on a bobber or on the bottom. Fishing pressure is high from the shoreline near the mouth of the Pike, but not many anglers have had success. The mouth of the Pike is very narrow due to a decreasing flow. Fishing effort upstream on the Pike River has been very low. A few anglers reported catching chinook last week right after the rain, but no fish were reported this week. Flow has been decreasing all week, and the river is relatively low. If we get a decent rain in the next two weeks, fishing will improve on the Pike.
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - This week we counted about 500 sandhill cranes on Theresa Marsh. Most were in the south refuge (south of the Mohawk Road overlook) or in the north refuge along Highway 28. Some larger flocks of migratory geese finally started arriving on their way back from Canada, ahead of the cold front. There are now probably a couple thousand geese using the Theresa Marsh refuges, flying out to feed in the morning and evening. A mat of floating vegetation that had been blocking canoe access through the marsh dam was allowed to pass through the dam and broken up. Canoe access to Theresa marsh should be very good this weekend for the duck opener. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that on the east side of the marsh there is a new parking lot at the bottom of the hill west of the Mowhawk Road parking lot. It's a short drag to launch your canoe in the ditch to gain access to the south end of the main pool. Along with the cranes and geese, this week we saw moderate numbers of mallards, teal and woodies, with the biggest numbers of ducks using the south refuge. Two mature bald eagles are still hanging out along the south side of Higway 28 about a mile west of Highway 41. About 1,200 leftover fall turkey permits are still available for Zone 2. Fewer than 100 antlerless deer tags for public land are still available in both Washington and Ozaukee County. Plenty of private land deer tags for both counties are available. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall is here folks! Cold fronts are moving through and birds are on the move with them! Late night migrants were overhead in the early hours of Sept. 30. Not only is fall an exciting time for visitors, but hunters are sure to be just as excited about the changes in weather as well! Archers are taking to the fields as we speak, welcoming the cooler weather while sitting in their stands. While in the woods you will notice that hickory nuts are beginning to fall and puffball mushroom are apparent. The long awaited opening weekend of duck season is almost here and duck hunters will be delighted that recent rainfalls have brought water levels up on the Horicon Marsh. While caution is still advised while maneuvering in the back bays, the main ditch should be much easier to navigate after nearly 2 inches of rain fell recently. There has been a notable increase in Wood Ducks and Blue-winged Teal in the area. With the fall colors changing, migrants moving and the addition of the Horicon Marsh Explorium, Horicon Marsh is sure to be a fall destination you will want on your map! In addition to Explorium, we are excited to feature a few upcoming fall events at the Horicon Marsh Education Center, N7725 Highway 28, Horicon.
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Walleye/sauger fishing on Lake Wisconsin in Columbia County remains slow but better fishing is just around the corner. Sturgeon fishing on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam has been excellent with very good numbers of big sturgeon being caught. Cooler weather an forecasted north winds should bring some ducks into the area for the opener. Water levels are good on the state properties and federal WPAs. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Chippewa Moraine Ice Age State Recreation Area - - A hint of fall is in the air and the prairies are awash with a colorful bouquet of blue, pink and purple asters. The sumac is transitioning to deep red and maple leaves are starting to turn as well. We will be getting some colder nights soon and the leaves will start to take on more color soon. The bugs are diminished except for the many bumble bees trying to get in their last sips of nectar. The hummingbirds have left for the year, but there are many other birds to enjoy. The Northern Flickers are very actively feeding on ants and other insects on the ground. Hairy, Downy, Redheaded and Pileated Woodpeckers are around too. Chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches are also around the bird feeders. The hiking trails are in great shape, but with water levels higher than they have been in many years, there will be some wet spots in low lying areas. Dogs are allowed in the Reserve and do not need to be on a leash as long as they are not disturbing people or wildlife. Please pick up after your pet in the mowed and high traffic areas. - Brenda Rederer, natural resources educator
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
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. Archery deer hunting is allowed 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. All campsites are open for camping through the weekend of October 2-3 and the dump station is open. For the weekend of October 1-3, all other backpack sites will be open and many are non-reservable. Check at the park office for availability. Campsites 4-7, 13-15, 17-19 will be closed October 7. Other walk-in campsites will be closing October 21. Camping fees have changed--please check out the poster in the bulletin board when self-registering. Drinking water is available at the park office and throughout the park and campground. Showers and flush toilets open in campground and south picnic area and will be shut down after October 15. Stickers required at boat launch parking lots/picnic areas. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent (office hours vary Mon-Thurs as staff are working in the park). - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The campground and main gate will be closed October 12. Parking will be in the winter lot on Czech Ave and park stickers will still be required. Join us for the fall festival on October 3 from 1-5 p.m. Play games, hike, go on a hayride to see the start of fall colors. At 2 p.m. there will be rock art talk at the petroglyphs by Geri Schrab. Hunting is not allowed in the park until November 15. - Heather Wolf, park manager