Published October 8, 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).
Fall color is now near peak in some areas of far northern Wisconsin, but colors vary from one area to another, with some areas only at about 50 percent on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR), so good colors should last for another week or more across the north. Colors are slower to turn through central and southern Wisconsin, but some bright red is being seen in maples and yellows in birch and locusts.
People enjoying the fall colors on bicycles in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest are cautioned that the paved trails may be slick with leaves and areas with pines are slowly being cushioned by the falling needles.
Many water bodies are still running slightly low and temperatures remain in the high 50s to low 60s. Fishing success has slowed in the Northwoods. Though primary pressure has been on musky and walleye, anglers looking for either have reported variable success.
Green Bay musky anglers reported variable results, but some 50-plus inch fish were reported. Strong winds and small craft advisories kept many Lake Michigan anglers inside harbors this past week and weekend, but they still reported fair success for chinook, brown trout and coho salmon. Fall salmon and trout runs continue to be relatively slow, with fish stalled due to low tributary water levels. Chinook salmon and brown trout were reported in the Manitowoc, Twin, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Root and Pike rivers, but angler success has been fairly low.
The Root River Steelhead Facility has an open house this Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be guided tours of the facility, as well as fisheries crews demonstrating fish spawning procedures. There will be fishing club volunteers present as well to provide casting, knot tying and cooking tips.
Hunters, particularly in the south western counties, have reported "pre-rut" activity picking up with white-tail bucks chasing does and scrapes and rubs being seen. Fawn production in many areas of the state was good this summer and the deer are in good condition as they begin to prepare for winter. There is a youth gun deer hunt this weekend and blaze orange requirements apply to all non-waterfowl hunters during the two-day hunt. Soybean harvest is wrapping up and more corn harvest is underway, opening more areas to hunters. Cleared fields are revealing strong turkey broods. The outlook for geese, ducks and other waterfowl is looking up, with some teal still being taken. Good wood duck numbers are being reported in the south. More migratory geese have been arriving. The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge recently did an airboat survey in which they were able to count approximately 68,000 ducks and geese on the refuge.
There will be a free Archeological Weekend this Saturday and Sunday at the Horicon Education and Visitor Center that will include a buckskinners encampment with a teepee, tomahawk throwing and a Voyageur canoe display.
Sandhill cranes numbers are getting close to peak at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area, with several thousand in the area and great viewing opportunities. Songbird migration is past peak and new arrivals include the fox sparrow, rusty blackbird and Bonaparte's gulls.
Please join us to collect seeds on the three 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. 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! See the SNA Volunteer Program for more information - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Amnicon Falls State Park - Fall is finally starting to show its true colors. While some trees have already lost their leaves, others are just starting to turn. Trails are all in excellent condition and are a perfect way to view the river surrounded by beautiful fall colors. Come check out the hummingbirds at the park office or the snowshoe hare that lives in the campground. You might even see the white-tail deer near the park office picnic area. Enjoy the beautiful views along the Amnicon River as you hike the Thimbleberry Nature Trail. The water levels are low, but still normal for this time of year. Now and Then Falls has dwindled down to a small trickle. It is illegal to jump into the waterways at Amnicon, but swimming in the river and around the falls is allowed. - Natalie Brown, ranger
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The forests are flaunting their vibrant colors as fall progresses. There was incredible weather this past week. It is peak season in Wisconsin. With the lack of rain over the past couple of weeks, river levels are below average for this time of year USGS. Temperatures are dropping, leaves are falling, and acorns are dropping. As result, deer and other game animals will become more active in the months to come as they try to fatten up for the winter. With the Brule River State Forest being located in such a geographically rich and diverse area, you are sure to find a variety of vegetative cover to support a healthy wildlife community. 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. Copper Range Campground has been full the last couple of weekends with fisherman after fall-run trout and salmon. Fishing this time of year can provide both a challenging and rewarding experience for those willing to wade the cool waters this time of year. State forest staff broke ground on a project to build a new warming shelter at the afterhours ski trail. With plans for a larger facility it is exciting to anticipate the way it will aid in making your time on the Brule a more rewarding experience. Construction of the new warming shelter is scheduled to start in the spring of 2016. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Leaves have turned and are falling, covering the ground in some areas. All wildlife are becoming easier to see with each passing day. Deer are moving at dawn and dusk, but very little, if any rutting activity has appeared yet. Food and water sources are best option at this point for hunting deer. Rivers and creeks are low due to little rain the last few weeks. This is putting most waterfowl on lakes, larger rivers and active beaver flowages. Migratory waterfowl and woodcock numbers have been low yet due to lack of severe cold snaps to push numbers south. Goose hunters are reminded that they are to report each goose harvested within 48 hours of the kill by calling 1-800-994-6673 (1-800-99-Goose). Hunters are reminded that all those hunting this weekend, except waterfowl hunters, are required to wear at least 50 percent blaze orange outer clothing above the waist and a hat if worn must be 50 percent blaze orange as it is the youth deer hunting season. This included bear hunters, partridge hunter, archery deer hunters etc. and includes both private and public lands. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - A warm weekend is in store but that won't stop the birds from migrating. Expect cooler evenings and warm sunny days. Lots of fall migrants are moving through, and the seasonal color change is well underway, with aspens and maples nearing peak color and oaks just beginning to show signs of turning. Sandhill cranes numbers are getting close to peak, with several thousand in the area. They are moving around from field to field looking for food during the day. A good place to look for them in the wildlife area is the crop fields on the north side of the refuge. You can also drive around the country roads south and east of Grantsburg to see them in the crop fields. Station yourself on Main Dike Road along the south side of the refuge before sunset to watch their evening return to their roosting sites in the sedge marshes of the refuge. Sparrows are migrating in large flocks; you can see them along most roadsides. Many diving ducks moved in last week, and Canada geese are present in good numbers. Trumpeter swan families remain in the wildlife areas until ice covers the flowages. You should see families along Main Dike Road and other wetland areas in Crex. Hawks are moving through - many bald eagles are present, sharp-shinned hawks, broad-winged hawks and others stopover in the wildlife areas to hunt on their way south. Duck, ruffed grouse, fall turkey, and archery deer season is underway. There is a youth gun deer hunt this weekend, so we recommend wearing bright colors (blaze orange) if you are out in the woods Saturday and Sunday. All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) MUST wear blaze orange according to the hunting regulations this weekend.
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The continued mild and dry weather has made for a very pleasant fall - but fishing success has been rather slow. Fall colors are almost two weeks behind last year's pace and water temperatures have still been holding in the low 60s. Most of the fishing pressure in the last week was for musky and action could be termed fair at best. Many anglers have started to drag live suckers around and their success has been on the low side. Walleye fishing has shown some improvement but action has still been fairly erratic. With the shortening day length, a few more walleye have been moving up into the shallows and in/around the dying weed beds. A jig and minnow or a minnow on a slip bobber fished on the deep edges have been the most successful. Most of the walleye have been in the 11 to 15-inch size and the best action has been in the hour before dark. With the water temperatures still in the low 60s, both largemouth and smallmouth bass have still been fairly active - but a bit finicky in their biting. Quite a few fish are still being found on the weed edges and near heavy cover, with soft plastics and a slow presentation being the key to catching these late season bass. Panfish action has been fair, with some nice crappie still being found near shallow water and close to cover and any weed edges. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Fall colors along the river should be peak during the next week or so. The drive between Phillips and Winter on Highway W is a beautiful now. There are actually quite a few trees dropping leaves, but the maples are turned and we are at peak color. Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are low, with the north fork still okay for paddling but wouldn't recommend the south fork. Over the next few weeks it should be a great time to take a trip down the river to see some beautiful scenery. The elk have been bugling but slowing down now, but they have been more visible lately. We are seeing a fair amount of grouse and lots of turkeys. Geese are on the move and it is definitely looking and feeling like fall. Asters are still blooming, but most flowers are done for this year. Both hunter walking & ski trails are being mowed. ATV trails are in good condition. The 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
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - Leaf color in the Northwoods in beginning to change, but not yet at peak color. Hunters are reporting seeing moderate numbers of grouse and woodcock. Turkeys numbers are looking very good and young birds are being seen commonly. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The autumn colors vary from one area in the forest to another in terms of intensity. Early morning and late afternoons are great times for witnessing dramatic lighting on the landscape. Turkeys are feeding along roadsides and flickers are working the roadsides also as they head south. Groups of robins are feeding and passing through. Family groups of chickadees, nuthatches and blue jays are starting to check to see if the bird feeders are out for them! The bracken ferns have died back and now the yellow of the hazelnut and rosy pink of the pin cherry and dogwood are adding to the color pallet of reds, yellows and oranges of the birch and maples. Tamarack are starting to turn yellow and white pine are dropping some of their needles to create a soft rust cushion on the forest floor. Hermit thrushes are moving through and juncos are starting to show up. Grouse are still pretty hidden. Crystal Lake campground campers have been serenaded by coyotes every night for the past 10 days. Every afternoon a group of does and this year's fawns make their way past the Crystal Lake Ranger Station. For those of you enjoying the fall colors on bicycles be aware that the paved trails may be getting slick with leaves. We will be blowing trail on Fridays to clear the pavement of leaves. Campgrounds closing on October 13 are: Buffalo, East Star, Starrett, Upper Gresham, and Sandy Beach. All others (except those already closed; South Trout, Plum Lake, Cunard) remain open until the snow falls. Jag and Musky group are open (by reservation) through the end of the month. Shower buildings close and will be drained for the season the week of October 12. Starting midmorning to midday on the buildings will close for "deep cleaning" and then draining. We will start with Musky first, then Crystal. Firefly and Clear should remain open until Tuesday. Campground use has been pretty low so there are lots of opportunities to find a great campsite. Fall project work in the campgrounds is in full swing. Hazard tree cutting has been done in several campgrounds and will continue over the next few weeks. Campers are welcome to collect this down wood for use while they are here camping. Campgrounds will open to home firewood gatherers (with a permit) on November 1. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - Fall colors will likely peak this weekend across much of the area. Conditions for this year's Youth deer hunt in the Antigo Area are a bit better than 2014. The deer herd is beginning to rebound after the severe winter of 2013-2014. Fawn production was good this summer and the deer are in very good condition. Hunters should seek out areas with red oak. The acorn crop is excellent this year and the deer as well as other wildlife are feeding heavily in those areas. Decent numbers of Canada geese can be found throughout the area as well as other waterfowl. Wood ducks are also feeding in wetlands surrounded by red oak due to the acorn availability. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Florence DNR at the Florence Natural Resource Center
Florence and Forest counties - Fall is here and the colors are in full swing right now. We have a lot of folks coming up here for this as well as the start of fall fish runs, hunting, ATVing, and general wildlife viewing. Archery and grouse season has started and this coming weekend is the youth gun deer hunt. Make sure to have your required licenses, double check this year's new rules and regulations changes, and remember that practice makes perfect. - Jason Cotter, wildlife Biologist, Florence
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - A few walleye are being caught on the Menominee River by shore anglers fishing live bait and jigs, while boaters are also having some luck trolling with stick baits. Reports of perch being caught on the breakwater have not been verified. King salmon have yet to show up in the river. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers below the dam at Stiles report fishing for crappie and bluegill has slowed down considerably and few fish were being kept. Early in the week good numbers of pink salmon were being observed spawning just above the Iron Bridge. Few fish were caught despite the number of anglers fishing for them. Anglers from the Pensaukee landing to Oconto Park II are still catching some nice perch when weather permits. Fish are being found in 4 to 14 feet of water with minnows fished with crappie rigs or slip bobbers working the best. No king salmon have been observed yet. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Action on the shore of the Fox River continued to be slow; however, reports of walleye moving into the area have begun to increase late into the week. Anglers retrieving cranks have had the most action on smallmouth and walleye while the three-way rig has continued to produce catfish and drum. The metro launch has been producing great numbers of catfish along with the occasional crappie and smallmouth. Wave action has reduced clarity throughout the area and the temps have dropped to the low 60s. All anglers interviewed at the Green Bay Metro Ramp this week have been fishing for musky with varying results. Reports of one 59-inch fish and multiple 50-inch fish were reported late into the week. Wave action has forced most anglers into sheltered coves but has not reduced catch rates. Clarity in the area has been reduced from moderate to poor and water temps are hovering in the low 60s. Perch fishing at Duck Creek continues to vary day to day with some anglers reporting catching their limit one day and returning the next to none. Minnows continue to produce the largest and highest number of fish and northern pike are not an uncommon by-catch. Water temps have continued to hover in the low 60s and water clarity is moderate. Shore anglers on the Suamico River are casting worms and minnows for yellow perch. Multiple anglers reported catching increasing numbers of northern pike this week. Pike have averaged in the mid-20s while perch are ranging anywhere from 6-14 inches this week. Water temps in the area are in the high 50s and clarity was moderate to poor. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - The salmon action in Sturgeon Bay has been tough as of late. There have been some reports of success by the Coast Guard station using crank baits, but those have been scattered. Those seeking smallmouth have found the bite to be elusive. Best results have been seen using plastics or worms off of the bottom. There has been no word on the perch bite in the bay. Shore anglers were able to find some success with smallmouth bass using worms and plastics at the Old Stone Quarry. The streams in northern Door County have cooled somewhat to the mid to high 50s but their flow is still pretty low. Salmon have been spotted in Hibberds Creek. Smallmouth bass anglers at Sawyer Harbor were catching fish in deeper water. Live bait and plastics in 12-15 feet of water worked best. A decent number of yellow perch boats were catching limits. Most are smaller, but patience has led to some nice-sized fish. Minnows and night crawlers were the favored baits. Twenty, or more, feet of water was the most successful depth. Due to 10-20 mph winds through much of the week, only one boat was at Chaudoir's Dock. They were trolling crank baits for walleye and did not catch any fish. Yellow perch catch numbers at Little Sturgeon Bay were down this week. Most anglers continue to favor minnows to night crawlers. Fishing in over 20 feet of water was the preferred depth. Walleye boaters caught good numbers of fish. A few anglers landed their limits. Trolling in 12-15 feet of water in the morning and evening worked well. Trolling in 6-8 feet of water through the night landed fish. Crank baits were the most common lures. The size range of walleye measured this week was fifteen to twenty-nine inches. - Adrian Meseberg and John Taylor, fisheries technicians, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers continue to hit the Kewaunee River in force but success has been elusive for most. Salmon are being spotted, however, and those that are finding success have done so using spawn sacs, spoons, or flies. Most anglers have found their success between the Highway F bridge and the footbridge. The water temp was in the high 50s and the flow was slow. The action on the Kewaunee pier has been slow over the past week but some anglers are finding success with king salmon. The best baits seem to be spinners and spawn sacs. Most of the angling pressure has tailed off in favor of going further up river. There were a fair number of anglers attempting to catch both brown trout and chinook salmon from the Algoma city shore this week. The few anglers that did find success were either fishing spawn sacks or ear-plugs treated with power bait close to the bottom. Regardless of whether anglers were fishing inside of the city marina or at Olson Park they struggled to convince brown trout and chinook salmon to bite. The water throughout the city marina and lower Ahnapee River remained highly turbid. The majority of anglers fishing the Ahnapee River this week focused their attentions at Blahnik Heritage Park. Here too anglers struggled to get chinook salmon and brown trout to bite. A few anglers reported strikes on ear-plugs treated with power bait, but did not have any success landing the fish. Though the Ahnapee River remains high the flow rate is low and the water remains highly turbid. - Dan Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Everyone has left downtown Manitowoc to focus fishing effort upstream in places such as Manitou Park, and Manitowoc City Park. A few kings can be seen jumping in the Manitowoc River, but not in spectacular numbers. King salmon and brown trout were caught throughout the day in Manitowoc City Park. Most of these fish were caught floating spawn sacs. The Manitowoc River is brown and muddy in color with good water levels. The water temperature in the Manitowoc River is 55 degrees. The Branch River is quite clear. A visual check at several locations showed no signs of anglers, or fish. The water temperature in the Branch River is 55 degrees. Activity in Shoto picked up this past weekend. Several kings were landed below the dam, with one weighing 20 pounds. Most of the fish that are present are holed up under heavy fishing pressure near the dam. The water in the West Twin River is clear below the dam, but quickly muddies downstream. The water temperature in the West Twin River is 57 degrees near Shoto. It was reported that brown trout are still being caught in Mishicot. Most of these fish are being caught near the dam or in the deeper pools downstream from the fire station. Manitowoc Harbor water temperature is 56 degrees. The Marina was popular again this past weekend. Several king salmon have been caught from the rocks on the eastern side of the marina. Most of these fish are being caught with green and silver/gold or orange/gold spoons. Very few people ventured out onto the lake with a small craft advisory in effect most of the weekend. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Colder air and several frosts were followed by strong winds over the last week. Deer movements and sightings have increased since last week. Rubs and scrapes are starting to pop up in the woods. Strong northerly winds have helped to usher migrating woodcock into the county. The fall colors are in full display in the northern reaches of the county with the central and southern portions reaching 25-30 percent. Bear season is now closed to hound hunters, but open for one more week for those hunting over bait. Saturday and Sunday is the Youth Deer hunt. Make time to mentor a youth hunter this weekend and you will remember it for a lifetime. Remember, for your safety, you are required to wear blaze orange while hunting for any upland species this weekend. Acorn production continues to be phenomenal across much of the county. Many fields of corn are being chopped for silage right now and flocks of migrating Canada geese and sandhill cranes are easily visible using these fields for a migration stopover. The leaves in the understory have been thinned a little by strong winds, making the promise of harvesting a grouse or woodcock slightly more real. On warm calm days, deer ticks and mosquitos are still a nuisance so remember to protect yourself and your pets while afield. Overall, this is a great week to enjoy the outdoors of Marinette County. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Governor Thompson State Park - The 16 mile hiking trail system is a blaze of fall colors. It's great weather for hiking. The shower building and dump station water will be shut down for the season on Oct. 12. The campground will remain open until November 29. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Door County - Numerous migrating geese are starting to move through the area and should offer field hunters good opportunity. A number of migrating ducks are also moving through. Archery deer hunters are reporting very good numbers in terms of deer sightings. Despite many archery hunters being selective and waiting for "their" deer, harvests numbers are good and steadily rising. The salmon run has been stalled due to low tributary water levels. Trees are just starting to show signs of fall color. - Christopher J. Kratcha, conservation warden, Sturgeon Bay
Potawatomi State Park - Fall colors are gradually starting to appear in the park. The Friends of Potawatomi State Park present Run Wild 2015 Saturday, October 10. Events include a 5K run/walk, a quarter marathon run, and a 1/3-mile Smokey Bear Fun Run for the kids. Events start at 9:30 a.m. sharp at the park with the Smokey Bear Fun Run immediately following the 5K run/walk and quarter marathon. Participants may register from 7:30 to 9 a.m. on Oct. 10. The park entrance fee is waived until noon on Oct. 10. For more information, visit www.runwild.org . - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Rock Island State Park - Trees are beginning to change color but peak is still probably two or more weeks away. Bird migrations are in full swing on the islands. Birders are reporting the woods and fields are full of many different species. Local bow hunters have reported bagging some very nice bucks on Washington Island already and staff on Rock Island have been seeing several nice bucks and lots of does. Rock Island bow season opens Oct. 15 after the regular ferry service stops for the season. Decent catches of smallmouth bass have been taken when it's not too windy to get out on the water. Mushroom gatherers have been doing pretty well on Rock Island with bears head tooth, chicken of the woods, and others being found. - Randy Holm, ranger and assistant property manager
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 shore anglers concentrated their efforts on the Sheboygan River over the weekend to avoid the windy conditions at the lakefront. Chinook and coho salmon and brown trout were all reported in the river, but angler success has been fairly low. Some chinook were caught near Esslingen Park and upstream of there by fly anglers. A variety of patterns were reported, and anything brightly colored seemed to work best. The coho in the river have not made it up to Esslingen quite yet, and they are still quite silver in color and seem to have just started to work their way up. Spinners seemed to work the best for anglers casting in stretches downstream of Esslingen Park. No particular area stuck out as producing the most fish, so anywhere with deep water is worth a shot. The river temperature was 48F on Sunday. Fishing effort on the Pigeon River has been minimal, and no fish have been reported. Water levels are very low on the Pigeon.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington, fishing improved slightly in the harbor over the weekend. The area near the power plant discharge produced the most fish, mostly chinooks with a few browns mixed in. Almost all of the fish caught were taken on skein or spawn sacs. The north slip received similar fishing pressure as the discharge area, but fewer fish were caught. The few that were caught in the north slip were mostly chinook and brown trout, and they were also caught mostly on skein and spawn sacs. Water levels on Sauk Creek are very low. Anglers reported chinook, brown trout and even a rainbow near the mouth of the creek. Casting lures such as spinners and stick baits produced most of these fish.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee, few boats launched over the past week, and most of those fished inside the harbor due to strong winds and high waves. Nice catches of chinook were landed by some of the boaters around McKinley Marina. Spawn sacs, skein under slip bobbers, and crank baits were the most effective, and late evenings and early mornings produced the best. McKinley Pier was unfishable for most of last week due to large waves crashing over the pier. Anglers reported seeing large fish jumping around the docks in McKinley Marina. Anglers on the shoreline have hooked into a couple of nice size chinook around the old Coast Guard station as well as in the lagoon at Lakeshore State Park. Anglers on the harbor side of the Summerfest grounds have been landing a few chinooks and coho on shiners fished 8 to 15 feet down under slip bobbers. Over a half inch of rain fell in the Milwaukee area last week Tuesday. Flows increased on the local rivers, but have already dropped back down. Brown trout and chinook have started to move upstream on the Oak Creek, and have been caught on spinner baits and spawn sacs. Milwaukee River anglers fishing at Kletzsch Park have been seeing salmon and trout attempting to jump the falls, but fishing there has been relatively slow. A few browns and chinook have been caught below the falls in Estabrook Park. On the Menomonee River, a few chinook have been seen moving through the Miller Park area, but fishing remains slow.
Racine County - In Racine, fishing in the harbor this past week was made very difficult by strong northeast winds. Waves were crashing over the piers, and fishing effort was very low. Fishing pressure was higher from the Racine shoreline near the harbor and boat launch. Many brown trout were caught from the rocks near the launch, and most were taken on spawn. A few chinook were also caught off of the rocks in the harbor, and spawn and crank baits both produced. On the Root River anglers are reporting few fish seen or caught. The low level of the river in Lincoln Park makes the section under the pedestrian bridge difficult for the salmon to pass. Fishing has been most productive downstream of the weir in Lincoln and Island Parks, and fly anglers have had the most success. 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, five 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 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 or visit our web page at /topic/fishing/lakemichigan/rootriveropenhouse.html
Kenosha County - Kenosha shore anglers using fly fishing gear have been catching browns in the harbor near Navy Memorial Park. Spawn imitation lures and brightly colored yarn flies have produced. Large waves have made fishing nearly impossible from the beach near the mouth of the Pike River. The mouth of the Pike was not open to the lake for most of last week. However, chinook have been seen in the Pike as far upriver as Petrifying Springs Park. The water level is low, but multiple chinook have been caught by fly anglers.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - More migratory geese have been arriving and more crop fields including bean fields are being picked, so hunting opportunities are available if you ask permission. Theresa Marsh and other local properties are within the southern zone for duck hunting, so duck hunting will close for the five-day split at the end of Sunday and reopen on Saturday Oct. 17. Goose hunting remains open on Theresa Marsh during the five-day split, since Theresa is part of the Horicon goose zone (no hunting in the refuges). Early next week, DNR staff will be clearing away a small floating mat of vegetation that is partially blocking access into to the marsh from the small ditch east of the main lot on North Pole Road (i.e., the ditch across the RR tracks). Canoe and walk-in access for waterfowl hunting at the other normal access points on Theresa Marsh are all open. Goose and duck hunting has been slow but should be picking up as more geese, ducks and other migratory birds are starting to use the property. A few green-winged and blue-winged teal are still being taken, so apparently not all teal have migrated south yet. Some bow hunters have reported "pre-rut" activity picking up with bucks chasing does and scrapes being seen. Several local meat processers in our area are saving the deer heads they take in so that DNR staff can age the jaws to estimate the deer population. Youth gun deer hunters are reminded that the Loew Lake Unit is muzzleloader only for all gun deer hunting including the 2-day youth hunt, nine and 10-day hunts, and four-day antlerless hunt. All other regular public land deer hunting regulations apply. Blaze orange clothing requirements apply to all non-waterfowl hunters during the two-day youth deer hunt. A bald eagle was reported near Highway D/Highway 41 - likely one of two eagles commonly seen along Highway 28 just west of Highway 41. Fall colors are great right now, with peak expected in a week or two. The maples and sumacs are brilliant red, and corn and bean fields golden. Some of the ash have already lost their leaves. A great time to take a drive, but start watching for deer since car-vehicle collision numbers are picking up and will peaking during the next month due to deer rutting activity. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Lower Wisconsin Riverway Report by Mark Cupp, executive director of the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board http://lwr.state.wi.us/. River flow below normal for this time of year. Plenty of sandbars. River water temperatures dropping to low 60s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg7nRI9XP8M&feature=youtu.be
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - Deer are active, with reports of scrapes and rubs being found in the woods. Many leaves remain on shrubs and trees making it difficult to see far. Excellent acorn production from white and red oaks this year. Turkeys have been very active in recent weeks, with reports of gobbling in some areas. Tree color is still less than 50 percent peak, with many maples starting to turn (especially red maple). Some tree species, such as walnut, have already dropped leaves. - Travis Anderson, wildlife biologist, Dodgeville
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Horicon continues to be a hot spot in the area with waterfowl numbers climbing by the day, a forecast of beautiful weather for the weekend as well as fabulous fall colors. The Horicon National Wildlife Refuge recently did an airboat survey in which they were able to count approximately 68,000 ducks and geese on the refuge. Along with hiking, sightseeing and touring our new Explorium, we are encouraging visitors to participate in our Archeological Weekend on Saturday and Sunday! The Rock River Archeological Society hosts this weekend historical/educational event annually. This is a great admission free family event with something for all ages. All activities are held outdoors and inside the building between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., at the Horicon Education and Visitor Center located between Horicon and Mayville on Hwy. 28. Take the opportunity to learn more about the society by speaking with a member at our information table located in the lower level of the Center. A buckskinners encampment with Dirty Kettle and friends will both fascinate and educate young and old. Walk into a teepee, hear stories, try throwing a tomahawk and see the Voyageur canoe display. Join Dirty Kettle at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday for a flute circle with a drum circle to follow. There will be atlatl demonstrations and a chance to try throwing the atlatl at a target. Talk with local collectors and see their museum quality artifacts. Try your hand at corn grinding and fire starting techniques, learn how a wigwam is constructed, and find out about basic basket weaving techniques. There will be children's activities, food for purchase, and vendors to visit. Also enjoy our speakers... Schedule may be subject to changes due to weather/speaker circumstances. More information can be found on its web blog at rockriverarch.blogspot.com , by calling 920-387-7893, or "Like" the group on Facebook. Youth hunters will be excited for this weekend as they look forward to the youth deer hunt as well as the Horicon Marsh Waterfowl Learn to Hunt. Both activities will pair novice hunters with adult mentors to ensure their first hunts are memorable ones. Bag checks at area boat landings show good harvests of wood ducks and teal in the area. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Wardens reported heavy use of the county's wildlife areas on opening day of the duck season. Many hunters were fairly successful, with wood ducks making up most of the bag. The recent cold front seems to be moving birds into Wisconsin, and many doves are being seen early on this week. Still lots of chances for hunters to pursue these tricky birds. Crows are being seen forming their large flocks, or "murders." The maple family of trees is finally hinting at color change - many are just beginning to change color and in the next few weeks should be fully displaying their vivid yellows, oranges and reds. It's a great time of year to get out and enjoy the natural resources! - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Dane County - Fall crop harvest is proceeding rapidly with the nice weather. Many soybean fields have been picked and corn fields are now starting to be picked as well. Local duck hunters report good numbers of wood ducks being seen on small rivers and backwater wetlands and ponds. Good numbers of deer are being reported by local bow hunters with lots of nocturnal movement. As crops are harvested deer sightings should increase. Turkey broods are being seen regularly in harvested bean and wheat fields. Songbird migration is now past peak and dominated by continental migrants that winter in the central and southern U.S. New arrivals include fox sparrow, hermit thrush, rusty blackbird, kinglets and Bonaparte's gulls. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Tree leaves are starting to fall, improving visibility in the woods. Hunters should keep in mind, however, improved visibility works both ways. Hunters have an easier time seeing game, but game animals have an easier time spotting hunters. Whether out turkey hunting, squirrel hunting, or bow deer hunting, proper camouflage techniques, patience, and stillness can help hunters to remain unseen by their quarry. Red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets, white-throated sparrows, swamp sparrows, song sparrows, and fox sparrows are some of the migratory songbirds currently passing through the local area. Wild turkey hunters are reporting lots of birds and good success in Crawford and Vernon counties. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - It is a great time to visit the Black River State Forest. Fall colors have really started to put on a show this week with 50-60 percent color in most places. Yellows and oranges are currently dominating throughout the forest but reds, russet and copper colors are also present. Some of the best locations to see the color show is along North Settlement Road and Cemetery Road. The shower/flush toilet building at Castle Mound campground will remain open for this weekend but will most likely close for the season sometime next week. Temperatures this weekend are expected to be in the high 60s to 70s. ATV trails are open and in good condition. ATV trails will be closing for the season at the end of the day on Sunday, Oct. 18. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County -Fall colors can be seen on some trees in the area, but daytime air temperatures remind us that it is still a great time for summer like outdoor activity. Take a walk or bike ride on the Chippewa River State Trail for wildlife viewing and some very beneficial exercise. Archery deer hunters have been having some success, and migratory bird hunters report outstanding hunting opportunities. Heavy leaf cover and even some mosquitoes remain in the woods. Because of the CWD positive at a captive deer farm near Fairchild, deer baiting and feeding is prohibited in all of Eau Claire County. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Lake Wissota State Park - The fall colors are showing with the ash, birch and basswood trees turning to brilliant gold. The maples are beginning to show color with the nights being cool. The open water game fish action has been good. Bass action on leeches and small minnows has been productive; walleye action has been good with live baits. Panfish have been fairly active. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls, barred owls, bald eagles, and Canada geese. The hummingbird migration appears to be over in this area. Labor Day through early May campsites are available on a walk-in basis. The water and shower buildings are shut down in the campground for the season. The sanitary station will be open as the weather allows. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around. As the park office is not regularly staffed at this time of year, please use the yellow self-registration pay posts located at the office.- Dave Hladilek, park manager
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Small game, waterfowl and trapping are only in the Buckhorn and Yellow River wildlife areas, not in the state park until November 15. Statewide youth deer hunt is October 10-11 and gun deer hunting is allowed in the Yellow River Wildlife Area only. Youth bow hunt in the state park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area. All hunters Oct 10-11 except waterfowl hunters must wear blaze orange, even in bow hunting only areas. Fishing pier and boat boarding piers will be removed the morning of Wednesday, October 21. All campsites are open for camping through the weekend of October 9-12 and the dump station is open. Backpack sites will be open and are non-reservable. Check at the park office for availability. Campsites 4-7, 13-15, 17-19 will be closed October 14. Other walk-in campsites will be closing October 21. Showers and flush toilets open in campground and south picnic area and will be shut down after October 15. Hunting maps are available online or at the park office to see regulations and closed areas. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - All campsites are non-reservable. Hunting is not allowed in the park until November 15. 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. - Heather Wolf, park manager