Published October 22, 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).
Much of northern Wisconsin is now past peak for fall colors and leaf drop has come on very fast with strong winds in the last week. The north is now awash in the golden hues of tamarack and burgundy of oaks. Peak colors are still being reported on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR) through central and southern Wisconsin, where warm weather has seemed to extend the color season some, with some trees still sporting green leaves.
The relatively dry conditions of the last month have led to increased fire danger, especially in southwestern Wisconsin where danger is currently high. In the past week, 30 wildfires have burned 225 acres including a 189-acre fire in Crawford County.
With the nice weather last weekend, pheasant season opened with a bang, with many hunters taking to the field with their dogs. Most of the stocked wildlife areas received heavy use opening weekend. Many stocked properties around the state will receive two stockings per week during the next two weeks. A listing of stocked properties is available by searching the DNR website for "pheasant." With leaf drop progressing rapidly in the north, grouse and woodcock hunters were also seeing increased success.
Bow deer hunting is definitely picking up as rutting activity picks up. With the implementation of e-registration, you are now able to track deer harvest by county throughout the season by visiting the DNR website. Deer vehicle collisions are also on the rise, so motorists need to be extra cautious, especially at dawn and dusk, and remember if a deer crosses in front of you to be alert for another deer pursuing it.
Fishing pressure around the state has dropped markedly over the past weeks as the hunting seasons have opened. In the north, most water temperatures are in the low to mid 50s. Musky anglers seem to be having off and on success, with most now moving from artificial baits to live suckers. Walleye anglers continue to report erratic catches and it may be that fish have yet to settle into a solid fall pattern. There has been a recent surge in crappie action with some nice fish being found suspended off the bottom in deeper water. In the south, the walleye bite continues to increase on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River as well as the Fox River from Voyager park to mouth in Green Bay.
Many Lake Michigan tributary water levels remain low continuing to slow fall salmon runs. Some success continued to be reported from the Peshtigo, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Menomonee and Root rivers.
More geese and sandhill cranes are arriving in the south central counties of the state and viewing opportunities, particularly just before sundown and at early morning, are excellent.
The sensational snowy owls are back again this year and staff have confirmed 25-plus sightings of the enigmatic species. If you see one of these Arctic visitors, please give it plenty of breathing room and help us document this phenomenon by reporting your sighting to www.ebird.org/wi (exit DNR).
Many state park properties have special events planned this weekend, including fall color hikes, harvest festivals, candlelight events and Halloween activities. Find activities by searching the DNR website for keywords "get outdoors."
Fire danger is High across southwestern Wisconsin. In the past week, 30 wildfires have burned 225 acres in parts of the state under DNR protection (about half the state). The largest was a 189-acre fire in Crawford County. When leaves and pine needles fall and the grass cures, the dried out plant material becomes easily ignitable. Many fall wildfires can be attributed to equipment sparks or the hot exhaust of a vehicle too close to dry grass. Roadside fires can start when vehicles pull off the road and hot exhaust pipes or axels come in contact with dry grass, during roadside mowing operations, when tow/safety chains are dragging and throwing sparks. Other equipment-related fires this time of year are caused by disc blades striking rocks, sparks emitted during welding operations, bearing failure on farm equipment, torches used too close to dry vegetation, and dry vegetation getting wrapped around exhaust systems, hot manifolds or moving parts. Here are some tips to help keep you from starting a fire as you work outdoors this fall: Keep equipment clean and free of debris. Make sure spark arresters are in place and in proper working order. Take frequent breaks to give equipment a chance to cool down. Check for debris trapped or wrapped near heat sources or moving parts and clear it away. Do not pull off roadways or ATV trails onto dry grass. NEVER use mowers in dry vegetation. When towing a trailer, check to make sure the safety chains are off the ground (dragging chains throw sparks). Make sure all workers carry a cell phone and know the directions to the work site. Always carry a fire extinguisher. Call for assistance early if you do start a wildfire. Check the DNR web page for county-specific information on fire danger and burning restrictions: dnr.wi.gov (search "fire danger"). - Joanne Ackerman, wildland urban interface coordinator, Madsion
DNR staff have confirmed at least 25 Snowy Owls sightings in the state since Friday, which could mean another good year for viewing this spectacular species in Wisconsin. If so, it would mark the third consecutive winter that snowies have made an influx into the region from their typical Canadian haunts. Such "irruptions" usually occur at periodic intervals, leaving even the experts a bit puzzled as to why four of the last five years have hosted numbers far above average in Wisconsin and other parts of the U.S. This year's birds are also two to four weeks earlier to arrive than most years. If you see one of these Arctic visitors, please give it plenty of breathing room and help us document this phenomenon by reporting your sighting to www.ebird.org/wi (exit DNR). - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Fishing on the river continues to be slow and many are attributing this to the lack of rain and lower river levels. The Brule River remains open north of highway 2 until November 15. The area has experienced seasonably pleasant temperatures this past week, cool in the mornings and at nights (ranging in the high 30s to low 40s) but warming up to the 50s during the day. Leaf drop is progressing rapidly. Local snowmobile clubs and trail associations have been putting in time this past week getting trails cleared for the recreational seasons ahead of us. Geese and ducks are still in their southern migration. Grouse numbers seem to be up as local hunters are flushing birds frequently in the woods. Woodcock numbers are healthy this year and wildlife biologists are noticing larger sized birds based on their observations. Although the peak is still a couple weeks ahead, bucks are showing signs that they are entering the breeding season. You will notice bark rubbed off smaller trees and patches of ground cleared down to the dirt as this is a sure sign that bucks are trying to attract does and send signals that they are ready to mingle. This can be a great time of year to target deer as bucks are usually more active during the day and less aware of their surroundings as they are focused on breeding. - Edwin Koepp, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Peak leaf color has come and gone due to the very windy days we have received. Some maples, oaks, and aspens are still holding on to their leaves but the trails are covered by a lot of leaves already. With the combination of unseasonably warm temperatures and wonderful fall colors, the park has been very busy. The dam on Interfalls Lake has been lowered and the lake water level is very low. This is done for flood control in the spring during spring thaw. Lowering the dam does affect the amount of water flowing at Big Manitou Falls, but does not affect Little Manitou Falls. Whitetail deer have been spotted throughout the area, some with fawns. We have had a couple reports of black bear sightings in the area as well. -Jacob Anderson, Ranger
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Most leaves are off the trees and covering the ground. This has made locating partridge and deer much easier. Musky fishing activity has increased as has the use of live bait, which is typical for a fall tactic. Those using live bait are reminded that a quick set rig or non-offset circle hook is required for using live bait which is 8 inches or larger. Water levels are still very low on rivers, streams and some ponds in the area. This should make trapping for muskrat and mink easier, which opens this Saturday, October 24, although prices are bleak for both those furbearers. Animal population appear well for both these species. Trappers are reminded that beaver and otter season does not open the same date as muskrat and mink. The opening date for beaver and otter is November 7. Otter require a permit received by application process. Dryland trapping opened this past weekend, which a few trappers ventured out to pursue those species. Prices are a little better for land animals vs. water animals, except raccoon prices remain low. Animal population for dryland species appear well for most. Bobcat and fisher require a permit received by application process. Those trapping dryland are reminded that traps need to be tended and checked in person at least once a day (except weasel boxes. See requirements in trapping regulations). Dryland trappers are also reminded that cable restraints are prohibited to use until December 1. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Deer movement continues to increase in the Burnett County area. Rubs and scrapes are showing up in the woods, but the best action is yet to come. Waterfowl numbers seem to be good in western Burnett County. Grouse numbers in the area are low. Fall colors are past peak in western Burnett. Governor Knowles State Forest campground and trails are in excellent condition and open for use. Good luck and be careful! - Christopher Spaight, conservation warden, Grantsburg
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Winter birds are starting to show up including snow buntings, Lapland longspurs and sparrows, along with lots of raptors. There is still a merlin hanging around. Lots of sparrows including the rare Harris sparrows and white-crowned sparrows. Peak crane migration usually goes until the end of October at Crex. The best times to view cranes on the refuge are from 7-10 a.m. and 5-6:45 p.m. - 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) - Variable and generally mild weather has made for some comfortable fishing conditions in the Northwoods, but the abundance of hunting opportunities seems to have limited fishing pressure in the last few weeks. Water temperatures have now dropped into the low 50s and fall turnover has just started on most lakes in the Hayward and Park Falls area. Musky anglers have provided most of the fishing pressure on our local lakes and their success has been real variable. Most fishermen have switched from artificial baits to live suckers, with a medium-size sucker (10 to 14 inches) on a quick-set rig showing the best results. Most of the musky caught have been in the 32 to 40-inch size, though fish up to 46 inches have also been reported. Walleye success continues to be erratic and it seems that the fish haven't settled into a solid fall pattern yet. Late October and early November should provide a little better walleye action with jig/minnow and slip bobber/minnow combinations working best on deeper rocky structure and along mid-depth break lines. There has been a recent surge in crappie action with some nice fish being found along and near the deeper water areas, with the fishing suspended about 4 to 5 feet off the bottom. With the colder water temperatures, bass fishing is all but over for the year. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Peak color was the weekend of Oct 14 and strong fall winds over the past few days are taking the leaves with them. There is still a glorious show out there though and pretty soon the grouse won't be hidden by those blackberry bushes! Golden hues of tamaracks and quiet times are at a premium right now. Lack of rain in September has contributed to receding lake water levels. Rhinelander is down over 4 inches for the year. The lower lake water levels have had little effect on boat landings and canoe sites. Lake water levels have dropped recently but nothing as substantial as the drought of 2000-2010. The Northern Highland American Legion state Forest has begun to take out seasonal boarding docks. There are 46 docks to remove so we need to start the process with enough time to avoid the snow and ice that November can bring. Water levels on area rivers such as the Wisconsin and Manitowish varies this time of year depending on volume of water being released by water control structures, but not enough to impede travel. All shower buildings and dump station water towers are turned off for the season. Potable water is available using the hand pumps located throughout the campgrounds. Campers can still use the dump stations, but no rinse water is available. Buffalo Lake, Cunard Lake, East Star Lake, Plum Lake, Starrett Lake, South Trout Lake, Upper Gresham Lake, and Sandy Beach Lake Campgrounds are all closed for the season. Ten campgrounds remain open as long as snow conditions allow and a few campsites at Clear Lake will be plowed for winter use, so there are still plentiful camping opportunities for late season campers. Fall project work in the campgrounds will wrap up over the next couple of weeks. Lots of hazard trees have been cut in the campgrounds this fall and firewood gatherers (with a permit) are allowed to take downed wood in campgrounds beginning November 1. - Kimberly Krawczyk, Visitor Services Associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - Most trees have dropped their leave. Tamarack trees are turning a brilliant yellow. Grouse hunters will find better hunting conditions with the leaves dropped. Still good numbers of Canada geese, mallards, ring-necked ducks and woodcock in the area.- Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Anglers below the dam on the Peshtigo River report catching a few salmon as well as some smallmouth and the occasional walleye. Salmon anglers are using spawn drifted in the deeper current seams. Waterfowlers are enjoying some success in the lower reaches of the Peshtigo River. Anglers on the Menominee River are targeting trout and salmon, mostly brown trout from the Interstate Bridge up river to the dam. Flies, spoons, and spawn are being used. Some success is being had behind the library by Stephenson Island for salmon mainly in the evening. There are reports of some panfish and walleye being caught from shore. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers on the Oconto River below the dam at Stiles are catching a few crappies by the pilings using slip bobbers and minnows. Those anglers targeting trout and salmon were having very little success. The perch bite is picking up at the landings at Oconto Breakwater and Oconto Park II. Minnows fished in conjunction with a crappie rig or slip bobber is working the best, but always bring some crawlers for a change of pace. Some smallmouth are also being caught by the mouth of the Oconto River in and around the rocky shore line area. Plastics and spinner baits are being used. What few boats have been at the landings have been waterfowl hunters. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - The Bayshore Park launch has been closed for the season. The majority of boats fishing the Fox River were looking for musky. Catch rates were good. Fish caught ranged from 38 to 47 inches. Casting large spinners and plugs in six to ten feet of water caught the most fish. Shore anglers were catching decent numbers of walleye from Voyager Park to the mouth of the Fox River. Live bait, crank baits and jigs were the most common approaches. Late afternoon and early evening were effective times, particularly at the mouth. Catfish shore angling was best at the Fox Point boat launch, Main Street piers and the mouth of the Fox River. The most popular method was live bait, on the river bottom, with a hook and sinker. Most of the catfish caught at the Fox Point boat launch were small. The Main Street piers were removed during the week. Incidental catches on the Fox River included northern pike and a few yellow perch. Water clarity was less than a foot. Water flow was slow. Water temperatures were around 58 degrees. Fishing pressure was moderate at Voyager Park and the mouth of the Fox River. Fishing pressure was light at the Fox Point and Fairgrounds boat launches. Suamico River shore anglers continue to cast primarily for yellow perch. Worms and minnows, just off of the river bottom, were catching fish. Overall catch rates have been hit or miss. A few limits were landed. Yellow perch fishing pressure on Duck Creek was light this week. Musky fishing on the southern part of Green Bay was decent. The majority of fish were caught near Long Tail Point. Large spinners and plugs were the most common lures. Fishing in less than ten feet of water was the most effective depth. Due to several windy days, fishing pressure was kept relatively low. Water temperatures were near 54 degrees for most of the week.- John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Windy conditions this week kept fishing pressure light on Lake Michigan. The streams have all had low levels and flow, been moderately clear, and had no salmon seen along their banks. Just as with the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula angler presser was light this week on Green Bay. A few anglers reported some success with smallmouth bass using suckers along the northern part of the peninsula while fishing a variety of depths. The windy conditions made it difficult for anglers to effectively fish this week. The only shore anglers on the Green Bay side of the peninsula were fishing in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal and reported success with northern pike while at Center Point Park and Stone Harbor Marina. They were primarily using live white sucker minnows fished close to the bottom. They reported catching a good number of pike but none of considerable size. Wave action and cooler temps kept usage at Sawyer Harbor down this week. Water temperatures in the area have dropped into the mid to low 50s and water clarity is good. Water temperatures off Little Sturgeon Bay continue to hold in the mid to low 50s and water clarity is good. Autumn winds continue to impact the area around Chaudoirs Dock. Water temperatures are holding in the mid 50s and water clarity is poor. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers have been seen launching their boats but no anglers have been seen fishing the piers. Anglers trying their luck farther upstream report a tough bite, but some have had success with king and coho salmon using spinners, spawn sacs, marshmallows, cranks, and a lot of patience. Best locations seem to be between the County F Bridge and the footbridge. Best time has been in the early morning. The water level of the river continues to be low, slow flow, and moderately clear. A few salmon continue to make their way to the spawning facility. Anglers at Algoma have been seen launching their boats from the ramp. No anglers have been seen fishing the piers. Anglers trying their luck farther upstream report a tough bite, but some have had success with king salmon using spinners, spawn sacs, marshmallows, cranks, and a lot of patience. Best locations seem to be between Blanik Park and the Forestville dam. Best time has been in the early morning. The water level of the river continues to be low, slow flow, and moderately clear with a temperature in the low 50s. Stoney Creek remains low and slow with no salmon seen. - Dave Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - The Manitowoc River decreased in volume this week and the water temperature dropped to 48 degrees with this weekend's cold front. The water is a little bit clearer than usual, but still pretty muddy. Anglers are reporting some success with kings, but only after much effort. The Branch River remains quite low, and very clear. No fish or anglers were spotted along the rivers. The water temperature in the Branch River is 42 degrees. Silver Creek remains inactive with a water temperature of 45 degrees. Several anglers are still working the West Twin River in Shoto, and East Twin River in Mishicot. One salmon was caught in Shoto on Sunday. A quick inspection of the carcass bin in Mishicot on Sunday revealed a half a dozen cleaned fish. Many people tried fishing for trout on the north end of the Manitowoc marina, with limited success. A few rainbow trout were caught over the weekend. The water temperature in the harbor is 54 degrees. Water clarity is sufficient to spot fish, if present, in the marina. The Manitowoc piers remained quiet this past weekend. At few boats launched from the ramps over the weekend, but none were interviewed. - Jason Ruckel, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Governor Thompson State Park - The forest is past peak fall colors, but the oaks and tamaracks are now changing color. Only the east loop of the campground will remain open until November 29. There is potable water located at both vault toilets, look for the blue hose bib to fill your RV tanks. It's ok to dump at the sanitary dump station, but the flush water has been turned off for the season. The shower facilities are now closed for the season. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - There are plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the outdoors in Manitowoc County. Archery and waterfowl seasons are now in full swing, there are plenty of turkeys around, and pheasant season is now open. Most hunters overlook the fall turkey season and a chance to harvest that Thanksgiving bird. With farmers harvesting their crops there are plenty of turkeys browsing the fields. The fall salmon run is showing good activity. The East Twin River in Mishicot, the Shoto dam, and areas such as Lower Cato Falls County Park in Cato are seeing an increase in salmon fishing pressure. The fall foliage is reaching its peak. Enjoy a hike along Lake Michigan at Point Beach State Forest and take in the fall colors. Have fun and be safe. - Nicholas Miofsky, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility - Chinook salmon were processed for data and eggs again this week on Monday Oct. 12 and Thursday Oct. 15. A total of 480 chinook were processed on Oct. 12 (a couple hundred unprocessed chinook were left in the pond too) and a total of 620 chinook were processed on Oct. 15 (on this day, almost all chinook were removed from the pond). Four processing days have occurred so far this season (Oct. 5, 8, 12 and 15) with a total of 1,594 chinook processed. The next work day at Strawberry Creek was initially scheduled for Monday Oct. 19, but has been postponed most likely to Thursday Oct. 22. It was decided yesterday to cancel Monday's harvest because we don't anticipate many new fish by Monday morning. The number of chinook processed this year at Strawberry Creek is down compared recent years, but we're still on target to meet egg collection goals. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waushara County - Waushara County has been warm and dry here the last few weeks, but some folks are still managing to find some waterfowl around after the closure. Some have been finding a few geese in fields, while others have been jumping some streams for the good number of wood ducks still around. A warning for waterfowl hunters in the northwestern part of the county that nearly 3,000 acres of sweet corn fields have been passed on and plowed under and are illegal to hunt per state and federal baiting laws. If you see a large number of geese and ducks on a field between Hancock, Plainfield, and up to Almond you may want to be sure that it isn't one of those fields. Deer have been starting to show some early rutting signs and some good deer have been taken while responding to grunt calls. Fishing has been slow, but with cooler temps coming fall fishing should be picking up shortly. Colors are starting to turn vibrant and should make for some good viewing on a nice sunny day in the near future. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery - The hatchery will host a "Fall Migration Mystery" open house event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 31. Free family activities including fish printing, learn to cast, fly rod casting, kids backyard bass casting, mystery fish anatomy and a salmon migration maze. This is the last weekend of the year the hatchery is open to visitors.
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 - In Sheboygan fishing effort has been low off the piers and in the harbor. Occasional anglers have been fishing near Deland ramp, and they have caught a couple of northern pike. Most fishing activity has been on the Sheboygan River upstream between Nemschoff and Kohler. The deep pools near Esslingen park have produced coho and browns. Farther upstream near the Kohler dam it has been mostly chinook. Fly anglers reported using egg patterns in bright colors, and other anglers have used spoons in silver colors. No fish have been reported from the Pigeon River, and the water level remains very low.
Ozaukee County - Port Washington anglers have been out in low numbers in the harbor, and fishing has been generally slow. A few chinook were reported from the north slip on Sunday morning, but things slowed down after 9 a.m. Spawn and skein remain the most popular bait in the area. Despite low water levels in Sauk Creek, the mouth of the creek was filled with anglers over the weekend, and a few reported chinook and coho. Fly anglers used mostly egg patterns, and skein was used as well.
Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee, a large number of trout and salmon are on the harbor side of McKinley pier, but anglers have had a hard time getting them to bite on spawn sacks, spoons, and crank baits. Trout and salmon are also in the Lake Shore State Park lagoon, and anglers have been able to catch a few rainbows, browns, and chinook over the past two to three weeks. A spawn sac fished under a slip bobber has been the most popular bait, and white tube jigs have also taken fish. The early morning bite has produced most of the fish, but it is generally fairly slow. Occasional browns and chinook have been caught around McKinley Marina on crank baits, small spoons, and spawn. The gates to the McKinley Marina docks will be unlocked and open for fishing after October 31. The Oak Creek Power Plant fishing pier closes for the season on November 15. Fishing off the pier has been fairly slow recently, but anglers have taken a few sheepshead and catfish out of the power plant discharge chute. All Milwaukee area tributary rivers remain low. The opening at the mouth of Oak Creek is very narrow and shallow. Most of the fishing pressure on Oak Creek has been at the pool below the dam, and only a few chinook and browns have been caught on flies and spawn. According to anglers, numbers of chinook moved up the Milwaukee River this week. Flies such as marabou streamers, egg sucking leeches, egg patterns, and spey flies have taken fish at Kletzsch Park and near the Bender Road bridge, as well as Estabrook Park and near Capitol Drive. Menomonee River anglers also began to see chinook this week, with fish taken from the deeper holes around Miller Park.
Racine County - Most anglers at the Racine lakefront have been fishing from the shoreline in the harbor and near the boat ramp. Occasional steelhead have been caught by anglers using spawn sacs. An angler fly fishing with an orange fly caught a brown trout in the harbor. Anglers using spawn sacs from the rocks near the harbor side of south pier caught a mixed bag of coho and chinook. Fishing pressure from the piers was low the past couple of weeks due to high waves and turbid water, but anglers have been able to catch occasional coho using crankbaits from the south pier during last light. Fishing pressure on the Root River has been low due to very low flows in the river. The anglers that had success were targeting deeper holes near Island Park and the Washington Park golf course. The catch consisted mainly of chinook with an occasional coho, and all fish were caught on fly fishing gear. The water temperature in the Root is in the upper 50s. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, Oct. 19, and DNR crews handled 133 fish. So far this season a total of 305 chinook, 18 coho, and 24 brown trout have been passed upriver. The next processing day will be dependent on rainfall and the upstream migration of fish.
Kenosha County - Kenosha shore anglers have had minimal success near the boat ramp and by the rocks behind the hotel, but one angler caught multiple brown trout from the rocks in Navy Memorial Park. This angler was fly fishing using a small green fly. Fishing effort was low from the piers in Kenosha, but a few anglers had luck with coho hitting orange spinner baits and spawn sacs. More anglers were seen fishing the Pike River last week, but success was inconsistent with one angler reporting three chinook one day and none the next. Popular spots include where Highways A and E cross the river and anywhere in Petrifying Springs Park. Flow in the river is still too low for consistent success.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Our area is just past the peak for fall colors but is still fairly nice. More geese have arrived on Theresa Marsh and around the area and lots of sandhill cranes. The best time to scout or view geese and cranes flying into Theresa Marsh is just before sundown and early morning. Viewing opportunities egrets and other birds are also excellent along Highway 28 just west of Highway 41 and from the scenic overlook on Mohawk Road along the east side of the marsh. For waterfowl hunters, canoe access into Theresa Marsh is good with none of the main channels blocked by floating bogs. Several hunters have been taking advantage of the new parking lot at the bottom of the hill west of the Mowhawk Road overlook. A ditch near the lot provides access into the main pool. A duck hunter commented last week that a floating bog went over some of his decoys, and that's something to be conscious of if you set up your decoys downwind from any floating bogs. Strong easterly or northerly winds seem to cause the most problems with floating blockages. Last week's noon pheasant opener was safe one in the area despite a large number of hunters and hikers out on the properties. All but a few pheasant hunters were wearing blaze orange. On Jackson Marsh, 99 cars (which equals about 120 hunters) were counted in the parking lots and along the road sides at opening. In Washington County, Theresa, Allenton and Jackson Marsh Wildlife Area all receive stocked pheasants. Each property will receive two stockings per week during the next two weeks, and one stocking per week during the week of Nov. 8 and Nov. 15. All three properties are closed to pheasant hunting after 2 p.m. on weekdays until Nov. 4, after which all-day pheasant hunting is allowed on weekdays A listing of stocked properties and the total number of birds each property received last year is on the pheasant hunting section of the DNR website. The stocking numbers totals for this year will be similar to the 2014 numbers. Bow deer hunting is definitely picking up as rutting activity picks up. Deer vehicle collisions are also on the rise. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Racine County - A year after the pheasant fee increase at Richard Bong, hunter participation is similar to last year. This year the park is averaging a 135 hunters per day, very similar to last year's average of a 136 hunters per day. DNR is currently stocking more than 200 birds a day, seven days a week. Stocking will continue at Bong through mid-December and Bong is allotted to receive 12,820 birds. To hunt at Bong hunters will need a pheasant stamp, small game license, annual or daily park sticker, and a daily pheasant hunting permit. The daily pheasant hunting permit is $12 for days birds are stocked, $7 for youth, and $5 for days not stocked. Hunting hours are from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. If hunters have any question they can contact the park at 262-878-5600. - Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist, Sturtevant
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - With pheasant season now open, DNR wildlife crews are actively stocking several state owned properties in Columbia County. These include the following state wildlife areas: Pine Island, Mud Lake, Lodi Marsh, Grassy Lake, French Creek, and Peter Helland. Hunters are reminded that the Mud Lake and Pine Island wildlife areas have a weekday 2 p.m. closure until Nov. 4. The walleye bite on Lake Wisconsin continues to increase.- Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
Crappie fishing has picked up on Park Lake with some nice size crappies being caught. Pheasant hunters are having a good number of birds being release on state properties with plenty of hunting pressure to keep the birds moving. Tree color in Columbia County is near peak now. Fishing is starting to pick up again on the Wisconsin River. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Jefferson County - Pheasant season opened with a bang last weekend, with many hunters taking to the field with their dogs. Many of the wildlife areas in Jefferson County are stocked with birds from the State Game Farm in Poynette, so there will be continued opportunities for pheasant hunters throughout the season. The recent warm weather seems to be extending the fall colors. Migration is in full swing, with large numbers of waterfowl being reported on waterbodies throughout Jefferson County, including Lake Koshkonong. As we progress into archery season, success continues to rise. With the implementation of e-registration, you are now able to track deer harvest by county throughout the season by visiting the DNR website. - Mark Witecha, wildlife biologist, Lake Mills
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Fall colors in Crawford and Vernon counties will be peaking any day now as the oaks are now turning. Get out and enjoy the full spectrum of vegetative colors. Large flocks of migrating bluebirds, robins, and catbirds are winging through the area. These migrating birds make many multi-day stops, fuel up on readily available foods, and continue their leisurely, southward migration. Small, fleshy fruits are especially attractive foods for these hungry birds - elderberries, dogwood berries, Virginia creeper berries, grapes, crabapples. Wild turkeys have also been very active recently, feeding heavily on grasshoppers, crickets, acorns, and other seeds. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Fall colors are beginning to fade now that we have hit peak color for the year. Oak leaf color is still prevalent throughout the forest especially along North Settlement Road. ATV trails are now closed for the season. They will reopen on Dec. 15 weather permitting. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Check at the park office for availability for camping. Backpack sites open for the Oct. 23-24 weekend are 10-12, 25, 199, 20-22, 23-24, 26-29. All other backpack sites are now closed. The south loop of the new campground, sites 47-84, are reservable until Nov. 1. The north loop, sites 85-105, are non-reservable as of Oct. 18. Drinking water is available at the park office and in the group camp. Showers and flush toilets in campground and south picnic area are shut down for the season. Pit toilet buildings are located in the campground and throughout the park. - Heather Wolf, park manager