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Outdoor Report

Published August 11, 2016 by the Central Office

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Apart from the beginning of the week and end of last weekend, when storms moved quickly across much of the state, these past few days have afforded a welcome calm on the weather front. Rain and storm events are predicted for much of central and south central region on Thursday and Friday, but the weekend looks much clearer.

Anglers across the state took advantage of the lull in restless weather and came out in droves this past weekend. Fishing on the Flambeau and Chippewa rivers remained good for smallmouth bass. Musky fishing has slowed in the Northwoods due to the warm waters, but some fish were still being caught. Some largemouth bass and northern pike were being caught on shallow weed lakes and some bluegills were being caught on the bottom near deep weed edges with crappies suspended along wood structure.

The warm weather and warm water also seemed to slow the bite at southeastern Lake Michigan harbors. Anglers from Sheboygan to Racine reported catching rainbow and lake trout, chinook salmon and sheepshead, but success was sporadic overall. The walleye bite slowed off Oconto near the Pensaukee landing, but remained good to the south off Geano Beach. Walleye fishing was also good off Brown County with anglers out of Bayshore Park reporting catches of 10 fish per boat and limits also reported near the Suamico River. Fishing pressure continued to be high off Door County with Little Sturgeon Bay seeing an equal mix of walleye and perch fishermen, along with pleasure boaters.

Spots are starting to fade on the white-tail fawns, as they are looking like small copies of their mothers. Many birds are beginning to gather in large flocks as many will begin their journey south in the near future. Bur oaks in the area appear to be having a stellar acorn drop in the south. Squirrels and chipmunks are busy harvesting black walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts.

The frequent rain throughout the summer has kept woods and the prairie lush for people heading out to bike, hike or otherwise ride the trails this weekend. Flies and mosquitos seem to be winding down.

Berries are ripening across the state and wildlife are gearing up to race you to the first bite. Many areas are reporting a bumper crop of blackberries. Everything from small birds, to chipmunks, to turkey broods feed on blackberries, which make stands of brambles a great place to view wildlife and grab a snack. Out in the fields the "golden trend" continues as black-eyed susans, goldenrod, sunflowers and others continue to bloom.

This weekend is the peak of the Perseid meteor shower and several parks are hosting the UW-Madison Astronomy Department's Universe in the Park programs including Newport State Park on Friday, Blue Mound, Governor Dodge and Potawatomi state parks, the southern and Pike Lake units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and Richard Bong State Recreation Area on Saturday, and Peninsula State Park on Sunday.

There will also be three Shakespeare in the Park performances this weeken on Friday at Lakeshore, on Saturday at Rib Mountain and on Sunday at Mirror Lake state parks.

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workdays

Come to our second Saturday monthly workdays August 13 from 9 a.m. to noon on Southern Kettle Moraine SNAs at Bluff Creek State Natural Area. We will bundle, cut, and treat the grass Phragmites. Phragmites has invaded the rich wetlands surrounding Bluff Creek, a cold, clear trout stream. It spreads quickly through a network of underground and aboveground stems, quickly choking out native vegetation. This work will build on previous efforts to kill and stop Phragmites spread, allowing native sedges, grasses, and wildflowers to persist. Learn more at State Natural Areas Volunteer Program. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Hayward DNR Service Center area

Sawyer County - Water levels vary depending on which part of the county a person wants to fish/recreate in. Some parts are still dealing with high water from heavy rains, which mostly consist of the areas north of Winter (both east and west). Areas south of Winter and west, have very low water levels as they were not affected by the heavy rains as much this year. River fishing on the Flambeau and Chippewa remains good for smallmouth bass. Artificial baits are being used for aggressive fish and live bait for those that are not. Surface lures provided added excitement. Blueberries are ripe with sporadic patches of good picking. Still lots of green berries needing to ripen so picking should continue for a while. Blackberries are ripening. Some spots a person can selectively pick the ripe ones, but there are lots of green and red turning berries yet that need to ripen. Deer baiting is allowed in Sawyer County, but bait can't be placed out for hunting purposes until the day prior to the season. The season opens on Sept. 17, 2016, so bait may be place out in Sawyer county starting midnight on Sept. 16, 2016. Maximum amount is 2 gallons per person. Junior antlerless deer tags are not valid in Sawyer County this year. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The elk are still spread throughout the forest and biologists are not sure how many calves were born. The cow and calf groups seem to be gathering together. A forest visitor spotted four cows and three calves along Highway W. A big 5x5 bull elk remains the center of attention in the south east section of the Forest. He has been very visible. Deer fawns are healthy and somewhat plentiful. Bears have been observed by many of the forest staff and visitors, indicating good populations as well as plenty of grouse coveys and turkeys. Many of the pond plants are blooming right now, like the yellow water lily, pickerel weed, joe pye weed and the white water lily. Ponds are full of some exciting discoveries and the animal life in and around this habitat. Clams, crayfish, snails, turtles, snakes, just to name a few are visible to an observant eye. Golden rod, asters, sneezeweed, the tall sunflower and woodland sunflower are also blooming, Wild rice is ripening and the nighthawks are starting to migrate. So it seems that the reds and oranges of the spring are gone and the yellows and purples of the end of summer are upon us. This Friday, August 12 is the Perseid meteor shower peak. Looks like precipitation and thunderstorms are in the forecast for Thursday and more precipitation on Friday, but the rest of the weekend looks like enjoyable weather. - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Vilas County - Water temperatures are pretty warm in the area right now but anglers are still finding some fish. Musky fishing has slowed due to the warm waters, but some fish are being caught. Care in handling and releasing these fish is important at this time of year. Some nice largemouth bass and northern are being caught on shallow weed lakes. Wild raspberries are ripe and plentiful in the area if you are a berry picker. If you take a drive through the area this time of year you will see mother deer raising her fawn(s) and might get a quick glimpse of a black bear crossing the road. Two car killed bears were reported in the area last week. Temperatures for the weekend are reported to be in the low 70s with a slight chance of rain. A couple reports of moose sightings in the Boulder Junction area have also been reported this summer. - Rich Thole, conservation warden, Boulder Junction

Regular rain in Vilas and Oneida counties has helped raise water levels on local seepage lakes. Anglers are reporting finding bluegills on the bottom near deep weed edges and crappies suspended along wood structure. Blackberries are beginning to ripen with what looks like a bumper crop. - Michael Sealander, conservation warden, St. Germain

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - If you are a blackberry picker, get your bucket ready because the crop is a bumper of a one this year. You may have to scare the critters or at least the chipmunks away from your bounty though because they are busy caching supplies away. Turkey also enjoy them and the hens are showing their broods what to look for. The many yellows of summer are showing in the landscape as black-eyed Susans, primrose, goldenrod, compass plants, sunflowers, mullein and tansy come into bloom. White and yellow water lilies will grace your canoe ride as well as Pickerel weed. The football shaped watershield makes one think of the fall season coming up. The woods is very lush with the abundant rainfall of this summer and some mushrooms are starting to appear along the trails. Deerflies and mosquitos are simmering down making hiking a lot more enjoyable. Water levels are high and swimming is at a premium. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Langlade County - Many birds are beginning to gather in large flocks as many will begin their journey south in the near future. Decent numbers of turkey broods have been seen throughout the Antigo area showing a promising outlook for the fall hunt. The black berry crop is excellent this year. Berries are beginning to ripen and will likely peak in the next week or so. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for the week of August 7 through 13. Hot and humid temperatures during the week kept fishing pressure low. With the lower humidity this weekend the boaters and shore anglers were out in force.

Marinette County - Walleye, catfish, sheepshead, and smallmouth are being caught in and around the Peshtigo Harbor and up river. A variety of baits and techniques are being used, such as trolling, jigging, and still fishing. Anglers are having success using all these methods. Some perch are being caught out of Little River in 9 - 12 feet of water, once again look for weed beds and be prepared to move until you find fish. A few anglers report catching salmon and trout from the Peshtigo Light to Green Island. Smallmouth and walleye as well as a healthy number of sheepshead are being caught in the Menominee River trolling crawler/harness as well as stick baits. Drop shot fishing has been working well for smallmouth. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Bluegills remain the most abundant fish being caught below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River. The middle and lower sections of the Oconto River are producing some nice small mouth bass drifting live bait through the current seams and using spinner baits and plastics. The Oconto River mouth is producing some nice smallmouth, sheepshead, and catfish, live bait and hardware are being used. The walleye bite has been a bit slow at times from the Pensaukee Landing to Oconto Park II, with most fish being caught in 9 - 17 feet of water using crawler/harness or large stick baits. The perch bite is starting to improve with some very large fish being caught in 9 feet of water adjacent to weed beds. The best baits are minnows and crawler chunks. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Geano Beach fishing pressure remained moderate to high this week with the walleye bite continuing to please anglers. Anglers are reporting large numbers of walleyes being caught are between 16-22 inches. All presentations including trolling crawler harnesses, and crank baits produced good numbers of fish, jigging also boated a fair number of fish. Anglers found the best bite was from fish found in 18-25 feet of water. The anglers that fished in water past 25 feet of water found large numbers of walleyes but could not get them to bite. Along with walleyes anglers were reporting catching freshwater drum, channel catfish, white perch, and white bass. Water temperatures were in the upper 70s, with water clarity being 2-3 feet. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Brown County - Walleye fishing out of Bayshore Park has been very good, with common catches of 10 legal fish per boat. Most of the walleyes have been in the size class of 15-18 inches, with some low to mid 20s in the mix. Early morning and late evening hours continue to produce the most fish, with the majority being caught in 8-12 feet of water. Cranks and crawlers continue to produce near equal amounts, while jigging continues to produce better numbers near midday and in 18-24 feet of water. Color patterns played less of a role this week then location. Perch fishermen continue to find fair numbers of perch in the area however smaller sizes continue to dominate the catches. Minnows fished in 22-28 feet of water, just off bottom, has been the go to method. Some 10-12 inch fish continue to be caught; however, most are coming in as by-catch for walleye anglers. Water temps in the area have fluctuated from mid 60s thru mid 70s and clarity varied from poor in the lower bay to good north of Bayshore. Fishing pressure remained high this week on the Suamico River, due to the consistent walleye bite. A good number of anglers reported catching their limit of walleye (daily bag of five/person) with many other anglers just missing theirs. All presentations boated good numbers of walleyes with no real pattern emerging. The key this week to catching your limit was to find the school of walleye that was feeding, if you marked fish but didn't get any to bite, the best strategy was to pick up and target another school. Along with walleyes, anglers were catching freshwater drum, channel catfish, white bass, and white perch. Water temperatures from the Suamico river boat launch were in the upper 70s and water clarity was right around 2-3 feet. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Shore anglers found some success this week fishing for channel catfish and freshwater drum off the Fox River. Most anglers were employing the "whatever bites" style of fishing, usually fishing with some kind of live bait rig. Water temperatures in the Fox River were around 78 degrees Fahrenheit and water clarity was low, about 1 to 1.5 feet. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Fishing pressure out from Chaudoir's Dock was moderate with anglers reporting decent numbers of walleye being caught. Anglers targeting fish to the north produced the highest amount with 18 to 20 inch fish dominating the catch. Cranks trolled at 1.5mph along the edge of drop offs continue to pull in the best numbers. Perch anglers continue to catch moderate numbers of fish; however sizes continue to be low. Jigging minnows in 24 to 28 feet of water and just off bottom continues to be the method of choice. Drum and catfish catches continue to come in high numbers with anglers catching equal amounts of walleye to by-catch fish throughout the day. Water temps in the area varied throughout the week for mid 60s to mid 70s and clarity remained good to excellent. Fishing pressure continued to be high in the area of Little Sturgeon Bay, with an equal mix of walleye and perch fishermen, along with pleasure boaters. Walleye catches continue to be moderate with good numbers of 25 to 30 inch fish being reported just off Hederson Point and Larsons Reef. Crawler harnesses, with black/copper blades, trolled at 1.2-1.4 mph in 18-24 feet of water, produced the highest catch rates. Jigging in deeper water continues to produce good amounts of both walleye and whitefish. Smallmouth fishing continued to be slow with few boats finding good numbers of fish. Working the flats near steep drop offs continue to produce the best numbers and size of fish into the weekend. Water temps in the area are holding in the low to mid 70s and clarity is excellent. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing is still slow as water temps remain in the upper 60s to low 70s. Fish seem to be scattered with boats searching at all depths. The few fish being caught have come from 40 plus feet with some anglers finding more fish in deeper water. Pier anglers have only been able to catch smallmouth, carp and sheepshead. - Benjamin Thome, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - Anglers are catching 18-22 inch northern pike from the docks at Lily Lake assorted artificial lures. Small 2-4 inch bullheads can be caught from the docks and can be seen throughout the shoreline at Lily Lake. No sign of largemouth bass at Lily Lake this season. The size of bluegills caught off the docks averages 2-4 inches. Visit the lakes pages of the DNR website for more information on Lily Lake, Town of Eaton, Brown County. - Ka Yeng Vue, conservation warden, Green Bay

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - Black-eyed Susan is in bloom. Monarch butterflies have been seen near the flowers. Goldenrod is just starting to turn color in the sunny areas of the park. Bald eagles can be spotted from the tower, soaring on thermal air currents. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Spots are starting to fade on the fawns as they are looking like small copies of their mothers. Have seen two sets of triplets this summer. Ducks and geese are just starting to flock up and are hitting freshly harvested small grain fields. Blackberries are just getting ripe, should be a crop for the ages with all the rain we have had. Despite are wet summer, bugs are not bad, just a few deerflies. It's been a rough July and August with the heat and humidity. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Milwaukee County - Mature prairie fields are reaching their peak blooming period, with cup plan, bergamot, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, joe-pye weed, and numerous other species in full bloom in July and August. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured, visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" to decide what to do, or search keyword "rehab" to find a local wildlife rehabilitator. Visit the Wildlife booth at the Wisconsin State Fair to learn about the centennial anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. To learn more about wild edibles in your backyard, join a DNR Wildlife Biologist at Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area for our Wild Edibles Hike on Saturday, August 27 at 9 a.m. Contact Dianne Robinson at Dianne.Robinson@wisconsin.gov or at 262-424-9827 to register and for more information. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - No fish were reported caught on either of the piers this weekend. The boats are having very hit or miss success. Some boats are coming in with no fish, but a few are doing really well. Mostly chinook were caught this weekend, but also some coho, rainbow trout, and lake trout. Most boats were in anywhere from 200-300 feet of water.

Ozaukee County - Fishing on north pier was very slow all week. On Saturday a few perch and one small brown trout were caught. On Sunday nothing was reported caught. Fishing in Coal Dock park by the power plant has also been slow. One small brown was caught and released on Saturday and nothing was reported caught on Sunday. Even boat anglers have slowed down. Some boats are coming in with no catches, most are catching one to two fish per person, and very few are doing better than that. Mostly chinook are being brought in and a few coho. Many boats are going to around 200 feet of water. Flasher and fly combinations are the most popular bait and some have had success with spoons.

Milwaukee County - Fishing was slow for Milwaukee area anglers due to the warm water along the lakefront. The large clouds of alewives that were seen along the lakefront during the month of July moved out to colder water. Anglers on McKinley Pier were able to catch a few alewives from the small pods of stragglers that remained in shallow water. The surface water temperature on the lakeside of the pier was 71-72 degrees over the weekend. One 10-pound chinook was caught and released on the pier with a bloody nose glow-in-the-dark spoon before sunrise. Shiners have taken a few sheepshead and a rainbow off McKinley pier as well. Shore anglers fishing behind the Summerfest grounds, at Jones Island, and off the Cupertino Park pier have caught a few sheepshead and smaller browns and rainbows on small spoons and small plastic minnows. Anglers fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant pier continue to catch sheepshead. Trollers worked deeper water as the baitfish moved out from the warm, shallow water along the lakefront. A mixed bag of chinook, rainbows, lake trout and coho have been taken in 80-160 feet of water off the water filtration plant. Both spoons and flashers/flies have caught fish. Some boats have trolled in 130-250 feet of water, and a larger proportion of rainbows have come from the deeper waters.

Racine County - Fishing has been slow in Racine recently. Most trollers are catching three to five salmon or trout on average. Their catch is mostly rainbows, some kings, and a few coho, browns, and lake trout. Most boats are fishing in the 120 -160 feet range and some boats are going out to 180-220 feet. Most of the fish caught have been caught on spoons with some orange or red coloring. No boats fishing for perch were interviewed. The surface temperature has varied between 70-76 degrees. No trout, salmon, or perch were caught by Racine shore anglers this past week, but a few freshwater drum were reported. The water temperature was 70 degrees.

Kenosha County - Most Kenosha trollers fished in the 90-130 feet range and caught mostly rainbows, some kings, and a few coho and lake trout. Some worked the 160-200 feet range and had similar catches of fish. Trollers reported getting most of their fish on spoons. One boat fishing for perch was interviewed; they had a limit of perch and were fishing in about 30 feet of water with plastic jigs. The water temperature varied between 70-76 degrees. A few browns were caught in the harbor on jerk baits, tube jigs, and glow in the dark spoons. A couple of anglers caught some perch off of the south pier with live bait. The water temperature was 72 degrees.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - All trails in the forest are open and in good condition; however, hikers on the Tamarack Trail may still encounter some wet & muddy patches. Workers have been busy laying gravel here this past week, in the hopes of improving conditions. Logging operations have begun in the Zillmer Trail area, along County G. The trails remain open, but be aware there will be noise and heavy equipment nearby. Horse flies have been very active and the mosquitos are ramping up as well, but the crickets, cicadas, and fireflies are providing a soothing late-summer music and light show. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

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South Central Region

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Bur oaks in the area appear to be having a stellar acorn drop. Turkey broods are being reported in good numbers from all over the county, and even pheasant brood reports seem to be up in areas with wild birds. The main impoundment and the Spring Creek impoundment at the French Creek Wildlife Area are both experiencing planned summer drawdowns right now. It is an excellent time to get out and start looking for shorebirds that may be moving through - great egrets have begun to show up. The impoundments will not be full for the early goose or blue-winged teal seasons, but waterfowl hunters can expect to utilize the water by the opener of the regular duck season. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - It's not too late to get your fill of catfish. Catfish continue to be active on the Rock River, especially below the Indianford Dam. Try fishing with stink bait if you hope to land some of these river cats. The daily bag limit for catfish is 10. If you're looking for panfish in the Janesville area, try the Kiwanis pond. Bluegill have been biting on worms in the pond. It's a great local location to take your children if they are looking for some fishing action. The daily bag limit for panfish in the Kiwanis pond is 25. The warm sunny days have been drawing boaters out to the lakes and rivers in the past couple of weeks. Be sure to have a wearable lifejacket for each person on board, even if they are in a canoe, kayak, or on a paddleboard. The great weather has also caused the aquatic vegetation to bloom. This provides valuable habitat for fish and other aquatic species. However, before leaving the boat landing be sure to check your boat and fishing gear for any vegetation. Many of these plants are invasive and are spread from lake to lake by boating activity. By removing all aquatic vegetation and draining all of the water from your boat, you can help to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. - Clark Delzer, conservation warden,

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Squirrels and chipmunks are busy harvesting black walnuts, acorns, and hickory nuts. These mast crops are important food resources relished by a host of large and small animals, supplying them with fats, proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. Some animals, such as black bears, gorge themselves on mast in preparation for winter slumber. Others, such as deer mice or blue jays, cache vast quantities of nuts and seeds for use at a later time when these foods might otherwise be unavailable. Blackberries are also beginning to ripen. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds seen or heard include: scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, towhees, ravens, rose-breasted grosbeaks, loons, robins, red polls, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, barred owls, osprey, bald eagles and belted kingfishers. The Canada geese have finished molting and the young are flying. Harebell, wild bergamot, common milkweed, water smartweed, rabbits foot clover, marsh hedge nettle, the water lilies, some of the aster varieties, orange hawkweed, wooly yarrow are flowering. The raspberry season has finished and blackberry season is in full swing with an abundance of fruit this year. Lake Wissota State Park will be getting a new Park Entrance Visitor's Station soon. Please be aware that construction has begun and the current park office area may be quite busy. Parking may be congested during the day and construction machinery may be operating in the area. - Dave Hladilek, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, August 11, 2016

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