Published September 29, 2016 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 colors are coming on strong across the Northwoods with some areas now reporting 50 to 75 percent peak color on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Water levels continue to be very high across much of Wisconsin from recent rains. Big and Little Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park are putting on impressive displays due to the high flows. The Lower Wisconsin State River is running at nearly five times its normal flow for this time of year with sandbars submerged and flows so high that only experienced paddlers should be plying the river now.
Fishing has actually improved in the eddy areas on the Wisconsin River with a lot of walleye and white bass being caught. The high water now has the fall chinook salmon run in full swing on the Manitowoc River, with salmon seen at all area dams including Clarks Mills, Shoto, and Mishicot. But the run has yet to really take off on most other tributaries, with some chinook and browns moving up the Milwaukee River and some chinook moving up the Root River. The Root River Steelhead Facility processed fish for the first time this week, passing 57 chinook upstream.
Fishing pressure along Door County has dropped substantially. Anglers that have been targeting salmon in the Sturgeon Bay area found success trolling or casting in the canal, but the bite has been tough recently as mature chinook salmon begin to focus less on feeding. Yellow perch fishing has been popular and the bite continues to be very good. Smallmouth bass anglers continue to have luck catching some trophy fish, but the bass have been difficult to locate.
The rain and high water conditions on rivers and streams also have water levels high on many marshes and flowages. Waterfowl hunters heading out for the southern zone opener this Saturday may find access to many locations via vehicle or foot limited due to saturated soils and flooded wetlands. With all the extra water, hunters will have no trouble finding water to hunt in or around, but it also means the duck population may be spread out over a much larger area. Those who have scouted report seeing solid numbers for wood ducks, mallards and even a few lingering teal.
With every north wind, increasing numbers of migrant Canada geese have moved into the Horicon and Theresa marshes. Peak for goose and waterfowl migration is typically from the second week in October until the second week in November.
This Saturday people have three great opportunities to get up close with some of Wisconsin's more fascinating creatures that all play valuable roles in our ecosystem. Some 1,100 young sturgeon will swim free in the waters of Lake Michigan after being release at the 11th annual Sturgeon Fest at Lakeshore State Park near the Milwaukee Summerfest grounds. At the Milwaukee Public Museum, people can see live bats from Wisconsin and around the world, including the world's largest bat, the gigantic flying fox from southeast Asia at the Wisconsin Bat Festival. And at Havenwoods State Forest herpetologists will show about 25 species of snakes from Wisconsin and around the world during Snake Fest. All three events are free, but a state park sticker is needed for vehicle entrance into Havenwoods.
October 1, 9 a.m. - noon. A large-scale restoration is taking place at Observatory Hill State Natural Area and new gaps in the canopy have been created. Native seed has been spread but more is needed. We will collect native seeds at a neighboring property (Page Creek Marsh State Natural Area) to increase diversity on site. No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Madison
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The weather over the past week left no doubt that autumn is well underway. It has been cool and rainy, the gray skies and misty mornings in sharp contrast to the brilliant colors of the season. We are at less than 50 percent of peak color in the Brule River State Forest, much green remains both in the canopy and underbrush. Estimated peak color is the second week of October. The nights have been mild with no hard frost in the immediate forecast. The coming week promises sunnier and warmer days. Perfect weather for camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting. Just a reminder that fishing on the Brule upstream from US Hwy 2 closes Sept. 30. Fishing on the remaining stretch of river remains open until Nov. 15. An abundance of coho, chinook, and brown trout are in the river. If you are lucky, you may catch sight of a bald eagle feeding on the fish buffet that nature has provided. The water flow rate of the Brule River is at 150 cfsright at the historical levels for this date. Visit USGS stream data to see current water flow and depth data. The Bois Brule and Copper Range campgrounds were nearly full last weekend. This week's weather discouraged some campers during the week, but the weekend should bring out some fishermen and those looking to enjoy the season's colors. All sites are now first-come-first-serve. - Diane Schmidt, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Leaves on many of the ash, basswood, and maple trees have already begun changing colors, and visitors have been reporting some impressive yellows and oranges. With the amount of rainfall we have seen this year, fall colors are expected to be magnificent. As of right now, peak colors are expected the first week of October. Birders are expecting the later part of this week to bring good numbers of bird migrations through the area. Some species expected to be at peak migration in the Midwest this week are sora, black-throated blue warbler, American kestrel, blue jay, gray-cheeked thrush, northern flicker, indigo bunting, and marsh wren. Visitors are encouraged to stop at the office and report bird sightings to allow us to keep visitors up to date on species currently in the area. Big and Little Manitou Falls are providing wonderful photo opportunities for park visitors due to the rain we have received in the last month and the leaves changing colors. Visitors are reminded that climbing in the gorge of Big Manitou Falls is prohibited. - Jacob Anderson, ranger
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Interstate Park - Heavy rains in north central Minnesota and northern Wisconsin have resulted in rapidly rising rivers. Many tributaries of the St. Croix have overflowed their banks. A high volume of the water, and associated debris, is now making its way downstream. Use caution during these high water conditions and stay out of closed areas. The swimming beach at Lake O' the Dalles is closed until high water recedes. Check with park staff for current conditions and closures. Access to hiking trails may be impacted by high water conditions on the St. Croix River and surrounding lowlands. Please check with park staff for current conditions or trail closures.- Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - Colors are at about 35 to 40 percent of the landscape. The ash leaves are dropping and the aspen leaves are turning yellow. The reds, yellows, and greens in the tree canopy make for a kaleidoscope of colors. The forest floor is fading and losing much of its thick looking grasses and ferns. It's time to collect seed for planting your wild flowers. The elk bulls and cows are getting together, and bugling of the bull elk and the cows can be heard in the forest. Deer are being seen hanging out on open fields and by the roadsides filling up on the grasses. Lots of turkeys and some woodcock and grouse have been hanging around the road sides eating ferociously. Bird migration is in progress. Gone are most of the ruby throated hummingbirds, indigo buntings, rose breasted grosbeaks, and many of the raptors are soon to be on the. Geese and sandhill cranes. are on the fly and soon some of the other water birds will be heading south. Cranberries are ripening. The weather forecast for this week looks like thru the weekend is going to be sunny skies with day temps in the 60s and nights in the 40s. Folks are out enjoying the fall weather, camping, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. The Connors Lake Picnic Area and boat launch is much quieter than it was during the summer bustle. Lake water temperature for swimming is dropping so if you are a swimmer enjoy every warm day that's left. Muskie fishing on Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines has picked up. Water levels are higher than usual this time of year due to the amount of precipitation we've received. People have been floating the river and enjoying the ride. The Flambeau ATV/UTV trail has a short detour approximately ½ mile north of Feleen Road. There will also be an additional section south of Nedli Road that will be under construction. Drive with caution around the heavy equipment. There is a 1.6 mile section of the Tuscobia trail washed out just east of Winter, there is a detour, and reconstruction has started. - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The forest is starting to take on that golden glow. Not too many fabulous reds around, but hopefully that will change by the weekend. Still some white and purple asters blooming along the roadsides and the honey mushrooms are starting to appear on the maple stumps, and hen of the woods on the oak stumps; that is, if you know where to look for them! Lots of water in the swamps and low spots, so knee high boots may be in order for hiking this weekend. No hard frost yet so many plants are still green. Some winterberry can be seen dotting the landscape until the robins strip the shrubs of their beautiful red berries. A great time to be outside in the woods! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - No frost yet in the Antigo Area and the leaves are slowly beginning to change. This has made conditions difficult for grouse and woodcock hunters. Hunters are reporting lower than expected numbers of grouse seen or heard. Decent numbers of wood ducks are still in the area providing good opportunities for waterfowl hunters. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Small mouth, pike, and a few musky are being caught around the mouth of the Peshtigo River up river with anglers concentrating on structure and current breaks spinners and cranks are working well. A few walleye and browns are being caught out of Little River when weather permits. No salmon have been observed at Little River yet. Trout, walleye, and bass are being caught on the Menominee River from the mouth up river to the Hattie Street Dam by shore anglers and boaters alike. Anglers are using live bait and hardware while trolling and fishing from shore. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Anglers below the Dam at Stiles on the Oconto River are still catching blue gill and crappie. Live bait has been working the best. A few salmon and trout have been seen below the Dam at Stiles. Walleye are being caught from Pensaukee River mouth to Oconto Park II with anglers concentrating on rock piles and shoal areas. Shiver minnows, zip lures, jigging raps and jig heads tipped with live bait have been working well. Some fish are being caught trolling with crawler/harness in 18 to 25 feet. Perch are also being caught in 3 to 12 feet of water adjacent to weed beds with minnows and crawler pieces working well. Small mouth are being caught by the river mouths using crank baits spoons and spinners. Pike and musky fishing is also going well when weather permits very large cranks and spinners are being used. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Fishing pressure at Geano Beach this week was moderate with most anglers trying their luck with muskies and walleyes. Walleye anglers continue to have trouble finding and getting fish to bite. Most anglers are still targeting walleyes with either trolling crawler harnesses or crank baits. Muskie anglers have been having a little more luck than the walleye anglers. No one interviewed this week caught any muskies but various reports saying that their friends caught one or two and that they were seeing fish being caught. The musky anglers have been trolling crank baits, speeds a little slower than usual seems to be the best presentation for the more lethargic fish (due to the inconsistent weather). Other non-targeted species caught were channel catfish and freshwater drum. Water temperatures are in the upper 60s and water clarity is 4-6 feet. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Fishing pressure from and near Bayshore Park ranged from low to high this week despite the weather. Anglers targeting walleyes saw some success trolling crank baits in 25-30 feet of water. They reported many of the walleyes being of legal size. Yellow perch anglers found little to no success with a few boats catching five to seven fish. Other fish species being caught were: white perch, channel catfish, freshwater drum, and round gobies. Water temperatures were in the mid to high 60s and water clarity was about 3 feet. Suamico River- Fishing pressure this week out of the Suamico River Boat Launch was moderate with anglers targeting primarily muskies. Musky anglers found mixed results as one boat landed three fish and others struggled to land any. The boat that landed three fish reported all the fish being over 45 inches with their biggest fish being 50 inches. Anglers were trolling crank baits around Long Tail Point and Little Tail Point. A few shore anglers tried their luck with smallmouth bass and yellow perch and ended up catching two smaller yellow perch but as they stated any time outside enjoying nature is a goodtime. Water temperatures were in the upper 60s and water clarity was 4-6 feet. Fox River fishing pressure was moderate this week due to nice weather on Sunday and not so nice weather throughout the week. Most anglers were targeting walleyes and musky. Musky anglers found little success with only one angler recorded a caught fish. Anglers are trolling crank baits in the Fox River and running up to Long tail Point and trolling as well. Some anglers have tried their luck casting for muskies but have not found any success as of yet. Walleye anglers continue to have a tough bite, which is likely to continue with the inconsistent weather. Other non-targeted species caught were channel catfish, and freshwater drum. Shore anglers interviewed were mostly targeting "anything that will bite" fish and had mixed success. Most anglers were having luck catching freshwater drum, channel catfish and a few crappie. Anglers were having success throwing live bait, either night crawlers, leeches, or cutbait. Water temperatures were in the low 70s and water clarity was around 2 feet.- Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - The fishing pressure in Door County has dropped substantially this past week as the peak salmon season comes to an end. Anglers that have been targeting salmon in the Sturgeon Bay area found success trolling or casting in the Sturgeon Bay canal, but the bite has been tough recently as mature chinook salmon begin to focus less on feeding. The yellow perch fishing this past week has been very popular and the bite continues to be very good. Anglers have been reporting a slow walleye bite this past week, most likely due to recent inconsistent weather. Smallmouth bass anglers continue to have luck catching some trophy fish, but the bass have been difficult to locate. Fishing pressure on Little Sturgeon Bay was down this week due to the rains and heavy wind we experienced. Anglers reported catching good numbers of yellow perch with live bait on downrigs. Walleye anglers did not report any success. Other fish species caught were freshwater drum, white perch, round gobies and channel catfish. Water temperatures were in the high 60s and water clarity was around 5 feet. Once the lake settles and water temperatures begin to drop, many fish species will feed heavy prior to winter. Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - This past week was very wet with the multiple fronts that moved through the area. Water temperatures in the Kewaunee River in town have dropped near 55 degrees early this past week and temperatures in the lake have varied throughout the week. Salmon and trout fishing has been a tough bite, but anglers fishing from boats and shore have hooked up with a variety of species this week. Anglers are mostly catching mature chinook salmon, but there have been coho salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, northern pike, and even a muskellunge caught in Kewaunee this past week. Although there appears to be visibly more baitfish nearshore in Algoma area compared to Kewaunee, fishing has still been tough. Despite a tough bite this past week, anglers have been catching very large mature chinook salmon (up to 29 pounds). Most anglers have had their best luck either casting or trolling flicker shads and spoons about 10 feet down. Few anglers have been fishing the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers, but there are some fish scattered throughout the rivers. Anglers this past week that have used spawn sacs have reported minimal success, but this method will become more common as fish concentrate in the rivers. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - The chinook run is now in full swing. salmon can be seen at all area dams including Clarks Mills, Shoto, and Mishicot. Some fish are being caught in the downstream stretches and the harbors so more fish are still moving up. In the harbors spoons, crank baits, and spawn are producing a few fish. Farther upstream and at the dams spawn has been the best bait. The action is often inconsistent even though fish can be seen surfacing. Fly fishermen are having the most consistent action using egg patterns. A few brown trout have also been caught by lucky anglers.
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Governor Thompson State Park - Fall colors are changing every day! The office prairie is winding down for the season but you can now see the flowers of fall. The bushy, small white, smooth, snow, New York, New England and showy asters are in bloom throughout the park. The campground roads are lined with purples and pinks of fall asters. Snapping turtles have been hatching around Woods Lake. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - The beginning of October is approaching and that means many things! The southern duck zone season begins Oct. 1 and there are many great locations throughout the county to hunt. Both ducks and geese have been seen in numbers flying around the county. Other hunting seasons that are in progress that hunters can participate in include: deer (archery/crossbow), turkey, goose, mourning dove, crow, squirrel, and woodcock. October also means that the Fall Fish Run is on! salmon and trout have been seen and caught in many of the Lake Michigan tributaries within Manitowoc County. Look around because the trees are in the process of changing colors from their summer greens to their autumn reds, yellows, and oranges! - Jake Bolks, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Trees are gradually turning color, with some yellow-leafed trees and a few trees with red/orange leaves. The shower building and sanitary dump station are scheduled to be shut down for the season on October 24. This date may change if freezing temperatures arrive sooner than expected. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Whitefish Dunes State Park - With the recent rain, several fall mushrooms have been popping up. The leaves have yet to change color but hopefully soon. Asters have been in bloom along the park trails. A few monarchs still spotted on the goldenrod. The water temperature on the lake is typically in the low 60s this time of year. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Finally starting to feel like fall. Cooler temperatures are providing much needed relief. Deer movement during day light hours has noticeably increased. Extremely wet weather (6-plus inches of precipitation in Wautoma) have really led to a nasty mosquito hatch locally. Trout streams were out of their banks early this week, but now look really good for fishing this weekend. Fall trouting can be awesome. Leaves have scarcely started to change in central Wisconsin. Very sporting grouse and woodcock gunning with the thick foliage, no reports of any flights of Woodcock in yet. Lots of geese around, seems we picked up some migrant birds. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - With cooler temperatures, local wildlife in Milwaukee is on the move, in search of food to cache (squirrels, chipmunks) or food to fatten up in preparation for cooler weather (raccoons, deer, skunk). Look for large migrant flocks in our local parks, especially along Lake Michigan. Late berry producing trees, such as dogwood and various viburnums, are perfect shrubs to look for songbird activity. Coyotes are also active this time of year. We have a strong coyote population in Milwaukee, with an abundance of food and habitat within our Parkways. In fall we sometimes see an increase in coyote activity, with this year's coyotes dispersing out of the pack and moving through new and unfamiliar terrain. Learn more about coyotes and how to live with coyotes in your neighborhood at a coyote workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at Lincoln Park in Glendale, or on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at Greenfield Park. You can get more information about these programs in this program flyer [PDF]. You can also report a coyote sighting via the Milwaukee County Coyote Watch iNaturalist (exit DNR) web page. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The first fall colors are beginning to appear, and can be found throughout the forest. As of Sept. 26 the bridle trails in the forest remain closed. Rain received over the weekend only added to already saturated conditions, and include standing water on portions of the trail. Staff will keep an eye on the trails and the weather, and updates will be posted on this website. Mountain bike trails are open; however, we ask riders to refrain from using the trails 24 hours after each rain event, to allow time for the trails to stabilize and prevent long-term damage. Logging operations have been suspended due to wet soils, and portions of the Tamarack Trail remain under water. A recent hatch of late-season mosquitos has become quite a nuisance in some areas. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - Since the Southern Unit has very few maple trees, the color palette does not appear as early and does not have as wide of variety of colors as some parts of the country. Our oak forests generally peak the second or third week of October, but this can vary based on recent temperatures. You can check the Fall Color Report for current conditions. The Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive is a 100-plus mile driving route through 4 units of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. The south end of the route is near Whitewater Lake, about 5 miles southeast of the City of Whitewater. The route will take you north through multiple counties and trace the interlobate moraine that is partially preserved by the State Forests. This moraines, eskers, and kames provide a beautiful backdrop for fall color. The route will take you on many town and county roads to Elkhart Lake. In addition to the green, acorn shaped signs that point out the route; some online maps also designate the roads as "Kettle Moraine Scenic Drive" but are unable to boldly highlight the route. Look closely at the road names on your smartphone. - Amanda Prange, visitor services associate
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Wednesday was a good day on South pier. There were early morning thunderstorms, then the rest of the day was overcast. Many coho were being caught with alewives and chinook with spawn sacs. The Sheboygan River was pretty slow on Saturday morning. Many anglers reported bites, but only one chinook was landed. Sunday evening was very rainy and had low fishing pressure. One angler caught and released three brown trout, one rainbow trout, two coho, and one chinook. The water temperature was 64 degrees by the Kohler dam.
Ozaukee County - The power plant discharge area in Coal Dock Park has been a consistently good spot to fish. Brown trout and chinook were caught on spawn sacs and alewives throughout the weekend with Friday being the best. Big waves prevented boats from going out all weekend. Sauk Creek was 61 degrees on Saturday and 62 degrees on Sunday. One chinook was seen caught on Saturday and five on Sunday.
Milwaukee County - Fishing pressure on the Milwaukee shoreline has been steady as trout and salmon continue to stage in the Milwaukee harbor for the fall spawning run. Some of the chinook salmon are starting to move into the McKinley Marina. A large number of brown trout, a few kings, and a few rainbows have moved up the Milwaukee River over the past two weeks. The water temperature on the lake side of McKinley Pier was 46-48 degrees on Monday (Sept. 19). The water temperature in the harbor was 64 degrees. Large pods of alewives were seen on the lake side of the pier on Monday morning. Nice catches of chinook salmon were landed at Veterans Park with crank baits and skein during the week. Coho, browns, and a few chinook have been caught on crank baits, blade baits, and spoons behind the Summerfest grounds. A mixed bag of lake trout, kings, brown trout, coho, freshwater drum fish, and catfish were landed on the Oak Creek Power Plant pier over the past two to three weeks. The majority of the boats out of McKinley and Riverfront ramps have been targeting chinook salmon inside the Milwaukee boat harbor. A few kings were also caught in the McKinley Marina by boaters casting crank baits and fishing with skein. Approximately 2 inches of rain fell in the Milwaukee area during the week, and flows came up considerably on local rivers. On the Milwaukee River, browns and chinooks have been reported upstream at Kletzsch. The browns were caught with a small copper/brown colored fly and a small purple fly. Browns and chinook were taken at Estabrook falls on small tube jigs and egg pattern flies. Fishing pressure on the Menomonee River remains low with the majority of the anglers targeting warm water fish. The Milwaukee Brewers baseball games made it difficult to fish near Miller Park on the weekend. The last Brewers game of the season was played on Sunday, September 25, and the parking lots are now open all the time.
Racine County - Angers reported catching fish in 20-30 feet of water or in the harbor and in the Root River. Boaters caught kings, coho and browns. Most boaters had success with spawn sacs or skein, but a few boaters trolled crank baits and spoons as well. The water temperature was 48 degrees in 20-30 feet, 64 degrees in the harbor and 69 degrees in the Root. Anglers fishing from the Racine piers this week caught some coho and kings. Most of the kings were caught in the early morning, late evening, or at night. The coho have mostly been caught during low light periods as well, however a few have been caught during the day. Anglers have had the best luck using skein, spawn sacs, tube jigs, crank baits, and spoons. Most of the fish caught recently have been on skein. The water temperature was 50 degrees off the pier. Shore anglers fishing in the Racine harbor have caught kings, browns and a few coho. Most of the fish have been caught on skein or spawn sacs; however some coho and browns have been caught on tube jigs. Some kings have been taken on crank baits and spoons as well. The water temperature in the harbor was 64 degrees. On the Root River no anglers reported catching any salmon, but a few small rainbow trout were caught on prince nymphs. Although no salmon were caught, many anglers reported seeing salmon running upstream this week. The water temperature was 69 degrees. The Root River Steelhead Facility has been up and running since Thursday, Sept. 22. Despite rainfall over the weekend, the river is still fairly low with warm water temperatures. Fish were processed at the weir on Monday, Sept. 26. A total of 57 chinook, eight coho, two browns, and one rainbow were handled. Fish will be processed again on Thursday. We will be hosting an open house at the weir on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Stop by for a guided tour and to see spawning demonstrations, learn to tie flies and fishing knots, cast a fly rod, attend a kids casting clinic, and see a Lake Michigan trolling boat on display.
Kenosha County - A few boats fishing near the mouth of the Pike River reported catching some kings and coho on skein, spawn sacs, crank baits, and spoons. The nearshore water temperature was 50 degrees. Only a few anglers were fishing from the Kenosha piers, and only one brown trout was reported caught on a crank bait. Anglers have been catching kings from the beach near the Pike River, and kings, coho, brown trout, and rainbows in the harbor. Most of the fish have been caught on spawn sacs and skein, however some have been taken on tube jigs, crank and jerk baits, and spoons. The water temperature in the harbor was 58 degrees. No anglers reported catching any trout or salmon in the Pike River. As of Sept. 26, the mouth of the river is open and flowing. If it rains some more the river mouth should stay open.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall colors are finally starting to turn with some of the maples starting to show their reds and ash trees turning yellow at the Pike Lake Unit, Theresa Marsh and other areas. Migratory Canada geese have been arriving in increasing numbers, and their flocks are building up on area wetlands, crop fields, golf courses, parks, and other areas with short grass and water. A couple thousand migratory geese are using Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area, flying out of the marsh in the mornings and evenings to feed. Sandhill crane numbers have also been building up. The water level on Theresa Marsh is close to "full pool" for Saturday's duck season opener. Duck numbers (mostly woodies, teal and mallards) on the property appear to be low to moderate. Floating cattail bogs continue to cause some problems on the marsh upstream from the Theresa Marsh dam and tend to move around depending on the wind direction. Hunters are asked to report any channel blockages to the Pike Lake DNR - Wildlife Management (262-224-8523). DNR Wildlife Management staff spent more time this week removing bogs from in front of the marsh dam. Canoe and duck boat access into the marsh should be "okay" from the usual launch areas for the duck season opener. Waterfowl hunters are reminded that there is a parking lot at the bottom of the hill west of the Mowhawk Road parking lot on the east side of the marsh and it's just a short drag to launch a canoe into the ditch to gain access to the southeast corner of the main pool. Leftover bonus antlerless deer tags for public and private land are still available for both Washington and Ozaukee counties and can be purchased through the "Go Wild" system. This year, Washington County was one of the counties targeted for a larger sample of deer for CWD testing, so hunters are being asked to bring in their adult deer to get it sampled. A self-service head collection kiosk is available at the Pike Lake DNR office parking lot, where hunters can drop off their deer heads. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Sturtevant DNR Service Center area
Racine County - Recent rains have raised water levels in local pond and wetland areas in Racine and Kenosha counties, improving conditions for the opening of duck season. Flocks of Canada geese have started to move through the two county area. Increasing numbers of small waterfowl flocks--mallards and wood ducks--have been seen using the ponds and wetlands at the Bong Recreation Area. Wildlife crews have been pumping water into the refuge flowage at the Tichigan Wildlife Area (Racine County), adjacent to Tichigan Lake/Fox River. A portion of the refuge was planted with Japanese Millet for waterfowl to feed on, once the flowage is flooded. Over the last couple days the number of waterfowl using the refuge has been increasing. On Wednesday approximately a hundred birds were seen in the refuge- Mallards, wood ducks and some teal. The refuge is closed to all entry during all open migratory bird seasons. - Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist, Sturtevant
Lower Wisconsin State Riverway report (exit DNR) - Because of recent heavy rains there are unusual heavy flows - five times normal for this time of year. People on the river should have high skill levels due to the high water. Sandbars are underwater. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - With every north wind we are seeing more migrants come into the Horicon Marsh Area. Canada goose, mallard, wood duck, blue-winged and green-winged teal numbers are increasing. Peak for goose and waterfowl migration is typically from the second week in October until the second week in November. New England asters are in full bloom and the last of the monarchs are passing through on their way to Mexico. Be sure to visit the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Saturday, Oct. 1 for an open house on Skins, Skulls and Scat. Drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and learn more about the furbearers that call Horicon home and the small huts that are constructed throughout the marsh. Participants will find out which mammal can hear a mouse moving under the snow and learn more about predators. This event is great for all ages. Then be sure to visit the new Explorium to learn more about the great natural resource that is Horicon Marsh! Visit www.horiconmarsh.org for more information or call DNR Wildlife Educator at 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Water conditions from the flooding Baraboo River and very high Wisconsin River water levels have left much of the Pine Island Wildlife Area under water. Most swales have at least 2 feet of water in them. Portions of Blount and Tritz Roads are under water. Users to the property should be aware of this and plan accordingly. Because of the water levels at Pine Island, this weekend's pheasant Learn To Hunt program will be moved to Peter Helland Wildlife Area off Raddatz and Sawyer Roads. Those fields will temporarily be off limits to other property users while the pheasant LTH is occurring on Saturday morning. Some sumacs and maple trees are beginning to show signs of yellows, oranges and reds, but most other trees are still stubbornly green. In fact, I can't remember coming into October with everything being so green. Mosquitos are still abundant even with the cooler temperatures we've had this week. With all the rains, the French Creek flowage is back up to full pool (and then some) for this weekend's duck opener. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
With the recent heavy rains, many local streams are still at or near flood stage, anyone boating should use extreme caution operating a boat in such conditions. Fishing has actually improved in the eddy areas on the Wisconsin River with a lot of walleye and white bass being caught. With all the extra water, duck hunters will have no trouble finding water to hunt in or around. May be bad as it will spread the duck population out over a much larger area. A few reports of archery hunters getting their deer already; most, however, are complaining on the mosquito infestation and are waiting for a good killing frost before going back out. More sandhill cranes have arrived in Columbia County this past week getting staged for their fall migration south. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Jefferson County - Rain the last couple weeks has caused water levels to increase on local rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Duck hunters will have many areas to hunt for this weekend's opener. Those who have scouted report seeing solid numbers for wood ducks, mallards, and even a few lingering teal. Area farmers are steadily harvesting their corn fields allowing for more opportunity for goose hunters. Make sure to have insect repellant as you head out as the mosquitoes have been out in full force. - Pearl Wallace, conservation warden, Jefferson County
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - In light of recent heavy rains and flooding, outdoor enthusiasts should exercise caution and sound judgment when venture into the outdoors this weekend. Because soils remain saturated and water levels remain high, access to many locations via vehicle or foot may be limited. Some areas of Vernon and Crawford counties have received about 24 inches of rain since August 1, 2016. Flash floods scoured and eroded many waterways, roads, and trails, leaving behind gullies and holes and debris, soil, and rock depositions. Also there are hordes of mosquitoes to go along with the soggy conditions. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - Finally we have a good week of forecasted weather with highs on Thursday and Friday expected to be around 70 with lows in the upper 40s. There is some good fall color on the property but we are about two weeks away from peak conditions. ATV/UTV trails will reopen on Friday Sept. 30. They were closed the past week due to heavy flooding. The section of trail running south of the seventh street parking lot will remain closed due to continued flooding. The open sections will have areas with water over the trail, ride with caution through these areas. - Peter Bakken, superintendent
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Waterfowl hunting and small game hunting have started in the Yellow River and Buckhorn Wildlife Areas. Fall Turkey will be in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. Bow hunting for deer is allowed in open areas of the state park and both wildlife areas and are in Central Forest, Public, Buck only. The statewide youth deer hunt Oct. 8-9 will be bow hunting only in all areas of the park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area. Gun hunting will be in the Yellow River Wildlife Area only for youth deer hunt. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Carter Creek is over the bank and the Spring Peeper trail, trail by Carter Creek across from the petroglyphs and the trail coming into the park from the prairie/winter lot are closed and under water at this time. The campground, main road and other areas are dry and in good condition. - Heather Wolf, park manager