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Outdoor Report

Published October 6, 2016 by the Central Office

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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).

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Fall colors are now at or near peak across the Northwoods, with some very good colors reported on the Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR). Colors are about 50 percent through central Wisconsin and in the south, sumac and a few maples are starting to turn a fiery red and honey locusts, black walnut and ash are turning yellow. Peak fall color in the south is still two to three weeks out.

Fall colors at the Brule River State Forest
Fall colors at the Brule River State Forest
Photo Credit: DNR

With variable weather and numerous hunting opportunities, fishing pressure has been relatively low on most Northwoods lakes. Musky anglers continue to account for most activity, with most now using live suckers, with good to excellent action and quite a few anglers having multiple fish days.

Water levels remain high on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, nearly twice the average flow for this time of year. Walleye fishing is starting to slowly pick up on Lake Wisconsin. Fishing has been excellent below dams on the Rock River.

Fishing on Green Bay and Lake Michigan was limited this week due to high winds and big waves. Anglers targeting muskies were finding some success. Along Door County anglers that got out reported catching a few northern pike in the Sturgeon Bay area.

Fishing pressure was very high on the Kewaunee and Ahnapee rivers due to rough lake conditions. Recent heavy rains raised water levels and anglers reported seeing a handful of chinook salmon working their way up river. Many chinook and some brown trout were caught on the Sheboygan River and chinook have been moving up both Sauk and Oak creeks. On the Milwaukee River, fishing pressure has increased with dropping water levels but only a few fish were landed. On the Root River anglers reported seeing kings swimming upstream. The bulk of mature chinook salmon should begin to migrate up the rivers the next few weeks.

About 700 people attended an open house at the Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility on Saturday Oct. 1, with a total of 140 chinook salmon processed. The Root River Steelhead Facility in Racine will have its open house this Saturday, October 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with guided tours and spawning demonstrations.

Archery season is getting into full swing, with hunters having success in the last week and some nice bucks harvested. Deer activity has been high in the early morning hours, but deer are beginning to move more during the day as well and vehicle deer collisions have been on the upswing.

This weekend, Oct. 8-9, the Youth Deer Hunt will be underway. The hunt is designed to give young hunters ages 10-15, accompanied by a mentor, an opportunity to hunt deer during a time when other hunters are not authorized to hunt deer with firearms. All hunters - except waterfowlers -- must wear blaze orange or fluorescent pink in the woods this weekend and it is recommended for everyone who will be out in the woods or fields.

Grouse hunters are reporting seeing good numbers of birds in the north and woodcock are being readily seen on logging roads in the evening. Goose hunters have been successful targeting recently picked or chopped corn fields. Duck hunters have been seeing a wide variety of ducks, including wood ducks, mallards, teal, mergansers, and ruddy ducks.

Mushrooms are popping up all over the place with the moist weather we've been having. Puffballs in particular have made a huge appearance in some areas.

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

October 8 from 9 a.m.-noon help collect seeds at Kettle Moraine Oak Opening State Natural Area . Come enjoy the fall weather and help volunteers at Kettle Moraine Oak Opening near Whitewater during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays. Pick seeds, learn something, meet knowledgeable people, and enjoy the beauty of these rich remnant prairies and savannas in the process. We need seed to plant areas of brush we've cleared and will clear in the winter. 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, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The northern hardwood areas are at peak fall color, and the wetland areas are starting to brown up. Last week's rain gave way to clear and bright skies this week with the arrival of October. River levels are right around average for this time of year. This week has been sunny and warm, but windy conditions brought down many leaves and pine needles. The weather in the coming week is forecast to be mostly dry and partly sunny with seasonal temperatures and a slight risk of frost on Friday night. Just the type of weather one would expect for early October, and perfect for exploring the outdoors. The Brule Bog is still green and damp, lush with thick moss. Copper Range Campground has been busy the last few weeks with fisherman seeking fall-run trout and salmon. Fishing on the Brule upstream from US Hwy. 2 closed on Sept. 30, but the lower section remains open until Nov. 15. This weekend, Oct. 8-9, the Youth Deer Hunt will be underway. The hunt is designed to give young hunters ages 10-15 an opportunity to hunt deer during a time when other hunters are not authorized to hunt deer with firearms. The youth must be accompanied by a mentor. The forests will be bright with the colors of the season this weekend. Not only will the trees be showing off their fall splendor, but all hunters must wear blaze orange or fluorescent pink in the woods this weekend due to the youth gun deer hunt. Be safe out there! - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Interstate Park - Fall colors are definitely here and we are expecting to hit peak color within the next week. Any of our trails along the St. Croix River valley will give you some fantastic views of the river and the fall color. If you are looking for a less-traveled route, take the Silverbrook Trail on a 2.4 mile hike to see a small waterfall and an old copper mine in the park. Deer and turkeys have been seen recently in the park. Eagles, ospreys, and vultures have been seen riding the updrafts along the bluffs in the park. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The variable weather, combined with the numerous hunting opportunities, have resulted in relatively low fishing pressure on most lakes across the Northwoods. Musky anglers have continued to provide the majority of the fishing activity and they have reported some good to excellent action. Most of the musky have been found in and near the weed beds that are dying back, with some being found in the deep water areas as well. Most musky anglers are now using live suckers on quick-set rigs, but many are still throwing some artificial baits as well. The live suckers seem to have provided most of the action, with the artificials just getting a lot of looks and follows. Quite a few anglers have been having multiple fish days, with the musky ranging in size from 32 to 44 inches. Walleye fishing has been slowly improving with the cooling water temperatures, and a few anglers have reported some decent catches of 12- to 16-inch fish. Medium-size minnows have been provided most of the action, and the walleye seem to prefer the deep edges along gravel shorelines and the weed beds. A fair number of largemouth bass have still been found in the shallow weeds and mid-depth cover, and soft plastics have been able to entice some 3 to 4-pound fish to bite. A few smallmouth bass have still been found near the mid-depth cover, but they have been getting tougher to catch with the cooling water temperatures. Panfish angling has been fair and some good catches of crappie, perch and bluegill have been made along the emergent weed lines and edges of submergent weed beds. The relatively mild fall weather so far has slowly dropped water temperatures to the low 60-degree range and most lake levels continue to be a few inches above normal (though many seepage lakes remain quite high due to the wet summer of 2016). - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Colors are at peak on the landscape. The ash leaves are dropping and the aspen leaves are yellow. The reds, yellows, and greens in the tree canopy make for a kaleidoscope of colors and soon will be falling. Musky fishing on the Flambeau River, Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines has picked up. Fishermen have been fishing for walleye too. The 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 fast ride. Nights have been in the 40s so it's awesome sleeping temps and the fall colors are a big draw. 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. Elk mating season is winding down. From here on the elk will be fattening up to prepare for the winter months. During this time of year the deer hang out on open fields and roadsides filling up on the green vegetation. Geese and sandhill cranes are on the fly and soon some of the other water birds will be heading south such as the loons. Cranberries are ripe. The weather forecast for this week looks like the first frost of this year will not occur. Possibility of rain on Thursday night and a slight chance of showers on Friday. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - Leaf colors have really begun to change and leave have begun to fall, making it feel like autumn. Anglers have been reporting catching very nice sized crappies. Grouse hunters are reporting seeing good numbers of birds and woodcock are being readily on logging roads in the evening. Several large flocks of geese have been seen migrating during the last week of September and there continue to be plenty of local ducks around. - Tim Ebert, conservation warden, Woodruff

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Autumn color is filling the woods, especially since the hazelnut and small saplings are turning bright colors to illuminate the understory. Color will be peak, past peak by the weekend and the strong winds quickly take the color to the ground, so please get out in the forest and enjoy. Area trails may be wet from the abundant moisture so bring boots or extra shoes and socks if you venture out. Honey mushrooms can still be found and the turkeys are becoming more scarce along the roadsides! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - No boats ventured out in the Bay this past week due to high winds and big waves. Some walleye are being caught on the Menominee River trolling with stick baits from Stephenson Island to the mouth of the river. Spinners, tubes and plastics are catching some nice small mouth on the Menominee River. A few salmon have been observed at the dam at Hattie Street on the Menominee River. Shore anglers are catching some walleye at night fishing from the Fishermen's walkway in the evenings using stick baits. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - A few bluegill and crappie were being caught on the Oconto River below Stiles Dam. High water and wind made fishing difficult. A few salmon are being seen at the dam too. With wind rain and white caps on the Bay there were no boats at the landings except for water fowlers. Some perch are being caught in the boat landing areas on crawler chunks and minnows. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Fishing pressure has been low for the Suamico River Boat Launch due to rain and high winds. Anglers targeting muskies were finding some success. The high winds this week made it tough on the anglers who were trolling crank baits along Long Tail and Little Tail point for musky. Three muskies were landed with the biggest being 47 inches. Trolling crank baits slow around 2 mph has been the best technique thus far for landing large muskies. Water temperatures are finally starting to drop with the cold rain and cold night time temperatures, which now has them in the low to mid 60s. Water clarity is lower than last week due to the winds turning the bay over; it is now around 3-4 feet. There were reports of some good numbers of yellow perch and northern being caught in Duck Creek. Fishing pressure was very low for the Fox River last week due to the high winds and rain. Along with the low number of shore anglers only two trailers were recorded this week from the three boat launches on the Fox River. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Fishing pressure was extremely low this week due to the rains and heavy wind we experienced. Anglers reported catching a few smallmouth bass and freshwater drum at Little Sturgeon Bay. No yellow perch or walleye were reported. Water temperatures were in the mid- 60s and water clarity was around 5 feet. - Krystina Hlavacek, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Fishing pressure was low for most of the week in Door County, in part due to persistent winds which kept many anglers from getting out on the water. Although lake conditions weren't ideal, there were still anglers that got out fishing in the Sturgeon Bay area. Perch fishing was fairly inconsistent this past week, but anglers reported having success fishing near any of the three bridges. A good number of chinook salmon were seen surfacing in Egg Harbor later in the week and anglers reported hooking into a few while casting spoons from the piers. The rough lake conditions and inconsistent weather made for a very tough walleye bite for most of the week. Northern pike fishing was good this week in Sturgeon Bay and anglers reported catching a few that measured over 30 inches. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - Salmon and trout fishing this past week attracted many anglers to the area. Fishing pressure has been very high on the Kewaunee and Ahnapee rivers due to rough lake conditions making it difficult to fish from the piers. Recent heavy rains early this past week have raised water levels and made the rivers slightly turbid, but anglers have been reporting seeing a handful of chinook salmon working their way up river. Although the number of salmon in the rivers remained low for most of the week, a couple hundred chinook salmon (also a good number of coho salmon) arrived at the Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility this past weekend. Anglers have been starting to catch a few chinook salmon by drifting spawn sacs and their have also been a few reports of an occasional brown trout being caught while casting spoons or crank baits. The bulk of mature chinook salmon should begin to migrate up the rivers as the next few weeks progress. Anglers fishing in the marinas and along shore in Kewaunee and Algoma have reported seeing a good amount of fish surfacing, but the bite has been tough. Anglers continue to have some success trolling within the Kewaunee marina using crank baits. Fishing should only pick up as water temperatures begin to drop and more salmon concentrate in the rivers.- Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Fall color is at or near peak in the northern portions of the county. Southern portions have increasing color but the peak is a little ways away yet. A great place to check out the fall colors is from the top of Thunder Mountain Park. The park is owned by Marinette County and can be accessed from the end of Thunder Mountain Road on the West side of the county. Youth gun deer hunters will take to the woods this weekend so all other hunters (except waterfowlers) must wear blaze orange too be safe and legal. Mushrooms are popping up all over the place with the moist weather we've been having. Puffballs in particular have made a huge appearance in short grassy areas of the county. Woodcock seem to have been arriving to new areas carried on northerly winds. Hunters chasing these birds should find them in dense alder with bare soil or other dense brushy areas. A reminder to upland bird hunters; if you are hunting grouse in an area where you expect to get some woodcock as well you need to put a plug in your gun. Peshtigo Harbor Shooting Range, located south of Peshtigo at the end of Hipke Road, is always open for hunters to practice and sight in before heading to the woods to hunt. Please be respectful of other shooters when using this free facility and remember to clean up after yourself. Cooler weather is in the forecast for the weekend which may speed up the fall color and increase animal movement—so get out and enjoy what Marinette County has to offer!- Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility - The first chinook salmon processing day for this season occurred on Saturday Oct. 1 and a total of 140 chinook salmon were processed. Fish processing efforts ended earlier than anticipated due to a power outage, and roughly several hundred live chinook salmon remained in the ponds to be processed another day. This fish processing was conducted as a demonstration in conjunction with an annual open house event. About 700 people attended the open house, which featured an egg collection demonstration, a Great Lakes fish display, adopt and release a sturgeon program, and several additional activities. A total of 23 Coho salmon were sorted and returned to a holding pond for future data and egg collections. A tentative plan is to process fish again on Wednesdays throughout October and into early December, typically starting with chinook salmon followed by coho and brown trout. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay

Strawberry Creek chinook Facility - The first chinook salmon processing day for this season at Strawberry Creek occurred on Monday Oct. 3. A total of 218 chinook salmon were processed for data. Sixty-three female chinooks were spawned and roughly 300,000 eggs were collected. Many chinook (roughly half, or several hundred) remain in the pond and will be processed along with new fish later this week. A tentative plan is to process chinooks again on Thursday Oct. 6, Tuesday Oct. 11, likely Monday Oct. 17, and likely Thursday Oct. 20. Fish are generally processed throughout the spawning run and exact dates may vary depending on weather and numbers of fish. - Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay

Potawatomi State Park - On Saturday, Oct. 8, Run Wild 2016 will be held in the park. The race may cause traffic delays and stoppages from 8 a.m. to noon. For more information about the event, go to www.runwild.org. The park admission fee is waived until noon on the day of the race. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Whitefish Dunes State Park - With the recent rain, several fall mushrooms have been popping up. The leaves started to change color but there are mostly yellows and browns in the park. Asters have been in bloom along the park trails. Deer tracks show signs of deer coming down from the woods to get a drink of water. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Trout fishing has been awesome lately. Streams are high and slightly stained, fish are just crushing small rapalas and panther martin spinners. It has been super warm and wet in central WI this fall. As a result, we have a horrible mosquito hatch and color change on the trees is maybe 30 percent. Deer movement has been slow given the warm weather. No migrant woodcock have arrived in central Wisconsin yet. Let there be frost! - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Calumet County - Duck hunters have been out braving the warmer than usual temperatures and mosquitos on the various streams and potholes with mixed success. Goose hunters have been successful in recent days by targeting recently picked or chopped corn fields. Leaves are still green throughout much of the area. Box elder bugs are making an appearance in large numbers on houses and sheds during sunny afternoons. Fishing has been very slow on Lake Winnebago along the east shore. Most anglers are switching their attention to archery deer hunting. Some nice bucks have been harvested in recent days, and deer activity has been high in the early morning hours. - Michael Disher, conservation warden - Chilton

Fond du Lac County - Archery season is getting into full swing, with several hunters having success in the last week, patiently hunting the drizzly conditions. The sumac and maples are starting to turn a fiery red, showing that fall is here. Perch fishing on Lake Winnebago is just now beginning to pick up as the water temperatures cool and the perch start to move near off-shoreline structures. Duck hunters have been seeing a lot of wood duck action particularly early in the morning. The wet conditions have been lucrative for hunters willing to endure it. The Canada goose migration is just getting started with flocks moving in from the north to join our local populations. - William Hankee, conservation warden, Fond du Lac

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The fall colors are over 50 percent. While not at peak, this weekend's sunny forecast will make a great opportunity to visit the beautiful scenery in the forest. Waterfowl, turkey, squirrel, crow, woodcock, and bow deer seasons are all open. In addition, the Youth Gun Deer Hunt will be held Oct. 8-9 (includes the Zillmer trail area). Visitors should consider wearing brightly-colored clothing when venturing outside of the closed areas. A limited number of blaze orange vests are available to borrow at the Ice Age Visitor Center. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Southern Unit - The forest is in "code yellow" for fall foliage this week. This fictitious designation is given because 5-10 percent of the trees are showing fall colors, almost entirely yellow. Among the species that are displaying yellow foliage in decreasing order are: black walnut, shagbark hickory, basswood, and northern pin oak. Quaking aspen is currently a dull yellow-green. We expect to be at peak fall color in two to three weekends. However, don't miss the forest for the trees! A number of shrubs and wildflowers are also turning beautiful colors. Smooth sumac is peaking right now, creating large red patches here and there on the landscape. Virginia creeper leaves are ranging from pink to red, as are raspberry leaves. Wild sarsaparilla and starry false Solomon's-seal are completely yellow. Reds, magentas, purples and other colors can be found by the observant visitors in fungi and fruits. Some great wildlife has been seen in the last few weeks here, including buckeye butterflies, blue-spotted salamander, smooth green snake, eastern bluebirds, broad-winged and red-tailed hawks. In the coming weeks, we will be exploring a number of little-known protected areas including Bluff Creek State Natural Area, the Mukwanago River Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, and Lulu Lake. Join us! - Todd Miller, assistant naturalist

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

Sheboygan County - Fishing pressure was all around low this week due to many rainy days. The circle parking lot by south pier was repaved on Wednesday and closed all weekend. Some of the regular south pier anglers moved to the shoreline in the marina to fish. No fish were seen caught. Nothing was seen caught by Sheboygan River anglers on Sunday except for right below the Kohler dam. Many chinook and some brown trout were caught on flies or spawn sacs. The water temperature was 58 degrees on Sunday afternoon.

Ozaukee County - The power plant discharge area in Coal Dock Park remains a consistently good spot to fish. Many rainy days this week did not deter anglers from coming out. Coho, chinook, and brown trout have all been caught mostly on spawn sacs. Mornings are usually the best time of day. Some chinook have been caught throughout the week in the north slip marina area, and a rainbow trout was caught here on Sunday. Sauk Creek was 58 degrees on Saturday morning. Many chinook have been being caught throughout the creek, mostly by fly fishermen.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee a number of chinook salmon have moved inside the McKinley Marina. Coho and browns have been caught on McKinley pier on glow spoons and crank baits. In the marina, anglers have been catching chinook and a few brown trout on skein fished under a bobber and on crank baits. The fishing pressure on the shoreline behind Summerfest has been steady over the past 3-4 weeks with coho, kings, rainbows, and brown trout being caught. Anglers have had good luck fishing with shiners and casting crank baits and spoons. Chinook salmon are starting to move up the Oak Creek. Spawn sacs, yarn flies, and blade baits have produced. The water temperature in the creek was 62 degrees on Saturday. Repair work on the retaining wall on the right bank of the Oak Creek continues. Large chinook, coho, and lake trout have been landed on the Oak Creek Power Plant pier with skein and crank baits. The majority of the boats out of McKinley have been trolling and casting inside the breakwall. Lake trout have been caught on jigging spoons and gulp minnows in the gaps. Chinook have also been caught on skein and crank baits. Fishing on the Menomonee River has been slow. On the Milwaukee River, the fishing pressure at Kletzsch Park has increased with dropping water levels and flow. Anglers hooked into a large number of trout and salmon while fly fishing, but only a few fish were landed. Fishing pressure has been lower at Estabrook Park, and a few chinooks and browns have been reported on egg pattern flies or on skein drifted below a slip bobber.

Racine County - Only a few boaters were seen this week, and a few chinook were taken in the harbor or nearshore in 20-30 feet of water. Crank baits, skein, and spawn all took fish. Pier anglers in Racine caught mostly coho and browns, however a couple of steelhead and kings were caught as well. The fish were mostly caught in the morning, but a few were taken throughout the day. Anglers caught fish on cooked shrimp, skein, live shiners, and spoons. The water temperature was 58 degrees. On the Root River, only one king was reported caught this week. The angler caught it above the weir on a wooly bugger fly. Many anglers fishing in Lincoln Park and Island Park reported seeing kings swimming upstream. The Root River Steelhead Facility has been up and running since Thursday, Sept. 22. Despite occasional rainfall, the river is still fairly low with warm water temperatures. Fish were processed at the weir on last Monday and Thursday. A total of 153 chinooks, 26 coho, 2 browns, and 1 rainbow were handled. Fish will be processed again during the Open House on Saturday, October 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 - In Kenosha a few shore anglers caught some kings using spoons on the beach near the mouth of the Pike River. In the harbor a few browns, cohos, kings, and rainbows were caught. Anglers fishing in the harbor had the most success using skein. Overall fishing from shore in Kenosha has slowed down compared to previous weeks. The water temperature was 59 degrees. On the Pike River only a few anglers were interviewed. None reported catching any fish, but a couple said they spotted a few small kings making their way upstream.

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Report - Water levels remain high, nearly twice the average flow for this time of year. A little early for fall colors in the riveway but they are coming. Weather is looking good for the weekend: lower temperatures and not much chance for rain. Hunting is going on in the woods: wear brightly colored clothing. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Walleye fishing is starting to slowly pick up on Lake Wisconsin. Anglers are also finding decent catches of bluegill, perch, and white bass in the bays. Water levels continue to remain high on the Wisconsin River in Columbia County creating challenges for anglers and duck hunters. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette

Water levels are finally starting to go down; however, there are still a lot of flooded woodlots and agricultural fields, which has the ducks spread out. Hunters reported good success this past weekend and mainly blamed their own shooting ability for not getting some birds. Whitetail deer are starting to move now. Car/deer accidents are on the rise especially early morning and at dusk. Mosquito population still makes it mandatory for repellant of some kind for just about every outdoor activity. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Fishing has been excellent on the Rock River below the dams. Fishermen have been catching legal-sized walleye below Indianford along with nice sized crappie below the Monterey Dam. Panfish have also been biting on Traxler Lagoon. Waterfowl hunters had good success the first week of the duck season in Rock County with higher than normal water levels around the area. A wide variety of ducks were seen in hunter's bags including wood ducks, mallards, teal, mergansers, and ruddy ducks. Archery deer hunters have been harvesting some deer, but have had to deal with numerous mosquitos. Some hunters have been found using bait even though baiting and feeding has been illegal in Rock County since 2002. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - Both fox and gray squirrels seem particularly abundant throughout southwestern Wisconsin this fall. Several mild winters in a row and subsequent good nut production in those years have set the stage for the current high numbers of squirrels. Unfortunately for squirrels, nut or mast production this year in southwestern Wisconsin is minimal and likely due to several late spring frosts. There is intense competition among squirrels and other wildlife for those nuts, acorns, and tree seeds that were produced. Therefore, many squirrels have modified their diets this fall, shifting to foods more readily available or abundant, such as corn, berries, and forb seeds. Because of the mast shortage, squirrel mortality this coming winter is likely to be above normal. Squirrel hunters should capitalize now on high squirrel numbers. Squirrel hunting is a challenging sport and a great way for hunters, especially beginners, to hone their hunting skills and provide tasty table fare. Squirrel season runs through Jan. 31, 2017, with a daily bag limit of five squirrels, so there is ample hunting opportunity. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Fall colors have really started to put on a show this week with 50-60 percent color in most places. Yellows and oranges are currently dominating throughout the forest but reds, russet and copper colors are also present. Some of the best locations to see the color show is along North Settlement road and Cemetery Road. Temperatures this weekend are expected to be in the high 50s to low 60s. All-terrain vehicle (ATV) and UTV trails are open. The section of trail running south of the seventh street parking lot and north of Oak Ridge Road will remain closed due to continued flooding. The open sections will have areas with water over the trail, ride with caution through these areas. The dump station and shower/flush toilet building at Castle Mound will be closing on Monday, Oct. 10. East Fork and Pigeon Creek campgrounds are open on a first-come, first-serve basis. Castle Mound is still on the reservation season through the second weekend in October. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Cooler temperatures should help reduce the number of mosquitoes in the river valleys. Water levels have been high, but continue to drop to near normal levels. Anglers have been doing well catching panfish on Lake Altoona. A lot of hunters are taking to the woods in pursuit of game animals, please use caution and be sure of your target. Brilliant fall colors can be seen on many trees in the area. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire



Last Revised: Thursday, October 06, 2016

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