Published October 13, 2016 by the Central Office
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Fall has come to the state in a rush as temperatures dropped this week. Fall color is variable across the state. A few northern counties are now reporting past peak on the Fall Color Report (exit DNR) but many northern counties are at peak and areas in central Wisconsin are edging past 50 percent to near peak color, making it a great time to get out.
Anglers who withstood the rain and wind reported generally lowered success and decreased pressure. In the Northwoods, water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50s and musky anglers have been seeing the best action on live suckers, with fish up to 46 inches reported.
Along Green Bay, fishing pressure on the Bay was low due to high winds and dangerous wave conditions. Perch anglers were finding some success this week catching upwards of 10 keeper sized perch with some anglers fishing Little Sturgeon Bay reporting many boats catching near their limit.
Fishing pressure increased substantially this past week on Lake Michigan tributaries with salmon concentrated in the rivers in good numbers. The chinook run was near peak on the Manitowoc River. A lot of salmon have also been caught on Stoney Creek and on the Ahnapee River. Brown trout have also recently worked their way up many of the rivers following the salmon migration to feed on the nutritious salmon eggs. Anglers reported the brown trout have been very colorful and in great condition. The Sheboygan River has slowed down since last weekend. Sauk Creek was very busy over the weekend with many chinook caught and chinook, rainbows, and coho were caught in the Oak Creek. In Milwaukee, brown trout have been stacked up in the Lake Shore State Park lagoon, and a few have been caught by anglers, and chinooks and browns were caught on the Milwaukee River. Although the water levels are low, anglers have started to catch a few more kings than last week on the Root River.
Following a series of public meetings and review of comments submitted by stakeholders, state fisheries officials have decided to preserve Lake Michigan chinook salmon stocking at current levels while reducing stocking levels of other species such as lake trout and brown trout.
This Saturday, Oct. 15, the pheasant season opens and the duck and goose seasons reopen in the southern zones. Several other game bird seasons also open Oct. 15, including bobwhite quail, ruffed grouse in Zone B and Hungarian partridge. Also opening are cottontail rabbit in the southern zone and a number of furbearer seasons.
Turkey are also being spotted across the state, though grouse and woodcock hunters are still waiting for more leaves to fall.
Now that a few spells of cooler weather have moved through, deer are also becoming more mobile and one young hunter participating in last weekends youth deer hunt reported a buck running and grunting after a doe in Wautoma. Participation was very high in the youth hunt and many young hunters reported success.
Preliminary registration numbers indicate a strong 2016 bear hunt, with 4,643 bears registered. The preliminary harvest of 4,643 is very close to the 2016 quota of 4,750.
This weekend there are five fall Halloween events at state park system properties, including an Eco-Halloween event at Richard Bong State Recreation Area that is part of a Wisconsin State Parks and Department of Tourism 12 Gem Challenge, where people who take selfies at specific locations and events are entered into a drawing for a 2017 Wisconsin State Park admission sticker.
Land bird numbers are generally waning overall, now dominated by American robins, rusty and red-winged blackbirds, dark-eyed juncos, purple finches, golden-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped and palm warblers and various sparrows, including the first American tree sparrows in the north. A good flight of ducks occurred on the morning of Oct. 13 with mallards, northern pintail and various diving ducks on the move. Large numbers of Canada geese are being seen statewide, including Horicon Marsh, with small numbers of cackling, snow, and a few Ross's geese as well. Horicon is also hosting a good diversity of late shorebirds along Highway 49 including long-billed dowitchers, black-bellied and Amer. golden plovers, killdeer, greater yellowlegs, dunlin, and pectoral sandpipers. Though a bit early for tundra swans, traditional Mississippi River vantages are teeming with waterfowl and would make for a good visit this time of year. Strong westerly winds have brought good numbers of migrating raptors this past week too and that will continue in the weeks ahead as numbers of bald eagles and red-tailed hawks ramp up, along with the first rough-legged hawks and golden eagles. Sandhill cranes are now beginning to congregate across the state as well. Feeder activity should be on the rise as colder weather settles in a bit, and a few straggling hummingbirds are still being reported. Be sure to check your hummers carefully this time of year as rare visitors from the west or south (e.g. rufous hummingbird) become more likely. Rare birds spotted this week included a beautiful purple gallinule in Juneau County, eared grebe and snowy egret in Brown, and harlequin duck and western grebe in Kewaunee. Help us track bird populations by reporting your finds, both common and rare, to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Sugar River Wetlands - Oct. 15, 10 a.m.- noon.: Help care for Sugar River Wetlands State Natural Area. Collect seeds from native wetland plants to scatter in areas where invasive plants have recently been removed. We'll identify several different plants and learn how to collect their seeds. We'll also identify other tasks to control invasive plants. This work will expand the quality wetland areas and continue the efforts started by the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Wisconsin DNR. 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
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - The forest has been experiencing typical October weather this week. Fall colors are at peak or slightly past peak, the remaining bright colors in sharp contrast to the gray skies. The wind has knocked down many of the leaves. The Brule River is running at 162 cfs, compared to the 71 year median flow of 144 cfs. Daytime highs for the coming week are expected to be in the 50s or low 60s, with a mixture of clouds and sun. Archery and crossbow deer seasons are well underway. Tallies of the deer registrations from these hunting seasons as well as from the Youth Hunt that occurred this past weekend are updated each week. In Douglas County, 101 deer have been harvested so far in the archery and crossbow season. Seventy-five deer were harvested in the Youth hunt, compared to 66 that were harvested in last year's two-day Youth Hunt season. Work on the trails at AfterHours Ski Trail has been on-going in anticipation of the winter season. Trails have been mowed and brush and trees trimmed back. In other exciting Ski Trail news: A new bathroom was installed at 6 Corners this week. Ground-breaking for the new warming shelter at the trailhead is on-track for the coming week. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Amnicon Falls and Pattison state parks - Last Sunday the Friends of Pattison and Amnicon Falls held a Color-ama event at Pattison, where they made apple cider with an apple press, had organized hikes, and ran a scavenger hunt. About 50 people came to enjoy the event. Very little advertising was done because of the limited Friends volunteers available to help. Therefore, they were very happy with the turnout. On the weekend of Oct. 22, the Friends will be teaming up with Peak to Peak (trail building non-profit) volunteers to install a 80-foot boardwalk on the Beaver Trail at Pattison State Park. The boardwalk will be along the shore of Interfalls Lake and will be a beautiful addition to the trail.- Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Straight Lake State Park - Fall color is near peak. The 6 miles of Ice Age Trail in the park offers some really nice views of the fall colors. The Ice Age Trail is in good condition, but a few spots may be a little muddy with the recent rains. Trumpeter swans and a wide variety of waterfowl have been seen feeding on Straight Lake. White-tailed deer and grouse have been seen in the park in recent days. Beavers can be seen in some of the wetland areas. Development of Straight Lake State Park has started. When completed, there will be 10 walk-in campsites, vault toilets, picnic areas, an accessible fishing platform on Rainbow Lake, a shelter, and hike-in/cart-in boat launch. The area where construction is occurring is closed to public use to ensure safety and to ensure that construction stays on schedule. Because of this, parking access to the park will be limited to 280th Ave. The new park additions are expected to be available to the public in spring. Fishing has been slow on both Straight and Rainbow Lakes. Access to both Rainbow and Straight Lakes is carry-in only and no motors are allowed. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - With some brilliant fall colors and a few days of great weather, there were some excellent conditions for anglers to be out on the water in the last week. However, the fish have not been real cooperative and overall success could only be considered fair. The main species of interest has continued to be musky - and they have been providing the most consistent success for anglers in the Northwoods. Water temperatures have dropped into the mid-50s and musky anglers have been seeing the best action on live suckers and less activity on artificial baits. The sunny and warmer days have produced some hits on stick baits and bulldawgs, but a live sucker hung 5 feet below a bobber and slow-trolled along the shallow/deep break has produced the best catches lately. Most of the musky that have been landed have been in the 34 to 42-inch size, but fish up to 46 inches have also been reported. Walleye success continues to be very erratic, with the good-weather days bringing out a few more anglers to try their luck on the fall bite. Live minnows in a medium to large size have been the key, either on a slip bobber or on a jig. The best action has been near dark, with the minnows fished along the weed edges and near the deep break lines. In addition, crank baits casted along shore in the low light hours have also produced a few decent catches. Bass anglers have basically put away their boats for the year - though a warm, sunny day can produce some good action for largemouth for the die-hard bass fisherman. Panfish action has been fair, with some nice crappie, bluegill, and perch still being found around any green weeds and near mid-depth cover. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - The fall colors had been a big draw for folks and the Lake of the Pines Campground had a spurt of use during the fall colors. Colors are muted and many of the leaves on the landscape are down. Folks are out enjoying the fall weather, camping, fishing, kayaking and canoeing. Some adventurous people have been floating the river and enjoying the fast ride. Musky fishing on the Flambeau River, Connors Lake and Lake of the Pines has picked up. Fishermen have been fishing for walleye too. Nights have been in the 30s and 40s, with one morning, a very brisk 28 degrees and our first frost. The forest floor is fading and losing much of its thick looking grasses and ferns, and the tamaracks are turning yellow. It's time to collect seed for planting your wild flowers. Elk mating 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. Game carts and drags are available at the forest headquarters for free use to remove downed game. Turkeys, woodcock and grouse have been hanging around the road sides eating ferociously. Ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting season is open. Bird migration is in progress. Geese and sandhill cranes are on the fly and soon some of the other water birds will be heading south. The weather forecast for this week according to the National Weather Service says there is a possibility of rain on Tuesday night, Wednesday, and Saturday. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Wet conditions still plague most of the state forest, so don't forget the waterproof gear when planning a hunt or outing. Yellow-gold is the primary color in the woods but the cold northwest winds will put most of the color on the ground by the weekend. The resident birds are starting to check out the spots where the bird feeders usually are, so it may be time to put the suet and sunflower seeds back out, with caution to bring them in nightly due to raccoon raids! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
This report is for Oct. 2-8. Fishing pressure has been low to moderate this past week, wind kept boaters from going out on to the Bay. The number of waterfowl hunters was low also due in part to wind.
Marinette County - Little River has been producing some king salmon this past week with fish averaging about 16 pounds. Spawn fished on bottom as well as casting Cleo's has been producing fish. The Menominee River has been producing some browns and a few king's up by the Hattie Street Dam with anglers mainly casting spoons and stick baits. Walleye are also showing up in the river in good numbers.- Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Below the Dam at Stiles on the Oconto River anglers are still catching bluegill and crappie mainly using live bait. A few anglers were trying for salmon with little to no luck. Walleye and perch fishermen had a hard time getting out on the Bay to fish and no interviews were forth coming. Some perch are being caught at the boat landings by shore fishermen with the best bait being minnows although a chunk of crawler does well at times. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishing pressure was moderate this week from the Suamico River Boat Launch, with most of the pressure coming from musky anglers and shore fishermen targeting yellow perch. Perch anglers were finding some success this week catching upwards of 10 keeper sized perch. Most anglers were using bottom rigs with live fathead minnows. Besides yellow perch being caught, northern pike seemed to like the bottom rigs as well with anglers netting a handful this past week. Water temperatures have dropped in the high 50's and water clarity is about 2-3 feet. Fishing pressure on Duck creek has been relatively high with anglers targeting yellow perch that have found their way in from the bay. Anglers were having no trouble at all catching big numbers of yellow perch but found it difficult to catch any with good size. Of the anglers interviewed a total of 70 fish were caught and only 7 were kept. The best presentation was bottom rigs that kept your bait off the bottom, using live fatheads or worms. Along with yellow perch, northern pike, and smallmouth bass were among the other species caught. Water temperatures were in the low 60's and water clarity was around 1-2 feet. Fishing pressure was moderate this week in the Fox River with many anglers targeting walleye and muskies. Musky anglers found a tough bite this week with only one musky being landed by an angler who was targeting walleyes. Most musky anglers are trolling crank baits and plastics in the river right behind the boat at speeds varying from 3 to 4.5 mph. All of the walleye anglers interviewed were a part of the walleye tournament that took place Oct. 6-8. The tournament anglers reported having some trouble getting fish to bite with only two boats getting their limit of smaller fish. Trolling crank baits and jigging seemed to be what most anglers were doing and finding some success in. Along with walleye and musky, white bass, freshwater drum, common carp, smallmouth bass, and round goby all were caught this past week by anglers. Water temperatures in the river are in the low 60s and water clarity is 1-3 feet. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Fishing pressure was low this week at Bayshore Park due to high winds and dangerous wave conditions. Musky anglers reported catching a few northern pike while trolling large crank baits at various depths. Water temperatures were in the low 60s and water clarity was about 3 feet. - Krystina Hlavacek, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Fishing pressure has been very low in northern Door County with most anglers fishing around the Sturgeon Bay area. The fishing started off slow early in the week but picked up toward the end of the week. Many of the gamefish species (walleye, smallmouth bass, and northern pike) have been moving to fairly shallow water (2-10 feet of water) after dark along rocky shorelines. The walleye bite remained tough most of the week, but action picked up as the lake began to settle. A variety of walleye fishing tactics have been successful toward the end of the week, but anglers reported working/trolling lures slow has been more important than bait choice. The yellow perch fishing has provided a consistent bite for many anglers and despite catching a lot of small perch, anglers have been catching meals of quality size perch. The perch can still be found almost anywhere near weeds in Sturgeon Bay. Smallmouth bass and northern pike fishing reports were infrequent this past week, but bass and pike have also been fairly shallow. Anglers have been fishing salmon near the Sturgeon Bay canal but no salmon were reported caught. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Sawyer Harbor fishing pressure was low this week due to high winds. Yellow perch anglers reported fishing shallower waters than usual to stay out of the wind. One boat reported fishing in 5 feet of water and catching about 30 yellow perch but all were considered too small to keep. Walleye anglers had some success trolling crank baits in 30 feet of water but none were of legal size. Other fish species caught were: round gobies, channel catfish and white perch. Water temperatures were in the low 60s and water clarity was around 4 feet. Little Sturgeon Bay fishing pressure was also low this week but anglers did find some success. Yellow perch anglers reported great success with many boats catching near their limit. They reported that most were caught in 10-12 feet of water on down rigs but a few were caught on small jigs. Each boat caught several in the 10-12 inch range. Walleye anglers reported a few catches but nothing they would consider keeping. Smallmouth bass anglers reported little success. Other species caught were: northern pike, channel catfish and freshwater drum. Water temperatures were in the low 60s and water clarity was around 6 feet. - Krystina Hlavacek, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure has increased substantially this past week and while most anglers have been fishing inland (Kewaunee and Ahnapee rivers, Stoney and Silver creeks), there were still a few anglers fishing from the piers/shore in Kewaunee and Algoma. The week started off with the rivers high and slightly turbid due to rain from the previous weekend and salmon were concentrated in the rivers in good numbers. The salmon fishing has been tough for many anglers and bites have been infrequent throughout the day, but anglers have reported their best luck just after sunrise and just before sunset. Floating spawn under a bobber or on bottom has been the best method for catching chinook and coho salmon in the rivers but there have been reports of anglers catching a few on yarn flies and egg patterns. A lot of salmon have been caught on Stoney Creek and on the Ahnapee River by the Forestville dam. Brown trout have also recently worked their way up many of the rivers following the salmon migration to feed on the nutritious salmon eggs. Anglers have been catching some very large brown trout in Silver Creek, the Kewaunee, and Ahnapee Rivers. Brown trout have been actively feeding and anglers have been doing very well casting stick baits and spoons in many of the deeper pools throughout the rivers. Anglers reported that the brown trout have been very colorful and in great condition. The fishing pressure at the boat ramps has been relatively low this past week with only a few anglers attempting trolling tactics.- Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - The chinook run is near its peak. Anglers are catching fish throughout the rivers with the hottest action being in the deeper holes and at the dams. Spoons, crank baits and spawn have all been effective. The Mishicot dam and the stretch of river through Mishicot have been the most popular spots with many fish being caught. The Shoto dam has been less productive, likely due to ongoing dam repairs and reduced water flow but fish are still being caught. Action upstream on the Manitowoc River has finally picked up. Water levels have dropped making Clarks Mills dam and Cato Falls more fishable. The Branch River has produced a few fish for anglers willing to put on waders and work the holes. Browns have also been caught mixed in with the chinook. Beads, flies, and spawn have been working for browns. A couple Coho have also been caught upstream.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Governor Thompson State Park - Summer's flowers are now replaced with the colors of Autumn painting the landscape. The campground shower/toilet building and the water at the dump station will close Oct. 17 for the season. The east loop of the campground will stay open until December, and water will be available to fill your unit by each vault toilet. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Fall colors in central Wisconsin are about 75 percent. Still pretty tough gunning for ruffed grouse as few leaves have dropped. Some woodcock have finally arrived in central Wisconsin, adding to the upland bird hunting opportunity. Geese are all over the place, as always. On cooler days the deer movement has increased noticeably. Had a report from a youth hunter of a buck chasing a doe and grunting, and also found a scrape last Sunday. Turkeys like geese, seem to be everywhere. Trout have been biting like crazy lately, Jointed stick baits and big spinners have been hot baits. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - Cold weather in Waushara County following rain should send the deer into some good movement this weekend. The full moon coming up though could make it difficult for daytime activity. The oaks are starting to slowly turn into their fall orange. Birds of all species are starting to migrate and most of the warblers and vireos have already dashed through the county with previous cold snaps. Waterfowlers don't forget the season is closed until Saturday! Other than that a little bit warmer temps this weekend should make for a great time to get out and enjoy all that fall has to offer here in Waushara County. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - The South Pier parking loop has reopened. Fishing pressure has been very low around the lakeshore lately. One chinook was caught from South Pier on Saturday. One boat was interviewed on Saturday, but they did not catch any fish. The Pigeon River was high and rapid this weekend. Nobody was seen fishing. The Sheboygan River has slowed down since last weekend. A few chinook were caught by the Kohler dam on flies. Many people were fishing near Esslingen Park, but nothing was caught there. The water temperature was 51 degrees on Sunday evening.
Ozaukee County - All fish cleaning stations in Port Washington are now closed for the season. The power plant discharge area in Coal Dock Park has slowed down considerably from last week. Fishing pressure remains high, but fewer fish are being caught. Some brown trout, a few coho, and a few chinook salmon were caught this weekend, and on Sunday a couple rainbow trout were caught. Spawn sacs are the most popular bait. The north slip marina area has also slowed considerably. Two chinook were seen caught on Friday and nothing else was reported for the rest of the weekend. Sauk Creek was very busy this weekend; many chinook were caught on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday being much slower. Most were caught on flies or yarn. The water temperature was 57 degrees on Friday evening. No boats were interviewed this week.
Milwaukee County - Brown trout have been stacked up in the Lake Shore State Park lagoon, and a few have been caught by anglers casting crank baits and soft plastic minnows. Shore anglers have also caught some chinook salmon (up to 21 pounds) while fishing with skein under a bobber in McKinley Marina. Along the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds, small brown trout and rainbows (2-3 pounds average) have been caught by anglers fishing with. Small rainbows and brown trout were caught on fathead minnows and shiners by anglers fishing the harbor side of McKinley Pier, along the shoreline behind the Summerfest grounds, and off the Cupertino Park fishing pier. A couple of rainbows (2-3 pounds average) were caught on the Grant Park shoreline on by anglers fishing with spawn sacs. Chinook salmon, rainbows, and coho were caught in the Oak Creek during the week by anglers fishing with spawn sacs, skein, and spinner baits. A male pink salmon (2.5 pounds and 22 inches long) with a large hump on its back was caught on the Oak Creek as well. The water temperature in the creek decreased from 62 degrees last week to 55 degrees on Sunday. The Oak Creek Power Plant pier has produced coho, chinooks, small rainbows, channel cats, and sheepshead. The majority of boats in Milwaukee have been trolling crank baits and spoons inside the harbor or fishing with skein and crank baits in the McKinley Marina. The catch rate was low according to most of the boaters interviewed. One other boat trolled small spoons in 30-40 feet of water off Shorewood and landed 5 brown trout (2-4 pounds average). Another troller fished flasher/flies 110-130 feet down in 300-365 feet of water on and landed five kings (7-9 pounds). On the Milwaukee River, flows have dropped in the past week. Fly anglers fishing in Kletzsch Park have hooked into fish, but the majority of them have broken off. Chinooks and browns have been caught in Estabrook Park on orange egg pattern flies and small cleos. The Menomonee River is clear, and the river banks have started to dry out after being muddy all fall. A fly angler reported catching a nice rainbow on trout beads at Three Bridges Park, and salmon have been seen in the river at Miller Park.
Racine County - Fishing in the Racine harbor was slow this past week with low angler effort. The Root River is currently flowing at 26 cfs. Although the water levels are low, anglers have started to catch a few more kings than last week. Most anglers are sight fishing for them since the water is clear. Not much rain is expected this week so the river conditions should remain constant. The water temperature upstream of the steelhead facility is 58 degrees, and 62 degrees downstream near the harbor. Angling pressure upstream of the weir increased this week since the facility has passed more fish up river. Most of the anglers were fishing just upstream of the facility, and near the Horlick Dam. Only a couple of kings were reported caught, and the angler reported using a red streamer to catch them. Anglers have had more success fishing downstream of the facility, however the harvest numbers are still low. Most anglers are focusing their efforts at Lincoln Park just below the facility and at Island Park. Anglers that caught fish reported using black wooly buggers, orange wooly buggers, spawn sacs, and Play-Doh. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Saturday, Oct. 8, and 340 fish were passed upstream. So far this fall, DNR crews have handled 495 Chinooks, 126 coho, 3 rainbows and 4 browns. The next processing day will be Thursday, Oct. 13.
Kenosha County - Anglers fishing in the Kenosha harbor have had some success with spawn sacs, skein, and live bait. Overall all the fishing is still slow, but some anglers have caught browns, steelhead, cohos, and kings. No anglers fishing from the beach near the mouth of the Pike River reported catching any fish this week. The mouth of the Pike River is currently sand blocked, and it will take a significant rain event to open it back up.
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The bridle trails have been re-opened. Several wet portions remain, but staff are hopeful for a long dry spell to further improve conditions. The fall colors are over 50 percent and approaching peak. If the weather holds, this coming weekend would be great timing to view the beautiful fall scenery in the forest. The Long Lake campground has closed for the season, and the beach houses are also closed. The day-use areas & boat launch will remain open through winter. The Long Lake fishing pier has been removed for the season. The boat boarding dock will remain in place through the weekend of Oct. 15-16th, and the launch itself will remain open through winter. Turkey, squirrel, crow, woodcock, and bow deer seasons are all open. Waterfowl season is closed this week, but will re-open on Saturday Oct. 15. In addition, Oct. 15 is also the opener for pheasant, grouse, and rabbit season. 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
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall colors are close to peak. On Saturday, October 15th, the pheasant season opens and the duck season reopens in our area. In Washington County, rooster pheasants will be stocked on Jackson Marsh, Allenton Marsh and Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area before the season opener, twice per week during the first three weeks of the pheasant season, and once per week after that until early December, except that no stocking is done during the week of the 9-day gun deer season. The three Wildlife Areas are closed to pheasant hunting after 2 p.m. on week days between Oct. 17 and Nov. 3. Washington County deer hunters are being asked to submit their adult deer for CWD sampling by dropping off the head at a self-service kiosk located at the Pike Lake DNR office. Gehrings Meat Market north of Slinger is also collecting heads with hunter permission for CWD sampling from the deer they are processing. The youth gun deer hunt was held last weekend, with youths registering 59 deer from Washington County (23 bucks, 36 antlerless). The running total of deer harvested in each county during the archery, crossbow and gun deer season is updated weekly on the DNR website. Goose and duck number continue to increase on Theresa Marsh as more migrant birds have been arriving. Viewing opportunities for waterfowl and other birds is excellent on Theresa Marsh from the Hwy28 right-of-way, just west of Interstate Highway 41. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Dodge County - Waterfowl hunters are having mixed results due to the high water levels. - Paul Nell, conservation warden, Horicon
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall color is at about 60 percent. As new weather fronts move through, more birds should be pushed into the area. The best viewing areas on the state wildlife area are at the Palmatory Street Overlook and from the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. Best viewing on the National Wildlife Refuge currently are along the auto tour and Highway 49 on the northern end. Some of the bird species you might see include shovelers, pintail, wood ducks, ruddy ducks, and large numbers of mallards and green-winged teal. Canada geese and sandhill crane numbers are still low in the area but are gradually increasing. Herons, egrets, pelicans, and a few species of shorebirds (short-billed dowitcher, lesser yellow-legs) are still present on the refuge in small numbers. Trumpeter swans are still visible near the auto tour and Highway 49. DNR educators are hosting a Crane Watch from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15. Join them at the Palmatory Street Overlook at 1210 N. Palmaotry Street in Horicon. Bring your own chair a picnic dinner and enjoy watching cranes, geese, ducks and other birds fly back into the marsh to roost. Sunsets are usually beautiful here as well! Astronomers will also be on hand for solar viewing during daylight hours and the night sky after dark. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
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 - Staff report seeing walleye and white bass being caught below the Indianford Dam on the Rock River. Fishermen are also having luck catching crappie and bluegill at Storrs and Clear Lakes. Also reporting several snowmobile, hunter, and ATV safety courses are planned over the next couple months. People interested in taking a course should go to the DNR website to check dates and times of upcoming courses and sign up. The archery deer season is gaining momentum with the falling leaves and cooler temperatures. An increasing number of deer hunters have been seen in the field, and wardens remind those hunting on DNR-managed lands to remove their tree stands every evening. Wardens have received multiple complaints of tree stands left overnight, and wardens continue to encounter unoccupied tree stands on state property that are not marked with the owner's name and address, or their DNR Customer ID number. Hunters and property owners are reminded that baiting and feeding is prohibited in all of Rock County. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Tree leaves are really starting to fall, improving visibility in the woods. Hunters should keep in mind, however, improved visibility works both ways. Hunters have an easier time seeing game, but game animals have an easier time spotting hunters. Whether out turkey hunting, squirrel hunting, or bow deer hunting, proper camouflage techniques, patience, and stillness can help hunters to remain unseen by their quarry. Red-breasted nuthatches, golden-crowned kinglets, white-throated sparrows, swamp sparrows, song sparrows, and fox sparrows are some of the migratory songbirds currently passing through the local area. Plenty of mosquitoes remain active and are annoying humans and animals alike. The forecast frosts should slow them down in most areas. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Fall colors are just starting to show in Vernon County. The River level has been fairly high but has been going down the past week or so. Fishing is good on the river. Lots of people are reporting that the pan fishing is really good. Should see a heavy population of duck hunters on the river this weekend and conditions will be more favorable than those on the opening weekend. - Trevor Tracey, conservation warden, Viroqua
Perrot State Park - Fall colors are just beginning along the river valley. The maples in our picnic areas and campground are in full color. The sumac and Virginia creeper are bright red and give the first glimpse of color in the woods. Our oaks and hickories are just beginning to turn. Many songbirds and waterfowl are migrating through. White pelicans are gathering in Trempealeau Bay and the adjacent Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge. You can often see them circling Trempealeau Mountain along the Voyageur's Canoe and Kayak trail. All hiking trails are open and in good condition. Hike up West Brady's Bluff Trail and walk the new section of trail constructed this year by the WisCorps. You will enjoy beautiful views of Trempealeau Mountain and the Mississippi River valley. The two shower buildings will be closed for the season on Oct. 17. The flush toilet building by site 2 will remain open until the week of Oct. 24. The dump station will remain open but there will not be water at that location beginning Oct. 17. Water to fill your campers will be available at the park maintenance shop. - Lois Larson, park manager
Great River State Trail - The water levels along the trail are still above normal which gives a unique opportunity to see a floodplain forest With the leaves beginning to turn and fall, it is easier to see blue herons, egrets, sandhill cranes, as well as the many migrating ducks.and songbirds. There is adjacent road and utility construction between County Highway Z and the City of Onalaska. There may be an occasional vehicle or heavy equipment on or along the trail. - Lois Larson, park manager
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - It is a great time to visit the Black River State Forest. Fall colors have really started to put on a show this week with 50-60 percent color in most places. Yellows and oranges are currently dominating throughout the forest but reds, russet and copper colors are also present. Some of the best locations to see the color show is along North Settlement road and Cemetery Road.Temperatures this weekend are expected to be in the 60s with a chance of rain on Saturday. ATV/UTV trails will be closing for the season at the end of the day on Sunday, Oct. 16. Trails will reopen Dec. 15 2016, weather permitting, for the winter riding season. New this year: UTVs will be allowed on winter ATV trails. They will still not be allowed on designated snowmobile only trails or any other trail that was previously closed to UTV use.- 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
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Adams County - The fall colors are about 60% in Adams County. Also, forgot to mention, that the water levels are back to normal in most areas and the mushrooms are still abundant everywhere. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship
Buckhorn State Park - Many sites are available in the new campground this fall. Backpack campsites are non-reservable, 1st come/1st served. Several walk-in sites are closed for the season. Check at the park office for availability. The fishing pier and boat boarding piers will be removed in the morning on Oct. 19. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - There is access year round at the winter/prairie parking lot on Czech Avenue (south of the park entrance) to access the park in fall through spring. - Heather Wolf, park manager