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Outdoor ReportPublished June 22, 2017

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

The wet weather has continued into our first astronomical week of summer, with rain falling in some or all of the state every day in the last week. This has continued to keep rivers high and many trails wet and muddy. The lower Wisconsin River continues to flow at more than twice its normal flow and very few if any sandbars are available. The Oconto, Peshtigo, and Menominee rivers are all at or above flood stage. One exception is the Bois Brule, which has returned to normal flow and is getting heavy use by paddlers.

Pink lady slippers are blooming at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County.
Pink lady slippers are blooming at Whitefish Dunes State Park in Door County.
Photo Credit: DNR

Despite high water levels anglers have been fishing the Flambeau River with some success for musky, walleye and bass. Crappie, bluegills and perch are being caught on northern lakes. A few walleye are being caught around the mouth area of the Peshtigo River and anglers at the mouth of the Oconto River were having success catching catfish, smallmouth, and sheepshead. Trout streams were just getting fishable again but levels are up again and running turbid with a lot of debris making it very tough to fish.

Anglers that got out southern Green Bay in between storms found some success trolling crank baits for walleyes along with a big increase in freshwater drum and catfish being caught. The weather conditions made the smallmouth bite throughout Door County much more inconsistent than past weeks. Some bass are still on beds while others are post spawn. Perch fishing is starting to pick up a bit in the bay side harbors of Door County.

Salmon fishing out on Lake Michigan also suffered some this week thanks in part to the abundance of almost-daily nasty weather. The most frequent catch of the week was steelhead, with a few coho and chinook mixed in. In Milwaukee a thick cloud of alewives were stacked up on the lake side of McKinley Pier and the catch rate on the pier increased as the trout and salmon followed the baitfish closer to shore, with limits of trout and salmon landed.

Early-nesting species are fledging young now, including killdeer, American robins, eastern bluebirds, eastern phoebes, wood ducks, starlings, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, and more. This is a great year for dickcissels, a sparrow-like bird of grasslands. Though common in the plains south and west of Wisconsin each year, their numbers vary here annually.

New wobbly elk calves and deer fawns are out and are now following their mothers all the time. A large bull elk has been seen feeding off a road in the Flambeau River State Forest with his antlers in full velvet.

In the north, the forest floor is bursting swamp dewberries, bunchberry, twin flower, buttercups, blue flag iris, false Solomon's seal, Canada mayflower, oxeye daisies, yellow and orange hawkweed are in varying stages of bloom, and blueberries are ripe or soon to ripen. Pink lady slippers are blooming in Door County.

There is a New Moon on Friday so it should be a great weekend for astronomy programs being held this weekend at Kettle Moraine south, Governor Dodge, Wildcat and Devil's Lake state parks. There will also be music performances Saturday at Rib Mountain State Park and at Mirror Lake State Park. Shakespeare in the Park performances and workshops continue this weekend at Havenwoods State Forest Friday and at Devil's Lake State Park on Saturday. For a complete listing of events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."


Statewide Birding Report

In the bird world, and now the calendar as well, summer is firmly here. Many birds are in the heart of their nesting season -- males singing vigorously to announce their territories while females take up the bulk of duty incubating eggs. By late June many of these nests host tiny, fast-growing young, meaning adults can often be seen carrying food in their beaks and chipping with agitation when potential threats, like us, get too close. Our earliest-nesting species are even fledging young now, including killdeer, American robins, eastern bluebirds, eastern phoebes, wood ducks, starlings, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, and more. The nesting season is a critical time for many birds, especially our rarer species, which makes stories like these on the peregrine falcon and whooping crane (exit DNR) all the more pleasing.

Dickcissels invade the state

Dickcissels are being seen in good numbers across the state.
Dickcissels are being seen in good numbers across the state.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady

Making the biggest splash this month, however, is a sparrow-like bird of grasslands known as the dickcissel. Though common in the plains south and west of Wisconsin each year, their numbers vary here annually, perhaps related to poor, drought-induced habitat conditions in their typical core range. Well, this year is a great one for dickcissels in Wisconsin -- the best since 2012 -- so perhaps visit your favorite patch of grassland, pasture, or weedy field to look and listen for this showy species.

Feeders slow? Don't despair

A final note on breeding season -- you may have noticed your feeders haven't been getting much action of late. That's pretty typical for this time of year. Natural food sources are plentiful, adult birds are busy feeding young, and nestlings generally require insects not seeds, all leading to less feeder use. That should change some come July, however, as families of grosbeaks, buntings, finches, chickadees, woodpeckers, orioles, and other species resume their feeder visits, often with youngsters in tow. And don't forget to offer a shallow water source, which often attracts more species this time of year than feeders do.

Rarities and reporting

The week's best find was no doubt a buff-bellied hummingbird seen briefly and photographed in Ozaukee county, marking a first state record of this species that typically nests from south Texas into Mexico. You never know what you might find this time of year so be sure to report all of your sightings to Wisconsin eBird at Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland


Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties
Friday, June 23 25, 2017
Friday, June 23

Saturday, June 24

Sunday, June 25


Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Bluff Creek SNA: July 9, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Come help volunteers during our second Saturday workdays. We'll divide into teams to cut or remove white sweet clover and wild parsnip. This work is done annually because white sweet clover and wild parsnip can displace the native plants living in the wet prairie. 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


Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - Tuesday was the first official day of summer. The weather this week has been mild and pleasant with highs in the 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s and 50s. The coming week looks like it may be on the cool side with highs only reaching the 60s for a few days. Clouds and a small amount of rain are in the forecast as well. All in all, a pleasant reprieve for visitors coming from areas of stifling hot weather. As of this morning, the river was running at 162 cfs, which is right on average for this time of year. There have been reports from anglers that they have been having some success catching fish. It's always a good day when you can spend some time on the river, regardless of whether the fish are biting or not! Lots of canoers and kayakers are also enjoying the mild weather out on the water. About half of our campsites are reservable (but you have to reserve at least 48 hours in advance), the rest are available on a first-come-first-served basis. The campgrounds have been busy, especially on the weekends. The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and the reservable campsites for the weekend of July 1-2 are pretty much booked up already. But if you get here early, chances are you'll be able to nab one of those first-come-first-served sites. Reservations for July 3-4 are still available. On the morning of Monday, June 26, planes will be applying an organic, biodegradable gypsy moth mating disruption product to areas near the Brule River State Forest. The product is aerially applied and dispersed across the forest canopy as small waxy droplets, which slowly release the synthetic gypsy moth mating pheromone. Female gypsy moths do not fly, but give off a pheromone, or a chemical scent, which attracts male gypsy moths. The product applied to the tree canopy emits the same scent. These treatments are highly effective at reducing the mating success of this insect. Treatments are necessary to control the spread of gypsy moth, a destructive and invasive pest that feeds on the foliage of oak, aspen, crabapple, birch, and hundreds of other species of trees and shrubs. More information is available at - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Burnett County - Fishing in the Burnett County area has been very good for most species as of lately. With the fairly constant rain events we have been having it has kept the ATV trails in good shape with low dust conditions. Bird watching is good right now as well with goose, duck, and swan hatches very visible. - Dustin Gabrielson, conservation warden, Webster

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - There have been some sightings of rare or unusual birds, including a northern mockingbird, dickcissels, white-rumped sandpipers, a red-shouldered hawk and a blue-gray gnatcatcher. There are many golden-winged warblers in the area. The red-necked grebes seem to be re-nesting on Phantom Lake. Be sure to watch out for the many young that are around, including swan cygnets, crane colts, hooded merganser chicks, loon chicks, and more. There have also been many species of butterfly sighted within the last week, including: monarch, Karner blue, eastern-tailed blue, American copper, silvery checkerspot, northern crescent, little wood satyr, common ringlet, common buckeye, painted lady, white admiral, viceroy, red admiral, orange sulphur, pink-edged sulphur, cabbage white, silver bordered fritillary, Hobomok skipper, long dash, dusted skipper, dreamy duskywing, northern cloudywing, black swallowtail, - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - Anglers have been fishing the Flambeau River in hopes of catching musky, walleye and bass, with some success. The water levels are very high due to large amounts of precipitation that we have received. Due to large amounts of rainfall be sure to call ahead if planning to use the Tuscobia (Cameron Bump, (715-839-2786) or the Dead Horse Run (US Forest Service, Park Falls) ATV/UTV trails. Blooming plants are everywhere. Especially the yellow and white blossoms. Cherry trees, highbush cranberries, the white blossomed dogwoods, basswoods with their bell shaped flowers and soothing fragrance, the forest floor is bursting with newness. Strawberries, swamp dewberries, American fly honeysuckle, and blueberries are ripe or soon to be ripe. Don't eat the American fly honeysuckle though, they are poisonous. Song birds are defending their territories where some of the females are still sitting on their nests or renesting. The roads are full of snapping turtles and painted turtles crossing to lay their eggs. Horse flies and mosquitoes are out so be prepared. The dragonflies are filling up on those pesky mosquitoes. New wobbly elk calves and deer fawns are out and about following their mothers. The biggest bull elk in the area was seen feeding off the side of the road in the southeast part of the Forest. His antlers are so majestic and still in velvet. He is drawing lots of attention. A bear and her three cubs were seen suckling by the wildlife biologist. There is a New Moon on Friday. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly sunny with a chance of showers after 2 p.m. with a high of 69 and a low of 49. Saturday, there is a chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 p.m. with a high of 65 and low of 47, and Sunday, again has a chance of showers and t-storms with a high of 66 and low of 46. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The summer green explosion is in full force in the forest. Everything is lush and green and has caught up with the rest of the state. Bunchberry, twin flower, buttercups, blue flag iris, false Solomon's seal, Canada mayflower, oxeye daisies, yellow and orange hawkweed are in varying stages of bloom. The showy white blossoms of blackberry are gracing the roadsides. Highbush cranberry, mountain maple and pagoda dogwood are in bloom. Yellow and white water lilies are poking their heads above water here and there. Lupine are just about done blooming. The wild strawberries that bloomed the earliest are starting to show ripened berries with some plants still blooming! Slow down and enjoy the bloom and watch for road crossing turtles and baby animals! Campers can be serenated by the lovely song of the hermit thrush as they enjoy the evening by the fire. Hopefully the hum of mosquitos won't drown the song out! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate


Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

This report is for the period of June 11-17. Rain and high winds kept fishing pressure low this past week. The Oconto, Peshtigo, and Menominee Rivers are all at or above flood stage. Rivers are running brown with a good deal of debris being carried down to their mouths and out into the Bay of Green Bay.

Marinette County - A few walleye are being caught around the mouth area of the Peshtigo River using jigs and live bait or plastics. Early in the week walleye and small mouth were being caught on the Menominee River trolling and casting to structure and current seams. Since then the river has become high and dirty with heavy current. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - A few panfish and smallmouth are being caught below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River using live bait, small spoons and plastics. The most productive place to fish has been the mouth of the Oconto River at Break water Park where anglers are having success catching catfish, smallmouth, and sheepshead using stick baits and live bait, (crawlers). A few small panfish were being caught by shore anglers at Oconto Park II using live bait. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

There has been an inconsistent catch of walleye over the past week at Geano Beach. Most groups were only catching a few fish and keeping Anglers also caught freshwater drum and northern pike while out for walleye. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician

Brown County - Off Bayshore Park, the weather once again played a huge roll in fishing this week which kept many anglers at home instead of on the water. Anglers that got out in between storms found some success trolling crankbaits for walleyes, generally in water depths around 9-14 feet. Along with walleyes anglers noticed a big increase in freshwater drum and catfish being caught with the water temperatures reaching into the 70s. A few perch anglers were interviewed with no success thus far in the early perch season. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Modest weather over the past week brought a decent group of anglers to fish out of the metro launch. Most boats were targeting walleye with slim success catching between 1-4 fish. Out of those fish caught only a couple made it to the cooler. A few boats took advantage of the increased catch in catfish and took a few of those home instead. There were a few crappie anglers fishing from shore over the past week but none of them landed any crappie. Anglers found themselves catching white bass, freshwater drum, and catfish. Most people at Voyager Park were out to have a good time and weren't fishing for anything specific over the past week. They found themselves hooking into a lot of white bass, freshwater drum, common carp, round goby, and catfish. Anglers off the Suamico launch targeted walleye over the past week with continued inconsistent success. Few boats were catching over 10 fish for half a days worth of fishing but most were bringing in between 1-5 fish. Anglers also caught northern pike, freshwater drum and white bass. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician

Door County - In northern Door County, the recent weather conditions have made the smallmouth bite throughout Door County much more inconsistent than past weeks. Water temps vary from 60-70 degrees depending on where you are and which way the wind is blowing. The water in most places has become more turbid making it hard to spot bass in shallow water. Some bass are still on beds while others are post spawn. Despite these conditions some anglers have still found success. Rowleys Bay has remained a consistent producer of smallies. Bass action should heat up again if the weather gives us a break and conditions become more stable. Perch fishing is starting to pick up a bit in the bay side harbors of Door County. Minnows and crawlers have been working but the most important thing is to have your line in the water when the schools come in to feed. Being in the right place at the right time has been the key. No word on walleye action or salmon/trout action on lake side.

Off Stugeon Bay, Anglers in boats on the bay-side had a rough go this week around the Sturgeon Bay area. Strong winds and storms made it tough for anglers to get a good day in on the water, and the catches of smallmouth were reflective of that. Some anglers did manage to catch some in more sheltered areas, but not with much consistency in patterns or lures. Anglers are reporting smallmouth beginning to come off beds and follow more post-spawn patterns with the warmer weather. Some boat anglers did have success fishing for rock bass, casting toward shore with nightcrawlers.

Shore anglers in the area had some of the best success of all anglers interviewed in Sturgeon Bay over the past week. Anglers at both Sunset Park and Stone Quarry Landing caught perch, rock bass, and smallmouth from shore. Most of the fish were caught with a bobber and live bait. The best bait for perch was a small minnow, but some were caught on nightcrawlers as well. Smallmouth and rock bass were caught primarily on nightcrawlers. Anglers fishing with artificial lures did not have as much success as those fishing with live bait. Anglers who launched at Sawyer Park and headed to Lake Michigan did have some success over the weekend. Almost all anglers interviewed came in with at least one fish, and some came in with good numbers. Only steelhead and chinooks were brought in, and those anglers indicated that most of the fish, including the steelhead, were caught in deeper water on flasher/fly combos down 50+ feet in green or blue colors. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician

At Little Sturgeon Bay, bass anglers found fishing to be tough at times but most anglers still managed to catch fish every trip. Most of the smallmouth bass are done spawning and are holding in deeper water looking for bait but males can be seen still guarding nesting in the shallow water. Bait presentations that worked the best were drop shots and crankbaits. Walleye anglers found little to no success during the daylight hours with the best bite being reported after dark. Perch anglers have started to put in some more hours with success varying between high numbers of small fish or low numbers of bigger fish. Live bait was the best for perch anglers. Muskie anglers had a difficult week with no muskies reported being caught. Smallmouth bass in Sawyer Harbor are much of the same as in Little Sturgeon Bay with most fish in the post-spawn pattern. Perch anglers found success just out from Sawyer Harbor as it drops off to 12 feet. Anglers reported catching upwards of 60 fish with a few anglers just missing their limit of 15 fish. Live bait under a float seemed to be the best technique for catching the perch. Other fish caught were freshwater drum and rock bass. - Derek Apps, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Kewaunee County - Salmon fishing in Kewaunee and Algoma suffered some this week thanks in part to the abundance of almost-daily nasty weather. The most frequent catch of the week was steelhead, with a few cohos and chinooks mixed in. Anglers have been targeting mostly the same depths as the last couple weeks, about 80-200 feet of water, but some have tried deeper yet, with no depth bringing reports of more fish. Anglers are still reporting catching steelhead on high lines with spoons, and some have also reported them deeper, down 50-100 feet on flasher/fly combos (set up more-so for chinooks). The few cohos reported have come on red/orange dodgers with peanut flies, still mostly in the top 50 feet. Anglers have reported catching chinooks more on flasher/fly combos again this week, with green/white colors down 50-100 feet being the most productive.- Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Continuous bad storms and windy weather conditions appear to have affected the fishing pressure of the week of the 11th. Very few interviews were obtained as many boaters were unsure about chancing the rough waters. The few boaters that did take their boats onto the lake only stayed out for a very short trip. Some reported catching one or a couple Coho Salmon. A charter boat in Two Rivers was able to reach their limit on Sunday June 19th, and caught a 28lb King Salmon. Surface water temperatures have dropped a little this week, averaging about 56F. - Mallary Schenian, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Oconto County - Oconto County ATV trails are still busy with some trails still closed. Please check the Oconto County Tourism website and trail report for updated trail conditions. There are many deer running around and some with fawns. Drive slow at night and be careful. Turtles are crossing roads so be extra cautious. Lots of bugs are out, haven't seen this many bugs out at night in a few years. Panfish are still being caught on multiple lakes, Kelly Lake and a few small lakes around are still a favorite for crappie, bluegills and perch. There have been walleye caught on White Potato Lake. Water levels are also high and be careful, always where a life jacket out on the water. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - All trails are open. Bald eagles, great blue herons, common mergansers and buffleheads have been seen flying over Sawyer Harbor. Many visitors are still spotting wild turkeys mainly by the park entrance. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Whitefish Dunes State Park - A few fawns have been spotted in the park. The bird feeder has been busy with downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, along with goldfinches and juncos. This week a pair of red-headed woodpeckers have been sighted. Standing on the overlook you can see pelicans on the lake from the observation deck by the office. Wildflowers in bloom are columbine and pink lady slippers. A lot of frog sounds have been heard in the afternoon by visitors hiking the Green Trail. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Been a super wet week in central Wisconsin. Spent all week cleaning up storm damage from previous week. Catfish have been biting decent on the Fox River. Streams were just getting fishable again for trout and is now raining again and will likely be very tough to fish after today's rains. Fawns are now with mom all the time. The first report of turkey brood came in the other day. Biting insects have not been a problem lately, surprising given that we've been so wet. Have not had a tick in two weeks - good! Could really use a dry stretch. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma


Southeast Region

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 - Fishing pressure was relatively low toward the end of the weekend, most likely due to weather conditions and heavy wind. Anglers were reporting little success off the piers, with most of the catches coming from boats. Off the harbor and the piers in Sheboygan, only two catches of coho salmon were reported off the north pier during the weekend. Most anglers were using alewives fished on the bottom, although the coho were caught using spoons. The surface temperature of the water was 55 degrees, and water on the harbor side was dirty. Most of the reported success came on Saturday, June 17, with boaters mainly catching coho salmon along with a couple chinook salmon, a rainbow trout, and a lake trout. The coho salmon averaged from 3-4 pounds. Fish were caught at depths anywhere from 50-190 feet on spoons, dodger flies, and flasher flies. Only a handful of boaters reported success on Sunday, June 18 due to rough, windy conditions.

Ozaukee County - Fishing pressure was slightly higher on earlier in the weekend, probably due to the windy conditions on June 18. Most of the success was reported from boaters; however, several catches were also reported by anglers off the south pier on Sunday morning. At the Port Washington harbor and piers, several fish were caught Sunday morning, mostly coho salmon with a couple brown trout, with the coho salmon averaging a weight of about 6-7 pounds. Most anglers were using alewives and spoons, although the brown trout were caught with spawn sacs. The surface temperature of the water ranged from 50-60 degrees. At the Port Washington ramp, success was hit or miss, with some having caught several fish while others returned to the ramp with none. Mainly coho salmon were caught this weekend, along with a few chinook salmon and rainbow trout, a couple of brown trout, and one lake trout. The coho salmon averaged about four pounds, although the largest weighed 7.5 pounds. Catches were reportedly made at depths ranging from 80-140 feet on spoons, dodger flies, flasher flies, and dipsy divers.

Milwaukee County - Daytime temperatures were in 80s and 90s at the start of the week with high humidity. The temperature dropped to the 70s by the end of the week after a series of thunderstorms and heavy rain moved through the area. The fishing pressure and catch rate along the shoreline increased as large schools of baitfish moved into shallow water. A thick cloud of alewives were stacked up on the lake side of McKinley Pier on June 15. The catch rate on the pier increased as the trout and salmon followed the baitfish closer to shore. A couple of limits of trout and salmon (coho, kings, rainbows, and browns) were landed. The catch rate on the pier tapered off on the weekend. Large numbers of rock bass, a few bluegills, and a couple of largemouth bass were landed by anglers fishing the Lake Shore State Park lagoons. There were no reports of perch landed on opening day June 16. Boats out of McKinley continue to target coho and kings averaging of 5-6 hours looking for fish this week compared to 2-3 hours last week. The catch rate decreased as well. A large number of boats trolled along the lake side of McKinley Pier where a large number of baitfish were stacked up towards the end of the week. Some of the boats had two fish on at a time. Boats out of Bender landed nice size coho and kings in 40-70 feet of water off the Cudahy Towers by College Avenue. A few perch (up to 13-14 inches long) were landed on the boils in front of the South Milwaukee Water Treatment Plant.

Racine County - Off the ramp, anglers caught some fish this week, but none reported catching a limit. Most anglers caught 7 to 9 fish and most were coho salmon, however, a few king salmon were caught as well. The best fishing was from 50 out to 100 feet and anglers ran their lures from 40 feet down to near the surface. The fish were caught on dodger/fly combos and spoons. Only three perch were reported caught from the shore this week. The angler reported catching the perch on live minnows under a bobber. The water temperature was 52 degrees.

Kenosha County - Anglers from the ramp reported catching coho salmon and a few steelhead this week. Anglers were most successful in 70 out to 120 feet of water. They ran their lures from 30 feet down up to near the surface and reported catching their fish on dodger/fly combos and spoons.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Washington County - DNR staff from the Pike Lake, Plymouth and Oshkosh DNR offices along with many volunteers finished goose banding this week, banding about 450 geese at sites in Sheboygan and Washington counties. On Saturday morning, June 24, wildlife biologist Dianne Robinson will be leading a wildflower walk on Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area. For details, contact Dianne at 262-424-9827. Wildlife viewing opportunities for geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, herons, egrets, black terns, a pair of bald eagles, and other birds has been excellent along Highway 28 through the Theresa Marsh Wildlife area, just west of Highway 41. Anglers have been having some luck catching northern pike, bullheads and pan fish at the Theresa Marsh dam and downstream along the Rock River. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

Sturtevant DNR Service Center area

Racine County - Wildlife crews spent Tuesday banding Canada geese in Racine and Kenosha counties. A total of 246 geese were banded and 36 were recaptured in four areas including Burlington, Camp/Center Lake, Rochester, and Sturtevant. The Richard Bong Recreation Area has seen an influx of dickcissel songbirds this year. The dickcissel is not a common grassland songbird at Richard Bong over the years, but there has been a noticeable increase this year. As an Important Bird Area, Richard Bong is also home to many other grassland songbirds' species including Henslow's sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, savanah sparrow, eastern meadow lark, and bobolinks. Grassland areas in the Special Use Zone area and south of the Wolf Lake are good locations to see and hear grassland songbirds. - Marty Johnson, wildlife biologist, Sturtevant


South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water levels on June 21 at the Prairie Du Sac dam was 21,500 CFS. These water levels are high and most of the sandbars are under water. It will be difficult finding camping locations along the Riverway until the water levels recede. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. Please remember that camping is restricted to no more than three days on state owned islands and sandbars. Camping at these locations is restricted to persons and their equipment arrived by watercraft only. A camping permit is not required. Portable toilets are in place at most DNR managed landings along the river and water is turned on at locations where available. All of the trails within the LWSR have been mowed and are in good shape. Mosquitoes have been quite active within the river bottoms and bug spray would be recommended. - Matt Seguin, property manager


West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Vernon County - There is no need to travel to Australia to view an animal that uses a kangaroo style means of locomotion. Meadow jumping mice use bipedal saltatorial locomotion or ricocheting to propel themselves with their two large hind limbs just like kangaroos and wallabies. When startled, they bound away with 2-3 foot long hops, stopping motionless after a leap or two. Much like any other animal that uses this style of locomotion, meadow jumping mice have long tails for balance, large hind feet for take-off and landing, and enlarged muscles in the hips. These mice are found throughout Wisconsin and prefer moist sites with lush growths of grasses and forbs, including areas such as sedge meadows, swamps, marshes, shrubby fields, woodland edges, and grassy shorelines and streambanks. Meadow jumping mice are mainly nocturnal but may exhibit infrequent daytime activity especially on cloudy days. They feed heavily on grass and weed seeds, berries, beetle and moth larvae, and certain fungi. When traveling roads at night, especially quiet back roads that traverse grassy habitats, keep an eye out for these critters, as they are often observed bounding along the roadway. Their kangaroo-like hopping, long tails, and yellowish sides assist with identification. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County -Anglers can find diverse fishing opportunities on the Eau Claire River near the Altoona River Prairie development. Since the River Prairie development is just upriver of the confluence, almost any species found in the Chippewa River can be found in the Eau Claire River. Smallmouth bass are the most abundant game fish in this stretch of river - they are hard fighters and a lot of fun to catch. As the water temperature warms, smallmouth bass begin to feed aggressively. They can be caught on a variety of baits, but top-water baits seem to be preferred. Perch and walleye can also be found in this stretch of the Eau Claire River. These species will generally be found in deep pools and can be targeted with live bait. Another species that draws a lot of interest are musky. The Wisconsin DNR stocks musky annually at the Hobbs Boat Landing on the Chippewa River. A good musky fishery has developed in the Chippewa River near Eau Claire and on the lower Eau Claire River. A reminder that illegal possession of lake sturgeon is a crime - lake sturgeons are found in the Chippewa River and Eau Claire River downriver of the Lake Altoona Dam. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Mosquitoes have hatched with the rain and humidity/heat. Remember to bring bug spray, screen tents and/or thermocells. The beach is a great place to hang out! We still have openings for a camp host in September. Please call the park office at 608-565-2789 for information if interested. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - We still have an opening for a camp host in August. Please call the Buckhorn park office at 608-565-2789 for information if interested. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Last Revised: Thursday, June 22, 2017

Contact information

Need an expert? Contact the Office of Communications.

The Office of Communications connects journalists with DNR experts on a wide range of topics. For the fastest response, please email and the first available Communications Specialist will respond to you.

For more information about news and media, contact:
Sarah Hoye
Director Of Communications
Office Of The Secretary