Published August 31, 2017 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
The weather is shaping up to look very nice for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, with most parks and forests reporting that reservable campsites are booked. People looking for last minute end of summer vacation weekend camping who don't have a reservation should consider camping at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest. The forest has non-reservable sites at rustic campgrounds that will be open this weekend.
Anglers continue to report productive walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago. Yellow perch fishing action has picked up throughout the system, particularly on Lake Winnebago. With fall approaching, some anglers are already eagerly waiting for the fall white bass run and action already seems to be picking up on the Wolf River.
Anglers on the west shore of Green Bay report catching perch and walleye from Peshtigo to the Pensaukee River. Walleye action on the lower bay has also been very consistent, with some limits reached. Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent throughout the Door County peninsula.
Fishing pressure on Lake Michigan has been light with the recent weather, due largely to strong winds and rain that made it difficult to get a boat out. Those that made it out on calmer days reported mainly chinook salmon and rainbow trout were caught, along with some lake trout, coho salmon, and brown trout. Pier fishermen are starting to see a little success with kings finally showing up in harbors and the river channels. The kings are certainly staging to make their fall spawning run. It's only a matter of time before we see them moving upriver.
The hook and line season for lake sturgeon opens Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 30 on several major river stretches for a fish that can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds.
The mourning dove, early teal and early September Canada goose hunting seasons open in designated areas Friday, September 1. Early goose season hunters should take note that geese are still hitting grain stubble fields big time. Hunters heading out to the fields this week for dove hunting should be prepared to see large numbers of hunters in the available fields. Sunflower fields were planted late due to wet/cold weather earlier this year and may see mixed results in drawing birds in.
Fawns are losing their spots, whitetail bucks are shedding velvet. Young bull elk have also rubbed off their velvet and are polishing and the older bulls have begun to rub off velvet. Elk cow and calf groups are being approached by bulls for the start of the mating season. Bulls are just now beginning to bugle.
The cool nights of the past week have reminded folks that the fall season is getting closer. Signs continue to point to the arrival of fall. Blackberries and hazel nuts are at their peak, acorns are starting to fall, and the brilliant colors of the season are starting. The apple trees are dropping fruit. Goldenrod is in full bloom and New England aster are beginning to show their purple flowers.
Another good week of migration brought many new birds to Wisconsin from their summer haunts in the boreal forests and open tundra of Canada. Warblers continue to steal the show, as they likely will for the next few weeks yet. Common nighthawk migration is past peak in the north, while southern birders found them by the hundreds on the evening of August 30. Reports from the Sauk County area were particularly impressive.
Another good week of migration brought many new birds to Wisconsin from their summer haunts in the boreal forests and open tundra of Canada. Warblers continue to steal the show, as they likely will for the next few weeks yet. Visit your favorite woodland patch to glimpse the action, especially east-facing edges in the morning and shrubby wetland habitats that tend to attract more migrants. Fruit sources like dogwoods, elderberry, cherries, viburnums, and other native plants are magnets for many bird species this time of year. Among them are the thrushes, which made a big push into Wisconsin this week, including both Swainson's and gray-cheeked thrushes amid the locally-breeding veeries, hermit, and wood thrushes. Although it's been a wet summer in much of the state, water sources are often excellent this time of year. Consider adding a bird bath or fountain to attract more birds to your yard.
Speaking of yards, bird lovers are reporting ruby-throated hummingbirds staging in numbers statewide and good numbers of Baltimore orioles at feeders this past week in southern Wisconsin, although expect both to decline in numbers moving forward. Common nighthawk migration is past peak in the north, while southern birders found them by the hundreds on the evening of August 30. Reports from the Sauk County area were particularly impressive. Shorebird migration continues at suitable habitat statewide. American golden-plovers were found in various locations this week, as were a few buff-breasted sandpipers among the more common pectoral, least, and semipalmated sandpipers. Expect more sanderlings, black-bellied, and golden-plovers in the weeks ahead.
Despite the heavy migration underway, some late-season breeding activity remains. Some of the species seen with nests or dependent young this past week were American goldfinch, cedar waxwing, indigo bunting, chipping sparrow, Eastern phoebe, red-eyed vireo, purple finch, Eastern wood-pewee, wild turkey, northern cardinal, and more! Rarities spotted this week included four Hudsonian godwits in Columbia County and a yellow-crowned night-heron in Racine. Help us track the migration and find out what others are seeing at www.ebird.org/wi. Enjoy September's spectacular birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Saturday, September 2
Sunday, September 3
Sept 5: York Prairie- Join us to collect seeds on the 3 units of the York Prairie State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of these prairie remnants. The seeds will be used for a new prairie restoration at the York sites and at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area near Albany, WI. We have several days scheduled so come to one or all. No experience is necessary, we'll teach you! This is a great way to start learning prairie plants.
Sept 8: Ridgeway Pine Relict- Join in! Ridgeway is known for its scenic pine relicts that have northern plant species. Help care for this site by removing invasive plants and encouraging native plants at our second Friday workdays. Activities vary based on season but include brush cutting, piling, burning, invasive removal, seed collection, and others. No skills needed you will be trained onsite.
Sept 9: Cherokee Marsh- The Friends of Cherokee Marsh http://Cherokeemarsh.org are continuing our project to stop the spread of phragmites (giant reed grass) that is threatening the populations of diverse native sedges, grasses, and flowers in the Cherokee Marsh State Natural Area. We need volunteers to help bundle, cut, and treat the stalks of phragmites. No experience needed; we will provide tools and supplies and train you on site. We will likely see fringed gentians and other special wetland plants in bloom.
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 - Signs continue to point to the arrival of fall. Fawns are losing their spots, bucks are starting to shed velvet, blackberries and hazel nuts are at their peak, acorns are starting to fall, and the brilliant colors of the season are starting. With the recent rains and favorable temperatures, mushrooms are abundant as well. There was some significant rain last weekend, and some rain is forecast for this Saturday, but the coming weekend looks like it will pretty nice! We are expecting daytime temperatures in the 70s, nighttime temperatures in the 50s and clear skies for Sunday and Monday. Campground reservations have filled up for the Labor Day weekend, but first-come, first-served sites may be available if you get here early! The boat landing at the mouth of the Bois Brule River is closed until further notice. High Lake Superior water levels and wave action have eroded the road leading to the boat landing. People paddling the river can still take out at the mouth of the river, but will have to carry watercraft up to the picnic area parking lot adjacent to the boat launch. There will be a North Country Scenic Trail Group Hike this Saturday through the scenic Brule River Valley to spring-fed Jersett Creek. Distance: 5.5 miles. The hike leader is Al Decker, a member of the North Country Trail Association's Brule-St. Croix Chapter. Meet Saturday, September 2 at 9 a.m. at Sharon's Lakeview Café in Lake Nebagamon. You can RSVP at www.meetup.com/sscbhikers. Students from Superior's sister city, Ami-machi Japan, and their host families came to visit the Brule River State Forest last week. After a short canoe trip on the Brule, they toured the Fish Hatchery before heading off to Amnicon Falls State Park. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - Fishermen have been fishing the Flambeau River in hopes of catching musky, walleye, northerns and bass. Colors are beginning to turn, raptors and monarch butterflies are migrating, cranberries are ripening and ferns are turning brown. Some of the hummingbirds have migrated. Most of the ruby throated hummingbirds winter in southern Mexico or northern Panama. Their circannual rhythms are synchronized and tuned to the changing day length. The peak of migration is late August to early September. The heavy apple trees are dropping fruit. Gardens are winding down and tomatoes are ripening slowly due to the cold temperatures. Red colors are becoming noticeable in the tree canopies and sumac bushes. The under laying brush in the forest is becoming less prominent. Acorns and hickories are dropping. The deer and elk have been busy grazing. Filling up for the winter months. Cow and calf groups are being approached by bulls for the start of the mating season. Elk calves are weaned though they nurse from time to time if mom allows. Young bulls have rubbed off their velvet and are polishing and the older bulls have begun to rub off velvet. Bulls are just now beginning to bugle. The biggest bull elk in the area is currently with cows. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be sunny with a high of 67 and low of 53, Saturday has a chance of showers with a high of 71 and low of 51, Sunday, mostly sunny with a high of 75 and a low of 53 and finally Monday, Labor Day, will be mostly sunny with a high of 71 and low of 47. September 6 is a full "Harvest Moon." Bears are visiting bear baits placed by hunters in preparation for the Bear Hunting season that begins Sept. 6. Connors Lake Campground will be closed for the season after the Labor Day holiday. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The cool nights of the past week have reminded folks that the fall season is getting closer. A few more trees are showings tinges of reds and yellows and more of the understory is starting to turn yellow and brown as plants complete their life cycle for the season. Crows and turkeys can be seen foraging for bugs along roadsides and the songbirds are very quiet now. Juvenile and female hummingbirds are still at area feeders, with the males long gone. The many different golden rods and asters are decorating the paths and roadsides with their yellows, lavenders and whites. Blackberries can still be found if the critters haven't gotten to them first. Area trails have plenty of wet spots, so hikers and hunters need to wear appropriate footwear. Mushrooms are starting to appear on the landscape stimulated by the cool nights and wet weather. It is a great time to be out in the woods! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Anglers floating the Peshtigo River from City Garage Landing to Klingsborn's landing report catching smallmouth bass and northern pike mainly using surface plugs or spinners and plastics. Anglers from the mouth of the Peshtigo are catching catfish, drum smallmouth and perch using a variety of baits and presentations. Bay anglers report catching perch from the mouth of the Peshtigo to the Menominee River in 6 to 14 feet of water adjacent to weed beds using live bait. Walleye, catfish, drum and smallmouth were being caught in the Menominee River from the Hattie Street Dam to the mouth of the river both trolling and fishing from shore. Live bait, cranks, and plastics have been working well. No reports of salmon being caught yet. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Panfish has been the number one species below the dam at Stiles on the Oconto River. Anglers having been successful using slip bobbers or crappie rigs and live bait for bluegill and catching some very nice fish. Rock bass, catfish, smallmouth bass and drum are being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River on live bait fished on bottom, although some anglers are also having success pitching plastics and crank baits. The perch and walleye bite has been good this past week from Oconto Park II to the Pensaukee River. Perch are being found in 6 to 12 feet of water adjacent to weed beds. Crawler chunks and minnows have been the best baits, with early morning producing the most fish. Walleye anglers report catching most of their fish in 25 to 30 feet of water using bottom bouncers and crawler harness. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
The Genoa Beach lot was consistently full over the past week averaging about 50 boat trailers. Anglers fishing for musky had inconsistent success with many boats catching no fish and the most musky being caught per boat being two. Musky anglers also caught northern pike. Most anglers out for walleye caught an average of seven fish and also were catching freshwater drum, white bass, and catfish. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Throughout the week the Bayshore walleye catch has been very consistent. Some limits were reached but most boats harvested 3-6 fish for half a day out on the water. Fewer shorts were caught compared to previous weeks so it is presumed anglers are finding groups of larger fish. Yellow perch fishing has been dismal. About half the boats out were lucky to find any fish while the ones that did caught less than a handful of perch. While out fishing for walleye or perch anglers also caught a mixed bag of rough fish including freshwater drum, catfish, white perch, white bass, and round goby. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Anglers out of the Metro Launch were after walleye and found moderate success with some boats catching upwards of eight fish for a half day on the water. Walleye anglers also caught white bass, freshwater drum, and catfish. Anglers from shore were mostly out to have a good time. They found themselves catching white bass, freshwater drum, and catfish. There were only a few shore anglers out at Voyager Park over the past week. Most were out as families looking to catch and release anything that would bite. Anglers reported catching rock bass, white bass, catfish, and freshwater drum. At the beginning of the week the Suamico lot was very full with recreational boaters and fewer anglers, but toward the end of the week more anglers came out and the lot averaged nearly 50 boat trailers total. Anglers were mainly out for walleye, though some reported targeting musky. Walleye anglers had fairly consistent success bringing in anywhere between 5 and 15 walleye per trip. They also reported catching white perch, freshwater drum, and white bass. Musky anglers from the Suamico launch did not have as much success, however. Most anglers came in without catching any fish at all for a full day, or only caught a few northern pike. - Kara Winter, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Windy conditions this past week kept anglers from venturing out on the lake, but salmon fishing reports on the few calm days have been mixed. Many of the successful anglers have been fishing from 100-250 feet of water and have had their best luck on flasher flies and various spoons. Spoon choice and color have been inconsistent from day to day and many anglers have reported having luck frequently changing lures to find the best lure for that day. The salmon and trout have been fairly deep and holding almost 100 feet down. Both chinook salmon and rainbow trout were being caught in the same areas. As the fall spawning run nears, adult salmon will move in close to shore and fishing tactics will dramatically change. Walleye fishing reports have been good and were being caught on offshore structure from Ellison bay down to Sturgeon bay. Jigging (specifically aggressive rip jigging) soft plastics and stick baits has been the best method, while trolling has been fairly slow. Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be excellent throughout the Door County peninsula and have been biting best in 10-20 feet of water. Recent winds this past week have pushed some large bass in shallow making for a fairly good shore bite. Northern pike fishing in northern Door County has been good and most anglers have been catching pike as bycatch while fishing for bass of walleye. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Bad weather has limited fishing opportunities in the Sturgeon Bay area for both boats and shore anglers. Very little success was reported by any boats coming off the Lake Michigan side, with only a single fish here or there reported. Perch fishing has slowed according to reports over the past week also, and fewer boats than normal have been out to boot. Some walleye anglers have had some success trolling crawler harnesses out on the bay in 20-30 feet-of-water, but they have also reported a lot of sheepshead and catfish bycatch. Shore anglers have had very limited success for smallmouth or any species besides gobies for that matter, as storms and changing weather seemed to scatter fish. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Boats out of Chaudoir's Dock were fishing for walleye. The harvest was higher than previous weeks with the same amount of time on the water. Anglers out for walleye also caught plenty of freshwater drum, a few catfish, and the occasional white bass. Over the past week there was a mix of anglers and pleasure boaters out on the water at Little Sturgeon. Walleye anglers did OK harvesting 2-4 fish per trip. They were catching fewer small fish just like anglers south of Little Sturgeon. Perch anglers didn't do as well but there were still a few fish that were caught. Compared to previous weeks in the season perch fishing has been considerably slower with fewer fish being caught per boat and fewer boats catching any fish. While out fishing for walleye anglers caught drum and white bass while perch anglers caught the occasional round goby. There were a few walleye anglers out over the past week at Sawyer Harbor but most of the effort was placed on yellow perch. The walleye anglers did well with all groups harvesting fish and one group even limited out. Perch anglers on the other hand did have better success than at other launches but overall it was still less than favorable. Most groups harvested less than five fish for half a day on the water. Perch anglers out on the water also caught round goby. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Salmon fishing has been slower than average this week, due largely in part to strong winds and rain that made it difficult to get a boat out. Those that made it out on calmer days reported small catches, with most boats bringing in a rainbow or chinook, or two if they were lucky. Many boats targeted the 200-300 feet-of-water range, and the best reports came from boats fishing over 400-feet-deep that managed to bring in over a half-dozen rainbows over two days. They reported that most of the fish were down 60-75 feet and came on spoons, with no color standing out. Anglers have reported marking quite a few fish in 130-160 feet-of-water but not being able to hook up even after hours of fishing. Surface temps are still around 67 degrees with the thermocline between 80 and 100 feet down, according to angler reports. Dangerous waves have limited pier access, but at least one chinook was caught off the breakwall over the past week, although only one fish can't provide a pattern. Anglers are starting to fish more at the base of the pier in anticipation of the chinook run. Some anglers have managed to get some perch action upstream of Olson Park in Algoma, but many of them have been smaller, and the bites have been light. Nightcrawler pieces fished on bottom have been the best bait for perch. - Jacob Steckmesser, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing over the past week has been fairly slow out of Manitowoc and Two Rivers. Anglers on the lake have been able to find some 2-3 year old kings and a few rainbows by trolling 180-plus feet of water and down at least 80 feet. Action has been better in Manitowoc but inconsistent. Fishing pressure has been light with the recent weather. Water temps remain high with surface temps in the mid 60s. Pier fishermen are starting to see a little success in Manitowoc with kings finally showing up in the harbor and the river channel. Fish can be seen surfacing but the bite has been difficult likely do to warm water temps. No action from pier and shore fisherman in Two Rivers. The kings are certainly staging to make their spawning run. It's only a matter of time before we see them moving upriver. Whether or not they will bite depends on local conditions. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - It is starting to feel like fall: leaves are beginning to turn in area and the berry season is starting to come to an end. The weather looks like it will make for a great weekend on the ATV, camping, sturgeon fishing, or simply going for a hike looking for those last few berries that haven't been eaten. - Dale Romback, conservation warden, Wausaukee
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - All trails are open. The most popular trail to hike is the Tower Trail (3.6 mile loop) which also includes a section of the Ice Age Trail. Bald eagles, great blue herons, common mergansers and buffleheads have been seen flying over Sawyer Harbor. Many flowers are in bloom in the park. A turtle was spotted laying eggs along the rocky shoreline. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Whitefish Dunes State Park - All trails are open to hiking. The best trails at this time for hikers are the Red Trail (2.8-mile loop) and the beach shoreline (1.5 miles-no pets). Lots of rain in the past few weeks has been great for the wildflowers and plants. There have been a few mosquitoes with all the rain. A few fawns have been spotted in the park. The bird feeder has been busy with downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, and hummingbirds. A great place to see flickers is out on the Yellow Trail. A lot of frogs have been heard in the afternoon by visitors hiking the Green Trail. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Ducks are now flocked up and staging. Geese are still hitting grain stubble fields big time, early goose season hunters should take note. Have not been able to note any decent concentration of doves. Trout fishing is slow but should pick up shortly as water cools down. Blackberries are winding down quickly. Looks like a great white oak family acorn crop this year, I still cannot tell about the black oak family. Red maples are starting to turn in places as are swamp ash trees. Bugs are not a problem, no ticks right now, no deerflies and just a few mosquitos. Weather forecast is awesome -70ish and sunny for the next few days. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Winnebago System - Oshkosh DNR fisheries staff and volunteers continued the annual bottom trawling survey on Lake Winnebago this week. The trawling assessment provides critical information on year class strength, population trends, and abundance of game and nongame fish species. Similar to results from trawling in early August, the walleye catch has been dominated by fish ranging from 15-18 inches as well as yearlings ranging from 8-10 inches, which are from the strong 2013 and 2016 year classes. Good numbers of yearling crappies and yellow perch ranging from 5-8 inches were also sampled. The survey will continue through the first week of September and conclude in October. Although good walleye and panfish angling opportunities already exist, 2017 trawling results thus far have indicated that there may be even better angling opportunities on the horizon. Anglers choosing to spend time on the water continue to report productive walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago, particularly on fish ranging 15-18 inches. Anglers continue to use a combination of methods including trolling in the mud as well as jigging or using slip bobbers on reefs with the right wind conditions. Yellow perch fishing action has picked up throughout the system, particularly on Lake Winnebago. Many smaller fish are being caught; however, anglers willing to put in some extra effort have been finding some nice sized 9-11 inch fish. With fall approaching, some anglers are already eagerly waiting for the fall white bass run. Although reports have been hit and miss, white bass action already seems to be picking up on the Wolf River. - Adam D. Nickel, senior fisheries biologist, Oshkosh
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - Fishing pressure was relatively low during the week, which was followed by a noticeable increase in boaters over the weekend. As in previous weeks, boaters still reported most of the success, with anglers reporting little to no success off the piers. There were no reported catches off the piers during the week;however, one chinook salmon, one smallmouth bass, and one northern pike were caught off of the south pier this weekend. The surface temperature of the water remained warm at 66 degrees. Success off of boats was limited this week. Mainly rainbow trout were caught, along with four chinook salmon, coho salmon, and lake trout. Of the couple of fish that were measured, the rainbow trout weighed about 4 pounds, while the chinook salmon had a larger weight range of 2.5-16.5 pounds. Fish were caught in water depths ranging anywhere from 150-300 feet on spoons and flasher flies. - Katie Frankel, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Ozaukee County - Fishing pressure remained low throughout the week, although there was only a slight increase in fishing pressure observed over the weekend, Most of the success was reported from boaters as success off of the piers and harbor area remains rare. Three small rainbow trout and a chinook salmon were caught off the north Port Washington pier during the week, and three chinook salmon, one carp, and one freshwater drum were caught off the harbor area over the weekend. Most anglers were using spoons and spawn sacs, although two of the rainbow trout were caught on shiner minnows and worms. The surface temperature of the water ranged from 66-68 degrees. Success off the boats was hit or miss with some boaters catching a couple of fish and others returning to the ramp with none. Mainly chinook salmon and rainbow trout were caught, along with some lake trout, three coho salmon, and one brown trout. The lake trout consistently weighed about 7.5 pounds on average. The rainbow trout weighed anywhere from 6-11.5 pounds, and the weights of the chinook salmon varied even more, ranging from 1.5-22 pounds. Catches were reportedly made in water depths ranging from 70-275 feet mainly on spoons, although some were also made on flasher flies and spinning globes. - Katie Frankel, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Racine County - King salmon were reported caught this week from the piers on spoons. The kings were caught during low light periods, at night, and also in the afternoon. The water temperature was 67 degrees. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Kenosha County - The fishing was very slow with most catching zero or one fish. One boat reported catching 4. The best fishing seemed to be between 160 and 230 feet. Anglers ran their lures from 70 feet down to 90 feet down. Anglers caught fish on flasher/fly combos and spoons. Pier: Four king salmon were reported caught this week. Two were caught on crankbaits at night and two were caught in the early morning hours. The king salmon were caught on fire tiger crankbait, blue tiger crankbait, and two were caught on a red and white glow spoon. The water temperature was 67 degrees. Two king salmon and 3 brown trout were reported caught from shore this week. The king salmon were caught on spoons (glow and blue/chrome) and the brown trout were caught on white and pearl tube jigs. The fish were caught during low light periods and the water temperature was 67 degrees. - Dominic Cavalieri, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Wyalusing State Park -The park is in good condition and they are calling for fair weather this Labor Day weekend. We are booked up here at Wyalusing as most are out and about to enjoy the last remaining days of Summer. We also have the Jamboree coming up in the end of September as well as the Fall festival the weekend after. For next summer 2018 we will be having our Hummingbird banding on August 11, 12, 18 and 19. The hummingbirds have begun to migrate for this year but some can still be seen outside of the park office at the feeders. - Pam Dressler, visitor services associate
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - The first signs of fall are upon us. Purple martins and osprey have left. Shorebird migration numbers have slowed and swallows are flocking up. A few maple and sumac are beginning to turn. Goldenrod is in full bloom and New England aster are beginning to show their purple flowers. The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and Explorium will be open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and closed on Labor Day. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Turkey flocks have been very noticeable lately picking through area fields. Hunters heading out to the fields this week for dove hunting should be prepared to see large numbers of hunters in the available fields. Sunflower fields were planted late due to wet/cold weather earlier this year and may see mixed results in drawing birds in. Hunters should also be aware that Mud Lake, French Creek and Peter Helland Wildlife Areas no longer have a managed dove field on the property. Hunters can find field locations using the FFLIGHT application on the DNR website. Geese flocks are being seen in many areas utilizing harvested wheat fields. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - Moles and pocket gophers continue their burrowing activities in the upper soil regions, creating lawn problems for homeowners, golf courses, cemeteries, and athletic fields with their telltale soil ridges and mounds. As upper soil layers have remained moist and relatively cool during late summer, moles and gophers have likewise remained active in the upper soil layers where their diggings are evident. They use deeper tunnel systems during dry weather. Under good soil conditions, a mole may excavate a tunnel at a rate of 15 feet per hour. Excess soil is often deposited on the soil surface and deposit characteristics may be used to identify the perpetrator. Mole deposits, known as molehills, are circular in shape about 1 foot in diameter and 6 inches high. Gopher soil deposits are crescent-shaped mounds up to 2 feet across and 1 foot high. Both of these animals are preyed upon by badgers, coyotes, fox, weasels, skunks, and bull or gopher snakes, and they play active roles in soil aeration, flood control via improved drainage, and soil and plant diversity. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua