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Outdoor Report

Published June 7, 2018 by the Central Office

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The past week brought some rain and cooler temperatures, but the coming week looks a bit warmer. With the recent rain many river systems especially in the north are running above average. The lower Wisconsin River is running about normal and many sandbars have finally returned. Campgrounds are getting busier, and canoers and kayakers are active on rivers.

Fewer anglers were out across the state this past week in part due to the cooler air temperatures, rain and high winds. White bass on the Wolf River did not make a significant run this year and anglers were having a difficult time catching them with any consistency.

Ruffed grouse have been heard drumming in the north. - Photo credit: Kevin Feind
Ruffed grouse have been heard drumming in the north.Photo credit: Kevin Feind

Some anglers were catching crappie, northern pike, rock bass, smallmouth bass, catfish and walleye on the Menominee and Oconto rivers. On Green Bay anglers saw consistent success at the start of the week with many walleyes harvested out of Geano Beach, the Green Bay Metro launch and Bayshore Park.

Along Door County the Sawyer Harbor ramp was crowded over the weekend with near shore water temperatures reaching up to 70 degrees. Bass fishing has been increasingly getting better. Many anglers were catching fish at Little Sturgeon Bay and Stone Quarry. The warm weather last weekend had the male smallmouth up in the shallows and making beds but the cold front that hit mid-week cooled the water and caused those fish to move back out.

Lake Michigan fishing was mixed. A few parties came back to Algoma with chinook and lake trout. The chinook action picked up at Two Rivers with multiple fish being caught over 25 pounds this week. Anglers fishing out of Sheboygan and Port Washington were having luck catching chinook and coho salmon along with the occasional lake and rainbow trout. Cooler temperatures and 15-20 mph winds limited some boaters from going too far on Lake Michigan out of Milwaukee. When weather calmed down, anglers targeting coho and chinook salmon continue to reach their limits landing fish.

Grouse are drumming in the Northwoods. Black bear sows with up to three cubs are being spotted with cubs starting to go through growing spurts. Elk cows have been making calf scouting moves, looking for a safe and quiet area to have their calves. Many have calved already and many deer fawns are being seen. Remember fawns are left alone for long periods but are not abandoned. If you see one back away and leave it be.

In the forest wetlands, the spring peepers have quieted down somewhat, but now the toads, tree frogs, green frogs and bullfrogs contribute to the nighttime symphony. Turtles nesting season is in full swing. If you see a turtle trying to cross a road, feel free to assist it on its journey, if you can do so safely.

Bird migration is beginning to slow down. Summer residents have settled in for the nesting season, and we are beginning to see young hatching. Families of Canadian geese are being seen all over. Pairs of sandhill cranes with colts are also being seen. Loon chicks are hatching. A number of both glossy and white-faced ibis have been seen on Horicon Marsh, along with black-necked stilt, godwit, white-rumped sandpipers and other shorebirds.

Some of the spring woodland wildflowers are still in bloom but fading fast. Trillium and yellow bellwort still color the forest floor but are now joined by wood phlox, wild geranium, spiderwort, jack-in-the-pulpit, and wild columbine. Raspberries and blackberries are almost ready to bloom, but aren't there quite yet. Another plant has also made an appearance so watch out for poison ivy!

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

June 8, 9 a.m.-noon - Ridgeway Pine Relict Workday - Ridgeway features towering cliffs of pine with northern plant species underneath and extensive oak savanna. Help the Friends of Ridgeway Pine Relict, Inc. care for this site by removing invasive plants and planting native plants. Workdays are once a month on the second Friday. We will be removing invasives by mowing, pulling, or spraying.

June 9, 9 a.m.-noon - Bluff Creek Workday - Come see what's blooming and help volunteers during our Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays. Enjoy a short hike through the woods to a springs complex, then use sprayers to remove invasives or aspen girdling tools to remove aspen. This work will help promote native seedlings we have planted in the woodland and wetland plant communities.

June 14, 9 a.m.-noon - Maiden Rock Bluff Workday - Join us for our monthly workday at Maiden Rock. Maiden Rock is known for peregrine falcons, 400 foot bluffs, and rare plants. But there are concerns; invasive brush and red cedar are invading the remnant bluff prairie and oak savanna. Recent work has really changed this site. We will continue that work by removing invasives on the flatter areas. You will be trained onsite.

Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Jack-in-the-pulpet - Photo credit: DNR
Jack-in-the-pulpitPhoto credit: DNR

Brule River State Forest - The past week brought some rain and cooler temperatures, but the coming week looks a bit warmer. Perfect weather is on the way--weather as it should be for June with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s every day. There's a chance for a thunderstorm one day as well, just to keep it interesting! The woods and roadsides are dotted with the colors of summer. Jack-in-the-pulpit, wild columbine, wild roses, strawberries, American vetch, and bunchberries are all in bloom. Raspberries and blackberries are almost ready to bloom, but aren't there quite yet. The red maples are starting to shed their loads of helicopter seeds. In the forest wetlands, the spring peepers have quieted down somewhat, but now the toads, tree frogs, green frogs and bullfrogs contribute to the nighttime symphony. Turtles nesting season is in full swing. Warm sunny afternoons bring the turtles out to absorb the warmth and to scout for suitable nesting places. Vehicles are probably the number one cause of mortality on adult turtles and these are nearly entirely adult breeding females. If you see a turtle trying to cross a road, feel free to assist it on its journey, if you can do so safely. The campgrounds are getting busier, canoers and kayakers as well as anglers are active on the river. The river flow is a bit higher than the seasonal average with the recent rain. Up-to-the-minute flows and river level are available at usgs.gov. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Amnicon Falls State Park - Spring is slowly advancing against cold nights and wet weather. Recent rain has the Amnicon running high and Now and Then Falls is flowing nicely. Wildflowers are progressing with the most recent sighting being columbine. Another plant has also made an appearance so watch out for poison ivy! - David Lindsley, ranger

Pink ladyslipper - Photo credit: Gervase Thompson
Pink ladyslipperPhoto credit: Gervase Thompson

Pattison State Park - Summer is here...with a chance of flurries! At Pattison State Park this past week, we have seen wide temperature fluctuations, thanks to Lake Superior. We have had highs in the 80s and also highs around 50. How do you prepare for that? Easy, just make sure you bring your sweatshirt and winter jacket, just in case! There have been many wildflowers spotted within our park as well as a friendly Grouse near Little Manitou Falls. Plan a trip to Pattison State Park to camp, hike, swim, explore, and to view the beautiful waterfalls. - Gervase Thompson, ranger

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Bird migration is beginning to settle down in the Grantsburg Area. Our summer residents have settled in for the season, and we are beginning to see some young hatching. Families of Canadian geese are being seen all over Crex Meadows and surrounding areas. A pair of sandhill cranes with one colt were also seen on June 6 in a field across from Fish Lake Wildlife Area. We have not yet received any reports of cygnets being seen, but they should be coming soon. Many American bittern are being seen on Main Dike Road, near Dikes 4 & 5- sometimes three or four birds at a time. Also be on the lookout for families of black bear! A sow with three cubs was spotted on East Refuge Road, and there have also been sightings on Kylingstad Road. Snapping turtles are laying eggs at this time as well, and have been seen in several locations around the area. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The South and North Fork are at a normal level for this time of year. People that have been using the river have reported an enjoyable and quiet experience. Soil conditions may limit trail mowing, on the Flambeau Hills Hiking, Biking and Ski Trail, so check with the forest headquarters for trail conditions. Loon chicks are hatching, turtles laying eggs, songbirds nesting, fireflies coming out and strawberries ripening. Blooming plants are everywhere. The forest floor is bursting with newness. Geese and ducks are nesting and groups of goslings are being seen. Song birds are defending their territories where the females are sitting on the nests and youngsters are appearing. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, wood cock, sandhill cranes, swans, red breasted grosbeaks, orioles and Myrtle's warblers, all being seen and enjoyed. The deer and elk have been birthing this years' young. The elk cows have been making calf scouting moves, looking for a safe and quiet area to have their calves. Many have calved already. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be partly sunny and a slight chance of t-storms and a high of 76 and low of 55. Saturday, partly sunny with a high of 78 and a low of 54. Sunday will be mostly sunny, with a high of 77 and a low of 56. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Summer caught up in short order on the forest. Long strings of geese can be seen and heard heading north reminding one that it is still early June. Bear cubs are starting to go through growing spurts and fawns are showing up along roadsides! Cotton grass is blooming nicely in Powel Marsh. Bunch berry and starflower are gracing the landscape with their lovely white blooms, and swallowtail butterflies are looking for the dogwood, highbush cranberry and lilac for nectar. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Fewer anglers were out on the Menominee river this past week in part due to the cooler air temperatures and high wind, however some anglers were still having successful trips. The water temperatures on the Menominee ranged from 70-72 degrees over this past week. Some anglers were having success catching crappie, northern pike, rock bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, northern pike, and walleye. A couple anglers reported catching a muskellunge this week. Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo river was lower over the past week. The water temperatures ranged from 70-75 degrees over the weekend. Anglers were catching some suckers and smallmouth bass along at the Peshtigo dam area this week. Lower fishing pressure was observed at the Peshtigo river mouth ramp over the last week. Anglers were having success catching northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye this week. A few anglers were targeting muskellunge this week. A couple anglers did report catching a muskellunge this week at the mouth of the Peshtigo River. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Fishing pressure was lower overall this past week. The water temperatures for the Oconto river ranged from 67-78 degrees over the weekend. Fishing pressure has remained good at the Oconto Park II area this week. Anglers were reporting success catching some northern pike, perch, smallmouth bass, and walleye over the weekend. Anglers on the pier were having some success catching northern pike, perch, and smallmouth bass this week. Anglers using the boat launch were reporting success catching channel catfish, northern pike, perch, smallmouth bass, and walleye. Pensaukee River anglers were reporting success catching northern pike, perch, and walleye. Walleye were being caught at depths between 12 and 18 feet deep. Fishing pressure has decreased this week at the Stiles Dam and Iron Bridge Area. Anglers were reporting success catching crappie, northern pike, and smallmouth bass. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Geano beach anglers saw consistent success at the start of the week with many walleyes being harvested as well as the occasional perch. Similar with the rest of the bay success dwindled as the cold front moved in. Throughout the week anglers also caught freshwater drum and northern pike. The parking lot averaged less than a dozen trailers in it over the past week. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Earlier on in the week walleye anglers out of the Metro boat launch were taking advantage of consistent catches and bringing back near limits worth of fish. Harvested fish were from 15-20 inches. As the week progressed and the temperature dropped fish became less active and catch rates diminished. Few fish were harvested by Saturday. A couple musky anglers were also out on the water over the past week but no one was able to net a fish. While either on a boat or from shore anglers caught plenty of freshwater drum. The occasional northern pike, catfish, and white bass were also caught. The lot was about a quarter to half full throughout the week and near full over the weekend. Most anglers fishing at Voyager were out for a good time and a few fish to bend their poles. Freshwater drum, white bass, smallmouth bass, and the occasional perch were caught. There was a blend of bow fishermen and hook and line anglers out over the past week out on Duck Creek. Bow fishermen had 15-25 common carp in their buckets for a few hours out on the water. Most Suamico anglers were out targeting walleye with all boats netting a few for half a day on the water. Earlier on in the week warmer weather improved catch rates but as the week progressed both the temperature and catch dropped. Harvest ranged greatly with many boats at the beginning of the week catching limits. While out for walleyes anglers also caught plenty of freshwater drum and the sporadic northern pike. The lot was near full throughout the entire week. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Most boaters out of Bayshore are harvesting their limit of walleyes or close to it, with most groups of anglers (2-3 people) catching around 20 walleyes total from sunrise to 1:00pm. Unlike last week many anglers are reporting that fish that are being caught have been oversized for harvesting but those that are being harvested are mid teens to low twenties. Most fish were caught using flicker shad/minnow. Shore anglers were catching very few fish but did catch a few northern pike. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - The Sawyer Bay ramp was heavily crowded over the weekend with water temperatures reaching up to 70 degrees near the shore. This cooled down to 60 degrees with anglers coming back with large walleye. There has been very little fishing pressure at the Sturgeon Bay pier. Schools of minnows and carp could be spotted due to good visibility. Heavy winds late week prevented anglers from going out. Early in the week water temperatures at Stone Quarry were reported at 64-66 degrees with consistent winds throughout. The water cleared out by Tuesday reading 58-60 degrees with hundreds of smallmouth being caught throughout the day. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Anglers stated that fishing at night resulted in much higher numbers of walleyes being caught near Chaudior's Dock. Bass fishing has been increasingly getting better at Little Sturgeon Bay with many anglers catching in the upwards of 20 bass. Most anglers said they hit best in the early morning. A few walleye and muskellunge boaters were out but all were unsuccessful. The lot was full this weekend due to the long weekend and hot weather resulting in very few parking spots left even in overflow parking. Those that were fishing from the pier reported a variety of fish being caught. Sawyer Harbor bass bite has been getting better but fewer fish were caught. Many anglers had stated that they had seen plenty in the shallows but were uninterested in biting. Those that were successful in catching some bass were using tubes to get them to hit. Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

The warm weather last weekend had the male smallmouth up in the shallows and making beds but the cold front that hit mid-week cooled the water and caused those fish to move back out. Water temps are ranging greatly from the high 40s to low 60s. A few bedded bass can still be seen in warm sheltered bays but most bass have been found cruising 6-12 feet of water adjacent to their bedding locations. Some nice fish have been caught but the primary catch is still 1-4 pound male bass. Fishing pressure was fairly light this weekend with the wind and rain but some anglers still did well catching 30-plus fish per trip casting jerk baits and small plastics. Angler effort has been centered around Egg Harbor, Peninsula State Park and Ephraim. Fishing pressure from shore was also light over the weekend but anglers in Ephraim were still catching fish. Still no fishing out of Gills Rock. Anglers in Rowleys Bay are still doing well bass fishing in the Mink River and surrounding areas depending on wind direction and current from Lake Michigan. Fishing pressure was lower with the weather this weekend. No word on any salmon or trout out of Baileys Harbor.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - Morning shore temperatures were 50-52 degrees and the deep water was 48 degrees. Afternoon water temperatures would increase to 60 degrees. Early in the week a couple folks came back with lake trout with temperature readings of 38 degrees at 100 feet. Some folks were casting out for salmon from the Kewaunee pier with no success. A few parties came back to Algoma with chinook and lake trout. Fishing pressure was limited. Weather was mostly sunny and cool. Folks are beginning to cast out for crappie at the Algoma shoreline and pier. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - As the week progressed the number of fish being caught increased. Chinooks are being caught around 100-150 feet of water on dodger flies. Green and blue flies have been producing the chinooks as well as orange spoons on downriggers. Coho have been far and few in-between, with chinook dominating the catches, as well as lake trout. The number of anglers fishing on the Manitowoc piers have still been low; however, they are starting to increase. No fish have been caught from the pier recently. Northern Pike are still being caught in the Manitowoc harbor by the marina, using spinners. An occasional musky was caught as well. Anglers targeting smallmouth bass have not had much success yet in the harbor. The chinook action has picked up at Two Rivers with multiple fish being caught over 25 pounds this week. It seems most of the fish are being caught between 120-150 feet. Fish are being caught on both downriggers and dipseys, with the target area of 50 feet down. It seems like most boats are headed south of town. Lake Trout are still being caught at a decent pace, even with lake trout being caught on high lines. Anglers have not had any luck out on the Two Rivers piers and fishing effort is low. The carp fest took place this past weekend and it brought anglers from around the country. A 29-pound carp was caught and was on top of the leader board. Other than the carp fest, the angler efforts were low with little results to show for. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Whitefish Dunes State Park - The bird feeder has been busy with indigo buntings, orioles, and red-breasted grosbeaks. Spring wildflowers are starting to come up. Trilliums, yellow lady slippers, and columbine are in full bloom. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - It has been an unusual fishing year. The white bass on the Wolf River did not make a significant run and anglers were having a difficult time catching them with any consistency. Bluegills in most central Wisconsin lakes have been difficult to find as well. The panfish didn't seem to appear as in past years. Fawns are now on the landscape. When you see a fawn, please keep your distance and allow the fawn some space. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Pressure on the Sheboygan ramps has been low throughout the week; however, those who went out are having luck catching chinook and coho salmon along with the occasional lake and rainbow trout. Anglers using dodgers and green/blue peanut flies in 60-135 feet of water are having the most luck. The largest fish recorded at this location this week was a chinook salmon that weighed 23 pounds. Pier fishing remains slow and anglers targeting salmon and trout continue to have very little success. Morning and afternoon anglers who are targeting white fish are having some luck at the very end of the South pier and half way down the North pier. The bait of choice is alewives soaked on the bottom. Alewives continue to be seen at and just below the surface, which may explain why there are good numbers of pelicans arriving in the harbor. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Ozaukee County - Port Washington anglers targeting rainbow trout, coho, and chinook salmon in the beginning of the week found success using green/silver spoons, orange or green dodgers, and green/gold or blue/green peanut flies. Most anglers were in 150-200 feet of water directly East of the harbor or 2-5 miles to the South. As the week progressed, catch rates decreased as the cold front came in. Pier fishing was very slow this week with only one report of a whitefish being caught off of the North pier. Pressure near the Port Washington Utility warm water discharge remained low throughout the week. Anglers using spoons and alewives to target salmon and trout in this location had little to no luck. Some fishermen using worms were catching common carp and round gobys. Anglers are reminded that it is illegal to use gobys as bait. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Milwaukee County - Cooler temperatures through the weekend and 15-20 mph winds limited some boaters from going too far on Lake Michigan this weekend due to higher wave action in Milwaukee County. When weather calmed down, anglers targeting coho salmon continue to reach their limits landing fish between 2-4 pounds in 80 -100 feet, using a variety of flickers, dodgers, and peanut flies. Anglers targeting chinook found success landing fish in mostly 130-150 feet of water. The occasional rainbow or lake trout were also landed using flasher/flies in 60-100 feet of water. Most anglers reported fish hitting lines the top 30 - 50 feet of water or less, with trout and chinook being a little deeper. With the cooler weather, rainstorms, and higher winds, alewives continue to be seen at the McKinley Pier surface lakeside but in fewer numbers. Anglers targeting salmon and trout both on the lakeside and harbor side continue to have very little success. Only one small rainbow was landed this week lakeside, using alewives for bait. There is road construction occurring near the Summerfest grounds, creating the need for alternate routes in order to access shore fishing near the lighthouse and Lakeshore State Park. With the cooler weather, rainstorms, and higher winds, alewives continue to be seen at the surface but in fewer numbers. Anglers targeting brown trout or coho salmon were observed by the Summerfest grounds, Lakeshore State Park, and Veterans Park with little success using spawn, spoons or minnows. Anglers targeting panfish, bass, and northern pike near the Summerfest lagoon and lakeside found very little action. Very low fishing pressure occurred throughout the week from Jones Island through South Shore. Anglers targeting brown trout and salmon found little success even with much anticipated westerly winds. Anglers trying their luck near Cupertino for northern pike, also saw little action.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Video Report - About normal flow for time of year at VFW Park at Prairie du Sac just below the dam. Lots of sandbars are out there. Mallards are on the river. Birds are singing. Fishing is turning on pretty good with a lot of smallmouth bass success. Uncertain weather pattern for the weekend. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Horicon DNR Service Center area

Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Migrants have passed through and the marsh is settling down for the nesting season. Young goslings are becoming adolescents and adults are beginning to molt out their feathers. Nonbreeders have begun to fly north for their annual molt migration. A number of both glossy and white-faced ibis have been seen on the marsh. Locations have been on Dike Road and Highway 49. The area north of the historical marker on highway 49 is great for shorebirds including black-necked stilt, godwit, white-rumped sandpipers and more. Be sure to visit the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center located at N7725 Hwy. 28 in Horicon and go through the Explorium! Visit www.horiconmarsh.org for all of the events happening this summer at Horicon Marsh! - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Perrot State Park - Some of the spring woodland wildflowers are still in bloom but fading fast. Trillium and yellow bellwort still color the forest floor but are now joined by wood phlox and wild geranium, and spiderwort. The river levels have stabilized and the dock has been installed. The hiking trails are in good condition. The section of Perrot Ridge trail that heads up from Perrot Post remains closed, but you can still make a loop up to the Ridge and back. Stop by the office and pick up a trail map. - Lois Larson, park manager

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Lake Wissota State Park - Species of birds seen or heard include: belted kingfishers, ruby throated hummingbirds, scarlet tanagers, a variety of wrens, red polls, bluebirds, lake gulls, golden finches, mallard ducks, common loons, great blue herons, red winged blackbirds, phoebes, Canada geese, sandhill cranes, robins, mourning doves, nuthatches, black capped chickadees, pileated woodpeckers, barred owls and bald eagles. The whitetail does are having their fawns. Park trails are generally dry and in very good condition. We would like to remind everyone that when you observe or come across young birds or animals do not touch them and please leave them as they are. Their parents are very likely to be close by, and are quietly waiting for you to move on. Generally, they will wait until you leave the area before attending to their young. - Nathan Fries, ranger



Last Revised: Thursday, June 07, 2018

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