Published June 14, 2018 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
With the equinox not just a week away, summer is moving into full swing with visitors steaming into parks and campgrounds filling up. Pattison State Park had over 1,100 vehicles come through last weekend with many attracted by high flows over the waterfalls.
The hexagenia mayfly hatch has begun, makes for great fly fishing on central Wisconsin streams. Walleye fishing on the Winnebago System has been very good, with many anglers catching limits of 15-20 inch fish and some anglers are starting to target and catch yellow perch. Anglers are having the best luck trolling in the mud flats on Lake Winnebago. Lakes Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts are also producing fish for anglers through a variety of presentations.
Fewer anglers were out on the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto river this past week in part due to the cooler air temperatures and high wind. Ssome anglers were still having successful trips catching northern pike, smallmouth bass, walleye, catfish, crappie and rock bass. A couple anglers reported catching a musky at the mouth of the Peshtigo River.
On lower Green bay anglers at the Metro launch were catching their limit of walleye or close to it. Many anglers reported high numbers of freshwater drum and catfish being caught. High numbers of white bass were still being harvested at Voyager Park.
Bass fishing is picking up in northern Green Bay. Many anglers were catching smallmouth off the beds from Egg Harbor north to Ellison Bay. Water temps are still cool in the upper 50s but should continue to warm. The bass catch was good at Stone Quarry with the numbers reaching the 90s for some parties.
Lake Michigan anglers were reporting a variety of catches but mostly king salmon and lake trout with a few coho and rainbows were caught. There was heavy pressure out of Algoma where anglers were limiting out. Fishing was good to start out the week in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, but as the week progressed fishing slowed down a little bit. Salmon fishing was picking up out of Sheboygan and Port Washington. The Sheboygan Salmon Cup Tournament was held last weekend and competitors registered some nice chinook, many of which weighed in the high 20s. Trollers out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha reported mainly lake trout and coho along with a few kings.
Fawns and bear cubs are a more common site as they are getting pretty mobile. A variety of snakes are being seen in sunny spots including garter, western fox, ring necked and water snakes, all nonvenomous. Snapping and other turtles are finishing up laying their nests. Swallowtail butterflies are busy looking for nectar from blooming dogwoods and high bush cranberries; and chickadees are starting to look for food for their newborns.
Blackberries are in bloom and some wild strawberries are ripe for the picking. Bunchberry, false lilly of the valley, star flower are still in bloom, and the lovely maroon flower of the pitcher plant is starting to show up in the bogs.
This week is a new moon and this weekend half a dozen properties are holding astronomy or Universe in the Park programs so if skies are clear there should be some excellent viewing. For a list of all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."
June 19, 9 a.m.-noon Bluff Creek Workday: Removing invasives - Enjoy the sights and help control invasives at Bluff Creek SNA. 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, hand tools, and brush cutters to remove invasives. This work will help promote native seedlings we have planted in the woodland and wetland plant communities.
June 20, 9 a.m.-noon Rocky Run Workday: Removing invasives - Care for this site and learn something in the process. Rocky Run is a priority site because it is large, has rich sand prairie and oak savanna, and rare plants and animals live there. We are expanding the good areas by removing pine plantations, brush, and spreading native seed. We may be using herbicides to spray knapweed and brush or we will be piling slash in a pine plantation.
June 21, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. - Oskosh-Larsen Trail Prairie workday: Removing parsnip and sweet clovers - Celebrate the first day of summer out on the prairie! Restoration is taking place on the trail prairie and your help is needed. The Northeast DNR State Natural Area Crew has spent the past two years controlling brush and herbaceous weeds as well as prescribed burning. Help us make headway on herbaceous invasive species including wild parsnip and sweet clovers. If you cannot stay for the entire time, no problem, any amount of help is welcome! Bring a bag lunch, snack, and water. Work will include hand pulling with parsnip predators and mowing with brushcutters.
No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program /topic/lands/naturalareas/volunteer.html page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Pattison State Park - Pattison State Park is in full summer swing! Over the last weekend, we had over 1,100 vehicles come through our park! The wildflowers are still blooming along our hiking trails, and the waterfalls are attracting a lot of visitors. Campsites are filling up fast this summer, so don't forget to make your summer camping reservations. This coming weekend is Grandma's Marathon in Duluth - Two Harbors Minnesota. Our park gets a lot of marathon runners that want to camp for the weekend! It is sure to be a great race! Come and cheer on the marathon runners and stop by and visit Pattison State Park!- Gervase Thompson, ranger
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Summer is racing in the state forest. Fawns and bear cubs are a more common site this past week. Blackberries are in bloom and some wild strawberries are ripe for the picking. Bunchberry, False Lilly of the Valley, Star flower are still in bloom, and the lovely maroon flower of the Pitcher Plant is starting to show up in the bogs. Swallowtail butterflies are busy looking for nectar from nearby blooming dogwoods and high bush cranberries; and chickadees are starting to look for food for their newborns. Early morning brings serinades from many songbirds as well as the hum of mosquitos! There are no shortage of ticks also so one must come prepared for the different elements. It is a great time to be outside to witness all the events of the season. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - A variety of wildlife including a garter snake, barred owl, and even a bear have been spotted by park staff in the past week. The blue birds have been slow to show up, but are active now hunting insects near the park entrance. They are using park signs and even the entrance station itself as perches for hunting. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger
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 65-70 degrees over this past week. Fishing pressure was lower throughout this past week. Some anglers were having success catching catfish, crappie, northern pike, rock bass, and smallmouth bass. A couple anglers reported catching a muskellunge this week. Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo River was more concentrated on the river mouth area over the past 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. The water temperatures ranged from 66-68 degrees over the weekend. Fishing pressure is low along at the Peshtigo dam area. Anglers were catching some suckers and smallmouth bass this week. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Fishing pressure was lower overall this past week. The water temperatures for the Oconto river ranged from 65-69 degrees over the weekend. Fishing pressure has remained good at the Oconto Park II area this week. Anglers were reporting success catching some perch, smallmouth bass, and walleye over the weekend. Anglers on the pier were having some success catching catfish, 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. A good number of anglers used the Pensaukee River boat ramp this week. Anglers were reporting success catching northern pike, perch, and walleye. While 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. Fishing pressure was overall relatively low over this week. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Most anglers at the Metro boat launch are catching their limit of walleye or close to it. Many anglers reported high numbers of freshwater drum and catfish being caught in addition to being very large in size. A couple muskie anglers were interviewed but none were successful. No shore anglers were interviewed. High numbers of white bass are still being harvested at Voyager Park along with a few freshwater drum and smallmouth bass. After the weekend storm went through very few walleyes were caught at Suamico and Geano Beach but as the week progressed boaters were harvesting two to three fish per person up to limits. Most anglers reported catching numerous freshwater drum, a few white perch and an occasional northern pike. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay
The walleye catch over the past week at Bayshore has been low and inconsistent. There were a couple boats that caught their limit but the average haul consisted of two to three walleyes for half a day on the water. The only thing anglers could catch with any reliability was freshwater drum. While out anglers also caught the occasional catfish, white bass, and white perch. Despite the low harvest the parking lot was at least half full throughout the week. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Door County - Very few anglers were spotted this week along the Sturgeon Bay shore. The folks that were out were catching rock bass and a few perch. Anglers had luck with perch using worm bits and a lightweight jig. Many folks were out on the lake for smallmouth bass along the flats. Spawning is still occurring along the beds. Good luck was had with tubes and live minnows. Carp and schools of minnows were spotted on the east side of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal pier. Many anglers were out fishing bass and walleye at Stone Quarry. The bass catch was good with the numbers reaching the 90s for some parties. Water temperature reported at 62 degrees. Dangerous waves early in the week at the Stone Quarry shore kept bass fishermen from casting out. By mid to late week folks were catching occasional walleye and bass. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Bass fishing is picking up again in Northern Green Bay. Many anglers are catching smallmouth off the beds on a variety of plastics from Egg Harbor north to Ellison Bay. It has been mostly small male fish on the beds near shore. The islands have also been very productive. A few pairs of spawning fish have been spotted. Warm weather forecasted for this week should help to bring the females up to the beds. Some anglers have been able to find larger fish by casting jerk baits in the deeper water off of bedding areas. Water temps are still cool in the upper 50s but should continue to warm. Shore anglers in Egg Harbor, Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay have been targeting bedded bass near the piers. Please keep in mind that most of these fish have been caught before. Anglers have yet to catch any perch or walleye. Very little fishing pressure in Gills Rock over the weekend. Rowleys Bay remains busy. The bass are now spawned out in the Mink River but bedded bass and roaming fish can be found in the bay and surrounding areas. Reibots Creek has been a popular spot. The Mink River and Reibolts Creek are tributaries of Lake Michigan meaning these areas are catch and release only until June 15. A few rainbows have been caught out of Baileys Harbor but there has been almost no angler effort to report.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
A few walleye anglers were out over the past week at Little Sturgeon Bay but no one came back with any fish. Smallmouth bass fishing has been less successful than previous weeks with the average catch being around five fish per trip. Nonetheless, anglers were still hooking into freshwater drum, northern pike and the sporadic round goby. Smallmouth bass fishing has slackened at Sawyer Harbor with the water temps ranging from the low to mid 60s. Anglers caught between zero and seven fish while out on the water for a couple of hours. While fishing anglers also caught plenty of freshwater drum. There has also been an increase in the rock bass catch as well. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Kewaunee County - King salmon and lake trout catches were had by most folks that went out this weekend. Some chinook anglers had luck 1,000-1,050 feet out and 130 feet deep using dipsy divers. Not too much luck was had with spoons or fishing surface waters. Water temps reported at 50-51 degrees between 50-100 feet with no significant thermocline. A few anglers were out on the Kewaunee pier casting out for king and coho with no success. Heavy pressure was had during the weekend at Algoma as anglers were limiting out on mostly chinook and lake trout. Large fish out there were breaking 30-60 pound monofilament. A few coho and rainbows were caught occasionally. Water temperature reported at 52-53 degrees. Strong east winds kept anglers at the Algoma shoreline and pier at bay some days but a few folks were casting out with little to no luck with salmon or trout.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing was good to start out the week in Manitowoc and Two Rivers, but as the week progressed fishing slowed down a little bit. Fishing picked back up over the weekend with large fish still being caught. There was even a king caught off the pier this weekend. Hopefully more fish will start being caught off of the pier. Anglers have been targeting fish in depths of 80 to 120 feet of water, with most of the fish coming higher up in the water column. Kings have been caught on aqua, frog, and super frog colored flies. Copper and lead core lines have had success taking fish this week as well. Rainbows are being caught on aqua colored peanut flies on highlines, with inline weights. Guys are fishing both to the North and South of Manitowoc and having mixed results in both locations. Fishing effort has started to increase on the piers with little to show for. There was a 15-pound king caught off the south pier on a spoon. Few other anglers had hits on alewife that were just sitting on the bottom but failed to land the fish. Bass fishing has been slow in the harbor will few fish to show. Northern pike are still being caught, as well as a few catfish. Two Rivers anglers had good success earlier in the week, but things slowed down when the wind was out of the east for three straight days. Anglers had success in the 90 to 130 feet of water. The morning bite has been more productive compared to the afternoon/night bite. Dodger fly combos have been getting most of the hits for kings, with greens and aqua colored flies. Fish were caught on both downriggers down 50 feet, as well as dipseys. Fishing on the piers was slow over the past week with nothing to show. Fishing pressure is slowing starting to increase. Anglers fishing by the coast guard station have had decent luck fishing for bullheads and carp using worms. Catfish are being caught periodically as well. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Newport State Park - It is starting to feel like summer (finally) in northern Door County. Our backpack campsites are being well used. Campers and visitors are being treated to some clear nights for star gazing at Newport, Wisconsin's only International Dark Sky Park. There are scheduled dark sky viewing programs throughout the summer months. Be sure to visit during new moon when there is no moonlight to interfere with viewing. Check the events calendar for dates. Since it is a little cooler on the northeast part of the peninsula, the wildflowers bloom a bit later here than other places. Our pockets of boreal forest offer glimpses of gaywings, thimbleberry, twin flower, jewelweed and dwarf lake iris, a plant on the state and federal threatened list. Visitors have reported seeing snakes in sunny spots along the trails and lakeshore. Reports so far have been about garter, western fox, ring necked and water snakes, all nonvenomous. Many of the migrating birds have moved through the area. Though many of the warblers have gone north, we still hear a lot of black throated greens. Pileated woodpeckers have been seen in the woods. White pelicans and bald eagles have been spotted along the lakeshore. - Beth Bartoli, naturalist
Whitefish Dunes State Park - All trails are open to hiking. The recommended hiking trails at this time are the Red or Black trails. Directions to get to the swimming beach is to hike the Red trail five minutes to second beach access. This is a great time for birding along the Lake Michigan shoreline. This week there were sightings of red-breasted mergansers, goldeneyes, and buffleheads. The bird feeder has been busy with red headed woodpeckers, pileated woodpeckers, and red breasted woodpeckers. Visitors also spotted painted turtles on the Green trail by Clark Lake. 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 - Snapping turtles are finishing up laying their nests. Saw two fawns following mommy out into the fields, they are getting pretty mobile. Finally starting to dry out a bit, trout streams are slightly low but very fishable. The hexagenia mayfly hatch has begun, makes for great fly fishing! Have seen no upland broods except a killdeer brood. Mosquitos have really died down and it is once again very pleasant to be out and about. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Lake Winnebago System
Walleye fishing on the Winnebago System has been very good, with many anglers catching limits of 15-20 inch fish. Anglers are having the best luck trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits in the mud flats on Lake Winnebago, but fish can also be captured trolling, casting, and jigging reefs, particularly in windier conditions. Lakes Poygan, Winneconne and Butte des Morts are also producing fish for anglers through a variety of presentations. Most anglers on Lake Winnebago are targeting walleye, but some anglers are starting to target and catch yellow perch. A big perch year class in 2016 should provide quality fishing opportunities throughout the summer. - Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - Salmon fishing started to pick up this week with good numbers of coho and 20-plus pound chinook being caught in 80-130 feet of water to the South as well as to the North. Spoons, flickers, orange dodgers, and green/blue peanut flies were all successful at hooking salmon and rainbow trout. The Sheboygan Salmon Cup Tournament was held this weekend at Angler's Avenue where competitors registered some nice chinook, many of which weighed in the high 20s. Pier fishing continues to be slow for salmon and trout anglers, however a few chinook have been caught off of the South Pier by anglers using alewives. Early morning anglers targeting white fish are having some luck at the very end of both the North and South piers. Most of the white fish are being caught with alewives, although others are having luck with jigging spoons. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Ozaukee County - The salmon and rainbow trout bite was on full force Wednesday morning at Port Washington with many boats reaching their limits in just a couple of hours. Anglers who fished to the North, South, and directly East in 80-120 feet of water were all very successful. Orange dodgers and green/blue flasher flies were the most popular bait choice, although others were having just as much luck using spoons. As the week progressed, catch rates and fishing pressure slowly declined. Surface temps are reported to be in the low 50s. Anglers targeting salmon from the piers continue to have little luck. A few brown trout are being caught with stick baits in the retention pond directly East of Coal Dock Park. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Milwaukee County - Stormy weather limited boaters from heading out on the water through the weekend due to higher wind and wave action. However, determined early morning boaters targeting salmon have been launching between 5 and 7 a.m. are continuing to have success returning with limits by the late morning/ early afternoon. Average fish landed included 2-5 pound coho, 17- 18 pound chinook, (the largest weighing in over 28 pounds), 5 -10 pound rainbows, and a 14 pound lake trout. Most anglers reported fish hitting lines the top 30 feet of water or less, with rainbows, lakers, and chinook being deeper. Fishing depth ranged from 70 - 110 feet of water. Favorite lures included a variety of dodgers, flies, and spoons. Anglers also continue to see large alewife bait balls throughout their fishing grounds. McKinley Pier fishing pressure through the weekend was low due to the stormy weather. Very few alewives continue to be seen at the surface lakeside. Anglers targeting salmon and trout both on the lakeside and harbor side continue to have very little success. Low fishing pressure occurred from McKinley Shore to Lakeshore State Park due to the inclement weather. Those few anglers trying their luck for trout, salmon, panfish, and bass had little success. Construction continues near the Summerfest grounds, creating the need for alternate routes in order to access shore fishing near the lighthouse and Lakeshore State Park. Please also be aware festival season has begun around the Summerfest grounds, expect larger crowds and more traffic in the vicinity. Very low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island through South Shore. Anglers targeting trout and salmon found little success. - Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Racine County - Good fishing over the weekend for boaters. Most were catching fish from 75-150 feet of water. Mainly lake trout and coho along with a few Kings. Boaters were catching most fish trolling spoons and flies. Water started to clear up over the weekend bringing in a few alewives to the pier. Most fisherman were casting spoons. Water started to clear up but the recent rain has stirred it up again. -Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Kenosha County - Fisherman were reported catching cohos and King's mainly. Most fish were caught from 60-140 fow trolling spoons and flies. Water temp was reported to be around upper 50s in the top foot. There were reports from anglers catching a couple coho from the pier at times. Water was still muddy by the piers but alewives were being caught in relatively good numbers. -Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Wyalusing State Park -Fishing has not been very good. Due to heavy rainfall, water levels are rising. All of the trails are open. Spiderwart and white false indigo are in bloom. Birders have spotted blue heron, mourning doves, kingfisher, pileated woodpecker, swallows, blue jays, chickadee, titmouse, yellow warblers, and cardinals. (sighted at Green Cloud Picnic Area and Long Valley Road). Canoe and kayak renters enjoy viewing the bald eagle and its nest that is located slightly off course of our canoe trail. - Hope Schier, naturalist
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Visitors were hiking, boating, and fishing over the weekend. Canoes, kayaks and bikes are available to rent. Ticks and mosquitoes are out so remember to use bug spray and check daily after being in the woods. People were escaping the heat and bugs by being near the water at the beach or out on the lake. There is a dog beach on Water St, west of the Buckhorn bridge. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. Campers have been going a mile down the road to the free beach at Friendship Lake. Lupine are blooming out in the prairie. - Heather Wolf, park manager