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Outdoor Report

Published June 28, 2018 by the Central Office

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After last week's rain and high water, things are settling down and getting back to normal just in time for the Fourth of July Holiday. There are still some closures on properties in northwestern Wisconsin, but many properties and facilities remain open.

Some roads and trails at Amnicon Falls and Pattison state parks remain closed but campgrounds are open. Day use areas at Pattison remain closed as is the beach because of the water drawdown to repair the dam and Highway 35 crossing. The horse trail at Governor Knowles State Forest, one campground at Merrick State Park and trails and picnic areas at Interstate Park along the river are still underwater. Canoe landings at the Brule River are no longer under water and are useable once again.


"Balancing Act" This 18-foot aspen log was found balanced perfectly on an aspen stump on the Beaver Trail at Pattison State Park during a trail damage assessment hike by park staff. Photo credit: DNR

Canoe and kayak traffic on the river has been busy on many rivers. Paddlers should not that the Lower Wisconsin River is running very high for this time of year and virtually no sandbars are available for camping.

Central Wisconsin trout streams are at normal to slightly elevated levels - perfect for fishing. The Hex hatch is starting to wind down but the fish have started to hit spinners again.

Walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago has been pretty good with many anglers reporting catching limits. As the calendar turns from June to July many anglers start focusing on yellow perch. The fishing has been superb on Lake Winnebago, but anglers should be aware that there is a considerable blue-green algae bloom occurring throughout Lake Winnebago. The fish disease VHS has been confirmed as the cause of a large fish kill of mostly sheepshead in Lake Winnebago in April.

The Peshtigo and Oconto rivers rose by more than 2 feet over the last week, but are now back to more normal water levels. Anglers were catching some suckers and smallmouth bass this week. Fishing pressure has remained good at the Oconto Park II area, with anglers reporting success catching some perch, smallmouth bass, and walleye. The walleye catch has been consistent on lower Green Bay but not many fish are ending up in the boat due to their size. Anglers continued to catch many freshwater drum and a few catfish.

Shore-anglers were out this week in Sturgeon Bay catching yellow perch and rock bass. The smallmouth spawn in Door County is starting to slow down with less fish on beds than last week. Fishing remained good. Bass were being caught from beds and cruising around deeper water near bedding areas. Boats were coming back with an average of 8-10 smallmouth bass. Trollers reported king salmon and rainbow catches.

On Lake Michigan, the Kewaunee ramp was busy this last weekend due to a salmon derby. Large chinook were coming in along with rainbows and a scatter of lake trout. Fishing was slow to start the week out at Manitowoc, but as the week progressed the amount of fish being caught increased, with rainbows dominating the catch Fishing success out of Sheboygan, Port Washington and Milwaukee has been irregular throughout the week with some anglers limiting out and others catching nothing. Those were successful reported decent numbers of rainbows, coho and chinook salmon, some of which were in the 25-plus-pound range.

A reminder to park and forest visitors that fireworks are prohibited on all state lands. Shakespeare in the park returns this weekend with performances of an abbreviated "Twelfth Night," by the Summit Players at Lapham Peak Friday, Devil's Lake Saturday and Blue Mound on Sunday. For all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."

Fawns are traveling with mom all the time now. The first turkey broods are being seen some with a half dozen poults.

Columbine, Orange hawkweed, oxeye daisy's, buttercups, bird foot trefoil, butterfly milkweed, are providing a palette of colors.

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - After last week's rain and high water, things are settling down and getting back to normal. Canoe landings are no longer under water and are useable once again. The canoe and kayak traffic on the river has been busy and even though the river flow is subsiding, it is still flowing fast for this time of year. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/usa/nwis/uv?site_no=04025500 Be sure you canoe or kayak within your abilities. Lots of canoers and kayakers have found themselves taking an unintentional swim this week. We've had no rain for the past week, but the forecast is calling for some rain in the next couple of days. This time, though, it should be in moderation--just enough to keep the flowers blooming and the grasses green. Group Hike on the North Country Trail this Saturday: Enjoy a hike along the rim of the Bois Brule River Valley this Saturday. The hike distance is 5 miles. Meet at Twin Gables in Brule at 9 AM to meet up with fellow hikers, set up the shuttle, and travel together to the trailhead. For more information go to northcountrytrail.org. The Foutth of July is just around the corner. As of right now, all the reservable campsites are claimed for the weekends before and after the Fourth. On the Fourth, there are plenty of available campsites. You can make a reservation by calling Reserve America at 1-888-947-2757 or by going on-line at reserveamerica.com. If you don't have a reservation, get here early and chances are you'll be able to nab one of our first-come-first-served sites. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Amnicon Falls State Park - The campground and most trails and day use areas are open at Amnicon Falls State Park. There may be some trail washouts, so please use caution. The CCC bridge remains closed, and the road leading to the parking area near Horton Covered Bridge is closed to vehicle traffic, though it is open to foot travel.- Kevin Feind, property supervisor

Pattison State Park - It has been 11 days since the Father's Day flood at Pattison State Park. The park has sustained quite a bit of damage from the six inches of rain that weekend. The dam was breached and the STH 35 bridge was undercut with both approaches collapsing into the river on the south side. Repairs started this week on the bridge. Both Beaver and Little Manitou hiking trails have significant damage and are currently closed. There is a walking trail available from the park to get to the north side of Big Manitou Falls, utilizing the pedestrian tunnel. The beach is currently closed because of the water drawdown. Our campground, shelter and picnic area are open and we encourage visitors to stop by and see us. - Gervase Thompson, ranger

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Governor Knowles State Forest - The Horse Trail is closed due to flooding. Two other trail sections are closed until further notice. A 4-mile segment on the Lost Creek Trail, from Clam Dam Road (mile 33) to North River Road is closed due to a bridge needing repairs. This segment also includes a backpack campsite which is also closed. A 1-mile segment of the Cedar Interpretive Hiking Trails, from mile marker 25 to 26 is closed due to downed trees and damaged boardwalks. - Brandi Buchholz, ranger

Interstate Park - The day use areas along the river are underwater due to severe storms that passed through the area on June 17. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - . Orange hawkweed, oxeye daisy's, buttercups, bird foot trefoil, butterfly milkweed, heal-all, just a pallete of colors. The ATV/UTV trail system is in good condition on the Flambeau River State Forest. There is a segment on the Tuscobia Trail system, north of the Forest that is closed and a detour has been put in place. A construction detour east of Winter will be in place starting on July 9 and will be in effect until approximately August 15. Drive the trails with caution. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday before 1 p.m., then partly sunny and hot with a high of 91 and low of 71. Saturday, a chance of showers and thunderstorms, with a high of 84 and a low of 62. Sunday, a chance of thunderstorms before 1pm then partly sunny, with a high of 79 and a low of 58. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - The water temperatures on the Menominee ranged from 68-70 degrees over this past week. Fishing pressure was lower throughout this past week. Some anglers were having success catching crappie, northern pike, catfish, rock bass, walleye and smallmouth bass. Menekaunee Harbor anglers reported having success catching northern pike and walleye this week. Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo river was more concentrated on the river mouth area over the past week. While the Peshtigo river did rise by more than 2 feet over the last week, the river is now back to the water levels prior to the heavy rainfall from last weekend. The water temperatures ranged from 68.5-72.5 degrees over the weekend. Fishing pressure is low along at the Peshtigo dam area. Anglers were catching some suckers and smallmouth bass 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. -Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - It was a great weekend to get out and fish. Anglers have been reporting increased catches of walleye and perch over the last couple weeks. While the Oconto River rose by almost 2 feet over the past week, the river has started go back down. Over the past weekend, the water temperature for the Oconto river ranged from 67-71 degrees. 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 were having success catching perch using nightcrawlers at water depths between 5-10 feet. Anglers were having success catching walleye using crankbaits in water depths between 5 and 15ft. 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. Walleye were being caught this week using purple and pink plastic worms. 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. While fishing pressure was relatively low this week, a lot of folks were using the iron bridge area to launch kayaks this past weekend. -Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - The Metro launch over the past week has been filled with a blend of anglers and pleasure boaters. The walleye catch has been consistent but not many fish are ending up in the boat. While out anglers would catch 1-5 walleyes with a couple making it to the cooler. They would also catch a dozen or so freshwater drum and a few catfish. The Fox Point /fairgrounds launch averaged 5 or less trailers over the past week. Anglers were in search catfish or whatever would bite their lines. No one reported catching anything while out on the water. Even though the weather was rather pleasant for most the week not many anglers were fishing out of Voyager. Most of the groups fishing from shore were in search of tight lines and good memories. They found themselves catching white bass and freshwater drum. Effort remains very consistent out of Suamico and Geano beach despite the diminished catch. Anglers found themselves hooking into an average of 1-3 walleyes per trip. Out of those few fish hardly any were brought home for the frying pan. As always even if the walleyes aren't biting the freshwater drum are. Anglers found themselves catching plenty of those as well as the occasional northern pike and catfish. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

The fishing has slowed down at Bayshore with most boaters catching less then 3 walleyes per person and harvesting only a couple or no walleyes. Most walleyes were caught using flicker shad/minnow in a variety of colors at depths of 18-23 feet. Although walleyes have slowed down, yellow perch have started to show up with a few anglers harvesting 12-inch-plus perch weighing almost 1 pound! Shore fishing has been slow with little to no fish caught by most anglers.. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Shore-anglers were out this week in Sturgeon Bay catching yellow perch and rock bass. Bullheads were reported along the shore near the highway bridge. Good luck was had with nightcrawlers. Trollers reported king salmon and rainbow catches have been out at 90 feet depth east of Sawyer Ramp. Folks were also making it out to Sawyer Harbor for small bluegill and perch. There was very little fishing pressure early in the week at Bay View Park though it did pick up in the weekend with yellow perch. Boats out of Stone Quarry were coming back with an average of 8-10 smallmouth bass this weekend. Water temperatures were reported from 67-71 degrees near shore. A few smallmouth bass were caught at the Stone Quarry shore. An occasional walleye was hooked. Good luck was had with spinner baits and worms. At the Sunset Park ramp, water temperature was reported to be in the low 70s. Smallies reported throughout with good luck on drop-offs from 6 to 10 feet. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Anglers fishing out of Chaudoir's Dock were after walleyes and harvested only a couple or none at all. Sawyer Harbor bass fishing was slow this week with only a few being caught, however the yellow perch have started to pick up. The yellow perch were smaller in size but numerous. Walleye fisherman went home empty handed, most not catching any at all but stated that the weather couldn't have been any better. High number of boaters and kayakers out enjoying the sun and the waves this weekend. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

The smallmouth spawn in Door County is starting to slow down with less fish on beds than last week. Fishing remained good. Bass were being caught from beds and cruising around deeper water near bedding areas. Tube jigs, Ned rigs, wacky worms and even jerk baits are all producing fish. Water temps range from the mid-50s to low 60s depending on location. Northeast winds have kept a lot of areas from warming up. Bass action off the piers has slowed down but anglers are still catching bass with the occasional perch or rock bass. The number of bedded bass should keep decreasing as we move into post spawn. No salmon or trout have been caught near Gills Rock. There are still many bass up shallow in Gills Rock but fishing pressure has been light. Fishing pressure in Rowleys Bay has slowed greatly. Anglers report still seeing bedded bass around the bay but no catches to report. Salmon and trout action is finally picking up out of Baileys Harbor. Most boats are returning with 3-8 fish being a combination of rainbows and kings. The rainbows are being caught on spoons behind dipseys while copper and lead-core has been more productive for kings.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - The Kewaunee ramp was busy this last weekend due to the salmon derby. The shore temperature was reported at 58 degrees but dropped to 48 when reaching 200 feet depth and farther. Large chinook were coming in along with rainbows and a scatter of lake trout. Most parties were reaching their limit in 300-400 feet. Very few anglers were out on the Kewaunee Pier with no luck so far on salmon. The Algoma ramp was slow early in the week for salmon and trout but sped up dramatically by the weekend. Heavy fishing pressure and many successful catches were had with rainbows coming in from 26-34-inch range. Very few lake trout were coming in with a few kings mixed in with the rainbows. Many folks were going out 350- 500 feet to reach their limit. Temperature was reported to be at 48-52 degrees. Strong east wind made it hard on occasion for anglers to make it out though most of the weekends weather conditions were favorable. Olson Park had spottings of bullhead and drum. A few small perch started to show up. Many of the bites were coming off nightcrawlers. Some mornings held a strong east wind and whitecaps. Not too many folks ventured out along the pier. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing was slow to start the week out, but as the week progressed the amount of fish being caught increased. Rainbows dominated the catch this week with most of them coming off of orange spoons trolling faster than normal. Most anglers targeting rainbows were in 180-220 feet of water and focusing on the top 60 feet of water. Kings that were caught south of Manitowoc in 130-180 feet of water on dodger flies. Fishing was still tough going out on the piers. Hopefully with some west winds in the forecast it will allow for some better fishing along the piers. Northern pike are still being caught periodically in the marina. A few yellow perch have also been caught in the harbor but the action is still slow on that. Rainbow fishing was going strong out of Two Rivers. The catch over the weekend was dominated by rainbows, followed by lake trout, then chinooks. Rainbows were being caught in 180-220 feet of water, but found in the top 60 feet of the water column. The kings that were caught were targeted in 130-180 feet of water. Dodger flies were ideal for the king bite. Green flies produced fish. Depths ranged from 120 feet down on downriggers to 50 feet down. Brown trout were being caught once in a while off the Two Rivers pier. The anglers that have been fishing the Two Rivers harbor have been catching carp and few catfish. - Cody Flavion l, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - Columbine, orange and yellow hawkweed are blooming in the park. Please remember picking flowers is not allowed. If unsure of a plant or flower, please take a photo and ask park staff. Several fawns have been sighted this week. Please remember to leave wildlife alone and view from a distance - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Trout streams are at normal to slightly elevated levels - perfect for fishing. The Hex hatch is starting to wind down but the fish have started to hit spinners again. Fawns are traveling with mom all the time now. Saw my first turkey brood yesterday, around a half dozen poults. Insects very tolerable, a few mosquitos and deer flies. Not even enough to use bug spray. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Lake Winnebago System

The walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago has been pretty good with many anglers reporting catching limits of 15-20-inch fish. Trolling the mudflats with crawler harnesses has been the most productive tactic, but anglers are also catching fish trolling crank baits. The reef bite has been slow for the past few weeks, but fish are starting to be caught trolling and jigging reefs, particularly in windier conditions. As the calendar turns from June to July many anglers start focusing on yellow perch. Anchoring on the edges of reefs and rock structure usually produces the best action. The fishing has been superb on Lake Winnebago, but anglers should be aware that there is a considerable blue-green algae bloom occurring throughout Lake Winnebago. - Ryan Koenigs, fisheries biologist, Oshkosh

The fish disease VHS has been confirmed as the cause of a large fish kill of mostly sheepshead in Lake Winnebago in April. A total of 60 drum, seven black crappie, and one each of yellow perch, bluegill and largemouth bass collected from the lake at Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and High Cliff were sent to La Crosse for pathogen testing. VHS is a deadly virus of fish which does not affect people who handle infected fish or want to eat their catch. VHS does, however, pose a threat to more than 25 Wisconsin fish species including musky, walleye, yellow perch and northern pike. - Kendall Kamke, DNR fisheries supervisor, Oshkosh

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - Fishing success has been irregular throughout the week with several anglers limiting out and others catching nothing. In general, early morning anglers have been more successful than those fishing in the afternoon or evening. Anglers report catching fish anywhere between 80-240 feet of water and fishing 20-90 feet down in the water column. Flasher flies (blue/green) and spoons have produced decent numbers of rainbows, cohos and chinook salmon, some of which were in the 25-plus-pound range. Anglers who were using alewives, spoons, and crank baits hoping to catch salmon and trout from the Sheboygan Piers continue to have little luck. Whitefish and the occasional northern pike are being caught off of the south pier between 5-8 a.m. on alewives, plastics and jigging spoons. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Ozaukee County - Inconsistent weather patterns that produced north and north/east winds caused fishing to be hit or miss for Port Washington boaters. Those who found success catching trout and salmon did so directly East or to the South of the harbor in 100 to 300 feet of water. Most report using spoons and flasher flies in various color patterns, but the blue/green variation seemed to produce the best results. Fishing pressure on the Port Washington piers remains very light with most anglers reporting no catches; however, a fly fisherman ripping streamers did manage to land a few smallmouth bass off of the North pier. Anglers who are targeting trout and salmon continue to have little luck catching anything. Anglers targeting carp with worms continue to have success near Rotary park. A few anglers report catching some browns and an occasional rainbow near the WE Energies intake using plastics, spoons, and crank baits. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Milwaukee County - Morning anglers out of the McKinley ramp continue to have more success than afternoon anglers at catching their limits. Average fish landed included 3-5 pound coho (largest weighing in over 9 lbs), chinook weighing up to 17 lbs., and 5-9 pound rainbows. Fishing depth ranged from 200 - 250 feet of water. Anglers through the weekend reported most fish hitting lines 50 - 80 feet down, with rainbows, lakers, and chinook being deeper. Favorite lures included a variety of flasher/ flies and spoons. Anglers also continue to see alewife bait balls throughout their fishing grounds. Smaller schools of alewives continue to be seen at the surface lakeside at the McKinley Pier. Fridays stronger northeast winds, created murkier waters and more difficulty in jigging for alewives for bait. Anglers targeting salmon both on the lakeside and harbor side continue to have very little success. Anglers targeting bass also had very little success. However, a few rainbow trout continue to be caught lakeside and at the end of the pier near the gap, in the morning and late afternoon hours using alewives. Low fishing pressure occurred from McKinley shore to Lakeshore State Park . Anglers trying their luck for perch had little success using a variety of live bait including minnows and worms. Anglers targeting other panfish landed rock bass using minnows, worms, or leeches along the McKinley Shore (right before the turn into the marina). The Summerfest lagoon continues to see larger school of alewives close to shore. Construction is complete near the Summerfest grounds, under the Hoan bridge. Please also be aware festival season continues around the Summerfest grounds and Lincoln Memorial Drive bringing larger crowds and more traffic in the vicinity. Lower fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island through South Shore. Anglers targeting trout and salmon found little success. The majority of boaters launching from Bender Park, headed out on the water on Sunday in the morning. Heavy fog in the morning brought some boaters targeting salmon, back to shore. Afternoon boaters during the weekend targeting perch were hit or miss. Those that did find luck were fishing near the boils using jigs. Those few morning and afternoon anglers trying their luck at the Oak Creek Power Plant were using a variety of live bait and artificial lures found very little success in landing trout or salmon. Anglers reported seeing small schools of alewives before the strong northeast winds on Friday and also continue seeing large carp.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Video Riverway Report (exit DNR) - Pretty good storms have the river running well above normal for this time of year. Muscoda is running 20,000 cubic feet per second, Prairie du Sac, 18,000-plus. No sandbars to speak of. Normally we'd see land sandbars upstream. You can see the brown waters of Otter Creek carrying a lot of sediment into the Wisconsin River. Anticipate river will stay high for the next few days with rain and hot temperatures in the forecast. Keep an eye on river flow if you plan tobe out fishing or canoeing or camping. Sandbars will be a bit scarce this weekend.- Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

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West Central Region

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Merrick State Park - Due to recent heavy rains in northwestern Wisconsin, water levels on the Mississippi River are rising quickly and will cover roads and campsites in the south and island campgrounds. Both campgrounds and the south boat launch are closed. The north campground, nature center area, and upper boat launch will remain open. The water is moving fast so if you launch at the upper landing, please be aware of the dock and railings. Areas will reopen after floodwaters recede and damage is assessed for visitor safety.



Last Revised: Thursday, June 28, 2018

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