Published July 12, 2018 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Summer is in full-swing across Wisconsin. Rivers have been busy with canoers and kayakers and campgrounds have been busy too. Northern rivers are still running a bit above average from all the rain earlier in the month. But with little rain in the last week except for some in the far north, rivers in central and southern parts of the state starting to drop.
The Lower Wisconsin River has finally dropped to below its long-term average at Wisconsin Dells and Muscoda and many sandbars have re-emerged. Water levels have finally receded enough in the Dane and Rock county area for the slow-no-wake ordinance to be lifted from the Yahara chain of lakes and the Rock River.
Most central Wisconsin trout streams are now very low and could use a drink. The hexagenia mayfly hatch is still ongoing on, generally makes for great evening fishing.
With the beautiful weather last weekend, lots of people were out on the water. Pleasure boaters outnumbered fishing boats at many Green Bay launches, but many anglers continued to have success. Anglers are catching greater numbers of walleye all along Marinette and Oconto. Additionally, a lot of people were targeting brown trout in Marinette over the past week with decent success.
Anglers fishing the west shore of Green Bay reported fair walleye catches with many reports of people catching numerous freshwater drum. Those fishing the east shore reported slower walleye fishing but still reports of high numbers of drum and catfish being caught.
Pleasure boaters were out in force across the Door Peninsula but fishermen are still finding some post spawn smallmouth, with Fish Creek, Ephraim and Sister Bay most popular areas. Many smallmouth bass were also being caught this week off Stone Quarry with high numbers of drum also reported. Anglers fishing the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal reported consistent success for perch.
On Lake Michigan, reports were good for chinook and steelhead early in the week out of Sheboygan and Manitowoc, with decent amounts of fish being caught through the Fourth of July. However, as the Manitowoc derby rolled around it seemed like the fish developed lock jaw. There was a 32-pound chinook caught on the Fourth of July. The largest fish caught in the derby was a 29.8-pound chinook. There was heavy fishing pressure out of Algoma, Two Rivers, Sheboygan and Port Washington with folks coming back with mostly chinook and steelhead, with early morning anglers having the best luck.
Farther south, trollers out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha were also having the best luck getting out early and reported more of a mixed bag with chinook, coho, rainbow and lake trout all landed.
Deer are super active in the mornings lately. Fawns are the size of springer spaniels now and are getting lightning fast. Two bucks were seen this week with velvet racks just outside the ears. Bears continue to be highly visible yet, as their mating season continues. Blackcap raspberries are now ripe in the south and blackberries are two to three weeks away, and looks like it could be a crop for the ages if we get timely rains.
The southbound shorebird migration has started with reports of willet, black-necked stilt, lesser and greater yellow legs, godwit and more at Horicon Marsh.
Forests are very fragrant with daisy fleabane, milkweed, oxeye daisy, yarrow, common mullein, yellow buttercup, birds foot trefoil, fireweed and clovers. The prairies will be in full bloom in the coming weeks but yellow coneflower, sunflowers, bergamot, wild quinine are all blooming now.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Sunday, July 15, 2018
For all events search Get Outdoors
July 18, 9 a.m.-noon - Rocky Run Oak Savanna Workday: Collecting seed and removing invasives: Help 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 removing sweet clover, knapweed, or brush by hand or with herbicides. We also will be piling slash in a pine plantation.
No skills needed you will be trained onsite. Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Summer is in full-swing in the forest. Does and their fawns are spotted on a regular basis. Berries are ripening. Milkweed, red clover, rabbit-foot clover, common mullein and other flowers of mid-summer are in bloom. The weather has been very summer-like with lots of sunshine, daytime temperatures in the 80s, some rain and the occasional thunderstorm. This looks like it will continue for at least another week. The river flow is still higher than normal for this time of year but has been steadily dropping since the flood conditions of nearly a month ago. The river has been busy with canoers and kayakers. Campgrounds have been busy too--but there is still room for you! Reserve a campsite at ReserveAmerica.com or claim a first-come, first-served site when you get here. A new hike-in first-come, first-served site is now open at Copper Range. Two additional hike-in sites will be ready for use in another month. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Pattison State Park - Pattison's beach remains closed until we can raise the water level after the dam has been fully inspected. The annual Rivet Run will be at Pattison State Park on Sunday, July 15. This 5k walk/run is sponsored by the Friends of Pattison and Amnicon Falls State Park. All the proceeds help fun trail improvements to the two parks. Interested parties can register at 8:30 a.m. on race day.- Kevin Feind, property supervisor
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - The Flambeau River water levels are moderate and perfect for paddling. Connors Picnic Area and boat launch are busier on those hot sunny days and people are enjoying the 425-foot beach, grills and picnic tables. Blueberries and raspberries are easy picking right now if you can handle the swarms of mosquitoes. The forest is very fragrant if you are near an opening with milkweed blooming or near a northern hardwood stand where the basswood trees are blooming. Blooming plants are almost everywhere! Daisy fleabane, oxeye daisy, yarrow, the poisonous water hemlock, yellow buttercup, birds foot trefoil, fireweed, clovers, just to name a few. This is the time of year you see lots of yellows, whites and purples and the forest floor is bursting. Bears are highly visible yet, as it is their mating season. Some loons, ducks, geese, grouse, birds of many varieties, mammals such as fox, deer, elk and bear cubs are getting to that adolescent stage. Mothers of many species, are trying to keep them in line. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be partly sunny with a high of 85 and low of 61. Saturday, mostly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms after 1 p.m., with a high of 86 and a low of 66. Sunday, has a chance of showers and thunderstorms with a high of 84 and a low of 61. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
It was an absolutely beautiful weekend in Marinette and Oconto counties. Lots of people spent the weekend enjoying the great weather either fishing or pleasure boating. Overall highlights include: Anglers are catching greater numbers of walleye all along Marinette and Oconto using a small variety of methods and lures (from Nightcrawlers to various plastics). Additionally, a lot of people were targeting brown trout in Marinette over the past week with some anglers having decent success catching them.
Marinette County - Menominee River water temperatures ranged from 73-75 degrees over this past week. Fishing pressure was good over the past week. Anglers were having some success catching crappie, catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye. Smallmouth bass were being caught using plastic tubes at various water depths between 5 and 12 feet. Stephenson Island fishing pressure was good with anglers having success catching bluegill and rock bass along the shore. Good fishing pressure was observed at the little River Ramp this week. Some perch were being caught along the shore using nightcrawlers and minnows. A handful of anglers were targeting brown trout with limited success this past week. Brown trout were being caught trolling using spoon rigs at water depths between 50-60 feet. Fishing pressure on the Peshtigo river was more concentrated on the river mouth area over the past week. The water temperatures ranged from 75-79 degrees over the weekend. Anglers were having success catching catfish, 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. Over the past weekend, the water temperature for the Oconto river ranged from 72-81 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 and 10 feet. Anglers were having success catching walleye using crankbaits in water depths between 5 and 15 feet. 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. Increased numbers of walleye were being caught this past week. Anglers were reporting success catching catfish, 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, rock bass, 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
High numbers of boaters filled the Geano Beach launch this week with most after walleyes. Anglers reported two to four walleye being harvested per person and reported catching numerous freshwater drum, a few white perch and an occasional northern pike. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - Due to the high temperatures and the holiday, the Metro boat launch was full but majority were pleasure boaters out catching some rays. Those who were fishing reported slow fishing with only half a dozen walleyes being caught per boat and only a few being harvested. Still reports of high numbers of freshwater drum and catfish being caught. Shore anglers reported fishing was slow with only freshwater drum being caught. A high amount of boaters and kayakers were out this week on Duck Creek with little fishing success. Most were out after yellow perch and caught several but due to their small size only a few were harvested. The average trip was only a few hours of being out on the water. High numbers of boaters were out this week causing lines of boats out of the Suamico launch, even filling the extra boat launch parking area. Many fisherman hit the water early to avoid the rush. The walleye bite was consistent all week with two to four being harvested per person. Most anglers reported catching numerous freshwater drum, a few white perch and an occasional northern pike. One walleye fisherman reported catching three muskies in one trip, all were under 30 inches. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay
At the beginning of the week walleye fishing was consistent out of Bayshore with the average boat catching one to six fish and harvesting a couple. As the days progressed catch rates varied greatly from boat to boat. Many people out trolling were unable to catch any fish, while others netted their limit. Anglers were using a variety of techniques including, flicker shad/minnow, crawler harness, bottom bouncers, and jigging. While out anglers also caught freshwater drum, white bass, white perch, catfish, musky, and round goby. Shore anglers caught a few white perch. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Door County - The pleasure boaters are out in force across the Door Peninsula but fishermen are still finding some post spawn smallmouth. Fish Creek, Ephraim and Sister Bay have been the most popular areas for bass fishermen targeting post spawn bass around the islands. Bass fishing from the piers has slowed since the spawning bass have left the shallows but anglers have been catching a mixture smallmouth, northern pike, rock bass and yellow perch. Worms, leeches, minnows and plastics have all been productive. Boats in Gills Rock have been out in search of salmon with very little luck. A few fish have been caught but most anglers are getting skunked. Baileys Harbor has been more productive. Although catches have been inconsistent, most anglers are finding one to four fish a combination of kings and rainbows. All action has come from 120 feet of water or more. Fish seem to be scattered since the wind turned the lake over last week. Rowleys Bay is producing some post spawn bass action along with some pan fish for those drowning worms. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Anglers were out at the Sturgeon Bay shore with a few reports of perch, rock bass, and bullheads. There was low fishing pressure overall this week. Folks were coming back to the Sturgeon Bay ramp with chinook caught about 100-120 feet out. It was reported to be 62 degrees on the surface and 46 degrees when 40 feet below. Many anglers are coming back with smallmouth bass and walleye. Consistent success on perch as well in the canal for anglers. Anglers were catching smallmouth bass all week at Bay View Park. Rock bass was a common fish to hook, with numbers on perch not being as strong along the bank near. Many smallmouth bass were being caught this week off the Stone Quarry ramp. Water was reported to be 74 degrees at the surface. Sheepshead were reported in high numbers this week as well. Good luck was had with tubes and live minnows. Smallmouth bass were frequently caught all along the Stone Quarry shore this week with a light northeast wind creating a natural jig. Many folks were coming back to the Sunset Park Ramp with decently sized yellow perch. Good luck was had with live minnows more so than nightcrawlers. Water temperature increased from last week to mid 70s. Decent catches on smallmouth bass were had this week off the park shore. Folks were out using spinner bait and worms. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Chaudoir's Dock anglers found success and kept 10 or more 15-21 inch walleyes while others struggled to net any fish. The only thing that was caught with any consistency was freshwater drum. Yellow perch fishing was hard with almost all the boats not catching any fish for half a day out on the water. While out anglers caught white perch, white bass, catfish, and round goby. Shore anglers caught catfish and freshwater drum. Little Sturgeon Bay anglers were split between smallmouth bass and yellow perch. Bass anglers found moderate success and netted a few fish while out for half a day. Perch anglers struggled to catch consistent numbers with most catching a couple fish for a few hours on the water. The majority of the Sawyer Harbor fishing effort was placed toward yellow perch with only a few fish being caught. Anglers reported that many of the fish that were netted were smaller and undesirable to keep. Smallmouth bass fishing was moderate to slow with a few boats catching half a dozen fish. There were a decent amount of pleasure boaters out over the past week.- Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Kewaunee County - Reports were good for chinook and steelhead this week. Lake and brown trout catches were still small and inconsistent. It was reported to be 61-63 degrees at the surface past 150 feet. Temperatures were closer to 46 degrees down 50 feet in the 100-200 foot range. Anglers are doing well using spoons and flashers for chinook, with good luck on blue and green colors. Very little fishing pressure was had along the shoreline and pier. No luck was had for trout or salmon. There was heavy fishing pressure mid week out of Algoma with folks coming back with mostly steelhead and kings. The water temperature was reported to be 44 degrees 40 feet down in the 250-300 foot range and 60-64 degrees on the surface. A heavy fog held out at the shore mid week with temperatures reported at 55 degrees on the surface. Very few lake trout and brown trout were coming in. Rainbows were hitting orange, gold, and blue spoons behind planar boards. A small amount of fishing pressure was observed by anglers along the pier. Olson Park had a mix of freshwater drum and bullhead coming in.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing was great to start the week with decent amounts of fish being caught through the Fourth of July. However, as the Manitowoc derby rolled around it seemed like the fish developed lock jaw. There was a 32-pound chinook caught on the Fourth of July. The largest fish caught in the Derby was a 29.8-pound chinook. No fish have been caught on the piers that I'm aware of besides a northern pike here and there. Most of the chinook were caught using dodger flies on either downriggers or dipsy divers. Glow spoons were also effective at catching chinooks. Rainbows were caught in the top 30 feet of the water column on orange spoons. Anglers were fishing between 50 and 160 feet of water with fish coming in all depths. Surface temps were mid 60s, while 40 feet down water temps were in the mid 50s. Fishing in the harbor has slowed down with a carp caught occasionally. Anglers fishing the Manitowoc piers are still searching for fish. It seems like water temps have cooled down along the piers based on few boats fishing outside of the pier heads and saying water temps are in the low to mid 50s. Fishing was good to start the week at Two Rivers with boats coming in with three to five fish on average. The fish that were caught were a mixed bag of chinooks and rainbows. As Saturday came the number of fish caught took a big hit with boats bringing in one to two fish. Multiple boats didn't catch any fish either, while few boats were lucky enough to catch up to eight fish. 180-230 feet of water was producing rainbows to start the week but as the week went on the fish were found in closer ranging from 60-160 feet. Most fish are being caught on dodger flies with some glow spoons mixed in here and there. Pier fishing is still slow with no trout or salmon to show for. A northern is being caught occasionally on the north pier along the fence by the coast guard station. The northern was caught on a champ. The only fish caught in the harbor over the past week were carp and bullheads. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Very hot dry weather recently. As a result, most trout streams very low and could use a drink. Hexagenia mayfly hatch is still ongoing on the white river system, generally makes for great evening fishing. Deer are super active in the mornings lately. Fawns are the size of springer spaniels now and are getting lightning fast. Two bucks seen in the last five days had velvet racks just outside the ears, those two will be big boys come deer season. Blackcap raspberries are now ripe. Blackberries are 2-3 weeks away, and it will be a crop for the ages if we get a couple of timely rains. Saw a scarlet tanager in the Waupaca area last weekend - been quite some time since I have seen one of those. Mosquitos have been surprisingly bad. The little bitty bugs don't circle, they just land and nail you. Waupaca county in particular has a bumper crop of deer flies. Ticks are almost none. I had a couple crawling on me in the Pine River area but they are mostly dormant for now. If the dry weather continues for a few more days most flying insects should die off. After a green and lush early summer, we are now browning up due to the hot dry conditions. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - Fishing pressure in the beginning of the week was light, but picked up as the weekend arrived. Boaters experienced some large wave action this week, which caused many anglers to come back into shore shortly after launching. Those targeting salmon are having luck in 100-170 feet of water to the northeast using spoons and various color patterns of flasher flies. Fishing pressure on the piers was light early in the week, but picked up as the warm weekend weather rolled around. Early morning anglers who were targeting trout had some luck landing a few small rainbow and brown trout using alewives and plastics. Anglers who were targeting salmon continue to have little luck. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Ozaukee County - Fishing pressure was extremely high this weekend out of Port Washington with plenty of anglers reaching their daily bag limits in several hours. Early morning anglers who were fishing between 3:30-9:30 a.m. had luck catching good numbers of salmon and rainbow trout. Most fish are being caught in 100-200 feet of water; however, fish are also being caught in water as shallow as 60 feet and as deep as 350 feet. Anglers fishing flasher flies and spoons to the north, south, and directly east of the harbor were all successful. Only one small coho was reported to be caught off of the north pier this week, otherwise those who were seeking trout and salmon from the piers continue to have little luck. - Jarrett Mapes, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Milwaukee County - Early morning boaters targeting salmon have been launching from the McKinley ramp between 3:30 and 5 a.m. and continue to have more success catching limits than boaters launching in the afternoon. A mix bag of fish across the board of chinook, coho, rainbow and lake trout continue to be landed. Average fish landed included 4-6 pound coho, chinook weighing up to 19 pounds, 7-12 pound rainbows, and lakers up to 8 pounds. Anglers reported fish hitting lines between 50-80 feet of water with chinook and lakers being deeper. There was no specific fishing depth for success this weekend. Anglers found success in depths ranging from 85-135 feet to deeper waters out to 250 feet. Some anglers also reported that by 7 a.m. fishing action slows down quickly while trying to reach bag limits. Favorite lures included a variety of dodgers/flies, spoons, and crank baits. Anglers also continue to see alewife bait balls throughout their fishing grounds. McKinley Pier anglers targeting salmon and trout both on the lakeside and harbor side continue to see very little success. Anglers are in larger numbers in the early morning hours (sometimes even before sunrise) than afternoon or evening. Surprisingly, a couple of 7-pound channel catfish were landed lakeside, using alewives for bait. Low fishing pressure continues from McKinley Shore to Lakeshore State Park due to a mix of high heat/ humidity and festivals. Anglers that continue targeting rock bass and bluegill, using live bait along McKinley Shore saw very little action. Very low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island, Cupertino Park, and through South Shore. Anglers targeting trout and salmon found little success. Early morning boaters targeting salmon have been launching from the South Shore Ramp between 4 and 6 a.m. and continue to have more success catching limits than boaters launching in the afternoon. Mostly coho salmon (largest weighing in at over 7 pounds) and rainbow trout with the occasional chinook were landed using flasher/flies. There was no average fishing depth for success this weekend. Anglers found success in depths from 65 -125 feet out to deeper waters ranging from 190 - 220 feet, with fish hitting lines in the top 35 - 65 feet of water. Low fishing pressure continues at the Oak Creek pier. Those few morning and afternoon anglers trying their luck using a variety of live bait and artificial lures found very little success in landing trout or salmon as well as those anglers that were targeting bass or panfish. The only fish landed were a handful of 4 - 5 pound sheephead (drum) using crank baits. Anglers do report continuing to see schools of large carp and gizzard shad.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Racine County - Many boaters had success this week in 90-150 feet of water. Some schools of bait fish were reported with scattered coho and kings. Most fish caught were coho and lake trout. Boaters reported the surface temp in the mid to upper 60s. Many pier anglers were out pre fishing for the upcoming tournament. Few German brown trout were caught with the west wind but once the wind shifted they moved away. Most anglers are using alewives and spoons. Surface temp in the harbor is in the upper 60s. Few small perch were caught near the rocks. - Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Kenosha County - Most boaters having luck from 80-120 feet of water. Lots of coho have been caught on flasher flies with occasional lake trout and kings. Perch fisherman found luck close to the breakwater. Water temps reported to be in the mid 60s on the surface. Shore anglers were having little to no success on keeper perch. A few small perch have been reported and a few brown trout. Most fisherman are using jigs for perch. Water temp reached 68 degrees over the weekend. - Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Southbound shorebird migration has started to begin so look for areas where water has been drawn down around the marsh. We have had reports of willet, black-necked stilt, lesser and great legs, godwit and more for shorebird species already. Highway 49 on the south side of the road offers great mudflat viewing and the Bachhuber Impoundment outside the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center is also being drawn down and many shorebird species are utilizing the mudflats. The prairies will be in full bloom in the coming weeks but yellow coneflower, sunflowers, bergamot, wild quinine are all blooming now. Beware of wild parsnip as this invasive plant is also in full bloom and can cause burns to exposed skin. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services specialist
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Visitors were hiking, boating, and fishing over the weekend. Only a few mosquitoes at times with the hotter weather. There are two beaches, one inside the park and one across the bridge. There is starting to be some algae in the lake at times but it does move around because of the rivers so if a beach is green at one time of day it will clear out later. Saturday is Universe in the Park at the amphitheater. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. - Heather Wolf, park manager