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Outdoor Report

Published July 26, 2018 by the Central Office

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View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

Most of the state has received some much-needed rain over the last week, but conditions continue to be dry and some trees in the north are even beginning to show a hint of color from the stress. The rain did bring fire danger levels back down to low across the state, but those conditions can change quickly if weather remains dry.

Raspberries are ripe for picking in the Northwoods. - Photo credit: DNR
Raspberries are ripe for picking in the Northwoods.Photo credit: DNR

The mild and sunny days have continued to be great for canoeing and kayaking and water levels are comfortably high in many areas making paddling enjoyable. Fishermen are taking advantage of these beautiful summer days as well and are catching smallmouth bass and walleye on inland lakes and rivers.

However, the weather did not cooperate with anglers last weekend with high winds and rain making it difficult for folks to have a lot of success. Anglers were catching some rock bass, catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass and walleye on the Menominee and Peshtigo rivers. Fishing pressure increased at Oconto this week with anglers reporting success catching some perch, smallmouth bass, and walleye over the weekend.

Walleye fishing continues to be consistent along the west shore of Green Bay with catches of three to six walleyes reported for half a day out on the water. Anglers also caught plenty of freshwater drum and a few catfish. Due to dangerous windy conditions there were very few anglers on the east shore.

Smallmouth action is still slow across Door County. Strong north winds over the weekend kept many anglers from going out for the start of a salmon tournament. Anglers out of Bailey's Harbor that braved the winds managed to bring in a few fish including a 27.8-pound fish.

Fishing continues to remain hit and miss out of Manitowoc and Two Rivers. The chinook have been on the smaller size with a 20 pound fish thrown in periodically. The largest fish for the Two Rivers Derby was 29.6-pound chinook. Many boaters were out for the tournament out of Racine with most catching browns, coho and a few kings.

August 1 marks the start of the citizen-based survey Operation Deer Watch. You can get involved and assist the department in deer management by going to the DNR website and searching "operation deer watch." Bear hunters are gearing up for the hunting season training their dogs and checking bait stations. Turkeys and crows are busy looking for bugs along the roads, and drivers need to be aware of deer bolting away from those deerflies!

Fireweed, bergamot, sunflowers, and evening primrose are being seen along roadsides. Monarchs and morning cloak butterflies flit amongst the milkweed and Joe pye weed. Butter and eggs and black-eyed Susans are blooming in big patches

Raspberries and blueberries are ready for the picking but easy access to berries is dwindling as many pickers have been out and wildlife have also been enjoying the harvest with a lot of bear sign in berry patches. Horse and deer flies and mosquitoes continue to be out in force so be prepared.

Friday is the full buck moon -- so named after the new antlers that emerge this time of year - and a number of state park system properties are having moon-related events including guided night paddles at Devil's Lake and Horicon Marsh, a full-moon campfire at Potawatomi, night hikes at Interstate and Kettle Moraine - South and evening performances of Shakespeare in the park at Rib Mountain Friday and Copper Falls Saturday. For all events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties


Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday, July 27, Saturday, July 28 and Sunday, July 29, 2018

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Sunday, July 29, 2018

For all events search Get Outdoors

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

July 28, 9 a.m.-noon - Sugar River Wetlands Workday: Collecting seed and removing invasives. At our fourth Saturday workday we'll identify several different native wetland plants and learn how to collect their seeds. Seed will be scattered in fall to areas where invasive brush has recently been removed. We will also spend some time addressing invasive plants coming up. This work will expand the quality wetland areas and continue the efforts started by the Upper Sugar River Watershed Association and Wisconsin DNR.

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

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The forest got a small amount of much-needed rain Wednesday, July 25. Thursday it is cool and overcast, but more sunshine, blue skies and warm temperatures are on the way. It may be next week before we see more rain. The dry conditions have stressed some trees, and there are a few maples that are beginning to get just a hint of fall color. But there is still plenty of summer left, so get out there and enjoy it while you can. These mild and sunny days are great for canoeing and kayaking the river. Fishermen are taking advantage of these beautiful summer days as well. River levels are just right for these activities. It has been a good year for nuts and berries! Raspberries have been ripening over the last couple of weeks. The bushes are loaded! Oak trees are loaded with acorns, too. Campground use has been steady, but the campgrounds are seldom full. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Iron County - Iron County has been waiting for rain and it finally came. ATV trails remain in good condition. Water levels are comfortably high in most areas making canoeing and kayaking enjoyable. Take advantage of the many free and open campsites that the Turtle Flambeau Flowage offers. Many does with fawns have been observed this month; a few were seen with three fawns! August 1 marks the start of the citizen-based survey Operation Deer Watch. Be involved in Observation Deer Watch and assist the Department in deer management by going to dnr.wi.gov and search "operation deer watch." Raspberries and blueberries are flourishing and are ready for the picking. Bear hunters are gearing up for the hunting season training their dogs and checking bait stations. Fishermen have been enjoying the desolate lakes Iron County has to offer this year. Fish are biting and few fishermen have been taking advantage of it, leaving plenty of room for individuals to find a place to stay, shorelines to fish and fish to eat. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - With the last few days of July the cooler weather gives all a needed reprieve from the heat. The Flambeau River water levels are moderate and perfect for paddling. Walleye and bass have been the catch on the North Fork of the Flambeau. Easy access of blueberries and raspberries is dwindling. There's been a lot of bear sign in the berry patches. Monarch butterflies are coming out in force. Butterfly chrysalises, if you look closely, can be found attached to firm vegetation. This is the time of year you see yellows, whites and purples along the forest edge and the roadsides bursting with blooms. Horse flies and mosquitoes are out so be prepared. The dragonflies are filling up on those pesky mosquitoes, though I haven't seen many dragonflies this year. The deer and elk have been busy grazing on the greenery and this year's youngsters are gallivanting around like kids chasing each other. Cow and calf groups and young bulls have been seen often on some of the main roads. Our biggest bull elk in the area has been seen as a 6x6 with his antlers extended way beyond, and in velvet. They are so majestic. There will be a Campfire Cookout on Saturday, July 28 at noon at the Connors Lake Picnic Area. Outdoor cooks from around the state sharing campfire cooking techniques, ideas and recipes. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly sunny with a high of 74 and low of 50. Saturday, mostly sunny with a high of 77 and a low of 53. Sunday, will be mostly sunny with a chance of showers and a high of 78 and a low of 53. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - As summer keeps skipping by on the state forest, one cannot help but get out and enjoy themselves. Fireweed, bergamot, sunflowers, evening primrose and tansy greet the visitors from the roadsides if they haven't been mowed down! Monarchs and Morning Cloak butterflies flit amongst the milkweed and Joe pye weed. Butter and eggs can be seen blooming in big patches along disturbed areas, and black-eyed Susans are always a welcome site! Turkeys and crows are busy looking for bugs along the roads, and drivers need to be aware of deer bolting away from those deerflies! Water temperatures are great for swimming. Raspberries and blueberries await the berry picker, and be sure to bring along the bug repellant! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - The weather did not cooperate with anglers this weekend. The high winds and rain made it difficult for folks to have a lot of success. Some folks did decent trolling for walleye using nightcrawlers at depths between 10 and 15 feet. Attached is the full report. High winds and rain made it difficult for anglers to have any success this weekend. Despite the weather some anglers had some success catching brown trout or walleye. Anglers were having the most luck catching walleye using nightcrawlers at depths of 10-15 feet. The water temperatures on the Menominee River ranged from 73-75 degrees over this past week. Fishing pressure was good over the past week. Anglers were having some success catching rock bass, catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye. Smallmouth bass were being caught using plastic tubes at various water depths between 5 and 12 feet. Menekaunee Harbor anglers reported having success catching northern pike and walleye this week. Good fishing pressure was observed at the little River Ramp this week. Some perch were being caught along the shore using nightcrawlers. 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. Overall, there was low fishing pressure was observed on the Peshtigo River this past week. The water temperatures ranged from 72-78 degrees over the weekend. Anglers were having some luck catching northern pike, rock bass, and smallmouth bass. Fishing pressure is low along at the Peshtigo dam area. Some anglers were having luck catching rock bass using nightcrawlers up by the dam. Decent fishing pressure was observed at the Peshtigo river mouth ramp over the last week. Anglers were having success catching catfish, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and walleye this week. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - High winds and rain made it difficult for anglers to have any success this weekend. Despite the weather some anglers had some success catching walleye. Anglers were having the most luck catching walleye using nightcrawlers at depths of 10-15 feet. Over the past weekend, the water temperature for the Oconto river ranged from 70-80 degrees Fishing pressure increased 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 nightcrawlers water depths between 10 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. A good number of anglers used the Pensaukee river boat ramp this week. Anglers were reporting success catching catfish, northern pike, perch, and walleye. Fishing pressure has remained low over the past week at the Stiles Dam and Iron Bridge area. Fishing success had decreased over the past couple of weeks. Anglers were having occasional success catching rock bass this week. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - A few anglers were out on shore at Voyager Park over the past week in search of whatever would bite. No catch was reported. Anglers fishing Duck Creek reported catching a dozen small yellow perch. Walleye fishing continues to be consistent out of both Suamico and Geano beach. The typical catch was three to six walleyes for half a day out on the water. Anglers also caught plenty of freshwater drum and a few catfish. Some anglers have found success using flickers shads/minnows while others have had better luck jigging. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Due to dangerous windy conditions on Saturday there were no boaters or shore anglers out at Bayshore Park. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Smallmouth action is still very slow across Northern Green Bay. Pier fishermen have been catching a few small bass, rock bass and the occasional perch. North winds over the last few days made fishing difficult. No walleye action to report. Strong north winds over the weekend kept many anglers from going out for the start of the K/D Salmon Tournament, leaving little to report for Gills Rock and Rowleys Bay. The anglers out of Bailey's Harbor that braved the winds managed to bring in a few fish including a 27.88-pound fish caught in 140 feet of water. Action should pick up as the lake settles this week.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

The Sturgeon Bay shore had low fishing pressure overall this week. Anglers were out with a few reports of small perch caught on nightcrawlers near the highway bridge and steel bridge. Early in the week temperatures averaged 63 degrees on the east side towards the Sturgeon Bay pier and 76 degrees closer to the bay. Some folks are coming back with chinook and rainbows out in 150-165 feet. Low success on perch as well was had in the canal for anglers. A few anglers were catching smallmouth bass and rock bass at Bay View Park. Stone Quarry saw a decrease in anglers this week with some smallmouth bass being caught along with large freshwater drum. Water has stayed at mid to high 70s at the surface. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Due to dangerous windy conditions Saturday there was only one boat out of Chaudoir's Dock that caught three walleyes but didn't harvest any. Anglers that were walleye fishing at Little Sturgeon Bay caught very few to no fish, except one angler that caught his limit. A few anglers harvested perch, and often caught a couple small mouth bass. Sawyer Harbor fishing was slow all around with very few fish being caught. Many reported small perch, a few small mouth bass and the occasional northern pike. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure was good early in the week but decreased dramatically during the weekend due to weather changes. Water temps held 59 degrees at the surface closer to 350 feet of water and 62 degrees in deeper waters. 55 degrees was consistent along the shore. Fog was not a factor but rollers out in 100-200 feet of water mixed up any thermocline that existed. The temperature was 66 degrees both on the surface at 200 feet of water and 90 feet down. Very few rainbow trout and chinook were coming in. There was very little fishing pressure at the shoreline with wind and waves making the shoreline dangerous. Algoma saw similar weather changes where fishing pressure was healthy up to Wednesday and then tapered off. Early week catches stayed closer to 120-140 feet of water with 56-58 degrees at the surface. The thermocline read 44 degrees down 40 feet. Salmon A Rama continued with many of the stronger catches keeping from the previous weekend. Very few steelhead and chinook came in this weekend.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - To start the week fishing was on the up with anglers starting to catch a few more chinook than in the past. Fish were found in 60 to 120 feet of water with most anglers targeting the top 50 feet of the water column. Dipsy and slide divers using flasher flies seem to produce the most fish throughout the week. However, that did not last long as we got some crazy southeast to northeast winds over the weekend and prevented most anglers going out. Fishing on the piers is still slow despite a larger presence of anglers on the piers. A few freshwater drum were caught over the past week as well some carp. The fish were caught using spoons. Fishing continues to remain hit and miss for Two Rivers anglers in boats. On average three fish are coming in per boat with most of them being chinook. The chinook have been on the smaller size with a 20 pound fish thrown in periodically. Most anglers were targeting the top 50 feet of the water column anywhere from 50 to 140 feet of water. Flasher flies produced the most fish, while the spoon bite was active as well. There were few anglers that fished over the weekend due to the 15 mph sustained winds out of the southeast to start the weekend while it ended up out of the northeast as Saturday afternoon rolled around. The largest fish for the Two Rivers Derby was 29.6-pound chinook. Fishing is still slow on the piers. Anglers fishing in the harbor had little success this week with only a few bullheads to show. -Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Milwaukee County - Due to fog, rain, and higher sustained N winds (15-20 mph), a variety of festivals, and the Milwaukee Water and Airshow, very few fisherman took to the water and shorelines this weekend in the Milwaukee area. Very few fisherman used the McKinley ramp through the weekend. Earlier in the week however, anglers found success landing coho and chinook salmon, and the occasional lake or brown trout in depths ranging from 80-100 feet as well as 125-155 feet of water. Most of the brown trout were caught in water that was 30 feet or less or within the harbor. A variety of spoons or flasher/flies found the most success. Low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island, Cupertino Park,and through South Shore. Anglers targeting salmon and trout saw very little action. Schools of alewife are still present at Jones Island. Low fishing pressure continues at the Oak Creek Power Plant 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. A channel catfish was caught Sunday evening. Anglers do report the continued presence of large carp, gizzard shad, and the occasional sheepshead.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Racine County - Many boaters out for the tournament. Most boaters had luck catching browns, coho and a few kings. Most were using flies and spoons in about 100fow. Many anglers report to seeing lots of baitfish our from 80-120 feet of water. Lots of shore fisherman out this week with the tournament. Fishing was slow until the end of the week when a couple browns were reported being caught. Most shore fisherman were using alewives and spoons with most luck on alewives. Perch fisherman had little luck with a couple being pulled out near the rocks. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

Kenosha County - Not many boaters out this week and weekend with the Ramp being closed Sunday. Water temps fluctuated throughout the week but boaters still found success with coho and brown trout. A couple small kings were also caught during recording times out in about 250 feet of water. Most boaters were using flasher flies and spoons with flies being the most productive. Many anglers were out this week on the Kenosha shore with only a few browns being caught. Most anglers that did have luck were casting spoons or soaking alewives. Many perch fisherman were out with little to no luck for the majority. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

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South Central Region

No reports.

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West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - This weekend is looking like a great time to visit the state forest. Hike up Castle Mound to the scenic overlook, spend the day at the Pigeon Creek beach, canoe or kayak one of the areas rivers or flowages, or just take a relaxing drive through the forest. Campsites are still available at the pigeon creek campground for this coming weekend. Mosquitoes and flies are out so remember to bring the bug spray. Temperatures for the weekend of July 27-29 are expected to be in the 70s with a slight chance of rain on Sunday. ATV and UTV trails were groomed this week and are in good condition. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate



Last Revised: Thursday, July 26, 2018

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