Published August 2, 2018 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
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Clouds, cooler temperatures with highs in the 60s, and some rain was a refreshing change. But temperatures in the 80s are in store again for the coming week.
Continued rain through the last week is keeping water levels up for this time of year and, offering very good paddling. Trout streams also have good water levels due to recent rains.
Fishing pressure remained decent over the past week. Some anglers were having success catching rock bass, walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish, northern pike, and walleye on the Menominee River. A lot of anglers were out this weekend on the lower Oconto River. Some anglers had success catching walleye as well as some perch, and smallmouth bass.
Good numbers of boaters were launching from the western side of lower Green Bay. Catch rates have been up to 30 fish over the past week with the average angler catching around six for half a day out on the water. While out anglers also caught many freshwater drum, catfish, white bass, and white perch. Duck creek and Suamico have seen a considerable increase in fishing pressure over the past week. The majority fishing effort has been toward walleye and yellow perch with some anglers coming back with over 20 fish.
Anglers were out on the Sturgeon Bay shoreline overall this week with many reports of good size perch. There were many smallmouth bass catches late week from shore when the northeast winds returned.
Chaudoir's Dock fisherman reported catching their personal best walleye, along with a variety of fish, catfish, white bass, yellow perch and freshwater drum.
Fishing pressure on Lake Michigan remained heavy for the majority of the week and into the weekend due to the Kewaunee/Door County salmon tournament. Anglers were out catching rainbow trout, chinook salmon, and a few lake trout, including a 30-pound fish coming from Baileys Harbor.
Trumpeter swans with cygnets and sandhill cranes with colts are being seen at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area. Grouse coveys and young turkeys are being seen at the Flambeau River State Forest, where bull elk are still in velvet. All velvet should be off by the end of August and bugling will commence. Cow and calf groups are secretive and hanging out in cover. Elk calves are weaning off of the cows and eating more vegetation.
Many park visitors have reported seeing snakes along the trails and lakeshores including garter, western fox, ring necked, red bellied and northern water snakes, all nonvenomous.
Mature prairie fields are reaching their peak blooming period, with cup plan, bergamot, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, joe-pye weed, and numerous other species in full bloom with dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies all over during our warm summer days.
Berry picking is good with thimbleberries, raspberries and black berries ready in many areas, but do keep an eye out for your berry picking competition as you venture into the berry patches. Bears and signs of bears have been seen in the last couple weeks.
Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center will be hosting an outdoor skills day on Saturday, August 4 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No registration is required and this is a free event for all ages. It will include expert dog handlers for obedience and hunting, archery , bird watching, a booth with pelts and traps, certified Hunter Safety Instructors and more.
Upcoming events at Wisconsin recreational properties
Friday, August 3, 2018
Saturday, August 4, 2018
Sunday, August 5, 2018
For all events search Get Outdoors
Superior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Clouds, cooler temperatures with highs in the 60s, and some rain yesterday was a refreshing change. But temperatures in the 80s are in store again for the coming week. Additional rain may be headed our way over the weekend, too. There were 126,000 Seeforellen brown trout delivered to the Brule River Trout Rearing Station this week. An additional 90,000 will be brought in over the next few days. The eggs of these Seeforellen brown trout originated in Lake Michigan, "eyed up" at the Wild Rose Hatchery, and hatched at the Bayfield Hatchery. Before being trucked to Brule and unloaded by hand, the fish were processed through the Fish and Wildlife Services' auto-clipping trailer. The trailer can measure, count, and clip the adipose fins of 5,000 fish per hour. The fins are clipped so that they are identifiable as hatchery fish after they have been stocked. The fish currently average 3 inches in length at a weight of 82 fish per pound. They will spend nearly a year here in the outdoor ponds and raceways until they are stocked in Lake Superior next June. At that time they are expected to be 6-8 inches in length and weigh in at 8-10 fish per pound. The Brule River Trout Rearing Station is open to the public and free to visit. Come see us! - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Amnicon Falls State Park - Staff at Amnicon continue to repair storm damage from the Father's Day weekend flooding. Temporary road repairs have restored drivable access to the Horton Covered Bridge and Upper and Lower Falls. Trail repair near the CCC-era footbridge has improved access to Snake Pit Falls and the island. All trails are open now but some segments have erosion damage. Watch for exposed roots and gullies as you enjoy your hike. Amnicon is now one of the few state parks being served by an automated ticket dispensing kiosk. This ATM-like machine near the park entrance accepts credit cards and issues annual and daily admission passes. The receipt itself serves as a daily pass. Receipts for annual passes can be redeemed at any state park, state forest or DNR Service Center for the actual annual sticker. Finally, if you visit Amnicon Falls State Park look for a special survey form at the contact station. Amnicon was chosen to take part in a brief survey of park users to identify what is important to our visitors. Take a few moments and let us know how you feel about your experience. - David Lindsley, ranger
Pattison State Park - The park is still dealing with the effects from the June flood. We recently completed temporary repairs to the Arched Bridge trail, that will now allow visitors to walk from the Park office and view the falls from the north and south side of the river. The Big Manitou Trail remains open, but work will start soon on repairs to washouts along that stretch of trail. The Beaver and Little Manitou Trail remain closed as well as the beach at Pattison. Visitors can view Little Manitou Falls by driving one mile south on STH 35 and following the signs to the falls. The campground has remained very busy during the summer as well as our shelter and picnic area. Summer is almost over, so please come out and visit us a Pattison State Park. A vehicle admission sticker is required.- Gervase Thompson, ranger
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - It is a little bit quiet at Crex Meadows during the month of July. Many animals have young to protect and raise, so it can sometimes be difficult to catch sight of them. Look for trumpeter swans with cygnets on Dike 4 and Dike 5, Upper North Fork Flowage, and Reisinger Lake. A pair of sandhill cranes with colts was recently spotted on the L-Dikes.You may be able to find common loons hanging out on Dikes 4 & 5, and on Dike 1 by the pump house. No young have been reported with the loons on Crex this year. While you are in search of wildlife, this is also a great time to see many different wildflowers in bloom. You will find them scattered throughout the different habitats, and many are easily seen from the roads. If you spend a lot of time in Crex Meadows, you will notice low water levels on a few of the flowages, including Phantom Lake, Erickson Flowage, and Refuge Extension Flowage. These draw-downs can provide some interesting, and unique, wildlife viewing opportunities (especially when the shorebirds begin to migrate through at the end of the summer), so be sure to stop by and check it out! And, just as a friendly reminder: if you are planning on coming to hike, kayak, picnic, etc., wear bring your repellants and your bug netting! The experience will be much more enjoyable that way. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - August, the Ricing Moon. Flambeau River water levels are normal for this time of year, though perfect for paddling. Wild rice ripens, goldenrod blooms, and night hawks migrate. Wild bergamot, bunch berries, blue cohosh, and blue bead lilies are blossoming. Blueberries, raspberries, and the soon ripe blackberries are out there to fill our pails. Trees, shrubs, plants and forbs are healthy and flourishing. Monarch butterflies seem to be flittering here and there. Horse flies, deer flies and mosquitoes are out, so be prepared. The fewer than normal dragonflies, and the ever nocturnal bats are filling up on those pesky mosquitoes. Grouse coveys and young turkeys have been seen by staff and visitors. The deer and elk have been busy grazing. Cow and calf groups are secretive and hanging out in cover. Elk calves are weaning off of the cows and eating more vegetation. Bulls are hanging out in bachelor groups constantly eating, eating, eating. All, filling up for those long lean winter months. The bulls are still in velvet. The first to lose their velvet is the raghorns. All velvet should be off by the end of August and bugling will commence. Our biggest bull elk in the area has been seen as a 6x6 with his antlers extended way beyond. There are two logging sales beginning on the Flambeau ATV trail so we caution riders to be aware of the signage indicating heavy equipment use on trails. The weather forecast for the weekend, calls for Friday to be mostly sunny with a high of 82 and low of 64. Saturday, slight chance of t-storms, with a high of 84 and a low of 64. Sunday, will be partly sunny with a chance of t-storms in the afternoon with a high of 83 and a low of 61. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - It's a great time to be at the park. The mosquito population is relatively low and the temperatures have been comfortable. Berry picking is good, but do keep an eye out for your berry picking competition as you venture into the berry patches. Bears and signs of bears have been seen in the last couple weeks. Water levels have settled since the highs we had last month and boating has been a popular diversion. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - This week anglers were having the most luck catching walleye using nightcrawlers at depths of 10-15 feet. The water temperatures on the Menominee averaged about 74 degrees over this past week. Fishing pressure remained decent over the past week. Some anglers were having success catching rock bass, walleye, smallmouth bass, catfish, northern pike, and walleye. Menekaunee Harbor anglers reported having success catching brown trout, 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, low fishing pressure was observed on the Peshtigo River this past week. The water temperatures ranged from 71-75 degrees over the weekend. 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 - A lot of anglers were out this weekend on the lower Oconto river. Some anglers had 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 - 77 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 10ft. 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 or bluegill this week. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Geano Beach has seen the highest number of boaters launching from it out of the western side of the lower bay. During the week the lot averaged around 20 and jumped up to almost 100 trailers by Saturday. Catch rates have been between 1-30 fish over the past week with the average angler catching around 6 for half a day out on the water. Though catch rates were consistent there was only one boat that had caught their limit. While out anglers also caught many freshwater drum, catfish, white bass, and white perch. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Duck creek has seen a considerable increase in fishing pressure over the past week. The majority fishing effort has been toward yellow perch with some anglers coming back with over 20 fish. Fish caught were reported to be in the 7-9-inch range and the few fish that were measured were between 8 and 9 inches. While out anglers also caught a few freshwater drum and round goby. The Suamico parking lot averaged about 20 boats during the week and spiked to over 70 during the weekend. Effort continues to focus on walleye with all boats catching fish. Out of everyone interviewed between 1-16 fish were caught per boat with harvest ranging from 0-13. While out anglers also caught plenty of freshwater drum and catfish. There has also been a noticeable increase in the number of white perch being caught. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Anglers out of Bayshore harvested around three walleyes per person. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - There was an intermediate amount of fishing pressure on the Sturgeon Bay shoreline overall this week. Anglers were out with many reports of good size perch. Good luck was had using nightcrawlers. Many boats were out this weekend catching perch and smallmouth up and down the canal. King salmon and rainbow catches have been reported out at 200-300 feet of water east of Sawyer Ramp. Water temperature was reported to be 74-77 degrees on the surface in the canal. Perch was being caught close to shore at Bay View Park near stone harbor. Rock bass were also a frequent catch. Fishing pressure was high this week at Stone Quarry with many smallmouth bass being caught. Anglers were reporting catches of large freshwater drum as well. Water was reported to be 78-79 degrees at the surface. Good luck was had using tubes and live minnows for smallmouth bass. There were many smallmouth bass catches late week from shore when the northeast winds returned. The strong west winds and storming made fishing more difficult earlier in the week. Reports of northern pike are beginning to appear though infrequent. Good luck was had using soft plastics and nightcrawlers. Anglers and many pleasure boaters were out from Sunset Park. Some folks were coming back with yellow perch and smallmouth. Water temperature was reported to be 74 degrees out in the channel. Fishing pressure was very light this week from shore with very few reports on bass or perch. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Chaudior's Dock- Fisherman reported catching their personal best walleye, along with a variety of fish, catfish, white bass, yellow perch and freshwater drum. The walleye bite picked up at Little Sturgeon Bay and stayed steady this week with the best day being Saturday. Many anglers reported harvesting their limit in the early morning and then the even a couple fisherman limiting out between 5-7 p.m. Smallmouth bass weren't as plentiful but were active Saturday morning. Very few fisherman were out this week out of Sawyer Harbor. Those that were out reported fishing was slow with very few to no fish being caught. One walleye fisherman was successful with harvesting five walleyes between two people. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Bass fishing is still slow but a few nice fish have been caught off local piers in the mornings using plastics. Popular areas like Egg Harbor, Peninsula State Park and Anderson Dock are producing small sub legal sized bass, rock bass and a few perch. Rowleys Bay has been good for the bass angler willing to move around and find active fish but pressure has been low. The K/D salmon tournament rapped up this weekend with a 30 pound fish coming from Baileys Harbor. Over the week shifting winds made fishing difficult. Average catch was one to three fish, both kings and rainbows. Anglers are having trouble patterning fish with conditions changing constantly.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure remained heavy for the majority of the week and into the weekend due to the Kewaunee/Door County salmon tournament. Anglers were out catching rainbow trout, chinook salmon, and a few lake trout. Many folks out there were experiencing issues with spiny fleas especially those using monofilament lines. Water temperature was reported to be 68-69 degrees on top in 120-280 feet of water and 48-51 degrees 90-100 feet down. Many of the largest king catches were happening down at 50-85 feet. Good luck was had using orange fly flashers.Very little shoreline fishing pressure this week. The anglers out were having no luck with steelhead or chinook. Water temperatures on the pier were reported to be 64 degrees at the surface near shore as compared to the 55 degrees seen most of last week before the storm. There was low fishing pressure this week with no reports on the catch. The Algoma ramp was full of anglers all weekend with the K/D wrapping up. Water temperature was reported to be 68-70 degrees at the surface in 150-200 feet of water. The thermocline was noted 90 feet down at 46-48 degrees. Spiny fleas were an issue sticking to and breaking lines. Anglers were out catching rainbows, kings, and a few lake trout with some of the best catches happening south in 100-120 feet of water. Fishing pressure remained low at the Algoma shoreline and pier with very few anglers spotted along the shore. No luck was had with either rainbow trout or salmon. Olson Park saw low fishing pressure as well.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing in Manitowoc and Two Rivers is still slow with an average of one or two fish per boat. The water temps are roughly 68 degrees on the surface and mid 60s throughout the water column. Some anglers managed to find some cooler water but had nothing to show for it. There was two rainbows that were caught off the south pier in Manitowoc. The rest of the pier fishing is slow right now as well as fishing in the harbors. Water temps warmed up to 68 degrees on the surface with mid 60s throughout the water column. Anglers are averaging one or two fish per boat. The fish that are being caught have been on downriggers set 75 feet or greater in the water column. The number of anglers fishing on the piers continue to increase with little to show for. Freshwater drum and catfish were caught on the south pier as well as a 30-inch northern pike. Two or three rainbows were taken off the south pier over the weekend. Anglers fishing the north pier along the rocks managed to pull a nice smallmouth bass out. Fishing pressure in the harbor is still low. The anglers that were found fishing in the harbor were having some success catching northern pike, although the pike were smaller in the 18 to 24-inch range. These northern were caught on small spinnerbaits and small spoons. Fishing pressure is continuing to increase at Two Rivers although the number of fish being brought to the cleaning stations have not. After the northeast winds last weekend, the water temps warmed up to a balmy 68 degrees on the surface with mid 60s throughout most of the water column. Average catch per boat is one or two fish right now. The number of anglers fishing on the Two Rivers piers are steadily increasing, however few fish are being caught. Freshwater drum were caught off the north pier periodically. No reports of trout or salmon being caught this past week. The anglers that have been fishing in the harbor have had mixed results for bullheads this week. Some anglers had steady action while some couldn't buy a bite.- Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Governor Thompson State Park - The purple cone flowers, golden rod, woodland sunflowers, native bergamot, and ironweed are now blooming on the trails. The ripe raspberry and black berry bushes are a welcome snack along the hiking trails. We are seeing fawns and mama turkeys with poults too. Be sure to check yourself and your pets for ticks after hiking on the trails. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - Most fishermen this past week have been out in the mornings and evenings targeting bass. Overall fishing activities have been slow. Weed cover on the smaller lakes (Silver, Tuma, Harpts) is present but not as bad as it has been in years past. Boaters and fishermen are still able to get onto the lakes without going through an excessive amount of weed cover. A good reminder to all - clean you boat and trailer before leaving the landing. Just about every lake in Manitowoc County has a boat cleaning station at the landing. If you like to see wildlife take a drive out in the country, geese and sandhill cranes are in freshly cut wheat fields, deer are out and about with bucks growing their antlers, turkeys can be seen some with young ones yet from a late hatch. As always it's a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. - Alyssa R Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Newport State Park - Door County is a busy place in the summer, but northern Door still has some quiet places to enjoy our natural resources. Newport is one of those places. Bike trails are in good shape, sandy beaches are a cool place to spend the day and hiking trails are clear and waiting for you. As Wisconsin's first wilderness park, our back pack, primitive campsites are in high demand. Most are near the water and all are a private paradise. Since it is a little cooler on the northeast part of the peninsula, the wildflowers and trees growing here are more typical of northern boreal forest. The thimbleberry is growing strong and fast under the canopy, thanks to all the rain. This is the time of year to pick berries, which are a drupe similar to raspberries. They are edible and delicious. Visitors have reported seeing snakes along the trails and lakeshore. Reports so far have been about garter, western fox, ring necked and water snakes, all nonvenomous. If you are planning to come up to Newport to visit our dark sky park, it is always a good idea to come during the day to familiarize yourself with the viewing areas. Although the skies here are always beautiful, plan your visit around new moon for the very darkest skies. See the Events page for our next formal viewing times. And don't miss our "5 Nights Under the Dark Sky" event August 10-14. The park has a program for the Perseid meteor shower on August 12. There is virtually no moon that night, so hope for clear skies. Come on up to the end of the peninsula. You'll be glad you did! - 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 week the bird feeder had visits from hummingbirds. Thimbleberries are just starting to ripen and line most of the trails but also look out for poison ivy. Lots of deer have been spotted in the park this week. There are lots of wildflowers in the park and it's a great time of year to hike. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Blackberries are now starting to get ripe, is going to be a bumper crop. Turkey broods are out and about in open areas, most are chicken sized - pretty small for this time of year indicating second nesting attempts. Trout streams have good water levels right now due to recent rains, due not have a report whether they are biting or not. Insect activity has really died down, no more deerflies and only a few mosquitos. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Wild Rose State Fiish Hatchery - Celebrate lake sturgeon, Wisconsin's largest and longest-lived fish, and the people who have revered and protected this ancient species at an Aug. 10 unveiling of a new lake sturgeon display at the Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery Education Center. The event is free and open to the public and it runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the hatchery education center, N5871 State Road 22, in Wild Rose, Wis. Welcoming remarks are set to begin at 2:15 p.m., featuring Department of Natural Resources, Menominee Tribe, and Sturgeon for Tomorrow officials; light refreshments will be served. - Joan Voigt, naturalist guide
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - Mature prairie fields are reaching their peak blooming period, with cup plan, bergamot, black-eyed susan, butterfly weed, joe-pye weed, and numerous other species in full bloom with dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies all over during our warm summer days. Bring your favorite ID book out with you this weekend and see if you can learn something new! Also, keep your eyes open for raspberries and blackberries on your hiking trips. They are ripe and can provide a quick snack on the road. But leave some for the wildlife, too! On your travels this weekend, make sure to bring extra water. Your safety should always be your number one concern when in the field.. If you see a young wild animal you think is injured, visit the DNR webpage and search keyword "Keep Wildlife Wild" to decide what to do, or search keyword "rehab" to find a local wildlife rehabilitator.- Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Milwaukee
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Milwaukee County - McKinley Ramp boaters targeting salmon and trout found little luck this weekend due to higher winds/weather and warmer water temperatures. When the weather calmed, boaters headed offshore between 200-300 feet of water. Although anglers marked many fish through their fishing grounds, there were only a few reports of landing chinook or the occasional rainbow using spoons. Lake trout, 50-75 feet down in 250-280 feet of water were landed also using spoons. Surface temps lakeside, range from 66-68 degrees (the warmest during the mid-day sun). Anglers targeting salmon, trout, bass, and northern pike both on the lakeside and harborside continue to see very little action. Anglers also report the lack of alewives along the pier. Low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island, Cupertino Park and through South Shore. Anglers targeting bass, trout, or salmon saw little action. Anglers earlier in the week targeting brown trout near Jones Island, had no problems catching alewives to use for bait; however by Wednesday, those schools were no longer present. 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 The temperature at the end of the pier was 68 degrees. Anglers also report they have not seen the return of alewife schools in this location.- Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Racine County - Surface temps rose to 68 degrees according to boat anglers. Most were fishing from 220-300 feet of water with flasher flies and spoons. Lots of lake trout were caught during recording times with kings and coho mixed in. Despite the nice weather, very few shore anglers were out this past weekend. Most anglers casting spoons and having luck with occasional browns and rainbows. Water temps up to 69 in the harbor. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine
Kenosha County - Many boaters out this weekend with most luck in the 60-100 water column in 200-300 feet of water. Most were using flasher flies and spoons with most luck coming from spoons. Mainly lake trout were being caught with a few kings and steelhead. Surface temp was reported at 69 degrees from boaters. Many shore anglers out this weekend with the nice weather. Surface temp went up to 70 degrees Sunday. Very few bait fish have been caught. Most anglers are casting spoons and using artificial baits. Shore fisherman reported catching a few browns during recording times. Very few perch caught.
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Several locations at Horicon Marsh are in a managed draw down. Water is taken off of impoundment systems to provide mudflats for migrating shorebirds and to increase the growth of native vegetation. Highway 49 on the north end of the marsh has been excellent for shorebird viewing as well as the Bachhuber Impoundment to the west of the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Highway 28. Archery, birding, hunting and fishing are among the fun things to be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the free and family-friendly August Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day. No registration is required for the August 4 event for all ages. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Join expert dog handlers with multiple breeds and see how they are trained for obedience and hunting. Visit the Friends of the Poynette Game Farm Trailer to meet the handlers and dogs as you watch them show off their skills. The Horicon Bowmen and the DNR are proud to offer the archery camp at this year's event. People of all ages can try archery using the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) equipment. Herzmann says this is the same easy-to-use equipment dozens of schools all across Wisconsin use in their physical education programs. Birds, binoculars, and safety, too. Members of the Wisconsin Trappers Association will have a booth with pelts, traps and information for anyone who is interested in learning more about regulated trapping. Certified Hunter Safety Instructors will be available with firearm action sets to demonstrate proper firearm use and safety. Practice your aim with laser guns as well! Climb into a harness and learn about tree stand safety. Expert birders will be on hand to show the basics of binocular use. Then, you can put those skills to action on a bird scavenger hunt. Learn the basics of proper casting so that you can catch the big one on your next fishing excursion. Try your hand at tying your own fly as well! Be prepared and make your own para cord survival bracelet to take along with you. For a detailed list of all Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center special events, please visit the Friends of Horicon Marsh website at www.horiconmarsh.org [EXIT DNR].- Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Deer flies and mosquitoes are still a huge nuisance for adventurers trying to spend time in the woods. The prairies are not bad, and milkweed is having a banner year! Many different butterfly species can be found in area prairies. Dickcissels have also been calling/breeding and many fledgling birds can be seen/heard as they leave their nests. Sandhill colts are growing fast and many are almost adult sized. Fawns abound and can be seen following their mothers all over the county. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
Dane County - Bumblebees are very active right now in summer gardens, prairies and prairie plantings. Careful observers can spot 4-5 species in one garden and may even get lucky and see a rusty-patched bumblebee! Breeding bird activity is still happening. Now is a great time to visit marshes and wetlands to document broods of marshbirds, waterbirds and waterfowl for the Wisconsin breeding bird atlas. Shorebird migration is in full swing. Lots of individuals and good species diversity at Horicon Marsh right now. - Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg