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Outdoor Report

Published September 6, 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).

Wisconsin is finally moving into a period of dry weather after unprecedented rains in August and early September. There are still state properties that remain closed due to flood damage, including Wildcat Mountain State Park and the Elroy-Sparta, 400, portions of the Military Ridge and other state trails.

Many waterways across the state are extremely high and slow-no-wake ordinances remain in place, including the Madison lakes, and portions of the Rock and Wisconsin rivers. The lower Wisconsin River has been setting record flows for the dates in September based on 100-plus year data collection. There are no sandbars and with this much water there are all sorts of hazards such as strong currents, underwater obstacles and floating debris.

Due to the multiple storms this week low numbers of anglers were out on Green Bay. Walleye fishing has slowed but musky fishing was picking up with one pair of anglers reporting catching a 54 incher and others catching a few at 49 inches. Yellow perch fishing also appears to be picking up with some boats catching more than a dozen. Door County bass action has slowed a bit in the last week but some pier anglers are still catching some nice fish.

Choppy water, rollers and fog made fishing conditions difficult on Lake Michigan. Pier fishermen have waited all year for the opportunity to catch fish off the Manitowoc and Two Rivers piers and chinooks and brown trout have finally been caught daily. Salmon have been spotted inside the Two Rivers harbors and may be headed up the rivers already.

Many hunters on public lands had good success with the teal duck season. There were a fair number of blue wing and a few green wing teal present. Turkeys seem to have had a great hatch this past year as they are commonly seen in fields in large number this time of the year.

Northern Wisconsin saw some brisk morning temperatures around 38 degrees this week and more fall color is visible in the woods. Walnuts, hickories and acorns are dropping. Deer have been seen eating under mostly white oak trees. Some bucks are still being seen in velvet, which seems a bit late. Cow and calf elk groups are being approached by bulls for the start of the mating season and the bulls are bugling.

Large groups of the butterflies often roost together in trees overnight, and the rainy weather and winds have slowed their migration. Large numbers have been reported at annual fall migration roost sites in Waukesha, Marathon and Winnebago counties among others. People can see where these roosts are being reported and help track and study the monarch migration to aid conservation efforts. Reports of monarch roosts and peak migration can be made through the Journey North website at journeynorth.org/monarchs (exit DNR).

Monarchs roosting Sept. 2 in Town of Clayton in Winnebago County.  - Photo credit: Dustin Boyarski
Monarchs roosting Sept. 2 in Town of Clayton in Winnebago County. Photo credit: Dustin Boyarski

Thursday morning Wisconsin saw a massive migration of millions of birds with a front that moved in overnight. Southern counties are now earnestly into the warbler migration, and resident birds continue to depart, making orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, tanagers, flycatchers and hummingbirds less common each day, especially up north.

Baby snapping turtles are hatching so watch for them as try to cross roadways. - Photo credit: DNR
Baby snapping turtles are hatching so watch for them as try to cross roadways.Photo credit: DNR

It's snapping turtle hatching season so drivers are urged to use caution and watch out for the little guys trying to cross pavement. Monarchs have begun their long journey south to Mexico.

The substantial amounts of rainfall have had made for great conditions for a variety of mushrooms and Door County naturalist Charlotte Lukes will lead a mushroom hike this Saturday at Newport State Park. For this and other events search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."

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Temporary closures due to recent rain storms. The following properties are closed or have closed areas due to recent storms:

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Statewide Birding Report

If migration has been slow in your neck of the woods chances are that changed this Thursday morning as Wisconsin saw a massive migration of millions of birds overnight. Southern counties are now earnestly into the warbler migration, while Swainson's thrushes are especially common in many forested areas, small woodlots, and even some backyards, an occasional gray-cheeked thrush among them. Meanwhile, resident birds continue to depart, making orioles, grosbeaks, buntings, tanagers, flycatchers, and hummingbirds less common with each passing day, especially up north. Cedar waxwings are on the move statewide - look for decreasing numbers in the north and increasing numbers in the south over the week ahead. The south also saw some nice flights of common nighthawks this week, while only stragglers remain northward. Northern birders also noted unusually good numbers of migrating red-breasted nuthatches and purple finches this week. It will be interesting to see if this is a harbinger of anything to come. Also of note up north has been a slight decrease in warbler diversity, with increased numbers of palm and yellow-rumped warblers, as well as the first good push of sparrows like Lincoln's, swamp, white-throated, an early white-crowned, and a few dark-eyed juncos - yes, juncos! Other shorter-distance migrants are also moving now in the north, such as winter wren, blue-headed vireo, northern flickers, yellow-bellied sapsuckers and ruby-crowned kinglet. Look for more of all these species to increase toward mid-month. Some birders noted flocks of teal grouping up at area wetlands, and we should expect the first truly Canadian Canada geese to arrive any day now. Although a few buff-breasted sandpipers were nothing to scoff at, this week's rarity list is again topped by swallow-tailed kites. Two individuals were photographed together at the Marquette County site and another photographed along Lake Michigan in Ozaukee County, where hawk migration is picking up in general. Be sure to get out and enjoy this fabulous month for birdwatching, and as always, report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

Warblers provide an identification challenge for even the most avid birders during the fall months, such as this immature Black-throated Green Warbler that lacks a black throat!  - Photo credit: Ryan Brady
Warblers provide an identification challenge for even the most avid birders during the fall months, such as this immature Black-throated Green Warbler that lacks a black throat! Photo credit: Ryan Brady

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

Friday, September 7, 2018

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Sunday, September 9, 2018

For all events search Get Outdoors

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

September 8, 9-noon Bluff Creek Workday: Collecting seed - Come enjoy the fall flowers and help volunteers at during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays. Pick seeds, learn something, meet knowledgeable people, and enjoy the beauty of this rich remnant prairie/wetland in the process. We need this seed to plant areas of brush we've cleared and will clear in the winter. The seeds will be planted in the bare areas to encourage native grass and wildflower establishment. 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

Sample Caption and Alt Text - Photo credit: DNR
Mushrooms are abundant in the forest.
Photo credit: DNR

Brule River State Forest - With this morning's temperature starting out at a brisk 38 degrees, sunrise now around 6:30 a.m., and more fall color visible in the woods, we are seeing summer slip away into autumn. With the start of fall comes the start of hunting seasons. In preparation for the upcoming fall hunting season, staff has been busy mowing trails and doing trail maintenance. We invite you to explore the many miles of hiking, historical, and hunting trails we have within the Brule River State Forest. With cooler weather just around the bend, this is a perfect way to enjoy some leisure time with friends or family. The mushrooms are out in abundance right now. The substantial amounts of rainfall have had made for great conditions for a variety of mushrooms. Just a reminder that fishing on the Brule upstream from US Hwy. 2 closes on Sept. 30. Fishing on the remaining stretch of river remains open until Nov. 15. Check the Guide to Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations for more details. River flow has come down from where it was last week, but it continues to be above average for this time of year. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The Flambeau River water levels are higher than normal due to the precipitation received the last couple days and is moving faster. Sturgeon fishing on the North Fork of the Flambeau is open till the end of the month of September (check the regulations). Robinson Landing, just below the Turtle Dam is closed for the season due to construction upstream. Colors in the tree canopies are turning and soon the sumac bushes. The under laying brush in the forest is becoming less and less prominent. Acorns and hickories will soon be dropping as the temperature cools. The deer and elk have been busy grazing. Filling up for the winter months. Cow and calf groups are being approached by bulls for the start of the mating season and the bulls are bugling. The 40 to 50 degree temperatures are exciting the bulls and supporting their mating activity. If you are close to an area when a bull bugles it is a hair raising experience. Sept. 1 was the opening date for mourning doves, blue and green-winged teal, Canada goose hunts. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to have patch fog then mostly sunny with a high of 71 and low of 49. Saturday, will be mostly sunny with a high of 70 and a low of 50. Sunday, will be sunny with a high of 71 and a low of 50. There will be a Singing Forest- ELK Bugling program on Sept. 14 at 6 a.m. Meeting at the FRSF Headquarters. Join DNR elk biologist, Laine Stowell, as he checks for bugling bull elk on the FRSF and learn about WI elk management! Please call 715-332-5271 ext. 111 to RSVP. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Menominee River fishing pressure remained light over the past week. This week anglers were having the most luck catching walleye using nightcrawlers at depths of 10-15 feet. The water temperatures on the Menominee ranged from 67 to 68 degrees over this past week. Some anglers were using the shore area for catfish this past week. Others were having some success catching brown trout perch and walleye. Good fishing pressure was observed at the little River Ramp this week. Some decent numbers of perch were being caught along the shore using nightcrawlers. Overall, there was low fishing pressure on the Peshtigo River this past week. The water temperatures ranged from 69-71 degrees. Fishing pressure was also low along at the Peshtigo dam area. Some anglers were having luck catching rock bass, crappie, and bluegill using nightcrawlers up by the dam. Boat anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo River continue to have limited success on walleye with crank baits, catching more drum than targeted species. The area is also a destination for owners of water loving dogs. Some catches of Yellow Perch by shore anglers fishing nightcrawlers on the bottom near submergent vegetation. Fishing pressure remained steady at Klingsborn over the past week. Some success catching northern pike and perch over the past week. Teal hunters also used this ramp over the weekend. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Over the past week, the water temperature for the Oconto River ranged from 65-72 degrees. Oconto Park II 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 on the Oconto Harbor pier were having some success catching catfish, northern pike, perch, and smallmouth bass this week. The Oconto Breakwater Harbor had high fishing pressure by anglers using the boat launch Anglers using the boat launch were reporting success catching northern pike, perch, and walleye. There was lower fishing pressure at the Pensaukee river boat ramp this week. Anglers were reporting success catching catfish, northern pike, perch, and walleye. Fishing pressure was good by the Stiles Dam this week. Anglers were having occasional success catching rock bass or bluegill this week. The areas close proximity to Green Bay, coupled with public access, makes it a favorite for casual angling. - Ben Olsen, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Geano Beach had very low number of boats out this week due to the storms but most that were fishing were after muskies. Of the musky fisherman that were going out of Geano only a couple had a follow up but no fish were landed. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Brown County - Due to the multiple storms this week very low numbers of boats were out from the Metro launch. There were only a few shore anglers and they reported no fish caught. Low number of anglers were out this week at Voyager Park, those that were fishing caught a couple catfish but that was it for the week. One pair of Duck Creek shore anglers reported catching 8 very small perch but that was it for the day. Most Suamico anglers that were fishing were after muskies. Approximately half reported landing a musky in the boat with several other follow ups. One pair of anglers reported catching a 54 inches, other anglers reported catching a few at 49 inches plus a few in the 30s. Occasionally they caught a northern. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

During the beginning of the week the walleye catch at Bayshore was relatively consistent with most boats catching three to four fish but as the weekend drew closer the weather had changed and so did the walleye bite. By the time Saturday had come very few anglers had caught more than two fish for half a day out on the water. On the bright side the yellow perch fishing appears to be picking up. By Saturday afternoon most of the perch anglers coming back recorded catching at least a few fish with some boats catching more than a dozen for a few hours out on the water. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - Bass action has slowed a bit in the last week but pier anglers are still catching some nice fish. Slip bobbers with crawlers and soft plastics used early and late in the day provide the best action from the piers. Walleye anglers have had little luck catching only a few walleyes and the occasional sheepshead while trolling cranks. Perch action has been inconsistent with a few anglers having good catches in the canal but most anglers come back with only a couple fish. Anglers report no rhyme or reason to the bite, just that they keep moving till they find active fish. Boat traffic was lower than average over the holiday weekend due to weather. Rowleys Bay pier is still producing some bass in the morning. Angling pressure was low on the big lake due to strong south winds. Most anglers came back empty handed but a few kings have been caught in the vicinity of the canal. The salmon should be staging for their imminent spawning run and fishing should get better as more fish move in. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

There was low fishing pressure for most of the week at the Sturgeon Bay shoreline and weekend with no reports on perch. There was medium fishing pressure during the week out of the Sturgeon Bay ramp with some perch and walleye coming in. The water temperature was reported to be 64 degrees at the surface near the ramp. At the Stone Quarry ramp walleye, freshwater drum, and smallmouth bass were being caught though storms created a decrease in angler outings. Rough waters made fishing difficult late in the week. There was light fishing pressure this week at the Stone Quarry shore with a decrease in smallmouth bass catches. Walleye and sheepshead were being reported as well. Good luck for smallmouth bass was had using nightcrawlers. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Before the storms rolled in most walleye anglers out of Chaudoir's dock found at least few walleyes for the frying pan but as the days progressed the walleye bite became slow and less consistent. Over the course of the week only a few perch anglers were out but every boat brought home at least six fish for the freezer. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure was fairly average for the majority of the week and into the weekend. The catch rate remained low for chinook salmon with most folks getting their fish right past the pier head. Water temperature was reported to be 47 degrees out in 80-100 feet of water and 51-52 degrees closer to shore. The kings were taking on darker brown colors with the best luck on spoons. Choppy water and rollers made conditions difficult as well as a heavy fog settling onto the lake after the storm. There was heavy fishing pressure along the shoreline with many folks visiting from neighboring states. Very little to no luck was had with chinook salmon amongst either spin fishermen or fly anglers. Early this week there were reports of a few brown trout and chinook salmon out at the tip of the pier. Late in the week fishing pressure was heavy as folks crowded in anticipation of salmon though the catch rate remained low. Water temperature was reported at 52 degrees late week. There was medium fishing pressure this week at Algoma with reports of a few king salmon. Early folks were out in 100-170 feet of water with the temperature being reported as 49 degrees on top and 42 degrees 50 feet down. No thermocline was reported. Many anglers were brought closer to shore later in the week for chinook. Thick fogs and crashing waves made conditions less suitable for anglers on the shore and the pier. Early in the week the Algoma Harbor had water temperature reported at 58 degrees with a decrease in brown trout and chinook salmon coming in. The pier head brought in a few king salmon and large sheepshead.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing over the week has increased despite the foggy conditions on the water. Spoons and j-plugs have produced most of the fish. Blue and green spoons are working the best right now as well as silver j-plugs. Most of the anglers are fishing inside of 40 feet of water. However, some anglers have gone out to 100 feet of water and had mixed results. Boats are coming in anywhere from one to four fish a trip. Pier fishermen have waited all year for this opportunity to catch fish off the piers. Chinooks and brown trout have been caught daily for the last week. Some days are better than others. Fish are being taken on both champs and little cleos. Most of the fish were taken off the south pier due. The fishing pressure has increased and is the highest its been all year so far. Northern pike fishing is still going strong inside the marina with fish being caught over 26 inches daily. The largest one caught in the harbor the past week was 35 inches. Smallmouth bass are caught occasionally. Casting for northern were effective, however, it seemed like using a bobber with a minnow was the ticket to catching northern pike. At Two Rivers just like in Manitowoc fishing pressure has increased and so has the number of fish being caught. When the weather allowed the anglers to get out fish were caught along the mudline which ranged anywhere from 20 to 40 feet of water. Surface temps are in the upper 40s to lower 50s. Most of the fish being caught in the boats are still silver. Fishing on the piers in Two Rivers have started to heat up. Fish are caught daily right now. Green champs are effective as well as crankbaits right now. It seems like more fish have been caught in Two Rivers compared to Manitowoc although its not by much. Salmon have been spotted inside the Two Rivers harbors and may be headed up the rivers already. Although, the fish have been spotted no one has caught a salmon inside the harbor yet. With the rain supposed to continue over parts of the next week it should allow for the water levels and flow to remain consist. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Governor Thompson State Park - Caution! It's turtle hatching season. Please use caution while driving on park roads and watch out for the little guys trying to cross the pavement. The 16 miles of hiking trail are open, mowed and ready for your next adventure. The purple cone flowers, golden rod, woodland sunflowers, native bergamot and ironweed are now blooming along the trails. We are seeing fawns and turkeys with poults too. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - This is a great time of year to hike in the park as everything is lush and green in the woods. An eagle was soaring along the shoreline by the boat launch this week. Milkweed is in bloom along the roadside attracting monarch butterflies. Several fawns have been spotted near the office along with large families of turkeys. Please remember to leave wildlife alone and view from a distance. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Many hunters hunting on public lands in the Shiocton area had good success with the teal duck season. There were a fair number of blue wing and a few green wing teal present. Hunters who scouted and found the birds most desired pothole enjoyed the most success. Hunters need to be sure of their target before attempting to harvest a teal. Acorns are starting to fall and the wildlife (especially deer) have found them. Deer have been seen eating under mostly white oak trees. There seems to be a very good crop of acorns this year. Turkeys seem to have had a great hatch this past year as they are commonly seen in fields in large number this time of the year. We seem to be on the end of the common night hawk migration. The number of birds flying through has diminished. But keep an eye out for the acrobatic birds in the evening. Recent rainfall has allowed river levels to increase. It is a good time of the year to still enjoy some kayaking. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden Wautoma tam supervisor, Wautoma

Waupaca County - The area is unbelievably wet. All area streams out of their banks and unfishable. Trout streams may drop enough to fish by the weekend if it quits raining. Trees in wetlands are just starting to turn colors. White oak family seems to have awesome acorn crop, Red oak family not so good. Still seeing bucks in velvet--seems a little late for that. Blackberries done. Dove census same as always, one here, one there. Central Wisconsin is just not mecca for dove hunters. Good amount of teal showing up in sheet water in fields from the rains. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Racine County - Most boaters having luck in about 50 feet of water for kings. Other boaters are heading out to 150-200 feet for silver fish. Most are trolling J-plugs and spoons. Most boaters are coming in with a mixed bag of kings, coho and brown trout. Lots of anglers out this week at the Racine shore were hoping for kings to be staging. A couple kings have been caught from shore casting spoons and cranks. Water temps were down to about 55 but rose to 67 with the northeast wind shutting the king bite off. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine

Kenosha County - Most boaters were still traveling out to 150-200 feet of water for silver fish. Reports of mixed bags consisting of Brown trout, coho, and kings have been reported. Most are trolling spoons and small J-plugs. The Kenosha pier had a decent amount of fishing pressure this week. The water cooled off to mid-50s but has been fluctuating up and down. Most anglers casting spoons and cranks. A couple kings and brown trout have been recorded being caught during survey times. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The horse and mountain bike trails are closed, but the forecast is for dry weather Thursday through the weekend. Starting Friday morning, we will be able to open the mountain bike trails and 11 miles of Horse Trail from New Prospect south to County Rd H. The remainder of the horse trail will still need several more days to dry, and to clear fallen trees. The Tamarack Trail around Mauthe Lake is deeply flooded, as is the Lake to Lake Trail south of Forest Headquarters. However, the remainder of the Lake to Lake Trail north to Long Lake is open and ready for use. Foresters continue their work to clear the Ice Age Trail. Foresters are busy clearing the Ice Age Trail as well. Mauthe Lake, Greenbush, and Horse Camp sustained very little damage in last week's storm, and it's business as usual in these campgrounds. The Long Lake 800s loop is closed for the season, and crews have successfully cleared the remaining loops of fallen trees & debris. With only a couple exceptions, all sites are able to be occupied. Long Lake still has a "No Wake" order in place this week. The Mauthe Lake and Long Lake boat launches remain flooded, as is the Pet Picnic Area at Long Lake. The fishing piers and picnic shelters are both locations are open for use. All beaches, beach houses, and swimming areas remain open as well. Early goose, mourning dove, and early teal season are now open. From now through the end of the year, there will be some type of hunting season open in the forest. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate

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South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Video Report - The river has been setting record flows for the dates in September the last few years based on 100-plus year data collection from the Muscoda river gage. The river has gone up substantially Sept. 5. All the water will be coming in from the tributaries including the Baraboo that will be emptying in above the Prairie du Sac dam. That all still has to come this way. The Pine River watershed is flooded. Kickapoo has the same historic flood events. Highly unusual for September. The Wisconsin will be running really high. We don't advise anyone to be out there. There are certainly not going to be any sandbars. With this much water there are all sorts of hazards, not just strength of current but underwater obstacles and floating debris. Find out about the many road closures in the area on the WisDOT 511 website. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Trout anglers and others interested in Black Earth Creek are invited to attend a public meeting Sept. 11 to hear about and provide input on possible regulation changes for the river from South Valley Road downstream to Highway 14. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Department of Natural Resources Fitchburg Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Road, Fitchburg, Wis. 53711. Learn more: https://dnr.wi.gov/news/releases/article/?id=4582

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West Central Region

No reports.

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - Trails, campsites and boat launches are in good condition - no flooding at the park. Visitors have been hiking, boating, and fishing. There is still 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. - Heather Wolf, park manager

Roche-A-Cri State Park - Spring Peeper and Turkey Vulture trails near the bridge are muddy after the rain. The road and campsites are not flooded. Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. - Heather Wolf, park manager



Last Revised: Thursday, September 06, 2018

Contact information

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