Published October 4, 2018 by the Central Office
View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Fall color is now at, very near, and in a couple areas even a little past peak across northern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR). Colors are very good through central Wisconsin but there remain pockets that are quite green. Colors are just beginning in the southern part of the state. Northern Wisconsin has experienced a couple of hard frosts that have had brisk mornings as low as 29 degrees.
Water levels remain high on many rivers across the state for this time of year due to recent rains. Fall fishing has been in full swing on the Flambeau River with landings busy and people enjoying the cooler temps and bug free fishing. The fall trout bite is on in central Wisconsin streams although high water has made for some very sporty if not impossible wading of the bigger streams.
A few Door County bass anglers around Ephraim, Sister Bay and Gills Rock have had success and there was a resurgence in bass anglers out of both Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor. Most fishing action is in the Sturgeon Bay Canal, where trolling and casting has produced some nice kings including a 31 pounder.
The cold spell last weekend caused water temperature to drop 10 degrees or more in different locations. There were some reports of chinook salmon and brown trout in the Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers but success overall was low.
King salmon could be spotted going up into the Kewaunee River and fishing pressure was high. Many dark brown and black kings were being caught and a few coho salmon as well. Stony Creek fishing pressure and catch rate was high with fly and spin anglers hooking king and coho salmon.
Fish are jumping at a steady rate in the Manitowoc River and anglers have been able to catch chinook throughout the week. Anglers fishing the East and West Twin rivers continue to have success catching chinook along with a few brown trout. A lot of success was seen on the Sheboygan River with anglers reporting steady catches of kings, coho, steelheads, and brown trout.
For people interested in the Lake Michigan salmon fishery, the Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility is holding an open house Saturday. Visitors will see big chinook salmon up close and watch fisheries staff collect eggs and milt for hatcheries. Enjoy t-shirt fish printing, fishing displays, fishing games, and take a guided tour of the facilities and wagon rides.
The cooler temps also have the waterfowl on the move. The duck opener was a success for many hunters. The recent rains have caused more water to be on the landscape and thus more areas for ducks and geese to frequent.
Grouse and turkey hunters are out in force. Turkey are common while grouse are being found in small, isolated pockets. Woodcock hunters in the far north have been successful but hunting has been challenging in the central part of the state where only a few birds have arrived.
Acorns and hickory nuts are falling. Deer have been busy grazing and the cooler weather has them on the move. Scrapes and rubs are being observed in the woods. There is a youth deer hunt this weekend with cool weather and showers expected.
A number of runs and hikes will be held Saturday, including Run Wild at Potawatomi, S'more Fun Run at Mirror Lake, Fall Color Hike at Pike Lake and candlelight hikes at Governor Dodge and Kohler-Andrae. Or dress up like a Zombie and have some fun at Big Foot Beach for the Lake Geneva Zombie Trail Run.
Sunday, October 7, 2018
Saturday & Sunday, October 6-7, 2018
For all events search Get Outdoors
October 6, 9 a.m.-noon - Observatory Hill Workday: Cutting brush and fire breaks Enjoy fall at Observatory Hill, one of John Muir's favorite spots. A large-scale restoration is taking place here and new gaps in the canopy have been created. Native seed has been spread but invasives like bush honeysuckles need to be dealt with in some areas. We will remove brush to encourage native plants to fill in the gaps and work on a fire break to reduce brush. Bring a bag lunch to eat afterwards if you can stay.
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 - This week has been very fall-like with gray skies, drizzle, and high temperatures in the 40s and 50s. The first frost of the season was on Saturday with a brisk morning low of 29 degrees. Thursday was bright and sunny, but on the cool side. More clouds and rain are in the forecast for the coming week. Fishing on the Bois Brule River closed south of Highway 2 this past weekend. There are plenty of anglers out there trying their luck on the stretches of the river that remain open to fishing. The boat landing at the mouth of the Brule re-opened last week. Last fall the landing was closed after a strong storm and high winds combined with high Lake Superior water levels eroded the road from the parking lot to the landing. The road has been rebuilt, with rocks and boulders placed on the beach-side of the road to protect it. However, be aware that there is now limited vehicle/trailer turn-around area at the end of the road at the landing. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Iron County - The youth hunt could be bitter this weekend with cool weather and showers expected. If the weather forecast changes, we could see a harvest better than the past few years as many does with one or more fawns have been seen countywide. Archery season has been slow. However, scrapes and rubs are being observed in the woods giving hunters hope. Turkey are common on roadsides while the grouse are being found in small, isolated pockets. Good news, woodcock hunters have been successful and dogs are still being challenged. Fall colors are nearing their peak, and with a possible hard freeze coming soon, they might stick around for a few weeks. Come up before the leaves start falling; the time is now. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - Fall fishing is in full swing. The landings are busy with people enjoying the cooler temps and bug free fishing. The Flambeau River water levels are high for this time of year due to recent rains, yet easily navigable. Robinson Landing, just below the Turtle Dam is closed for the season due to construction upstream. Leaves are starting to fall. Loons are beginning to leave lakes. Tamaracks have just started to turn yellow. The forest has already had two frosts. Trees are just past peak colors. With the weather forecast of rain and wind, we'll see how long we can keep these glorious colors. Many migrant birds are currently moving through the area. Cranberries are soon to ripen and ferns are all brown due to the frost. Acorns and hickory nuts are falling. The deer and the elk have been busy grazing. Grouse, fall turkey and archery hunters are out in force. There are five logging sales at this time on the Flambeau River State Forest. Be aware of large logging trucks on the roads. Come and enjoy this beautiful river and the wilderness of the Forest. The weather forecast calls for 50 percent chance of showers Friday, with a high of 47 and a low of42. Saturday, mostly cloudy with a high of 50 and a low of 37. Sunday will be partly sunny then a chance of showers with a high of 51 and low of 42. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - As the fall color reaches its peak in the forest, the wind and rain is trying to make it disappear. The damp cloudy days really saturate the color and vivid reds and oranges just seem to pop out at the observer. It will be a great leaf peeping event this weekend no matter what the weather. White pine are dropping some of their yellow needles and many tamarack needles have already dropped. Turkeys can still be seen looking for bugs along the road side, but are less numerous as hunting seasons progress. Many ground feeding migrating birds can also be seen along the roads as well, if one slows down enough to look. As throughout the whole state, water levels are high all over and one should use caution and proper boots when venturing out. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Lake sturgeon hook and line anglers were having success on the lower Menominee River, with some reports of 70-inch fish caught and released. The catch and release hook and line season for sturgeon ended on September 30. Some pink salmon and a few brown trout are in the river. Pink salmon were observed in the Peshtigo River. Yellow perch anglers were having mixed success fishing the lower portion of the river. Water temperatures have dropped from 64 degrees in the beginning of the week to 54 degrees by Sunday, Sept. 30. Flows were variable this week, but generally low for this time of year. - Tammie Paoli, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - This weekend a cold spell hit northeast Wisconsin. This caused a significant decrease in fishing pressure. This also caused a huge change in water temperature to drop from 66 to 52 degrees by Sunday, Sept. 30. Gauge height as well as discharge remained relatively constant. Smallmouth bass and yellow perch anglers were having success at the Oconto breakwater harbor area, with an occasional northern pike caught. A report of a chinook salmon being caught by a shore angler was recorded at the Stiles Dam and Iron Bridge area, with other anglers targeting pink or chinook salmon and having little success. Medium fishing pressure was noted at Oconto Park II, primarily shore anglers fishing for yellow perch. High fishing pressure was observed at the Pensaukee river boat ramp this past weekend. - Tammie Paoli, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Bayshore anglers were in search of walleye or yellow perch. The walleye anglers didn't do so hot with the highest number of fish caught being two. Yellow perch anglers didn't fair much better with catches ranging from zero to six fish for half a day out on the water. Freshwater drum, white bass and round goby were also caught in small numbers over the past week. Water temperatures have dropped below 60 degrees in some areas so fish should be moving into their fall pattern. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Door County - Angler effort has been very low for the majority of Door County. A few bass anglers around Ephraim, Sister Bay and Gills Rock have had success fishing deeper water (15-40 feet). Fish have been caught on jerk baits, drop shot and jigs. Water temps are holding around 60 degrees. Look for fall patterns to pick up once the water hits 50 degrees. Not many people have been fishing the piers. A few salmon can be seen cruising through most of the harbors. No word about any perch or walleye action north of Sturgeon Bay. People have been casting Baileys Harbor marina for salmon and a few fish have been caught. A few salmon have been seen in area streams but most streams are blocked by sand deposits at the mouth. Most fishing action is in the Sturgeon Bay Canal. Both trolling and casting in the canal has produced some nice kings including a 31 pounder on Friday. Perch anglers are still catching fish on the east side of the canal. Early mornings in deeper water seems to be the best. Both salmon and perch anglers also report catching the occasional pike. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Most of the anglers out of Chaudoir's Dock were out in search of yellow perch and came back with mixed success. Some anglers found more than a dozen fish for the cooler while others struggled to catch any at all. There were reports of many small fish being caught. While out some anglers also caught freshwater drum, white bass, round goby and whitefish. Anglers reported the water to be very green with high turbidity. There has been a resurgence in bass anglers over the past week out of both Little Sturgeon bay and Sawyer Harbor. Numbers weren't the greatest but boats were consistently catching at least three fish for half a day out on the water. There were a handful of walleye anglers out as well but they struggled to net a couple of fish for a few hours out. Perch fishing has been relatively consistent with most anglers harvesting half a dozen fish in the 6- to 10-inch range. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Kewaunee County - There was moderate fishing pressure on the lake this weekend with some folks coming back with king salmon in the harbor. Due to this week's rain and cool weather, the water temperature dropped 10-11 degrees from last week and was reported to be 54-55 degrees at the surface. Good luck was had using crank baits. There was light fishing pressure along the shoreline as folks were out at dawn and dusk. The catch rate was low as anglers caught the occasional king salmon. King salmon could be spotted going up into the Kewaunee River but not many fish were landed. Water temperature was reported to be in the mid 50s at the surface. Spinning anglers did well with silver and lime green spoons. The catch rate was low for king salmon at the pier this weekend as anglers thinned out from the previous week. Folks were having better luck on the lake side for king salmon. Many anglers had moved on to the river system. Kewaunee River fishing pressure was high this weekend as folks crowded around footbridge and Bruemmer Park. Many dark brown and black kings were being caught close to Devil's Bend on flies and spawn sacs. A few coho salmon were hooked as well. The water was very low this week which moved folks to look for deeper holes up and down the river closer to C Bridge. Early morning anglers appeared to have the best luck. At Algoma the water temperature was noted to be 53-55 degrees at the surface all the way out to 200 feet of water. It was reported to be cooler at the shore and slightly warmer as you went out. King salmon was the only fish coming in this week out in the harbor and in 150-200 feet of water. Good luck was had using silver and blue spoons. This weekend there was moderate fishing pressure at the Algoma shoreline with a low catch rates on king salmon. Strong winds made conditions unfavorable at times. Anglers were hoping for fresher salmon at the shore and at the pier though they were more difficult to catch. Folks were crowding the north pier with no reports of any king salmon coming in, though the occasional boil was noticed. Northern pike were hooked intermittently on the north side of the pier. Folks were fishing up and down the Ahnapee River all week though the catch rate did not reach the same numbers as Kewaunee. There were reports of northern pike biting near Olson Park, though not too much luck was had with salmon. Anglers down in Blahnik Park were doing better with king salmon, though the catch rate remained low. Fly anglers near the Forestville dam seemed to land the most kings this week though it was reported that the salmon were not stacked up. Stony Creek fishing pressure and catch rate was high this week. Both fly and spin anglers were readily hooking king and coho salmon near the mouth of the crick. Many folks were getting their salmon on spawn sacs. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - The number of boats going out on the lake has decreased to only one or two boats a day depending on the weather. Also, the anglers had no luck while fishing on the lake. Fishing pressure in the Manitowoc harbor decreased. In addition, to the decrease in fishing pressure the number of fish being caught decreased as well. Anglers fishing on the piers in Manitowoc had little success over the week. The number of anglers fishing on the piers is decreasing as well. There were some boats that went out from the Shoto ramp and tried for chinook salmon. The fish are jumping at a steady rate in the Manitowoc River. Anglers fishing the Manitowoc River by Manitou Park have been able to catch chinook salmon throughout the week. The fish caught at Manitou Park were caught on both spawn sacs and casting crankbaits. The water flow at Clark Mills has started to decrease over the week and should be fishable now. Some salmon were spotted jumping by the Clark Mills dam. Fishing pressure is moderate on the weekends but low during the week. There were finally some anglers fishing on the Branch River this week. Anglers reported no luck, but all said they spotted salmon in different parts of the Branch. The number of boats that used the Two Rivers ramp has decreased to one or two boats a day depending on the weather. The few boats that ventured out onto the lake did not have any success. Boats are trying both near shore and offshore to find fish with no luck. Fishing on the Two Rivers piers has slowed down to a crawl with couple anglers trying a day. Hopefully with some rain and colder temps in store it will bring some fresh fish into the pier heads and provide anglers the opportunity to catch fish off the pier yet. Anglers fishing the West Twin River are having success catching chinook salmon by both the large and small dams. Water levels and flows varied throughout the week depending on the rain storms the area received. To start the week levels were low with fish being caught with ease. Now that the water level has risen, and the water clarity has decreased the catch rates decreased. Spawn sacs are what produced the most fish over the week. On Sunday Sept 30 the water clarity increased, and you could see the bottom, however, the number of fish caught didn't increase. On the East Twin River the Mishicot Dam has produced the most fish so far and this week was no different. Anglers by the dam had good luck this week using spawn sacs. Chinook salmon dominated the fish being caught with a few brown trout being caught. Anglers downstream from the fire station also produced fish using spawn sacs. Just like at Shoto the water levels increased as the week progressed. By the weekend water levels started to return to lower levels and the number of fish caught increased. The fishing pressure is dramatically lower during the week compared to the weekend. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Besadny Anadromous Fisheries Facility - See big, beautiful Lake Michigan chinook salmon up close and watch as DNR fisheries staff collect eggs and milt from the fish to send to state fish hatcheries during an open house Saturday, Oct. 6. The Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility is located at N3884 Ransom Moore Lane, Kewaunee. Enjoy t-shirt fish printing, take a guided tour of the facilities, enjoy fishing displays, fishing games and wagon rides. Enjoy a special opportunity to adopt a young sturgeon lake sturgeon that you can hand release into the river at the open house. Wagon rides and food are available and more. Food and beverages will be available for sale. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more.
Potawatomi State Park - The leaves are just starting to change color. Please remember to leave wildlife alone and view from a distance. Run Wild is this Saturday, October 6. Please see www.runwild.org for event details and more information to register. Visitors should expect traffic delays and road closures 8 a.m. until noon.
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - Fall trout bite is on. They are biting well and it doesn't seem to matter what anglers are using. High water has made for very sporty if not impossible to wade some of the bigger streams. Deer movement is off to a slow start thus far and most feel it is due to an excellent white oak acorn crop that is dropping. We did have a nice frost Saturday, but the foliage is still green and thick making grouse and woodcock hunting a challenge. Only a few woodcock have arrived and only in far northern Waupaca county. Starting to color up quite nicely, especially on the north end. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - The forests are getting pretty colorful. With even more color as you go north. The weather looks like it will stay in the upper 50s and 60s for the next week or so. The cooler weather has put the deer on the move. With this, drivers should slow down along corn fields and other known deer food sources to avoid collisions. Youth hunters depending if it rains or not should have a good weekend to hunt. These cooler temps also have the waterfowl on the move. The duck opener was a success for many hunters, with most bringing home a few ducks each. The recent rains have caused more water to be on the landscape and thus more areas for ducks and geese to frequent. The area has been quieter recently with the mosquito population finally tapering off and hopefully the cooler temps keep them away. - Kyle Ziembo, conservation warden recruit, Wautoma
Milwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - There was very little action out of the ramps this week. The weather likely contributed to the lack of boats on the water, with only a couple boats seen on the Sheboygan River. Fishing efforts remained fairly low on the piers. When waves were not breaking over the piers, anglers tried fishing for trout and salmon using mainly spoons and spinners, but little success was noted. Little fishing effort was seen on the Pigeon River this week. A few anglers were fishing for salmon at Pigeon River Park but were having no luck. A lot of success was seen on the Sheboygan River near the Kohler Dam. Anglers were reporting steady catches of kings, coho, steelheads, and brown trout. Nearly all of the fish being hooked were off of fly rods, and most of them were being returned to the river because they were fairly dark to keep. Aside from the dam, anglers were trying their luck near the harbor but saw little success. - Jessica Jenkins, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Ozaukee County - The Port Washington ramps were very quiet this week, with few people going out onto the lake. Few anglers were seen fishing off of the Port Washington piers, but those that were were targeting salmon and trout and were using crankbaits. Anglers reported that a couple kings were caught off of the south pier before dawn. Shore fishing was moderately slow this week, with many people sticking to the marina. Anglers fishing around the Port Washington utility had the most success this week, with many kings, brown trout, and steelhead reported. Some anglers were using spawn sacks, while most stuck to spoons. Some of the kings were released as anglers said they were getting too dark to keep, but some others were still looking fairly silver. - Jessica Jenkins, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Milwaukee County - Morning boaters targeting salmon out of the McKinley ramp had a little success this weekend. Anglers continue to report marking quite a few fish through the north and south gaps, but fishing produced only a few kings and browns using spoons. Fish continue to jump at the surface near the McKinley Pier shortly after sunrise and close to sunset but biting is few and far between. Those targeting salmon or brown trout found a little success harborside, landing only a couple of kings using a variety of baits including spoons and crank bait. Surface water temperatures lakeside, range between 62-64 degrees. Fishing pressure increased shoreside. Those anglers targeting salmon by the Summerfest grounds and Lakeshore State Park continue to see little to no action. Anglers targeting salmon around McKinley Shore landed a few coho or brown trout using spawn. Shoreside anglers targeting panfish, perch, or catfish saw little action. The surface temperatures at the mouth of the Milwaukee River range from 62-63 degrees. Hubbard, Estabrook, and Kletzsch Parks were seeing higher fishing pressure (especially areas near the falls). Fly fisherman using a variety of flies or yarn have seen little action; anglers are finding the most success catching kings using spawn. A surprising catch of a pink salmon (with its distinct coloration and oval spotting throughout its tail) was identified at Kletzsch that was landed slightly before sunset, also using spawn. With the on and off rains, water levels are slightly higher than normal flow and murkier waters. Water temperatures range between 52-54 degrees further upstream. The Menomonee River saw low fishing pressure throughout the week/weekend. Higher than normal water, murkier water levels and normal flow in the tributary. Temperatures range between 65-66 degrees near MMSD. A few panfish continue to be caught farther upstream on live bait. The few anglers trying their luck for salmon and trout around Miller Park/Three Bridges, where temperatures are 54 degrees, saw little action. Oak Creek continued to see high fishing pressure near the falls, especially in the morning hours. Anglers are continuing to see fish throughout the creek but landing the salmon is proving to be a challenge. Anglers using a variety of flies and yarn saw very little action, spawn has been the better choice. Water levels are low, clear, but expect it to be high and muddy for a few days with the incoming rains. Temperatures throughout the creek are around 56 degrees. - Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Racine County - Most boaters are trolling close to shore trying to pick up kings. Lots of color change for king while the coho are still looking fairly silver. Most anglers at the Racine pier and shoreline using spoons/cranks and spawn with cranks seeming to work the best. Water temps were down to 59 degrees. Lots of fly fisherman were out on the Root River targeting kings. There has been a decent amount of fish caught out of Lincoln Park and up by the Horlick Dam. River was slightly low but will be rising with the rain in the forecast. - Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Kenosha County - Most boaters sticking to the harbor or mouth of the pike trolling for king. Anglers finding the most luck trolling small cranks. Most anglers at the Kenosha piers and shoreline were casting spoons/cranks and floating spawn sacs. Water temps went down to 58 degrees. Some small coho have been caught and many fish can be seen jumping. Most anglers on the Pike River were fly fishing and floating spawn. Only a couple reported catching fish but have seen many swimming. - Zack Feest, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Opening weekend saw mixed results on the Horicon Marsh. Warm temps kept mosquitoes in the area and migrant ducks from moving. Hunters had some success field hunting for ducks and geese but limited success on the marsh. All are anxiously awaiting the cold front which will be sure to bring relief from the bugs and plenty of movement from migrants. Archery hunters are still seeing a significant amount of standing corn as they had to the fields. Fall colors are just starting to show themselves amongst all of the green. - Jennifer Wirth, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Lake Wissota State Park - Fall colors are coming out nicely, which makes for some beautiful hiking trail conditions. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls, barred owls, bald eagles, a variety of duck species, and Canada geese. Campsites are available on a walk-in basis through early May. We will begin closing flush facilities starting with the left loop of the campground Monday Oct. 8. We plan on closing the right loop shower building around Oct. 15 but this will be weather dependent. The sanitary dump station will be open as the weather allows. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around. The park will be open to hunting for all species with an open season on Nov. 15. Orange maps showing the areas closed and open to hunting are available at the park and on the DNR web site. This hunting opportunity runs from Nov. 15-Dec. 15, with late Bow season extended through Jan. 6. Horse trails will be closed starting Nov. 15. - Nathan Fries, ranger
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - The statewide youth deer hunt is October 6-7. The Yellow River Wildlife Area is the only area open for gun deer hunting for the youth hunt. All areas of the park are still bow hunting only. All hunters except waterfowl must wear blaze orange Oct 6-7, including in bow hunting only areas. For Columbus Day weekend the far backpack sites are non-reservablefirst come and will be closing the following week. Other sites will be closing each week before the end of the month. Accessible fishing pier and boat boarding piers will be removed October 24. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Visitors have been hiking, checking out the petroglyphs and seeing turkey vultures circling the mound. Camping and main gate will close Oct. 7. Parking until early May will be in the winter/prairie lot on Czech Avenue and park stickers will still be required. The park is not open for hunting during the youth deer hunt. - Heather Wolf, park manager