View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
It is now just over a week until the opening of Wisconsin's traditional nine-day gun deer season and state wildlife officials are urging hunters to not wait until the last minute to purchase licenses. Buying your license early is quick, easy at gowild.wi.gov or through authorized license agents and DNR service centers.
Also new for Fall 2018, the Hunt Wild Wisconsin mobile application has everything hunters will need this fall. Find new public lands to explore, brush up on the regulations, or listen to podcasts. People can download this free app today from the DNR website.
The Wisconsin Conservation Card is an optional purchase that provides DNR license agents and wardens a direct link to the cardholder's GoWild account and license purchases. The 2017 edition of the Conservation Card pictured a majestic whitetail buck and the 2018 card featured two men fishing. You can help determine the design for the 2019 card by participating in a public poll and choose from three images. Voting is available through November 18 for cards that go on sale March 1, 2019.
Tamarack have lost their gold in the north but are still colorful in central and southern parts of the state and oaks are hanging onto their brown leaves and will for a long time. Leaf drop is now nearly complete through central Wisconsin and progressing rapidly in the south. Recent snowfalls and more in the forecast bode well for good visual and tracking conditions for the opener on Saturday, Nov. 17.
The big bucks appeared to kick into high gear late last week as the rut is hot and heavy now. Deer have been reported out and about at all times of the day and in all weather. Multiple bucks have been chasing does for the past two weeks from large bucks to the smaller ones. Turkeys are still out on the move and have been seen in the open and wooded areas. Standing water in many areas are leaving pheasant hunters with wet conditions. Ermine have changed to their white coats making them very easy to see.
There was high fishing pressure was reported last week and weekend on the Menominee River near Hattie Street dam area with many anglers trying to catch walleye and whitefish. Yellow perch were still being caught along the west shore of Green Bay but not in as high numbers as recent weeks. The number of chinooks being caught are now low and salmon are nearing the end of their life cycle. Steelhead were starting to be caught inside the Manitowoc Harbor on spawn sacs. Some brown trout have begun moving up Lake Michigan tributaries, but females have not shown signs of spawning yet. Coho have still not been seen in any numbers yet.
Chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers are hitting area feeders hard. Hooting activity for resident great horned owls has increased as the birds begin to court in preparation for January nesting activity. Five snowy owls have been reported statewide thus far, the southernmost coming from Jefferson County.
Late fall is generally a time for large-bodied, short-distance migrants like waterfowl and raptors. Expect an influx of these species this week as winter-like conditions bring snow and ice to southern Canada and parts of northern Wisconsin. Look for common goldeneyes, common mergansers, buffleheads, and perhaps some new mallards among the wide diversity of other duck species now being seen. Also watch for increasing number of tundra swans, their migration typically peaking just ahead of ice-up. Loons, gulls, cranes, and eagles will also be on the move, as well as the last of the shorebirds such as killdeer, dunlin, greater yellowlegs, Wilson's snipe, and American woodcock.
A good southward flight of red-tailed hawks was noted along Lake Michigan on November 7. Expect more, as well as some bald eagles, rough-legged and red-shouldered hawks, and perhaps golden eagle and northern goshawk over the week ahead on favorable west-northwest winds. Five snowy owls have been reported statewide thus far, the southernmost coming from Jefferson County. Get the latest update on Wisconsin ebird. Meanwhile, hooting activity for resident great horned owls has increased as the birds begin to court in preparation for January nesting activity. Winter finches such as common redpolls, pine and evening grosbeaks, and Bohemian waxwings continue to trickle in, though mostly up north and not in large numbers yet.
Some of this week's rare finds included purple sandpiper in Manitowoc County, yellow-throated warbler in Dunn, late wood thrush in Dane and Baltimore oriole in Manitowoc, continuing eared grebe and harlequin duck in Sheboygan, continuing rufous hummingbird in Fond du Lac, Franklin's gulls in Grant and Ozaukee, continuing cattle egret in Marathon, and both parasitic and possible pomarine jaegers at Harrington Beach in Ozaukee. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland
Become a nature detective at a CSI - Northern Unit Kettle Moraine Exploring Nature Program this Saturday! By examining scat, bones, and other evidence, we will figure out what animals were involved and determine what happened in a variety of nature "crime scenes." Search for short-eared owls at Richard Bong, learn about Hibernators of Wisconsin at Willow River or get some #OutWiGo exercise at the Rib Mountain Monthly Hike all on Saturday. On Sunday sign up for the Pattison State Park Fall Rivet Run/Walk 5K to run or walk along the river, lake and past a 30-foot waterfall. Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
Sunday, November 11, 2018
November 10, 9 a.m.-noon - Whitewater Oak Opening Workday: Cutting and treating brush. Help volunteers during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays on the second Saturday. Protect some majestic oaks in the process. We will spray, cut and pile brush at a couple different sites including two remnant hill prairies. Buckthorn can spread and shade out savanna plants at this site. Bring a bag lunch to eat afterwards.
Nov 10, 9 a.m.-noon - Roche-a-Cri Woods Workday: Cutting and treating buckthorn. Warm up your brush cutting arms and legs and help volunteers control invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle that are just starting to become established in portions of the floodplain forest. Many plants and animals found on this area are rare or absent across most of the Central Sand Plains. Preventing invasive plants from becoming widely established here will ensure these species continue to have a place to survive, in a place where they can be appreciated and looked-after by generations to come.
November 10, 9 a.m.-noon Orion Mussel Bed Workday: Cutting and treating brambles We are teaming up with The Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) to care for Orion Mussel Bed SNA. Orion mussel bed is known for mussels in the river but it also has several rare effigy mounds. DNR crews and volunteers have been working to clear brush and conduct burns on some of them. Volunteers will continue this effort by cutting and treating brambles and brush. November is our payoff month for making progress.
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 - The 3 inches of snow that came on Tuesday night and Wednesday will likely stay, at least for a few days, as daytime high temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for the next week. The deer have been extremely active as of late. It seems any time of day or night, deer can be found somewhere along the roadways. The likelihood of deer-vehicle crashes increases with these shorter days and the unpredictable rutting behavior of the deer. Slow down and watch for deer-especially at night! Deer archery hunting is in full swing and with the snow on the ground and winter in the air, deer hunters are getting anxious for the start of deer gun season. Deer harvest numbers are available and the DNR website with a link to Wisconsin's Deer Metric System. Metrics are used to measure or evaluate various aspects of deer management such as harvest and populations trends, hunter surveys, deer health and impacts. A reminder that fishing on the Brule closes next week-November 15. If a little snow and cold is right up your alley-remember our campgrounds are open all winter! All sites are first-come, first-served from November 15 until March 28. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Pattison State Park - It looks like a cool down and precipitation in the form of rain and snow is in our future at Pattison State Park. Work continues from the summer flood damage at the park. Both the East and West Beaver access roads are nearing completion. These roads will enable heavy equipment to reach the heavily damaged hiking trails. Pattison and Amnicon Falls maintenance workers recently completed replacing a bridge on the East Beaver Trail as well as dismantling a 90-foot boardwalk, that during the flood event was dislodged and floated into Interfalls Lake. Currently the Beaver and Little Manitou Falls trails are closed. Hiking is available to Big Manitou Falls and vehicles can drive to our Little Manitou Falls parking lot, and then a short walk will take you to two observation points. The ski trails are available for hiking, until we start grooming for cross country skiing. A fun event is occurring at Pattison State Park this Sunday, November 11 at noon. The Rivet Run is a 5K trail run/walk that takes place on our ski trails. We have over 140 racers registered for the event. There will be great door prizes and refreshments and all proceeds go directly to the trails at Pattison State Park. For more information you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-218-355-0960 Vehicle admission is required. - Gervase Thompson, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Flambeau River State Forest - The forest had its first 3 inches of snow. Many migrant birds are currently moving through the area. Grouse numbers are fair. The deer and the elk have been busy grazing. Deer are in the tending stage of their rut. Grouse, fall turkey and archery hunters are out in force. We hear conflicting reports from all. With the upcoming gun deer season approaching hunters are cautioned that while hunting on and around the Flambeau River State Forest and other areas of Sawyer, Bayfield, Ashland, Price and Rusk Counties, to be careful while hunting...our young elk herd resides in this area. Please be careful that you do not accidently shoot an elk. The herd's future depends on your care...thank you! There are two active 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 ATV/UTV trail system is in good condition on the Flambeau River State Forest. It will be closed for the season as of Nov. 15. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly cloudy than a slight chance of snow with a high of 29 and a low of 11. Saturday, partly sunny with a high of 29 and a chance of snow at night with a low of 20. Sunday has a chance of snow. Cloudy with a high of 31 and low of 19. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The snow received on the forest on Sunday is gone for the moment with rain and more snow expected in the next few days. A few scrapes are being spotted on the forest floor, giving hunters some hope! Ermine have changed to their white coats making them very easy to see. Chickadees, nuthatches and woodpeckers are hitting area feeders hard. Tamarack have lost their gold but a few oaks are hanging onto their brown leaves and will for a long time. High water levels still plague the north. No ice on lakes yet! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
On Monday, Nov. 5, DNR crews completed a daytime electrofishing survey on the lower Menominee River. Trout, salmon, and whitefish were the target species. From the Interstate Bridge up to Hattie Street Bridge, 15 brown trout (15.5 to 32.7 inches) were captured. Six were females but did not show signs of spawning yet. Six brown trout had adipose clips, indicating they are seeforellen (German) strain. We anticipate the later spawning seeforellen brown trout to show up in greater numbers in the coming weeks. Ten rainbow trout (15.0 to 29.8 inches) were captured. In addition, three chinook salmon nearing the end of their life cycle were netted. One was kept for coded wire tag removal to determine the location of stocking. Whitefish are plentiful, with over 150 tagged by the Sturgeon Bay DNR crew today. Some walleye were observed but not netted. Flow was at 5,100 cubic feet per second, up slightly from last week. Water temperature was 41 degrees. Water levels continue to be high due to the influence from Lake Michigan.
Marinette County - The water temperature of the Menominee River ranged between 41-45 degrees throughout the week. Discharge decreased to 4,000 cubic feet per second by Sunday, Nov. 4. Hattie Street dam area. Extremely high fishing pressure was reported this week and weekend near Hattie Street dam area. Many fishermen aiming to catch walleye and whitefish. Some anglers were switching from targeting whitefish during the day to walleyes at dusk. There was a variety of bait used of which included wax worms, minnows, and fish eggs. Many opted to used lures which included cast masters, plastic beads, rattlers and spoons. Overall, the minnows being the bait that created optimal catch numbers of primarily whitefish. Water temperature in the Peshtigo River ranged from 46 down to 42 degrees by Sunday, Nov. 4. Discharge of water was near 900 cubic feet per second. Fishing pressure extremely low this weekend, with only one shore angler fishing below the dam. - Alex Keiler-Klein and Scott Poquette, fisheries technicians, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Oconto River water temperatures fell from 46 to 40 degrees by weekend. Flows were around 800 cubic feet per second, until the rain on Sunday caused a spike over 1,400 cfs by the end of the weekend. One boat that was bass fishing in the Oconto Harbor reported catching two bass and a couple of small walleyes. Perch fishing was slower than previous weeks, although one angler had 9 perch. Oconto Park had moderate fishing pressure but overall fishing was slow. Only a few anglers were catching some perch. A boat with 3 anglers had 11 between them. People stated it wasn't as good as last week. - Alex Keiler-Klein and Scott Poquette, fisheries technicians, Peshtigo
Brown County - There was medium fishing pressure along the Suamico River this week and a good catch rate. Yellow perch were coming in small at 5-7 inches though thrown back. Fewer were coming in at the 8-10 inch range. Good luck was had using small minnows and nightcrawlers. Water temperature was reported to be 35 degrees at the surface. Many of the boats coming in from the Long Tail Point launch were duck hunters. Strong weekend rains and winds kept anglers in. The Duck Creek launch had low fishing pressure. The few shore anglers present were out for yellow perch but their sizes were small. Deerfield docks had some folks getting yellow perch that were in the 8-10 inch range. There was low to medium fishing pressure throughout the week and weekend. Some anglers were having better luck with perch on the north side of the bridge. Water temperature was reported to be in the low 40s. Folks that came in off the Metro Boat Launch ramp had no luck with muskellunge. Water temperature was reported to be 46-46.5 degrees. Shore anglers out for walleye were unsuccessful There was medium fishing pressure all week with folks out for walleye and yellow perch. Gizzard shad was spotted in abundance. Anglers did better closer to the riverwalk rather than off the pier. Good luck was had using minnows and nightcrawlers. The walleye coming in were small. No luck was had for Fox Point Launch muskellunge anglers this week. Some folks hooked carp instead. Walleye anglers reported no luck or very small sized fish coming in. They were marking walleye in 18 feet of water with the most marks in 20-25 feet of water. Water temperature was reported to be 43-46 degrees. Folks on the shore had little to no luck. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Fishing in Manitowoc has slowed down to a crawl in most areas. Steelhead were starting to be caught inside the Manitowoc Harbor on spawn sacs. There was a 15-pound steelhead caught in the harbor. Anglers fishing the Manitowoc River off of Mills road have had decent success fishing for steelhead. Floating spawn sacs is producing the most fish. Anglers fishing by the hospital were getting steady action but unable to land any fish. The steelhead were being caught on spawn and some were caught on night crawlers. There were no other reports of fish being caught. Fishing pressure on the East Twin decreased to a handful of anglers. The number of fish being caught decreased to single digits. Brown trout were being caught at the dam on champs. Green and silver were colors that were working. On the West Twin River the Shoto Dam was producing fish throughout the week still. The number of chinooks being caught are low but are still found swimming around the dam. A few more steelhead were being caught compared to last week. No coho were being caught. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Oconto County - In Oconto County the rut is on. Multiple bucks have been chasing does for the past two weeks from large bucks to the smaller ones. Turkeys are still out on the move and have been seen in the open and wooded areas. There is snow expected in the northern part of the county later this week and next and with colder temperatures there may be snow on the ground for gun deer season. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - The leaves are past peak but there is still a little color left and it is a great time to hike the Hemlock Trail. Sandhill cranes have been seen in the neighboring corn fields by the park entrance and can also be seen flying over the park. Park staff have spotted lots of deer activity throughout the park. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Whitefish Dunes State Park - Leaf color is past peak but the woods still have a lot of fall colors. This is a great time to hike the trails to see the leaves. This week a visitor spotted an eagle and porcupine on the Red Trail. There has been several sightings of deer. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waupaca County - All leaves are off except oaks. Rut is in full swing and bucks are chasing does at full throttle 24/7. No fishing report as most people are bowhunting deer right now. Supposed to be a low of 16 degrees Friday. With temperatures that low we will soon enter the "tweener" period - shelf ice will prevent open water fishing, and there will not be enough ice to ice fish. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - The big bucks appeared to kick into high gear late last week as the rut is hot and heavy right now. Deer have been reported out and about at all times of the day/weather wise. New this year for deer hunters are three "self-service CWD kiosks" located around the county. Hunters can find them at the Pine Island Wildlife Area, Peter Helland Wildlife Area, and just outside the State Game Farm. Fairly heavy rains early this week has turned the Pine Island Wildlife Area back into a soggy mess. Water is again standing in many swales that had just dried out leaving pheasant hunters with wet conditions. A snowy owl was reported this week in the Columbus area. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette
La Crosse DNR Service Center area
Perrot State Park - Much of our fall color has already passed, but some of the oak trees along the bay and on Trempealeau Mountain are still showing off their autumn beauty. The prairie grasses are lighting up the prairies with a golden glow so hike up to the top of Brady's Bluff or stroll through the Nature Center prairie. Many of the migratory songbirds have passed through the area but the local birds are out feeding on the dried berries and seeds. The tundra swans are headed down the Mississippi River, but we have not yet seen them in Trempealeau Bay. The river levels are stabilizing after recent high waters. The dock is still installed but we will be pulling it out for the season by November 15. The hiking trails are in good condition. With many of the leaves already on the ground you will get a magnificent view of the bluffs, the river, and the topography of the park. Stop by the office and pick up a trail map. The flush toilet and shower building in the campground are closed for the season. There are vault and portable toilets available in the campground. You can still dump at the dump station but there is no water at that location. You can find water at the maintenance shop building. Campsites are open on a first-come, first-served basis. If the office is closed, you can self-register at the campground entrance. - Lois Larson, park manager
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Deer have been moving around the park and wildlife areas. Check out hunting maps online or at the park for what is allowed in each area. New campground is open and is non-reservable. - Heather Wolf, park manager