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Outdoor Report

Published June 6, 2019 by the Central Office

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[EDITOR'S ADVISORY: The DNR Outdoor Report is currently on a short hiatus due to circumstances beyond our control.  The report will return as soon as possible.]

Temperature and humidity are on the rise following some very cold nights with some central and northern areas even experiencing frost. People are out enjoying the summer-like weather camping, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. While warmer days are making the water more attractive, swimmers and paddlers are being cautioned that many lakes and rivers are still cold and at higher than normal summer water levels.

Warmer weather is drawing paddlers and other boaters to lakes and rivers but many remain colder than normal and have higher than normal water levels.  - Photo credit: Sunrise at Bark Bay Slough State Natural Area by Ryan Brady
Warmer weather is drawing paddlers and other boaters to lakes and rivers but many remain colder than normal and have higher than normal water levels. Photo credit: Sunrise at Bark Bay Slough State Natural Area by Ryan Brady

Some municipalities have enacted slow no wake ordinances on river systems, including the Wolf, Wisconsin and Rock. Take time to read and learn about these ordinances at boat landings.

The water is slowly warming up and that means that fishing is also starting to pick up on many lakes. Bass have been seen on beds and crappies are still biting off and on in shallow water related to weeds, downed trees and docks. Bluegill and other panfish are in their pre-spawn stage, with some nests beginning to be made in the shallow, warmer water.

There was high angler effort at most launches along the west shore of Green Bay as many people were pre-fishing for a walleye tournament. Anglers on the east shore were fishing from Little Sturgeon Bay up to Ephraim. Smallmouth bass fishing was hit and miss but walleye anglers were doing okay with some averaging only one or two while others averaged five to seven. The only lakeside port where there was fishing effort was Rowley Bay where smallmouth bass fishing was slower than what most would've preferred, but still on average 10 fish boated in an all-day trip.

Fishing on Lake Michigan out of Port Washington started to pick up during the weekend with many anglers out targeting lake trout or coho, and a few targeting chinook.  Anglers fishing out of Milwaukee's McKinley Marina had limited success catching a few coho and lake trout. The south shore ramps saw better success with anglers reaching bag limits with coho and steelheads. One party came in with some good sized chinook - the biggest being 24 pounds.

More  and more fawns are being seen.  Remember to observe from a distance and keep wildlife wild. - Photo credit: DNR
More and more fawns are being seen. Remember to observe from a distance and keep wildlife wild.Photo credit: DNR

Fishing activity at Racine and Kenosha has picked up and success has also begun to improve. Coho continues to be the most targeted fish species, but fishermen are having luck catching steelhead, lake trout and chinook salmon.

Fawns and other young wildlife critters from young bunnies and squirrels to bird chicks are spotted regularly now. It's great to look from a distance but remember to keep wildlife wild.

Mosquitoes and ticks are out in large numbers in some areas, especially the Northwoods where the was a big hatch this week, and are virtually non-existent in others. A beautiful Cecropia moth was seen drying its large, spotted wings outside the Flambeau River State Forest office this week.

Bird migration is still going on across the north, where warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and vireos continue to pass through about 7-10 days later than usual. The breeding season has really taken center stage, with some birds singing to declare a territory and attract a mate, others already paired up and building nests, sitting on eggs, feeding nestlings, or even caring for young already fledged.

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Statewide Birding Report

Migration just won't give up across the north, where warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and vireos and continue to pass through about 7-10 days later than usual. Among them have been Tennessee, blackpoll, bay-breasted, and Wilson's warblers, Philadelphia vireo, Swainson's thrush, and most of the flycatchers, especially yellow-bellied, olive-sided, and eastern wood-pewee. Red-headed woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, cedar waxwings, and common nighthawks are also on the move, while black-billed cuckoos have been notably scarce thus far. On the other hand, LeConte's sparrows are showing especially well this year in northern grasslands.

Shorebird migration carries on as is typical of this time of year. Most prominent have been semipalmated and white-rumped sandpipers but notable sightings included red-necked and Wilson's phalaropes, American golden-plover, and Hudsonian godwit. Reports of American white pelicans were common across non-forested portions of the state, often involving flocks of the birds soaring on thermals like typically seen in vultures and birds of prey. Notice flocks of Canada geese in V formation headed north this week? Those are known as "molt migrants," failed or non-breeders headed to the Canadian tundra to grow new feathers where food resources are rich and predators are fewer.

Nests of the ruby-throated hummingbird are only about 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep. The female does all nest building, incubation, and caring for young.  - Photo credit: Greg Hottman
Nests of the ruby-throated hummingbird are only about 2 inches wide and 1 inch deep. The female does all nest building, incubation, and caring for young. Photo credit: Greg Hottman

Nonetheless, breeding season has really begun to take center stage. The vast majority of birds out our windows, at local parks, or in our great wild places are now singing to declare a territory and attract a mate, already paired up and building nests, sitting on eggs, feeding nestlings, or even caring for young already fledged. That means volunteers for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas project are hitting the field for the fifth and final year of this important project that documents what birds are nesting where in the state. Click link to find out how you can contribute.

Rare birds spotted this week included western kingbirds in Ashland and Bayfield counties, loggerhead shrike in Trempealeau, little gull in Sheboygan, and eared grebe in Dane. A beautiful male long-tailed duck in Lincoln County furnished an unusual record for this time of year in the interior portion of the state. Best of all, however, may have been another hooded oriole photographed in Brown, marking the third sighting of this southern species in the past few weeks after only one previous sighting in state history. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

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Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

It's a weekend for geology and ecology at Wisconsin State Parks. Learn about the landscape of Douglas County at Pattison, the geology of Perrot, the prehistoric ecology of the Driftless Area at Gov. Dodge, lady's slipper orchards at Peninsula or protecting the Great Lakes at Whitefish Dunes. Help plan wild ginger at Kohler-Andrae as part of an experiment to counteract garlic mustard. Willow River will host a concert featuring songs of the night wings. Harrington Beach's observatory will be open Friday and Saturday nights and Universe in the Park will be at the Southern Kettle Moraine and Hartman Creek on Saturday.
Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.
Friday, June 7, 2019

Friday & Saturday, June 7-8, 2019

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Sunday, June 9, 2019

For all events search Get Outdoors

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Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

June 8, 9 a.m.-noon - Kettle Moraine Oak Opening Bald Bluff Workday: Help us take care of one of the best spots- Bald Bluff by cutting and treating invasive buckthorn and brush. Use hand tools to cut these small trees and learn about natural history in the process. This will help the understory plants continue to thrive in the hill prairie and savanna areas. Moderate physical fitness required- be prepared to walk up and down the steep trail at least once. This workday is a partnership between REI, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and SNA Volunteers. RSVP required.

June 8, 9 a.m.-noon - Maiden Rock Bluff Workday: Get outside and enjoy the view! Join us for our monthly workday at Maiden Rock. Maiden Rock is known for peregrine falcons, 400 foot bluffs, and rare plants. But there are concerns; invasive brush and red cedar are invading the remnant bluff prairie and oak savanna. Recent work has really changed this site. We will continue that work by removing invasives on the flatter areas.

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

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Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Amnicon Falls State Park - The spring-related thought foremost in the north this week is water safety. Warmer days are making the water more attractive, but the river is still cold and running higher than summer levels. In two unrelated events, local emergency medical services were activated by 911 calls for visitors swept over a waterfall in the state park. Swift water and steep, stone riverbanks make self-rescue difficult. Swimming is permitted in the river, but there is no designated swim area or lifeguard on duty. Swimmers must continually monitor river conditions to decide whether in-the-water activities are appropriate. It is illegal to jump or dive into the river within the state park. Be smart—Stay safe. Dave Lindsley, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - June is here and the kids are soon out of school. Folks are already out enjoying the summer-like weather camping, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing! Our advice is the same to everyone: be prepared with bug repellant and appropriate clothing. The North and South Fork of the Flambeau has seen some sporadic fishing. The river level is high, but navigable. Fishing activity on the area lakes is certainly picking up now. The Connors Lake Picnic Area and boat launch get very busy on hot days. People will be enjoying the 425-foot-long beach and abundant picnic tables and grills. Asparagus is up. Loon chicks are hatching, turtles will be laying eggs, songbirds are nesting, and fireflies will soon be coming out. Geese and ducks are nesting and groups of goslings can be seen. Song birds are defending their territories where the females are sitting on the nests and youngsters are appearing. Robins, mourning doves, yellow finches, phoebes, tree swallows, house wrens, owls, woodcock, sandhill cranes, swans, red breasted grosbeaks, orioles, Myrtle's warblers, and scarlet tanagers are being seen along with moths and butterflies flittering here and there. A beautiful Cecropia moth was seen drying its large, spotted wings outside the office. The deer and elk have been birthing this year's young. The elk cows have been making calf scouting moves, looking for a safe and quiet area to have their calves. The mosquitos and ticks are out! Bears and their cubs have been seen along the roadsides. Be sure to drive safely as the roads are full of elk calves, deer fawns, bear cubs, birds, and turtles! - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

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Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - High angler effort at most launches as pre-fishing for a walleye tournament was taking place. Walleye fishing was slow with best luck taking place at night or low light in the Menominee River. Fish were being caught off the piers and off Hattie Street under these conditions with various sizes being caught. Peshtigo River had some good catches of walleyes reported by jig fishermen. Some limit catches were seen this week from the launch on County BB down to the mouth. Most fish taken were 15 to 20 inches with bigger fish still up to 30 inches present. Plastics and live bait working on jigs. High angling effort for muskies this past week in the Peshtigo River with fish of all sizes being caught. Most boats were reporting 1 fish caught a day with others seen. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Activity was high at boat launches early in the week as many walleye tournament anglers were out pre-fishing for Thursday and Friday's tournament. Walleye fishing was slow but a little better than the previous week as most boats were getting a few fish. Anglers were trying various depths finding the fish to be scattered throughout. Upstream on the Oconto River had a few bass anglers out with little to no success. Perch anglers were trying their luck at Oconto Park II and the city docks in Oconto with little luck. Most fish caught were small and not kept. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - The holiday weekend beginning this week showed quite high traffic at landings for angling and pleasure alike. Most popular were Fox Point and Metro, with large numbers of shore anglers (and picnics) at most river access points. Voyageur park had many shore anglers although reporting low success. Anglers are reporting fish at mixed depths with no clear zone producing fish. Midweek, water clarity was low with both the river and bay appearing cloudy brown. Walleye anglers have been reporting consistently a low catch; however, some have found evening fishing to be more productive. Suamico River was quite popular Memorial Day weekend with anglers primarily focused on bass, but the catch report was slow. Reports of fish were mainly in shallow (4-6 feet) water. Shore angling was increased at this location early in the week. Longtail access points remain unused by anglers besides bowfishing. Duck Creek shore angling has increased with continuing effort throughout the week. Following early week rains, water clarity was also low on the west shore. Geano Beach showed an early week traffic (but not catch) increase, effort and catch remained slow yet steady by the end of the week. - Riley Schultz, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - The only lakeside port where there was fishing effort was Rowley Bay. Smallmouth bass fishing in Rowley Bay was slower than what most anglers would prefer, with on average 10 fish being boated in an all day trip. The majority of the fish were caught near the mouth of the Mink River and in the Mink River. The smallmouth bass averaged around 3 pounds according to the anglers. Some fish were spotted around beds. No anglers were seen targeting salmon or trout this past week, possibly due to the winds that occurred. The water temp in Rowley Bay ranged from 52 degrees to 59 degrees depending on the time of the day. Anglers on the bayside could be found fishing from Murphy Park to Sister Bay. Egg Harbor and Ephraim had the best luck out of the ports. Fishermen out of Murphy Park were trolling for walleyes. The smallmouth bass fishing was hit and miss according to the anglers. It appears that color and presentation was a determining factor on how the day went. White plastics seemed to be working best for some anglers. The anglers using jerk baits had a lower success rate but still managed to catch some fish. Walleye fishing is still slow for anglers on the bay in the northern Door. However, there was an angler who managed to catch a walleye while fishing for smallmouth bass in Egg Harbor. On average the smallmouth bass were 3 pounds. - Cody Flavion, fisheries technician, Mishicot

In the beginning of the week the usage of the Bayshore launch was low, but once the end of the end week hit the usage increased. There hasn't been anybody fishing from shore. In the beginning of the week the bite was very slow with anglers only bringing in one or two walleyes, but by the end of the week the bite really picked up. Anglers were averaging five to seven walleyes. The boats that were using nightcrawler harnesses were catching quite a few catfish at the end of the week. Both crankbaits and nightcrawler harnesses were producing walleyes. The water temperature ranged from 60 to 63 in spots according to anglers. Anglers were saying that there is a lot of debris floating in the bay, and that boaters need to be on the lookout. The walleye and smallmouth bite was slow at Chaudoir's Dock launch this week. There was nobody shore fishing. Nightcrawler harnesses was the better way to troll during the week it did a little better than crankbaits. Anglers were only averaging zero to two walleyes. During the week there was a steady flow of anglers launching out of Little Sturgeon Bay. Walleye anglers were doing okay averaging only one or two walleyes. While people who were targeting smallmouth bass were having a little better success rate. Most of the anglers were catching three to five smallmouth bass. The people who were targeting musky was hit or miss. Most didn't catch a single musky while some were catching one or two. Sawyer Harbor landing was steady as well during the week. The smallmouth bass were the main target of anglers during the week, and most were averaging two to four. There were some anglers targeting walleyes, but not having much success. They were some recreational boaters out there during the week. There was nobody fishing from shore.

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - Temperature and humidity are on the rise following some very cold nights with locally heavy frost. The woods and fields are filling with fresh green vegetation and corn is beginning to sprout. Fawns are being spotted regularly now. Young mourning doves, robins, and grackles all started making an appearance in Crivitz this week. Trillium blooms are beginning to turn from white to pink/purple as they age out and begin to be shaded by the rapidly growing green canopy. Mushrooms, like pheasant backs (Dryads saddle) and morels, are still being found, but the forest floor is greening up quickly. Soon foragers should be seeing white oyster mushrooms growing out of dead and dying aspen trunks. Mosquitoes and ticks are out in large numbers in some areas and are virtually non-existent in others. Fishermen report that bluegills don't seem to be in the shallows yet, presumably the water temp is still a bit cool. Bass (both largemouth and smallmouth) have been seen on beds and crappies have been seen/caught in shallow water related to weeds, downed trees, and docks. Turkey season is now behind us and the next hunting season won't open until the Sept. 4 when bear hunting begins. Hunters can be baiting bears now, but no dog training is allowed until July 1. Many area schools are now on summer break and hopefully a lot of kids will be wetting a line in our lakes and streams and enjoying their good ol' days. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee

Shawano County - The water temperatures are beginning to finally rise on his lakes. Shawano Lake was up to temperatures in the mid 60s this weekend. Bluegill and other panfish are in their pre-spawn stage, with some nests beginning to be made in the shallow, warmer water. Crappies are still biting off and on, and an occasional keeper walleye can be found. Largemouth bass are much more active in the warmer temperatures as well. - Clark Delzer, conservation warden, Shawano

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Manitowoc County - Spring is in full swing, although a little late here in Manitowoc County. Everything is greening up nice and it sure looks beautiful. People can see goslings, ducklings, and fawns out and about. It's great to look from a distance but remember to keep wildlife wild. The baby animals need to learn from their mother and the mothers are doing their job! Fishing activities are picking up throughout the county with water temperatures increasing trigging the spawning of pan fish. If you are on Collins Marsh State Wildlife Area you will notice a great deal of changes, the marsh is being drawn down for planned maintenance on the dam. It is also part of the program to draw down the marsh to increase habitat growth. Several of the parking lots have been re done and access roads improved as well. Please respect our state wildlife areas and not litter or vandalize these public areas. This weekend is a great time to get outside and explore the great outdoors, the nice weather won't last forever! - Alyssa R Neff-Miller, conservation warden, Mishicot

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - Wildflowers are starting to bloom. Look for columbines. Visitors are spotting fawns in the area so please remember to be respectful of wildlife to keep wildlife wild. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Anglers are still catching panfish on area lakes in Central Wisconsin. Once anglers are able to find fish, they are biting on minnows and worms. So far, warmer days in 5-10 of water have been the best days. Now is the time of the year when you may encounter wild baby animals. Please keep in mind to keep your distance and not frighten them and keep the animals in the wild. High water continues to be an issue in central Wisconsin. Many river systems (such as the Wolf River) have enacted slow no wake ordinances. Take time to read and learn about these ordinances at the boat landing. There are some local lakes that are considering enacting slow no wake ordinances as well. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Waushara County - It looks like the weekend will be a warm and sunny one for a change. The rain and high water still have their grip firmly on our lakes, however, so please check signage as many lakes have implemented Slow-no-wake regulations. The water is slowly warming up and that means that fishing is also starting to pick up on many lakes. Check with local bait shops for specifics, but we're starting to see a number of fish being caught. Fawns and other young wildlife critters are making themselves known. A number of fawns have been seen across the county and everything from young bunnies to bird chicks have been seen. Remember the best place for these wild animals is in the wild so please leave them alone. Check our website for tips on what to do in certain situations or as always you can contact your local wildlife biologist or warden if you have questions. Green up along the trails is definitely occurring and spring is officially here. Get out there and take advantage of the nice weather and enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer! - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma

Oshkosh DNR Service Center area

Calumet County - The weather has been really nice for the past week. The fish bite has slowed down and not many people are catching panfish. Walleye fishermen are having some luck and shore fishermen are catching bull-heads. Deer have been out in the fields and fawns are starting to show up. Toms are still strutting in fields. - Vong Xiong, conservation warden, Sherwood

Outagamie County - Some of the navigational buoys near the Neenah - Menasha Channels of the Fox River have yet to be placed due to high water and strong currents. Hopefully, the placement of those buoys will take place soon. Therefore, it is important to navigate with care, especially around those areas that normally have buoys that mark both the hazards and channels. The entire west side of Lake Winnebago has many navigational challenges and hazards: reefs, sunken islands, rock formations and shallow areas. Having a Lake Winnebago mapping chip for your electronics is certainly helpful with navigation. So, if you are in unfamiliar waters, go slow! Remember "Kids Don't Float" and neither do you, so wear those life jackets! - Tom Sturdivant, conservation warden, Appleton

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Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Sheboygan County - There was no angling effort seen along the shoreline and very few anglers seen on the south pier on Memorial Day, most likely due to the rainy and cold weather there was that day. However, those that were out reported catching two small coho. The pelicans are back in Sheboygan and are all over the jetties and piers, seem to be eating many alewives. Surface water temperatures remained around 58 degrees. Anglers that were seen on the pier over the weekend were mostly targeting salmon and trout. A group of anglers were fishing all morning on the south pier and only reported two common carp being caught. Other anglers reported no success at all. It appears most anglers were using spoons, alewives, or floaters. There were some anglers out on the lake trying their luck for salmon and trout, but again reported no success. The Cleveland ramp is finally in and ready for use! - CJ Usadel, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Ozaukee County - During the week there were very few anglers seen on both the pier and shore during survey time. Most anglers seen were fishing the utility area and targeting browns and coho but unfortunately had no luck. One group of anglers were specifically targeting carp and had some success with those. There were a few anglers trying their luck on the pier during the weekend but were not successful. There were many Pelicans seen near the piers and utility area, appeared to be eating many alewives. The Port Washington Ramp started to pick up during the weekend. Many of the anglers out were targeting lake trout or coho, with a few targeting chinook. A few boats reported keeping one or two lakers and coho, and some came in with nothing at all. Sunday was the most active day with many anglers bringing in two or three decent size rainbows and lake trout per boat. Some anglers that were not as successful reported tracing many fish on their fish finder, they just haven't been biting yet. - CJ Usadel, fisheries technician, Plymouth

Milwaukee County - McKinley Marina saw a good amount of action this week. Fishing boats reported catching a few coho and lake trout south of the city, but success was rather limited. Most anglers only reported one or two fish caught, while others just enjoyed being out on the water. A handful of anglers were seen fishing the north city shoreline over the weekend but no success was reported. The majority of anglers were seen near the red lighthouse at Lakeshore State Park and reported no bites. South shore fishing remained slow this week. The South Shore Ramp and Bender Ramp saw a fair amount of activity this week and quite a lot of success. A few fish were reported at south shore, while anglers were reaching bag limits with coho and steelheads at Bender. A fishing party also came in on Saturday with some good sized chinook - the biggest being 24 lbs. The pier at the Oak Creek Power Plant was relatively active this week but success was quite limited. Only a few carp were reported and the pier was closed Saturday due to weather. - Jessica Grace Jenkins, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Racine County - Fishing activity over the last several days has picked up significantly. Decent weather is finally starting to become a little more consistent. There were still a few periods of rain, which has left the water levels high and the water cloudy. Most anglers weren't deterred by this. Fishing success on the shores and piers has still not been successful, but fishing success on boats is starting to become more frequent. Most of the fishing activity from shore has come from the south pier along Christopher Columbus Causeway. The anglers who do try their luck from shore are having absolutely no success. Fishermen are trying several different baits including crankbaits, spoons, wax worms, nightcrawlers, alewives, and shrimp. Nothing has been working as nothing has been reported caught in weeks. Fishing activity at the ramps in Racine has increased the past several days. The weather is continuing to improve, which is bringing more trailers to the boat launches. Fishing success has also begun to improve among boats who head out onto the water. Many more fish are being brought in compared to the catch numbers from previous weeks. Coho continues to be the most targeted fish species, but fishermen are having luck catching other species as well. Anglers are bringing in combinations of steelhead, lake trout, coho, and chinook salmon. No brown trout have been reported caught in quite some time. Fish are being caught in water only 40 feet deep all the way up to 150-200 feet deep. The water temperature at and around the ramp fluctuated from the mid to high 50s. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

Coho salmon fishing is picking up our of Racine and Kenosha. - Photo credit: Andrew Krecak
Coho salmon fishing is picking up our of Racine and Kenosha.Photo credit: Andrew Krecak

Kenosha County - Fishing activity has started to pick up now the weather is staying better for longer amounts of time. Fishing from shore has still been slow, with no fish being caught in a few weeks. Even with different bait presentations being used, no fish have been reported caught. The fishing success on boats has been improving though. Fishing activity along the piers and shores in Kenosha has been constant. Several anglers have tried their luck every day, but no fish have been caught. Most of the activity has occurred on the north or south piers running down both sides of the harbor heading out to the lake. A dredging project is set to begin within the next week, which could affect the amount of people fishing on the piers. Fishing activity at the Kenosha ramp has increased significantly over the last several days due to the improved weather. The improved weather seems to be bringing good luck, as boats are bringing in more fish than in previous weeks. Coho still seem to be the most targeted fish species, but anglers don't seem to be complaining when they are catching some of the other big, sport fish. Anglers are bringing in a combination of steelhead, lake trout, coho, and chinook salmon. These fish are being caught at a variety of depths and distances from shore. With water levels being so high, flooding at the parking low of the Kenosha ramp has been common. The water temperature at the ramp and in the harbor has been between the low to high 50s. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant

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South Central Region

No reports.

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West Central Region

No reports.



Last Revised: Thursday, June 06, 2019

Contact information

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