Outdoor Report is your weekly snapshot for all things outdoors from across the state. Here is a brief look at what Wisconsin has in store for you this week.
With summer officially over, fall colors are beginning to pop across the state most notably up north, where the leaves are at 80% color in some parts from Ashland to Florence. Discover the best fall colors in Wisconsin with the official Travel Wisconsin Fall Color Report. If you head out to catch the colors, record-setting rains hit many parts of the state resulting in park and trail closures due to muddy or flooded conditions. Make sure to call ahead for the most current conditions on our trails and at our parks. For more on Wisconsin's outdoors, check out the full Outdoor Report below.
Water in area rivers is muddy; however, the lakes are clear. Conditions have not impacted area fishing. King Salmon are beginning their run. People are fishing for salmon by the canal in Sturgeon Bay, as well as trolling the channel. Anglers also report yellow perch in the area, which is common during this time of year.
Fall is an excellent time of the year to hit trout streams in Eau Claire County as the bugs are mostly gone, the leaves are changing color and fish are actively feeding in preparation for winter. Most male brook or brown trout will have very vibrant color patterns because it is just before the spawning season. For excellent fishing opportunity, the use of any variety of spinner, live bait, or lure that imitates a common forage fish will work well this time of year.
Enjoy the last days of trout fishing in Iowa County before the season closes on Oct. 15.
Recent rain events and high-water levels have made fishing difficult in the southwestern portion of the state. However, if the weather cooperates, water levels recede, and water clarity increases, anglers should have some excellent opportunities to catch trout.
With the recent precipitation, trout streams in Langlade and Lincoln counties remain high. Within a day or two of rainfall, the streams clear up and are fishable.
With high water pushing fresh food items down the streams, the trout are on the feed! Springs ponds are great options on cloudy and rainy days.
Weekly fall daytime electrofishing surveys by WDNR to assess trout and salmon in the lower Menominee and Peshtigo Rivers began on October 2. The dominant salmonid was pink salmon, with several dozen captured. Most of the females already are done spawning.
A few brown trout, Chinook salmon, and rainbow trout were also around. Water temperatures are around 61 degrees, and flows are high.
Walleye fishing near the Spooner Service Center has considerably increased. Anglers are reporting walleye are bountiful and biting.
It's almost spawning season for our native brook trout and brown trout. These fish are actively moving upstream, feeding as they go, trying to build energy stores for spawning. Anglers should use large baitfish imitations during this time that imitate fall color. Fly anglers should use streamers in similar colors.
Deer seem to still be on their summer patterns. There has been no sign that the rut has begun. Geese have started migrating through, but there has not been a full migratory flock from the north yet. There are still plenty in area water.
Hunting traffic is starting to pick up in the area. Deer are starting to move around and are becoming more visible on the roads.
Hunters in the Minocqua area are reporting seeing a plethora of grouse early in the season along with an increase in the turkey numbers. The leaf cover remains heavy enough to make grouse hunting a challenge.
The wet conditions are making duck hunting in the area challenging since they have many options for water. Although duck hunting has been off to a slower start, the geese are starting to come down from their northern territory. Cut hayfields and pastures have been holding the most geese. There has been some movement in and out of the Wildlife Refuge on Navarino State Land as well.
Lots of bear hunters have been out near the Spooner Service Center with the season ending October 8. Grouse hunters, duck hunters and bowhunters looking for deer have also been out and about.
It is wet at Horicon Marsh. Waterfowl migration has started but has been slow -- it should pick up with cooler temperatures. As they come in, ducks will likely spread out due to the amount of water in the area. With high water levels, be aware of cattail bogs that may break loose.
Fall songbird migration is past its peak, but some migrant flocks may still be in our local parks, especially along Lake Michigan. Late berry-producing trees are perfect shrubs to look for songbird activity.
Coyotes are active this time of year, with this year's juveniles dispersing out of the pack and moving through new and unfamiliar terrain. There is an active coyote population in Milwaukee, with an abundance of food and habitat within our parks.
The fall color change is happening but hasn't been significant yet.
Reports from Governor Knowles State Forest note that fall colors are at 15% to 20%.
Colors are just starting to change with mostly yellow but some scattered red. Many trees have already dropped leaves with all the rain.
Fall colors are slow in coming -- due to the lake effect, colors usually do not peak until the second or third weeks of October. Air temperatures have been colder than usual for this time of year. The flow of people has been slower since Labor Day Weekend, but there are still plenty of people enjoying getting out to fish on the bay.
Fall colors are close to being in full swing.
Fall colors are good right now, with colors in the area at roughly 50%.
The fall color is at about 50%. Conditions are generally soggy after recent rains.
The leaves are beginning to change color, and the crisp temperatures make for an excellent opportunity for a fall hike at a local city or county park, or Havenwoods State Forest.
In the Minocqua area, leaf colors are changing rapidly.
Visitors have enjoyed hiking and camping in Roche-A-Cri State Park. The fall color change has not been significant during this time. The 1st loop is open through this weekend (October 5-6), but the main gate closes October 7. There is access on Czech Avenue through the winter/prairie lot until the first weekend in May.
Due to recent rain, the trails are muddy, but there are still visitors coming to see the fall colors. The last few weekends have seen many camping visitors at Governor Knowles State Forest with half-full family campgrounds. This season has seen many horse riders, as well. Water will be turned off in the next two to three weeks throughout the park.
Most trees are still green at Lake Wissota State Park, but maples are starting to turn. Trails are still in pretty good shape. Activity is slowing during the week, but weekends have continued to be busy.
Conditions are like a soggy wet sponge at Governor Dodge State Park, causing horse trails to close this weekend. Lake levels are up, but there are still people fishing. Colors are just starting with mostly yellow but some scattered red. Many trees have dropped leaves with all the rain. Weekends have still been jam-packed with electric campsites filled, but some non-electric sites may still be available. Book yours today.
After record-breaking rains in September, there are some muddy spots on trails at Newport State Park. They are passable, but there are areas on Europe Bay and Newport Trails that make biking a bit more challenging. Fern Trail boardwalks have been repositioned and seem to be holding up to all the rain.
At Peninsula State Park, everything is wet. Trails are going to be soggy and slippery. Large leaf asters are still in bloom. Witch-hazel should start blooming soon. The nature center is closed until spring for the construction of a new addition. Construction activities are also taking place in the South Nicolet Campground.
Fall is an excellent time of year for birding at Whitefish Dunes State Park. Many birds are at the bird feeder by the office, such as blue jays, cardinals, and pileated woodpeckers. Beach access is open at the second beach and third beach for those with pets. Due to high water levels, there is not much shoreline to hike along.
Pattison State Park received more than 4 inches of rain on September 30. There was some flooding in the area, but park staff members were quick to respond and were able to lower the dam to avoid high water issues. Big and Little Manitou Falls are flowing with a lot of force right now, making it a sight to see for visitors. Many visitors have been coming to hike and take photographs of the changing leaves, but hiking has slowed down due to the rainy conditions.
ATV trail conditions are wet at Black River State Forest, with one section of the Wildcat Loop closed after heavy rains in the area. Hiking trail conditions are fair to moderate, depending on elevation. Fall colors are good right now, with colors at the state forest at roughly 50%.
Visitors for Buckhorn State Park have been hiking, boating, fishing, and bird watching recently. There has not been much change in colors yet, and there are fewer bugs each week. Remote campsites are not reservable and are available at a first-come, first-served basis through this weekend. Some hunting is open in the park, and wildlife area maps are available online or at the park office.
At Council Grounds State Park, the fall color is at about 50%. Conditions are generally soggy after recent rains. The canoe portage is currently closed as a crew works on it. The number of campers is lower than it was a few weeks ago, but weekends are still busy.
The recent heavy rainfalls have left the forest trail a bit soggy at Havenwoods State Forest. Snake and turtle activity has also been on the rise with the drop in temperature. Fall Asters are blooming like crazy, which the last of the butterflies and dragonflies enjoy. There has not been much in the way of fall colors on the property yet.
The early fall colors are peaking this weekend at Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, though the forest is still facing some high water issues from the recent storm activity. Area lakes are still very high, so wear appropriate footwear when hiking or birdwatching. Late migraters like the yellow-rumped warblers have also been moving through the area. There have been a lot of mixed-brood sizes of turkeys prevalent on the roadside lately.
Trails at Willow River State Park are in good condition plenty of hikers have been seen at the park lately. The dam at the park is under construction, with completion expected by the end of the year. Additionally, the repaving of the main park road is expected to be done by November.
At Perrot State Park, hiking trails are in good condition. Canoes and kayaks are still available to rent, depending on the weather. Campsites are reservable until October 21; after that date, it is first-come, first-serve. Flush toilets and showers are also open until mid-October.