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Outdoor ReportPublished October 17, 2019



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.

Fall colors are now peaking from Bayfield down to central Wisconsin. Plan your fall color adventure using the official Travel Wisconsin Fall Color Report.

Autumn leaves in Marinette - Photo credit: DNR
Autumn leaves in MarinettePhoto credit: DNR

The Northwoods experienced a sneak peek of winter with a bit of snow in many areas. The cold front, coupled with a full moon, had deer on the move. Water levels remain high throughout the state--hunters should plan accordingly as they head out. In addition to several ongoing hunting and trapping seasons, the pheasant opener begins Saturday, hunters should expect public lands to be busy.

For more on Wisconsin's outdoors, check out the full Outdoor Report below.




FISHING

Bayfield County

Lake Superior and Chequamegon Bay have been producing some nice coho and brown trout along with some smallmouth bass.

Door County

Fishing pressure at Bailey's Harbor on Lake Michigan was reasonably low this week due to southerly winds, rain and cold temperatures. Anglers fishing from shore reported catching a few chinook salmon while casting spoons while others in Bailey's Harbor reported catching a chinook and a rainbow trout using spawn. Salmon are still in Heins Creek. However, most of the fish were located downstream from the culvert pipe.

Egg Harbor anglers fishing at Murphy Park this week were only able to get out a few days due to the winds. One angler was able to catch one smallmouth bass that was roughly 17 inches and was caught on a worm. Egg Harbor had the highest number of anglers fishing from boats this week. There were salmon seen trying to swim up the boat ramp on 10/11 in Egg Harbor after the rain that fell that morning. However, there were no anglers targeting salmon/trout in Egg Harbor this week.

In Sturgeon Bay, City Dock and Stone Quarry Ramps had the highest fishing pressure throughout the week. The City Dock anglers were targeting smallmouth bass, with little success. Other anglers were targeting northern pike and musky, and they were able to catch northern pike casting stick baits. Anglers were fishing down by Strawberry Creek for salmon/trout. The Stone Quarry anglers were targeting smallmouth bass and yellow perch. The largest smallmouth bass that was reported being caught came from Bayview Park this week with that fish being just under five pounds.

Kenosha County

Fishing activity on the Pike River picked up slightly as salmon continue to run into the rivers and harbors. Anglers have still been fishing the piers and shorelines trying to catch some late season salmon. The activity at the boat ramp has almost completely shut down. Only a few boat trailers were seen throughout the week.

Kewaunee County

Poor weather conditions in Algoma kept many anglers away during the beginning of the week. Over the weekend, however, several anglers were fishing the Ahnapee River just below the dam near County Road J. Many anglers had success fishing silver spoons for chinooks, with about an average of two fish per group. Fishing pressure near Bruemmer Park was relatively low this week. The water level has dropped slightly from last week, but the clarity remains low.

Manitowoc County

Fishing success this weekend for salmon was low due to weather changes. In the Manitowoc River, there was one chinook salmon reported being caught with a spoon at the 19th Street location. Additionally, within the Manitowoc harbor, there was a report of a small rainbow trout being caught. At the Shoto dam, the success rate was meager with only one report of a chinook salmon being caught using flies. At the Mishicot dam, there was very little luck as well, with only one report of two chinook salmon being caught with rubber grubs. Additionally, there were reports of a rainbow trout being caught earlier in the week at the Mishicot dam.

Marinette County

Wind and rain kept angling effort low this week. Chinook salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout numbers increased in the Menominee and Peshtigo rivers compared to last week. Areas from the Interstate Bridge upstream were popular. Fisheries crews conducted electrofishing surveys in the Lower Menominee River. Browns and rainbows are scattered, and chinook salmon were found mainly along the Michigan shoreline from the railroad bridge down to K&K. Pink salmon numbers are trending down as they finish up spawning. Walleye are present in good numbers, and a few trophy smallmouth basses were observed.

Milwaukee County

Some trout and salmon are beginning to jump in the "Summerfest Lagoon" at Lakeshore State Park for those looking for shoreline fishing opportunities (Great Lakes Trout and Salmon stamp required for the lagoon).

Ozaukee County

Port Washington waters at the power plant discharge and within the harbor were turbid. Sauk Creek was colder and running fast, but returning to resting height. Most anglers were fishing along the creek, but many were also fishing within the marina. Although a decent amount of chinook, some rainbows and coho were caught, anglers reported that the fish look somewhat battered.

Racine County

Even though the Root River saw another increase in water levels this week, anglers were out in large numbers hoping to catch some salmon and trout via fly fishing. Few were successful despite the large number giving it a try. Fishing activity along the shorelines and piers saw a significant decrease this week. The boating and fishing seasons are quickly coming to an end.

The Fox River Metro boat launch had few anglers early in the week with little success. Shore anglers near the mouth of the river were interested in either no specific species or freshwater drum. By the weekend, there was little to no angler effort; and meager amounts of traffic at both Fairgrounds and Fox Point.

Sheboygan County

Anglers fished the Sheboygan River at Kiwanis, Esslingen and the dam. Anglers at the dam caught a mix of trout, salmon and northern. The river is still running fast and turbid. Several chinooks and lake trout were caught at the dam.




HUNTING & TRAPPING

Burnett County

It is slightly past the peak for fall colors at Governor Knowles State Forest. Some of the leaves have started to fall, which is making grouse hunting a bit easier as visibility increases in the forest. Woodcock are likely going to be moving out of the area soon.

Columbia County

Pheasant hunters during the opening weekend should expect great weather and good-looking birds coming from the state game farm. However, due to the heavy rain in the past few weeks, some popular pheasant hunting spots that are usually reasonably dry are wet -- Pine Island Wildlife Area in particular. Pheasant hunters should plan accordingly while hunting that property.

Green Lake County

The pheasant opener, along with some trapping seasons, should make for a busy weekend on state-owned lands. Deer seem to be moving, and bucks are getting going with many new scrapes and rubs being created.

Lafayette County

Deer are beginning to move and are being seen in higher numbers.

Marinette County

Hunters are impacted by the high waters of the Bay of Green Bay. Some report wood ducks using flooded woods and woodcock are seeking out small upland islands in areas of standing water that were once dry. Whitetails have begun making scrapes and rubs, and the cold front last weekend coupled with a full moon had deer moving more-- especially in the evenings. Deer hunters are reminded that baiting (including the use of mineral blocks and powders) is illegal in Marinette county. Some fall turkey hunters have reported finding good-sized flocks of birds.

Oneida County

Leaves are falling quickly in the area, which is making hunting grouse and woodcock easier.

Washburn County

Bucks near Spooner Service Center are starting to make some rubs and scrapes. Acorns are plentiful, which is great for bow hunting. Leaves are turning colors and beginning to drop, making ruffed grouse hunting a bit easier. The weather has been rainy, but the forecast is calling for some lovely days to go out and enjoy. The predicted outdoor temps are perfect for hunting.

Waushara County

The pheasant opener, along with some trapping seasons, should make for a busy weekend on state-owned lands. Deer seem to be moving, and bucks are getting going with many new scrapes and rubs being created.




WILDLIFE

Dane County

The peak of the neotropical bird migration has passed. Common migrants seen this week in Dane County include yellow-rumped warblers, kinglets, sparrows and our first waterfowl migrants of the year. These include surf scoters, ring-necked ducks and most species of puddle ducks.

Dodge County

North winds at Horicon Marsh should bring in good numbers of waterfowl. Water levels continue to be high, and floating cattail bogs are proving challenging for duck hunters. Please continue to use caution as conditions change frequently. Colors are progressing nicely, and the maples are near peak.

Dunn County

Fish and game activity are rolling right now, and hunters are having success. Water levels are high and creating many habitats for wood ducks. Deer are also on the move, and bucks are busy making scrapes.

Milwaukee County

Cormorants and coots are currently migrating through the Lakeshore State Park area, along with an occasional sighting of eared grebes.




SEASONAL CONDITIONS

Bayfield County

Fall colors have peaked, and with the past weekend of rain, snow and wind, it is getting easier to see in the woods. Woods are very wet with more rain predicted.

Burnett County

It is slightly past the peak for fall colors at Governor Knowles State Forest. Some of the leaves have started to fall.

Dodge County

Colors are progressing nicely, and the maples are near peak.

Lafayette County

Fall colors are starting to peak near Yellowstone Lake and will change rapidly due to the killing frost. Walnuts have fallen and can be harvested.

Marinette County

Heavy frost has greeted the area numerous times during the past week. The heavy rains and winds have taken a toll on the fall colors, but there are still some outstanding views to take in. Oak trees are producing spotty crops of acorns this year.

Milwaukee County

The area is seeing near peak colors at 65%.

Sawyer County

The fall colors are just past peak near Winter, but there is plenty of time to get out and enjoy them as you explore. The Flambeau River water levels continue to be above average for this time of year. Connors Lake Campground has closed, but Lake of the Pines continues to be open. The water systems for showers, water fountains and dump stations have been closed.

St. Croix County

Willow River State Park is seeing about 70% of fall colors. Visitors have been coming in to view the changing leaves as well as the waterfalls. Due to the rain, the waterfalls are more active and have been the main attraction as of recently.

Washington County

At Kettle Moraine State ForestóLoew Lake Unit, colors will be peaking this weekend.




PARKS & TRAILS

Adams County

Fall colors are starting with the cooler weather. At Roche-A-Cri State Park, experience fall by walking from the prairie through the woods along Carter Creek to the stairway.

Burnett County

Conditions are good on the Trade River Equestrian Trail System at Governor Knowles State Forest, and mostly unaffected by recent rains. With temperatures cooling, bugs are down in the forest.

Eau Claire County

The leaves are turning, and the cool air has arrived at Lake Wissota State Park. Most of the oaks are still green, but many of the other species of trees are in full color. All the flush facilities are closed for the remainder of the year, but there are still vault toilets to use.

Fond du Lac County

Fall colors are coming along at Kettle Moraine State Forest - Northern Unit and could peak this weekend. Parnell Tower is expected to be busy, as is hiking in the area. In the Greenbush area, some of the smaller maples and most of the oaks still have not turned, but are getting close. Anyone looking to experience the fall colors via bicycle should check out the 6.5-mile linear Lake-to-Lake bike trail, which goes north from the main office at Headquarters Road through the scenic Jersey Flats area near New Prospect/Dundee, then ends at the Long Lake Rec Area.

Juneau County

Fall colors are starting to change at Buckhorn State Park. Winter campsites, family campground and group campsites are open. Trails are in great condition for hiking.

Milwaukee County

Trail conditions at Havenwoods State Forest are wet in many areas, and pond/creek levels are high due to high amounts of rainfall. Fall colors are around 65% in the area.

While there are not many trees at Lakeshore State Park, there are still fall colors occurring in prairies as native grasses and forbs transition to dormancy. Some trout and salmon are beginning to jump in the "Summerfest Lagoon" for those looking for shoreline fishing opportunities (Great Lakes Trout and Salmon stamp required for the lagoon).

Sheboygan County

With leaf color changes at about 10% to 20%, there is a feeling of fall in the air at Kohler-Andrae State Park. Although most of the water from last week's rain has receded, there are a few low-lying trails and campsites with standing water. High Lake Michigan water levels have exposed sheet pile and rip rap around the main beach parking lot, and many public and private lands have sustained erosion damages.

All park water systems have been drained for the season, and only vault toilet buildings are available. The Sanderling Nature Center will be closing for the season on Oct. 31. Likewise, the south loop of the family campground will close for the season on Nov. 1. Park office hours will be reduced.

St. Croix County

Willow River State Park is seeing about 70% of fall colors. Visitors have been coming in to view the changing leaves as well as the waterfalls. Due to the rain, the waterfalls are more active and have been the main attraction as of recently.

Waukesha County

At Kettle Moraine State Forest - Southern Unit, the rain has impacted visitor flow but has not caused any severe damage to the area. The rain and cold temps required fountains to be shut off last week, but they are back on as of now. There is about 40% of fall colors showing with some of the area showing more than others.

At Kettle Moraine State Forest - Lapham Peak Unit, fall colors are close but not quite at peak levels. This has not stopped out-of-state visitors coming to view the scenery.



Last Revised: Thursday, October 17, 2019

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