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
Much of the state received snow this week, with higher amounts in the south and less in the north. The golden hues of oaks are still hanging on, despite the snow, which is creating some tracking opportunities for archery and crossbow hunters right as the white-tailed deer rut hits its peak. Turkeys have been grouping up, and grouse action seems to be steadily slowing.
Waterfowl migration is picking up, with the chilly weather bringing more northern birds to the state. There were 200 to 400 trumpeter and tundra swans seen at Horicon Marsh, along with hundreds of cranes. Early winter migrants such as juncos, snow buntings and fox sparrows have also arrived.
Lake Michigan salmon are near the end of their run, but whitefish are beginning their spawning runs on the Green Bay tributaries. Snow has slowed fish activity, and ice is starting to form on many small lakes and bays on larger northern lakes.
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Anglers at the Fox River were either targeting walleye, musky or smallmouth bass. The catch rate for walleyes was between three to six fish, and for smallmouth, it was two to three fish. Musky anglers caught a couple of fish. Most of the anglers targeting walleye were trolling shad raps and flicker shads, but there were a few drifting and jigging with a minnow. The anglers targeting smallmouth were trolling and casting up the river.
Little Sturgeon Bay locations have some docks removed for the season, with local marinas also now closed. The only spot where there was any fishing pressure this week on the bayside was at Ellison Bay. One angler reported catching 12 smallmouth bass in roughly four hours and was using a variety of tackle, from live bait to tubes. One angler had success catching Northern pike in the Sturgeon Bay canal using crank baits.
Fishing activity on the Pike River slowed down over the past week near Kenosha. The salmon run is starting to slow down, and fishing activity is becoming scarce. Water levels were high, and water clarity was low. Windy conditions made for some big waves and harsh fishing conditions inside the harbor.
Cold weather, snow and low fishing pressure kept many anglers from fishing. One individual caught a chinook on the Ahnapee River below the dam using a spoon. Near Bruemmer Park in Kewaunee, a few anglers had some luck fishing for brown and rainbow trout using rainbow spawn sacks. Snow and rain caused the river to rise slightly and clarity to drop.
In Marinette, most fishing pressures were seen off Hattie St. Bridge and both sides of the river below the dam with a few boat anglers fishing from Hattie St. to the Highway 41 bridge. Walleye and whitefish were caught with the best action being after dark or low light conditions. Walleye were hitting stick baits such as husky jerks being trolled or fished off the Hattie St. Bridge and whitefish were being caught off the Hattie St. Bridge on jigs.
Whitefish are beginning their spawning runs on the Green Bay tributaries of the Lower Menominee & Peshtigo Rivers. Brown trout and rainbow trout are still present but in lower numbers than last week. Chinook salmon are near the end of their runs. Water temperatures and flows have dropped recently.
Perch fishing remained good this week at Oconto Park II and the Oconto city docks. Overall, Oconto Park II was a little better with both the size and numbers of perch caught. Both minnows and worms were catching perch with minnows being best for larger fish. Boat ramps were busy this week from Pensaukee north to Oconto Park II.
While it is still early November, lake conditions near Minocqua are more like mid to late November. On many small lakes and bays on larger lakes, ice is beginning to form, making launching a boat challenging in some locations.
Fishing activity on the Root River slowed down significantly this week in Racine. Increased water levels and a snowstorm late in the week may be the cause of the slower activity and made for challenging fishing conditions. Some anglers were still spotted fishing with flies or spawn on fly fishing tackle. A small mix of chinook and coho salmon were caught using flies and fake spawn.
Lake Michigan waters were mostly calm, but the Port Washington power plant outflow was turbid and had a strong current. Sauk Creek was high, fast running and cloudy with silt. A few anglers fished at the power plant, at the creek and in the marina. There were reports of salmon caught on the creek.
Lake Michigan was mostly calm, and waters within the harbor were turbid. The Pigeon River was moving swiftly and slightly murky. The Sheboygan River was still muddy and somewhat up. A few anglers were fishing at Kohler dam, catching several cohos and a lake trout.
Rutting activity has picked up in the south with many more sightings of bucks on the move at Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. Waterfowl hunters are having decent success and are still advised to use caution on Horicon Marsh. Floating cattail bogs continue to move and have the potential to trap hunters or block off access points.
Rutting activity is increasing with some hunters reporting bucks pushing does around. Scrapes and rubs have been popping up for the last two to three weeks. Marinette County is a Chronic Wasting Disease affected county. Therefore, baiting and feeding of deer is currently banned. Hunters can have their deer tested for CWD free of charge at any of our self-serve kiosks.
The rut is at its peak, and now is the time to take advantage of our archery deer hunting season, either on private or public lands in the county. Visit Big Muskego Lake Wildlife Area in southwest Milwaukee County and into Waukesha County for some local archery opportunities. However, remember that all Milwaukee County park land is not open to deer hunting. There are also opportunities for late-season turkey, cottontail and pheasant.
Increased buck movement has been observed in Oconto County, with bucks chasing does and more rubs and scrapes. Turkeys are also on the move and have been grouping up. Regarding trapping on the Pensaukee River, there have been sightings of numerous beavers. The Oconto River this year and last year have also had abundant amounts of otters. In speaking with local hunters and property owners, there has been an increase in bobcat populations.
The rut is in full swing, and bucks have been seen moving during the day time near Appleton. There are more hunters out in the woods, especially on state land. Be aware that treestands or blinds cannot be left overnight on DNR owned properties south of Highway 64. Additionally, any trail cameras placed must have identification on them.
The whitetail rut has been starting to pick up in the Flambeau River State Forest. A few animals have been taken; it has been tough hunting so far. Grouse action seems to be steadily slowing. Waterfowl action is picking up on the lakes and rivers. The chilly weather has brought some northern birds to the area.
At Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area, leaf colors are past their peak, and just a few oaks still have leaves. Waterfowl migration has increased with 200-400 trumpeter and tundra swans seen on Highway 49 on the north end of Horicon Marsh. Hundreds of cranes are staging; eagles and swans have been as well. If the marsh freezes over and waterfowl cannot find open water to roost, we may be towards the end of the migration season. Deer are rutting, and great horned owls are calling after dark.
Early winter migrants such as juncos, snow buntings and fox sparrows have been observed within Milwaukee County. The rut is at its peak, so when hiking through your local park, keep your eyes open for deer cruising around, including some large local bucks.
At Devil's Lake State Park, the turkey vultures have headed south and are no longer gathering in the large "kettles" of spiraling soaring birds. There is still no hunting in the park until the period of Nov. 15 to Dec. 15. During that time, hunting is limited to specific areas away from the lake, bluff trails, picnic areas, Parfrey's Glen and campgrounds. Whether you're a hunter or recreational visitor, it would be handy to pick up a hunting map/rules sheet at the visitor center or online.
The golden hues of fall are still hanging on, despite the first snowfall of the season. Temps have been in the 30s at Newport State Park. Trails are still beautiful, with wildlife sightings of turkey, grouse and deer. With the early sunsets and no moon to speak of, it is an excellent time to get out and view at the dark sky park.
The first hard frost was seen this week at Bong State Recreational Area. Seeing flocks of 10-50 sandhill cranes in corn and soybean fields.
Colder weather has caused many people to wrap up camping for the year at Lake Wissota State Park, but it is a great time to camp if you like to camp when others are not. Most of the trees have dropped their leaves, but some of the oaks are still holding them. It still makes for beautiful scenery when spending time in the park or on the water.
Pattison State Park received a dusting of snow this week, to remind us that winter is not too far away. You can view the waterfalls year-round at Pattison -- Big Manitou Falls by trail or vehicle and Little Manitou Falls by vehicle. Vehicle admission is required.
At Devil's Lake State Park, trails will be a mix of just about anything for the foreseeable future, according to the general weather forecasts. Expect mud, snow, ice, water, leaves, rocks and gravel on various trails.