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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar
September 11, 2014
The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Areas of Wisconsin have received from 5 to 7 inches of rain since the beginning of September and water levels are very high on lakes, rivers and streams. In the north, many streams and rivers are at or near flood stage, and lake levels are nearing the top of many people's docks.
All major river systems are running above average. The Bois Brule River was flowing at 413 cubic feet per second, compared to the 69 year average of 153 cfs. The Wisconsin River is at flood stage in Columbia County and almost all sandbars and even some islands on the lower Wisconsin River are under water.
Heavy rainfalls in the past few weeks have made fishing difficult if not impossible in some places. All boaters and fishermen should very cautious, with floating debris and strong currents being the major hazards. The high water made for a slow opener last Saturday for the inland sturgeon season, but there were a couple reports of legal 60-inch fish caught. Last weekend was dry in the north and participation was good in the World Championship Musky Classic in Vilas County with more than 700 anglers participating and catching more than 50 muskies.
Walleye and musky fishing was fair along the west shore of Green Bay, and smallmouth bass fishing continued to be good along the Door Peninsula, where some better perch action was also reported. Salmon action was picking up in the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal.
Pier and shore anglers were out in high numbers last weekend at most Lake Michigan harbors hopes of catching salmon as they swim up rivers to spawn, but the run is still a ways away. Over the weekend the salmon fishing also really picked up for both shore and boat anglers. Lake anglers were having good success and many of the chinook salmon caught were already black with hooked jaws on the males.
Sept. 13 kicks off the archery deer, fall turkey, squirrel and rabbit seasons in Wisconsin. New this year anyone can use a crossbow to hunt deer under a separate crossbow license. Wardens are cautioning hunters that bucks in velvet antlers and spotted coat fawns are still being seen. While they are legal to harvest hunters must contact a local conservation warden to get an extra permit to legally possess either of those deer after tagging and registering it.
A lot of the turkey poults being seen fall are smaller than average, which is likely the result of later re-nesting attempts. Bear hunters are reporting the abundant acorn crop is keeping bears off bait, but that is an indication deer, turkey and squirrel hunters should be scouting oak woods. Hunters should be prepared for a very good mosquito hatch in woods and wetlands as a result of all the recent rain.
Wild rice is at its peak right now; however, high water levels are making harvesting a bit of a challenge. But the large amounts of rainfall have made great conditions for the numerous types of mushrooms.
Flights of southbound raptors should begin soon with sharp-shinned and broad-winged hawks two primary early-season migrants, along with osprey, American kestrel, and a smattering of other species. Large groups of broad-winged hawks, called kettles, will be moving through over the next two weeks.
A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling 608-266-2277.
Statewide Birding Report as of September 11, 2014
Fall migration is in full swing statewide. In the south, warblers, thrushes, and other Neotropical land birds are at peak numbers and the next one to two weeks should be outstanding for finding an excellent diversity of birds in local parks, woodlands, yards, and other areas with forest and shrub habitat rich with insect and fruit resources. In the north, this peak has just passed, while numbers of palm and yellow-rumped warblers are on the rise. Numbers of short-distance migration sparrows are also on the rise there, including white-throated, Lincoln's, swamp, and the first white-crowned sparrows of the year. Other short-distance migrants reported include Lapland longspur, ruby-crowned kinglet, brown creeper, and American pipit. Expect the first rusty blackbirds to show any day now. Hummingbird numbers remain high the south but are dwindling in the north, while a similar story can be told for common nighthawks and chimney swifts. This fall was especially poor for nighthawks, though the reason for the lower observance rate is unclear. Departure of migratory land birds also brings flights of southbound raptors. Sharp-shinned and broad-winged hawks are two primary early-season migrants, along with osprey, American kestrel, and a smattering of other species. Large groups (kettles) of broad-winged hawks will be moving through over the next two weeks. Shorebird migration is well past peak for most species, although black-bellied and golden plovers, pectoral sandpipers, sanderlings, yellowlegs, and some other species persist in numbers. Keep checking those shorelines and mudflats through the end of October at least. Elsewhere on the water, waterfowl migration is underway with good numbers of Canada geese moving south into the state this past week. Small numbers of blue-winged teal, northern pintail, and other ducks are also on the move now. Parasitic jaegers have been reported from Wisconsin Point, Harrington Beach, and Green Bay. Other rarities spotted this week included western sandpiper in Ashland County, western kingbird in Marathon, red knot and snowy egret in Brown, whimbrels and red knot in Milwaukee, lark sparrow in Douglas, American avocet and little gull in Manitowoc, and more! See what others are seeing and reporting your sightings to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
DNR Northern RegionSuperior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Cooler air has settled into the Brule area, leaving a feeling of the fall season. Little by little the fall colors are showing up, tinging the green with splashes of color. We are nowhere near peak, but the colors are just giving a taste of what we have in store for us. The mushrooms are putting on their colorful show as well. The large amounts of rainfall have made great conditions for the numerous mushrooms out there. The Indian pipe plant may not have color, but it is certainly very interesting to see right now. You can read more about this at August 2002 isconsin Natural Resources magazine. Pearly everlasting and large-leaved asters are also visible right now. Heavy rainfalls in the past few weeks have made fishing difficult on the Bois Brule River. It seems that as soon as the river starts leveling off we get another good soaker. As of Sept. 11, the Bois Brule River was flowing at 413 cfs (cubic feet per second). The 69 year average is 153 cfs. The Douglas County Deer Advisory Council meeting will be held September 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the Superior Public Library. Each council is made up of members who represent various stakeholder groups impacted by deer, including hunters, tourism, agriculture, forestry and others. Each county's meetings will be chaired by a Conservation Congress delegate. Council meetings will develop recommendations to the DNR regarding deer population objectives in their respective county, antlerless quotas and season structure options. Through their participation, CDAC members and meeting participants will be given a direct stake in managing Wisconsin's deer herd. Local department staff will be on hand to present information and answer any questions and discuss possible strategies for managing the local deer herd.- Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Bayfield County - Many bear hunters reported this past week that their baits have gone untouched due to a heavy acorn and hazelnut crop; if you are a bear hunter this is not good news. If you are a squirrel or bow hunter, this is good news; find a good stand of oaks and you will find where the deer are feeding. The blackberry crop took a big hit this past winter -- old stands of blackberry bushes; the big producers are nowhere to be found. If you can find them, they are ripe for the picking, running a little late this year. Panfish have moved into deeper waters, finding them on Lake Owen at about 10 to 12 feet. Walleye fishermen are doing well just before dark on the Eau Claire chain. Local ATV Trails are quite muddy. Wild rice is at its peak right now; although, those harvesting on Totogatic Lake noted considerably less plants this year. The rice that is there appears to be very good and Chippewa Lake has an increase in plants. Though quite wormy, the harvest has been good. - Jill Schartner, conservation warden, Drummond
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Streams, rivers and some lakes are still high from the heavy rains last week. Those fishing the streams and rivers will find it very tough, if not impossible in some places. Due to the high winds, individuals coming to the area may find a number of logging roads and trails blocked from the storm blown trees across them. The Tuscobia State Trail is now cleared and open to ATV use again. Leaves are starting to turn color in lots of areas and the blueberries are nearing an end. There seems to be a pretty good acorn crop this year and they have been starting to fall pretty heavily. Due to the acorns, berries and mushrooms, some hunters are reporting the bear are starting to slack off on the baits now. Archery hunters are reminded that if they plan to bait deer in the counties where it is still legal to do so, they can't place the bait out until after midnight starting Friday Sept. 12, 2014. The legal limit is still 2 gallons regardless of the type of bait used. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties - With over 5 inches of rain in the last week, water levels are very high on all lakes, rivers and streams in the area. Many streams and rivers are at or near flood stage, and lake levels are nearing the top of many people's docks. All boaters and fishermen should very cautious, with floating debris and strong currents being the major hazards. In addition, boaters should be aware of their wakes, as large wakes can cause dock damage and shoreline erosion during these high water periods. Along with the high water, the wet weather has made for some difficult fishing conditions and has kept both pressure and angling success at a low level. The inland sturgeon season opened this past Saturday and early reports were for a rather slow opener. Opening day pressure was a bit below average; although, a few anglers did report catching some fish. There were a fair number of sub-legal sturgeon caught and released, and a couple reports of legal-size 60-inch sturgeon being landed. The best success came on cut bait or a gob of night crawlers, and was fished on the bottom in the main river channel in the deepest water that could be found. Even with the wet weather, musky fishing did generate a moderate amount of interest in the past week. The anglers that did brave the weather reported some fairly consistent action, with quite a few sightings and follows as well as a good number of catches of musky in the 34- to 40-inch size. The mid-day to late afternoon hours seemed to produce the best action, and the favorite lures have been bucktails, bulldawgs and slower top water baits fished over the weed beds and along the deep weed edges. With the periodic rain and high water levels, there was very little effort for bass, walleye or panfish in the past week - and that doesn't look to change in the next few days with more rain and a severe cold front in the forecast. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Water levels are high on both the North and South Forks of the Flambeau River. Fishing is a bit slow due to the heavy rainfall over the past week. Blooming are wild clematis, goldenrod and asters. We are seeing bucks in velvet and lots of turkeys. We are starting to see a bit of color, especially in the stressed maples. Geese are starting to move and temperatures are definitely feeling like fall with frost expected over the next couple of nights and cooler days are in the forecast. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Hunters heading to the field in the Antigo Area can expect extremely wet conditions. Over 7 inches of rain has fallen in September, making trails and access roads difficult to travel. The local turkey population is in good shape in spite of a brutal winter. Hunters will find that this year's turkey poults are smaller than average. Likely the result of later re-nesting attempts. Ruffed grouse numbers are down and hunters will have to work a bit to locate birds. Fall colors are beginning to show themselves with lowland maples being the most brilliant at this time. Overall about 5 percent of the trees have turned to their fall colors. Wild rice is ripening. However, high water levels are making harvesting a bit of a challenge. Large numbers of sandhill cranes are staging, getting ready for their migration southward later this month. Good viewing opportunities can be found in recently harvested grain fields across the area.- Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
DNR Northeast RegionNorthern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled by David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Marinette County - The Peshtigo Dam has three gates open and no fishermen were observed this past week. A few shore anglers on the Menominee River were catching some small mouth bass and the occasional sturgeon up by the Dam. No reports of salmon coming in to spawn have been received as of yet. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - With high water there was no fishing activity on the Oconto River this past week. Anglers on Green Bay from the Pensaukee Boat Landing to Oconto Park II were catching some perch but it was hit or miss. Walleye anglers were catching fish when the weather allowed. Most fish were being caught in 14 to 20 feet of water trolling large stick baits and crawler harnesses. Musky anglers out of Geano Beach launch came back with mixed results. While only 25 percent or less landed fish, close to half reported seeing or losing them. Bucktails were the most common lure. Ten feet of water and less was the range. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Shore anglers at Green Bay Metro were catching good numbers on freshwater drum and channel catfish. The largest catfish observed was about 30 inches and close to 12 pounds. Crawlers and softshells around a foot off of the bottom seemed to work the best. Shore fishermen at Voyager Park continue to have some luck catching smallmouth bass using crank baits. The largest reported this week was around 14 inches. Bottom fishermen at Voyager also caught a few catfish. Fish are seen feeding off of the surface, but getting them to take your lure has been challenging. Catch numbers out of the Fox River ramps were slow this week. Several anglers reported trying for anything and ended up catching catfish and freshwater drum. Walleye anglers out of the Metro launch did not report any luck. Shore anglers on Duck Creek continue to report good numbers of yellow perch. A group of four reported catching around 40 of these fish. Night crawler pieces under a bobber or off of the bottom with a split shot seemed to be the best recipe. Almost all of the fish reported were under 7 inches. A handful of round gobies were also caught. Boaters out of Duck Creek did not report much luck. Pier anglers at the Suamico boat launch were catching yellow perch, common carp, channel catfish, and even a couple small walleye. Most of the yellow perch being caught were in the five to six inch range. The walleye were around 10 to 12 inches. Boaters looking for walleye were having decent luck. While some fishermen struggled to catch a handful or less, others were catching close to their limit. Several walleye anglers released larger fish (25 inches and up) and still were able to take home five or more 16 - 24 inch fish. Crawler harnesses and crank baits seemed to preform equally this week. Musky fishermen came back catching at least a few fish. While most musky anglers returned empty handed, a few had gotten lucky. At least one angler was able to catch multiple musky. The largest musky caught out of the Suamico boat launch was 48 inches. One musky fishermen caught a very aggressive walleye (26 inches) while pitching a large bucktail. Bucktails were the luckiest lure. Yellow perch anglers did not report much luck. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Poor weather and high winds the past week kept fishing pressure low throughout the peninsula. The piers from Egg Harbor to Sister Bay continue to produce smallmouth bass using worms and tubes. Most bass caught were moderate in size, anywhere from 10 to 15 inches, but larger bass have been reported. Anglers have also been catching good sized smallmouth in the canal using worms. Bass anglers fishing from boats found moderate success fishing at variety of depths using mostly tubes; although, worms were also reported as successful. Salmon anglers are beginning to find success fishing in the Sturgeon Bay ship canal, trolling spoons and flasher flies with some anglers casting from shore as well. Other anglers are still catching trout and salmon offshore. Those interviewed fishing out on the lake found success fishing in 200 to 240 feet of water using spoons and flasher flies in a variety of colors. Catches typically consisted of mostly of king salmon with the occasional steelhead and brown trout. Salmon and trout anglers have not yet begun fishing the Lake Michigan tributaries in northern Door County. Heins Creek has a high water level, a very fast water flow, good clarity, and is 69 degrees. Hibbards Creek has a high water level, very fast water flow, good clarity, and is 51 degrees. Whitefish Bay Creek has a moderate water level, moderate flow, good clarity, and is 64 degrees. Shivering Sands Creek has a moderate water level, high flow, good clarity, and is 66 degrees. No Salmon have been seen in the tributaries or near shore yet. - Dan Olson, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Smallmouth action continued to be good at Sawyer Harbor, with the cooler weather not having an effect throughout the week. Anglers fishing the shoreline using white tubes had the best results. Water temperature in the area hovered around 68 degrees. Perch fishermen have begun to find better action throughout the harbor. Most anglers reported having to move multiple times though the day, but once a school was located the action was good. Minnows fished 6 inches off bottom continue to provide the best results, while minimizing incidental catches. One walleye angler was interviewed and reported success with larger fish, but was only able to find them once outside the cans in the harbor mouth. Crawler harnesses were his tackle of choice while fishing 28-32 feet of water. Perch fishermen had mixed success in Little Sturgeon Bay. Many anglers spoke of finding schools of fish but being unable to produce bites. Those that did catch fish were finding them in 6-10 feet of water and utilized minnows fished just of bottom. Majority of sizes continued to be small; however, 9 to 10 inch fish are more prevalent this week. A smallmouth fisherman reported catching 40 plus fish in one outing. Finding structure in 6-10 feet of water were his chosen areas. Tubes were the bait of choice and color did not seem to matter toward the end of the week. Water temperatures in the area continued to range from 65 to 70 degrees. - Adrian Meseberg, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers fishing the pier were out in high numbers this weekend in hopes of catching salmon as they swim up river. The main run is still a few weeks away yet but some of the adult salmon looking to spawn have returned to the tributaries and near shore areas. Many anglers were successful during the first couple hours after dawn. Some anglers were fishing the north side of the pier using cleos and champs, green seemed to be the favorite. King salmon and cohos were being caught. Anglers also lined the harbor shore in hopes of getting a hit and had some success. Some lake anglers had success fishing in 60-160 feet of water and 40-70 feet down using j-plugs (most popular), spoons, green in color and a few hits on flies. Anglers reported surface water temperature was 52 degrees and down 70 feet was 41 degrees. Many of the king salmon caught were already black with hooked jaws on the males. Anglers fishing the river farther upstream have had low success at Brummer Park just below the bridge at the beginning of the week. As a result of the heavy rains all week, the river is now running high, fast and very brown. The water temperature of the river is 62 degrees. Anglers fishing the piers in Algoma have had luck at dawn and dusk with green spoons being a favorite lure. Offshore anglers are catching trout and salmon. Some anglers fished the shallows in 25-100 feet of water using flasher flies and green or blue/silver spoons. Other anglers fished out deeper from 2-8 miles out fishing in the upper 60 feet of water in mornings and late afternoons and as deep as 140 during midafternoon using j-plugs and flasher flies. Surface water temperature was 53 degrees. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Manitowoc County - Anglers trolling for salmon and trout have had success in the shallows, less than 50 feet of water using spoons, plugs, and flasher flies. Pier anglers in Manitowoc are finding success up to the 10th St. Bridge and in Two Rivers they are having success fishing the lake side catching king salmon and brown trout. No king salmon were spotted in the Manitowoc River, as it is running low at this point. Some have been spotted in the West Twin River in Two Rivers as far as the Shoto Dam. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Tree foliage is just starting to turn yellow, with a bit of orange mixed in. Potawatomi Park did not experience much damage from the recent storms moving through Door County. A few campsites are temporarily flooded, but most are in good shape for the coming weekend. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Stream conditions are very high and will make for tough trout fishing conditions. Lots of nice big turkey broods around although the poults are small because of the late spring. With all the foliage still on the trees, grouse gunning will be tough and sporty. Lots of deer are around and with the cool weather they should be moving well. Be sure to bring insect repellent as there is a new and aggressive mosquito hatch out there. Some blackberries left although they are nearing the end. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma
Waushara County - Waushara County is ready for the fall to start. Deer have been more active lately with a lot of fall harvest going on. Deer are changing to their fall patterns and the forecast looks like it will be one of the most comfortable archery openers we have had in a number of years. A number of deer are out and about, some of which still have spots. Just a reminder to all out there, spotted coat fawns and velvet antlered bucks are legal harvest, but be sure to contact your local conservation warden to get an extra permit to legally possess either of those deer after tagging and registering it. The cold weather this week should bring a large push of passerines and others ready to migrate. Night hawks have filled the skies the last week or so as they start south and the same with turkey vultures as they sense the cold front coming. The next week looks like it should be very comfortable to get out and enjoy all the great properties Waushara County has to offer. Remember while in the field that there may be other folks out there hiking, grouse hunting, bow hunting, trout fishing, etc., so bright colors or blaze orange may be a great addition to your gear no matter what you are doing in the woods. Also, don't forget your K-9s when they are out; blaze orange collars or vests can keep them safe as well whether you are hunting or hiking! - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County - Deer sightings in the evening continue to be a regular occurrence, especially along soybean fields. Anglers are continuing to catch perch on the northeastern shore of Lake Winnebago, but the bite also continues to be slow. Goose numbers in the area seem to be down a bit from normal, but upcoming cold weather could quickly change that. On a positive note, the number of mallards in the area seems to be much higher than normal. A few maple trees are beginning to show some color changing and some cottonwoods are beginning to drop a few leaves. - Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton
The Wolf River has risen a couple of feet in the last week from the recent rains. The extra water will also fill in pot holes and flowages on state lands for the upcoming water fowl season. Deer hunters will be swatting mosquitos since this rain has brought a new crop of the blood suckers. If you did scouting last week, this weekend those spots may be under water, so be prepared for some wet areas. A lot of deer are being observed in Outagamie county and many bucks still in velvet. Hunters are reminded that any velvet antlers need to be tagged by a Warden in order to possess them. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
It sounds like cooler weather for Wisconsin, just in time for some fall hunting to begin. Sept. 13 kicks off squirrel, rabbit, fall turkey and archery deer seasons in Wisconsin. Hunters need to be aware of any of the laws involving those species if they are planning on hunting them. A good start would be to pick up a current regulation pamphlet and read it. Laws can change on a regular basis, and something that was legal last year may not be legal this year, or vice versa. For example, this year anyone can use a crossbow to hunt deer which is different than years past. Anyone attempting or wanting to use a crossbow should read the current regulations. Many changes have occurred with deer hunting in Wisconsin and this is something hunters need to pay particular attention to. Regulation pamphlets can be obtained for free from any DNR License agent, DNR Service center, online or even by using the free smartphone app, Wisconsin Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife Guide, powered by Pocket Ranger. - Jason Higgins, conservation warden, Oshkosh
DNR Southeast RegionMilwaukee DNR Service Center area
Lakeshore State Park - Anglers are having some success with trout and salmon along the river and dock wall on the south end of the park. You can access that area from the park road that starts at Erie Street. Parking is available along the road. Lakeshore has over a mile of concrete-paved trails. All trails are open and in good condition, including the Summerfest Loop. The marina will remain open until November 1. The prairies are starting their fall blooming period. Watch for the asters and goldenrods in the coming weeks. The demonstrations gardens at the front of the park are in especially good this year. The fall migration has started, with various shorebirds stopping by the park on their way south. - Thomas Kroeger, parks and recreation specialist, Milwaukee
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Over the weekend the salmon fishing really picked up for both shore and boat anglers, with many fish starting to move near shore preparing to run up the rivers to spawn. Numerous boats were seen fishing near the gap of the harbor, boats were picking up several chinook salmon while trolling around the piers and gap, best baits have been bright spoons or crankbaits fished off of lead-core or downriggers in the top 20 feet of water. Shore anglers had success catching some browns and chinook off of the south pier early or late in the day, best lures there have been glow spoons or silver and blue or orange casting and jigging spoons slowly jigged near bottom, a few fish have been caught on spawn as well fished off of a bottom 3 way rig. With the recent rains many fish have moved up stream this week and chinooks have been seen as far up as the Kohler Dam area, there also has many a lot of fish caught and seen near the Eighth Street boat landing, most anglers have been using spawn fished below a bobber or casting jigs and plastics, or crankbaits.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing slowed some this week with the colder weather and heavy rains, most of the harbor was pretty churned up and muddy but some fish were still caught. Many anglers have been fishing the power-plant discharge area and up and down the coal dock park on the south pier. Browns and a few chinooks have been foul hooked and legally caught over the week with the best success coming on skein or spawn sacs fished along bottom or underneath a bobber set at 10-15 ft down. Some anglers had action casting spoons, or rattle baits and jigged near bottom best times have been at first light or just before dark. Boat trollers were working both the inner harbor area and gap and having success catching browns and some large chinooks on spoons or j-plugs fished off of dipsy divers, downriggers and lead core off of planer boards. Best depths have been 30-40 feet of water fishing in the top 20 feet of water some fish have also been caught out deep any were from 100-170 feet of water. No action was reported for the Sauk Creek area but with the recent rain some salmon should be moving into the creek quickly.
Milwaukee County - Fishing pressure and catch rates have improved over the past week thanks to some west wind and cooler temperatures. Over the weekend, the salmon started to group up at the mouth of the Milwaukee River to begin their annual spawning migration. Salmon fishing in Milwaukee was steady this week with most anglers catching some fish in a few hours. Best areas continue to be the Mckinley Pier and the Veterans Park wall, most access points along the lakefront are giving up fish. The Summerfest grounds have also been a productive area almost all presentations are catching fish from soaking spawn to casting spoons, location of fish and lure choices change daily so having both spawn and artificial lures is critical in catching fish. Glow spoons or silver and orange spoons have been the most productive spoon choices recently with crank baits coming in second, bright colors have been the best, early morning still seems to be the most productive time for active fish. Boat trollers have been having some luck fishing the gaps and as far north as Bradford Beach, most trollers are running bright colored j-plugs or spoons off of lead-core and downriggers, harbor fishing is also picking up with many boats trolling from the main gap up the mouth of the Milwaukee river and under the Hoan Bridge, both chinooks and browns have been caught on spoons and crank baits fished anywhere from 10-20 feet down. Some boats have been casting in the harbor and marina area having success on jigging spoons and crankbaits as well. Fall salmon fishing is upon us and with that there will be many fishermen out on the lake so some common sense and courtesy to other boats and anglers will go a long way and insure that everyone has a great day on the water, be safe and have fun while enjoying this great time of year.
Racine County - Traffic at the Pershing Park boat launch was low this week with the 10-15 mph southeast winds (gusting to 23 mph) and 3-4 foot waves made fishing a challenge. Only a handful of boats trolled from the mouth of the Root River up to the Main Street Bridge. One boat (2 anglers) trolled from North Pier to the one mile marker with spoons and flies. They had one hit on the fly and reported that they had to get off the lake when the waves started washing over the bow of their boat. Another boat (two anglers) trolled from the mouth of the Root River to the Main Street Bridge with crank baits. They landed two nice size kings (11-13 pounds). Fishing pressure on the piers was steady this week with the majority of anglers showing up for the early morning and late evening bite. Fishing has been good on the south Pier and some kings were taken off the north Pier as well but the fishing pressure was much lower. Most anglers have been fishing the south pier with some success catching some smaller browns and a few chinooks best lures have been crank baits and glow spoons worked near bottom, some fish have also been taken on spawn fished off of bottom on a three-way rig. The Root River is still low and little to no fish activity was reported some more rain will be needed to increase flows in the river and draw up salmon and trout that are filtering into the harbor (The 6th annual Burnout Bash Chinook Salmon fishing tournament will take place on Sept. 27 and 28. This year's tournament has been expanded to include all of Wisconsin's Lake Michigan water up to the first dam. The contest is open to anglers on shore and boats. There's a $25 entry fee with prizes to the top 10 places and trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place. Anglers must fish in Wisconsin water only up to the first dam. Salmon and trout are also being taken in Kenosha at either the north or south piers casting spoons or soaking spawn under a bobber.
DNR South Central RegionLower Wisconsin State Riverway - The water levels as of Sept. 11, at the Prairie Du Sac dam were 23,513 CFS. These water levels are considered high and most of the sandbars are under water. It will be difficult finding camping locations along the Riverway until the water levels recede. Please call 1-800-242-1077 for current river flow at the Prairie Du Sac dam. Many hunting seasons open this Saturday including bow deer hunting. Dove hunters should be finding many birds, especially around some of the sunflower fields that were planted within the Riverway. Hikers are encouraged to wear bright colored clothing when afield. The hiking and horse trails are all in good shape. - Matt Seguin, property manager
Dodgeville DNR Service Center area
Lafayette County - Goose hunters are seeing mixed success and a few are taking advantage of the early teal season. The dove fields in the area are in poor shape with light hunting pressure and even less doves. The turkeys most people are seeing have smaller than normal poults with them yet and the flocks have been on the smaller side. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Recent rains have taken the Wisconsin River to flood stage. Fishing has shut down due to the high water as well as boating traffic. Currently there are no sandbars above water from Wisconsin Dells to Lake Wisconsin, also most islands are also underwater. More rain is predicted this week (1-2 inches), which may keep the water levels up again this coming weekend. Rescue personnel responded to an overturned canoe in the river. Missing subject was found about a mile downstream. Reminder to all that travel in any kind of boat during flood water levels is extremely dangerous and should be avoided. Some citations issued this past weekend for hunters who shot wood ducks instead of teal. Not much action for the early goose season. Hunters are getting ready and starting to scout stand locations for archery season which is approaching fast. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Dane County - Recent rains have made for a very good mosquito hatch in woods and wetlands. Hunters should be prepared. Plenty of turkey broods in Dane County are foraging in hunting/hunt-worthy areas. Dane County has yet to receive a lot of molt migrant geese returning from Canada, but goose hunters should be prepared for an influx with upcoming fronts. There are plenty of deer on public and private land in Dane County. Hunters should be scouting oak woodlands right now to see if acorn crops will be attracting deer and turkeys. Be prepared for lush vegetation growth and abundant insects!- Andy Paulios, wildlife biologist, Fitchburg
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - Fishermen on the Rock River below the Monterey Dam are catching crappies on wax worms and minnows. Crappies are in the 9-10 inch range. The dove season has been open more than a week and hunters are having good success on sunflower fields in Spring Valley, Lima, and Avon Townships. The early goose season has also been open since Sept. 1. Goose hunters can harvest five geese per day during the early season, which runs through Sept. 15. The youth waterfowl hunt will take place on Sept. 20 and 21 for youth between the ages of 10-15. Rock County marshes are in good shape with good water levels, so waterfowl hunters shouldn't have trouble finding spots to hunt ducks and geese in 2014. Most goose hunting activity has been in wheat and corn fields for the early season. The statewide fall turkey season runs from Sept. 13 - Nov. 20 and then from Dec. 1-31 in Zones 1-5. Turkey reproduction in Rock County seemed to be very good in 2014, so hunters should have no problem seeing birds. Hunters are encouraged to check the DNR website for information on private lands leased for public hunting throughout the area. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville
DNR West Central RegionLa Crosse DNR Service Center area
Vernon County - September is the month in which white-tailed deer shed their summer hair and replace it with winter hair. Summer hair is reddish-brown and rather short and thin. Winter hair, on the other hand, is brownish-gray, dense, and long. Deer hair is hollow, trapping more insulating air than non-hollow hair. Winter deer hair insulates so well that a deer may become covered with a layer of snow during a snowstorm that does not melt. Watch for this transition to occur over the next few weeks. As outdoor enthusiasts take to the fields and forests this fall, they should be aware that farm machinery activity on rural roads also increases this time of year. Please drive cautiously and courteously when encountering farm machinery on roadways. The slow, but steady southward raptor migration has begun. Numerous red-tailed hawks, broad-winged hawks, and kestrels are moving through the area. Keep your eyes open for different color phases of these birds and for less frequently observed raptors, such as rough-legged hawks and harriers (marsh hawks). A birding field guide may be useful to assist with raptor identification. Red-tailed hawks are on their way to areas of the central and southern US. Broad-winged hawks migrate all the way to Central and South America, with some birds going as far as Argentina and Chile. Kestrels head to the southern US and as far south as Central America. - Dave Matheys, wildlife biologist, Viroqua
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - It is starting to look and feel more like fall. Leaves are starting to turn with a few splashes of red in some areas. This weekend is looking to be cooler with temperatures in the low 60s and a chance of rain both Friday and Sunday. ATV trails are open. The southern trails were groomed this week and are in good condition. The northern portions of the trails are a little rough. They should be groomed next week. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County - The Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers have high water levels and swift currents that need to be respected to avoid tragic consequences. Anglers attempting to catch a legal sized "60-incher" have been catching some 30-40 inch lake sturgeon while fishing from the shoreline at the base of the Dells Hydro Dam. The lake sturgeon season remains open until Sept. 30. Walleye action has improved at the north shore cribs of Lake Altoona, and some shoreline anglers have been catching 20-inch walleye several hundred feet downriver of the Lake Altoona Dam. Cooler air temperatures make this time of year a great time to walk the woods, bike a trail, or spend some evening hours on the shore of a lake. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Adams County - Recent rains have caused the Wisconsin River to rise and have a fast moving current; dam gates have been opened for several days in a row. - Wade Romberg, conservation warden, Friendship
Buckhorn State Park - Early goose/waterfowl hunting is happening in the Yellow River Wildlife Area and Buckhorn Wildlife Area. Bowhunting starts in the park and wildlife areas Sept 13. Check out hunting maps online or at the park office. Deer can be registered at the park office during open office hours. It is still a little early for fall colors. The lake has been busy with boating, fishing and swimming. Canoes and kayaks are available to rent for use on the canoe interpretive trail and at the beach. Check out a GPS unit at the park office or bring your own to discover the Ranger Rick Geocaches or history of Buckhorn caches. Horseshoes and volleyballs are available to checkout for use by the beach or in the group camp. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Trails are in great shape for hiking and geocaching. GPS units are available to check out at the park office. Horseshoes and volleyball are available to check out to use at the mound shelter. Many picnic areas in the park are available to enjoy the start of fall weather. Users are restricted to the stairway and it is open from 6 am to sunset. It is still a little early for fall colors. Hunting in Roche-A-Cri will start November 15th. There are areas outside the park open for early bow hunting, small game and trapping. - Heather Wolf, park manager
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