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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar

August 21, 2014

The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
( Reports from conservation wardens, wildlife and fisheries staff and property managers from around the state )

Northern | Northeast | Southeast | South Central | West Central
Outdoor Calendar

Water levels on local ponds and rivers have risen from the recent heavy rains. Despite the rain, most trails are in good condition. There will be a ribbon cutting this Saturday for a new trail connection between the Bearskin and Hiawatha state trails in Lincoln County at 9 a.m. at the Bearskin Trial south entrance just east of highways K and 51.

Anglers in the Northwoods had to dodge quite a few thunderstorms and rain showers, but many have found some pretty good action. Musky have generated a lot of interest, and fishermen have reported many sightings and follows, as well as quite a few catches. Bass fishing has continued to be good, walleye fishing fairly steady and panfish action fair.

Some anglers have been using jigs with leeches to catch some nice sized walleye on Lake Altoona. Catfish are still running and biting on the Rock River.

Salmon anglers were in out in high number last weekend out of Sturgeon Bay. Catch rates were high with boats bringing in 5-8 fish on average. On Lake Michigan the weather kept most boats close to shore. Fishing was better over the weekend with some big chinooks and rainbows caught.

Helicopter herbicide spraying of cattail and phragmites patches totaling 150 acres was completed at the Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area. Controlled burning will be done on some treated areas this fall or in spring. Shorebird, wading bird and waterfowl viewing opportunities have been excellent along Hwy 28.

Many turkeys are being seen on a regular basis. Turkey hunting is right around the corner and leftover permits for the fall hunt will go on sale Saturday, August 23 at 10 a.m. will be issued on a one per-day basis. Remaining fall turkey permits may be purchased through the Online Licensing Center on the DNR website, at all authorized license agents, at DNR Service Centers (Hours for service centers vary; check the DNR website for service center days and hours of operation; DNR Service Centers are not open on Saturdays), or by calling toll-free 1-877-LICENSE (1-877-945-4236). .

Deer hunters have a number of new changes to pick up on before season takes off in a month, and the new regulations are now available to learn more. Bucks are still being seen in velvet but that should start changing soon. Bear hunters reported some success enticing bears to bait sites.

Although recent weather has not been typical for August in Wisconsin, camping has been popular, with few reservable campsites left for the Labor Day weekend; Governor Thompson State Park in Marinette County had the most available sites as of this week.

More than 40 events are scheduled at Wisconsin state parks, forests and recreation areas this coming weekend, including a program on cranes by the International Crane Foundation at Devils Lake State Park, an introduction to geo-caching program at Hartman Creek State Park, a Centennial Commemoration of the passing of the passenger pigeon at Willow River State Park and music concerts at Blue Mound and Potawatomi state parks all on Saturday. For details search the DNR website for "Get Outdoors."

A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling 608-266-2277.
A new report is put online each week.

Statewide Birding Report as of August 14, 2014

The avian nesting season is wrapping up with young of most species fledged by now. Exceptions include notoriously late nesting species such as cedar waxwing and American goldfinch, which are likely on eggs or feeding nestlings yet. Hummingbird feeders are very active now as both adults and youngsters jockey for the chance to fuel up for the migration ahead. Remember to avoid unnecessary red dyes and use multiple feeders spread over a wide area to minimize territorial disputes. Chimney swifts are now beginning to gather at communal roosts in large numbers. DNR and its partners are seeking public help in counting and monitoring this declining species. Purple martins are also beginning to stage, while common nighthawk migration should get underway in the week ahead. The bulk of adult shorebirds have already moved through the state but peak numbers of juvenile birds are expected in the weeks ahead. More rain is needed to increase the amount of suitable habitat, however. Wetlands are great places to bird right now. These are hosting large numbers of egrets and pelicans in some areas, as well as gallinules, various waterfowl species, terns, herons, sora and Virginia rails, blackbirds, and other species. In the north, groups of common loons are being reported on inland lakes. This is an annual event as non-breeding and post-breeding birds gather; however, the behavior has been more common earlier this year due to widespread loon nest failures caused by extreme black fly outbreaks. Northern birders also noted the first signs of warbler migration this week, including an increase in Tennessee warblers, as well as other Neotropical migrants such as olive-sided and yellow-bellied flycatchers. Rare birds spotted this week included a ruff in Dodge County, blue grosbeak in Sauk, white-faced ibis in Winnebago, snowy egret in Brown, yellow-crowned night-heron in Marathon, and Franklin's gull in Ashland. As always, find out what others are seeing and help us track the migration at Good birding! - Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland

DNR Northern Region

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Amnicon Falls State Park - The river is at normal level for this time of year. Amnicon Falls is attracting a lot of day-use swimmers to the falls. People are enjoying the opportunity to get behind the upper falls. - JoAnn Hudacek, visitor services associate

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Interstate Park - Universe in the Park will be held Saturday August 23 at 8:30 p.m. at the Ice Age Center. An outreach program of the Space Astronomy Lab and the Department of Astronomy, University of Wisconsin, this special Universe in the Park presentation will be followed by a star-gazing session outside (weather permitting). The indoor program will be held rain or shine. Learn about the latest discoveries and puzzles of our universe!- Julie Fox, natural resources educator

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties - Despite the variable and almost constantly changing weather in the past week, fishing success has been fairly consistent. Anglers have had to dodge quite a few thunderstorms and rain showers, but many have found some pretty good action. Musky have generated a lot of interest in the last month, and `men have reported many sightings and follows, as well as quite a few catches of fish in the 34 to 44 inch size. The mid to late afternoon hours have produced the best action, and the favorite lures have been bulldawgs and topwater baits fished near structure and the deep weed edges. Bass fishing has continued to be good, tho a few days of stable weather does produce better success than during the changing cold fronts. Largemouth have been found along the bog edges and deep, as well as near mid-depth structure such logs/stumps and docks. Soft plastics and jig/craw combinations have been the lures of choice, and the mid-day period has produced some of the best action. Smallmouth fishing has shown some consistency on the local rivers and flowages, with the best success coming on finesse plastics fished near rock and woody cover that's along deeper water areas. Walleye fishing has continued to be fairly steady, with many anglers using leeches and crawlers along the weed edges and in weed pockets. Some fishermen have also found walleye on the deeper gravel and rock bars in 12 to 18 feet of water. Northern pike, an often overlooked fish in the summer, has produced some good fishing in the last several weeks. Continued cool water temperatures seem to have favored this species and action has been good around the near-shore weed beds. Spinner baits and small crank baits have worked the best - but a wire leader should be used to minimize the bite-offs. Panfish action continues to be fair, with some decent catches of crappie, bluegill, perch and rock bass being reported. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls

Flambeau River State Forest - Both the North & South Forks of the Flambeau River are reportedly good for paddling. We always advise folks to call ahead as conditions can change quickly especially on the South Fork. Leaves are ever so slightly starting to tell us fall is around the corner with some of the stressed trees along roadsides taking just a tint of color. Ash trees are seeding out. Raspberries are past peak, choke cherries are ripe and blackberries are starting to ripen. Bucks are in velvet and we are seeing a few broods of grouse and young turkeys. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Oneida County - With late summer here the Mosquito numbers have decreased but some days the numbers remain high in the woods. Anglers are reporting good catches of panfish in 7-8 feet of water on some flowages. Musky action has also been reported as good.

Bearskin State Trail - There will be a a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating completion and merger of the Bearskin and Hiawatha trails Saturday, August 23 from 9-11 a.m. at the Bearskin Trial south entrance just east of highways K and 51. The Bearskin trail was completed in the late 1970s and the Hiawatha Trail was completed in 1989. Both trails use an old railroad corridor used in the summer for biking and hiking and in the winter for snowmobiling.

DNR Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - Smallmouth bass and northern pike are being caught on the Peshtigo River by anglers floating from the boat launch at the Peshtigo Garage down river to Klingsborns Landing. Crank baits, spinner baits and tube jigs are working well. Perch anglers are starting to have some success launching out of Little River although many small fish are being caught. The walleye bite on the Menominee River remains strong with most fish being caught trolling stick baits in the evening. Shore anglers report fishing as being slow with some sheep head and small mouth being caught. Salmon and trout anglers are reporting success fishing browns between Green Island and the Peshtigo Light trolling the east side of the Trout Bar 50 to 70 feet down. Green and gold spoons in the morning and switching over to purple and black in the afternoons. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Anglers at the Stiles Dam on the Oconto River are still catching panfish and some smallmouth bass using mainly live bait. Many small fish are being caught. Smallmouth were also being caught at the Oconto River mouth mainly using spinner baits and cranks fishing close to the rip rap. Perch anglers are having success from Oconto Park II to the Pensaukee River fishing in 9 to 15 feet of water. Minnows, leaf worms, or crawler chunks are the best baits. Anglers are reporting having to move around to find fish but perch in the 12 to 14 inch range are not uncommon. Sheep head and a few cat fish are being caught at the Municipal Boat Launch fishing crawlers on bottom. No information was obtained on the walleye bite. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Brown County - Walleye boats continue to come into the Suamico River launch with mixed results. The most popular lure continues to be crawler harnesses. Successful anglers are favoring perch colors. Most of the smaller fish seemed to be in 10-18 feet of water, with larger ones lurking in the 22-28 foot range. Average walleyes observed this week were 20.5 inches and 3.1 pounds. Several freshwater drum, a few catfish and white bass were mentioned as incidental catches by anglers trolling crawler harnesses. Using minnows, worms, and leeches; perch anglers did not report much luck this week. Water temperatures were reported around 71 degrees. Duck Creek continues to produce good numbers of perch. While most are on the smaller side, there are a few 10 inchers mixed in. Floating crawlers under a bobber or on a three-way rig is the most common approach. Several gobies continue to be a side catch. In Voyager Park, Fox River anglers using crawlers on a Wolf-River rig are catching small perch and catfish. Others are catching smallmouth using spinners and stick baits. Walleye are starting to be caught by fisherman bouncing jigs off of the bottom. Anglers off of Polier Street and at the Mouth did not have much luck. Bayshore Park walleye anglers continued to produce high numbers this week. Fishing just south of the ramp proved fruitful, with the majority of fish being caught before 10 a.m. and after 7 p.m. Harnesses continued to bring in fish; however, crank baits racked up the better numbers this week. Trolling perch colored cranks in 14-16 feet of water, above structure, and between 1.2 to 1.4 mph produced the most fish. These bites continued to be light with multiple anglers reporting many fish lost boat side. Orange blades pulled though the mud flats, just off bottom, also produced good numbers. Walleye catches continue to hover in the 18-24 inch range, however more fish greater then 26 inches have been reported this week. Successful perch fishermen were few and far between. Rough waters along with the cold front seemed to have shut down the majority of fish or at least moved them out of the area. Minnows continued to be the bait of choice with golden shiners being toted as producing larger fish and greater numbers. The majority of reported catches came in 24-28 feet of water but anglers were only catching 1-2 fish in quick succession with 1-hour waits in-between. One angler reported catching a 55-inch musky while trolling near University Bay, but success for boats targeting these fish has been limited. Follows continued to be prevalent, however boated fish are scarce. Top water baits have been productive, with perch color baits seeing the most action. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Door County - Perch anglers at Chaudoir's Dock echo the struggles heard elsewhere with very low numbers being kept. Some boats are catching great numbers of fish, reporting catch rates nearing 20 per hour; however, sizes continue to be small with many of the fish ranging in the 4-7 inch range. Anglers that are able to find larger perch are saying patience has been key. Once one fish is found, working the area thoroughly over an extended period of time has proved fruitful. Minnows fished near the bottom in 22-30 feet of water have seen the highest numbers. Large schools continue to persist, but once again, getting them to bite consistently has proved difficult. Walleye anglers have been catching more fish in the area; however, numbers continue to be lower then other areas. Purple and green cranks dominate the area, with the best catches coming from the north of the pier in 16-22 feet of water. Trolling speeds in the 1.0 to 1.4 mph range has produced the greatest numbers. To the surprise of many anglers, multiple 10+ inch perch have been caught while trolling with flicker shads. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Sturgeon Bay salmon anglers were in high abundance this weekend out of Sawyer Park. Catch rates were high with boats bringing in 5-8 fish on average. Most were fishing in 80-120 feet of water down 40-60 feet, using J-plugs and green and yellow flasher flies. There was no consistency with lures. Catches were mostly Kings with some Steelhead. Anglers at Stone Quarry fishing from shore had low success for Smallmouth Bass. They were using all different baits from leeches, worms and artificial to try to get a bite. Those that did the best were fishing before the sunrise. Perch anglers had low success from shore and out in the canal, nightcrawlers were the bait of choice. Smallmouth bass anglers are having success in 5-12 feet of water using black or green tubes, worms and leeches all around the peninsula. Perch anglers had success fishing the weed beds in 5-15 feet of water using worms or minnows. No reports on Walleye action. On the east side of peninsula, successful salmon anglers were fishing in 90 to 150 feet of water about 60 to 100 feet down using green flasher flies. Anglers were also catching rainbow trout using spoons, typically orange, in the top 40 feet of water. Best bite time varied between early morning and late afternoon to midmorning. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Kewaunee County - Anglers launching in both Kewaunee and Algoma have had an up and down week. Anglers in Kewaunee are fishing in 90-550 feet of water at all depths, using fly's and spoons. In Algoma anglers are fishing in 90-350 feet of water. Kings and Steelhead make up the majority of the catch, with the occasional Coho. Water temps have been high 50s to low 60s. Pier anglers in Kewaunee have been out in high numbers with moderate success reported. Anglers are catching Kings, Steelhead, and Carp off of the pier and in the harbor on spoons. In Algoma anglers on the pier have been out in low numbers with no success reported this week. Many Steelhead have been seen jumping at the entrance to the harbor in Algoma. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Salmon anglers have been out in high numbers with low success fishing in the upper 40 feet in 75-140 feet of water. Fish being brought in are large in size and are being caught on no consistent lure. Pier angers are having low success using spoons and live bait. Many fish reported surfacing near the piers. Sheepshead and northern ike are being caught from the piers in Two Rivers. In the Manitowoc harbor, upriver on the Manitowoc River and in the marina area, anglers are having success for smallmouth bass using plastics and live baits. - Emily Kurszewski, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - The walleye fishing on the Bay of Green Bay is starting to heat up. There have been good numbers of walleye being caught out of Oconto and Marinette Counties. Most anglers are having the best luck trolling crank baits on structure. Some anglers are also catching walleye in 20-30 feet of water trolling crawler harnesses. The fish are ranging in size from 17-29 inches. Fishing during daylight hours has been best. The perch bite out of Oconto County is starting to pick up. Anglers are catching fair numbers of perch. Anglers are fishing in 8-20 feet of water. They are using worms and minnows. Fish are ranging from 6-14 inches. Most anglers are having to sort through lots of small fish to keep some keepers. - Jeff Lautenslager, conservation warden, Peshtigo

Governor Thompson State Park - Our 16 mile mowed hiking trail system is open. The blackberries are ripe! Remember its picking season for the wildlife too, so be mindful of bears. Enjoy a hike through the prairie flowers. - Maggie Kailhofer, park manager

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Potawatomi State Park - Wild clover, black-eyed Susan's, and Queen Anne's Lace are still in bloom. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - We received up to 5.5" of rain in some parts of central Wisconsin. Most trout streams are very high, turbid and tough to fish right now. Bucks still have their velvet, but won't for very long. Fawns and does are very active in mornings and evenings. Woodducks are flying around in mornings and evenings right now. Saw my first nighthawk this morning. They will be staging for migration shortly. Doves, geese and Sandhill cranes are all very actively feeding in freshly harvested wheat fields. Blackberries are starting to get ripe, will be at peak in a week or so. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

DNR Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing remains slow this week. Some anglers caught a few chinooks in 80 feet of water; they were using J-plugs and flashers and flies fished off of downriggers. Most boats stayed close to shore from just outside the gap up to the golf course, some stable calm weather will be needed to help improve fishing. Fishing picked up some off the south and north piers, a few browns were caught early or late in the day on glow spoons fished near bottom, jigs and plastics also took a few fish the action was sporadic but the fish caught were good sized. Calm west winds will be needed to provide better fishing off the piers and shoreline. Some Northern Pike are still being caught off the rocks in the Deland Park Marina, best baits are bright colored crankbaits or a jig and plastic worked near bottom.

Ozaukee County - Public access to the north pier is not allowed. There are signs that have been posted at the entrance to pier to remind the public that no one is allowed on the pier for their own safety. These signs are to advise you not to go on the pier because it has stability issues. There is heavy machinery inserting large rocks currently on the north pier, this is expected to continue through the end of August. Fishing has gotten better during the week with most fish being taken out in deep depths of 180-300 feet of water. Some big chinooks and rainbows were caught on flashers and flies or magnum sized spoons fished from 40-70 feet down. Shore anglers continue to catch an occasional brown on spawn or spoons fished near bottom, most productive areas have been the Rotary Park rocks or along the lower wall at the power-plant discharge area, early mornings were best.

Milwaukee County - Fishing in Milwaukee was ok this week with a few better catches being reported boat trollers that ventured out to 120-200 feet of water fishing anywhere from 50-90 feet down were catching some nice chinooks and an occasional rainbow, white flashers and flies ran off of downriggers or dipsys set at 100-150 feet out with spoons was best. Pier fishermen are still struggling with warm water near shore and little to action has been reported, the only fish caught have been a few Freshwater Drum caught off of the Mckinley Pier on spoons. Calm west winds will be needed to improve pier fishing in Milwaukee.

Racine County - In Racine fishing has picked up some over the week, chinooks were caught in 80-140 feet of water on spoons, j-plugs, and flashers and flies but overall action was slow. Some Calm winds and cooler water nearshore will be needed to improve fishing. Pier fishermen were also hampered by the high winds and warm water nearshore some browns and northern pike were caught on the harbor side of the north pier late in the day best lures were blue and silver or orange and silver cleos. In Kenosha fishing was the same as Racine little to no action was reported from both shore and boat anglers those that did catch fish were trolling in 100-150 feet of water using spoons off downriggers or leadcore most fish caught were small browns or chinooks. The only highlight for shore-bound anglers has been a few pike and bass caught on jigs and twister tails or spinner baits fished in the deeper holes in both the Root and Pike Rivers. Colder water nearshore is needed to help fishing in both ports.

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Helicopter herbicide spraying of cattail and phragmites patches totaling 150 acres was completed on the Theresa Marsh Wildlife Area on Friday, August 15. Controlled burning will be done on some treated areas this fall or in spring, 2015. Several impoundments along Hwy 28 have been drawn down this fall to prepare for late fall burning. The gravel access drive on the south side of Hwy 28 across from the Peterburs monument is currently closed to all public vehicle entry to allow completion of a dike rip-rapping project along the edge of roadway. The access drive leads to a parking lot and boat launch area at the north end of the main dike. The roadway will be closed for the next several days but is scheduled to re-open in time for the early goose, dove and teal season openers on Sept 1st. Until then, alternate access to the area upstream from the dam is available at the main parking lot off of N. Pole Road. Shorebird, wading bird and waterfowl viewing opportunities have been excellent along Hwy 28 on the drawn down and partially drawn down impoundments. Water levels on local ponds and rivers have risen from the recent heavy rains. - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford

Point Beach State Forest - The beach is OPEN and in fair condition. Expect a smaller beach area this year due to the higher water levels in Lake Michigan. There have also been about a dozen pelicans that have been calling the beach at Point Beach State Forest their home for the last month or so. Their primary location has been near the indoor group cabins. Please visit for the most up-to-date information. For the most updated water temperature, please visit - Melanie Kozlowski, visitor services associate

DNR South Central Region

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - Portage (Columbia County) reports water levels are close to normal for the middle of summer. Smallmouth action has been consistent from Portage to the Dells on the WI River. Lake WI is experiencing a large algae bloom but has become more and more common. Any paddlers on the Fox River from Portage to Governor's Bend Park should be aware of bridge construction on Clark Rd (may have to get out and portage). Large numbers of young turkeys are being seen on a regular basis, some are definitely late hatches based on the size of the poults.- Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage

Janesville DNR Service Center area

Rock County - Crops are beginning to come off fields in Rock County and geese are flocking to them indicating the early goose season is near. With the early Teal season also looming, hunters wishing to pursue Teal are reminded to know their target. Teal can be difficult to identify in the air and hunters need to be aware of their target and be sure it is a Teal. Catfish are still running and biting on the Rock River. Panfish are also being caught by anglers in Janesville. With pending rain, it is anticipated the water levels will begin rising as they have been very low for the second half of the boating season. Deer hunters have a number of new changes to pick up on before season takes off in a month, and the new regulations are now available for that knowledge. - Mike J Dieckhoff, conservation warden, Janesville

DNR West Central Region

Black River Falls DNR Service Center area

Black River State Forest - Highs this weekend are expected to be in the mid-80s with a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday. Campsites are available in all three of our campgrounds for this weekend. All-terrain and utility-terrain vehicle trails were groomed last week and the remaining portions should be finished up this week. Trails are considered to be in good condition. - Emily Alf, visitor services associate

Eau Claire DNR Service Center area

Eau Claire County - Anglers have been using jigs with leeches to catch some nice size walleye in six to ten feet of water on Lake Altoona. Boaters and shoreline anglers are enjoying some great summer evenings on local rivers. Bear hunters report some success enticing bears to bait sites. - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park - 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. The beach is a great place to enjoy the sun, grill out and enjoy summer. Not too many bugs at this time of summer! - 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 to enjoy the weekend weather. Not too many bugs at this time! This Saturday, August 23 is Universe in the Park. Meet at the mound shelter at 8:45 p.m. for a slide show and check out stars with a telescope. - Heather Wolf, park manager

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