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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar
October 20, 2016
The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Much of northern Wisconsin is now just past peak color, with stubborn oaks holding their leaves. Central and southern areas are still holding, and in some cases, still climbing towards peak color on the Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report
Turkey and grouse have been spotted on road shoulders feeding on insects and grass. Waterfowl hunters are reporting a diverse and successful harvest. Consistent rains have kept duck populations spread out and we are certainly in migration. Some woodcock hunters are reporting their most successful season lately.
Musky have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure on Northwoods waters and action has been good on live suckers. Walleye fishing continues to be erratic and the fish haven't fully settled into a solid fall pattern yet. Panfish action has been fair, with some decent crappie and perch being found along deep weed edges and near mid-depth cover. Water temperatures have dropped into the low to mid 50s and this has pretty much shut down most bass activity. There have been lots of anglers out trying their luck on the Bois Brule River and some were reporting success in their pursuit of steelhead.
Anglers along northern Lake Michigan reported more consistent success and pressure with a promising chinook run at the Little River as well as a run of walleye on the Menominee River. Door County anglers saw strong winds and rough lake conditions, which tamped down salmon and trout fishing. However, success for smallmouth has remained consistent.
The fall chinook salmon run continued fairly strong on Lake Michigan tributaries, with heavy angling pressure on the Ahnapee, Milwaukee and Root rivers and Stoney and Sauk creeks. There are also reports that solid numbers of chinook moved up the Menominee River during the last week.
Shore anglers in Milwaukee and Kenosha reported few lake, brown and rainbow trout and some coho and chinook salmon. Sheboygan anglers dealt with especially strong winds and water off the bay.
The lower Wisconsin River is still above normal flow for this time of year but is coming down to a reasonable level with a bit of sand popping up now and then. Anglers on the Rock River at Indianford were catching walleye and white bass over the last week.
The fall waterfowl migration picking up at Horicon Marsh with more birds arriving at the marsh, including shovelers, pintail, wood ducks, widgeon, ruddy ducks and large numbers of mallards and green-winged teal. Canada geese and sandhill crane numbers have increased over the last few days. During the day the cranes and geese are found primarily in the farm fields feeding so the best time to see larger numbers are early morning and one to two hours before sunset as they fly back into the marsh to roost.
Ten state properties are holding autumn or Halloween events this weekend including two events -- a Halloween Bonfire and Candlelight Hike at Governor Nelson State Park Friday and a Fall Harvest tiki-torch-lit hike at Harrington Beach State Park Saturday - that are 12 Gen Challenge events where attendees can post a selfie for a chance to win a 2017 state park admission. The MacKenzie Center in Poynette is also holding its fall festival with archery, music food and more.
A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling 608-266-2277.
Upcoming State Natural Area Workdays
October 27, 10 am to noon Join volunteers to collect seeds on the three units of the York Prairie State Natural Area and enjoy the beauty of these prairie remnants. The seeds will be used for a prairie restoration of a former agricultural field at the Stauffacher Unit of Muralt Bluff Prairie State Natural Area near Albany, WI. Because various plant species' seeds are ready at varying times, we have collection days scheduled every two weeks so we can collect things when they're ready. No experience is necessary! Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane
Statewide Birding Report as of October 13, 2016
Land bird numbers are generally waning overall, now dominated by American robins, rusty and red-winged blackbirds, dark-eyed juncos, purple finches, golden-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped and palm warblers and various sparrows, including the first American tree sparrows in the north. A good flight of ducks occurred on the morning of Oct. 13 with mallards, northern pintail and various diving ducks on the move. Large numbers of Canada geese are being seen statewide, including Horicon Marsh, with small numbers of cackling, snow, and a few Ross's geese as well. Horicon is also hosting a good diversity of late shorebirds along Highway 49 including long-billed dowitchers, black-bellied and Amer. golden plovers, killdeer, greater yellowlegs, dunlin, and pectoral sandpipers. Though a bit early for tundra swans, traditional Mississippi River vantages are teeming with waterfowl and would make for a good visit this time of year. Strong westerly winds have brought good numbers of migrating raptors this past week too and that will continue in the weeks ahead as numbers of bald eagles and red-tailed hawks ramp up, along with the first rough-legged hawks and golden eagles. Sandhill cranes are now beginning to congregate across the state as well. Feeder activity should be on the rise as colder weather settles in a bit, and a few straggling hummingbirds are still being reported. Be sure to check your hummers carefully this time of year as rare visitors from the west or south (e.g. rufous hummingbird) become more likely. Rare birds spotted this week included a beautiful purple gallinule in Juneau County, eared grebe and snowy egret in Brown, and harlequin duck and western grebe in Kewaunee. Help us track bird populations by reporting your finds, both common and rare, 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 - The forest had some warm weather over the weekend with temperatures near 70 on Saturday, but back to the typical mid 50s the rest of the week. The Hunters Moon was bright and beautiful in the clear night-time sky. The tamaracks are turning gold, and the leaves are falling. Copper Range campground has been full or near full these past weekends, but there has been plenty of room at Bois Brule for fall camping. Ruffed grouse and woodcock hunters are in the woods, and seeing a good number of birds. Deer archery season is also well underway. There are lots of fishermen out trying their luck, and some are proving successful in their pursuit of steelhead. The angler parking lots are busy as there are less than four weeks left in the fishing season for the year. The Brule River remains open for fishing north of Highway 2 until November 15. River levels are higher than historical average according to the USGS Streamflow data for the Brule. A review of the Brule River State Forest master plan is underway. Citizen involvement is encouraged and the public is invited to share their thoughts and suggestions about current and future management of this productive and popular public property. The Master Plan website contains links to documents, maps, contact information, a public comment form and on-line questionnaire. There will be a public meeting at the Brule Town Hall on Thursday, November 3 from 4 to 7 p.m. The public comment period is open Oct. 19 - Nov. 21, 2016. Ground-breaking for the new warming shelter at the trailhead happened earlier this week. The new shelter will measure 36 by 24 feet and will include changing rooms and outdoor patio areas. The warming shelter should be ready for use by ski season. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Interstate Park - Fall color is past peak; however, many oak trees still have leaves with some really nice red color this year. Any of the trails along the St. Croix River valley will give some fantastic views of the river and the remaining fall color. Deer and turkeys have been seen recently in the park foraging for food in the newly fallen leaves. Canada geese are common visitors to the Lake O' the Dallas along with other migrating waterfowl. Fall migration of birds is in full swing, from the river bottoms, to the upland forests and several wetland areas, there are plenty of places to watch the migration occur. Water has been shutoff in the campground, but water is still available at the Ice Age Center, the group camp hand pump, and the old office building where RV tanks can get filled with water. The dump station is still open; however, there is not water for rinsing or filling. - Matthew Densow, ranger
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties - Musky have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure on Northwoods waters and action has been good. Most of the musky anglers have switched from artificials to live suckers, and this has been the most successful method. The smaller size suckers (10" to 14") have provided the best action in the last week and good numbers of musky up to 40 inches have been landed. However, the nicest fish have been coming on large suckers - with some 42-plus-inch musky being caught on 18-inch or better suckers. Look for this 'large-sucker' trend to continue as the fall season progresses, with the trophy potential getting better as the water temperatures cool into the 40s and it gets closer to the season's end on November 30. Artificial baits have still been enticing a few musky but they've mostly been follows and have been mid-size fish in the 30 to 36-inch range. Walleye fishing has been especially erratic and it seems that the fish haven't fully settled into a solid fall pattern yet. Late October and early November should provide a little better walleye action as water temperatures continue to cool. For now, jig and minnow combinations and a minnow on a slip bobber have shown the best success, with cloudy days often producing some fair action during the daytime hours. Panfish action has been fair, with some decent crappie and perch being found along deep weed edges and near mid-depth cover. Water temperatures have dropped into the low to mid 50s and this has pretty much shut down most bass activity. There have been a few die-hard bass anglers that have still been trying their luck with the unseasonably warm fall weather. The have had some fair success for largemouth bass in the afternoon hours on warm, sunny days, with soft plastics fished around woody cover in 4 to 6 feet of water. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - The forest floor is thick with downed leaves. The oaks seem to be the only trees left that have leaves still in the canopy. If you plan on collecting seeds for planting wild flowers or plants now is the time to collect them. It seems to be an abnormally good year for deer mice and meadow mice. This will make for some very happy predators such as: short-tail shrews, weasels, fox, bobcats, coyotes, hawks and owls. Vocalizations of barred owls are high. There has been a lot of nocturnal activity with the last full moon. Turkey and grouse have been hanging around the road sides eating insects, leaves, and grasses, just to name a few, and woodcock have been eating primarily insects. Ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting season is open. Grouse numbers are fair to good. Bird hunters seem to be happy with the amount of activity they have seen. Bird migration is in progress. Because of the quantity of precipitation we have received, ducks have not concentrated in areas; they are spread out. Geese are flying from one spot to the next feeding. The elk are feeding heavily to fatten up in preparation for the winter months. During this time of year the deer hang out on open fields and roadsides filling up on green vegetation. Cranberries are being harvested. The weather forecast for this week indicates mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies thru the weekend with daily temperatures in the 50s and night temperatures in the 30's. Perfect weather for getting out and enjoying nature! - Diane Stowell, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - High winds and heavy rains have knocked down a lot of the fall colors. Most of the north central area is past peak when it comes to colorama, but some trees are still holding strong and showing off their beauty. Woodcock migration is slowing down in most areas after reports of a strong migration and strong numbers. Many woodcock hunters reported their best season in recent memory. Grouse reports have been spotty but more opportunity should come with leaf off and family groups dispersing. There has been little deer rut sign yet, as few scrapes are in the traditional spots on the old logging roads. It is a week or two early for most areas in the north. Most acorn drops have been cleaned up already due to the spotty production year. High yielding trees should still be holding deer however. Beautiful fall weather is in the forecast for the weekend. A wonderful time to be in the woods in Wisconsin. - Curtis Rollman, deer biologist, Rhinelander
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - The fall continues to be an extremely wet one in the forest. With several more inches of rain in the past week, one needs waterproof boots to get around! The oaks still are showing some color, and although most of the leaves are down, there are still trees here and there that are showing their fall splendor. The understory shrubs are starting to drop their leaves, so the grouse will be surprised to see the hunter and or dog walking through their turf. Juncos and sparrows are starting to move through so bird feeders are starting to see action. Dramatic light is worth the early morning or late evening walk, hunt or canoe paddle. The stillness is starting to settle in! - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Langlade County - Recent heavy rains and storms have removed a majority of leaves from the trees bringing an end to the fall color season. This also has improved conditions for ruffed grouse and woodcock hunting. Woodcock are abundant throughout the Antigo area as a result of a strong cold front in the last week. Alder thickets and young aspen stands are good bets for hunters to try for these birds. - Eric J. Borchert, wildlife technician, Antigo
DNR Northeast RegionNorthern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Fishing pressure has been low especially boaters. Most of the boat trailers are water fowlers.
Marinette County - No anglers were encountered on the Peshtigo River this past week. A decent run of king salmon has been observed at Little River in Marinette County with anglers catching fish up to Little River Road, spawn, and hardware is being used. A run of walleye has been reported on the Menominee River from Stephenson Island to the Hattie Street Dam. Anglers are using stick baits, fishing the current seams or drifting a minnow or crawler. A few browns and rainbows along with a few kings are being caught below the Hattie Street Dam using spoons and stick baits. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - A few anglers are still catching some bluegills and crappie below the dam on the Oconto River using live bait. Anglers at the Iron Bridge on the Oconto River are catching a few pink salmon mainly using flies. Shore anglers at Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II Are catching some perch using minnows and crawler pieces. Some bluegill, sunfish, bullheads and rock bass are also being caught, some days are much better than others. Water temperatures near Geano Beach stayed about the same from last week and water clarity was about 3-4 feet. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Fishing pressure on the Suamico River was moderate to high last week with many shore anglers fishing for yellow perch and boaters fishing for musky. Anglers headed out on the bay found a tough bite for both walleye and musky. Anglers were trolling for musky using crank baits and didn't have any luck. Walleye anglers were both trolling and jigging for their fish and found no fish as well. Shore anglers also found fishing to be slow with only a few of anglers managing to catch a few smaller yellow perch. Fishing pressure was moderate for Duck Creek with all the anglers targeting yellow perch. Three anglers reported they were able to catch close to 300 yellow perch and kept 35. They reported that 80 percent of the fish caught were under 7 inches but "still made for a great morning." Along with yellow perch the anglers reported catching a northern pike, sunfish, and largemouth bass. Fishing pressure was moderate on the Fox River this week with most anglers targeting walleye and musky. Musky anglers had trouble finding fish with only one angler reporting that he landed a musky, most anglers are trolling crank baits. Walleye anglers focused much of their time fishing in the Fox River instead of heading out into the bay. Anglers reported a mixed bag of results with a few anglers finding a good number of fish and others having no luck. A group of anglers reported catching a total of 14 walleyes on Sunday afternoon. Along with walleye and musky, anglers caught channel catfish, common carp, and white bass. Water temperatures are in the mid to low 50s and water clarity is around 2 feet. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - This week was again windy which made for rough lake conditions most of the week with fishing pressure remaining relatively low. Salmon and trout fishing from shore has been slow, but some anglers reported a good early morning bite casting spawn, crank baits, and spoons from the piers/docks in Baileys Harbor and Gills Rock. Smallmouth bass fishing in northern Door County has been very good with reports of both quantity and quality sized bass. The fishing pressure still remains relatively low in the northern parts of the county and most anglers have been targeting smallmouth bass or occasionally walleye along the Green Bay shoreline. Anglers had success fishing in both shallow and deep water this past week, but the largest bass were being reported in 20-40 feet of water. Muskellunge fishing has been very tough for many anglers who have been fishing in Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay with very little success reported. Yellow perch fishing continues to satisfy many anglers with good reports both on the water and from shore in the Sturgeon Bay area. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure on the rivers in Kewaunee County was high this past week. Anglers have had the best luck fishing the Ahnapee River near the Forestville Dam and Stoney Creek. The rivers were slightly up toward the end of the week which made undercut banks the perfect place for chinook salmon to hide under. Drifting spawn sacs or egg patterns past salmon along undercut banks was the most successful method for many anglers, but deeper pools have also been good places where anglers found salmon. Fishing on the Kewaunee River has been tough and little success was reported. There were reports of a few salmon caught in the shallow section of river at Bruemmer Park. - Lucas Koenig, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Some windy wet days have ushered out a bit of the fall color and parts of the county are now past peak color. Woodcock hunting has been good lately and grouse numbers are fairly strong right now as well. Rubs are showing up more frequently and daytime deer activity should increase as the moon wanes and the days grow colder. Waterfowl hunters reported great diversity in their harvest this week with some harvesting multiple different species in a single sit. Trout and salmon numbers are rising in the Menominee river and a few anglers have been testing the waters. A recent CWD find in neighboring Oconto county has triggered a baiting and feeding ban beginning Nov. 1 in Oconto county-this ban does NOT include Marinette county. Baiters in Marinette county are still restricted to the 2 gallon rule-check the regulations for complete details. Hunters need to be aware that there are significant changes this year regarding licenses and backtags. The most notable is that hunters will no longer wear back tags and carcass tags need to be attached to the harvested animal only when leaving the carcass--in other words you do not need to attach the tag prior to dragging the deer out of the woods. However, the tag MUST be validated immediately by writing the date and time of harvest on the tag. Deer may be registered online or over the phone and the confirmation number must be written on your tag (this number replaces the metal band you used to get at in-store registration) prior to the deer being processed. As always be sure you read and understand the regulations before heading out and if you have questions contact your local DNR service center. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Manitowoc County - Fall is in full swing and what a great time to get out and enjoy the great outdoors! Hunters and non-hunters alike can find something great to do outside this weekend. The fall colors are getting close to peak and in some places past peak. Hunters can get out and enjoy a walk through the prairies for their chance at a pheasant or find a field or marsh to get in some great goose and duck hunting. Throughout the county there have been groups of deer observed foraging in the fields both in the early mornings and late evenings. It appears the harvest season for the deer and turkeys are shaping up to be another successful season! Enjoy the great outdoors! - Alyssa Gove, conservation warden
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Leaves are approaching peak fall color. The 75-foot observation tower is a popular destination on clear autumn days. Wild turkeys are commonly seen crossing roads in the park. The park store is closed for the season. Firewood may be purchased at the store on the honor system. - Lois M. Hanson, visitor services associate
DNR Southeast RegionMilwaukee DNR Service Center area
Milwaukee County - There are still antlerless deer carcass tags available for purchase across the state, including in Milwaukee County. Deer rutting activity will be nearing its peak now and into the early weeks of November. Now is the time to take advantage of our bow deer hunting season, either on private or public lands in the County. You can visit MMSD Greenseams or the DNR's Public Land Map to find public lands in the area. However, all Milwaukee County Park land is NOT open to deer hunting. Hunting season is in full swing, with October 15 marking the date pheasant, cottontail rabbit, and raccoon seasons open, with many other seasons already open. Keep your eyes open for other urban wildlife, such as coyotes, fox, and songbirds, as the leaves drop all over the County. - Dianne Robinson, wildlife biologist, Waukesha
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - Fishing pressure in Sheboygan has been very low overall. One Rainbow Trout was caught from the South Pier on Friday. Saturday had very strong winds, and waves were crashing over South Pier. One Brown Trout was caught from North Pier on Saturday. One boat was interviewed on Friday and caught a Brown Trout while they were fishing for Smallmouth Bass. Two people were seen fishing the Pigeon River this weekend, but said they didn't see any fish.
Ozaukee County - All fish cleaning stations in Port Washington are now closed for the season. The power plant discharge area in Coal Dock Park still has high fishing pressure, but angler success has slowed down. A couple Coho were caught on Friday morning, and one Chinook was caught on Saturday morning. The north slip marina area has also slowed considerably. Nothing was caught on Friday morning and only one Chinook was caught on Saturday morning. Two anglers were interviewed on the North pier on Saturday morning, and nothing was caught. Both Chinook and Coho salmon were caught in Sauk Creek this weekend. The water temperature was 44 degrees on Friday morning. No boats were interviewed this week.
Milwaukee County - Small rainbows, brown trout, and a few nice size coho have been landed recently by anglers fishing with shiners and fathead minnows on the shoreline behind Summerfest. A large number of trout and salmon were stacked up in the Lakeshore State Park lagoon, but very few anglers were fishing for them. Anglers fishing near the McKinley boat launch have landed a few Chinooks with spawn sacs. A few Chinooks have been caught in Oak Creek on yarn flies, and fish can be seen along the shoreline in Grant Park. Fishing off the Oak Creek Power Plant pier has been spotty. Occasional Chinooks and rainbows have been taken on jigging spoons and small spinners. Over an inch of rain fell in Milwaukee County early Sunday morning, and flows increased on area rivers. Fishing effort on the Milwaukee River has been heavy at times at Kletzsch and Estabrook Parks. Anglers have been catching Chinooks along with a couple of browns, coho, and rainbows. Egg pattern flies, woolly buggers, and green nymphs have been effective. On the Menomonee River good numbers of Chinooks moved upriver during the week. They have been caught around Three Bridges Park and Miller Park on small spinner baits and orange egg pattern or black leech flies.
Racine County - Shore fishing in the Racine harbor and off the piers has been slow. A few chinooks and rainbows have been caught on skein and spawn sacs. The harbor temperature is 62 degrees. Over an inch of rain fell across the Root River watershed this weekend, and increasing river flows brought in an increasing number of salmon. Fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, October 17, and 829 fish were passed upstream. So far this fall, DNR crews have handled 1,585 Chinooks, 336 coho, 6 rainbows and 7 browns. The next processing days will be Thursday, October 20 and Monday, October 24.
Kenosha County - One trolling boat in Kenosha reported catching a few lake trout on a flasher and fly combination in 200 feet of water. Shore anglers are focusing their efforts in the harbor, with a few browns, chinooks, and steelhead taken. Shrimp, spawn sacs, spoons and live shiners have produced. Anglers fishing the Pike River have taken a few chinooks on orange yarn eggs just upstream from the Highway E bridge. The mouth of the Pike had been sand blocked, but should be open now after the Kenosha area received over an inch of rain early Sunday morning. The Pike River was 54 degrees.
DNR South Central RegionLower Wisconsin State Riverway Report
The river is still above normal flow for this time of year but is coming down to a reasonable level with a bit of sand popping up now and then. Color is really coming on strong right now, with lots of variation from sumac to maples to oaks. Great time of year to explore the backwaters with lots of migratory waterfowl. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - Fall colors are nearing peak and by the weekend should be at full peak. With high winds this week there were many leaves that were blown off trees but still a nice variety of color in the area. Fall migration is underway and more birds are arriving at the marsh. The best areas for viewing are currently along the National Wildlife Refuge auto tour and the south side of Hwy 49. Viewing is also good from the Palmatory Street Overlook on the State Wildlife Area. Some of the bird species you may see include shovelers, pintail, wood ducks, widgeon, ruddy ducks and large numbers of mallards and green-winged teal. Canada geese and Sandhill Crane numbers have increased over the last few days. During the day the cranes and geese are found primarily in the farm fields feeding. The best time to see larger numbers of cranes and geese are early morning and the 1-2 hours before sunset as they fly back into the marsh to roost. Herons, egrets, pelicans, and a few species of shorebirds are still present on the marsh in small numbers. Trumpeter swans are still visible near the auto tour and Highway 49. On Saturday, Oct. 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., drop in anytime at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center and compare yourself to a duck! Is your beak made for fish or plants, can you pop out of the water or do you need a running start? Come find out! Also save some time to visit the new Explorium (fee) with a walk through glacier, crawl through muskrat hut and an airboat simulator! The education center is located at N7725 Highway 28 in Horicon. For more information please call Liz Herzmann at 920-387-7893 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Free and open to the public, no registration required. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - Local rivers have receded and water levels are still a bit high but much closer to normal. Tree color is in the 50-75 percent range. Recent cold weather has reduced the mosquito population somewhat, but there are still plenty that avoided the recent frosts. Fishing is picking up again on local lakes and on the Wisconsin River as well. Several groups checked were well on their way to having a bag limit. Seeing more and more sand hill cranes staging in Columbia County getting ready to migrate south. Wildlife staff are now stocking most Columbia County DNR properties 2 times a week with pheasants now. Reminder of the 2 pm closer Monday through Friday on Mud and Pine Island properties. - Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Janesville DNR Service Center area
Rock County - There were anglers on the Rock River at Indianford catching walleye and white bass over the last week. Crank-baits and Jigs have been effective baits, but some fishermen were having luck with live minnows as well. Walleye must be at least 15 inches with a bag limit of five per day. October 15 marked the date for the opening of several hunting and trapping seasons including rabbit, pheasant, bobwhite quail, fox, and raccoon. Dry-land trapping also started, but water trapping for mink and muskrat opens a week later. Fur prices are forecast to be down again this year, so trapping pressure should be lighter than normal. Pheasant hunters were out in force over the opening weekend. Pheasant stocking on public hunting grounds started the day before the opening and will continue weekly up to the regular gun deer season. Fewer numbers of pheasants will be stocked after the gun deer season. Hunters reported success, but were hoping for some cooler temperatures to keep their dogs from overheating. - Boyd Richter, conservation warden, Janesville
DNR West Central RegionEau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County - Warmer temperatures and fall colors combine to deliver some great times hiking and biking on the Chippewa River State Trail. Boaters have been out on Lake Altoona taking in the fog shrouded sunrises - the fishing has been good as well. Musky hunters are finding some success on the Chippewa River north of Eau Claire. Pheasants have been stocked on many public hunting areas in the Chippewa River Valley. Hunt safe - have fun! - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Lake Wissota State Park - Fall colors are over with most of the leaves having dropped due to windy conditions. The tamaracks are still a brilliant gold. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, black capped chickadees, phoebes, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned owls, barred owls, bald eagles, and Canada geese. The water and shower buildings are shut down in the campground for the season. The sanitary station will be open as the weather allows. Vault toilets in the campground are open year around. As the park office is not regularly staffed at this time of year, please use the self-registration station located at the office entrance. - Dave Hladilek, park manager
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Flush toilet/shower buildings will be closed this week. Drinking water is available in the group camp or at the park office next to the restroom. The fishing pier and boat boarding piers have been removed. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - The main gate is now closed until early May. Camping is also closed for the year. There is access year round at the winter/prairie parking lot on Czech Avenue (south of the park entrance) to access the park in fall through spring. - Heather Wolf, park manager
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