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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar
October 9, 2014
The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Fall color is now at peak through central Wisconsin, and approaching peak in southern Wisconsin, though some areas still have quite a few green leaves. In the north colors are generally past peak and leaf drop is not progressing rapidly in some areas. Tamaracks are now providing some excellent golden color in northern wetland areas.
Deer are really starting to move with the colder temperatures, especially in southern Wisconsin. Deer observations have increased in the mornings and evenings and deer are spending a lot of time in the woods feeding on a bountiful acorn crop versus the cornfields, especially in the day. There are some rubs and scrapes showing up in the woods.
There is a youth deer hunt this weekend, October 11-12 and all hunters except waterfowl hunters are reminded they must wear blaze orange when any gun deer season is open. The youth hunt allows boys and girls ages 10 through 15 who are accompanied by a mentor 18 years of age or older. A fair amount of rain has fallen over the past few weeks so be prepared for low land and swampy areas to be filled with water.
The early duck season in the southern zone was unusually warm with wood ducks and mallards the main birds bagged if hunters could stand the mosquitos. Small numbers of scaup, redheads, and canvasback have also been found. The southern zone now closes October 12 and then reopens October 18.
The variable fall weather has made for some challenging fishing conditions in the Northwoods and kept pressure at a relatively low level. Musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure, and they have been enjoying some very good success, with many fishermen having switched to live suckers. Musky were being found suspended near mid-depth cover such as fish cribs and rock bars.
Along Lake Michigan, anglers have been fishing the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers heavily this past week as the salmon run continues strong. Chinook salmon are in the rivers heavy and coho salmon have also begun their spawning runs. The Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility in Door county processed more than 1,900 chinook last week, collecting about 350,000 eggs, enough to meet Kettle Moraine Hatchery annual chinook egg collection goal. With recent rains salmon have also moved into southern Lake Michigan tributaries and were being caught on the Sheboygan and Milwaukee rivers.
This past week saw some big migration events across Wisconsin, with large numbers of American robins, yellow-rumped warblers, rusty blackbirds, and various sparrows, including the first major push of dark-eyed juncos. The raptor migration was also very heavy with great diversity of birds including sharp-shinned hawks and merlins near peak and building numbers of red-tail hawks and a smattering of vultures, eagles and harriers.
There is an abundant crop of woolly bear caterpillars this year so watch where you step. Woolly bears overwinter as caterpillars and turn into Isabella moths the following spring. They wander around a lot on sunny, fall days before picking a spot under leaves, logs, or rocks to overwinter. Reptiles and amphibians are also moving to their winter hibernating spots.
A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling 608-266-2277.
Statewide Birding Report as of October 9, 2014
This past week saw some big migration events across Wisconsin, especially on the nights of the Oct. 3 and 4. The northern tier saw large numbers of American robins, yellow-rumped warblers, rusty blackbirds, and various sparrows, including the first major push of dark-eyed juncos. Juncos are yet to peak in abundance while most other land birds are now past peak in the north. However, hermit thrushes, both kinglets, fox and swamp sparrows, eastern bluebirds, yellow-rumped and palm warblers, and other short-distance migrants still grace what is now a very colorful landscape there. Farther south, the warbler migration is waning though yellow-rumpeds are peaking and a decent diversity of lingering species remain. Many of the short-distance migrants above are also showing well, in addition to cedar waxwings, northern flickers, and white-throated sparrows. A few hummingbirds also continue to visit late-blooming flowers and feeders. Now is the time to start looking hard for some of the rarer species, such as rufous hummingbird. Waterfowl migration has generally been slow thus far but wetlands and lakes remain great birding locations nonetheless. The first tundra swans have trickled in while small numbers of cackling, snow, and ross's geese were also seen. Dabbling ducks have been fairly scarce, with shovelers, mallards, and wood ducks being most commonly reported. Small numbers of scaup, redheads, and canvasback have also been found. American coots and ruddy duck numbers are building in various places from Green Bay to Yellowstone Lake State Park. Raptor migration is really cranking now with great diversity of birds statewide. Sharp-shinned hawks and merlins should be near peak as numbers of red-tails build amidst a smattering of vultures, eagles, harriers, and others! Pine siskins are the only "winter finch" showing up earlier than usual, with high numbers in the north and small numbers all the way through the southern Wisconsin birder. Get out this week and enjoy the last of the land birds before many of them depart. Then it will be time to enjoy the loons, ducks, gulls, and other water birds. And help us track the migration by reporting your observations to eBird at 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 - Last weekend song birds were pushing through the area in large quantities. Birds are still coming though...time to grab the binoculars and hit the trails! While most of the bright colored leaves are off of the trees, the gold colors are becoming more prominent. Have you ever wondered why leaves change colors? Tamarack tree needles are beginning to transition to their gold colors as well. The tamarack tree is the only conifer in Wisconsin that will turn color and shed its needles in the fall. For more information on the tamarack tree, check out Tamaracks on the Wisconsin DNR's EEK site . A Chinese proverb says "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. But the second best time is today." While today might not be ideal for planting trees, now is the time to think about ordering trees and shrubs to plant next year. The 2015 tree seedling and shrub order forms are now available from the Wisconsin State Nursery Program. As the leaves are falling, people are out trying to clean up their yards and are looking for ways to get rid of the leaves. Composting the yard debris is the best option. If land owners plan on burning their yard debris, a burning permit is required. The permits are free and people can obtain the annual burning permit online or by calling 1-888-WIS-BURN (947-2876) to have a permit mailed or instantly emailed. Permits are also available at a local Ranger Station or from an Emergency Fire Warden. For more information on burning permits. The youth deer hunt will be taking place this weekend (October 11-12). Good luck and stay safe out there! For youth hunt rules and regulations.- Catherine Khalar, visitor services associate
Ashland DNR Service Center area
Bayfield County - The fall colors are at peak or past peak depending on how close you are to Lake Superior. The fall fish runs have been finicky with not much luck for fishermen the past few weeks on the open tributary sections and Lake Superior. The grouse hunt has also been tough for most hunters with not a lot of birds seen even with the leaves coming down. A lot of rain has fallen over the past few weeks so be prepared for low land and swampy areas to be filled with water into the gun deer season. Quite a few people are enjoying the hiking opportunities in the area. - Amie Egstad, conservation warden, Bayfield
Hayward DNR Service Center area
Sawyer County - Most leaves are off the trees now with only a few remaining aspen and oak holding on. With the leaf cover dramatically down, the partridge are appearing. Mornings and evenings have them out on the roads picking gravel. Most are scattered in different areas of vegetation, from aspen, alder and hardwoods and many are still in coveys, so if you see one, odds are there will be more. Hunters are reminded it is illegal to hunt or shoot small game w/in 50 feet of the road center off of black top roads. There has not been much for woodcock in the area yet. Most are waiting for a good flight to come down from the north. Hunters who wish to purse woodcock must be HIP certified (which is free) and must use a gun capable of holding three or less shells. Waterfowl stamps are not required for woodcock. All hunters, except waterfowl hunters, are reminded that the blaze orange clothing requirement applies this weekend as it is the two day deer youth hunt (October 11-12). Those still pursuing muskies report the action is picking up, especially on suckers. Trolling is still prohibited in Sawyer County on lakes not designated for it. Be sure to check the regulations and landings before trolling on any lake. - Thomas Heisler Jr., conservation warden, Winter
Spooner DNR Service Center area
Burnett County - Deer movement continues to be spotty possibly because lower deer numbers. Rubs and scrapes are showing up in the woods, but the best action is yet to come. There is still fairly heavy leaf cover in the woods and on area hiking trails. Waterfowl numbers seem to be good in western Burnett County. Grouse numbers in the area are okay. Governor Knowles State Forest campground and trails have autumn color and are in excellent condition and open for use. Good luck and be careful! - Christopher Spaight conservation warden, Grantsburg
Interstate Park - All hiking trails, campgrounds and facilities are open. The St. Croix River is near normal levels. The Beach House restrooms and changing areas are closed for the season. Swimming is available at Lake O' Dalles. Fall colors are nearing peak, but rain and wind will have an impact this week. View the colors from scenic overlooks along the Pothole, Summit Rock, River Bluff and Eagle Peak Trails. Picnic shelters and vault toilets are open throughout the park. The Ice Age Center is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., weekends and holidays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Exhibits about the Ice Age and a 24-minute movie about the Ice Age Trail can be viewed upon request. Accessible restrooms and a gift shop are also available at the Ice Age Center. All park roads are open. - Julie Fox, natural resources educator
Straight Lake State Park - Fishing has been slow on both Rainbow and Straight Lakes. Boat access to both Straight and Rainbow lakes is carry in only and no motors are allowed. The Ice Age Trail segment running through the park is in good condition. Currently, most of the park has excellent fall color. Trumpeter swans, king fishers, and many different types of diving ducks can be seen swimming in Straight Lake. Deer are often seen in the park along with an occasional otter and bear. - Matthew Densow, ranger, Straight Lake State Park
Park Falls DNR Service Center area
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties - The variable fall weather of the past week has made for some challenging fishing conditions in the Northwoods and kept pressure at a relatively low level. Musky anglers have continued to provide most of the fishing pressure, and they have been enjoying some very good success. Artificial baits such as bucktails and large stick baits have been doing okay, but many fishermen have switched to live suckers. A medium-size sucker (12 to 14 inches) on a quick-set rig has been the most productive method and several anglers have reported multiple catches on a single trip. Many of the musky are being found suspended near mid-depth cover such as fish cribs and rock bars. Most of the fish have been in the 32- to 40-inch size, but a few up to 48 inches have been boated as well. Pressure for walleye has been relatively light and success has continued to be quite erratic. An increased number of walleye are starting to show up in shallow water, but they still don't seem to be settled into a solid fall pattern yet. Late October and early November should provide a little better walleye action with jig/minnow and slip bobber/minnow combinations working best near weed edges and along mid-depth break lines. Both largemouth and smallmouth bass have continued their slow trend of the last few weeks, and many bass anglers have put away their gear for the year. Panfish success improved a bit, with some nice perch and crappie showing up near the shallow-water weed lines. Small minnows fished a foot or two below a bobber in the late evening hours has been producing some decent catches. - Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls
Flambeau River State Forest - Both the north and south forks of the Flambeau River are up and making for good paddling for those willing to brave the chilly temps. Our colors have peaked and we are at about 75 percent leaf-off. The shrubs are still hanging on to their leaves, but we are starting to look a bit bare. Winter berries look to be plentiful this winter. We are seeing lots of turkeys and a good population of grouse. Birds are flocking up and chickadees are hitting the bird feeders. - Judy Freeman, visitor services associate
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Oneida County - With the winds and rain we have had the last week or so, we have seen a lot of leaf drop. This is making grouse hunting a little easier in the woods, and probably helps archery hunting as well. Despite a couple of small cold weather fronts, we still have wood ducks in the area, but teal numbers have started to wane. We are seeing more mallards and divers beginning to arrive. There is a lot of water so they have a lot of options for places to land. Interestingly we still have not seen a woodcock push like typically expected around this time. Deer observations have increased in the mornings and evenings. The youth deer weekend weather looks good for our area, not too hot and not too cold. Hunters who have done some advance scouting stand the best chance of seeing deer.-Jeremy Holtz, wildlife biologist, Rhinelander.
DNR Northeast RegionNorthern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Some salmon are starting to appear at the Dam in Peshtigo. Anglers are also catching a few walleye and the occasional small mouth using small spoons, cranks and jigs. Salmon at Little River have been slow to show up with only one fish being reported caught. Salmon and trout can be seen jumping at the Hattie Street Dam mainly in the basin below the dam. Walleye are also being caught by the Menominee Dam using jig heads tipped with crawler or minnow. A few salmon have been observed from the foot bridge by the Stephenson Library. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Early last week the bluegill and crappie bite below the Stiles Dam was fair to good, with the rain, gates were open and fishing became much more difficult. No salmon have been observed at the Dam at Stiles yet. Angler effort for walleye and perch last week from Pensaukee to Oconto Park II was very low with no fish to report. Some perch, bluegill, and smallmouth bass were being reported by anglers fishing by the boat landings at Oconto Breakwater Park and Oconto Park II. - Kevin King, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Brown County - Poor weather and dropping temperatures reduced usage in the area to a trickle. Average water temperatures hovered near 63 degrees throughout the week and water visibility continued to be poor. Heavy waves and high winds are keeping the water restless and provided very little time to comfortably fish throughout the week. Shore anglers in Voyager Park continue to enjoy good catch rates on walleye this week. Successful anglers were using a mix of jigs, cranks and crawlers. The majority of walleye being caught are in the 17-22 inch range (2-4 pounds). Other fish caught at Voyager this week included freshwater drum, round gobies, channel catfish and white bass. Shore anglers on the Suamico River were catching decent numbers of yellow perch. The average size has been relatively small though (5-7 inches). Crawlers under a bobber or off the bottom with a split shot sinker are the preferred method. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Fishing pressure was low this week due to strong wind, rain and cold. Those willing to brave the weather in Door County were mostly targeting bass, salmon, and walleye. Smallmouth bass fishermen were having luck off of the Stone Quarry and Rowley's Bay using tubes, and chatter baits. Anglers were having the most success while fishing early afternoon. Some smallmouth can still be found nearshore but in general smallmouth bass start heading deeper this time of the year. As the water cools slower presentations and live bait work best, though sometimes you can still get a hit using fast moving reactionary baits like a crank or stick bait. A few anglers are still targeting salmon in the Heins and Hibbards creek systems in northern Door County. Salmon anglers are fishing the Sturgeon Bay ship canal and catching some chinook salmon. Anglers are using both artificial and real spawn sacks. A few walleye anglers are still hitting the water and catching some fish. Trolling or casting from shore at night seems to produce the biggest fish. Other popular fishing areas over the weekend were Ellison Bay and Jacksonport launches. - David Boyarski, fisheries supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Sawyer Harbor continued to be turbid this week with water visibility less than 2 feet. Heavy wave action and dropping temperatures kept usage by fishermen low this week. A few of the fish came in above 10 inches; however, the majority caught were around 7 inches. A minnow suspended just off bottom in 10-14 feet of water was the technique of choice. Once again finding the fish proved difficult; however, once a school was located, working the area proved fruitful. Like Sawyer Harbor, Little Sturgeon Bay area saw less pressure this week due to dropping temperatures, heavy waves, and wind. Night crawlers were used, with around a dozen fish being caught, however the average size was less than 7 inches with no keepers. - John Taylor, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Kewaunee County - Anglers have been fishing the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers heavily this past week as the salmon run continues strong. Chinook salmon are in the rivers heavy and coho salmon have also begun their spawning runs. In Algoma, anglers have been fishing at various locations along the Ahnapee and down on the piers. In Kewaunee, anglers have been fishing heaviest at Bruemmer Park and the piers. Catch rates on both rivers have been low to moderate for anglers due to high and muddy water. The most success has come with spawn sacs, although spoons and crank baits have also seen some success. There have also been scattered reports from Kewaunee and Algoma of brown trout being caught from both the piers and up on the rivers primarily using spawn. - Dave Boyarski, Northern Lake Michigan Fisheries Supervisor, Sturgeon Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Shawano County - With cooler temps comes increased activity for hunting. Archery hunters are having good success with many being choosy and waiting for the big one. Opening of duck season was unusually warm but woodies and mallards were the main birds bagged if you could stand the mosquitos. Fishing is heating up and with everyone hunting you will have most of the water to yourself. Colors are at peak right now. - Jim Horne, conservation warden, Shawano
Green Bay DNR Service Center area
Brown County - Waterfowl season has started on the Bay of Green Bay and with it has come some interesting and encouraging observations. First the diver ducks have started their migration. Rafts of scaup, red heads and canvas backs have all been seen along the west shore as far south as Suamico. There are also significant numbers of local puddle ducks. Multiple hunters were contacted during the opening weekend with wood ducks in their bags. The water levels are also presenting an excellent hunting opportunities and waders are a must in most places early in the season. Please remember if using a boat to get to your favorite spot or trying open water hunting to make sure all of your required safety equipment is on board and serviceable. Also remember when back at the trailer to pull off all of the weeds off the trailer before leaving the landing. Power washing at home does not exempt a person from the legal requirements to remove all weeds prior to leaving a landing. - Darren Kuhn, marine unit conservation warden, Green Bay
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Strawberry Creek Chinook Facility - The first salmon egg collection at Strawberry Creek for this season was completed Thursday Oct. 2 and overall it was a busy day with lots of fish. A total of 1,924 Chinook salmon were removed from the pond and processed for data. Fish were processed until about 4 p.m., and subsequently several hundred additional Chinooks remained in the pond. Eggs were collected yesterday for Kettle Moraine Springs Hatchery. I'm not certain how many eggs were collected by hatchery staff, but I think it was about 350,000 and this was enough to meet Kettle Moraine's annual Chinook egg collection goal. Egg collection also took place for the Wild Rose Hatchery this week.- Nick Legler, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay. - Nick Legle, fisheries biologist, Sturgeon Bay
Oshkosh DNR Service Center area
Outagamie County - Fall colors are in full swing throughout the Fox Valley. Anglers are continuing to find walleye and perch on Lake Winnebago, but are having mixed success. Archery hunters have reported seeing active scrapes. Waterfowl hunters are doing well with good duck and geese numbers in the area. - Ryan Propson, conservation warden, Appleton
The fall colors are just about at their peak in Outagamie County. Now is a great time to take a canoe/kayak trip down the Wolf River. There are two rental outlets in Shiocton that will shuttle you for a 5 hour or 2 hour trip down the Wolf. Deer hunters are seeing a lot of deer due to a good number of fawns. Many hunters are also talking of seeing some nice bucks in the area. Crappies are still biting on the river and in bayous and the fall walleye bite will be coming soon. - Mike Young, conservation warden, Shiocton
DNR Southeast RegionMilwaukee DNR Service Center area
Havenwoods State Forest - After a few "almost frosty" nights, the colors are beginning to burst at Havenwoods. Up in the trees, you can begin to see brilliant reds, bright yellows, and deep oranges. Out in the grasslands, the colors are a little more subtle with native prairie grasses turning golden-yellow, coppery red, and bronze. There is an abundant crop of woolly bear caterpillars this year so watch where you step. Woolly bears overwinter as caterpillars and turn into Isabella moths the following spring. For reasons unknown, they wander around a lot on sunny, fall days before picking a spot under leaves, logs, or rocks to hibernate. Reptiles and amphibians are also moving to their winter hibernating spots. Staff and visitors have seen Butler's gartersnakes, common gartersnakes, red-belly snakes, milksnakes, and baby snapping turtles! - Beth Mittermaier, natural resources educator
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report - Compiled from creel clerks by Cheryl Masterson and Jeffrey Zinuticz, fisheries technicians, Milwaukee
Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan over the weekend found most anglers up the river from Taylor Street to the Kohler Dam and behind Nemschoff. Water flow was higher than normal with good flow and most anglers were spread out fairly well up river. Action was slow with only a few chinook salmon taken at most access points. Chinook salmon were present in the entire river from 14th st and up, but were heavily concentrated at the Kohler Dam and the deeper pools near the dam were full of spawning fish but over-all action was rather slow with only a few chinook salmon being caught on spoon, spawn, or spinners worked in the deeper pools.
Ozaukee County - In Port Washington the weekend bite was better in the morning hours in the inner harbor and along the utility areas. The utility area had a heaviest concentration of anglers, with only a few chinook salmon and small browns being caught on spawn drifted along bottom in the current. The south pier had a few anglers casting for chinook salmon over the weekend but overall action was very slow. There are many fish jumping and being seen but they were not active this weekend. Anglers in Sauk Creek were catching a few chinooks in the deeper pools of the creek but by Sunday the water level dropped some and most fish were trapped in some the deeper sections of river and were in poor condition. The best area seems to be the WE energies power-plant discharge, early in the morning or late afternoon seem to be the best times, most anglers are having some luck on spawn fished off bottom on a 3 way rig.
Milwaukee County - Fishing in Milwaukee over the weekend was slow, high winds and poor weather kept most fishermen at home. A few chinooks and browns were taken by pier anglers fishing on the harbor side of the pier using fresh spawn below a bobber early or late in the day. The Milwaukee River got a decent push of fish with the recent rains but overall action remains slow at most access points along the river, a few chinooks and browns are being caught near the North Ave. Bridge and up to Estabrook Park. Best times have been early mornings fishing the deeper pools with fresh spawn or small egg imitating flys worked slowly along bottom. A few chinooks and browns have also been caught near the Summerfest grounds by anglers fishing spawn off bottom with a 3-way rig.
Racine County - Boat traffic at the Pershing Park boat launch was very low during the weekend. North winds at 20-25 mph (gusting to 30 mph). Most anglers left their boats at home this weekend and fished the shoreline. Brown trout and chinook have been schooling up in ReefPoint Marina recently and a few boats anchored up in ReefPoint Marina to fish for them with skein, spawn sacks, and crank baits. Fishing pressure on the piers was low during the weekend. Fish were jumping along the piers and near the mouth of the Root River but the anglers interviewed reported that the fish weren't biting. Fishing pressure on the shoreline increased this week. Brown trout and chinooks were stacked up in the current that flowed through the marina and a few anglers had good luck catching them with skein under slip bobbers and skein on the bottom. Nice catches of brown trout and chinook were landed in the marina over the weekend with shrimp, skein, and white tube jigs. A few chinooks were also landed in the Pershing Park boat harbor during the weekend with spawn sacks and skein fished 10 feet down under a bobber. Some decent catches of browns and chiooks was reported from Kenosha; the best area has beenthe Simmons Island boat ramp, small crankbaits or fresh spawn below a bobber was the most productive bait
Waukesha DNR Service Center area
Waukesha County - Salmon have been observed in Menomonee Falls on the Menomonee River at Lime Kiln Park and nearby Rotary Park. Anglers are reminded to purchase a Great Lakes Trout and Salmon Stamp if they are fishing for trout and salmon on Great Lakes tributaries. - Matt Groppi, conservation warden, Waukesha
Plymouth DNR Service Center area
Washington County - The public comment period for the draft Master Plans for Theresa Marsh, Allenton Marsh, Jackson Marsh, Cedarburg Bog and other properties that are included in the "Northern Kettle Moraine Region Wildlife, Fishery and Natural Areas" Master Plan ends October 10. Master Planning information and instructions for submitting comments is on the DNR website at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/Lands/MasterPlanning/NorthernKettles/ , or by type "Master Planning" in the DNR website search box.
Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area - Bow hunters and other hunters except waterfowl hunters are reminded that they need to wear blaze orangeduring the weekend of October 11/12 due to the statewide youth gun deer hunt. Youth deer hunting opportunities are available on many local properties (Theresa, Allenton, Jackson Wildlife Areas, the KMSF Northern and Loew Lake Units, and other areas).This week may be the peak time for viewing fall colors in our local area. Some trees are already losing their leaves, but most still have vibrant reds, yellows and oranges, and the cattail marshes are all golden. Floating cattail bogs are still an issue upstream from the Theresa Marsh dam but so far haven't blocked access or caused significant problems for waterfowl hunters. Hunters had moderate success during the duck season opener on wood ducks, teal and mallards and a few geese. Waterfowl and sand hill crane numbers continue to build up on the marsh, with excellent viewing opportunities for those species and other waterfowl, wading and shorebird species along State Hwy 28 just west of Hwy 41 and from the marsh overlook on Mohawk Rd just west of Hwy 41 (take Hwy 28 west 1 block from of Hwy 41, turn south onto Mohawk Rd and follow the road south to the overlook). - Tom Isaac, wildlife biologist, Hartford
DNR South Central RegionDodgeville DNR Service Center area
Iowa County - The deer are really starting to move, especially with the colder temperatures. There are a lot of acorns on the ground in Iowa & Sauk Counties and the deer are spending a lot of time in the woods feeding versus the cornfields, especially in the day. A lot of the corn is being cut so the archers are more apt to see deer in the woods feeding. Waterfowl hunters in the Bakken's pond area are reporting some wood ducks and blue wing teal but that they have been seeing more geese than years past. The birds this year have been fairly spread out due to the wet conditions Bakken's pond bottoms. The goose hunters checked have been happy with the numbers of geese they are seeing on the Wisconsin River and in the cut cornfields in the area around Arena and Spring Green. - David Youngquist, conservation warden, Dodgeville
Lafayette County - There have been less than average results on fishing the Yellowstone Lake area. The deer are moving well and more people are reporting seeing more bucks then even a couple weeks ago. - Nick Webster, conservation warden, Darlington
Wyalusing State Park - The access to the boat landing will be closed October 13, 14, 15, and 16. The crossing at the Railroad is being replaced during these days. - Chad Breuer, property supervisor
Horicon DNR Service Center area
Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area - The Horicon Marsh Area will be near peak this weekend for fall colors. Waterfowl numbers are continuing to increase as migrating birds start to fill in the marsh. Waterfowl numbers collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can be found here. http://www.fws.gov/refuge/horicon/ The Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Hwy. 28 has a variety of fall programs and there is something for everyone! The Rock River Archeology Society will be hosting an "Archeology Weekend" at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Saturday, October 11 and Sunday, October 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Visit with members of a buck skinners camp, throw an atl-atl, make a corn husk doll, or take in a special presentation. More information can be found at www.horiconmarsh.org. On Monday, October 13 from 6:30-8:00pm learn more about duck and goose calling. Bring your duck and goose calls and become a better caller in no time. Champion callers Troy Maaser and Mark Kakatsch will lead this hands-on workshop. The programs will be held at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center on Hwy. 28. No registration is required and programs are free and open to the public. (Small items for purchase will be available at the Archeology Weekend) All ages are welcome! For a detailed list of all Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center special events please visit the Friends of Horicon Marsh website at www.horiconmarsh.org. For more information on Horicon Marsh education programs and offerings contact Liz Herzmann 920-387-7893. - Elizabeth Herzmann, natural resources educator, Horicon Marsh Education Center
Fitchburg DNR Service Center area
Columbia County - With cooler weather, deer movement has picked up, especially in the evenings. Duck hunters experienced a good opening weekend with a fair number of duck and geese flying. Hunters at Mud Lake SWA saw a lot of birds on opening day. Goose and Sandhill Crane migration is picking up. - Ryan Volenberg, conservation warden, Poynette
The fall fish bite is back on Lake Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River. Sandhill cranes are staging now in Columbia County for their normal fall migration south. All hunters should be aware that the statewide youth deer hunt is this weekend and all hunters except waterfowl need to follow the blaze orange clothing requirements.- Paul Nadolski, conservation warden, Portage
Devil's Lake State Park - The fall color is finally arriving at Devil's Lake; although we are not close to peak yet. The trees on the bluffs are just starting to change color and are probably close to 30 percent color. The turkey vultures have started gathering at the park. You can see large groups (kettles) over the lake and just outside the park. The vultures gather at Devil's Lake area before migrating south for the winter. Birds have started migrating and visitors can find coots, gulls, and geese gathering on the lake. Osprey and eagles have been more active along the south shore as well. - Sue Johansen, natural resources educator
DNR West Central RegionBaldwin DNR Service Center area
Willow River State Park - We are experiencing moderate fall color change however peak will not probably occur until mid-October. The river and lake are running slightly higher than normal however fishing in the lake has still been good. Trout fishing is now closed. Migratory birds are becoming more frequent in the park and the deer, turkeys, and other small animals are definitely more active preparing for fall and winter. The stairway to the overlook at the falls has been repaired and is now open for use. The water is shut off for the season and all of the flushing restroom buildings and showers are now closed. Drinking water is still available at the Service Building and all of the vault toilets are open. Camping is still open in all of the campgrounds. - Aaron Mason, park superintendent
Black River Falls DNR Service Center area
Black River State Forest - This is a great time to visit the Black River State Forest. Fall colors are at 90 percent and while the reds are starting to fade, the yellows are really putting on a show. Rust and burgundy colors are starting to show as the oak leaves begin to change. Highs this weekend are expected to be in mid 50s with lows in the 30s. The shower/flush toilet building at Castle Mound campground will remain open for this weekend but will close sometime next week. The dump station is now closed for the season. ATV trail conditions are variable, good in some areas and rough in others. Reminder that all ATV trails will be closing on Wednesday, October 15th. Trails will reopen December 15 weather permitting. - Emily Alf, Visitor Services Associate, Black River State Forest
Eau Claire DNR Service Center area
Eau Claire County - Spectacular fall colors highlighted against beautiful blue skies await outdoor users in the Chippewa River Valley. Frosty overnight temperatures and moderate daytime temperatures are ideal for enjoying time in the woods, duck marsh, or fields. Hunting, fishing, hiking or biking - find an excuse to get outdoors this weekend! - Scott Thiede, conservation warden, Eau Claire
Chippewa River State Trail - Fall colors are at about 50-75 percent but changing quickly. It's a fantastic time to do a fall bike ride on the trail. Trail is open the entire length and in good condition. The Chippewa River is running near normal providing excellent fall fishing opportunities. Restrooms remain open at Caryville for this coming weekend but the drinking fountain has been closed. Restrooms and drinking fountain are closed for the season at the Highway 85 wayside. The Friends of the Chippewa River State Trail have leased a port-a-potty again this year and it is available at the Meridean parking lot. - Calvin Kunkel, ranger
Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - Fall is here! Birds are migrating, colors are changing and people are out on the lake walleye fishing. The drive north on Hwy 58 to the park is full of reds, yellows, oranges. Fall colors are starting in the barrens, prairies woods in the park. Statewide Youth Deer Hunt is Oct 11-12. Gun deer hunting for the youth hunt is only in the Yellow River Wildlife Area. The park and Buckhorn Wildlife Area are bow only for Oct 11-12. All hunters except waterfowl hunters must wear blaze orange on Oct 11 -12, even in bow only areas. Sites 20-22 are now closed for the season for tree work. All other sites are open for the weekend of October 11-12. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - Fall colors are starting in the prairie and in the park. The main gate will be closing on October 13. When the gate is closed, park in the winter lot on Czech Avenue, park stickers are required. - Heather Wolf, park manager
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