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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar

August 9, 2018

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

A storm blew through northern Wisconsin late this week bringing much-needed rain, and most of the rest of the state has received rainfall within the last week. The coming week looks hot and sunny, so it sounds like it's going to be great weather for water sports and swimming.

Pin cherries, Brule River State Forest, Wisconsin
Pin cherries are ripening in the Brule River State Forest
Photo Credit: DNR
Flambeau River water levels are normal for this time of year, though perfect for paddling. The lower Wisconsin River flow is about normal for this time of year. Lots of sandbars are available for sandbar camping.

High numbers of anglers were out on both the east and west shores of Green Bay looking for walleye. Anglers were reporting success for some really nice fish, with a few fish measured from 16-23 inches. Yellow perch anglers continue to struggle to find decent numbers of fish.

Along Door County anglers were consistently coming back to the Sturgeon Bay ramp with large numbers of walleye and large yellow perch. Bass fishing is picking up across Door County with a weekend bass tournament seeing smallmouth coming in ample numbers with some catching over 20 bass per trip. Smaller bass were the majority of the catch but some nice smallmouth over 4 pounds were caught.

Fishing pressure on Lake Michigan out of Kewaunee and Manitowoc decreased some from previous weeks with low catch numbers on chinook salmon and steelhead trout. The weekend storm did not help as 3- to 4-foot waves picked up and made it difficult for smaller watercraft. For those that did venture out most of the catch were chinook followed by rainbows. Anglers fishing in the Manitowoc harbor were catching small northern pike daily. Most of the pike range from 16 to 22 inches.

Trollers out of Milwaukee were catching larger numbers of chinook salmon and lake trout while those fishing out of Racine and Kenosha saw mostly lake trout with the occasional rainbow but no kings or coho.

Fawns are out and about in abundance. Turkeys seem to still be sticking to the sides if the roads and there must have been some late broods as some poults are smaller than ruffed grouse--very small for this late in the season. Ducks and geese are starting to fly and starting to stage. Night hawks beginning their fall migration--earlier than in other years.

Although there are plenty of ripe cherries on the trees, black bears are still competing over the berries, so get them before they do. Chanterelles and lobster mushrooms are abundant in north central Wisconsin. Wild rice is in its ripening stage. Ricers should get out and begin scouting. Occasionally there is a tree in the Northwoods canopy that's changing in color and indication that fall is coming.

This weekend is the peak of the Perseid meteor shower and it is also a new moon, so night skies will be at their darkest. Nearly a dozen state properties have astronomy programs scheduled this weekend. The meteors are made up of space debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet. At its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors per hour.

This is also the last weekend to catch workshops and performances of Shakespeare in the Park at Havenwoods Friday, Kohler-Andrae Saturday and Pike Lake on Sunday. There will be Concert in the Clouds at Rib Mountain, Concert in the Park at Merrick, Music in the Park at Mirror Lake and Dance to Big Band at Devil's Lake all Saturday evening. For all events 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 July 5, 2018

Red-Eyed Vireo, Wisconsin
Bluejay fledgling. This young blue jay displays features common to many recently-fledged birds, such as a fleshy gape, soft and downy body plumage, and short, still-growing tail feathers.
Photo Credit: Ryan Brady
Young birds out and about, shorebirds start southbound migration

As June gives way to July, bird activity is transitioning as well. Singing activity is on the decline for many species as territories and pair bonds are well established and males spend more time helping to feed nestlings and recently-fledged young. Fledglings are becoming prevalent daily for nearly all species, especially our short-distance migrants that start the nesting cycle earlier but also some of our long-distance migrants like orioles, vireos, and various warblers. July is the peak month for observing family groups, meaning now is a great time to contribute to the volunteer-driven Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas project (www.wsobirds.org/atlas). These hot days of summer are also the perfect time to provide a water source for birds in the form of a bowl, running fountain, mister, or pond, and keep an eye on early fruit sources such as serviceberry for robins, waxwings, grosbeaks, and other frugivorous birds.

Believe it or not southbound "fall" migration is even underway as some adult shorebirds are now returning to wintering areas after a very short breeding season in the arctic. Some species reported this week included least and semipalmated sandpipers, lesser and greater yellowlegs, willets, and a few others. Expect numbers to build at flooded fields and mudflat throughout the month. Other signs of a waning nesting season including flocks of blackbirds and swallows starting to form. This week's rarest finds were a possible neotropic cormorant in Dodge County and an apparent black-billed magpie in Milwaukee. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland


Upcoming State Natural Area Workday

Aug. 10, 9 am - noon, Ridgeway Pine Relict: Ridgeway features towering cliffs of pine with northern plant species underneath and extensive oak savanna. Help the Friends of Ridgeway Pine Relict, Inc. care for this site by removing invasive plants and planting native plants. Workdays are regular including once a month on the second Friday. We will be collecting seeds this month.

Aug. 11, 9 am - noon (Fri,) and Westport Drumlin: Join with Groundswell Conservancy to restore 214 acres of ag fields back to prairie surrounding the 14 acre remnant, Westport drumlin. Spend time collecting seeds, managing invasive plant species, and working on other preserve improvement projects. This will be a monthly event.

Aug. 11, 9 am - noon, Bluff Creek Workday, Removing Phragmites: Come help volunteers during our monthly Southern Kettle Moraine SNA workdays on the second Saturday. We will bundle, cut, and treat the grass Phragmites. Phragmites has invaded the rich wetlands surrounding Bluff Creek, a cold, clear trout stream. It spreads quickly through a network of underground and aboveground stems. This work will build on previous efforts to stop Phragmites spread, allowing native sedges, grasses, and wildflowers to persist.

Aug. 15, 9 am - noon, Rocky Run Oak Savanna Workday: Collecting seed and removing invasives Help care for this site and learn something in the process. Rocky Run is a priority site because it is large, has rich sand prairie and oak savanna, and rare plants and animals live there. We are expanding the good areas by removing pine plantations, brush, and spreading native seed. We will collect seeds this month and may be removing invasive plants or pile slash in a pine plantation. This is a monthly event.

No skills needed you will be trained onsite.Check the State Natural Areas Volunteer Program page of the DNR website for details. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane. - Jared Urban, conservation biologist, Dane

DNR Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - A storm blew through last evening bringing just over an inch of much-needed rain, a small amount of hail, and some gusty winds. The coming weekend looks hot and sunny, no rain is in the forecast again until early next week. There are still lots of wildflowers in bloom in the forest, but there are signs too, that autumn is approaching. Blackberries, pin cherries and choke cherries are ripening. We've had a few nights with temperatures in the 40s, and some trees are getting a hint of fall color. Our wildlife biologist has also seen night hawks beginning their fall migration—earlier than in other years. On Sunday August 12, the Brule River Lion Club is sponsoring a 2-Mile and a 5-Mile Race on the After Hours ski trails. The races are followed by a Lions Club chicken barbeque at the Brule pavilion. Click here for more information. The Perseid Meteor Showers peak on August 12 and with a new moon and the dark, clear skies of northern Wisconsin, this weekend will be perfect for viewing the Perseid meteor showers. The meteors are made up of space debris from the Swift-Tuttle comet. As the debris enters the earth's atmosphere, it burns up—creating "shooting stars". At its peak, one can see 60 to 100 meteors per hour! - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Iron County - Blackberry season is upon us! Although there are plenty of ripe cherries on the trees, black bears are still competing over the berries, so get them before they do. Chanterelles and lobster mushrooms are abundant in NC Wisconsin; bring your tangerine or onion bags and be ready to fill them. Wild rice is in its ripening stage. Ricers should get out and begin scouting before it's too late. Keep an eye out for rice worms and brown spot on wild rice plants. Lake Superior waters are warming making fishing difficult. However, Saturday morning and all day Sunday will bring southern winds allowing fisherman to take advantage of cooler waters. Mosquitos and deer flies have receded the past week while monarchs are filling the air. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - Flambeau River water levels are normal for this time of year, though perfect for paddling. Gardens are flourishing. Occasionally there is a tree in the canopy that's changing in color. Fall is coming. Night hawks are migrating. Wild bergamot, goldenrod, bunch berries, blue cohosh, and blue bead lilies are blossoming. Elk calves are weaning off of the cows and eating more vegetation. Bulls are hanging out in bachelor groups constantly eating, eating, eating. All, filling up for those long lean winter months. The bulls are still in velvet. The first to lose their velvet is the raghorns. All velvet should be off by the end of August and bugling will commence. This is the time of year for habitat management on the State Forest. Openings and trails are being mowed and habitat plantings being made. These practices promote holding and supporting deer and elk in the area. Turkeys, woodcock and grouse are some of the other animals that benefit from these efforts. The ATV/UTV trail system is in good condition on the Flambeau River State Forest. Use caution north of Hwy W, as there is an active timber sale in progress. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be sunny with a high of 83 and low of 59. Saturday, will be sunny with a high of 84 and a low of 59. Sunday, will be sunny with a high of 84 and a low of 59. There will be a Smokey Bear's 74th Birthday Party on Aug. 11 at noon at the Connors Lake Picnic Area. Celebrate Smokey's birthday with games, cake and a visit with Smokey. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

DNR Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Oconto County - Very high numbers of boaters filled the Geano Beach launch this week with most after walleyes. Most anglers experienced higher catch rates of walleyes, 3-5 per person, than at Suamico and reported catching numerous freshwater drum, catfish and an occasional northern pike. Many boaters harvested close to their limit on most days. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Brown County - Low numbers of anglers were out of the Metro boat launch with more leisure boaters. Those that were fishing reported slow fishing with only a few walleyes being caught and none being harvested. High numbers of boaters were out of the Suamico launch this week causing lines of boats, even filling the extra boat launch parking area. Many fisherman hit the water early to avoid the rush, the walleye bite was consistent all week with two tot three being harvested per person. Anglers reported using flicker shad in a variety of colors. Most anglers reported catching numerous freshwater drum and large catfish. No musky anglers were interviewed. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Walleye anglers at Bayshore have been catching some really nice fish over the past week in somewhat decent numbers. The average catch was two to seven fish for half a day out on the water. A few fish were measured with lengths from 16-23 inches. Yellow perch anglers continue to struggle to find decent numbers of fish. The highest number caught by any angler was three for a few hours on the water. While out anglers also caught freshwater drum, white bass, white perch, round goby, and catfish. The parking lot was relatively empty during the week with less than 15 trailers being counted on the days that were surveyed. The weekend was the complete opposite with almost 40 trailers being counted. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - There was low fishing pressure overall this week at the Sturgeon Bay shore. Anglers were out with a few reports of perch and rockbass near the highway bridge and steelbridge. Good luck was had using nightcrawlers. Early in the week temperatures averaged 68 degrees on the east side towards the pier and 78 degrees closer to the bay. Folks were consistently coming back to the Sturgeon Bay ramp with large numbers of walleye and large yellow perch. The weekends bass tournament saw smallmouth bass coming in ample numbers while chinook and rainbow anglers were not out due to wind conditions. A decrease was seen in anglers this week at Stone Quarry with some walleye and smallmouth bass being caught along with large freshwater drum. Water has stayed at 78 degrees near the ramp at the surface. Good luck was had using tubes and crankbaits for smallies. There was an intermediate amount of fishing pressure from shore this week with anglers catching smallmouth bass and northern pike along the shore. Closer to the ramps folks were catching yellow perch and rockbass using worms. - Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Bass fishing is picking up across Door County. Murphy Park is slow but Egg Harbor, Ephraim piers are producing lots of bass on both plastics and live bait. Smaller bass are the majority of angler catch but some nice smallmouth over 4lbs and some large pike being caught. Boat anglers getting out and fishing the deep edges and current breaks are doing well, catching over 20 bass per trip. No walleye action reported. Perch action is sporadic with a few nice fish being caught in the marinas on worms, leeches and minnows. The majority of boat traffic is pleasure boaters. Salmon anglers trying there luck out of Gills Rock and Rowleys Bay are having limited success. Most boats come in with zero to two fish but the size of fish is good. Bass fishing in Rowleys Bay has been good for the few anglers interviewed on the pier. Baileys Harbor is still producing fish but changing winds and water temperatures make finding schools of fish difficult. Most anglers are still finding a few kings and rainbows.- Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Anglers in search of walleye out of Chaudoir's Dock have been getting some decent numbers over the past week. The average catch was 5-10 fish for half a day out on the water with harvest somewhere in between. The fish that were measured had lengths ranging from 16-19 inches. While out anglers also caught freshwater drum, northern pike, white bass, white perch, and catfish. Over the past week the parking lot averaged 5-15 trailers in it. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Kewaunee County - Fishing pressure has decreased from previous weeks with low catch numbers on chinook salmon and steelhead trout. The weekend storm did not help as 3- to 4-foot waves picked up out on 120 feet of water and made it difficult for smaller watercrafts. Water temperatures were reported to be 69-70 degrees at the surface from 100-150 feet of water. Folks are beginning to come in from the Kewaunee River with bullhead catches. Water was reported to be 80 degrees up in the river and 77 degrees closer to the ramp. Algoma saw similar pressure, with low numbers of boats going out this week and 3-0foot waves keeping some folks in. The water temperature was reported to be 68-70 degrees at the surface in 100-200ft of water. Chinook was being caught closer to 80-150ft of water while rainbow trout catches decreased. Wind made the shoreline a bit difficult this weekend with waves crashing over and making it dangerous for anglers. The pier saw a similar situation. Olson Park saw folks catching northern pike, small largemouth bass, and channel catfish. No perch have been reported. The temperature stayed around 74 degrees at the surface which was an improvement from last weeks 78 degrees. Good luck was had using frog crankbaits for the largemouth bass.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing remains slow for the anglers adventuring out on the boats. Most boats coming in had one or two fish at the most with some zeros mixed in. The water temps are still warm with temps in the mid to upper 60s with small pockets of colder water that have not produced fish yet. The fish that were caught were usually on downriggers or deep dipsys. The number of anglers fishing on the piers remained steady throughout the week; however, no salmon or trout were caught this week. Freshwater drum and carp were caught occasionally while casting with spoons. Anglers are saying that their lures were starting to fog up when pulled out of the water on Sunday Aug. 5, so hopefully that's a good sign to come. There are some west winds forecasted this coming week so hopefully that will push the warm water out deep and provide some pier fishing before the salmon and trout start to pre-stage. Anglers fishing in the harbor right now are catching small northern pike daily. Most of the pike range from 16 to 22 inches. They are being caught by casting small spoons, spinners, and even a hook tipped with a worm. This might be an excellent opportunity to take the kids out fishing before the school year starts back up in a few weeks. Fishing inside the marina were producing most of the pike as well as by the boat launch. The number of anglers fishing out of Two Rivers this week decreased. The decline in anglers could be from a combination of warm water temps and windy conditions on the lake. The anglers that did try their hands at fishing ended up with one or two fish with a boat occasionally coming in with four fish. Most of the fish were Chinooks followed by rainbows. It seemed like guys were getting the fish 60-80 feet down on downriggers. Fishing pressure is starting to increase in along the Two Rivers piers even though no fish have been caught recently. Carp and freshwater drum were caught the most during the past week. Anglers fishing across from Seagull Marina had a great week catching bullheads. Although the size on the bullheads ran small the numbers were not. Some anglers catch more than 10 bullheads within an hour. Going after these bullheads could be another opportunity to get the kids out fishing before the school year starts as all you have to do is put a worm on a hook with a weight and wait for the bite.- Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Oconto County - In Oconto County Fishing on most lakes has been pretty slow. Individuals are catching walleye on the bay of green bay though. I have seen plenty of monarch butterflies out and about. Apples are not quite ready up here, but blackberries are ready for picking though. There are plenty of deer and turkey moving around so be careful driving. ATV trail conditions are good. Be careful near the pipeline as most trails are sand and hard to maneuver in. Trails are also dusty so wearing a face shield or handkerchief will help. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Whitefish Dunes State Park - This week the bird feeder had visits from hummingbirds. Thimbleberries are ripe and line most of the trails but also look out for poison ivy. This week visitors spotted two porcupines along the green trail high above in the tops of trees. There are lots of wildflowers in the park and it's a great time of year to hike. All trails are open to hiking. The recommended hiking trails at this time are the Red or Black trails. The First Beach Access at Whitefish Dunes is closed until further notice due to high water and erosion of the shoreline. Directions to get to the swimming beach is to hike the Red trail five minutes to second beach access. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waushara County - The young animals from this year are getting big. The fawn are out and about, the turkeys seem to still be sticking to the sides if the roads and the ducks and geese are starting to fly. It sounds like it's going to be great weather wise this weekend and water temps are ideal for swimming. The blackberries are nearing their end for the season around here but some still can be found. The raspberries on the other hand are pretty much done for this year. There has been lot of people out and about enjoying their time on the water. The main species of fish that the public has been catching recently are bluegills. - Ben Mott, conservation warden and Kyle Ziembo, recruit conservation warden, Wautoma

Waupaca County - Blackberry crop about at peak right now, is a huge crop. Has been very wet in the last ten days in central WI. As a result the mosquitos have made a comeback and are locally nasty in places. River levels are near normal and the trout must be biting as I have seen many vehicles parked in the fishery area parking areas this week. Deer are out and about all hours of the day. Have seen some ducks buzzing around early in the am on my drive in. They must be starting to stage. Must be a lot of late turkey broods, saw some poults smaller than ruffed grouse last weekend. Very small for this late in the season. Not much else to report. Has been hot and humid lately. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

DNR Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Milwaukee County - Early morning boaters out of the McKinley ramp targeting salmon continue to launch between 4 and 6 a.m. catching limits more often than boaters launching in the afternoon. A mix bag of fish across the board of salmon and trout continue to be landed. This weekend larger numbers of chinook salmon and lake trout and were caught (verses mostly coho and rainbows that we have seen for the past couple of weeks). There was no specific fishing depth for success this weekend. Anglers found success in depths ranging from 80-150 feet to deeper waters out to 330 feet. Fish were reported hitting lines 60 - 80 feet of water, or closer to the bottom, where colder temperatures occur. A variety of spoons or flasher/flies found the most success. Those few pier anglers targeting salmon, trout, and bass (on the lakeside and harborside) or perch near the gap, continue to see very little action. There has been lower fishing pressure at this location due to warmer surface temps (up to 70 degrees) and lack of alewives (even out near the gap). By Sunday however, in the early morning hours, surface temps cooled slightly and now range from 62-64 degrees. Anglers targeting salmon, trout, panfish, bass or perch observed by the Summerfest grounds and near the lighthouse, Lakeshore State Park, Veterans Park, and McKinley Shore, saw little to no action using crank baits, spoons, artificial lures or minnows. Anglers reported small schools of sheepshead, carp and smallmouth behind the art museum, but had no luck in landing fish. A small rainbow was caught near Summerfest using worms. Low fishing pressure occurred throughout the weekend from Jones Island, Cupertino Park, and through South Shore. Anglers targeting salmon and trout saw very little action. The presence of small schools of alewife are hit or miss at Jones Island. Low fishing pressure continues at the Oak Creek Power Plant. Those few morning and afternoon anglers trying their luck were targeting catfish near the discharge, using a variety of bait. Those whom found success were using egg skein. Temperatures at the end of the pier are 66-68 degrees. - Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Racine County - Most boaters are having luck catching lake trout in about 250 feet of water. Occasional rainbow was also reported being caught with no kings or coho caught. Anglers are using flies and spoons with flies being the most productive. Few pier anglers were out over the weekend. The ones that were were mainly casting spoons or jigging for perch with little success. There has been reports of an occasional brown and rainbow caught recently, however none were witnessed during survey times. Water temps in the harbor were recorded at 69 degrees. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine

Kenosha County - Fairly slow fishing pressure over the weekend. Boaters mainly trolling flies and spoons out from 200-300 feet of water. Lake trout and rainbow are the primary catch recently and coho and king have not been caught as frequently. Many pier anglers were out this weekend with little success. Most fisherman are casting spoons and jigs targeting brown trout. Water temps still around 73 in the harbor. No records of perch being caught during survey times. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine

DNR South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Report

River flow is about normal for this time of year. Lots of sandbars are available for sandbar camping. Remember safety tips always walk upstream on a sandbar. Important to know where the sandbar drops off. Looks like a beautiful weekend with temperatures in the 80s. Lots of community events taking place.- Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

DNR West Central Region

River flow is about normal for this time of year. Lots of sandbars are available for sandbar camping. Remember safety tips always walk upstream on a sandbar. Important to know where the sandbar drops off. Looks like a beautiful weekend with temperatures in the 80s. Lots of community events taking place.- Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

DNR Find Wisconsin Lakes


Copyright © 2018 Wisconsin DNR. Used by permission.
For more information, contact Spokesperson: James Dick, Phone: 608-267-2773.

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