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Outdoor Report for September 13, 2018

Published September 13, 2018 by the Central Office

  Subscribe to DNR website updates. 

View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).

For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR).

The astronomical start of fall is still a week-and-a-half away but fall colors are already starting to come on strong in far northern and northwestern Wisconsin. The Brule River State Forest is already reporting about 50 percent color change, but most of the rest of the state is still very green on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism Fall Color Report (exit DNR)

that started up again last week.

Fall colors are already approaching 50 percent at the Brule River State Forest. - Photo credit: DNR
Fall colors are already approaching 50 percent at the Brule River State Forest.Photo credit: DNR

Water levels remain high on waterways across the state but especially in the southern half. The Lower Wisconsin River crested at Muscoda this week at over 35,000 cubic feet per second. Sandbars are still submerged but if the flow continues to drop as expected a few could emerge by the weekend. At the current flow, though, only expert level canoers and kayakers should be on the lower riverway.

Lake Superior run trout and salmon are in the Brule River, and there have been some reports of angling success. Historically, mid to late September is the peak of the coho run. Lake Michigan tributary runs have not really begun in earnest yet, but a few chinook have moved up the Manitowoc and West Twin rivers and were being caught below dams. The runs should pick up over the next couple of weeks as temperatures begin to drop.

Musky fishing is picking up on northern lakes with good success and bluebird skies reported last weekend for the World Championship Musky Classic in the Boulder Junction area. Central Wisconsin trout streams have come down nicely and there have been reports trout are putting on the feed bag and there have been good catches. High water and cooler temperatures are making the recipe for a good fall walleye bite on the Wolf River.

Deer archery and crossbow season opens this Saturday, Sept. 15 along with the turkey season and small game and ruffed grouse in some zones. Check the DNR website for complete dates and regulations. State wildlife biologists say the outlook is very good for both the deer and turkey season openers with abundant populations of both. Grouse drumming surveys were down again this year but grouse are still reported in localized populations and have been continually flushed in certain locations. This weekend is also the youth waterfowl hunt and they should have plenty of young mallards and wood ducks to call.

Bull elk have gathered harems and are now actively bugling in the Clam Lake and Flambeau River herds. The 40 to 50 degree temperatures are exciting the bulls and supporting their mating activity. This Friday morning, Sept. 14, an elk biologist will lead a Singing Forest-ELK Bugling program at the Flambeau starting at the headquarters at 6 a.m.

Bird migrations are near an overall peak now as birds of nearly every type head for southern wintering grounds. Among them this week was the first good push of waterfowl, most notably including some dabbling ducks like teal, shovelers, and pintails but also the first divers such as scaup, redheads, and bufflehead. Arctic geese have arrived on schedule after some especially good flights on September 7 and 8.



Statewide Birding Report

Migration is near an overall peak now as birds of nearly every type head for southern wintering grounds. Among them this week was the first good push of waterfowl, most notably including some dabbling ducks like teal, shovelers, and pintails but also the first divers such as scaup, redheads, and bufflehead. Arctic geese have arrived on schedule after some especially good flights on September 7 and 8. Canada geese dominate but a few cackling, snow, and even greater white-fronted were documented already as well. Common and Forster's terns were on the move at larger water bodies. Shorebird diversity has been excellent at localized areas despite lower numbers of individuals, although heavy rains have inundated previously-suitable habitat at some places like Horicon Marsh. Some of the week's best finds were buff-breasted sandpiper, several red knots, whimbrel, and red-necked phalarope amid the more regular sanderlings, yellowlegs, and semipalmated plovers. Land bird migration has been very good with warblers drawing attention statewide. The morning of September 11 was especially good up north, where palm and yellow-rumped warblers have become prevalent around homesteads, numbers of blackpoll warblers were near peak, and the first orange-crowned warblers arrived. Backyard water features have been hopping with activity from warblers, thrushes, and other species. Purple finches and red-breasted nuthatches are still showing in above-average numbers for this time of year, while ruby-throated hummingbirds are becoming scarcer by the day. Leave your feeders up into October, however, as this will support later migrants yet not deter birds from migrating south. Chimney swifts continue to congregate in big numbers at southern roost sites, including several tallies of more than 2,000 birds in a single chimney! Some other notable finds this week included the swallow-tailed kite continuing in Marquette County, northern mockingbird in Shawano, and 66 cattle egrets in Calumet. Don't expect too much movement over upcoming days with persistent warm, southerly head winds but the next change in weather pattern should yield some excellent flights and new birds into next week. As always, report your finds and discover what others are seeing at Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland

Chestnut-sided warblers are a fall favorite for many birders, their nonbreeding plumage contrasting markedly with that of spring and summer. - Photo credit: DNR
Chestnut-sided warblers are a fall favorite for many birders, their nonbreeding plumage contrasting markedly with that of spring and summer.Photo credit: Ryan Brady



Upcoming featured events at Wisconsin recreational properties

If you are close to an area when a bull elk bugles it is a hair-raising experience. This Friday there will be a Singing Forest-ELK Bugling program at 6 a.m. at the Flambeau River State Forest. Join DNR elk biologist, Laine Stowell, as he checks for bugling bull elk on the FRSF and learn about Wisconsin elk management. Trees in the north are turning, so join a park naturalist at Copper Falls for a Fall Color Hike on Saturday. Learn about sturgeon at a program Saturday at Lakeshore State Park or enjoy a candlelight hike at Richard Bong SRA. On Saturday and Sunday there will be an Endurance Challenge Race at Ottawa Lake in the Kettle Moraine South. Click on the links below for highlighted programs this weekend or click on Get Outdoors," for a complete listing of events.

Friday, September 14, 2018 

Saturday, September 15, 2018 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Saturday, September 15 & Sunday, September 16, 2018

For all events search Get Outdoors



Upcoming State Natural Area Workday


Sept. 14, 9 a.m. to noon. Ridgeway Pine Relict - Ridgeway is known for its scenic pine relicts that have northern plant species. Help care for this site by removing invasive plants and encouraging native plants at our second Friday workdays. Activities vary based on season but include brush cutting, piling, burning, invasive removal, seed collection, and others. This month we will be collecting seed.

Sept. 15, 9 a.m. to noon. Orion Mussel Beds - We are teaming up with The Friends of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway (FLOW) to care for Orion Mussel Bed SNA. Orion mussel bed is known for mussels in the river but it also has several rare effigy mounds. DNR crews and volunteers have been working to clear brush and conduct burns on some of them. Volunteers will continue this effort by cutting and treating brambles and brush. This will benefit the plant community on the mounds.

Sept. 15, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Chiwaukee Prairie - Help Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund volunteers during our monthly workdays on the third Saturday and enjoy the beauty of this rich prairie in the process. Remove the invasive queen anne's lace threatening the prairie. We will remove them by pulling or bagging.

Sept. 15, 9-11 a.m. Muskego Park - Help park staff remove invasive shrubs, such as buckthorn and honeysuckle, which will improve regeneration of native plants, including the State threatened blue ash. No experience necessary as training will be provided. Children (12+ years old) are welcome if accompanied by a parent. Come early, at 8 a.m., for a guided hike with our Conservation Biologist to learn what makes Muskego Park such a unique natural area!

Sept. 19, 9a.m.-noon - Rocky Run Workday: Collecting seed - 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 be collecting seed to scatter in areas where brush has been removed and pines have been harvested.

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



Northern Region

Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - We have experienced a brief return to summer over the last few days. High temperatures have been in the upper 70s, and the skies have been clear. Some rain may come our way over the weekend, but the temperatures are expected to stay warm at least until the middle of next week. Nighttime temperatures are forecast to stay well above freezing for the next week or longer. Fall leaf color is nearing 50 percent of peak. Ferns along the roadsides are browning up, and tamaracks will soon be turning into autumn gold. Lake-run fish are in the river, and there have been some reports of angling success! Historically, mid to late September is the peak of the coho run. Trout and salmon migrating upstream in the Brule River are monitored with digital video equipment as they pass through the fish ladder at the lamprey barrier. Year to year comparisons are made in fish populations and sizes. 2017 data [PDF] is the most recent information available. Only two weeks remain for fishing on the Brule upstream from US Hwy 2. That section of river closes to fishing on September 30. Deer archery and crossbow season opens this Saturday, September 15. Small game (Northern Zone), ruffed grouse (Zone A), and turkey seasons also open on Saturday. Bear hunting is underway as well. Be sure to visit, Keyword "hunting" to find links to regulations and tips that pertain to the type of hunting you are planning to do this fall. A Hunter Safety course will be starting in our area on September 18. The classes will be held in Poplar on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 2 weeks. Attendance at all 4 sessions is mandatory. Another Hunter Safety course starts on October 23. You can enroll in these courses and others through GoWild. - Diane Gobin, visitor services associate

Adam with the fire fing he completed as an Eagle Scout projects. - Photo credit: DNR
Adam with the fire ring he completed as an Eagle Scout projects.Photo credit: DNRAdam with the fire ring he completed as an Eagle Scout project. - Photo credit: DNR
Adam's work crew that helped him complete his Eagle Scout project.Photo credit: DNR

Amnicon Falls State Park - Boy Scout Troop 212 converged onto Amnicon Falls State Park last weekend for Adam Thom's Eagle Scout Project. The project consisted of making six half log benches surrounding a hexagon shaped fire ring. Over 9 yards of gravel was spread around concrete slabs the DNR put in some time ago. Additionally, an old fireplace that was in poor unusable condition was demolished and disposed of. This area will accommodate park users that have larger groups that want a place to picnic together, and a place for the Scouts to have their Circle of Honor festivities. For the last four years the Pattison/Amnicon Falls State Park Work Unit has built a partnership with the Boy Scout of America. This is the third Eagle Project in as many years at Amnicon Falls, and a fourth will be completed in October. We are grateful for their hard work to make this park even better. - Kevin Feind, property supervisor

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Iron County - Northcentral Wisconsin is starting to see some remarkable leaf coloration changes. Bear season has kicked off to a good start. Meat processors have seen a significant increase in bear dropped off at their facilities compared to last year. With the hound season starting soon, they expect to see a steady increase in bear harvest. Turkeys have been abundant this year on roadsides, and hunters are hoping they'll see the same in the woods this weekend. Grouse seem to be common in localized populations and have been continually flushed in certain locations. Although the numbers have not come in yet, it seems as though the deer fared the winter surprisingly well. Many does have been seen with multiple fawns and bucks are gaining body mass. I expect this year's archery season to be better than 2017. Wild rice can still be harvested on certain waters throughout the northcentral region. However, a lot of it has seen many ricers and the experience may be of less quality than earlier in the season. - Jenna Kosnicki, wildlife biologist, Mercer

Spooner DNR Service Center area

Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Fall is on its way in the Grantsburg area! Temperatures are dropping- even getting into the low 40s overnight, birds are beginning to group up to prepare for migration, and we are just starting to see some of the earliest leaves changing color. We are on the edge of fall migration, but aren't seeing high numbers of waterfowl or sandhill cranes just yet. Some shorebirds are still being seen on Phantom Lake, including greater and lesser yellowlegs, semi-palmated plover, solitary sandpiper, and least sandpiper. - Lauren Finch, wildlife educator

Interstate Park - The beach area is currently closed for renovation. Construction is planned to begin this week and will wrap up in about a month. This renovation project includes replacing the retention wall with a smaller, brick wall and adding an additional 10 feet of sand beach, along with other small improvements. - Matthew Densow, ranger

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

Flambeau River State Forest - The Flambeau River water levels are normal for this time of year, slower moving yet still easily navigable. Sturgeon fishing on the North Fork of the Flambeau is open till the end of the month of September (check the regulations). Colors in the tree canopies are turning and the sumac bushes are bright red. The under laying brush in the forest is becoming less and less prominent. Acorns and hickories are dropping as the temperature cools. The deer have been busy grazing. Herd elk bulls have gathered harems and are bugling. The 40 to 50 degree temperatures are exciting the bulls and supporting their mating activity. If you are close to an area when a bull bugles it is a hair raising experience. Warming temperatures may slow elk rutting activity. If you seek to hear bulls bugle chose a cool morning around 6 a.m. The ATV/UTV trail system is in good condition on the Flambeau River State Forest. There are 4 logging sales at this time on the Flambeau River State Forest. Be aware of large logging trucks on the roads. The weather forecast for the weekend calls for Friday to be mostly cloudy with a chance of thunderstorms at night, and a high of 79 and low of 66. Saturday, there is a chance of thunderstorms with a high of 80 and a low of 64. Sunday, will be mostly sunny with a high of 80 and a low of 62. - Diane Stowell, forestry technician advanced and visitor services associate

Antigo DNR Service Center area

Council Grounds State Park - We are expecting just about perfect fall weather in the coming days. The park's boat landing on Lake Alexander has been getting use from people fishing and those just wanting to be out on the water. On land the acorns are falling, and deer, turkeys, and squirrels are easy to spot as they eat. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger



Northeast Region

Northern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

Marinette County - A significant rainfall event occurred over the Menominee River watershed mid-week. In a 24-hour period, 6 inches of rain fell over the upper reaches of the Menominee. Anglers should expect increases in river flows during the next week. Water temperatures remain in the high 60s, with cooler air temps in the forecast. With children returning to school and somewhat inclement weather, mid-week fishing pressure was low. Some angling effort for lake sturgeon was exerted by boat anglers, mid-week at Stephenson Island. Night crawlers being fished off the bottom was the approach anglers were taking to catch one of these fish. Although catching lake sturgeon was slow, the effort was rewarded with bonus catches of channel catfish and smallmouth bass. Anglers should note that the Lake Sturgeon season on the Menominee River downstream Grand Rapids Dam is catch and release only. The hook and line season is open Sept. 1 - Sept. 30. Over the past week, the water temperature for the Peshtigo River ranged from 65-73 degrees. The gage height of the Peshtigo River fluctuated from a low of 1.2 feet to a high of 3.5 feet. This resulted in an increase in cubic discharge of water, which increased from 400 cubic feet per second early in the week to 1,600 cubic feet per second by the end of the week. Low to no fishing pressure was observed at the other access locations along the Menominee and Peshtigo Rivers. Windy and wet weather likely kept anglers away. - Tammie Paoli, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Oconto County - Throughout the week, the water temperatures for the lower Oconto River ranged from 62-74 degrees. Anglers on the Oconto Harbor pier area were having success catching suckers. Anglers in search of smallmouth bass and channel catfish had no success as a result of larger waves and windy conditions over the weekend. Fishing pressure remained constant at the Stiles Dam and Iron Bridge Area as the weekend progressed. However, anglers reported high waters for fishing and had little success. Low fishing pressure was observed at the municipal ramp area. A few anglers reported success catching smallmouth bass. Low fishing pressure was observed at the Oconto Park I and II, Holtwood Park ramp, and Norther River Road ramp this weekend. Medium fishing pressure was observed at the Pensaukee river boat ramp this weekend. - Tammie Paoli, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Low number of boats were out this week at Geano Beach due to the weather but most that were fishing were after muskies. Of the musky fisherman that were going out of Geano only a couple had a follow up but no fish were landed. Walleye fishing was reported to be very slow with no fish or one fish being caught. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

Brown County - Fishing was slow along the west shore again mainly due to high winds one day and rain showers another day. Hopefully with the nice weather this week fishing will pick up. Due to the weather this week, low numbers of boats were seen at the Metro boat launch. Those that were out reported low numbers of fish being caught or no fish being caught. The few shore anglers reported no fish were caught. Shore angler numbers started to pick up this week at Voyager but unfortunately those that were outreported no fish caught. Very few boaters were out this week on Duck Creek due to the weather. Low number of boats were out this week at Suamico due to the weather but most that were fishing were after muskies. Musky fisherman reported the fishing to be relatively slow with majority of the anglers not catching a musky. Walleye fishing was reported to be very slow with no fish or one fish being caught. - Megan Radtke, fisheries technician, Green Bay

The storms that rolled through the Green Bay area made fishing very inconsistent over the past week. Despite the wind and waves those who ventured out from Bayshore found moderate catches of both walleye and yellow perch. The average haul for walleye was around five fish for a few hours out on the water. Walleye anglers also caught a few freshwater drum while out trolling. Yellow perch anglers did alright as well with the average catch being around 15 fish. Sizes have been inconsistent though, with some anglers catching fish from 8-9 inches while others have caught fish near 12 inches. over the past week there have also been a few anglers that have had some luck fishing for perch from shore. While out perch anglers caught plenty of white perch and white bass as well as a few freshwater drum. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Door County - Fishing pressure has been low across Door County over the past week. Pier anglers at Stone Quarry and Ephraim have been doing well catching smallmouth bass. Night crawlers, tube jigs and wacky worms have all produced fish. In Sturgeon Bay anglers have been catching perch in boats and from shore. Action is inconsistent but some anglers have been able to catch a limit. Rowleys Bay pier remains a good spot for bass action. Some boats have been targeting the Sturgeon Bay Canal, trolling spoons, flasher/flies and crank baits for prespawn chinook. Action has been very slow for most but a few big fish have been caught in the canal. Look for salmon action to pick up in the next two weeks as we get closer the spawning run. - Ben Thome, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Over the course of the week effort at Chaudoir's Dock remained mostly focused on walleye with a few yellow perch anglers mixed in. Out of the walleye anglers interviewed the catch ranged from two to nine fish for a half a day out on the water. While out they also caught round goby, white perch and a few freshwater drum. Some yellow perch anglers did alright with catches ranging from 2-18 fish. The perch bite continues to get better but there is still a great of variation in the number of fish caught. At Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor effort over the past week has been pretty evenly split between smallmouth bass, walleye and yellow perch anglers. Bass anglers didn't do so well with only one boat catching two fish. Walleye anglers faired slightly better with some boats catching more than a dozen fish for 6 hours out on the water. Yellow Perch anglers did alright with catches ranging from 2-15 fish. Those who went out of Sawyer Harbor did slightly better than those out of Little Sturgeon. While out anglers also caught a few white bass, white perch, round goby, and freshwater drum. The catch of undesirable fish has decreased over the past week. - Adam Garlie, fisheries technician, Peshtigo

Kewaunee County - There was medium to light fishing pressure this weekend at the ramp. Heavy northeast and east winds kept Lake Michigan choppy with many of the boats staying close to the pier or in the harbor. Brown trout and chinook salmon were brought in early week and going out no more than 20-50 feet of water. The temperature was reported at 53 degrees at the surface on Friday. Later in the weekend it had risen to 61-62 degrees just about everywhere and out to 150 feet of water. Large numbers of black, silvery, and brown salmon were spotted at the surface. Shoreline fishing pressure was high this weekend with catch rate and success being driven by time of day. There were reports of brown trout being caught along the shore though chinook numbers were higher. Some anglers were out for carp as well, chumming up river and near the ramp. Saturday night it was reported that the catch rate increased somewhat for chinook salmon during an evening run and folks were taking in fish after 7 p.m. Folks were out and crowding the Kewaunee pier for chinook salmon this weekend with a couple king salmon coming in both silvery colors or brown colors. Whitefish was reported out at the tip of the pier early in the week. There were a couple brown trout and carp caught as well. Good luck for salmon was had using green champs and silver green cleos. Kewaunee River fishing pressure was low early in the weekend though later anglers began to spill into the Kewaunee River as the chinook salmon began to make their way up to footbridge and fishing picked up. Water has been a milky brown and salmon have been spotted before rapids or in holes. Good luck was had using spawn sacs. At Algoma Ramp anglers early in the week were getting chinook in 50 feet of water with the temperature reported at 51-52 degrees at the surface and 53 degrees at the ramp. Late in the weekend some folks were getting king salmon, brown trout, and less rainbow trout. The water warmed and it was reported to be 61 degrees at the surface by the ramp and out to 180ft of water and 50 degrees 130ft down. Some folks were out along the harbor spotting fish in the early mornings and evenings. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout were brought in low numbers early this week. Even when the wind picked up late weekend, anglers were out catching a few king salmon and the occasional northern pike off the south side of the harbor. Good luck was had using green or blue spoons. Large chinook salmon were being caught on the north side of the pier when the morning weather was calm. As the waves picked up, better luck was had for salmon on the southern side of the north pier. Folks were out on the Ahnapee River getting a few yellow perch near Blahnik Heritage park. Closer to Olson park they were bringing in small largemouth bass. As the weather worsened, fewer anglers were spotted out fishing. Stony Creek fishing pressure was low. The water coming from the mouth was a dark brown color.- Aeden White, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay

Manitowoc County - Fishing throughout Manitowoc/Two Rivers has been hit and miss this past week. Fishing up the rivers were slow, with some chinook being caught up by the dams in both Mishicot and Shoto. Water flow in Shoto is still high but has slowly decreased throughout the week. Salmon have not been caught in the Manitowoc or Branch Rivers yet. Fishing on the piers and harbor in Two Rivers were the most productive areas over the week. Chinooks are dominated the catch with brown trout being caught occasionally. Almost all the fish were caught on the bottom using either spawn or bait. While the fish that were caught in Manitowoc off the pier came on little cleos and castmasters. Fishing in the boats were hit and miss with anglers having most of their success fishing under 40 feet of water. Spoons and j-plugs are what caught most of the fish over the week. Northern pike are still hitting inside the harbor. They have been caught on spinner baits, spoons, and minnows. Smallmouth bass are still being caught. Yellow Perch have not been caught in the harbor yet. Anglers fishing on the lake had a rough week. Most boats came in with either zero or one fish. The weather was not ideal most of the week and the number of boats on the lake was low.- Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Mishicot

Wautoma DNR Service Center area

Waupaca County - Red maples, swamp ash and many weeds and grasses are changing colors. Deer starting to move a little more as we had a couple cool days. Some hot weather has now arrived and it is supposed to be the 80s through the weekend. Better fishing weather than hunting weather. Most fishing on the Fox or Wolf rivers is quite challenging to say the least as waters are in flood stage. Trout streams have come down nicely and have reports they are putting on the feed bag and there are good catches to be had. Have observed a variety of bird flocks buzzing around this past week. Looks like they are starting to stage. - Karl Kramer, wildlife technician, Wautoma

Keep an eye out for the walleye bite on the Wolf River. With high water and cooler temperatures, it has the recipe to make for a good fall bite. Currently, anglers have started catching a few fish using a jig and minnow. Water levels and this weekend's temperatures are almost perfect for kayaking this weekend. Deer archery season opener is nearing. Hunters have been busy getting their stands/blinds in order to enjoy some early season hunting. Lots of deer in central Wisconsin. - Ted Dremel, conservation warden, Wautoma

Waushara County - The archery opener will be on the warmer side but that's to be expected for September in Wisconsin. Hunters have noticed that the bucks have started to shed their velvet just in time for season. Many hunters took advantage of the early teal season and had great success. Goose numbers have been normal this year with a few groups finding birds. For the youth hunters, they should have plenty of young mallards and wood ducks to call in this weekend. There seems to be quite a few large groups flying around. There has also been a lot of turkeys out and about, so if hunters find one there will likely be more! Around the area the pumpkins have started to turn orange and many are enjoying fresh apple pie. The fall tree colors are starting to show and it won't be long before fall is officially here! - Kyle Ziembo, conservation warden recruit, Wautoma

Wild Rose State Fish Hatchery - The Sept. 15 presentation on "Indigenous Perspectives on Lake Sturgeon" at the hatchery has been cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date. The next presentation in the series is set for Sept. 29 at the hatchery's education center from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be "Sturgeon Biology-Wisconsin's Current Lake Sturgeon Populations and Distribution."



Southeast Region

Milwaukee DNR Service Center area

Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report

The Milwaukee and Menomenee rivers have been running high.  Milwaukee River at Estabrook Park. - Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz
The Milwaukee River has been running high. Estabrook Park.Photo credit: Reni RydlewiczNorth Avenue. - Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz
North Avenue.Photo credit: Reni RydlewiczThe Milwaukee River has been running high.  Estabrook Park. - Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz
The Menomenee at 45th.Photo credit: Reni Rydlewicz

Milwaukee County - Poor weekend weather, with east/ north easterly winds blowing 15-20 mph limited anglers from heading too far outside of the McKinley harbor this weekend. A few lucky anglers were able to land kings using spoons in 20-30 ft of water. The fish cleaning station, as of Sunday, was closed for repair. Higher pier fishing pressure occurred through the weekend, despite larger breakers lakeside. Those anglers targeting salmon found hit or miss success at the end of the pier near the gap and harborside, using spoons, landing 15-17 pound kings in the afternoon. Those afternoon anglers targeting carp, bass, or northern found little to no action, harborside. There was low fishing pressure shoreside. Anglers were targeting panfish, bass, or salmon by the Summerfest grounds, Lakeshore State Park and McKinley Shore saw little to no action using crank baits, plastics, or worms. Milwaukee and Menomonee river water levels and flow are high and unsafe for fishing in the river due to last weeks rainfall. Water temperatures range between 64-71 degrees. South shore anglers targeting perch, panfish, bass, trout, and salmon from Jones Island and South Shore found very little action through the weekend. Oak Creek water levels are low, flow is normal, and there is low clarity in this water system with temperatures throughout the creek around 62 degrees. Through the weekend with higher fishing pressure, anglers mostly near the falls using spawn, found very little action, but do report seeing fish. Low fishing pressure continues at the Oak Creek Power Plant. Those handful of afternoon anglers trying their luck were targeting perch, panfish, bass or catfish near the discharge and salmon and trout towards the end of the pier using a variety of bait. Very little action occurred. - Reni Rydlewicz, fisheries technician, Milwaukee

Racine County - Not many boaters out this weekend because of the rough water conditions. The ones that did go out staying in close looking to pick up chinook. There was some success with spoons untill the water warmed up and got rough. A lot of pier anglers were out targeting chinook this past week. The beginning of the week there was some caught but as the week progressed and water temps rose they seemed to slow down. Water temps got up to 63 Saturday. Most anglers having luck casting spoons and crankbaits. - Zak Feest, fisheries technician, Racine

Kenosha County - Most boaters are staying in the harbor casting slip bobbers with skein. There has been a pretty decent success rate. Water temps are still around 59 degrees in the harbor. Most pier anglers were having luck casting slip bobbers with skein. There has been a decent amount caught. Anglers have been throwing spoons also with little luck. Chinook seem to have changed colors already.



South Central Region

Lower Wisconsin State Riverway - Weekly Riverway Video Report The river is very high and has been setting record flow for these dates in early September almost every day due to the remarkable rain events we've had. The river has peaked at Muscoda but is still holding at about the same level of 35,000 cubic feet per second, which means absolutely no sandbars. Only experts should be out in a canoe or kayak and if you are out in a motorboat you need to be very careful as there is a lot of floating debris and submerged obstacles. The trend is for the flow to ebb by the weekend flows still in the 12,000 to 16,000 cfs range. Sandbars are going to be less abundant than one would expect. - Mark Cupp, executive director Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Board

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Columbia County - The water from the torrential rains in the hills of Sauk County has made its way down the Baraboo River to the Pine Island Wildlife Area peaking last weekend. Water levels here were higher than during the 2008 flood event. Much of the property is underwater/not accessible, particularly on the south and east ends of the property. Levee Road is closed through the entire Columbia County portion of the property, with the road underwater from the "horseshoe" of the levee all the way to Portage. Tritz Road is closed both on the east and west side of the property. Parking lots on Highway 33 are underwater. Hunters can still access the Sauk County portion of the property for the bow opener this weekend coming in from County Highway T. Be prepared as the mosquitoes are again horrendous with all the water. Other properties in the county are drying out nicely and should be in decent shape for the opener. Acorns have been falling thick for about a month or so, so deer are again spending more time in the woods than in the open fields. Turkeys have been plentiful and should provide excellent fall hunting opportunities as well. - Sara Kehrli, wildlife biologist, Poynette

Plymouth DNR Service Center area

Kettle Moraine State Forest, Northern Unit - The mountain bike trails are all open, although riders should be alert for any remaining obstructions. The Tamarack and Lake to Lake trails still have some standing water, but are open. Work continues to clean up fallen trees from the August storm, affecting several trails. The horse trails are all open, but messy. The endurance ride this weekend will proceed, although there may be a route change. The Ice Age Trail is closed from County V to Scenic Drive, and has not been inspected north of County Road U. The access trail to Shelter 3 is impassible, but the shelter can be reached from Division Road. The Butler Lake and Summit trails are closed. The Parnell Tower trail is open to the tower and Shelter 4, but the rest of the trail is closed. Greenbush, New Fane, and Zillmer trail systems are open. The "No Wake" order has been lifted on Long Lake, reverting back to regular wake hours. The North Beach and Pet Picnic area at Long Lake are closed, but the south beach, beach house and boat launch are open. The Mauthe Lake boat launch still retains some water, but is open. The Long Lake 800s campground loop has closed for the season, but all other loops and campgrounds are cleared and open. Small game and bow deer hunting seasons open this Saturday, Sept. 15. From now through the end of the year, there will be some type of hunting season open in the forest. - Deb Harder, visitor services associate