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Wisconsin Outdoor Report and Calendar
June 25, 2019
The Wisconsin Outdoor Report is updated weekly by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
[EDITOR'S ADVISORY The DNR Outdoor Report is on a temporary hiatus. Anglers can find information about Great Lakes fishing on the Lake Michigan Outdoor Fishing Report and the Lake Superior Outdoor Fishing Report.]
Some severe storms moved through the state last weekend with strong winds knocking down hundreds of trees and with it the power in many areas. The central part of the state was hardest hit, including Hartman Creek State Park, where the campground had to be evacuated and closed. Fortunately, there were no reports of severe injuries. Crews have been busy working on removing the downed trees, and the park is hoping to reopen the campground before this weekend. Anyone who has a camping reservation at the park should contact the park on Friday to confirm if the campground will reopen.
Other properties with damage include Straight Lake State Park, where the day-use area and campgrounds are closed until further notice, and the Tuscobia and Cattail state trails in Sawyer and Burnette counties, where many trees are blocking access.
Heavy rain again caused some rivers to swell, especially in the northeast. Water levels also remain high on many central Wisconsin lakes, and some municipalities continue to have slow-no-wake ordinance in place.
The rain and storms kept angling pressure down this week. Walleye and perch fishing on the west shore of Green Bay was slower than last week after the storms. Anglers targeting walleye on the Fox River were the bringing in on average three fish. Smallmouth bass fishing is still going strong on the Green Bay side of Door County. With the start of a salmon tournament this past weekend the fishing pressure was high at all the ports in northern Door. On average four fish were caught per boat, with chinook leading the way while a few rainbows were caught as well.
On Lake Michigan anglers fishing out of Sheboygan were having success with most boats averaging around four to five fish. The most targeted fish were kings. Most the fish caught were steelheads and lake trout, but there were a handful of kings seen as well. Fishing activity remained constant in Racine and Kenosha as anglers were trying to catch more fish to enter in the Salmon-a-Rama tournament before it ended on Sunday. A few steelhead were brought in along with coho and a few chinook and some brown trout as well.
Antler growth on whitetail bucks has been significant over the last couple of weeks. A doe with triplet fawns was seen crossing a road in Waushara County. Turkeys are working roadsides looking for bugs with their broods of all sizes, and yearling bears can be spotted darting across the road as they disperse from mom during the breeding season.
Berry pickers have been out in force the last few weeks. Raspberries and black-capped raspberries have been fantastic, and blackberries are just starting the turn. Blueberries are ripening in the Northwoods.
Monarchs and admiral butterflies are numerous among the blooming milkweeds. St John's wort, black-eyed Susan's, trefoil, fireweed, and queen Anne's lace are in bloom. There are plenty of mosquitos, deer flies and horseflies for the songbirds that are feeding their families.
This weekend offers excellent opportunities to learn more about an experience Wisconsin history and Native American culture. There will be a French Voyageur Encampment all weekend at Pike Lake and Ho-Chunk Nation dancers will perform Friday at Devil's Lake.
A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling 608-266-2277.
Statewide Birding Report
Migration just won't give up across the north, where warblers, flycatchers, thrushes and vireos and continue to pass through about 7-10 days later than usual. Among them have been Tennessee, blackpoll, bay-breasted, and Wilson's warblers, Philadelphia vireo, Swainson's thrush, and most of the flycatchers, especially yellow-bellied, olive-sided, and eastern wood-pewee. Red-headed woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, cedar waxwings, and common nighthawks are also on the move, while black-billed cuckoos have been notably scarce thus far. On the other hand, LeConte's sparrows are showing especially well this year in northern grasslands.
Shorebird migration carries on as is typical of this time of year. Most prominent have been semipalmated and white-rumped sandpipers but notable sightings included red-necked and Wilson's phalaropes, American golden-plover, and Hudsonian godwit. Reports of American white pelicans were common across non-forested portions of the state, often involving flocks of the birds soaring on thermals like typically seen in vultures and birds of prey. Notice flocks of Canada geese in V formation headed north this week? Those are known as "molt migrants," failed or non-breeders headed to the Canadian tundra to grow new feathers where food resources are rich and predators are fewer.
Nonetheless, breeding season has really begun to take center stage. The vast majority of birds out our windows, at local parks, or in our great wild places are now singing to declare a territory and attract a mate, already paired up and building nests, sitting on eggs, feeding nestlings, or even caring for young already fledged. That means volunteers for the Wisconsin Breeding Bird Atlas project are hitting the field for the fifth and final year of this important project that documents what birds are nesting where in the state. Click link to find out how you can contribute.
Rare birds spotted this week included western kingbirds in Ashland and Bayfield counties, loggerhead shrike in Trempealeau, little gull in Sheboygan, and eared grebe in Dane. A beautiful male long-tailed duck in Lincoln County furnished an unusual record for this time of year in the interior portion of the state. Best of all, however, may have been another hooded oriole photographed in Brown, marking the third sighting of this southern species in the past few weeks after only one previous sighting in state history. Find out what others are seeing and report your finds to www.ebird.org/wi. Good birding! - Ryan Brady, conservation biologist, Ashland
Upcoming State Natural Area WorkdayJuly 27, 9 am - noon, Beulah Bog Workday: Join our stewardship partner, Kettle Moraine Land Trust, to hand-pull some herbaceous weeds and/or chemically treat some sumac that is encroaching on a savanna opening. We'll be working in an upland area, but if the day is hot, we can hike down to the boardwalk where the air is cooler (you might get your feet wet). Pack a lunch to eat afterwards. Kettle Moraine Land Trust hosts stewardship service days on the fourth Saturday of the month at locations throughout Walworth County, returning to Beulah Bog on November 23.
July 27, 9 am - noon, East Bluff SNA at Devils Lake State Park: We'll cut invasive shrubs and use brush to block unauthorized trails or collect seeds. Take in some of the most breathtaking views Wisconsin has to offer and help protect some of the most uncommon species and natural communities in the Midwest. We'll be concentrating work efforts around the prairie and the Devils Doorway trail segment. This will be part of a series of monthly stewardship activities sponsored by Ben Bomkamp and Kerstyn Perrett of NatureWorks llc through 2019, who are hoping to help build enthusiasm and understanding of the role that we can all be playing to protect our state's most treasured and irreplaceable resources.
Wednesday, July 31, 9 am - 2 pm, Kohler Park Dunes State Natural Area: Work with DNR staff to protect the fragile dune landscape and control invasive species such as spotted knapweed and sweet clover. Help us make headway on invasive species while learning about dune ecology, enjoying views of the lake, and making a few new friends. Bring a bag lunch, snack, and water. If you can't stay for the whole day, no problem, any help is appreciated! No skills needed as you will be trained onsite. Work will include hang pulling and bagging herbaceous weeds.
No skills needed—you will be trained on site. 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 RegionSuperior DNR Service Center area
Brule River State Forest - Whether it is canoeing or kayaking a stretch of the river, getting out fishing, hiking, or out searching for wild berries; there is no time like the present to get out and explore. Both Copper Range and Bois Brule campgrounds continue to be busy over the weekends, but you can still claim a first-come, first-served site on most nights. There are 39 total sites, with 12 being non-reservable. Check out what is happening next month! It has been two years since the last event was held, but Family Fun Day is back August 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brule State Fish Hatchery and Bois Brule campground canoe landing. The Douglas County Fish and Game League, the Brule River Sportsman's Club, and the Wisconsin DNR are sponsoring the 2019 event. There are fun and exciting activities for all ages, and admission is free! Come out and see what the Brule River State Forest has to offer. We look forward to seeing you here.
Woodruff DNR Service Center area
Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest - Most of the State Forest escaped the devastating storms of the past week. Hikers and forest users may come across a few downed trees and branches. Please use caution when out and about. Water levels remain high, but inviting for a swim! Blueberries are starting to ripen, if one knows where to look! Monarchs and admiral butterflies are numerous among the blooming milkweeds. Spotted knapweed is full of bumble bees. St John's wort, black eyed Susan's, trefoil, fireweed, queen Anne's lace and cow parsnip add to the beauty of the summer bloom. Turkeys are working the roadsides looking for bugs with their broods of all sizes, and yearling bears can be spotted darting across the road as they disperse from mom during the breeding season. There are plenty of mosquitos, deer flies and horseflies for the songbirds that are feeding their families. - Rosalie Richter, visitor services associate
Antigo DNR Service Center area
Council Grounds State Park - The park sustained some downed and damaged trees during the recent storms, but the worst of it has been cleared and the park is ready for you to visit and enjoy. You might find a few ripe berries, but the coming weeks hold more promise. - Sarah Gilbert, ranger
DNR Northeast RegionNorthern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Marinette County - Rain and storms kept angling pressure down this week. Only a few anglers were seen out. A few perch were caught around the Little River launch from shore along with rock bass. Also sheepshead were reported caught in the Menominee River and in the bay.- Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Oconto County - Walleye and perch fishing in the bay was slower than last week after two days of storms. Pensaukee, Oconto, and Oconto Park II launches were still busy over the weekend with anglers having a harder time finding fish than earlier in the week. Walleye were being caught off Oconto Park II down south to Pensaukee in waters 10 to 25 feet deep. Most boats were trolling crawler harnesses with purple and gold colored blades being popular. Perch were caught throughout the area with many 3- to 6-inch perch being reported caught and released mainly on crawlers. A few larger keeper size perch were being caught but lots of sorting was taking place. Areas with weeds or rock were holding perch. - Scott Poquette, fisheries technician, Peshtigo
Traffic was high at the Geano Beach launch and dominated by anglers finding success targeting walleye. Anglers were bringing in on average three to eight walleye in a range of 16 to 27 inches. A two person party left with the limit, another harvesting two fish both over 26 in. A party reported catching freshwater drum while unsuccessfully pursuing walleye. One angler kept a pair of 9- and 12-inch yellow perch. A party reported increased amounts of submerged vegetation. - Riley Schultz, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Brown County - On the Fox River the Metro boat launch showed steady and heaviest use with anglers targeting walleye bringing in on average three fish in the 16- to 18-inch range. An angler caught and released five walleye using a crawler harness; other parties favored crank baits. Freshwater drum and bullhead catfish were caught while targeting walleye. Weekend traffic increased with pleasure boaters favoring afternoons and anglers often utilizing the access for morning trips. Fox Point showed decreased use, as did the fairgrounds; both were utilized by smaller recreational vessels. Each had light shore angler effort with low success. Voyageur Park remains popular for shore anglers and those utilizing the fishing/observation walkway were targeting walleye. Water levels are high at this location with the shoreline sidewalk submerged. There was steady high use at the Suamico River launch. The parking lot on weekends was often full and Sensiba overflow was being utilized. This access became very congested many times with boaters launching and loading. Morning use was dominated by anglers targeting walleye with success. An angler who began early in the morning was focused on musky with low success. Afternoon traffic was more inclined toward recreational boating. Severe weather and heavy rains caused low water clarity by the end of the week with high water levels covering parts of the road. There has been consistent light use of the Duck Creek ramps with a few smaller trailers and often kayakers utilizing the creek access. Trailers were being covered in a considerable amount of vegetation after launching. Shore angling effort has decreased from previous weeks with few to none seen angling throughout the week. - Riley Schultz, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Door County - Smallmouth bass fishing is still going strong on the bay in water depths between 12 to 20 feet of water. Various methods were able to produce fish with the most common techniques using drop shots and plastic tubes. It seemed like Egg Harbor and Ephraim had the best success this week. Sister Bay anglers had some success as well but the number of fish caught and size was less than the other ports. The water temps ranged from 73 to 76 degrees on the bay depending on which port anglers were out of. Shore fisherman were hard to come by this weekend as the storms on Saturday prevented a lot of anglers from going out. While on Sunday the few anglers that were out had mixed results. The anglers fishing off from Andersons Dock were using worms to catch a few smallmouth bass as well as rock bass. While anglers fishing in Fish Creek were using minnows trying for perch with some success. The perch were on the smaller size for the anglers. While they were fishing for perch they managed to catch a handful of smallmouth bass as well. Weborg fishing pier had a high fishing pressure on Friday and Sunday with anglers catching mainly round gobies with occasional smallmouth bass caught. It seemed that more bass were caught at night than during the morning and mid-day periods. Egg Harbor shore fisherman are still catching rock bass and smallmouth bass inside the marina using worms. Anglers fishing for perch this week had very little luck in Egg Harbor. There are reports of walleyes starting to show up around Egg Harbor with anglers using crawler harnesses to catch them. With the start of the K/D Salmon Tournament occurring this past weekend the fishing pressure was high at all the ports in northern Door. Bailey's Harbor had the highest fishing pressure of all the ports with Rowley's Bay coming in with the next highest fishing pressure. The anglers fishing out of Bailey's had more success than the other ports. Saturday morning the success rate was low, due to the storms that rolled in. While on Sunday multiple anglers came in with over six fish per boat. On average four fish were caught per boat, with chinook leading the way while a few rainbows were caught as well. Majority of anglers were fishing in 80 to 120 feet of water and focusing on the top 40 feet of the water. The surface temps ranged from 55-60 degrees depending on where anglers were fishing. While 50 feet down the water temp was around 52 degrees. It seemed like anglers that fished around Cana Islands had better success than most. Spoons took a few more fish than flasher fly combos. There is no color pattern for the spoons or flasher fly. Some setups that produced fish were 7 colors of lead core as well as your usual dipsy and downriggers setups. Rowley's Bay fisherman had limited success fishing for salmon. The few that caught fish were fishing around 110 feet of water using spoons. The water temps out of Rowley's Bay were 66 degrees on the surface. Gills Rock anglers managed to catch a few salmon as well over the week. Majority of the anglers were fishing around 110 feet of water. Anglers fishing for smallmouth bass on the Pier in Gills Rock had some success using worms and a bobber. Although the fish were on the smaller side but it was fairly steady action for the anglers. - Cody Flavionl, fisheries technician, Sturgeon Bay
The weekend was very slow at Little Sturgeon Bay due to the storms on Saturday. The perch bite has slowed down and the walleye bite has been slow as well with only one or two walleyes being caught. The few walleyes that were being caught were on flicker shads. A few people were fishing from the pier, but they didn't have any luck catching anything. Most of the time the anglers that were fishing from the pier were targeting perch and smallmouth bass. Sawyer Harbor has also been slow. On Saturday only one boat launched out of here before the storm hit. They managed to catch a few walleyes, but overall the walleye bite has been slow. Anglers that were targeting smallmouth bass didn't have much luck either with the bite being slow as well. The few smallmouth that were caught the anglers said they caught them on the drop-offs jigging plastics. During the week there were multiple people launching their kayaks off of this launch. - Brandon Wagester, fisheries technician, Green Bay
Peshtigo DNR Service Center area
Marinette County - Portions of the county sustained storm damage. The heaviest damage is in the southwestern portion of the county (west and south of Crivitz) where many trees have been snapped off or tipped over. All state land accesses have been checked and cleaned of storm debris as needed. Gilas lake, Montana Lake, and Lake Noquebay (north shore) boat landings are all in good shape as are the access points to North Branch Beaver Creek Fishery Area. The northern two-thirds or so of the county was virtually unaffected by the storm. All ATV trails are open in the county at this time. The bird observation platform on Pond Road south of Peshtigo is being cleaned and will receive a new coat of stain soon but will remain open for use as much as possible during the process. Unfortunately, the public shooting range off of Hipke road , also south of Peshtigo, is now closed until further notice. Shooters who wish to do some target shooting can locate other ranges by searching the DNR website using keyword 'Shooting Range.' Antler growth on whitetails has been significant over the last couple of weeks, now is a great time to put some cameras out or pull out the binoculars and check out the bucks in your area. - Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician, Wausaukee
Heavy rain in northeast Wisconsin caused some rivers to swell but summer heat should return flows to near normal levels. It's a good time of year to fish surface lures for bass and witness fish pursuing a lure on the water's surface. - Mike Donofrio, fisheries supervisor, Peshtigo
Oconto County - The northern half of the county from Suring to Townsend is heavily damaged by storms. All ATV/recreation trails are closed at this time. Lakes are also not safe to operate in as there is debris in the lakes which can cause hazards when you operate your boat. Many areas are still without power. The southern half of the county was not as affected. - Paul Hartrick, conservation warden, Oconto Falls
Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area
Potawatomi State Park - Potawatomi State Park is experiencing residual flooding from recent storms. The park is open, but some areas, including the campground, are saturated and may have standing water. Please call ahead for more information. - Jaclyn Moeri, visitor services associate
Wautoma DNR Service Center area
Waushara County - Waushara County barely missed the heaviest of the tornado weather, but did get significant rainfall through these last storms. As with all summer long, check with local ordinances in regard to slow-no-wakes on local lakes as many of them do have some speed restrictions. Berry pickers have been out in force the last few weeks. Raspberries and black capped raspberries have been fantastic around the county and black berries are just starting the turn, but are probably a couple weeks out yet. Three very healthy looking fawns ran across the road with their mom and stopped to say hi! If anyone is looking for some wildflowers take a drive past Greenwood Wildlife Area and you will have plenty to see. Early and late light make the flowers almost glow there are so many of them out there! As always enjoy what Waushara County has to offer. As a reminder since the heavy storms there may be trees that are down across trails or trees that are hung up so take time to check your surroundings when you are out and about and be careful. If you come across something dangerous on the Ice Age Trail or other DNR properties don't hesitate to call. - Ben Mott, conservation warden, Wautoma
DNR Southeast RegionMilwaukee DNR Service Center area
Southern Lake Michigan fisheries team report
Sheboygan County - Shore fishing effort has been nonexistent, but there were a couple trying their luck from the piers. A few anglers were seen targeting anything they could catch, but no fish were reported. There was plenty of bait variety used this week, anything to attract the fish. With the waves crashing over the piers, it made fishing farther out quite difficult. The Sheboygan ramps remained busy this week. There were consistently trailers seen at multiple ramps. Some were pleasure boaters, but most were fishing boats. Majority of anglers that were out came back successful. Most boats were averaging around four to five fish. The most targeted fish were kings. Most the fish caught were steelheads and lake trout, but there were a handful of kings seen as well. Those having the most success seemed to be fishing in deeper waters and using flasher flies, but all baits were used. There were a few trailers seen at the Cleveland ramp this past weekend, but no fish were reported. - CJ Usadel, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Ozaukee County - There was some fishing pressure seen along the shore and on the pier this week. Most anglers were not targeting anything in particular. A variety of bait was being used, but nothing seemed to be an overwhelming success. Very few fish were reported, and the fish that were reported were carp. Those that targeted the carp were the most successful. Some anglers were targeting perch off of the pier to but had no success. The water temperatures were in the high 60s. The Port Washington ramp was a little slower than usual this week with "Fish Days" festivities going on this weekend. Those that went out fishing had some success, but not to the previous degree in earlier weeks. Those that came back had two to three fish on average, with some not coming back with any fish. The fish most targeted were kings and coho. The most commonly caught fish were steelheads and Lakers, with a few good sized kings as well. Most of the success came from fishing deeper. There was a variety of bait being used, however spoons and flasher flies have been the most popular. A few trailers were at Amsterdam, but no fish were reported during the survey. - CJ Usadel, fisheries technician, Plymouth
Milwaukee County - McKinley Marina has been rather busy this week but success was hit or miss. Most boats only came in with a couple fish each, most of which were lake trout and steelhead. A few kings were seen but overall fishing remains slow. Shore fishing efforts on the north end of the city were slow this week, likely due to the heat and the rain over the weekend. Many anglers were targeting trout and salmon, but reported no fish. South City Shore fishing efforts have continued to increase at South Shore park, with many anglers fishing on the dock and near the yacht club. There was reported success with perch near the ramps. Fishing efforts at the south ramps were quite slow this week. Most boats were seen launching out of South Shore, but many were pleasure boaters. The fishing boats that did come in reported some success with steelheads and lakers. Only a few boats were interviewed at Bender this week and a couple fish were reported per boat. The Oak Creek Power Plant pier saw little effort this week, and no fish were reported. The pier was also closed on Saturday due to weather. - Jessica Jenkins, fisheries technician, Milwaukee
Racine County - Fishing activity this past week was constant from both shore and from boats. Salmon-a-Rama continued throughout the week and ended on Sunday. So many anglers were trying to catch more fish to enter in the tournament before it ended. There wasn't as many anglers as expected though. This could be due to the heat wave and the rain we had. The Racine piers and shorelines saw heavy action this week due to many anglers fishing the salmon tournament. Many anglers were targeting trout and salmon on the north and south piers. The most common baits were alewives or spoons. Nothing would work though as no fish were recorded. Anglers fishing from shorelines had a little more luck. Many shore anglers were targeting perch. The shore anglers had a little more luck. A few perch were caught throughout the week along with the occasional goby or rock bass. One small steelhead was also caught from shore during a survey time. It was caught using a minnow on a slip bobber rig. The rain and cold weather clouded the water and cooled the water down a bit. The ramp in Racine saw steady action throughout the week. The hot weather and rain seemed to cut down on boat activity a little bit. Many of the boats that came off the water were fishermen. Some anglers were fishing for whatever would bite but many anglers were targeting specific fish that they wanted to enter in the fishing tournament. Only a few steelhead were brought in on boats during survey times as well as only a few coho. A few kings as well as some brown trout were brought in as well. Anglers reported catching fish in as shallow as 30 feet for brown trout and as deep as 70 to 80 feet for the kings. Fish could probably be caught at deeper depths as well. Fishermen reported success using stinger spoons, flicker shads, flasher flies as well as dipsy divers. A few pleasure boaters were reported during survey times as well. The water temperature at the boat ramp was about 60 degrees. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
Kenosha County - Fishing activity in Kenosha this past week was busy from the shore but was very slow from the boat ramp. Many of the shore fishermen were trying to catch one last fish or two to enter into the tournament before it ended. Only a few fishing boats were recorded at the boat launch with pleasure boaters being much more common. The hot weather and rain cut down on much of the boat activity at the launch. The Kenosha piers and shorelines saw lots of activity during the week. Many of the anglers were trying to catch one last salmon or trout that they could enter into the tournament before it ended. Many different crankbaits and spoons were used. Minnows and even shrimp were even used with a slip bobber but unfortunately no fish were reported during survey times. A few anglers were still trying for perch and other panfish. They didn't have much luck either with only one perch and a few other random panfish being reported. The dredging and construction that was taking place around the harbor now seems to be finished which gives anglers much more room along the pier walls to fish. An event along the north pier on the north side of the harbor restricted access to anglers for a few days. The road was completely blocked off. The boat ramp in Kenosha didn't see very much action this past week. Only a few trailers were reported each day. A few of the boats belonged to fishermen while many boats contained pleasure boaters. Of the few fishing boats that came in there was only one lake trout and two kings brought in. The heat wave and rain kept most boats off the water. The water temperature at the launch was about 60 degrees. - Andrew Krecak, fisheries technician, Sturtevant
DNR South Central RegionNo Reports
DNR West Central RegionWisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area
Buckhorn State Park - People have been fishing by boat or on shore. Both beaches have been good so far but there has been algae reported on the lake. There are still some bugs out so remember to bring your bug spray or thermocells. It's breezy by the shoreline campsites and at the beach to escape for a while. We had a cancellation and are looking for a camp host site for August in the campground. - Heather Wolf, park manager
Roche-A-Cri State Park - There have been some campsites open on weekends that were not reserved. There are still some bugs so remember to bring your bug spray! Friendship Lake is a mile south of the park entrance and has a free swimming beach. - Heather Wolf, park manager
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