Cold front brings migratory birds into state, fall salmon run in time for fish open houses

Recent rains and a passing cold front brought frost to areas of northern Wisconsin and a drop in water temperatures across the state, speeding up what has otherwise been a gradual transition to fall. Fall color is now ranging from 25 to 70 percent from central to northern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report, with peak color expected in about a week across much of the north.

The recent rains did entice some salmon and trout up Great Lakes tributaries, but in general it has been a slow start to the fall runs.

Good numbers of anglers took advantage of the great weather last weekend, but catch rates remained fairly low. Fishing activity has be- gun to pick up on the Kewaunee River, and some fish were moving up the Twin, Manitowoc, Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Root rivers.

The C.D. "Buzz" Besadny Anadromous Fish Facility near Kewaunee will have an open house this Saturday, Oct. 3 and the Root River Steelhead Facility near Racine will have one on Saturday, Oct. 10.

The open house events feature egg collection demonstrations as well as fly casting and tying lessons.

An increase in hunting activity has led to a drop in fishing pressure in the Northwoods, with those anglers venturing out enjoying mostly good weather, but slower catch rates.

Musky have still been garnering a fair amount of attention but action has been on the slow side with bucktails and stick baits the most productive baits. Walleye fishing has been erratic, though large and smallmouth bass action has stayed consistent, particularly in the afternoon.

Crappies were being caught on the Chippewa Flowage and large numbers of sturgeon were caught on the Wisconsin River below the Prairie du Sac dam before the season closed Wednesday.

Lake Michigan fishing activity has generally been slow, with most anglers continuing to focus on harbors, with some chinook, coho and brown trout caught. Perch action on Green Bay remained fair to good, with anglers out of Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon Bay having success. Northern pike and walleye catches have also been reported, with action for pike said to be on the rise.

Archers are moving afield with the cooler temperature and hickory nuts are starting to fall. The first scrapes and rubs are being reported by hunters in southern Wisconsin. Recent rainfall has helped bolster low water levels before the northern duck season opener and with the southern zone opening this weekend, an increase of wood ducks and blue-winged teal has been noted.

The recent cold front has brought the first major influx of migratory Canada geese to the state, with good numbers being reported at Horicon and Theresa marshes. Sandhill cranes are forming large groups with thousands now being seen at Crex Meadows and at least 500 at Theresa marsh.

Open prairie and fields, as well as shorelines are often now hosting American pipits, Lapland longspurs and horned larks moving in from the Canadian arctic.

White-throated sparrow numbers are peaking statewide, while dark-eyed juncos have become abundant across the north. Broadwinged and red-tailed hawks, along with bald eagles and peregrine falcons are some of the raptors flying south.

Fall colors aren't limited to trees turning. Prairies are ablaze with purple and white asters and goldenrod in the fields.

Seeds are being collected at a variety of state natural areas that will be used to start new prairies next year.


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