DNR weekly report

Fall color beginning in north; hunters report successful archery opener

Thursday marked the first day of fall, though it can be difficult to tell through all of the wind, rain, and in some cases, hail of the past week. In the farther north shades of red, orange and yellow are appearing in areas like Brule River State Forest. Despite a brief upsurge in the mosquito population, cooler weather brought on by the storms of last week should make for excellent weather for all your outdoor pursuits this weekend.

Anglers in the Northwoods are still baiting for musky, with strong measurements coming in despite the lower pressure. Largemouth are hanging out in the shallows, while smallmouth will be going deeper in as water temperatures cool. Walleye fishing has continued to slowly improve with greater numbers of fish showing up in the shallows.

Fishing in the northern counties near Lake Michigan is also recovering from the weather. Anglers on the Menominee River are reporting a steady walleye bite. Trollers out of Kewaunee were seeing catches of chinook, particularly when trolling slow in 15-35 feet of water. Bluegill and crappie are biting along the Oconto River.

Daytime electrofishing surveys were completed on the lower Menominee and lower Peshtigo rivers this week. Flows are high, at over 3,800 cubic feet per second. On the Menominee, pink salmon were captured, mostly females still holding eggs. On the Peshtigo River, only four pink salmon were captured.

On Green Bay, slightly fatter yellow perch were found along Bayshore Park, but the walleye bite in Brown County remains elusive. Fishing in Door County this past week has been good, with anglers reporting a good walleye bite, but action has slowed a bit in the past week. Smallmouth Bass fishing continues to be great for many anglers that put time into locating fish.

Fishing pressure in the southern counties edging Lake Michigan was comparatively higher. Pressure from Sheboygan on down to Kenosha was on trout and salmon this past week. Success with coho and chinook, rainbows and browns varied, with anglers in Racine landing mostly salmon and those in Sheboygan landing more trout. Trout and salmon are staging in the Milwaukee harbor as the runs loom.

Reports indicated it was a great start to the small game, turkey and archery seasons, with some large bucks being taken on opening weekend. Bucks are mostly out of velvet now. With little frost in the forecast, grouse hunters will have their work cut out for them. This weekend also marks the start of the duck season, with the season running into November. While the migration is still a little light, expect the waterfowl population to balloon as we move into October.

Fall bird migrations are in full swing statewide. Southern birders should expect peak warbler migration this week, while diversity remains good in the north with more than 20 species detected in Bayfield County since Sunday. Other Neotropical migrants on their way out include the last of the rubythroated hummingbirds, indigo buntings and rose-breasted grosbeaks. This weekend also marks Jaegerfest in Superior, an annual event by the Wisconsin Society of Ornithology, featuring field trips and chances to spot open water species like the parasitic jaeger and Sabine’s gull.

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