Fall’s paint brush in full swing

DNR REPORT - Fall colors are coming on strong across the Northwoods with some areas now reporting 50 to 75 percent peak color on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report.

Water levels continue to be very high across much of Wisconsin from recent rains. Big and Little Manitou Falls at Pattison State Park are putting on impressive displays due to the high flows.

The Lower Wisconsin State River is running at nearly five times its normal flow for this time of year with sandbars submerged and flows so high that only experienced paddlers should be plying the river now.

Fishing has actually improved in the eddy areas on the Wisconsin River with a lot of walleye and white bass being caught.

The high water now has the fall chinook salmon run in full swing on the Manitowoc River, with salmon seen at all area dams including Clarks Mills, Shoto, and Mishicot.

But the run has yet to really take off on most other tributaries, with some chinook and browns moving up the Milwaukee River and some chinook moving up the Root River.

The Root River Steelhead Facility processed fish for the first time this week, passing 57 chinook upstream.

Fishing pressure along Door County has dropped substantially. Anglers that have been targeting salmon in the Sturgeon Bay area found success trolling or casting in the canal, but the bite has been tough recently as mature chinook salmon begin to focus less on feeding.

Yellow perch fishing has been popular and the bite continues to be very good. Smallmouth bass anglers continue to have luck catching some trophy fish, but the bass have been difficult to locate.

The rain and high water conditions on rivers and streams also have water levels high on many marshes and flowages.

Waterfowl hunters heading out for the southern zone opener this Saturday may find access to many locations via vehicle or foot limited due to saturated soils and flooded wetlands.

With all the extra water, hunters will have no trouble finding water to hunt in or around, but it also means the duck population may be spread out over a much larger area. Those who have scouted report seeing solid numbers for wood ducks, mallards and even a few lingering teal.

With every north wind, increasing numbers of migrant Canada geese have moved into the Horicon and Theresa marshes. Peak for goose and waterfowl migration is typically from the second week in October until the second week in November.

Last Saturday people had three great opportunities to get up close with some of Wisconsin’s more fascinating creatures that all play valuable roles in our ecosystem. Some 1,100 young sturgeon were set swim free in the waters of Lake Michigan after being release at the 11th annual Sturgeon Fest at Lakeshore State Park near the Milwaukee Summerfest grounds.

At the Milwaukee Public Museum, people could see live bats from Wisconsin and around the world, including the world’s largest bat, the gigantic flying fox from southeast Asia at the Wisconsin Bat Festival. And at Havenwoods State Forest herpetologists showed about 25 species of snakes from Wisconsin and around the world during Snake Fest. Watch for them to come around again next year.


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