Warm weather delays it, but color is coming to state

The warm weather of the past week may have slowed the early fast pace of fall colors coming on, but much of the state is at 25 to 50 percent fall color on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report and some far northern areas are close to peak.

Tamarack needles are turning yellow and soon will fall off. It is the only conifer in Wisconsin to shed its needles.

The warm weather made fishing difficult, the northern zone duck season opener hot and buggy and grouse hunting grueling. Boaters were happy to get another weekend of perfect weather in. The beach at Whitefish Dunes State Park was crowded on Saturday, an unusual occurrence for a Lake Michigan beach in late September. Hunters and fisherman alike look forward to cooler days ahead.

Anglers are still picking up decent numbers of perch and walleyes on Lake Winnebago. Some walleye and smallmouth were being caught in the Menominee River and anglers floating the Peshtigo River report catching good numbers of smallmouth bass and northern pike. A few salmon have been seen in the Peshtigo River.

The unseasonably hot weather brought out more recreational boaters than anglers on Green Bay. Perch fishing out of Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor was good with many boats coming back with fish and a few even hit their limit.

Chinook are just starting to move into the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal for the fall run. Some were seen jumping on the east end of the canal as they make their way to Strawberry Creek.

Along Lake Michigan, anglers at Kewaunee experienced the first taste of the salmon run this season thanks to a drastic drop in lake temperature that sent a good push of chinooks upstream. Action was intense although the fresh, hard-fighting chinook didn’t let anglers land them easily.

A few chinook salmon were caught on the Sheboygan River but none were caught last week on the Root or Pike rivers but shore anglers at Racine did very well in the harbor and a few anglers had some luck casting and trolling in the Kenosha harbor and in front of the Pike River.

Opening weekend of the Northern Zone Waterfowl season was slow due to the heat. The southern duck opener was last weekend and many ducks are still prevalent including wood ducks, teal, mallards, and mergansers.

Bachelor groups of bucks have been observed by archery hunters who braved heat and mosquitoes. Due to the hot temperatures elk bulls haven’t been bugling much but may start up again as temperatures are dropping and depending on how much competition there is with other bulls.

Regulations recently changed in regards to tagging deer and turkey--the requirement to validate and attach a tag has been eliminated, but hunters must still register their harvest as data is still needed to manage populations.

American painted lady butterflies are being seen along with some monarchs. Purple asters and goldenrod are still blooming.

Last week DNR biologists confirmed a single cougar was captured on two separate trail cameras in Clark and Marathon counties.

Fall color festivals and events kicked off last weekend with Art in the Park at Copper Falls State Park and fall festivals at Governor Thompson and Roche-A-Cri. Bikers will be out in force taking in the Fall Color Festival Bike Rides on the Kettle Moraine State Forest- Southern Unit’s renowned John Muir Trails. For all programs, search the DNR website for Get Outdoors.

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