DNR Outdoor Report: Blueberries Ripe | Environment
A suitable summer weekend awaits Wisconsin with plenty of opportunities to enjoy outdoor activities, including angling, padding, camping, and hiking.
Cooler weather has slowed angler success across the state, including the Upper Chippewa Basin. Water temperatures have dropped to the lower 70s to upper 60s on most lakes and this has changed some of the regular fish patterns. Bass have continued to provide the most consistent action and success could be termed fair to good. With the cooler temperatures, the mid-day period has produced the best catches, with soft-plastic baits and scented worms being the most productive.
A late summer pattern has set up on the western end of Lake Superior. The fantastic lake trout and salmon fishing that had been occurring in the spring and early summer has slowed considerably as fish disperse, and generally move deeper.
Fishing on the Mississippi River in Grant County has picked up. Good action has been reported below the areas lock and dams. Small panfish and bass were being caught in good numbers. The inland trout streams however, were very busy with the catch and release season, with anglers reporting many catches. The weather was much nicer and not as hot this past weekend.
Fishing continues to improve overall in Manitowoc County. Some very large king salmon have been caught, including a 31.9 pound fish caught in the Two Rivers Fishing Derby.
In Sheboygan County, trollers have been averaging about four fish per boat, though several boats have come back with one fish or nothing. Most catches in the past few days have been chinook, and big fish are still being caught. Spoons continue to produce fish, and anglers have been reporting good catches on j-plugs.
Blueberries are ripe for the picking in Washburn County. In Waupaca County, wild raspberry and black-capped raspberries are ready, but blackberries are a week or two from being ready.
Bear complaints have slowed down significantly probably due to the fact there is a lot of natural food now growing in the woods including a bumper berry crop.
Mulberry trees in Horicon Marsh are producing great berries this year and are now ripe for picking. Prairies are in full bloom, including yellow and purple coneflower, blazing star, wild quinine, purple prairie clover, leadplant, wild bergamot, Culver’s root, showy tick-trefoil, blacked-eyed Susans and perennial relatives of the sunflower.
Juvenile bald eagles are learning to fly. Shorebird migration is in full swing as adult birds from the boreal forest and arctic tundra stopover here in flooded fields, along sandy lakeshores, and at public properties featuring managed wetlands and mudflats. Good finds includes Hudsonian godwit near Green Bay and American avocets in both Kewaunee and Racine.
The endangered regal fritillary butterfly is now in flight, and eight species of native bumblebees were seen in southwestern Wisconsin. There are also still plenty of areas where you may encounter mosquitoes, ticks, and deer flies, so be ready with the spray and check for ticks after enjoying your time outdoors.
Statewide Birding Report
In the bird world summer is winding down as birds shift to feeding young, molting new feathers, and in some cases migrating south. Shorebird migration is in full swing as adult birds from the boreal forest and arctic tundra utilize stopover habitat here in flooded fields, along sandy lakeshores, and at public properties featuring managed wetlands and mudflats. The most consistent reports are coming out of flooded fields in the Dane, Rock, Jefferson county areas, though various locations statewide have hosted good finds such as Hudsonian godwit near Green Bay, American avocets in both Kewaunee and Racine, and early buff-breasted sandpiper at the Ashton K Ponds in Dane County. Horicon Marsh is always a good place to visit this time of year as well. Check with local staff there for current birding hotspots. Land-bird migration will soon get underway, commencing in earnest in early to mid-August. Mixed flocks of warblers, vireos, grosbeaks, and other species have been reported in the north. Listen carefully for call notes of birds, especially chickadees, and look closely for other species as they often associate together this time of year. Rare birds noted this past week include white ibis in Brown County, loggerhead shrikes at Buena Vista, Horicon Marsh, and Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, and laughing and little gulls at Sheboygan’s North Point. Find out more about summer birding opportunities at dnr.wi.gov/topic/outdoorrecreation/activities/birding.html and help us track bird populations by reporting your observations from field or feeder at ebird.org/wi.
- Ryan Brady, Bureau of Wildlife Management research scientist, Ashland
Ashland County - The White River reservoir West of Highway 112 was drawn down about 12-feet for maintenance. Water level above the dam is back to a river channel and may impact some canoe trips upriver. The fish are in a summer pattern and the best bite continues to our bugs
- Matt Mackenzie, conservation warden, Ashland
Copper Falls State Park - All of the hiking trails are open and in great condition. Users of the Doughboy Trail are reminded that the Bad River Gorge is not open to the public. Please stay on this designated trail and avoid crossing over fences for your own safety. The two designated bike trails (Takesson and Vahtera) have a few wet and muddy portions. All bikers should use caution while traversing on these trails. We recommend walking your bikes around these wet areas until they are dry. Please contact the park office for more specific trail conditions. Visitors with pets are reminded that pets are not allowed on the Doughboy Trail (designated State Nature Trail) and the main picnic areas near the concession building in the park. The park has designated a pet picnic area for our visiting four legged friends and the location of this area is just west of the main picnic parking lot. Also pet friendly trails in the park include: Red Granite Falls, Takesson, and Vahtera. The deer that call Copper Falls State Park home have been showing up with their fawns throughout the park. The park allows for a great opportunity to photograph these cute youngsters from a distance.
- Gregory Behling, ranger
Douglas County - A late summer pattern has set up on the western end of Lake Superior. The fantastic lake trout and salmon fishing that had been occurring in the spring and early summer has slowed considerably as fish disperse, and generally move deeper. Walleye fishing on the St. Louis River system has generally slowed as well. Some areas of the extreme lower portion of the system continue to produce good catches of fish.
- John Krull, conservation warden, Superior
Polk County - Fishing in Polk County has been very slow over the past couple of weeks. Hot dry weather has slowed things down and very few fish have been caught. The last couple of days a cold front has come through and has kept fishing activity slow. Musky fishing activity typically has picked up in Polk County by this time in July, but this year it has continued to be slow. Bear complaints have slowed down significantly probably due to the fact there is a lot of natural food now growing in the woods including a bumper berry crop. Polk County has had no significant rain in the past 3 week and the corn fields and some deer food plots are starting to dry up. Mosquitoes, ticks, and deer fly’s continue to be extremely bad in the rural area of Polk County due to our wet spring and early summer.
- Jesse Ashton conservation warden, Luck
Crex Meadows State Wildlife - Trumpeter swan cygnets have grown much larger. Look for a family on Upper North Fork Flowage and on the refuge extension along Main Dike Road. Canada geese are molting their feathers. Duck broods are prevalent, hatching out a few weeks later than normal. Juvenile bald eagles are learning to fly. The bachelor flock of sandhill cranes has been seen in the east refuge fields on East Refuge Road. Summer wildflowers are blooming: New Jersey tea, black-eyed Susan, blue giant hyssop, wild bergamot, and early goldenrod are blooming on the meadows. Pickerelweed, white water lily and yellow pond lily are blooming on the water.
- Kristi Pupak, natural resources educator
Washburn County - Anglers targeting bluegills and crappies are having moderate to good success. Walleye fishing has been slow. Blueberries are ripe but very few areas with enough to make the battle with hungry deer flies seem worth the effort.
- Dave Swanson, conservation warden, Minong
Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The cool down in the weather in the past week has put a bit of a damper on fishing success. Water temperatures have dropped to the lower 70s to upper 60s on most lakes and this has changed some of the regular fish patterns. Bass have continued to provide the most consistent action and success could be termed fair to good. With the cooler temperatures, the mid-day period has produced the best catches, with soft-plastic baits such as sinkos and scented worms being the most productive. Largemouth bass are mainly being found near woody cover, along bog edges and in thick reed and bulrush beds, with a few being caught in and near the mid-depth weeds. Smallmouth have been found around woody structure near deep water areas, with tube baits and finesse plastics providing some good action. Walleye fishing has been erratic with the best catches made in the deep weed beds during the low light periods. Weedless jigs tipped with a leech or crawler piece dropped into open pockets in the weed beds have been the most successful method. Musky fishing has been fair, with bulldawg-type baits and medium-size stick baits being the most productive along drop-offs and over/near the mid-depth weed beds. Panfish action has been generally slow, with a few bluegill and crappie being picked up near mid-depth structure. Rock bass however, seem to be especially active and are providing many anglers with at least some sort of action.
- Skip Sommerfeldt, senior fisheries biologist, Park Falls