View current conditions for Wisconsin State Parks, Trails and Forests
Check out the Wisconsin Department of Tourism (exit DNR).
For current statewide information on statewide fall color, log onto the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Fall color is now at or very near peak across much of northern Wisconsin, about nearing peak in central Wisconsin and probably a week away in the Black River State Forest area and about two weeks off in the far south. Remember you can check progress on the Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
DNR offices have been receiving inquiries on the status of state properties in light of the federal government shutdown. All state park, forest, trail and wildlife and fisheries areas remain open for public recreation and enjoyment.
Autumn activities continue this weekend at many state properties, with a fall festival at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Burnett County, the 25th Colorama Run-Walk at the Lapham Peak unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest in Waukesha County, and Run Wild and Potawatomi State Park in Door County. On Saturday the C.D. “Buzz” Besandy Anadromous Fish Facility in Kewaunee will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be tours, egg collection demonstrations, wagon rides and an “Adopt a Sturgeon” event where individuals will get to release a baby sturgeon into the river.
A cool foggy mornings made for a great southern duck opener in east central Wisconsin while sunny and breezy conditions greeted hunters in the southwest. Hunters reported good numbers of mallards, wood ducks, and teal. Goose hunters are beginning to have much more success with the increase of corn being harvested.
With waterfowl hunting seasons underway and trapping on the horizon, it’s a good time for outdoor enthusiasts to consider whether their gear might be transporting harmful invasive species (EDITOR’S ADVISORY: link to news release including slide show) to and from a favorite hunting spot, Wisconsin invasive species experts say.
Archery hunters have been out in large numbers on both state owned and private lands, with deer activity picking up during the evening hours. Some young whitetail bucks have already left their bachelor groups and started to chase does. A youth gun deer hunt [PDF] will be held statewide this weekend and bow hunters are reminded that they are required to wear blaze orange in the field.
Musky fishing has been bordering on excellent in the Northwoods with anglers reporting multiple catches on a single trip. The sucker bite really turned on in the last week. Walleye have also begun to get more active and anglers are having increased success.
Strong winds limited activity on Green Bay this week but when possible to get out anglers have been catching some nice walleye. Perch fishing has been good at Sturgeon Bay, Little Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer Harbor. There were a lot of king salmon being caught from the piers in Sturgeon Bay and in the shipping canal.
Lake Michigan tributary fishing pressure has increased and catch rates have improved, with chinook and coho salmon and brown and rainbow trout all reported. Action was reported on the Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Milwaukee rivers. Flows on the Root and Pike rivers remain low and fewer fish have been seen.
Sandhill cranes have been seen in large flocks along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway. The fall bird migration continues strong across Wisconsin. Saturday and Tuesday nights saw especially large migration events as millions of birds moved south across the state, including the last of the warblers and a slew of short-distance migrants. The hawk migration is in full swing with peregrine falcons, merlins, American kestrels, sharp-shinned, and Cooper’s hawks nearing their seasonal peaks.
Prairies are now in the late fall stage with showy goldenrod expressing its golden colors and a variety of asters in bloom. Milkweed plants are dispersing seed.