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There are still areas of southern Wisconsin with fall colors at peak this week, though even some areas of the south are reporting colors past peak on the Department of Tourism Fall Color Report (exit DNR). In the north, leaf drop is nearly complete and tamarack trees have begun to drop needles, but they are still putting on a golden show in central Wisconsin.

Fire danger has increased to moderate across much of the state. With the recently fallen leaves drying on the ground, the threat of fires escaping from burn piles increases. Instead of burning leaves, consider composting them.

New emergency rules to prevent the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, take effect statewide Nov. 2. The rules require boaters and anglers to drain their boats and make sure the fish they take away are dead, including bait minnows and suckers, before they leave any Wisconsin water body. It also prohibits people from bringing boats and boating and fishing equipment and containers to Wisconsin for use on water bodies unless all the water has been drained from them first.

Variable weather conditions made for some erratic fishing success on lakes in the Northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures continue to hold in the low 50s to upper 40. Musky have once again been providing the most consistent action. Nearly all of the anglers have been dragging large suckers around, but many anglers continue to cast artificials. A few musky have been caught and most have been in the 34 to 40-inch size. Walleye fishing has been inconsistent. Cloudy days have produced some catches all day long, but on sunny days, look for the fish to bite in the hour right before dark. Inland lake bass fishing can basically done for the open-water season. Fishing has also been excellent for musky and good for walleye on some southern waters. Few reports have come in regarding panfish action, though a few crappie were still being caught. Walleye activity has been increasing on the lower Wisconsin River and numerous anglers are reporting good catches of walleyes.

Fishing on Green Bay was again very good over the past week. Water temps continue to drop into the lower 50s triggering shad and whitefish to move into shallows bringing those large predatory musky and walleye with them. Musky anglers continue to have great luck on the Fox River. Limits of yellow perch were being still being caught along the west and east shores. Many perch have begun to gain weight with their bellies starting to fill up with spawn yielding those jumbos everyone looks for.

Along Lake Michigan, seasonable weather with cooler temperatures and strong winds made for some slow fishing. Most anglers this week have been fishing on tributaries; however, with not much rain, waters levels have dropped and salmon and trout runs were not as strong, though a few chinook and brown trout were caught.

Whitetail bucks are strongly exhibiting signs of rut activity and leaving their marks in the woods. Scrapes and rub lines are now numerous. Some bucks have begun sparring for dominance. Many things can play a role to trigger rut activities in different deer, including weather, the number of deer in an area and diminishing daylight. Deer movement is extending from early into mid-morning hours.

With leaves off the trees, grouse and squirrel hunting has been very good. There are still two weeks to go for the fall turkey season, which ends Nov. 15 this year. Turkey hunters have been reporting good success and plenty of birds to hunt.

And hunters are being reminded to continue to check themselves and their dogs for ticks, as they are still being reported as active.



A three-minute audio version of this report can be heard by calling (608) 266 2277.

A new report is put on the line each week.

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NORTHERN REGION


Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The Bois Brule River is flowing at 181 cubic feet per second (cfs) the 61 year average is 146 cfs. Anglers are reminded that the rest of the Bois Brule River (from Highway 2 to Lake Superior) will close Nov. 15. Although tamarack trees are beginning to shed their needles, they are still putting on a golden show. Most of the leaves have fallen to the ground. Composting is a good way to put these leaves to work for land owners. Not only does the yard get raked up but the compost material will become a wonderful additive to gardens. Fire danger has increased to moderate in the Brule area. With the recently fallen leaves drying on the ground the threat of fires escaping from burn piles increase. People are asked to use caution when burning as leaves can easily catch fire and blow away, igniting other areas. To minimize the risk of fires during the fall, people who wish to burn brush piles may want to put tarp over the piles now and burn them during snow covered periods. Burning permits are still required and will be until the area being burned is 100 percent snow covered with no danger of melting during the burn.


Park Falls DNR Service Center area


Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) -Variable weather conditions has made for some erratic fishing success on lakes in the Northwoods in the last week. Water temperatures continue to hold in the low 50's to upper 40's and along with the variable weather, fewer and fewer anglers have been venturing out. Musky and walleye continue to be the two main species of interest and musky have once again been providing the most consistent action. Nearly all of the anglers have been dragging large suckers around, but many fishermen continue to cast artificials. The sucker fishermen have been having fair success with a lot of 'hit and drops' being reported. A few musky have been caught and most have been in the 34 to 40-inch size. Action on artificials has been hit or miss, as the colder water temperatures have made the fish more reluctant to hit fast-moving baits. The slower moving lures such as jerk baits and bulldawgs have been the most productive. Walleye fishing has been inconsistent - with some days providing good action on small and medium-size walleye and other days finding bites very hard to come by. Live minnows have been the best bait, whether fished below a slip bobber, on a jig or a bare hook dragged along the bottom. Cloudy days have produced some catches all day long, but on sunny days, look for the fish to bite in the hour right before dark. Bass fishing can basically be considered done for the open-water season.


Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Area Conservation Wardens and guides report that October is one of the best months to catch musky. These fish can be caught on both suckers and artificial baits depending on the water temperatures on the lake being fished. This type of flurry should be prevalent until ice up. The bucks are definitely exhibiting signs of rut activity and leaving their marks in the woods. Scrapes and rub lines are now common and indicate the buck activity is picking up. The next couple of weeks should prove to be good hunting. With most of the leaves now down, grouse hunters are finding birds much easier to see. Duck hunters are reporting that a few more birds are around indicating the migration is taking place. Recent steady weather will help hold the birds before they take on the next leg of the trip south.


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NORTHEAST REGION


Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County – A few anglers have been harvesting a salmon here and there along Bayshore Park and Oconto area along the bay. An occasional angler can be seen below the dam in Peshtigo. The water level on the lower Peshtigo River above the first dam has risen considerably. Fishing pressure has moved upstream to the Hattie Street Bridge for chinook. Though a few fish were still seen by the Wisconsin state welcoming building. Bucks are leaving pre-rut signs with scrapes and rubs being observed. A moose sighting was reported by an observer in Marinette county. Leaves are dropping quickly. Inland water temperatures will soon be dipping down into the forty range.


Oconto County - The weather has been somewhat uncooperative for those with boats. But a few had made it out with some limits made for Yellow Perch. Yellow Perch were also being caught along the Breakwater marina area from sizes from 7 inch to 8 inches. Reports of Chinook being caught at Oconto County Park 2 (North Bayshore Recreational Area) from 32 -38 inches. The fish are also still silver in color and not very black. There are still two weeks to go for the fall turkey season, which ends Nov. 15 this year. Leaves have fallen giving hunters a better view in the woods. Grouse hunting has been described as good with several birds flushed per hunting venture. Inland lakes are cooling down also slowing the fishing activity. A snowmobile education class will be offered at the Barn Tavern Hall in Lena on Dec. 1 and 2.To register call the instructor at (920) 829-5467.



Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - The fishing on the bay was again very good over the past week. The weather was overall mild with some beautiful cool fall days. Water temps continue to drop into the lower 50s triggering shad and whitefish to move into shallows bringing those large predatory musky and walleye with them. The yellow perch continue to be cooperative when the wind allows with quality catches day to day out of Chaudoir’s and Bayshore parks. Some large perch are showing up in the 14-inch range weighing in at nearly 1.5 pounds! Many perch have begun to gain weight with their bellies starting to fill up with spawn yielding those jumbos everyone looks for. A few perch continue to show up along Duck and Suamico creeks for shore anglers in addition to a few limits out of Sturgeon Bay canal. A few walleye anglers had some luck outside of Chaudoir’s who found some very fat fish in the 23- to 26-inch range. Musky anglers continue to have great luck on the Fox River. Numerous large fish are showing up with most of the anglers trolling near the mouth in addition to throughout the river. Some hot baits include smaller Rapalas in natural colors along with other cranks that imitate smaller bait fish like shad. Some great catfish action has been reported on the Fox near Voyageur Park with some awesome channel cats putting up great fights. Fall leaf colors continue to be spectacular although it likely won’t remain much with imminent frost and cold weather. Whitetail deer continue to exhibit pre-rut behavior with numerous scrapes and rubs showing up in addition to some sparring amongst bucks.


Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - Again this week seasonable fall weather dominated in Door County. Like last week it was a beautiful, although slightly cooler, weekend. There are still burning bans in effect in portions of Door County, with some areas requiring permits, be careful with fire. Anglers trolling in the Sturgeon Bay Ship canal and between the bridges in Sturgeon Bay were still picking up a few fish, and a few fish continue to be taken along the canal shore. There were still kings and brown trout in the northern Door harbors. Smallmouth bass action remained fair to good with reports of a few big smallmouth being taken. A few walleyes were also reported. The perch continue to be scattered, with some perching being taken between the bridges in Sturgeon Bay and along the buoy line from the Bay View Bridge to the Sturgeon Bay ship canal. The deeper water in areas such as off of Chaudoir’s dock should also be producing some perch. Minnows fished under a slip bobber remained the bait of choice for most of the Perch anglers. A few nice northerns were also reported out of Sturgeon Bay.


Peninsula State Park - Colors in Peninsula State Park and the surrounding area are now past their peak. Significant clusters of color remain. All trails are in good condition. Waterfowl sightings are abundant along the shore of Peninsula State Park. Water levels in Green Bay and Lake Michigan are still very low, approximately 18 inches below the long-term average. Water systems have been shut down for the season. A central water supply and vault toilets are available. Peninsula State Park golf course is closed for the season. Tours of the Eagle Bluff Lighthouse have ended for the season. Peninsula's black powder deer hunt runs from Nov. 17-25. Hunters must have a Park Access Permit to participate. Permits are still available. The park remains open to non-hunters, as 25 percent of the park remains closed to hunting.





Strawberry Creek Egg Collection Facility – Egg collection operations at the facility were shut down On Friday, Oct. 26 for the 2007 chinook spawning season. The last hatchery egg collection had actually been on Thursday, Oct. 18. Rain last week had increased Strawberry Creek flows slightly and another 300-plus chinook had made their way up Strawberry Creek and into the pond. The pump has been shut down and the flow in Strawberry Creek has dropped dramatically, the water has been diverted around the pond. No additional fish should be able to make it into the pond. Final numbers for the 2007 salmon run won’t be available until all of the data is entered, but with the fish on the Oct. 26, crews only harvested a little more than 3,000 chinook at Strawberry Creek this year. This is down substantially, and is the lowest number collected since the fall of 1999 when low water prevented salmon from ascending Strawberry Creek and making it to the pond. Although Lake Michigan is still low, flow hasn't been an issue since the fall of 2000 when crews started providing supplemental water pumped from the ship canal. Over the previous seven years, the average number of chinook harvested at Strawberry has been more than 7,500. Fisheries managers reduced stocking at Strawberry by about 25 per4cent because they felt there were too many fish returning to the pond, but the sharp drop in chinook in 2007 can not be explained by the stocking reduction alone. Despite the low number of fish returning to Strawberry Creek this fall, crews were able to collect all of the chinook eggs needed for DNR hatchery use. In 2007 the size of chinook suitable for donation to the food pantries went from 32 to 36 inches due to the continuing drop in contaminant load. The increased size of salmon suitable for human consumption, allowed us to increase the number of fish available to the food pantry.


Kewaunee County - A week of seasonable weather around the county with cooler temperatures and strong winds made for some slow fishing. Most anglers this week have been fishing up the rivers however with not much rain the waters have dropped a little bit and the runs are not as strong this week. A few salmon and browns have been caught this week, but not much else has been happening. Not many anglers were fishing from shore or the piers as most of the fish are up the rivers or farther put in the lake.

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SOUTHEAST REGION

The White-tailed deer rut is just starting. Bucks are showing some interest in does and deer movement is extending from early into mid-morning hours. No all-day chasing of each other yet though. Check yourself over after a day hunting as deer ticks are now pretty common in SE Wisconsin. Previously, they were seldom seen in this area. After a day in the field, make sure you check your dog over too. They are a real tick-magnet.


Kohler-Andrae State Park - All nature and hiking trails are open. The showers, flush toilets, and water fountains are closed for the season. Kohler-Andrae State Park will be open to deer gun hunting (muzzleloaders only) starting Nov. 17, and ending Dec. 5. The park will also be open for the late archery season which starts Nov. 26 and ends Jan. 6, 2008. A map is available of the open and closed hunting areas in the state park. The open hunting area includes state land west of the Black River except for state land south of Old Park Road. The Black River Trail system is open to hunters during the entire hunting season. Recreational users should plan on wearing blaze orange while hiking, biking or horse riding on the Black River Trail system. The closed areas include all state land east of the Black River which includes the main recreational areas within the state park, the Kohler-Dunes State Natural Area, the family campground and all picnic areas.



Lake Michigan fisheries team report


Ozaukee County - Shore anglers in Port Washington have been catching a few coho and browns on spawn sacs and minnows in the harbor and near the power plant. Fishing off the pier in Port has been slow.


Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee numbers of salmon in the Milwaukee River have dropped off considerably, but a few chinooks can still be found in Kletzsch Park. Shore fishing at the Milwaukee lakefront has been slow.

Racine County - In Racine shore anglers have taken a few brown trout near the Pershing Park ramp. Both spawn and tube jigs have been the most effective baits. On the Root River, anglers in Lincoln and Island Parks have been catching good numbers of browns as well as coho. Flies and spawn have both worked well. Good numbers of chinooks, coho, and browns can also be found in Colonial and Quarry Lake Parks as well as near the Horlick dam, and black flies and egg patterns have been producing fish. Nearly 300 fish were processed at the Root River Steelhead Facility on Monday, Oct. 29. So far this season DNR crews have handled 3,513 chinooks, 774 coho, 96 steelhead, and 224 brown trout. Fish will be processed again on Thursday, Nov. 1.


Kenosha County - Shore fishing in Kenosha has been hit-or-miss. On good days, fair numbers of steelhead have been taken on spawn in the harbor. Fishing on the Pike River has been slow.


Inland fisheries team report


Washington, eastern Fond du Lac, and inland Sheboygan counties - Fishing has been excellent lately for musky and walleye on some waters. Random Lake musky action has been very hot with many fish being seen. Walleye action has been good on Big Cedar Lake. Few reports have come in regarding panfish action though, a few crappie are being caught on Pike Lake near Hartford.

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SOUTH CENTRAL REGION


Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Sauk County - The walleye activity has been increasing on the Wisconsin River and numerous anglers are reporting good catches of walleyes. The cooler weather is helping for deer movement, and bow hunters have been seeing bucks make scrapes in the woods. The leaves are starting to fall making squirrel hunting better with increased visibility. Deer hunters are reminded to use good safety equipment and to be careful climbing in and out of their deer stands.


Dane County

Governor Nelson State Park - Fall colors are just past prime! All trails are open for hiking. Enjoy a wonderful walk through our woodland, prairie or marsh! The swimming beach is closed. All swim-lines have been removed for the winter and there are no lifeguards on duty. The swimming beach breakwaters are excellent places to observe migrating waterfowl and shorebirds along the beach and rip-rap. One boat landing pier will remain on the water providing two lanes for boat access. The pier will remain in the water until Lake Mendota begins to freeze. All other fishing and pet swim piers have been removed for the winter. The fish cleaning table located behind the boat launch restroom building has been closed for the winter.


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WEST CENTRAL REGION


Baldwin DNR Service Center area

St. Croix County

Willow River State Park - Camping reservations have ended for the year. The next reservable date is May 2, 2008. Its all first come, first served camping until then. The Recreational Vehicle sites near the beach will be open year round. Vehicle access to the main campground will end in mid November, or at first snow. Campers with tanks and small water containers may load water at the service building just down the hill from the office building. Campers may unload water at the dump station but there is no rinse or refill water. Day visitors may pick up water at the office. Flush toilets, showers, and the dump station will remain closed until May, 2008. Pit toilets are open in the beach area, in the campground by site # 62, the boat launch, and at the new parking lot for the group camp. The ski trainers observed a large buck off the White-Tail Trail. The buck stood perhaps 200 yards away and was obviously unconcerned. “Rattling” with the ski poles had no effect. The group also saw an owl along the same trail the evening before. The light was too low to see more than a profile. Cross Country ski training (and wildlife sighting) continues on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Meet at the Nature Center at 5:30 p.m. Bring a headlamp since the session will end after dark. Trail brushing and clean up will continue right up until snow season. Primarily, the Willow River Nordic ski group has been doing the work on Saturday mornings, but anyone is welcome to volunteer with hand tools only on any day. Call the park office for specifics. Deer hunting maps are available at the park office and on the State Parks web: http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/parks/ then click on Willow River. Information for hikers using the park during the hunting season is posted on the web site.


La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Fall turkey hunters have been reporting good success and plenty of birds to hunt. Turkey hunters should be aware that the acorn crop is above normal and larger than that of the past several years. Therefore, wild turkeys may be spending more time feeding on acorns in the woods. White-tailed bucks are starting to show signs of the rut. The rut can be looked at as three stages. First is pre-rut where the males start breaking apart from their bachelor groups and start sparring for dominance and setting up their fall range. Second stage is the breeding stage, this stage is where most females go into heat and are breed. Third stage sometime called the second rut is where females, typically fawns and does that were not successfully breed the first time go into heat, usually 26 to 28 days later. Many things can play a role to trigger rut activities in different deer like weather, number of deer in an area, some research is looking at the moon phases. The main scientific evidence is photoperiodism. Photoperiodism is the diminishing daylight versus darkness and trigger endogenous or the biological clock which changes hormones levels in both males and females which triggers breeding activities to occur.


Mississippi River - The white pelican migration is winding down and the tundra swan migration is starting in the La Crosse area. Sizable numbers of ducks have arrived. The coot migration has peaked. Most warblers and other songbirds have passed through already.


Eau Claire DNR Service Center area


Brunet Island State Park – The open water game fish action has been fair with fewer fisher folk out on the water. Bass action on leeches and small minnows has been productive; walleye action has been good with live baits. Crappies have been actively biting small minnows between storm fronts. Fall colors are still ablaze though do appear to be past peak in our area. Though the maples are nearly finished, the oaks are turning yellow and red, and the aspen and tamarack are turning a brilliant gold. Species of birds seen or heard include: ravens, a variety of wrens, phoebes, turkey vultures, northern juncos, pileated woodpeckers, great horned and barred owls, osprey, bald eagles, and Canada geese. The south campground shower facility, the picnic area flush toilet building, and the camper dump station are closed for the season. The north campground is open with pit toilets and hand water pump available. The south campground is open with electric sites, hand water pump, and a pit toilet. The park road renovation project will be finished this week. Line painting and finish grading will occur next spring.


Chippewa River State Trail - The trail is in good condition overall. There is some migrating waterfowl in the area. Eagles can be seen along the river. The restrooms and drinking water in Caryville closed for the season. Chippewa River State Trail is open to hunting from Caryville to the junction with the Red Cedar State Trail in the Dunnville Wildlife Area. There is no hunting on the trail from Eau Claire to Caryville.


Hoffman Hills State Recreation Area - Trails have some minor washouts but are in good shape overall. Migrating waterfowl are active. Hoffman Hills is not open for any hunting except deer. It will be open for deer hunting in November for the regular deer gun season. It is not open for bow hunting.


Red Cedar State Trail - Trail is in very good shape. There is some migrating waterfowl in the area. Eagles can be seen along the river. The Depot Visitor Center is closed for the season. The restrooms in Downsville are closed for the season. In general Red Cedar State Trail is not open to hunting. However the trail is open to hunting in the Dunnville Wildlife Area which is the last 2 miles on the south end. This is the section south of County Y that junctions with the Chippewa River Trail.


Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Buckhorn State Park – This weekend, Nov. 3-4 is the annual youth gun deer hunt. Most of the park will be closed to other hunting. The area west of 19th Ave. and parkland across from park entrance will be open for bow hunting. Small game and waterfowl hunting will be in Yellow River Wildlife Area (area B) this weekend. Maps will be available at the office and intersections the days of the hunt. The park is open for early and late bow seasons. Deer can be registered at the park office when it is staffed. 8, 9, 16 are open year-round. Sites in the group camp are open. Sites are first come. Drinking water is available at the park office and group camp. The 2008 photo contest started Oct. 1. The boat boarding piers and fishing pier are removed for the season.


Roche-A-Cri State Park - It’s not too late to take a fall hike up the Roche-A-Cri Mound to catch some fall colors. Many fall mushrooms have been present throughout the park. The campground and facilities are currently closed for the season, but the park remains open for day use. The gate at the park entrance will be closed starting Nov. 1, but the park is still accessible through the winter parking lot on Czech Avenue, the southern border of Roche-A-Cri. The 2008 photo contest is now underway. The Roche-A-Cri Woods state natural area east of Highway 13 is open for hunting.


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VHS fish disease update
for Nov. 1, 2007

New emergency rules to prevent the spread of viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, take effect statewide Nov. 2.


The rules, as adopted by the state Natural Resources Board on Oct. 24, require boaters and anglers, before they leave any Wisconsin water body, to drain their boats and make sure the fish they take away are dead, including bait minnows. It allows the approximately 90 licensed bait dealers who harvest minnows from the wild for use as bait to continue to do so from most waters under a wild bait harvest permit issued by the department. And, it prohibits people from bringing boats and boating and fishing equipment and containers to Wisconsin for use on water bodies unless all the water has been drained from them first. The virus, which can be spread by infected fish and by infected water, can survive in water for 14 days.


Musky among the most susceptible to VHS

Anglers who like to use suckers to fish for musky in the fall are encouraged to buy only the amount of these bait fish they need before heading out onto the water in the days before the season closes Nov. 30. Under new emergency rules taking effect Nov. 2, anglers are prohibited from taking live fish away from any water in Wisconsin, including minnows, suckers and other fish used as bait. This rule has stirred concern among some musky anglers over the prospect of killing expensive leftover bait or being inconvenienced by having to make more than one trip to the bait shop in the same day if the fishing’s hot. But muskies are very susceptible to VHS – it’s one of the species that has suffered major fish kills in the lower Great Lakes as a result of VHS, according to Tim Simonson, head of DNR’s musky team.


In spring 2006, large die-offs of musky in the Detroit River and St. Lawrence River were related to VHS. And there are signs now that the musky population in the St. Lawrence River in New York is dropping significantly as a result of VHS, which has already killed thousands of fish in the river, according to research conducted by the State University of New Yourk College of Environmental Science and Forestry (see July 1007 article on [newswiere.com] (exit DNR).


Harvesting wild bait for personal use

Under the new emergency rules, anglers can harvest bait for their personal use ONLY if they harvest bait from the water they will be fishing in. Harvesting minnows for personal use (as long as the total is under 600 minnows) does not require a bait dealer license or harvest permit. Any minnows that are not used must be killed unless they are kept on that water body, according to Ted Treska, a DNR fisheries biologist responsible for the wild bait harvest permit system for people who harvest wild bait for commercial sale. A common situation may be people who live on a lake or are vacationing at a resort for a week who keep bait in floating containers tethered to dock or boat. This is okay whether they caught the bait on that water or purchased it from a Wisconsin bait shop since live fish are never taken away from the lake. The new emergency rules prohibit the movement of live fish from any water body, with a limited number of exceptions. No fish can be transported overland alive. All minnows to be used for dead bait at a later date must be preserved by a method that does not require refrigeration or freezing.


Last Revised: Thursday November 01 2007

http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/news/or/#top
 
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