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Straight from the Wis dnr as of July 21st....

Some much needed rain fell mid-week in southern and central Wisconsin, reducing drought and wildfire danger conditions in those areas. However, even areas that received rain remain fairly dry and fire danger conditions were only lowered to moderate in much of the south and remained at high in central and north central Wisconsin, which received less rain. People should check with local DNR service centers or fire control agencies for the most current fire danger levels and to find out whether burning permits are being issued.

The state continued to experience hot dry weather most of the last week, with some windy conditions that made boating on the Great Lakes and other large water bodies difficult. Most river systems in the state are running very low, with some streams in the southeast at record low levels. The Bois Brule River in the northwest was running about a third below normal for this time of year; the North Fork of the Flambeau River was running a bit low, but canoeists were still reporting good trips. The lower Wisconsin River was running very low and canoeists were reportedly having to pull canoes through some shallow spots, but vast sandbars were available for camping and recreation.

In the north, the very warm and dry conditions subsided this week after many successive days with temperatures over 90 degrees. Rain finally came to the area, with close to an inch reported in the northwest and lesser amounts to the east. Water temperatures on lakes are very warm with surface temperatures over 80 degrees. Anglers continued to focus efforts in early morning and evening hours and fishing success was better during these times. Panfish were being found in deeper water and fishing has been good over weedy areas. Northern pike fishing along the weed edges has been productive. Walleye fishing has been slow but better success has come using leeches suspended just off the bottom. Bass continued to be active and some nice fish were being caught. Musky fishing has slowed but some fish were being caught. Fishing slowed on Lake Superior but anglers were still reporting some lake trout from colder deep water. Bass and walleye are still being caught in Chequamegon Bay but anglers had to work for them.

With the drought conditions in the south, many lakes were pretty green with algae blooms. Fishing generally remained good although heat has driven most fish deeper into the thermocline. Northerns, walleyes and muskies were all being found in 15 to 20 feet along steep drop-offs. Anglers were catching largemouth bass also along the deeper weed lines while smallmouth bass were hitting top-water lures and plastic worms. Fishing action has still been fair to good for panfish. Due to the hot weather, bluegills were starting to suspended over deep water.

Along Green Bay, chinook salmon and rainbow trout continued to be caught in large numbers, with some lake and brown trout and a few coho also reported. Anglers have had some luck trolling for walleyes along the shore. More and better perch action was reported every day, with some anglers catching limits of 9 to 11 inch fish. Smallmouth action continued to be good to very good with fish being caught all over the bay. On Lake Michigan, north and east winds that moved into the area midweek slowed fishing for trout and salmon. Fish moved into deeper water and were being found during low light times and deeper during daylight hours. Successful anglers were catching mostly chinooks.

Anglers trolling from the Menominee River in the northeast were catching some nice-sized walleye. There have been reports of a few smallmouth bass and some crappie caught on the Fox River at Voyager Park. A few catfish have been caught in the mornings along the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers. Walleye and sauger action has been improving on wing dams along the main channel of the Mississippi as the water has been receding.

Juneberries are now ripe in the north, where the blueberry crop is beginning to wind down. Raspberries and blackberries are ripening but the dry conditions are resulting is some small and dry berries. .

Barred owls are hooting. Coyotes have been calling rendezvous during late night hours. Canada geese pairs and their broods are joining other family groups and it is not unusual to see 40 - 80 geese in one location. Whitetail bucks now have nearly fully developed velvet antlers. Horseflies and deerflies have been very thick in the Northwoods. Blue vervain, coneflowers, wild bergamont, and milkweed are blooming and monarch butterfly caterpillars were being observed on milkweed plants.

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Superior DNR Service Center area

Brule River State Forest - The warm temperatures have continued in the Brule River State Forest area. Last weekend the Brule DNR weather station recorded over 90 degrees (some of the surrounding areas had over 100 degrees). The weather station has had no recordable precipitation since June 28. The Bois Brule River is now flowing at 108 Cubic Feet Per Second (CFS). The 60 year average is 162 CFS, the 60 year low is 104 CFS. The Brule River State Forest staff in coordination with the University of Wisconsin Superior just completed a new boardwalk into the Stone Chimney Road Canoe Landing. This replaced the old cord walk that was there. This more environmentally friendly boardwalk was put out to encourage users to stay on one path and let the bog fill back in where people were walking around muddy areas. Juneberries are now ripe. Many birds can be seen eating these berries, especially robins and cedar waxed wings. Raspberries are also ripe. Nightshade, blue vervain, wild bergamont, milkweed, thistle, and cow wheat are in bloom. The big blue stem grasses are flowering also. Monarch butterfly caterpillars are now being observed on common milkweed plants. The breeding population of ring-billed gulls in the St. Louis River estuary remains about the same as it has been in recent years with about 10,000 pairs nesting on Interstate Island this year. Almost all of the young hatched this year are now able to fly and have left or soon will be leaving the island.

Ashland DNR Service Center area

Hot dry weather and windy conditions have slowed fishing on Lake Superior. Anglers that can get to the colder deep water areas are reporting good catches of lake trout. Bass and walleye are still being caught in the Bay but one has to work for them. Using a worm harness and trolling for walleyes is your best bet. Bass are now spread out over the Bay and continue to supply some exciting fishing. Inland lakes are busy with recreational boating activities. PWC operation, waterskiing, tubing, all keep the lakes busy with traffic. Operators should be reminded to have and observer on the boat. Each boating season wardens encounter boats with just the driver and skier and no observer. Most say they only were going for a couple of runs and didn't think the warden would be around. The end result is a citation and expense that was not worth the few minutes of skiing. More importantly if the boat operator is turning around to see what the skier is doing he may not see another boat or a swimmer and the results could be fatal. The recreational boat activity keeps many anglers off the water during the day but early morning and evening fishing are some of the best times to fish and anglers are having luck with pan fish. Live bait is recommended this time of year. Many of the smaller streams are showing low water levels and some steady rain conditions will be needed to bring them back to normal. Trout fishing this time of year can be productive if one is willing to put up with the bugs. Bear sows with their cubs and deer with their fawns are seen on a regular basis crossing the roads. When mama gets struck by a vehicle the young in most cases will die. If you see one or the other slow down to avoid a collision.

Cumberland DNR Service Center area

Roadsides and prairies are blooming with wildlflowers, including black-eyed Susans, ox-eye daisies, bergemot, fireweed, sunflowers, evening primrose, blazing stars, and a host of others. Hot, dry conditions are lowering water levels and drying up some small, temporary or semi-permanent wetlands. There has not been any significant rainfall since the fourth of July. Dry conditions are better for upland bird brood survival and young grouse, turkey, and pheasant should fare better than they have in the last few years, when cool, wet spring and early summer conditions drastically reduced production. There are numerous reports of black bears but nuisance complaints have been reduced with people taking in their bird feeders and natural foods ripening. The wild raspberry crop was fair to good and blackberries, Juneberries, and cherries will be ripening within the next month. Canada geese pairs and their broods are joining other family groups and it is not unusual to see 40 - 80 geese in one location -- 200 geese were captured and bands placed on them in Barron County earlier in the month. Banding is a valuable wildlife management tool that allows researchers to learn more about habitat use, movements, and populations.

Woodruff DNR Service Center area

Hot dry weather in the area has brought about drought like conditions. Flowages and lakes are now showing the impacts as their levels continue to drop creating some navigation hazards. The blueberry picking season is winding down. Raspberries are beginning to turn ripe and they too appear to have a good crop but could fall prey to the dry conditions without some rain soon. There continues to be a good bite for muskellunge in the deep clear water lakes and bass anglers are reporting success throughout the Lakeland area. Weed growth and water temperatures are about normal for this time of year. People should be alert for deer crossing the roads, more often than not the fawns are close behind. The recent warm summer weather has brought out numerous recreational boaters. Please use caution when traveling about and respect the rights of others.

Park Falls DNR Service Center area

The very warm and dry conditions have subsided after many successive days with temperatures over 90 degrees. Rain finally came to the Park Falls area with close to an inch in most of the area. Conditions were becoming quite dry prior to the rain. Water temperatures on area lakes are very warm with surface temperatures over 80 degrees. Air temperatures have fallen back to near average and are forecast to be in this range for the week and into the weekend. Nighttime temperatures are similarly lower and water temperatures should also moderate. Anglers continued to focus their effort in early morning and evening hours and fishing success was better during these times. Panfish were being found in deeper water and fishing has been good over weedy areas. Northern pike fishing along the weed edges has been productive. Walleye fishing has been slow but better success has come using leeches suspended just off the bottom. Bass continued to be active and some nice fish were being caught. Musky fishing has slowed but some fish were being caught. Boating and water recreation are at there peak with most lakes bustling with activity. Boaters should be especially cautious around swim areas and beaches as many people are swimming during the warm weather. Paddle sport enthusiasts are floating area rivers but water levels continued to drop during the recent dry spell. Many eagles, osprey and loons have been observed catching fish on area lakes. Birds are in need of ample supply of fresh water during these warm periods. To keep them visiting your yard create access to bird baths and plenty of water. Fields and wood edges are filled with various colors of wildflowers creating a colorful landscape. Raspberries and blueberries are beginning to ripen and some nice berries can be found along forest roads and openings.

Upper Chippewa Basin fisheries report (Price, Rusk, Sawyer Taylor and inland Ashland and Iron counties) - The continued hot and sultry weather of the past week has kept fishing success at mid-summer lows. With bright sun and generally light winds, water temperatures have climbed into the low to mid-80s on many northern Wisconsin lakes. This has pushed many of the bigger fish to deeper water and has made for some tough fishing conditions. Bass have been providing the most consistent action but success could only be termed fair. The early morning and late evening hours have produced the best catches, with top-water and soft-plastic baits being the most productive. Most bass were still being found in and near the mid-depth weeds, though more and more are starting to relate to their mid-summer habitats near woody cover, thick weeds & bulrushes and deep bog edges. 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, though many anglers have been staying off the water for fear of stressing or killing fish with the warm water temperatures. Slower top-water lures and medium-size stick baits have been the most productive and the weed edges have been the best spots. Panfish action has been good with crappie and rock bass providing most of the action.

Flambeau River State Forest - The North Fork of the Flambeau River is at a good normal flow; canoeist have been reporting good trips. The raspberries and service berries are ripe. Bass wood trees and mullein are blooming. Bucks are in velvet.

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Peshtigo DNR Service Center area

Marinette County - The dog days of summer still haven't let up with high temperatures still in the upper 80s near 90. With little precipitation and light winds both boaters and anglers are taking advantage of the nice weather. The trout and salmon bite continues to get better out near Green Island with anglers catching fish on fly/dodger combinations, J-plugs, and spoons. Fishing on the lower Menominee River has been spotty with rough fish like sheepshead and carp dominating most of the anglers catch. Pitching crawlers, leeches, and minnows around structure like Boom Island and the numerous bridge abutments have produced some nice sized smallmouth bass and smaller walleye. Anglers trolling from the Menominee River down to the mouth of the Peshtigo River were still catching some nice sized walleye on crawler harnesses in 10-18 feet of water. Some key spots have been out from Little River and out from the Peshtigo River in slightly shallower water approximately 8-11 feet. Launching of larger boats may be difficult at the mouth of the Peshtigo River due to low water levels.

Oconto County - The perch fishing in the Bay out from the Oconto River has started to pick up. Anglers were catching some smaller to descent sized perch (8-11 inches) in 35-42 feet of water using small fathead minnows. Be sure to bring extra bait due to aggressive gobies mixed in with the perch. Anglers were reporting going through 2-4 dozen minnows in less then 2-3 hours due to large numbers of hungry gobies. Trolling for walleye from County Park II down to the Oconto River on the west shore of the bay continues to produce good catches of large walleye with a good shot at a few fish over 27 inches. Crawler harnesses were still the top bait but some success has been had on a combination of trolling harnesses and crankbaits. Be prepared to possibly tangle with a large channel catfish as well. Fly fishers are having some success in the early mornings and later evenings right before dark on small brown trout (7-13 inches) from the train bridge in Stiles down river approximately 100-200 yards. Catfish anglers were having luck with smaller channel catfish on night crawlers and cut-bait from shore near Municipal boat launch in Oconto and at the mouth of the Pensaukee River in the later evenings and into the night.

Green Bay DNR Service Center area

Brown County - The Fox River has been quite slow the past few weeks. The searing heat experienced recently is not helping the water temperature any. Anglers can expect to catch mostly sheepshead and catfish, or maybe a carp or two. Walleyes have been getting more scarce every week, coming only to those who put in some time at early morning and late evening; there has be no action during mid day. There have been reports of a few smallmouth bass and some crappie caught at Voyager Park, some of which have been quite big. No yellow perch have been reported on the fox this summer. The Suamico River has not been receiving much fishing pressure the last few weeks, again probably due to the heat. There still has not been too much action for perch on the Suamico itself, but there has been some amazing amounts and sizes coming out of the west shore of the bay around the lighthouse and long tail areas. Many have been venturing out to 30 feet of water or more to avoid gobies and find some larger perch using minnows. Out at Geano Beach, anglers have had some luck trolling for walleyes along the shore up toward Oconto in 15-20 feet dragging crawler harnesses. Duck Creek has been very slow so far. Some white bass and bullhead have been caught during the day on crawlers. The perch action always begins soon, so be ready to check that out on the Howard board walks. Bay Shore Park has seen more and better action for perch every day. Some were catching limits, and some were not. Perch are averaging 9 to 11 inches with many 12 inchers as well. The reefs have not been producing anything but gobies so far; most of the action seems to be straight out on the flats in 25-30 feet or at Schumacher Point. Expect to catch an astronomical amount of gobies and quite a few sheepshead in between in under 20 feet.

Manitowoc County - The north and east winds that moved into the area midweek slowed fishing for trout and salmon in the area. Fish have moved into deeper water and were being found in 65-120 feet of water during low light times and deeper during daylight hours. Anglers were having a hard time finding cool water that held fish, but fishing was still pretty good. Successful anglers were catching mostly chinooks on dodger/fly combos, spoons and j-plugs. With the wind switching to the west late in the week, it is hoped that some cooler water and fish will be found nearer to shore in the future. Two Rivers and Manitowoc per fishing has been slow with a few chinooks and rainbows being taken early in the week on spoons. East winds have pushed fish to deeper water and angler pressure is down. A few anglers were trying the Two Rivers and Manitowoc harbors for perch and smallmouth bass, with scattered success. Perch continued to be hard to find, but a few smallmouth were providing action in the Manitowoc harbor and river.

Sturgeon Bay DNR Service Center area

Door County - It was still hot, humid, and dry with lots of sun in the last week. As hot as the weather has been, fishing has been just about as hot. The action is still very good to excellent throughout the county. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout continued to be caught in large numbers, with lake trout, browns and coho also reported. The Bank Reef was producing a mixed bag of fish in 80 to 200 feet of water. White, green and blue flies behind white or opti-dodgers were producing large numbers of fish. Green Crocodiles, Pro-Kings, Evil eyes and silver spoons were all catching fish. Fishing at dawn or dusk was best. Out of Sturgeon Bay, most of the action was in 50 to 120 feet of water at dawn and dusk and from 80 to 100 feet down. Quite a few boats were still coming back to the dock in Sturgeon Bay by 7:30 or 8 a.m. with limits of fish. Baileys Harbor, Rowleys Bay and points north were also producing excellent catches of fish. Smallmouth action was good to very good with fish being caught all over the county. The majority of the fish being caught near shore were on the small size, 10 to 14 inches, with live bait producing the action. Larger smallmouth were being caught in deeper water out off the reefs on plastics, crank baits and spinner baits. Rowleys Bay and the Mink River along with Fish Creek, Ephraim and Sister Bay continued to produce good numbers of fish. Perch fishing continued to be good on minnows, worms, crabs and jigs in 10 to 15 feet of water near weeds or along reefs in 12 to 25 feet of water. Northern pike action has been steady in weedy areas of Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon Bay. Small sucker minnows and Rapalas continued to be hot baits. Walleye action was fair at night, with anglers bouncing a night crawler in a harness off the bottom around Potawatomi State Park, Sherwood Point and Larson’s reef. Chaudoir’s Dock has been fished heavily for perch, so the word must be out that it is finally doing as well as Bayshore. There doesn't seem to be any real hot spot, but just straight out from the landing in structure at 30 feet. The action isn't quite as fast as Bay Shore but the average size is a little bigger at 10-11 inches. The hump out in front of Sugar Creek has seen some slight bass action on crab tails and minnows. Little Sturgeon Bay has been so-so for smallmouth but perch fishing has been great. There has been some perch action off Squaw Island and Henderson Point in 8-10 feet of water, but they are quite small and the gobies were unbearable. The best place was out around Snake Island in 15-20 feet. The action was not super fast, but the perch were bigger and the gobies were tolerable. For those fishing bass, the best baits recently have been leeches and minnows along the rock bars at 10-15 feet on the east shore where most of the bass action has always been and along the rock bar off Squaw Island. Sawyer Harbor has been seeing a little faster action for bass recently, and the average size is a little bigger as well. The action has been okay on the steep slopes along the shipping canal, but there is a rock pile off Cabot point and the reef to the east of the islands. The soft plastics still seem to be working here a little better, but live bait is getting more and more bites, although smaller. Not too much as far as northern pike action to report this last week, but some said they had some luck off the quarry a few weeks ago. The walleye action has also been slow.

Kewaunee County - It has been another hot and humid week with temperatures again in the 90s. The humid weather has not stopped Lake Michigan anglers with many coming back with their limits early. The majority of fish taken have been chinook salmon; however, a few mixed rainbow trout, lake trout, and coho salmon have also been caught. The early morning and dusk bite has been the most productive times fishing in 60-150 feet of water from the surface to 80 feet down. As the sun comes up anglers follow the fish into deeper waters fishing up to 200-300 feet of water and 125 feet down. Dodger/fly combinations, spoons, and j-plugs have all taken fish. Some hot colors used were aqua and green flies as well as green, orange, and sliver spoons. Anglers fishing the Kewaunee and Algoma piers have found fewer fish close in, however some still have caught a few chinook and rainbow. The majority of fish taken were caught on alewives and a few on spoons.

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Drought conditions continue throughout the area. Some Spring-fed lakes that rarely have any shoreline exposed are now exhibiting 5-6 feet of exposed shoreline. We are going to need a rainy Fall for groundwater recharge; or the fish population of some of our shallower lakes could suffer from winterkill. Drought conditions are worse in the Southern part of the region. On the plus side though, berry picking conditions are great. Black raspberries are ready right now. And, about the only insect you have to deal with are horseflies. Larval horseflies dwell in water that is colder and more spring-fed than that used for breeding by mosquitoes. Since springs are still running, there are more horseflies than mosquitoes to contend with. Hen turkeys are now taking their broods on longer treks and they are more visible. Young turkeys are about 14 inches tall (stretched) and can easily fly up into tree branches when fleeing predators. Those flowing spring seeps are now very important for young Turkeys as they seek food and water. Fishing remains very good although heat has driven most fish deeper into the thermocline. A great place to fish for northerns, walleyes and muskies is 15-20 feet in depth along steep drop-offs where the thermocline intersects deep vegetation growth. This is, of course, what many anglers call the "deep weed line". Since musky fishing has been so good so far this summer, try vertically jigging an eight-inch chub or sucker this way. You just might hook into a huge northern or musky! Expect this late summer fishing pattern to continue through August. Recent east winds have brought in warmer water near shore on Lake Michigan, and fishing has slowed down considerably in most areas.

Sheboygan County - In Sheboygan fishing off the piers and in the harbor has been slow. Trollers off Sheboygan have been catching a mixed bag of chinooks, rainbows, coho, and lake trout. Fish have been hitting spoons and j-plugs anywhere from 30 to 100 feet down in 80 to 180 feet of water. The best colors have been black & white, orange, purple, red & silver, blue & silver, and green & gold.

Ozaukee County - In Port Washington fishing off the pier and in the harbor has been slow. Trollers off Port have been catching mostly chinooks, along with a few rainbows and coho. Fish have been found from 20 to 80 feet down in 80 to 145 feet of water. Both spoons and flies in green, blue, and pearl have been effective.

Milwaukee County - In Milwaukee shore fishing for perch as well as trout and salmon has shut down. Trollers off Milwaukee have been catching good numbers of chinooks and a few rainbows. The best bite has been before sunrise, and fish have been caught north of the harbor 50 to 75 feet down in 150 to 180 feet of water. Green, blue, and pearl spoons have all been productive.

Racine County - Shore fishing in Racine has also been slow, but trollers have been having some success in 100 to 120 feet of water. Good numbers of chinooks have been hitting spoons and j-plugs.

Kenosha County - In Kenosha brown trout remain in the harbor near the Holiday Inn, but they have been difficult for shore anglers to catch. Trollers off Kenosha have found chinooks and coho in 100 to 150 feet of water. Spoons, j-plugs, and dodger and fly combinations have all produced fish.

Walworth and inland Racine and Kenosha counties - Anglers were having most success fishing in deeper water this time of year. Northern pike were biting on shiners and suckers on Geneva and Delavan lakes. Anglers were catching largemouth bass on spinner baits, crank baits, and night crawlers along the deeper weed lines at Delavan, Silver, and Powers lakes. Bass were hitting top-water lures and plastic worms on Lake Beulah. Whitewater Lake bass were hitting plastic worms. Catfish were active and biting on chicken livers or chubs at Tichigan Lake. Bluegills were biting on waxworms and night crawler pieces in 18 to 28 feet of water on Lakes Geneva and Delavan.

Washington, eastern Fond du Lac, and inland Sheboygan counties - Fishing action has still been good for bass and panfish on area lakes. Elkhart Lake in Sheboygan County was providing good action on smallmouth bass while Big Cedar Lake in Washington County was producing large catches of undersize largemouth bass. Long Lake in Fond du Lac County was producing some bluegills. Take it a little easy on the fish that are caught and released during the heat of summer. Release the fish as soon as possible.

Waukesha County - With recent hot weather bluegills were starting to hit suspended over deep water. Best bites coming from Pewaukee, Pine and Beaver lakes fishing 10-22 feet down in 30-50 feet of water. Ice jigs and waxworms have been producing best. Also night walleye action has been picking up. Trolling crank-baits and stick baits in fire-tiger and orange colors over deep weed flats have been working well. Best bites coming from Little Muskego, Oconomowoc and Lac la Belle. A 44-inch northern was taken from a un-named Waukesha County lake.

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Dodgeville DNR Service Center area

Grant County - The recent warm weather has limited the fishing pressure on area streams and rivers. A few catfish have been caught in the mornings along the Wisconsin River near Millville as well as the Mississippi River near Cassville. Bluegill and crappie fishing has been minimal. The recent lack of rainfall has also lowered the water levels on the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, more noticeably on the Wisconsin River between Boscobel and Muscoda. Area canoeists report walking their canoes over many shallow areas. For those river enthusiasts looking for sand – there was no lack of areas available. The weekend saw a large contingency of canoes between Muscoda and Boscobel. Several rock wing dams have appeared on the Mississippi River on the Iowa side upstream from Cassville. Boaters are cautioned when operating in the backwaters and near wing dams. Deeper water can be assured in the main navigation channel.

Wyalusing State Park - Trails are in good condition. Many trails have been brushed recently to remove encroaching vegetation. According to local anglers, fishing success has improved over last week, with nice catches of bluegills being reported. Mississippi River level at Prairie du Chien is at 7.5 feet. The river level has been steadily dropping for the last two weeks due to the lack of rain. Bird sightings include: red-eyed vireo, yellow-throated vireo, Acadian flycatcher, prothonotary warbler, cerulean warbler, yellow warbler, yellow-throated warbler, redstart, sedge wren, Henslow sparrow, barred owl, blue-gray gnatcatcher, bluebird, robin, yellow-bellied sapsucker, red-bellied woodpecker, pileated woodpecker, downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, rose-breasted grosbeak, Kentucky warbler, oriole, orchard oriole, indigo bunting, cardinal, crow, blue-jay, chickadee, turkey, cedar waxwing, mourning dove, scarlet tanager, and barn swallow. Tufted titmice, chickadees, red-bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, hairy woodpeckers, cardinals, goldfinches and many rose-breasted grosbeaks frequent the Visitor Center bird feeders. Humming birds are still quite active, even though the feeding frenzy of the last two weeks has diminished somewhat. Butterflies and moths seen include: meadow fritillary, monarch, buckeye, American painted lady, spring azure, mourning cloak, eastern tailed blue, Milberts tortoise shell, comma, question mark, giant swallowtail, yellow swallowtail, black swallowtail, wood nymph. Flowers in bloom include: Seneca snakeroot, oyster plant (goats beard), Solomon's seal, Virginia waterleaf, thimbleweed, mouse-ear chickweed, bulbous buttercup, wild (prairie) rose, orange hawkweed, yarrow, black-eyed Susan, small bellflower, tall bellflower, harebell, wild quinine, Indian hemp, purple coneflower, pale purple coneflower (visitor center), sawtooth sunflower, bee balm, purple milkweed, common milkweed, poke milkweed, daisy fleabane, oxeye daisy, white false indigo, bergamot, compass plant, woodland sunflower, green-headed coneflower, yellow(gray-headed) coneflower, rattlesnake master, hog peanut, butterfly milkweed, whorled milkweed. Wild parsnip is found throughout the area and the park. Beware of wild parsnip. When bare skin comes into contact with any part of wild parsnip, it can be "burned". Skin will redden, and in severe cases, blisters will form 1-2 days after exposure. Brown scarring can last for years.

Fitchburg DNR Service Center area

Dane County - Hot weather has driven fish deeper but panfish were still being caught. Many small fish were mixed in with the bluegills and crappies so those anglers willing to spend the time at it can get a nice batch of fish. Some popular spots were off the Babcock Park boat launch, the rock bar, and Hog Island on Lake Waubesa and Lunde and Colladay Points on Lake Kegonsa. Most fish were being caught in 10 to 12 feet of water off of weed beds. Walleye action has been slow, but smallmouth bass were hitting on all of the lakes. Mendota perch anglers have been picking up a few small fish. A few white bass have been caught on Mendota as well. Lake Koshkonong experienced a blue-green algae bloom last week but the water has cleared up on the Dane County side since then. All of the lakes are looking pretty green and algae blooms can occur anytime. Boating traffic has been heavy on weekends. Bluebirds have fledged their second broods and a few bobwhite quail are still whistling. Deer are becoming more active and visible in rural areas, particularly at dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes are active mostly around dusk, but seem to be tolerable. Wetlands are drying up and lake and river levels are very low and will probably remain low into the fall unless some serious downpours arrive. This is the time of the year when numerous safety courses are being offered. Check with your local warden, DNR service center, or DNR web site for upcoming hunter education courses. Many classes have already started or will start very soon. Those needing a safety course are urged to get enrolled now before the classes fill up.

Jefferson County - Anglers were catching bluegill on Rock Lake using waxworms, spikes and pieces of night crawlers. The bluegill range in size from 5 to 10 inches with most of the fish being caught in the 7-inch range. The bluegill have been found out in the lake in anywhere from 15 to 40 feet of water with most of the fish suspended at the thermocline about 20 feet down. On Rock Lake, anglers were catching bass using leeches and buzz baits around the weed beds. On the Rock and Crawfish rivers fishing success is slow due to the hot weather and extremely low water levels. Not even carp were biting very well on the rivers. Boating and swimming activity is high on the area lakes due to the hot weather however on the local rivers boating activity is slow due to the low water levels.

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Baldwin DNR Service Center area

St. Croix County

Willow River State Park - Just over half an inch of rain fell Sunday night, which should have minimal impact on the Willow River. coneflower is in bloom around the park. All reservable campsites are taken for the weekend nights of July 22 and 23. As of this report, (Monday July 18) there are some one night only openings July 29 and 30. Yellow The popular Kid's Fishing Contest returns Saturday, July 23 at the dam area. Registration begins at 8:30 am with the first age group (6 and under) fishing at 9 a.m. Kids fish 45 minutes per age group. Bait and some fishing rods are provided. Fishing contest entry is $1 per angler. Regular vehicle admission fees apply. Call (715) 386-5931 for more details. Mike Reiter's popular program "Animal Skulls and Bones" returns to the Nature Center Saturday, July 30 at 7 p.m. Come see Mike's skull collection from very small animals to a bear size. The program is free. Regular vehicle admission rates apply. The Stillwater bridge over the St. Croix River will be closed beginning August 1 into October. Drivers normally using the Stillwater bridge will need to cross the river at Hudson or Osceola.

La Crosse DNR Service Center area

Water levels are low on the Mississippi river in the La Crosse area. Some backwater areas are no longer accessible to many boaters. Due to these low water levels boaters are encouraged to reduce their speeds watch the water for submerged trees, sand bars, wing dams, and closing dams which are now exposed or are just below the surface of the water. Shore fishing has been poor in many traditional areas due to the receding water levels. Anglers with boats are reporting mixed success with some doing very well and others reporting poor success. Panfish action has been good on backwaters of Lake Onalaska. Walleye action has been good for fishers using crank baits and live bait on wing dams along the main channel of the Mississippi River and on crank baits trolled in backwater sloughs. Bass action has been good all around especially on top-water baits. Turtle season opened July 15 with several turtle trappers reporting success. Anyone interested in harvesting turtles should refer to the 2005-2006 Spearing & Netting Regulations. Whitetail bucks in the area have well developed velvet antlers. Coyotes have been calling rendezvous during late night hours. Cedar waxwings, pewees, nighthawks, whip-poor-wills, and bats have been very active lately, feeding heavily on flying insects. The dry, hot weather has led many animals to remain inactive during the hot times of the day, seeking shelter in dens, burrows, or shade. Therefore, many animals are not readily observed during daylight hours. Obviously, the animals are still present on the landscape, but their activity patterns have shifted.

Crawford County - The Mississippi River water level continues its steady decline. By the end of this week the Mississippi River stage was 7.5 feet. The Wisconsin River also dropped a lot this week exposing numerous sandbars. The Kickapoo River’s water level is about average for this time of year. Barge and recreational boating traffic is very heavy on the Mississippi so boaters should use caution and observe speed and distance laws. Now that the Mississippi River’s water level is dropping many submerged dangers are being exposed. Dead heads, wing dams, and slough closures all pose dangers to boaters. Some backwater areas and mud/sand flats could also cause problems. Those who are unfamiliar with the Mississippi River should seek out a river map, use a depth/fish finder and slow down. Walleye and sauger action was pretty good for the most part this week. Most anglers agree that the receding water levels have improved success. Most anglers found that fishing on the weekend is tough because of all the boat traffic. The best times to fish have been early in the morning or early in the evening. Anglers using live bait have been mainly using night crawlers. Most walleye anglers are casting or trolling crank baits along rocky shorelines or wing dams or in deeper channels attempting to locate walleyes. Some are vertical jigging while drifting while others are long lining and trolling. The Roseau Slough and the Black Slough and wing dams around the Prairie du Chien area were some places where fish have been active. There has been pretty good walleye action in the Lynxville area. The islands along the main channel outside Lynxville and all the way up to Lansing have been producing some nice walleye. Trolling or casting crank baits along the rocks or try casting a jig tipped with a purple or blue twister tail have been successful. Bluegill action was starting to pick up. The receding water is making bluegills more accessible. The upper and lower portions of the Ambro Slough, many areas of the East Channel, Hunters and Catfish Sloughs, and even some of the flats along the main channel have been producing bluegills. Cold Springs has still been slow. Most anglers were using small pieces of night crawlers and fishing right on the bottom. There has also been some action in the snags along the sloughs. Some anglers were finding average sized bluegills; however, the real big ones have been hard to find thus far. Perch have been starting to bite on minnows and night crawlers along the weed edges. Crappie action has been very spotty. Some stripers (white bass) are starting to show up near the Lynxville dam, the St. Feriole Slough, and the barge loading area outside Prairie du Chien. Catfish have started to bite a little better now that the water is warming up. Both channel and flathead catfish were beginning to bite. Sheepshead were becoming very active and were biting on night crawlers. Bass anglers found action to be similar to walleye fishing. Spring Lake area, Garnet Lake, the main channels and most sloughs have produced bass. Some largemouth bass have been taken along woody shorelines and weeds in the back sloughs. Most bass anglers were using plastics, jig and pig, top-water spoons, or spinner baits. Northern pike action was spotty this week. Areas to try for northern pike would be the Ambro Slough area around Big Lake and Fish Lake, the top end of Hunters Slough near the waste water treatment plant, and any back water area along the weed edges next to deeper water. White pelicans have returned to the Mississippi River. Most are staying in Pool 9 above the Lynxville dam. Most of the wild animal babies are growing up. With many species, like Canada geese, it is getting hard to tell the difference between the adults and the goslings. Large groups of mallards can be seen on the St. Feriole Slough in Prairie du Chien. Turkeys, ruffed grouse, and pheasants are now tending to their young ones. Most are now able to fly short distances. Many of the back waters are full of a variety of frogs and turtles. Most turtle species have laid their eggs and are returning to their home area. Numerous turkey vultures still can be seen in the area soaring on the thermals. Outdoor users should be aware that ticks, mosquitoes, and deer flies are out in force. Poison ivy, stinging nettle, and parsnip are also out so be cautious. Several species of bats can be seen feeding heavily on insects. The best time to view bats is around sunset or shortly there after. Watch for bats in open areas. With all the hot and dry weather outdoor users will see that the cool weather grasses are starting to die back. A lot of the parsnip is starting to get brown.

Wisconsin Rapids DNR Service Center area

Roche-A-Cri State Park - The prairies are in bloom. The trails and mound stairway are in good hiking condition. The barred owls are hooting, and a wide variety of songbirds and turkey vultures have taken up annual residence in the park. Campsites 1 through 41 are open.
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