Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall colors still impressive in parts of southern and central Wisconsin

English: Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wisco...
Mississippi River at La Crosse, (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Fall colors are still pretty impressive in parts of southern and even central Wisconsin, but with the recent winds and several days of rain last week leaves are dropping rapidly.
The rain has water levels on many river systems across the state remain high for early fall. With nicer weather this week, farmers are picking starting to catch up on the fall harvest, and lots of geese have been seen feeding in freshly picked corn fields.
Musky have remained the highlight for anglers in the Northwoods, but with more stable weather in the last week walleye action also picked up a notch and a few more anglers were out trying to key in on the fall bite. High water was making fishing a little harder on the Wolf River but there walleyes were being caught there as well as on the Peshtigo, Fox and Wisconsin rivers. Walleye and sauger action was picking up on the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers and continued to be very good on Lake Wisconsin.
High and turbid water also slowed fall salmon runs on the Kewaunee and Ahnapee rivers with low to moderate numbers of anglers having low success. Anglers were still catching some chinook but they are pretty dark now and there was better fishing for brown trout and coho, which are still in the earlier part of their runs. Fishing was also still good on the Sheboygan River and had picked up on the Milwaukee and Root rivers. Most anglers out on Green Bay were after musky and those that anglers who were hooking fish, got big ones, including one reported at 55 inches.
Hunters are seeing more grouse with the leaves down and the numbers appear pretty good. Hunters are also bagging a few woodcock which have finally arrived in the central part of the state. Muskrats are mostly nocturnal but have been pretty active during the daylight hours on northern lakes preparing for the coming ice.
Northern migrant Canada geese and ducks are arriving daily at Horicon Marsh and numbers are climbing. Many of the ducks in the area are now showing off their fall plumage. Sandhill cranes are gathering by the thousands at dusk on the Gallagher Marsh at Sandhill Wildlife Refuge, along with a gorgeous pair of whooping cranes who have been hanging around for about a week.
Bald eagle sightings have been increasing steadily during the past several weeks as along the Mississippi and Kickapoo rivers. Dark-eyed juncos have reached southern Wisconsin in numbers and will remain there for much of winter. There have also been the first reports of northern shrikes, rough-legged hawks, and snow buntings. The world-renowned migration of canvasbacks along the Mississippi River south of La Crosse is also underway. Common loons have begun migrating with loons seen this week on lakes Mendota and Monona in Madison.