Dog days of summer increasing campground use, recreational boating activity
The dog days of summer have arrived and park and forest campgrounds have been very busy with campers, hikers and bicyclist. With the warm and humid weather of the past week, recreational boating activity showed an increase on most northern waters and fishing pressure showed a bit of a decline with some generally windy conditions.
In the north, largemouth and smallmouth bass have been the species of interest for a lot of summer anglers lately and action could be termed very good. Both species have moved into their typical summer patterns, with largemouth taking up shop near firm overhead cover such as logs, stumps, reed beds or bog edges and smallmouth retreating close to mid-depth woody structure. Walleye action has started to become erratic, with variable success being reported at all different times of the day. Some musky anglers have been taking a break from fishing with the warmer water temperatures, but action has continued to be generally good, with those anglers still fishing reporting quite a few sightings and follows.
Fishing activity has been slow on Lake Winnebago, with temperatures ranging between 75-77 degrees, but a few anglers were catching low numbers of perch some small walleyes. Action on the Mississippi River has also been slow, with some success fishing for panfish with worms near logs and along the weed beds and a few walleyes caught on the main channel.
On Green Bay, anglers continued to have some success with walleye along the west shore off Oconto and farther south off Suamico and at the Green Bay metro ramp. Walleye anglers along the east shore were catching some fish off reefs and at Little Sturgeon Bay. Smallmouth bass anglers were reporting good results over the past week at Sturgeon Bay. On the lake side, anglers fishing from boats at Rowley's Bay had very high catch rates for smallmouth.
Farther south on Lake Michigan, anglers at the Kewaunee, Manitowoc and Two Rivers piers have been doing well over the past week, catching a mix of chinook, rainbows, and brown trout. Trollers out of Algoma and Kewaunee were catching between five and seven fish, typically a mix chinook and rainbows with an occasional lake trout. Despite rough waves Friday morning and a thunderstorm on Saturday, the Two Rivers Fishing Derby concluded Sunday with the largest fish registered a 20.9-pound king salmon. A Salmon-A-Rama fishing tournament also brought out good numbers of anglers at Milwaukee with a 25.58-pound lake trout winning the grand prize on the final day.
Ducks are entering into their eclipse plumage phase, when they have much duller than normal plumage and help keep them hidden from predators while they are without fully working flight feathers. Luna, cercropia, and sphinx moths are being noticed on the forest edges and gardens. Monarch butterflies seem to be in abundance this year.
Blueberries are ripening in the north. Cedar waxwings have been seen stripping Juneberry plants of its early fruit. Jewel weed, wild bergamot, culver's root, and bluebell are all blooming in the north, while many yellow flowers are showing off blooms in the prairies, including yellow coneflower, some goldenrod, and sunflowers.
Outdoor skills from birding and cooking to hunting and hiking will be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day on July 25 from 1 to at the Horicon Marsh Visitor and Education Center. No registration is required and the program is free to the public.