Fall color reaching near 50 percent in parts of the north; fall color festivals this weekend
Fall color is reaching near 50 percent in parts of northern and central Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report (exit DNR). Copper Falls and Governor Thompson state parks both are holding fall color events and a many other properties will hold events over the next several weeks. For a complete list of fall events, search the DNR website for "get outdoors," and then select "festivals" under event type.
Also this weekend, more than a thousand young lake sturgeons will be released into the Milwaukee River at Lakeshore State Park during "Sturgeon Fest," that highlights a cooperative effort between the DNR and Riveredge Nature Center to restore sturgeon to Lake Michigan. The event features the opportunity for a nominal donation for youth and adults to sponsor and release a young sturgeon. The fish, hatched from eggs collected on the Wolf River, have been carefully raised at a streamside rearing facility.
Some perch action has been reported on the east side Lake Winnebago and the perch bite has improved along the west shore of Green bay from Pensaukee to Oconto. Perch fishing was also good at Little Sturgeon Bay. Musky fishing has been picking up on the waters of Green Bay, with anglers reporting multiple catches. Walleye action has also remained good along the lower west shore from Geano Beach south and up along the east shore to Bayshore Park and Chaudoir's Dock. Walleye anglers have also started fishing the Fox River, but with mostly smaller fish reported so far.
Fall trout and salmon runs on both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior tributaries is just beginning, with more fish starting to move up rivers but not in large numbers yet. Anglers fishing the East Twin River reported brown trout with some reaching their limit by floating spawn sacs. Chinook have started to move up the Sheboygan River, Oak Creek and the Root River. The Root River Steelhead Facility should be up and running later this week or early next.
Inland trout streams have been in good condition since last week's rain raised flows in central Wisconsin. The inland season closes next.
The recent warm weather has been hampering some hunting activities. Turkeys are still being seen grouped up in flocks. Grouse hunting has been very spotty as the leaves are still green and on the trees. Goose hunting has been slow due to a lack of birds moving into the state yet. A cold front is needed to push birds south from northern regions. The northern duck zone opens thiswith a new opening day time of half hour before sunrise. Some cooler nighttime temperatures are pushing some of the early migrants, such as teal, southward.
With the early start to bow hunting, many hunters have been harvesting bucks in full velvet and hunters are reminded they have seven days to contact a warden to obtain a free tag for the antlers. Hunters in the chronic wasting disease sampling area of Washburn County are finding the 24/7 kiosks at which they can drop off deer heads for sampling very convenient.
Sandhill cranes are flocking up and can be seen in fields. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are beginning their migration south. Monarch butterflies are still present. Snapping turtles are on the move looking for winter habitat.
Walnuts, hickories and oaks are dropping their bounty and it looks like an excellent crop. Flowers in bloom include numerous aster species and goldenrods. Virginia creeper and staghorn sumac are showing some early red colors.