Weather was highly variable across the state this week, with powerful and quick storms moving through south central areas Wednesday evening. The heavy rains caused some flooding in southwestern Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River is flowing at nearly twice its normal flow for this time of year in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Trails in some areas are wet, but most should be in good condition for the upcoming weekend.
Fishing success was fair to good on most waters across the Northwoods. The constantly changing weather did require raincoats to be kept handy and anglers had to be on the lookout for approaching storms – but fishermen did find both musky and bass to be fairly active in the past week. Musky success showed a little surge and most anglers reported some good action from small and medium-size fish. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been more consistent than any other time during the summer and some decent catches have been made in the last week.
Fishing pressure on lower Green Bay remained very high this week due to the outstanding walleye fishing that is going on, with multiple reports of limits being caught in a couple hours of fishing. Anglers were also reporting excellent walleye fishing along the Door County shoreline of Green Bay. Yellow perch fishing still remains good in the Sturgeon Bay area with most success occurring near deep weed lines.
High winds over the previous weekend had slowed the bite and reduced angler pressure across much of the Lake Michigan shoreline. By Sunday morning the bite had picked back up and shore anglers in Ozaukee and Milwaukee County were landing smallmouth, freshwater drum and trout, with those fishing from the boat catching mostly chinook, with occasional laker trout and coho. Mature chinook salmon are beginning to lose their silver coloration as their spawning run nears and they make a physiological transition.
Bears have been spotted chewing hazelnuts in forest openings. Turkey broods seem to be faring well, with many family groups seen feeding along roads throughout the county. Leftover fall turkey permits go on sale at 10 a.m., Saturday, August 27. Be sure you have the proper licensing and know the regulations before heading afield. A full bag of mourning doves can provide a delicious meal this time of year. These migratory birds can be found in fields filled with their favorite food resources: seeds, bugs, and grains.
Also on the wing and on the prowl for their chosen delicacies are fall migrants like the fall warblers. Remember that most birds do not sing in the fall to the extent that they do in the spring. That means birdwatchers need to rely more on keen eyesight and less on their hearing to locate and identify birds. Large flocks of bluebirds and blackbirds are beginning to gather. Bluebird concentrations tend to number about 10 to 20 birds, but blackbird flocks reach several hundred to more than one thousand birds.
Late prairie flowers are in full bloom. Keep your eyes open for prairie blazing star, stiff goldenrod, rattlesnake master, yellow and purple cone flowers, blue vervain, black-eyed susans, butterfly weed and more. A few trees and shrubs such as red maples and staghorn sumac are tipping their hats and welcoming fall with some display of color.