With the upcoming Labor Day weekend, summer is slowly coming to an end with migrations underway, spots fading on whitetail fawns and some tinges of early colors showing up. But there is still time to enjoy what remains of summer with some very good weather in the forecast for at least the first half of the holiday weekend.
Water levels on Northwoods lakes, rivers and streams remain a bit high, but levels have been slowly dropping with the relatively dry weather of the last week. The Wisconsin River has peaked and is dropping in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and some sandbars are returning.
Fishing success has been pretty good on waters across the Northwoods, with musky again the highlight of the week. Action continued to be generally good with anglers reporting quite a few sightings, follows and strikes, and many catches have also been made. Action for both largemouth and smallmouth bass has been sporadic this week, but northern pike action has been good, as the cooling water temperatures favor this species. Walleye action has remained generally slow, with many of the anglers having given up until the fall patterns set in but panfish activity has been fair with some decent crappie and bluegill found suspended around deeper water cover.
Along Green Bay, some perch and walleye were caught from Pensuakee to Oconto along the west shore. Anglers continued to target walleyes in the lower bay but saw a little bit of a drop off from action seen last month. Action picked up along the Door County peninsula for both walleye and bass with some very large smallmouth bass caught in recent days. The yellow perch bite has also been very good for anglers fishing the edges of the Sturgeon Bay shipping channel. Good numbers of mature chinook salmon were reported on both the bay and Lake Michigan side.
On Lake Michigan, strong west winds this past week brought cooler water along the shoreline. Anglers were having some success trolling near the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers. Chinook and rainbows were the most consistent catch out of Manitowoc, with an occasional coho and lake or brown trout. In Milwaukee the colder water along the lakefront brought schools of alewives back to shallow water and a handful of large kings were landed by anglers fishing off piers. Trollers out of Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha reported a mixed bag made up mostly chinook, but a few brown and lake trout and coho salmon as well.
Many hunting seasons are either open or close to opening. Over the Labor Day weekend, hunters can indulge in early teal, mourning dove and Canada goose hunting and the archery and crossbow deer season openers are only a couple of weeks away. Bear season starts in less than a week as well. Bear sightings are up this year and many hunters are getting good visitation to their baits.
Most fawns are nearly out of spots now and can be seen feeding in fields and timber sales in the early evening. Whitetail buck antlers are still in velvet but that will not be the case for long. The acorn drop has started and looks to be a bumper crop.
Wild rice is ripening and the duck population is increasing dramatically in the rice beds. Wildflowers species blooming include many species of aster, goldenrod, sunflowers and blazing star. Joe-pye weed, meadowsweet and steeplebush are blooming in the wetlands. Monarchs have hatched and are covering the meadows. This is the flight that will move south for the winter.