Heavy rain fell across much of Wisconsin this week, causing major flooding in some southern areas, with the heaviest rains falling along a stretch from Crawford through Washington counties. The Pine and Kickapoo rivers were at or near flood stage. The Wisconsin River was expected to crest at just under 14 feet at Portage. Rain also fell across the north with several inches reported at the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, making trails soggy for hunters and hikers.
People planning on paddling the Wisconsin or any of its tributaries are being cautioned to call ahead to destinations to check conditions. Additionally, the Black River and Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine state forests are reporting some ATV, horse and mountain biking trails closures.
The rains are keeping water levels high on northern flowages. Musky anglers have reported success with surface baits. Perch anglers are having a tough time finding fish along the east shore of Lake Winnebago, with most anglers taking home a half dozen or less. There has been increased fishing activity on the Rock River with anglers successfully trolling for walleye from Jefferson to Lake Koshkonong.
Walleye anglers on Green Bay continue to report it to be a tougher bite than the previous few weeks. Musky anglers were having a little bit more success with reports of 46 to 50-inch fish being landed during the week.
On Lake Michigan, southeast winds and warm surface temperatures made the chinook bite a bit more difficult, but they can still be seen jumping in harbors and fish were being caught from piers and shore. Fishing pressure on the shoreline in Milwaukee increased as chinook continued to move into the harbor. Some chinook salmon moved into Oak Creek after the 2 inches rainfall last week.
Trollers reported that fish were scattered all over lake due to the strong winds and 3 to 6 foot waves earlier in the week. Some boats landed large chinook and lake trout along with some nice catches of rainbow.
Many outdoor enthusiasts are switching gears and participating in the early goose, dove, and September teal-only seasons. The early goose hunting has been very good with many reporting good success and hunters had a successful dove opener with good action in Rock, Green and Dane counties. However, teal have been difficult to find and have been seen only in small pockets. Many archery hunters have been seen hanging stands and checking trail cameras in anticipation of the upcoming season opener.
Elk are still spread throughout the Flambeau River State Forest but the bulls and cows are starting to get together and soon the forest will be singing with the bugling of the bull elk.
Nighthawks, raptors and monarch butterflies are migrating. Male hummingbirds are flying south but females are still around. Turkey broods have really been feeding in the open areas, probably on grasshoppers. Viewing conditions for waterfowl, egrets, sandhill cranes, pelicans and other birds is excellent at Theresa Marsh State Wildlife Area.
The forest floor is fading, with the ferns turning brown. There is an occasional red leaf visible in the canopy and the aspens turning a yellow hue. Early apples are falling, plums are ripe, pin cherries are turning yellow and pink, and cranberries are ripening. The various whites and pinks of the asters, the purple of joe pye weed and yellow of goldenrods are adding a splash of color.