The recent heatwave has slowed down everything but mosquitos it seems. Lots of deer, whose young are losing their spots, were mobile until it hit 85 degrees. They’ve been congregating around white oak trees, whose acorns are dropping fast.
Friday, Sept. 22 is the autumnal equinox, the first official day of the astronomical fall. Colors are changing quickly and leaves are starting to fall. More than half the state is reporting 50 percent color with a handful reporting 75 percent color on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Fall Color Report (exit DNR).
Deer archery and crossbow season opened on Saturday, Sept. 16. Small game, ruffed grouse, and turkey seasons are also open. There was also a youth duck hunt with hunters reporting it was hot with a large fresh hatch of mosquitos. Conditions look favorable for the opening of the northern zone duck season this weekend. Mallard and wood ducks are abundant and also spotted are increasing numbers of teal, shovelers and pintail. Woodcock season opens this weekend. Large numbers migrating Canada geese are flocking in and along with locally nesting “giant” Canada geese are starting to build up in numbers on area wetlands, crop fields, golf courses, parks, and other staging areas and hunters have been successful.
The Wisconsin River is just a bit below normal for this time of year, but based on the high water this summer, it seems exceedingly low. There should be plenty of sandbars for people out on the river. Inland trout fishing has been very good on central Wisconsin streams as water temperatures start to drop.
No salmon have been observed yet in the Menominee, Oconto or Little rivers. The Kewaunee River has had some good catches this week, although water is low upstream. Salmon can be seen jumping in many wider stretches of the river. The Manitowoc River has had low but consistent numbers coming from a couple spots. The Twin Rivers have had mixed results, but chinook have been seen jumping in both. The Root River visibility is very good but the water levels are still very low. Only a few anglers were fishing and while there were no reports of fish caught, a lot of king salmon could be seen jumping in the river.
A fair amount of anglers were out on Sturgeon Bay over the weekend with the warm weather. Perch fishermen in the canal had limited success. Walleye action has been good out of Sturgeon Bay and Stone Quarry. Smallmouth bass were still biting with anglers on shore catching a few fish and boat anglers having success from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock. Salmon action around the piers and canal is picking up as more fish are moving in for the fall run.
Anglers fishing out of Kewaunee have taken, almost exclusively, to trolling in the harbor or just outside the piers. Catches were dominated by chinooks in the 15-20 pound range, with an occasional rainbow or coho hitting as well.
Monarchs and painted ladies have been seen at goldenrod and New England asters, which are in full bloom. Fall bird migrations are marching on. Nearly 500 yellow-rumped warblers were tallied in Bayfield County this week, signaling the beginning of the end of the warbler migration. Broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks were on the move this week. Numbers of common loons are beginning to build toward their October migration peak.