Water levels across the state are still above average, but a small break from the recent heavy rains has allowed some area water bodies to stabilize a bit. This and breaks of brilliant sun in between the rough weather have brought out hikers and bikers, anglers and kayakers, bird watchers and butterfly spotters alike.
On the Winnebago system, Oshkosh DNR fisheries staff and a host of volunteers began the annual bottom trawling survey. The trawling assessment provides critical information on year class strength, population trends, and abundance of game and nongame fish species. Recent walleye catch on Winnebago is made up of adult fish between 15 and 18 inches. There are also good numbers of perch and crappie ranging from five to seven inches. Surveying will continue throughout the next few months. Angler report productive walleye fishing on Lake Winnebago as well as good perch fishing throughout the system.
The weather started to clear up just as last weekend rolled in, bringing out anglers and pleasure boaters alike. On Green Bay, anglers at the mouth of the Peshtigo were landing walleye, drum, catfish and small mouth; anglers on the Oconto were seeing much of the same, with some very large perch, middling walleye and rock bass added to the mix. The walleye bite has picked up some on the lower bay with angler off Suamico, Bayshore and Geano beach all finding a fairly consistent bite, with the majority of the boats bringing in three to four keeper walleyes.
Fishing pressure was high in Door County this past week due to a salmon tournament. Although it was a tough bite due to warm water conditions, chinook salmon and rainbow trout were being caught from Sturgeon Bay to Washington Island. A few anglers reported success with smallmouth bass around Egg Harbor. Yellow perch fishing has been fairly good with good numbers of fish being caught and fish up to 13 inches have been reported.
In southeast Lake Michigan harbors, anglers reported a mixed bag of coho and chinook being landed in addition to browns, lakers and rainbow trout. Alewives have moved farther down the water column and many anglers are using spoons. Many of the boaters in Ozaukee were there to participate in salmon derby. The majority of catches again went to trout and salmon. Those catching trout have been seeing success late and midday. Water temperatures on the surface have been right around 68 to 70 degrees.
Buck antler growth has almost ended and they’ll begin to shed velvet in a month or so. Continue to keep an eye out for fawns at roadsides as this year’s youngsters grow up and start to move more independently.
On marshland across the state, Canada geese are starting to flock and stage on oat, cut hay fields and other open areas. Turkey broods with poults of all sizes are being seen, indicating there has been some renesting. Other birds out in the open include pelicans, egrets and herons.
The mosquitos have backed off just a touch, but expect them in force wherever wet areas meet woods. Blueberries are just passed peak and will start to decline while blackberries are ripening. Prairie flowers are in bloom and close to peak in most areas, much to the delight of local butterfly and bee populations. Keep your eye out for monarchs in your area! Compass and cup plant, blazing star, purple coneflower and swamp milkweed are just a few of those blanketing the open spaces in between woods, field and stream.”
Archery, birding, cooking, hunting and fishing are among the fun things to be taught by Department of Natural Resources staff and expert volunteers during the free and family-friendly August Horicon Marsh Outdoor Skills Day on August 5.