Paul Holtan, DNR Office of Communications, Madison, 608-267-7517
Charlie Nettesheim, DNR Office of Communications, Madison, 608-267-0541

Some beautiful weather over the Fourth of July holiday had many people out enjoying parks and forests, with campgrounds very busy. While some rain fell over the weekend it was considerably less than the state has received in previous weeks.

Water levels have started to recede but are generally still well above the long term average for this time of year on most river systems. A few sandbars are starting to reappear on the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Water levels remain high on the Rock and Crawfish rivers and slow no wake rules are in effect on the Rock from the Dodge County line to Lake Koshkonong.

Fishing has still been relatively slow over the past week on lower Green Bay, but there were signs of hope with some anglers catching walleyes out of Bayshore and Chaudoir’s Dock. But anglers were having a very easy time catching freshwater drum, white bass, and catfish.

Along Door County smallmouth bass fishing has been hit or miss, with some anglers only catching a fish or two, and some catching upwards of 30. Some anglers were able to catch perch in the shipping canal and at Sawyer Harbor. The best salmon action continued to be out of Baileys Harbor where anglers were finding a few kings.

On Lake Michigan, weather made fishing quite difficult, in part because of storms and also because of cold water temperatures that followed. Some anglers out of Kewaunee, Algoma, Manitowoc and Two Rivers did manage to find fish mostly a mixed bag of rainbows and chinook with some coho thrown in. Fishing pressure picked up toward the end of the week when a salmon derby started.

Boats fishing out of the Sheboygan reported success over the weekend, mainly for coho salmon and rainbow trout, along with a couple chinook salmon and lake trout. In Milwaukee a long string of days with westerly winds pushed warm surface water along the shoreline offshore and pulled cold water in from the lower layers. The cold water drew large numbers of alewives, trout, and salmon into shallow water and anglers landed coho and rainbow and brown. Fishing improved for boat anglers out of Racine and Kenosha this past week, mostly for coho salmon and steelhead with a few king salmon and brown trout mixed in as well.

Early morning calls of loons are being heard in the Northwoods while evening have been filled with calls of the hermit thrush, veery and winter wren. Eaglets are fledging and goslings and ducklings are getting pretty big. Grouse coveys have been seen by lots of visitors to the Flambeau River State Forest, a good indicator of the grouse population. Deer antlers are growing big enough now to start showing branching.

Blue flag iris are still blooming in some Northwoods swamps, where the dainty partridge berry is also in bloom. Wild bergamot is about to bloom in open grassy areas.

These warm July nights, especially after a rain, are an excellent time to get outside after dark to watch the fire flies. This weekend also brings July’s full moon–the full “Buck” moon and a number of full moon events are scheduled around the state.

Ripe wild strawberries are a treat for walkers; hopefully, blueberries are not far behind. Blackberry plants are setting their fruits, and it looks like the upcoming blackberry crop will be tremendous. Copious moisture sure helps with fruit development. Blackberries are of great importance to a wide range of wildlife for food and cover. In excess of 100 bird species eat blackberries, as well as raccoons, chipmunks, squirrels, and black bears

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