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Wisconsin experienced some changing and variable weather conditions in the past week, ranging from hot and humid to dry, to cool and damp. The entire state has received rainfall in the last week ranging from an inch to two, and fire danger is now low statewide with no burning restrictions in place.
Trees across areas of northern Wisconsin that experienced drought conditions this summer are showing early signs of stress-induced color change, with branches of maples already beginning to turn a dull red and some birch and popple showing tints of yellow. Some elm and sumac are also showing some early color.
The variable weather this week made for some erratic fishing success. In the north, the most consistent action has been with musky. Bass fishing has been inconsistent -- with some days producing good action while other days find the bites hard to come by. Walleye fishing has been fair, with many anglers using leeches and crawlers along the weed edges and in weed pockets. Northern pike action has been good in the last several weeks and panfish action continued to be fair.
Some nice walleye were being taken from the Menominee River at Marinette. Perch and walleye fishing improved a bit over the last week on Green Bay, with good catches reported from Sturgeon Bay south along the east shore of the bay. Bass fishing has also been very good over the last week. Fishing out on Lake Michigan was fair early in the week because of favorable weather conditions, but dropped to poor over the weekend because of windy weather. Anglers trolling on the lake reported mixed catches of chinook salmon and rainbow, with some brown and lake trout also landed. Some salmon have already begun to get darker as the fall spawning run gets closer, and there have even been some fish spotted up the Kewaunee River. Shore and pier anglers at Port Washington have been catching brown and rainbow trout. Milwaukee and Racine angers have had success with chinook salmon and brown trout, and Kenosha anglers were still finding a few perch along with brown trout and some chinook salmon taken near the mouth of the Pike River.
The Mississippi River rose some and was at 7.7 feet this week at Prairie du Chien. The rise slowed bluegill fishing a little, but some nice sized bluegills were still being taken off the wing dams along the main channel. Walleye and sauger action was fair, with early morning and later in the best time for walleye action. Smallmouth and largemouth bass have been very active.
There were 4,224 applications for the 2010 Upriver Lakes sturgeon spearing license lottery, with 500 successful applicants authorized to purchase an Upriver license for the 2010 season. People who applied, but did not get authorized to purchase an Upriver license for 2010, earned a preference point, and can still buy a license for the Lake Winnebago season. Whether buying an Upriver Lakes or Lake Winnebago license, they must be purchased no later than Saturday, October 31.
White-tailed deer fawns are beginning to loose their spots and bucks are showing good antler growth. Barred Owls have been calling. Large flocks of bluebirds and blackbirds are gathering. Bluebird concentrations tend to number about 10 to 20 birds, but blackbird flocks reach several hundred to more than a thousand birds. Flocks of blue-winged teal and a few coots have arrived around La Crosse. Additional white pelicans have also arrived. There are now several hundred around La Crosse. Luna moths are being seen in some areas. The large, fluorescent green moths, often seen in the moonlight, only live for about a week.
A variety of mushrooms are popping up in the forests in response to the plentiful rainfall this week. Prairie flowers in bloom include compass plant, prairie dock, whorled milkweed, butterfly weed, early goldenrod, yellow, purple and pale purple coneflower, bergamot, black eyed susan, Joe-Pye weed, and leadplant.