DNR Outdoor Report: Summer Heat

The heat of summer has finally arrived in Wisconsin and with it has come lush growth in forests and prairies. High water is continuing in many areas, especially in central and southern Wisconsin. Some northern waters also remain high while other rivers and lakes have begun to return to more normal seasonal levels. Fishing has been superb on Lake Superior and on northern inland lakes for species from panfish to muskies. Water temperatures are beginning to reach the mid 70s in central part of the state, and the bluegill spawn has pretty much finished.

Along Lake Michigan, waves were crashing over the piers and jetties at harbors this past weekend making for difficult fishing on shore and nasty wind and white caps on the lake. Anglers fishing out of Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Port Washington had good success catching at least one chinook or coho salmon or rainbow trout per trip. The fishing is still low for this time of the year, but a few boats reported up to five fish in a trip.

Monarch and admiral butterflies, as well as many dragonflies are gracing the landscape and monarch caterpillars can now be found in feeding on milkweed leaves. With all the high water earlier this year, mosquitoes were expected to be much worse than they have been but ticks and gnats seem particularly active this year. Now is an excellent time to get out at dusk and watch the twinkling of hundreds of fireflies lighting up the night sky.

Many different prairie and wildflowers species are blooming, including purple prairie clover, black eyed Susans, pale purple coneflower, leadplant, coreopsis, fireweed, buttercup, hawkweed, columbine and many milkweeds. Warm temps and scattered rains have wild fruits ripening including juneberries, blueberries and a few wild strawberries. Wild rice is at floating-leaf stage and so boaters should operate around beds with care.

It’s peak nesting season with fledged young or nestlings now for most species. Fledged eaglets have been observed while some osprey chicks are still being tended to by their parents. Bird song has decreased substantially as is typical does this time of year. Blackbirds and some swallows have begun flocking up. “Fall” shorebird migration is fully underway with lesser yellowlegs, least sandpipers, solitary sandpipers and others already making the return journey south.

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