Around the Badger State

This will be a great weekend for fall colors across Wisconsin with color at peak or just past across the north and much of central Wisconsin and from 25 to 50 percent color in southern Wisconsin on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism's Fall Color Report.
The past week has once again been very wet and gray. There have been a few snowflakes in the air in the far north, but not any accumulation yet.
Recent rains continue to have rivers flowing well above normal for this time of year. The Bois Brule, Flambeau, Chippewa, Black, Menominee, Peshtigo and Oconto rivers all surged over the weekend. The Menominee river shot up 4,000 cubic feet per second to 7,000 cfs by Sunday. The lower Wisconsin River is back on the rise after beginning to fall last week and was at over 26,000 cfs at Muscoda, meaning most sandbars are again under water. Lake Superior experienced some major wave action along the south shore this week making it too rough to boat.
The rain has once again shut down some popular trails in the state due to flooding. The Sugar River is closed in its entirety and the sections of the Badger are closed again. The Elroy-Sparta and 400 trails remain closed from storm damage in August.
Anglers on the Wolf River were catching crappies. Central Wisconsin trout streams are out of their banks and unfishable. This may have realistically ended the inland trout season as waters may not be fishable before the Oct. 15 closing.
Lake Michigan was also rough keeping many boats off the water, but the trout and salmon runs on tributaries continued despite high river levels. Fishing pressure was high on the Kewaunee, Ahnapee, East and West Twin and Manitowoc rivers and Stony Creek with folks crowding around some dams. Many dark brown and black chinook were being caught.
The cold front coming towards the end of the week is predicted to bring in another wave of migrating waterfowl. Duck numbers continue to increase and good numbers of pintail, wigeon, gadwall, bufflehead, mallard, wood duck, and blue and green-winged are being seen. Duck hunters in the northern zone have been successful harvesting ducks and the southern and Mississippi duck and Canada goose zones reopen Saturday.
Deer hunters are reporting that buck deer are starting to show some early chasing activity. More than 14,000 deer have been harvested so far by crossbow and archery hunters and another 7,000 deer were harvested in the Youth Hunt last weekend.
Raptor migration should be excellent this week with great diversity, including merlins, sharp-shinned, red-shouldered, and red-tailed hawks, turkey vultures, harriers, eagles and others. Sandhill cranes and common loons are both flocking up now.
There are a lot of fall color activities this weekend including a hike atop Rib Mountain or on the Ice Age Trail through Kettle Moraine. The MacKenzie Center is holding its Fall Festival Saturday. And Saturday and Sunday the Horicon Visitor and Education Center will host an archaeological festival with a buck skinners encampment, a drum circle and more. Learn about the Lake Michigan salmon fishery at the Root River Steelhead Facility Open House Saturday. This is also the last opportunity of the year to take in the UW Astronomy Dept. Universe in the Parks programs that will be held Friday at Newport and Saturday at Devil's Lake, Kohler-Andrae and Peninsula.