Fall travel has advantages
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on Sept. 27, 2009 at 1:39 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
With kids back in school, and many summer vacations spent, those who have the time and freedom to travel Wisconsin in the fall can find many advantages.
The crowds at many attractions often are less than in the peak of summer. Fishing can actually pick up in some areas. Fees on accommodations, golf courses and other attractions often are reduced.
The State Department of Tourism has issued a guide to finding the autumn spots for you. Here are some excerpts from the guide:
With more than 15,000 lakes, fishing in Wisconsin is literally a year-round sport. However, for certain species, fall is peak season. Muskies, for instance, become much more active feeders when the water temperature drops below 60 degrees, which typically happens in mid-to late September.
As lake temperatures drop, muskies go on a feeding binge that lasts through November, fattening themselves up prior to winter on ciscoes, white suckers and yellow perch. It is during this time period that the biggest fish of the year are typically caught, such as the 53-in., 51-pound monster Tom Geld pulled in last November in Vilas County (one of the only 50+ pound muskies caught in the U.S. in recent years.)
While musky waters can be found across the state, they are most plentiful in the Northwoods, including Vilas and Oneida Counties; the greater Hayward area in Sawyer County; the Mercer area in Iron County; and the Spooner area in Washburn County.
Lake Michigan salmon fishing also reaches its peak during the fall season, though for different reasons. During this time, Chinook and, later, Coho start coming in from deep water to tributary streams to spawn. Chinook are the first to come in, typically spawning from mid-September into early October, while Coho and brown trout spawning begins in early October and runs through the middle to end of that month.
In the last several years state DNR officials have noticed a dramatic rise in out-of-state fishermen coming to Southeastern Wisconsin during this time.
"Fall salmon fishing here is just unbelievable," said Brad Eggold of the Wisconsin DNR. "These fish are not as large as coastal salmon but, since their stream migration distance is limited by dams, they are concentrated into a smaller area than in other parts of the country which translate into very high harvest rates."
Eggold cited a number of river and river mouth areas as fall salmon hotspots, including the Sheboygan River in Sheboygan County; the Menomonee and Milwaukee Rivers in Milwaukee County; the Pike River in Kenosha County and the Root River in Racine County. Additional statewide areas include the Manitowoc River, Kewaunee River, and Menomonee River in Marinette Co.
Prospective anglers are encouraged to visit www.dnr.wi.gov/fish/lakemich for more information or to call the Wisconsin DNR fishing hotline at (414) 382-7920.
Golf in Wisconsin is now played through October and even into November. Fall rounds generally have a delightfully luxurious and unhurried feel to them.
Courses tend to "green up" nicely, offering lush fairways draped in beautiful fall colors. Many of the state's elite PGA Tour-caliber courses begin offering seasonal discounts in September, making it easy for average players to experience courses they might only dream about in high season.
While discounts and season closing dates vary from course to course (and depend on weather conditions) most of the state's top facilities welcome fall players and group outings. Among the state's top courses are Whistling Straits in Sheboygan (site of the 2007 U.S. Senior Open and 2010 PGA Championship); Blackwolf Run in Kohler (site of the 1998 U.S. Women's Open); Brown Deer in Milwaukee (home of the US Bank Championship); Erin Hills near Hartford; Northern Bay in Arkdale; The Bull at Pinehurst Farms in Sheboygan Falls, Troy Burne in Hudson; Coldwater Canyon in Wisconsin Dells; University Ridge in Verona; and Grand Geneva and Geneva National in Lake Geneva.
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