It is Monday afternoon, snow covers the ground, and there is a temptation (albeit slight) to include a snowmobile trail report this week. However, forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday show highs of 54-degree temperatures both days and what might be amusing today will just seem weird Wednesday. It really is true – timing is everything.
“This weather not only slowed panfish activity and success, but also anglers’ willingness of to be out in the cold and wind,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “From a couple weeks ago up to the previous weekend, there was a very good panfish bite. There was no clear pattern, but an indication fish are moving towards the shallows.
“The abnormal temperatures in early March should have the panfish spawning well ahead of usual. The DNR says the average spawn time could be as much as one full month early this year, but recent weather has delayed movement to spawning beds.
“Concentrate on areas with weeds in six to eight feet of water. Anglers using crappie minnows under bobbers and 1/32-ounce tube jigs are making some good catches. You should find crappies along the weeds and weed edges. For perch, target the shallow flats.”
Mark at Hayward Bait says the panfish moved deeper with the cooler weather and anglers should “think small” and downsize baits (jigs) and tackle to improve their success.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says there is not much angling pressure, but anglers who are getting on the water are doing well on crappies and catching some bluegills. He recommends crappie minnows and jigs tipped with plastics for crappies. Bluegills are hitting jigs and plastics, too, though on some days prefer worms and waxies. Dave says last week on the Chippewa Flowage he read surface temperatures of 49 degrees in open water and up to 54 degrees in shallow bays.
“The walleyes spawned more than a week ago,” says Randyat Jenk’s, “and water temperatures continue to run a little on the warm side for this time of year. As of a few days ago, the Chippewa Flowage water temperatures were running in the mid 40s on the main lake and low 50s in some bays.
“If this continues, crappies will have an early spawn. I’m keeping an eye on my chokecherry tree – it hasn’t been wrong in 32 years!”
At Anglers All on Chequamegon Bay in Ashland, Carolyn says the smelt were running into last weekend, but call ahead for a current report. Salmon and trout fishing is excellent for trollers flat-lining stickbaits or using bait flies and dodgers, and anglers are catching northerns and a few walleyes along the Ashland shoreline.
Wildfire Prevention Week runs through Saturday April 21 and burning restrictions remain in place for much of northwest Wisconsin. Last week, 96 wildfires burned 156 acres in DNR protection areas statewide, consuming two structures and threatening 20 others. Please stay aware of fire danger and burning permit requirements by visiting the DNR website or calling 1-888-WISBURN after 11 a.m. each day.
Results from the April 9 WisconsinSpring Fish and Wildlife hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings are now available on the Spring Rules Hearings page of the DNR website. The Natural Resources Board (NRB) will review meeting results and written comments at its May 23 meeting in Madison, but votes presented to the NRB are as advisories and non-binding.
Period B, the second of six, seven-day spring turkey season periods, opens Wednesday April 18. As of April 16, permits remain available in zones 1 and 3 (periods D, E, F), zone 4 (E, F), and zone 5 (F). Reminder: Hunters harvesting a turkey must register it by phone (1-888-486-8947) or online by 5 p.m. the day after harvest. Although registration is now online or over the phone, some successful hunters are hauling their birds into former turkey registration stations to get photographs and share their hunting stories.
Wisconsin has contracted with Dr. James Kroll, “Dr. Deer,” to conduct an independent, objective, and scientific review of DNR deer management practices. Through April, Dr. Kroll is holding six deer management meetings around the state. One of the meetings is in Hayward this Wednesday, April 18, from 7-10 p.m., at Hayward Intermediate School.
There are still openings are available for the 28th Annual Treeland Walleye Challenge May 11-13 on the Chippewa Flowage. Registration for the three-day, catch-and-release family fishing eventis limited to the first 300 adult entries. Entry fees (after April 15) are $80 single, $140 with spouse, and $15 per child with parent(s). Each 13-inch or longer walleye registered and released earns one entry in the Grand Prize drawing for a $3000 Cabela’s gift certificate, and the first three places win cash awards. Grand door prizes include a Humminbird sonar locator donated by Jenk’s Bait and Tackle, and three $100 cash prizes. For more information, visit www.treelandresorts.com, or call (715) 462-3874.