The north woods is experiencing a return to more normal seasonal temperatures, but it’s a bitter pill to swallow after enjoying those pleasant few weeks of sunshine and 60- to 70-degree temperatures. Today is cool and windy, but this is early in April and we are not knee-deep in snow. We’ll take it!
In case you did not know,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “we have open water and it is very early this year. The ice on the area lakes disappeared on March 21-22, considerably earlier than anyone can remember, so you can get out on your favorite lake and try for panfish. Just remember that game fish season is not yet open and you will have to release any walleye, bass, pike, or muskie. Play by the rules and have fun with panfish until the regular game fish opener.
“Anglers report a very good crappie, bluegill, and perch bite, with many catching their limit. Fish are just off weed lines in 6-8 feet of water. Use crappie minnows or 1/32-ounce tube jigs.”
“This is a good time to pull out the boat for spring cleaning, battery charging, loading safety gear, and maybe a little ‘shakedown’ cruise. It is always nice to work out any bugs before the first outing of the year.”
Mark at Hayward Bait says there are plenty of activity choices available to keep a person busy.
“Spring turkey season opens this week, and this is actually a good time to scout for deer patterns. Look for trails, old scrapes and rubs, as well as search for sheds. This is a beautiful time to be on the water. Fishing is good and there are few anglers (remember game fish season does not open until May 5), and it’s a great time for canoeing and kayaking, too.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says all the lakes are open and with fairly high water levels, but so far few anglers are taking advantage of this early open water.
“Crappie anglers are finding fish in deeper water during the morning hours and then moving to shallower water warmed by the afternoon sun. Crappie minnows, jigs and plastics, and marabou jigs are all working well. So far, I’ve not heard much about bluegill and perch.”
Carolyn at Anglers All on Chequamegon Bay in Ashland says anglers trolling the bay are catching good numbers of coho in shallower water, as well as picking up a few brown trout and steelhead. The smelt run has not yet started and the fish continue to hold in deep water.
Anglers note: The DNR has adjusted the daily walleye bag limits on 537 lakes in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. The limits are effective May 5, 2012 through March 3, 2012. The adjusted walleye bag limits are available on the DNR website and published as an insert to the 2012-2013 fishing regulations.
Hayward Bass Club is holding a meeting at Hayward Rod and Gun Club Wednesday April 11, starting at 7 p.m., to review fishing outing plans for this year. Call Wayne Balsavich (405) 227-1789 for more information.
The first of Wisconsin’s six, seven-day spring turkey season periods opens Wednesday April 11. Following the preference drawing, more than 90,000 remaining permits went on sale March 19. As of April 7, permits remain available in zones 1 and 3 (periods D, E, F), zone 4 (E, F), and zone 5 (F). Reminder: Successful hunters must register their turkey by phone (1-888-486-8947) or online by 5 p.m. the day after harvest.
The Wisconsin Conservation Congress, in conjunction with whitetail deer trustee Dr. James Kroll, is holding six town hall meetings around the state to gather ideas and solutions concerning deer management. Wisconsin contracted Dr. Kroll to conduct an independent, objective, and scientific review of Wisconsin’s deer management practices. One of the six meetings is April 18, from 7-10 p.m., at Hayward Intermediate School.
There is still time to sign up for the May 11-13 Treeland Walleye Challenge, an annual three-day, catch-and-release family event on the Chippewa Flowage. Entry fees (postmarked by April 15) are $70 single, $125 with spouse, and $15 per child with parent. (Fees increase after April 15.) Registration is limited to the first 300 adult entries. Each 13-inch or longer walleye registered and released earns one entry in the Grand Prize drawing for a $3000 Cabela’s gift certificate. The first three places win cash awards. Grand Door prizes include a Humminbird sonar donated by Jenk’s Bait and Tackle, and three $100 cash prizes. For more information, call (715) 462-3874.
The North Country Riders ATV Club’s Eighth Annual Spaghetti Feed and Fundraiser is this Saturday, April 14, from 3-8 p.m., at Hayward Veterans Center. The cost of the all you can eat dinner is only $7 per person, and the event includes raffles and door prizes. For more information, call (715) 462-3838.