April 10, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
The Hayward area experienced a good weekend of spring weather, but Monday brought a dose of reality with a 30-degree drop in temperature and a wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain. However, there is no accumulation on the ground (so far!) Temperatures warm throughout the week, although we might still see some precipitation in the form of rain.
“The last bits of ice should be disappearing, with the only remaining ice on Round and Lac Courte Oreilles. This will leave all lakes open, making it time to get back on the water.
“This is a transition time and as such there are not yet too many anglers on the lakes, though we do have some reports on perch and crappies. Expect decent action soon as the water warms. Anglers should concentrate on shallow bays and look for the warmest water they can find, with afternoon hours better than morning hours. Small plastics and jigs with minnows under floats should do the trick.
“Steelhead anglers fishing the Brule River and other Lake Superior tributaries report some decent action and this is a great time to get up there and enjoy this unique fishery. Spawn sacs under floats drifted through the holes should get some action, as will brightly colored crankbaits and spinners.
“Turkey season is just around the corner and the birds are definitely active. They fared well through the winter and there are plenty around. Enjoy the spring!”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the two reasons why anglers release their catches.
“Anglers do not keep all the fish they catch. Sometimes they release fish because they have to due to regulations; other times, they release fish because they choose to practice catch and release.
“A study in Wisconsin looked at two popular fish species and explored why anglers release them.
“Walleye are a popular harvest species, prized for their eating quality. Anglers were more likely to release walleye because they had to, because the fish were not legal size, rather than choosing to release them voluntarily.
“For muskellunge, the opposite was true. Over time, muskellunge anglers have gravitated towards catch and release, meaning they release most muskies, even if the fish are of legal size.
“The interesting take away from this study is that for muskellunge, the catch and release ethic has essentially become as effective as any regulation in getting anglers to release fish. When it comes to harvest numbers, muskellunge regulations are not nearly as consequential as they are for walleye because nearly all musky anglers release their catch, regardless of size.”
The 2017 Youth Turkey Hunt is this weekend, April 15-16, and youth hunters 12-15 years of age who have completed hunter education may hunt if accompanied by an adult older than 18 years of age. In addition, under the Mentored Hunting Program, turkey hunters 10-11 years of age may participate in the 2017 youth turkey hunt without first completing hunter education. To do so, they must hunt with a qualified adult mentor and follow the program rules. For more information, search “mentored hunting” and “youth turkey hunt” on the DNR website.
In Flambeau River State Forest, Lake of the Pines Campground opens April 15 (just in time for the Youth Turkey Hunt) and Connors Lake Campground opens May 25, the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. All Connors Lake Campground campsites are reservable, and many Lake of the Pines Campsites are reservable, by registering at www.reserveamerica.com or calling (888) 947-2757. In addition to the campgrounds, Flambeau River State Forest operates and maintains 14 river sites on the North Fork of the Flambeau River. The sites have up to three camping units at each site and include a picnic table, fire ring, and toilet facilities. For more information on Flambeau River State Forest, call (715) 332-5271.
The Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) off-road bike trail system (currently closed) consists of more than 300 miles of marked and mapped routes through a near-wilderness area in and around Chequamegon National Forest, connecting Hayward, Seeley, Cable, and Namakagon.
The April 5 HLVCB ATV trail report says the April 1-May 15 spring trail closure is in effect for county forest trails and roads. The forest administrator may re-open trails during this period if there would be minimal impact to the trails. We hope this can happen and that Mother Nature is kind to us following this past not so kind winter! This does not mean you cannot ride at all in Sawyer County. When you look at the trail map and ATV/UTV trails marked by green lines, some have a white line along them indicating routes you can ride. The open routes include: Tuscobia Trail from Birchwood to the Price County line; 9-Mile Loop (Trail 11); LCO Trail from the Casino to Tuscobia Trail (Trail 777); Trail 30 from the Casino into Hayward; the railroad grade (63/77) from Phipps to Seeley; parts of trails 31 and 19 in the Seeley Hills; and town roads/ATV/UTV routes as they generally do not have a spring closure. New ATV routes in the city allow access to out of city limits – check the details on the trails map. Bayfield and Washburn counties closed ATV/UTV trails. Remember the state requires a non-resident trail pass for ATVs.
The Tuscobia Trails ATV Association reports the following trail dates on its website. Trails closed March 15 through April 30 include: National Forest trails and roads; Dead Horse Trail; Trail #40; Trail #5 west of Eagle Lodge to Moose Lake; and Trail #25 north of Tuscobia. Trails closed November 15 through May 15 include Flambeau State Trail #36 and Trail #25 south of Connors Lake. Trail #50 is open to ATVs from the Saturday of Memorial Weekend through the third Sunday in October. Unless otherwise posted, ATV routes are open year-around. Be aware opening and closure dates are subject to change due to ground conditions.
Tuscobia State Trail is a 74-mile trail on a former rail corridor running from Park Falls to Wild Rivers State Trail just north of Rice Lake. The trail passes through part of Flambeau River State Forest and the Blue Hills, connecting seven small communities in Barron, Washburn, Sawyer, and Price counties. The year-round, multi-use trail offers opportunities for ATVs, snowmobiling, horseback riding, off-road bicycling, and walking, with activities varying by time of year and county. In Price County, ATVs can use the trail April 15 through November 15. From the Price/Sawyer county line to the Red Cedar Lake Bridge west of Birchwood, ATVs can use the trail use year-round except November 15 through December 15 during hunting season. Be sure to have the current registration on your ATV/UTV. The trail does not allow motorcycles, dirt bikes, and scooters. For information, call (715) 274-5123.
April 15-16: Youth Turkey Hunt.
April 15-July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).
April 15: Fishing Hall of Fame opens for season.
April 17: Sawyer County CDAC meeting 7-9 p.m., Hayward DNR Service Center.
April 19-25: Period A spring turkey season.
April 26-May 2: Period B spring turkey season.
April 30: Seasons close: Beaver and otter trapping in North Zone.
May 3-9: Period C spring turkey season.
May 5: Early catch and release trout season closes.
May 10-16: Period D spring turkey season.
May 17-23: Period E spring turkey season.
May 24-30: Period F spring turkey season.
May 24-25: Fishing Has No Boundaries Kid’s Event at Nelson Lake (715-634-3185).
May 27: Muskellunge season opens north of Highway 10.