April 17, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
According to the forecasts for this week, we start with cool temperatures and cloudy skies, receive some rain mid-week, and finish with warmer temperatures and clear skies. So say the weather folks.
“Now that the ice is gone and spring getting nicer every week, activity on the lakes is increasing,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “It will only get warmer and soon, May 6, we will have a great start to the open water fishing season. This is a great time of year to be outside.
“For now, anglers are getting on the lakes to test their boats and perhaps try for the evening panfish bite, when the fish move to shallower, warmer water. Just be careful –the water is still very cold!
“This time of year, crappies are in deeper weeds and hit quite well in late afternoon into evenings on minnows and small, flashy jigs. Bluegills are in the same weeds and will hit on waxies – and they seem to feed quite actively all day.”
“The water temperature is in the low to mid 40s and we are starting to receive some decent panfish reports. You will find most action a little deeper until later in the day, but if conditions warm, try shallow water, looking for the warmest water. Small jigs with plastics or minnows will get crappies, while leaf worms and waxies work well for bluegills.
“Anglers fishing the Lake Superior tributaries are also having some luck and it is hard to beat spawn sacs under floats. The rain we received should make for better conditions this week.
“For anglers who are into smoking fish, there is some rough fish action in the local rivers.
“Turkeys are active with the warming temperatures and hunters should enjoy good success during the first seasons.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses anglers’ awareness of regulations.
“A study in Minnesota using angler creel surveys on 35 lakes looked at angler compliance with fishing regulations. Interviews with anglers revealed that 14 percent of them did not know the regulations for the lake they were fishing. The anglers were generally less aware of more complex regulations such as slot limits and, understandably, even less aware of relatively new regulations.
“Not surprisingly, in-state anglers and anglers who spent more time on the water in a given year tended to have more regulation awareness. Also not surprising, anglers who did not know the regulations were more likely to harvest a fish not of legal size.
“Results such as these demonstrate that agencies and conservation groups need to be diligent in advertising and informing anglers about regulation changes. Anglers can also help by informing others they meet out on the water.”
The Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce, Hayward Lions Club, and Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin are collaborating to bring a fishing spectacular to the Hayward area. In conjunction with the 68th annual Hayward Musky Festival presented by the Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce and Timber Ford, these groups will offer a $100,000 prize for the first certified state record musky, tiger musky, smallmouth bass, northern pike, or crappie caught in the Hayward Lakes area during June 20-24. The Hayward Lions Musky Festival Fishing Spectacular will award prizes Saturday, June 24, just before the street dance. Contest registration ($5) begins May 6 and anglers must pre-register to qualify for the $100,000 prize.
The HLVCB ATV trail report reminds ATV operators that the spring trail closure April 1-May 15 is in effect for county forest trails and roads. The forest administrator may re-open trails during this period if conditions indicate there would be minimal impact to the trails. However, there are still areas in Sawyer County where you ride ATVs/UTVs at this time. Check the ATV/UTV trail map and look for trails marked by the green lines – you will find some trails with a white line running along them. The white lines indicate routes, which you can ride. 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 777); the trail from the Casino into Hayward (Trail 30), and railroad grade (63/77) from Phipps to Seeley. Sections of trails 31 and 19 in the Seeley Hills are open, as are town roads designated as ATV/UTV routes, as they do not generally have a spring closure. New ATV routes in the city allow access out of city limits. Check details on the trails map.
Tuscobia State Trail is a 74-mile trail on a former rail corridor, one of the longest rail trails in the state, running from Park Falls to Wild Rivers State Trail just north of Rice Lake. The year-round multiple use recreational trail passes through part of the Flambeau River State Forest and the Blue Hills. 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 year-round except November 15 through December 15 during hunting seasons. Please be sure to have the current registration on your ATV or UTV before heading out on the trail. The trail does not allow motorcycles, dirt bikes (off-road or street legal), and scooters. For information, call (715) 274-5123.
With the ice gone and temperatures warming, anglers are “getting the itch” to be on the water and test their skills. Though there is still a nearly three-week wait for the game fish opener, panfish season continues and some anglers are trying for crappies and bluegills. The consensus is that the best time for success is in late afternoon, after the water warms a bit. Crappies and bluegills are holding in deeper weeds, but move to shallower, warmer water as the day progresses. For crappies, use small jigs with minnows or plastics. For bluegills, use leaf worms and waxies. Hayward area rivers are offering some good rough fish action for anglers who are so inclined, and to the north, anglers fishing Lake Superior and its tributaries report success on trout and salmon.
April 19-25: Period A spring turkey season.
April 26-May 2: Period B spring turkey season.
April 29: Crex Meadows Wildlife Area “Wild Edibles” workshop (715-463-2739).
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.
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).