May 1, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Cool temperatures combined with a rain/snow mix to start the week, but forecasts indicate gradual improvements. Should predictions hold, anglers fishing in the Hayward area during this Saturday’s May 6 game fish opener should enjoy nearly ideal conditions of sunshine, blue skies, and temperatures in the 60-degree range.
“This past weekend’s mix of rain, cold, snow should improve later in the week,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “just in time for the start of the game fish season next Saturday.
“A week ago, anglers reported finding crappies in 8-10 feet and water temperatures approaching 50 degrees, indicating the fish were moving toward the shallows to spawn. However, you can be sure the abrupt change in weather halted their advance.
“The Saturday, May 6, game fish opener is only a few days away – are you ready?”
“Although very few anglers are fishing right now, those who do are catching some crappies. Try fishing the typical spring spots such as smaller bays and areas with inflowing water with small plastics and crappie minnows.
“The game fish opener is this Saturday, May 6, and anglers should expect a challenging bite unless we get some better weather. Walleyes should be post spawn and on shallow flats leading out from spawning areas. – find warmer water. Fatheads and walleye suckers on jigs usually work right away, but do not be afraid to try some swimbaits as well.
“Northern pike should be active around any new weeds and in shallow bays. Try spoons, jerkbaits, and swimbaits.
“Largemouth should be shallow, looking for warm water, and wacky rigging some stick worms, jigs, or jerkbaits should produce some action. Catch and release fishing opens for smallmouth bass that should be moving into spawning areas and jerkbaits and swimbaits are your best bet.
“Good luck and enjoy a great start to the season!”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses walleye maturity and reproduction.
“A common question anglers ask concerns what age a walleye must reach before it will start reproducing. As with most questions related to fish, the answer depends on a number of other factors.
“Generally speaking, male walleye reach sexual maturation earlier in life than female walleye. In the upper Midwest, males often mature between 2-4 years of age, while females usually mature a little later, at 4-5 years.
“The amount of fat reserves a female has can alter when she matures and females that have been feeding well and have considerable fat reserves often mature sooner than females with less fat reserves. This is somewhat intuitive – if the fish is not finding much to eat, it will not be able to produce many eggs, and delaying maturation may benefit the fish.
“Walleye density can also affect the age at which a walleye matures. Females in more dense populations are more likely to mature a little later than females in lakes having low density populations. Again, this may relate to food availability. In lakes with many walleyes, competition for food is more intense. In lakes with few walleyes, there is more food to go around and walleyes are able to devote their energy to making eggs.”
The Hayward Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries will hold its 30th annual fishing event for people with disabilities Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, at Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. The two-day event hosts 150 participants fishing from boats and pontoons, an experience that for some was once was only a dream. The event always needs additional volunteers to work the docks, assist participants on and off boats, clean fish, and other duties; fishing and pontoon boats with trustworthy operators; and volunteers to sell raffle tickets throughout the summer. For more information, visit http://www.haywardfhnb.org, or call (715) 634-3185; (800) 243-3462.
The DNR will accept public comment through May 10 on variances to Tuscobia State Trail and Flambeau River State Forest master plans aimed at increased motorized recreation opportunities. A variance to the Flambeau River State Forest master plan authorizes approximately five miles of Hervas Road as an ATV/UTV route and designates 300 feet of Connors Lake boat landing road for winter-only ATV/UTV use. A variance to the Price County section of Tuscobia Trail expands ATV/UTV use to year-round, with proposed open/closing dates mirroring dates in other counties. To submit comments, search “master planning” on the DNR website.
Treeland Resorts is hosting its 33rd Annual Treeland Challenge Fishing Tournament, a catch-and-release walleye and largemouth bass tournament May 11-14 on the Chippewa Flowage. Participants can win thousands of dollars in cash and equipment contest prizes and door prizes every day of the four-day tournament. The contest limits entries to the first 300 adult entrants. The entry fee is $95 single; $160 w/spouse; $25 for each child w/parent. For more information, visit www.treelandresorts.com or call (715) 462-3874.
Starting May 6, the DNR is offering a new live release record fish program, recognized by length only. This provides anglers with the satisfaction of accomplishing both a state record and a successful live release. Submissions must include photos taken from different perspectives, including one with the fish on its side and a measuring device beside it with the length number clearly visible, and one showing the angler with the fish. If DNR fisheries biologists are if unable to make a conclusive identification of the species from the photos, they will not consider the record claim. The program is honor-based and does not require witnesses. For more information, search “live release records.”
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. is hosting a club meeting Tuesday, May 2, at Grid Iron Pub and Grub on Main Street in Hayward, and welcomes the public to attend. Special guest speaker, DNR fisheries biologist Tim Parks, who conducts the PIT tag program, will present information gathered from the tagging and scanning efforts. The meeting begins at 7 p.m., admission is free, and anyone attending the meeting who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
A few anglers are trying their luck, but for the most part the rain/snow mix weather pattern has deterred a majority of them and most are waiting for this weekend’s May 6 game fish opener (and the tentatively scheduled better weather.)
If you have not already done so, take time – MAKE time – now to locate your tackle and put it in some sort of order. Make sure line guides are in place and that your reels have line and actually work. Do you own a boat and live with bad memories of last year’s opening day fiasco? Are you going for a repeat… or perhaps a three-peat? (Seriously?) Get the boat ready to go, if not for yourself, out of consideration for your fishing partners. Finally, with less than a week remaining until opening day, accept the inevitable and purchase your new fishing license!
April 26-May 2: Period B spring turkey season.
April 30: Seasons closed: 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 5-6: Free Outdoor Expo at Lakewoods (715-798-3833; 794-2561).
May 10-16: Period D spring turkey season.
May 11-14: 33rd Annual Treeland Challenge Fishing Tournament (715-462-3874).
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.
June 3-4: Free Fishing Weekend.
June 22-25: 67th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).