May 8, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
The Hayward area provided opening weekend anglers very good fishing conditions, though a front moving in Friday afternoon brought rain and a significant temperature drop of 30 degrees by day’s end. This week’s weather looks every bit as good for anglers and for anyone enjoying outdoor activities.
“It was great weather start to the game fish season,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and the lakes saw plenty of activity.
“Musky season is closed, but a few crappie anglers made accidental catches – and make sure you know the difference between musky and northern pike.
“Walleye are in post spawn. Try fishing jigs and minnows or leeches on the edges of humps, holes, and rocky areas. In the evening, cast small Rapalas along the shorelines. Fish northern pike along green weeds and shallower water holding panfish. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits, jigs/minnows, and large fatheads under bobbers will work.
“Largemouth bass season is open and there is no size limit on the Quiet Lakes and some other lakes – just be sure to check the regulations for the lakes you fish. Largemouth are shallow with the panfish. Smallmouth are along deeper rock/gravel areas. Remember that smallmouth fishing is catch and release only until June 17.
“For crappie and bluegill, look for the warmest water in shallow bays and lake areas. Start in 6-10 feet and move shallower until you find them. Small crappie minnows and plastics under small bobbers work well.”
“We heard mixed reports from walleye anglers, with some finding fish and most action coming from less than 10 feet of water on gravel and sand flats near spawning areas. Jigs with fatheads or plastics are a good choice and try crankbaits and rattling baits for reaction strikes.
“Pike action is decent on suckers on jigs or under floats and slow-trolling spoons and spinnerbaits, with shallow bays and new weeds prime targets.
“Largemouth bass are active on small crankbaits and Senko worms and shallow, warm water with cover should hold fish. Catch and release smallmouth action is good on shallow gravel and rock areas with jerkbaits and swimbaits in bright colors.
“Crappie activity is improving with the warming temperatures and some fish are moving to the bays and warming flats. Small minnows and plastics will get the most fish.
“The local trout streams are definitely producing some trout action for anglers floating crawlers and leaf worms or casting small jerkbaits and spinners along current breaks and holes.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay fishing is good despite big rains and high wind conditions.
“Water clarity is improving with the calming weather, leading to mud lines where fish like to hide. Inside the Bay, anglers are catching brown trout, coho, and splake primarily by trolling stickbaits in shallow water out to the first break, as well as on casting spoons.
“Water temperatures in the low 40s have been ideal for trout and salmon, but that temperature is keeping warmwater species in somewhat deeper water. Smallmouth should be active in Sand Cut along with perch, northern, and walleye.
“Streams are starting to drop down and clear and rain brought in fresh steelhead.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses female walleye size and reproduction success.
“Spawning female walleyes range in size from 14 to more than 30 inches and for a long time the conventional wisdom was that older female walleye produced lower quality eggs than the younger female walleye. When it comes to reproductive fitness, do young, smaller female walleye have an edge over older, large female walleye?
“A series of studies in Canada and Wisconsin challenged the ‘conventional wisdom’ and assigns much of the reproductive success in walleye populations to the older females.
“The studies show that eggs from larger, older walleye have higher hatching success and that larger, older females produce larger eggs. In itself, that does not mean much, but larger eggs go on to produce larger larval walleye, which may play a role in improved survival odds for the large females’ offspring.
“A recent study at Wisconsin’s Escanaba Lake corroborates these results by demonstrating that the larger female walleye in the lake disproportionally produce more offspring.
“Results such as these demonstrate the importance of protecting large female walleye with closed fishing during the spawn and slot limits that restrict harvest of larger females.”
The DNR’s new, length-only, live release record fish program offers anglers the satisfaction of accomplishing both a state record and a successful live release. Submissions must include photos taken from different perspectives. One photo must show the fish on its side with a measuring device beside it and the length number clearly visible. Another photo must show the angler with the fish. If DNR fisheries biologists are 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” on the DNR website.
There is a new twist to the Hayward Lion’s Club Musk Fest Fishing Contest this year – the $100,000 Musky Fest Lions Family Fishing Spectacular offering anglers the opportunity to win $100,000 for catching a state record fish! The contest runs from June 20 to 5 p.m. June 24 and includes the following species: musky, tiger musky, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and black crappie. For more information, rules, entry requirements, and other specifics, visit http://www.muskyfest.com/100000-musky-fest-lions-fishing-spectacular.
The 30th annual Hayward Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries fishing event for people with disabilities is 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 and welcomes additional volunteers to work the docks, assist participants on and off boats, clean fish, and other duties, trustworthy fishing and pontoon boat operators; and volunteers to sell raffle tickets throughout the summer. For more information, visit www.haywardfhnb.org, or call (715) 634-3185; (800) 243-3462.
Treeland Resorts is hosting its 33rd Annual Treeland Challenge Fishing Tournament May 11-14 on the Chippewa Flowage. The catch-and-release walleye and largemouth bass tournament offers participants the opportunity to 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, with entry fees $95 single; $160 w/spouse; and $25 for each child w/parent. For more information, visit www.treelandresorts.com or call (715) 462-3874.
Three quick reminders for anglers at the start of this new season:
1) Muskie season in the northern zone does not open until May 27.
2) Smallmouth bass fishing in the northern bass zone is catch and release only until June 17.
3) While you are checking to make sure you have all necessary equipment, make sure you have your new license!
Walleyes are post-spawn and appear somewhat scattered. Target in/on the edges of gravel, sand flats, humps, holes, and rock from shallow out to 30 feet. The most productive baits include jigs/minnows, jigs/leeches, jigs/plastics, crankbaits, rattle baits, and in the evening hours, small Rapalas on shorelines.
Northern pike are on the prowl in shallower areas holding weeds and panfish. Top producing baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and live bait such as northern suckers, large fatheads, and jigs/minnows.
Largemouth season opened with game fish season and there is good action in shallow bays with weeds, brush – and panfish. Crankbaits and plastics (worms, tubes) will work.
Crappies are pre-spawn, but moving shallow. Look for fish in mid-depth/first break areas and shallower, especially in warmer water bays, flats, and near cover that absorbs the sun’s warmth. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, small plastics, dressed jigs, tube jigs, and Gulp! baits.
Bluegills are also pre-spawn and starting their move to shallower, warmer areas in bays and south-facing shorelines out to 10-12 feet. Start deeper and move shallow as the fish dictate. Waxies, leaf worms, small minnows, and small plastics will all put fish in the boat.
May 3-9: Period C spring turkey season.
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 18: Fishing Has No Boundaries benefit concert, Sawyer County Fairgrounds (800-243-3462).
June 20-24: $100,000 Musky Fest Fishing Spectacular (715-634-8662).
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).