Outdoor Report for April 11, 2016

HLVCB Outdoor Report

April 11, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

With a bit of luck, Monday’s scattered flurries and snow squalls signaled the end of winter in the North Woods. Once we move past Tuesday, should the current forecast hold, the remainder of the week looks very good, with highs in the mid to upper 60-degree range!

At Hayward Bait, Bob, Sonya, and guide Steve Genson say the ice is out on smaller lakes, though larger lakes still have ice cover.

“Rivers are high and fast, but we have reports of steelhead catches on the Brule and other tributaries. Anglers are using spawn, waxies, spinners, spoons, and crankbaits such as flatfish, Lazy Ikes, and minnow baits.

“Northern pike should now be done spawning in many lakes and walleyes will soon start spawning.

“For anglers who have their boats in the water, crappies and bluegills are still suspending in deep water, but they should start moving shallower with the rising water temperatures. Remember to renew your fishing license!

“The first turkey season starts Wednesday April 13 and we wish hunters good luck!”

According to DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, ice-out progress stalled on most waters across the North Woods with the variable cold weather the last few weeks.

“A warm spell in late March resulted in a few shallow lakes and flowages becoming ice free. However, most larger lakes still have nearly a complete covering of ice – and that ice is not safe for any kind of travel. Fishing opportunities are at a standstill, and anglers are just waiting for rivers to warm and suckers to start their spring run.

“With the first open water of the season, DNR fishery crews began a few early spring surveys. Northern pike, one of the first species to spawn in spring, have already begun that ritual in several area waters.

The crews use fyke nets set from shore to trap the northerns as they explore the shallows for places to spawn and this allows for the best population assessment. Crews place a captured fish in a live tank, measure and record it, give a small fin clip, and then release the fish to complete its spring spawning ritual.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses how a low spring warm-up is not always bad for fish.

“While it looked as if spring was off and running a few weeks ago when temperatures cracked 60 a few times, things cooled off again. That might leave some anglers and fish enthusiasts wondering what this could mean for the 2016 spawn for some of our favorite species.

“The good news is that water temperatures never really warmed up enough to get fish fully into spawning mode. Fisheries crews out on several area lakes that lost their ice early are finding female walleye still holding onto their eggs until things warm up a bit.

“Fish can have bad spawning years when water temperatures warm up, prompting an early spawn, then cool again. That kind of drop in temperature can be hard on newly hatched fry.

“So far in 2016, we have not run into this situation for most of our gamefish species.”

In addition to renewing fishing licenses before hitting the water, anglers should be aware of new DNR experimental panfish regulations that took effect April 1 on 93 lakes across the state. The rules are part of a 10-year panfish management plan focusing on habitat improvement and predator management to boost panfish on specific lakes. Most general inland waters still have the 25 fish per day bag limit for species including bluegill, pumpkinseed, sunfish, crappie, and yellow perch. The DNR is applying three different experimental bag limits to the 93 lakes and biologists will evaluate the new rules in five years and again in 10 years to determine their effectiveness. According to DNR senior fisheries biologist and panfish team leader Max Wolter, it takes panfish about six or seven years to reach the 8-inch size and then their growth rate slows. In Wisconsin, bluegills 9-10 inches long can be 14-16 years old. Biologists are posting signs at boat landings and public fishing spots. For more information and a list of affected lakes, search “panfish plan” on the DNR website.

Spring turkey season gets underway this week and hunters should review changes to validation and tagging requirements that are NOT in the 2016 spring regulations pamphlets. The Go Wild licensing system eliminated thermal paper licenses and in most circumstances, customers can show license proof with an optional Conservation Card, Wisconsin driver’s license, paper printout, or PDF on a mobile device. Hunters need to print a paper turkey carcass tag directly from their account, whether at home, a DNR service center, or vendor. Upon killing a turkey, hunters must immediately validate carcass tags by writing on them. You are not required to attach the tag to the carcass as long as you arewith the bird. If you leave it, tag it. You must register your turkey – by phone or at the website on the carcass tag – by 5 p.m. on the day after harvest. You will receive a confirmation number to write on the tag.

On April 28, Friends into Spooner Hatchery (FISH) is sponsoring a certification class for people interested in becoming angler education instructors. The class begins at 7 pm. at the Spooner DNR headquarters on Maple Street. The class is free and open to anyone 18 years of age and older who would like to share their skills and love of angling with others. FISH encourage attendance by schoolteachers, scoutmasters, rod and gun club members, and anyone interested in promoting learn to fish classes and events. The class instructor is retired DNR fisheries biologist Frank Pratt. Class space is limited. To register, contact Larry Damman (715) 468-7059 or larry@shearluckfarm.com.

On Wednesday April 13, Hayward Bass Club will hold its final planning meeting for this summer’s outings. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Hayward Rod & Gun Club. The club welcomes new members and invites interested anglers to attend this meeting. For more information, contact Wayne Balsavich at (715) 699-1015 or haywardbassclub@gmail.com.

If you are reading this Monday afternoon or early evening on April 11, you still have time to attend the DNR spring fish and wildlife hearing and meeting at 7 p.m. The Sawyer County meeting is at Winter High School. Other area county meeting locations include Ashland: Ashland High School, Ashland; Bayfield: Drummond High School, Drummond; Douglas Superior High School, Superior; Price: Price County Courthouse, Phillips; Rusk: Ladysmith High School, Ladysmith; Washburn: Spooner High School, Spooner.

Upcoming Events

April 11: Spring Fish and Wildlife meetings; Sawyer County meeting at Winter High School, 7 p.m.

April 13: Hayward Bass Club planning meeting at Hayward Rod & Gun Club, 7 p.m. (715-699-1015).

April 15: Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame opens for season (715-634-4440).

April 15-July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (seeregs).

April 30: Otter trapping season closes in North Zone.

May 3: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. meeting at Coop’s Pizza, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

May 6: Early catch and release trout season closes.

May 7: Seasons open: General inland fishing (see regs); Musky in South Zone; Frog.

May 7-June 17: Northern Zone smallmouth bass catch and release only.

May 20-21: Fishing Has No Boundaries on Chippewa Flowage (715-634-3185).

May 28: Musky season opens in North Zone.

Spring turkey season dates

April 13-19: Period A.

April 20-26: Period B.

April 27-May 3: Period C.

May 4-10: Period D.

May 11-17: Period E.

May 18-24: Period F.

For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.

nvention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.