Outdoor Report for December 28, 2015

HLVCB Outdoor Report

December 28, 2015

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

We have snow on the ground and more on the way tonight, with the forecast predicting up to eight inches or more for the Hayward area – and a few more to top it off tomorrow. Snowmobilers and cross-country skiers can start enjoying their favorite activities, but the snow accumulating on the ‘iffy’ ice will not be of help for ice anglers or snowmobilers who use the lake and swamp trails. Look for temperatures to drop for a few days starting Wednesday night.

Sonya and Kelly at Hayward Bait say there can be up to four inches of ice onsome areas of some lakes, but with Mother Nature fickle and not cooperating, ice thickness is subject to change due to the fluctuating weather conditions. Anglers who are testing their luck are catching walleyes, northern, and bass on sucker and shiners, and panfish on waxies, spikes, and plastics. Use extreme caution!

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses ciscos.

“Cisco, also known as lake herring, is one of the most interesting and important fish species present in some of our lakes, yet most anglers know little about this fish since they rarely catch them on hook and line.

“A small, silvery member of the whitefish family, ciscos average about 8 inches in length. They need cold, well-oxygenated water to survive, and therefore, in Wisconsin, are found only in deeper inland lakes. Ciscos spawn at night, in shallow water, in November and December, which can be one of the only times people might see them throughout the year.

“Ciscos eat zooplankton and invertebrates suspending over deep lake basins. They have a higher percentage of body fat than most other fishes, making them a very popular food for musky and walleye.”

As of last week, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, ice was still generally unsafe for any type of ice travel.

“Ice began re-forming on many waters with the colder temperatures, but most areas developed only 1-2 inches of ice. Some smaller lakes and shallow bays of larger lakes reached 2-3 inches, but still unsafe for ice travel.

“A few anglers who found spots with 3 inches ventured out, but reported inconsistent action, with just a few northern, perch, and small walleye on small baits in 3-5 feet.”

Snowmobile Trail Reports

The December 28 Cable Area snowmobile trails report says the area received more than 12 inches of new snow since Christmas Eve and the current storm could drop another eight inches of snow tonight. All trails are open and the groomers are out with their lightest equipment rolling the entire system. Swamps have not frozen enough to support the weight of heavy grooming equipment, so grooming swamps with the drag is not possible at this time.

Do not cross over any area lakes, as the ice is not thick enough – there are reports of a few sleds going through the ice Sunday in Sawyer County. If the stick trail is not up, stay off the lake!

The Namakagon Trail Groomers trail report for December 26 says there is at least 8 inches of snow on the trails, but with many bent over and downed trees that crews are clearing. Lakes are not safe, but many trails surround the lakes. Trails are covered and people are riding!

The Runamuk Rides snowmobile trail report for December 26 says there is a base of 8-12 inches in Bayfield County and the northern half of Sawyer County, including areas north of Hayward, Cable, and by Clam Lake, Iron River, etc., has another 5-8 inches of snow in the forecast for Monday. Trails are open and in good shape, except trails running across lakes and wetlands. You can run almost all other trail sections. Remember: Rule changes require trail passes for non-resident snowmobiles, as well as (this year) Wisconsin registered snowmobiles.

The Hayward Power Sports snowmobile trail for December 23 says here is nearly 10 inches of the white stuff in the woods and groomers are starting in the Seeley Hills area. The lakes are not completely frozen and therefore not yet staked, but the snow-covered trees on the land trails/routes makes for a scenic ride. Colder temperatures predicted for next few days will help form ice. Be safe and have fun!

Flambeau River State Forest is hosting its 24th annual candlelight ski February 6, from 6-9 p.m., starting at the Flambeau Hills Trailhead. Crews will groom and track a 1.8-kilometer trail winding through the heart of the forest and illuminate it with more than 600 candles. The event allows skiers, hikers, and snowshoeing on the trails. There will be large warming fires, picnic tables, and a large grill for cooking, with hot dogs, chili, and spiced tea provided. Starting at 5 p.m., the Forest will waive day-use fees at the trailhead. For more information, call: (715) 332-5271.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 25: Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1 season closed.

Dec. 26: Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 2 opened (see regs).

Dec. 31: Seasons close: Pheasant; Extended fall turkey zones 1-5; Hungarian partridge; Fisher trapping; Frog.

Jan. 3: Late archery deer season closes.

Jan. 7: Relic Riders club ride to lunch; meet at Snowshoe Saloon (715-634-4608; 520-8220).

Jan. 9: Relic Riders vintage & antique snowmobile show; Jack Frost Festival in Spooner (715-635-2168).

Jan. 9: Pat’s Landing 4th Annual Tipper Tourney on Chippewa Flowage (715-945-2511).

Jan. 14: Relic Riders club ride to lunch; meet at Sawmill Saloon (715-634-4608; 520-8220).

Jan. 16-17: Free Fishing Weekend. Residents and nonresidents.

Jan. 16: Elk Country ATV Club’s 8th annual ice fishing contest on Upper Clam Lake.

Jan. 24: Winter crow season opens.

Jan. 31: Seasons close: Ruffed grouse (Northern Zone); Bobcat hunting/trapping (Period 2); Squirrel.

Feb. 6: Flambeau River State Forest Candlelight Ski (715-332-5271).

Feb. 13: Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin 20th Annual Family Ice Fishing Event.

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Sawyer County Record co-sponsor this report. For more information on area events and activities, visit the HLVCB’s Calendar of Events or call 800-724-2992.