January 5, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

The New Year is starting with a chill in the air! The forecast calls for single-digit highs through most of the week, with subzero lows and brutal wind chills. Enjoy your winter outdoor activities, but do so in a safe, common sense manner!

“Ice fishing is in full swing,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “with anglers finding 12-15 inches of good, solid ice.
“The walleye bite is good both shallow and deep, with walleye suckers and fatheads on tip-ups and jigs. Fish weed edges or flats in 7-12 feet and mud flats in 14-20 feet. Walleye anglers report some northern pike and perch action during the day.
“Crappies are suspending in 12-18 feet, hitting crappie minnows, waxies, and artificials on small hooks or jigs. Drill a few holes, use electronics, and move until you locate the fish.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage anglers are doing well on northern pike, with Chief Lake particularly productive.
“Use large northern suckers or shiners, setting tip-ups along weedlines in 4-10 feet of water.
“For crappies, plan to spend time with your electronics searching for fish that may be tight to the bottom or suspending at mid-depths. Use crappie minnows and jigs with plastics or Gulp! baits. Downsize offerings to target bluegills in with the crappies.”
Bob at Hayward Bait says ice depths are 10-14 inches and there is some ATV, snowmobile, and vehicle travel.
“Walleye fishing is good in 8-30 feet. Main lake bars and points are best, with deep weedlines and cribs good. Use walleye suckers and medium shiners under tip-ups, or jig fatheads.
“For northern pike, fish cabbage beds in 5-15 feet with large golden shiners under tip-ups. Crappie and bluegill action is good on weed beds with waxies, spikes, and plastics on small jigs.”

Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay has 6-12 inches of great ice in most areas on the Ashland side and possibly more near shore.
“The Ashland side holds good numbers of northerns, perch, walleye, and an occasional brown trout. Second landing anglers are targeting perch and walleyes.
“The Washburn side has up to 4 inches of new ice at Bodin’s and about 9 inches off Memorial Park. Anglers report good numbers of brown trout and some whitefish, though not feeding aggressively. Fish the first drop with lake shiners on tip-ups, automatic fisherman, and jigs.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Moose Lake bluegill stocking.
“This past fall, the DNR stocked Moose Lake with 3,000 four-inch bluegills. Bluegill stocking is not common in northern Wisconsin since it is not necessary in 99 percent of our lakes, but Moose Lake is a rare instance where bluegills do not reproduce with much success. The stocked bluegills appear to have good growth, however, and provide a bonus panfish fishery. The DNR clipped the bluegills so biologists and anglers can track them in future surveys.
“In past Moose Lake stockings, the DNR transferred bluegills from lakes with an overabundance. These transfers are no longer possible since viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) arrived in the state and changes in the fish transport rules.”

Wisconsin’s Free Fishing Weekend is January 17-18 and residents and nonresidents can fish anywhere in the state without a license or trout stamp. This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin’s side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. On Saturday January 17, from 9 a.m. to noon, Gov. Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery in Spooner is offering an Introduction to Ice Fishing for Youth, with classroom instruction on fish ID and basic gear. Following class, students will practice their new skills on the flowage. For more information, contact Amos Melton (715) 645-2526.

In the past week, Hayward area registration stations (Shooting Star, Hillman’s Store, Hayward Bait) registered one antlerless deer taken by a youth archery hunter and two bucks taken by bowhunters using vertical bows. Late archery season closed Sunday January 4.

Snowmobile Trail Reports
The January 3 Hayward Power Sports snowmobile trail report says most Sawyer County trails are in very good condition and have a 5- to 6-inch base. Crews have staked most lakes with 12 inches or more of good ice, with the exception of three trails not frozen enough for groomer crossing: Trail #6 from Tuscobia north to Chippewa Flowage; Trail #5 from Tuscobia north to Trap and Fish; and Trail #5 from Tuscobia south to the Rusk County line. Be aware – there are still some low hanging branches on the trails!
The January 2 Hayward Lakes Visitors & Convention Bureau snowmobile trail report says Sawyer County trails are in good to very good condition and crews have staked most lakes with more than 12 inches of ice. Some lakes have ice heaves and riders should ride with caution and stay on marked trails. The Trail 63 railroad grade north of Seeley has a re-route due to a property dispute.
The Runamuk Rides snowmobile trail report for January 1 says Sawyer, Bayfield, Iron, and Ashland county trails are in great shape, with a base of 9-15 inches in Sawyer and Ashland counties and 15-20 inches in Bayfield County. Southern and central Sawyer County trails have plenty of snow, are in good shape, and definitely rideable.

On Saturday Feb. 7, from 6-9 p.m., Flambeau River State Forest will host its 23rd Annual Candlelight Ski (hiking and snowshoeing permitted). Crews will groom and track a 1.8-kilometer trail through the forest and light it with more than 600 candles. Event organizers will provide hot dogs, chili, spiced tea, and large warming fires, along with picnic tables and a grill near the trailhead for participants wanting to cook food. For more information, call (715) 332-5271.

The walleye bite is still good on most waters with walleye suckers, shiners, and fatheads fished under tip-ups or on jigs. Work weedlines, weed edges, mud flats, cribs, bars, and points in 6-30 feet, depending on the lake, location, and time of day.

Northern Pike:
Northern action is good and getting better, with fish active all day. Work cabbage beds and weedlines in 4-15 feet with northern suckers and large shiners under tip-ups.

Crappie fishing is good on most waters, but unless you know the spot well or are very lucky, you will have to drill some holes and do some searching to locate the fish. Concentrate on 10-20 feet of water looking for fish anywhere from hugging the bottom to suspending somewhere in the water column – and check the entire water column. Baits of choice include small hooks and jigs with crappies minnows, waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits.

Bluegills are near deeper weeds and weedlines and often in the same areas as crappies. Use small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks tipped with waxies, spikes, and micro plastics. Small minnows are good for bigger bluegills.

Upcoming Events
Dec. 31: Seasons closed: Pheasant; Turkey; Hungarian partridge; Fisher trapping; Frog.
Jan. 4: Late archery deer season closed.
Jan. 13: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. business meeting; 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).
Jan. 17-18: Free Fishing Weekend.
Jan. 25-March 20: Winter crow season.
Through Jan. 31: Bobcat hunting/trapping season Period 2 north of Hwy. 64.
Jan. 31: Seasons close: Squirrel; Ruffed grouse in northern zone; Bobcat Period 2 hunting/trapping.
Feb. 7: Flambeau River State Forest 23rd Annual Candlelight Ski (715-332-5271).
Feb. 19-22: American Birkebeiner (715-634-5025).

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.