February 23, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

Forecasts call for another cold and blustery week, but the extended guesstimates indicate warmer weather as we turn the corner into March. It will be nice to see some temperatures without a “-” in front of them!

“Fishing remains good despite the frigid, windy days,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Walleyes are most active around weed beds and rock bars in 6-15 feet during low light hours. During the day, work deep structure. Tip-ups with shiners and walleye suckers work best, or try jigging baits tipped with minnow heads.
“Catch northern in 4-15 feet near weeds with shiners on tip-ups. Crappies are suspending over weeds in deeper water and best fishing is in early morning or just before dusk. Use jigs with waxies or plastics, small jigging baits, and tip-ups or tip-downs with small fatheads.
“Fish bluegills in weeds with small jigs and waxies. For perch, fish near bottom with jigging lures and minnow pieces, or tip-ups and tip-downs with crappie minnows.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage anglers continue to catch decent pike on Scott and Chief lakes.
“Set tip-ups with sucker minnows or shiners along weedlines, with baits halfway down the water column.
“For crappies, check deep, wooded flats, drill numerous holes, and use your electronics. Hang crappie minnows just above the crappies as they generally feed upward. Use jigs tipped with plastics or Gulp! baits, small jigs tipped with single waxies for fussy fish, and #2 Jigging Rapalas for larger fish.”
Jim at Hayward Bait says walleye anglers fishing Nelson, Round, Grindstone, LCO, and Sand are catching a few walleye on suckers on tip-ups and fatheads on jigging spoons. Anglers are catching pike on northern suckers and large shiners under tip-ups.
“Fish crappies suspending over deep water with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, and plastics. Bluegills are near weeds in 5-15 feet, taking waxies, spikes, and plastics. Perch action is improving, with bigger perch as deep as 25 feet taking crappie minnows, rosy reds, fatheads, and waxies.”

Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay anglers report nice catches of whitefish and brown trout.
“On the Ashland side, fish weed beds in 20-30 feet with minnow heads and waxies on jigs, or setlines and tip-ups with whole minnows. Catches include smelt, coho, splake, herring, smallmouth, northern, walleye, and perch. Fish move through with one current and turn off with the opposing one, so there is often a long time between catches.
“The pressure crack keeps working at the shoreline at Second Landing, again limiting access to snowmobiles and maybe ATVs.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter talks about whitefish.
“A recently DNR report details the status of cisco and whitefish in inland Wisconsin lakes. Over several years, biologists indexed these species in all lakes once known to hold them. They found cisco in 94 of the 133 lakes (71 percent) with a reported history, but found lake whitefish in only six inland lakes.
“Whitefish Lake in Sawyer County is one of the extremely rare lakes having both species. Cisco play an important role in Whitefish Lake’s food web and may be a big reason the lake supports good walleye and muskie fishing.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says most lakes have 15-18 inches of ice, but with some difficult access due to winds creating deeper drifts.
“Walleye action spiked with longer daylight hours and late afternoon offers the best bite. Use suckers or fatheads in 6-10 feet of water near deep breaklines and mud/muck flats.
“Panfish anglers are moving lake-to-lake and spot-to-spot to find active fish. Crappies are in deep water, suspending 2-4 feet off bottom. Perch are in 4-10 feet, just off bottom on mud flats.”

Lakewoods Resort’s annual World’s Longest Weenie Roast fundraiser for Great Divide Ambulance Service, Namakagon Volunteer Fire Department, and other area charities is March 7. The event holds the world record for the longest line of hot dog cookers over one fire! There is fun for everyone, with snowmobile speed runs, ice bowling, outlaw drags, and the Frozen Weenie Polar Plunge into Lake Namakagon! For information, call (800) 553-7454.

Snowmobile Trail Reports
The February 23 Cable Area report says trails are in very good condition. Namakagon Trail groomers are receiving a piece of grooming equipment to test all week so the trails should be stellar for the coming weekend.
The February 21 Runamuk Rides report says Sawyer, southern Bayfield, Iron, Price, and southern Ashland county trails are open and excellent. The best riding is in the Seeley Hills, Chippewa Flowage, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Namakagon areas. The trail base is 18 inches and groomers are grooming.
The Hayward Power Sports report for February 19 says Sawyer County trails are open, groomers are grooming, and trails are very good. Trails in southern Sawyer County have some rough spots and need snow, but are good. Lake trails are very good. Stay on staked trails and watch for ice heaves.

The Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club is holding a “Ride to Lunch” event March 5, meeting at Snowshoe Saloon at 10:30 a.m. For more information, contact Mike Wells (715) 634-4608; 520-8220.

NOTE: Game fish season closes March 1 on inland waters. Check the fishing regulations for exceptions.
Early catch-and-release-only trout season opens statewide March 7. Check the trout fishing regulations for exceptions and restrictions.

Walleye action is “hit-and-miss,” with the best bite in late afternoon and during low light hours. Concentrate on weeds, weed beds, rock bars, breaklines, and mud and muck flats in 5-20 feet. Tip-ups with walleye suckers or shiners and jigging spoons with fatheads or minnow heads are all catching fish.

Northern Pike:
Northern fishing is fair to good around weeds in 4-18 feet of water. Fish northern suckers and shiners under tip-ups on weedlines, with bait just below the ice, over weeds, and/or about halfway to the bottom.

Crappie action is fair to good, with the best bite during low light hours. Fish are suspending over deep weeds and wood. Check the entire water column. Top baits include crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, plastics, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks. Use tip-ups and tip-downs holding baits just above the fish. Use small jigging spoons for bigger fish.

Bluegill anglers are working and moving for their catches. Fish are near weeds in 4-18 feet of water. Waxies, spikes, and plastics on small jigs and teardrops work well.

Perch fishing is erratic, but improving, with best success on the deep clear lakes. Fish near bottom on mud flats and around weeds. Depths vary from 4-25 feet. Bait choices include crappie minnows, fatheads, rosy reds, and waxies fished on ice jigs and/or tip-ups and tip-downs, as well as jigging baits tipped with minnow heads or pieces.

Upcoming Events
Feb. 28: Seasons close: Cottontail rabbit; Mink trapping.
March 1: Game fish season closes on inland waters (see regs for exceptions).
March 5: Northwest Relic Riders Ride to Lunch, Snowshoe Saloon; (715-634-4608; 520-8220).
March 7: Early catch-and-release only trout season opens statewide (see regs).
March 7: World’s Longest Weenie Roast, Lakewoods Resort (800-553-7454).
March 7: 1st Annual Elitest Snowmobile Expo at Big Musky Resort; (217-202-8408).
March 13-15: Hot Air for Hearts Balloon Rally, Lakewoods (715-794-2561).
March 14: Lanes and Links on the Lake; turkey bowling and ice golf at Pat's Landing.
March 15: Remove ice fishing shelters from inland lakes north of Highway 64.
March 17: Sno-Trails annual picnic, 12-4 p.m., Lac Courte Oreilles boat launch.
March 25: Hayward Bass Club meeting, Hayward Rod and Gun Club, 7 p.m. (715-699-1015).

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.