April 13, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

The forecast for this week should bring a smile to anyone in Hayward and the North Woods – warm and sunny, highs in the mid 60s, and a few minimal chances for rain showers. This is an excellent week to prepare for the May 2 fishing opener!

“Open water spurred some panfish anglers to get on the lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but others are waiting for better weather conditions.
“Warmer water will spur fish to feed, so look to shallower lakes and shallow bays on deep lakes. There are reports of good river fishing for walleyes and decent crappie action on a few lakes.
“The keys to early spring success include smaller lures, lighter tackle, and slow retrieves. Use small crankbaits or slow-moving jigs with minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits for walleyes. Try the typical small jigs for crappies.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says all area lakes are ice-free and open.
“The Chippewa Flowage water level is still about five feet below normal. There are virtually no boats on the Flowage, as most ramps end several feet from the water, making them un-useable. However, the water is slowly rising and we should have a decent water level for opening day.
“Now is the time to get your boat and tackle ready for the May 2 opener. Do not wait until the day before the season opens to discover you have motor problems or reel issues.”
Jim at Hayward Bait says the lakes are now ice-free, which is fantastic, since the last two years we had ice for the opener!
“Anglers fishing the sucker run are enjoying the tug of fish on their lines and trout fishing is very good on the Brule and Namakagon rivers. Be sure to bring insect repellant – ticks are out in full force!
“There will be changes to the walleye limits for the opener and there is potential for trolling statewide.
“Now is the time for reel repair, new line, lower unit oil, boat prep – and new fishing license. Do not wait until the last minute!”

Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland Chequamegon Bay says that as of last weekend, most ice was leaving the Bay.
“Anglers are trolling off Bodin’s and the Sioux and Onion rivers, as weather and ice allow. Flatlining stickbaits is proving quite successful for brown trout and a few coho and steelhead. Anglers are also doing well flatlining stickbaits out of Saxon Harbor and Cornucopia.
“Smelters have started across from Pamida, albeit with limited success.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the start of fish spawning season.
“Now that the ice is off and the water is warming, fish spawning is underway. Last week, with the cool days and lack of sunlight, water temperatures on local lakes held in the 39-44 degree range, ideal for northern pike spawning. We found both males and females ‘ripe’ and in shallow bays doing their business.
“Walleye spawning has started as well on many lakes, but will really ramp up as water temperatures warm into the mid 40-degree range. As water temperatures continue to warm, perch, muskie, and then crappie will take their turn at spawning.
“For most of these species, the laid eggs typically hatch into ‘fry’ in about one week. Early in life, these fry are very vulnerable to changes in temperature and high mortality can occur if a cold snap comes through at this critical stage.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says all northwest Wisconsin lakes and flowages are ice-free and with the open water, DNR fisheries crews have started their spring walleye and northern pike population surveys.
“To capture and measure the spawning fish, crews use fyke nets along various shorelines, setting them out from shore and marking the deep ends with several buoys. Anglers and property owners should keep a safe distance from the nets, as they can entangle fishing lines and boat motors.
“When fish crews are tending the nets, however, we welcome people to view the sampling procedure and the fish the crews catch, measure, and release.”

The Natural Resources Board (NRB) has approved an emergency rule for a three-walleye daily bag limit on most lakes and rivers in the Wisconsin Ceded Territory. This replaces the current system – annually adjusting bag limits – with equally protective minimum length and slot limits. The rule takes effect upon review and signature by Gov. Scott Walker and publication in the official state newspaper. Anglers fishing Ceded Territory waters should check signs at boat landings or with local tackle shops or DNR offices – before going fishing – to confirm the minimum length restriction for walleye harvest on the lakes.

The Natural Resources Board (NRB) recently approved the “Ecology of Wild Turkeys in Wisconsin and a Plan for Their Management, 2015-2025” to guide wild turkey management over the next 10 years. The DNR will use the plan for decisions regarding permit allocation, season structure, Wild Turkey Stamp fund use, and other management aspects. The plan will be available on the DNR website and in hard copy by mid-summer.

The 28th Annual Fishing Has No Boundaries Hayward event, the “Granddaddy” of all FHNB events, is May 15-16 at Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. The two-day event hosts more than 120 participants and volunteers for a unique fishing experience that for some was once only a dream. People interested in volunteering or becoming a sponsor should contact the Hayward office at (715) 634-3185.

The 31st Annual Treeland Challenge walleye and bass release tournament is May 8-10. The event offers thousands of dollars in daily door prizes and is limited to the first 300 adult anglers. The weekend includes excellent spring fishing, seminars on side imaging, brat and steak feeds, and on-water boat demonstrations. Mention you saw this on the HLVCB website and receive a 15-percent discount on new lodging reservations and a 25-percent discount on boat rentals during tournament weekend. For more information, visit Treeland Resorts or call (715) 462-3874.

Hayward Bass Club is holding a planning and membership meeting at Hayward Rod and Gun Club Wednesday, April 22, starting at 7 p.m. Club members fish in two-person teams throughout spring and summer and the club always welcomes new members. For more information, call Wayne at (715) 699-1015 or stop at Hayward Bait.

Hayward area lakes are now free of ice and ready for anglers fishing the May 2 game fish opener – the first open-water opener in two years! You have three weeks to prepare, from readying boats and tackle to making sure you have a current and valid fishing license. Do not let procrastination now produce problems on opening weekend!

Upcoming Events
April 15 through July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and Federal WPA (see regs for exceptions).
April 22: Hayward Bass Club meeting, Hayward Rod and Gun Club, 7 p.m. (715-699-1015).
April 26: Early inland trout season closes.
April 30: Seasons close in north zone: Otter trapping; Beaver trapping.
May 2: General inland waters game fish opener (check regs for exceptions). Frog season opens.
May 5: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. business meeting; Coop’s Pizza, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).
May 8-10: 31st Annual Treeland Challenge (715-462-3874).
May 15-16: Fishing Has No Boundaries on Chippewa Flowage (715-634-3185).
May 15-17: Musky Tale Resort’s Northern Encounter (715-462-3838).

Spring turkey hunting periods
A: April 15-21; B: April 22-28; C: April 29-May 5; D: May 6-12; E: May 13-19; F: May 20-26.

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.