April 20, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

If you enjoyed last week’s weather, you will enjoy next week’s weather and the following week’s weather even more so. This week, probably not so much, as snow continues to show a presence in the forecast. Hang in there – high temperatures return to the upper 50s by the weekend, projected to be in the 50s for the game fish opener May 2, and then a return to 60-degree temperatures.

“Panfish anglers took advantage of the early ice out and last week’s above average warmer weather,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “They had encouraging reports of crappie and perch catches, along with some incidental catches of walleye – the season of which is not yet open, by the way.
“Surface water temperatures were at 49 degrees on the Quiet Lakes last week, but will cool with this week’s colder temperatures. Anglers fishing for crappie, bluegill, and perch should look for shallow warm waters, particularly in protected bays, and fish with small jigs and small baits.
“This is a good time to get your new license and avoid the opening day rush. Be sure to ask for and then review a copy of the current fishing regulations. There are some new changes in place and some still pending approval, such as Ceded Territory walleye limits and statewide motor trolling. The DNR will post regulations specific to individual lakes at the public landings, including bag limits, size limits, and any other special regulations.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says the ice is totally gone on area lakes.
“The Chippewa Flowage water level is still very low, down about 4 feet below the normal level. However, the water is rising steadily from river and stream flows and the Flowage should be within two feet of normal pool by the May 2 walleye opener.
“Walleyes are spawning at this time and some crappies are also coming into the shallows.
“There are not many anglers going out on the Flowage due to the tough launching conditions. The best bet seems to be the CC South landing. The few anglers now fishing the Flowage are finding some crappies deep, though in the afternoons these fish move into the shallows due to the warming water.
“Most anglers are gearing up for the walleye opener and need to check their tackle, licenses, and nets – once you have hooked a big fish, it is too late!”
Jim at Hayward Bait says water temperatures are climbing into the low 50s.
“According to all reports, crappie and bluegill action is getting better and the fish may be moving shallower on some of our area lakes. Brule River trout fishing is fair, Namakagon action is good, and Lake Superior salmon and trout fishing is fairly good as well.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the survival of stocked walleye.
“Over the last few years, many lakes in our area received large fingerling, or extended growth, walleyes 6-8 inches long. Stocked walleye of this size have considerably better survival than fry or smaller fingerlings, but survival through their first year varies quite a bit between lakes.
“Locally, we have seen high survival in the Chippewa Flowage, Big Chetac, and Teal Lake. We have seen lower than hoped for survival in Nelson, Smith, and Sissabagama.
“At this point, the reason why survival is higher in some lakes than in others is not clear, but may have to do with predators, water clarity, or other factors. As area lakes receive more fish, we are continually monitoring their success and modifying our stocking strategy to get the most bang for our buck.”

Results from the April 13 Spring Fish and Wildlife Hearings show voters overwhelmingly supported proposals to simplify Wisconsin’s inland trout fishing regulations and to improve panfish populations on 100 lakes statewide. They also strongly supported increasing the possession limit for small game, a 9 a.m. for opening day of pheasant season, and increasing the number of areas allowing boat and blind waterfowl hunting. Although votes are non-binding, the DNR presents them to the Natural Resources Board (NRB) as a gauge of the public’s position regarding the rule change proposals. The NRB will review hearing results at its May 27 meeting in Madison.

This week, the DNR is encouraging boaters to “Spring Aboard” by enrolling in a boating education course. Online boat safety education courses are available 24/7 and this week providers are offering incentives or course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during this Spring Aboard campaign.

People interested in learning to hunt Wisconsin black bear have until May 27 to apply to participate in a Learn to Hunt Bear program that features classroom and field instruction and a real hunt with skilled mentors. Anyone age 10 and older who has not participated in a Learn to Hunt Bear event, previously purchased a Class A or B bear license, or applied for preference points, is eligible. The program is for people who might not otherwise have an opportunity to experience bear hunting. Program officials will evaluate applications and notify winners in mid-June. Other Learn to Hunt opportunities include turkey, deer, pheasant, upland game, and waterfowl.

The DNR is seeking entries for its stamp design contest for the 2016 wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl stamps. Wisconsin artists have until July 24 to submit artwork, with judging taking place July 31. The top three entries for each stamp will be on display Aug. 6-16 at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Lakes in the North Woods are open and free of ice, fish are moving, water temperature rising, and following two years of ice fishing openers, we will enjoy a more traditional game fish opener. Early season trout anglers are doing well and panfish action is improving on most water. It is two weeks until the opener – are you prepared for it? Purchased your new license? Checked for new regulations on the waters you intend to fish? Reels in good working condition and spooled with new line? Tackle boxes in some semblance of order? Boat and trailer serviced and ready to go? Take some time to get ready now so one or two small, overlooked items do not set you back opening day! Anglers planning to fish the Chippewa Flowage opening weekend can track the water level (it is still down about four feet) on the Xcel Energy website.

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.