Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]February 6, 2017

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


We can enjoy a cold, albeit typical, start to the week, with snow possible nearly every day. Look for sunshine and a slight warm-up after mid-week… and then more snow going into the weekend.


“The groundhog saw his shadow,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “so plenty of time remains for winter activities.

“Fishing slowed last week, but the few who fished had some success. Walleye anglers are catching some fish in late evening into dark with suckers and shiners under tip-ups on weed edges. During the day, work deep holes and hole edges.

“Northern pike are active on deep green grass edges and provide the most action. Set tip-ups with northern suckers and shiners on the weed edges and over the weed tops.

“Crappies are in deep holes and taking crappie minnows and small plastic on jigging spoons and teardrops. Bluegills, although small, are in the weeds and biting on waxies. Anglers are catching perch in the flats and on mud areas with waxies, wigglers, and small minnows.”

Bob at Hayward Bait says ice conditions continue to be exceptional.

“Walleye fishing is good during early morning and last light evening hours. Anglers are using Hyper Glides, Jigging Raps, and spoons tipped with fathead heads. Northern pike fishing is good on tip-ups with northern suckers and shiners.

“Active crappies are taking jigging baits such as Slab Raps and small spoons tipped with crappie minnows. For panfish, fish deep lake basins with waxies, spikes, and plastics on tungsten jigs.”

Mike at Jenk’s says walleye fishing is good on Grindstone, Round, and Lac Courte Oreilles.

“There is a decent walleye daytime bite and a strong morning/afternoon bite in 13-24 feet. Drill lots of holes to find exact fish locations and downsize tackle.

“Northern pike fishing is good on suckers and shiners near deeper weed growth and anglers report many 27- to 33-inch fish.

“Crappie fishing is hot on the Chippewa Flowage. Try deep cribs, brush piles, and holes, such as cribs off of Pine Point and deep holes west of Popple Island.”


Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay fishing remains fair on the Ashland side.

“Most anglers are targeting the channel edges and bottom, fishing for whatever bites. Coho are following the smelt, with anglers catching them on tip-ups and shiners. Perch finally started to grow and there are many reports of 11- to 13-inch fish coming from 12-15 feet.

“Anglers are catching good numbers of whitefish by the tip of Long Island and between Houghton Point and Long Island. Travel is good off Second Landing, but there is a bad pressure crack on the Washburn side of the bay and word is that you cannot take a wheeler over it, so do use caution.

“Anglers are walking off Bodin’s, the Sioux, and Onion regions, but the ice keeps changing. There are anglers off Red Cliff in the direction of Basswood Island, but again, use caution, as that ice is in constant change.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses snow on the ice.

“Once again, in early 2017, we find ourselves in the midst of strange weather patterns and what little snow we had covering the ice essentially disappeared due to wind and warm weather. So what does it mean for fish when there is no snow cover on the ice?

“From a biology standpoint, it can generally be good. Aquatic plants, like terrestrial plants, need light to produce energy and this is true under the ice as well. When even 4-6 inches of snow covers the ice, light penetration decreases. Under these conditions, plants and algae start to use more oxygen than they create and oxygen levels start to drop, creating the risk of winterkill of fish.

“Manually clearing snow off the ice to promote winter fish survival has been tried experimentally, but is generally not considered feasible. It would be necessary to keep about 15 percent of a lakes surface area snow free for almost the entire winter, including periods when it may not be possible to drive plow trucks on thin ice.

“Up to this point in the 2017 winter, the lack of snow cover on the ice indicates good oxygen conditions for fish.”


Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin’s (WFNW) 21st annual family ice fishing event is Saturday February 11, from 8 a.m. through 2 p.m., on Lac Courte Oreilles. The event offers thousands of dollars in raffle, adult, and youth fishing prizes awarded through drawings. Event buttons ($5 for adults; $1 for youth 13-17 years old) and raffle tickets are available at Hayward Bait, Outdoor Creations, Hayward Home Center, Stone Lake Bait, and AAA Sports Shop. Youth 12 years and younger receive free entry, sponsored by Retreat Home Furniture. For more information, visit www.wfnw.net or call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.


Brule River State Forest hosts its candlelight ski and snowshoe Saturday February 11, from 5-9 p.m. Forest staff will light a 5-kilometer section of the ski trail and part of the snowshoe trail. The forest provides grills, picnic tables, and a bonfire, and will not require trail passes. For more information, visit www.brulexcski.com or call (715) 372-5678.



Note: Trail conditions can change quickly, especially this winter, so always check with local businesses for the most current ice and trail conditions, as well as trail closures.

The February 3 HLVCB trail report says Sawyer County trails are open, with a 6-inch base and 6 inches of fresh snow. Groomers report trails are great, with the exception of Lake Hayward that has open water under the Hwy 77 bridge and near the Market Place entrance. Trail 36 from Flambeau to the Price County line is rerouted back to the old trail along Hwy W. Trail closures include Trail 63 north of Seeley from Bodecker Road to the Bayfield County line and Trail 5/27 from Tuscobia south to the Rusk County line.

The February 2 Lakewoods trail report says fresh snow greatly improved trail conditions. Groomers groomed all trails in the area and plan to groom again, so watch out for the groomer and other snowmobilers.

The February 2 Namakagon Trail Groomers trail report says groomers report the trails are in good condition, with a few thin spots and some icy corners. Slow down and enjoy the ride – remember that groomers are out day or night.

The February 1 Hayward Power Sports trail report says Sawyer County trails are open with a base of up to 6 inches. Most trails are in good condition, but need some snow to cover bare spots in the open areas. Lake trails are in excellent condition, but use caution, as there are reports of ice heaves.



Though it does not seem possible, gamefish season closes March 4, so if you have had “good intentions” to go ice fishing this winter season, you might want to get to it in the very near future!



Walleye fishing is fair to very good, with best chances for success in early morning and late afternoon into after dark, with some daytime action in and along the edges of deeper holes. Anglers are using tip-ups with walleye suckers and shiners set on weed edges, as well as jigging Hyper Glides, Jigging Raps, and jigging spoons tipped with fathead heads.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good on northern suckers and large shiners under tip-ups set on the edges of green weeds and grass at various depths.



Crappie fishing is good to very good in/on deep holes, cribs, and brush. Top baits and presentations include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigging spoons and teardrops, as well as small jigging baits.



Bluegill action is good in deeper weeds and lake basins, though primarily for small fish. Use waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and teardrops.



Perch fishing is fair to good in deeper basins and on flats and mud bottoms. Best baits include waxies, wigglers, spikes, small minnows, and plastics on small tungsten jigs.


Upcoming Events

Jan. 31: Seasons closed: Grouse in North Zone; Bobcat Period 2; Squirrel.

Feb. 11: Brule River State Forestcandlelight ski and snowshoe 5-9 p.m. (715-372-5678).

Feb. 11: WFNW 21st annual ice fishing event on Lac Courte Oreilles, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.; Hwy K boat landing.

Feb. 11: Relic Riders Big Boyz Toyz vintage snowmobile ride.

Feb. 15: Seasons close: Coyote trapping; Raccoon hunting/trapping; Red and gray fox gun/trapping.

Feb. 18: Drummond Sno-Jacks 18th annual bar stool races (715-739-6645).

Feb. 18: 5th Annual Lanes and Links on the Lake at Pat’s Landing (715-945-2511).

Feb. 23-26: American Birkebeiner (715-634-5025).

Feb. 26: Seasons close: Cottontail rabbit; Mink trapping.

March 3-4: World’s Longest Weenie Roast at Lakewoods (715-794-2561).

March 4: Game fish season closes.

March 10-12: Hot Air for Hearts Balloon Rally at Lakewoods (715-794-2561).

March 20: Leftover spring turkey permits on sale at 10 a.m. by zone, one zone per day.

March 31: S.C.O.P.E. 10th annual Fundraising Banquet at The Steakhouse and Lodge.


For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]