Outdoor Report

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

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


Mild, wet, and windy weather that started the week will make way for colder temperatures and even some sunshine by mid-week and into the weekend. Along with the cooler temperatures come the chances of snow, though at this time there is no mention of accumulation. However… forecasts are always subject to change – quickly!

While it might seem far too early in the year, Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday March 12, so be sure to turn your clocks ahead one hour. Do not think of it as losing an hour of sleep – that hour is simply “on loan” until November 5!


“Fishing activity slowed last week during the colder weather, snow, and high winds, and the March 5 close of gamefish season,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Walleye fishing on the big, deep lakes was fair for the final week, with daytime anglers actively jigging deep water and evening and nighttime anglers fishing tip-ups on the breaklines. On the smaller, shallower lakes, the action was slow, with a few anglers catching fish in the late evenings hours on tip-ups set on drop-offs. As the supply of walleye suckers diminished, anglers started using shiners.

“Northern pike action on many lakes was also very good to finish the season, with anglers fishing shiners on the deepest and/or greenest weeds they could locate.

“Panfish action continues and remains the most productive of all, which is normal for this time of year. Crappies are still in deep holes, hitting crappie minnows or vertical jigs tipped with waxies. The best crappie fishing of the winter will come quickly in the weeds, in the evenings, as we approach ice-out.

“For the best bluegill action, anglers are fishing waxies in the weeds, while perch are feeding over soft bottoms and like the bluegills, taking waxies.

“Licenses expire March 31 and the new licenses, which are effective immediately, go on sale March 8. Anglers who want to avoid the last-second rush might want to consider getting their new licenses early.”


Bob at Hayward Bait says ice conditions continue to be favorable in the Hayward area.

“After our warm spell, a good cold snap moved in and firmed up everything. Some lakes still have about 14-17 inches and more of ice and most landings are holding up well, but we strongly advise against driving with vehicles, limiting travel only to ATVs, UTVs, snowmobiles, and on foot.

“Prior to the end of gamefish season, walleye fishing picked up and anglers caught them on shiners under tip ups and with fatheads on spoons. Northern pike action was also still strong on tip-ups with the anglers’ choice of bait.

“The panfish bite continues to be good, though spotty, wherever there is an active bite. Panfish are still deep in some lakes, but on other lakes, the fish are moving to shallower bays and flats. From here on out, panfish fishing should only get better.”


Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says anglers had a good weekend on Chequamegon Bay.

“During the tournament, anglers caught many big fish, including a 22-pound northern and a 12-pound brown trout.

“However, with weather changes in the forecast anglers MUST check ice conditions on a day-to-day basis.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses how yellow perch skein may protect their eggs.

“During the spring of the year, anglers fishing clear lakes might see yellowish globs of perch eggs covering sticks and aquatic vegetation. Membrane, called ‘skein,’ acts as a casing for the eggs and holds the globs together. Perch are one of only a few freshwater fish that produce a skein.

“Recently, researchers examined what advantage perch may get from producing a skein. The study involved exposing perch eggs – both inside a skein and without a skein – to potential egg predators, including crayfish and gobies. The researchers then noted the predators’ preference.

“Study results indicated that predators were less likely to eat eggs contained in a skein and that the skein might even have noxious components to intentionally deter predation.

“This interesting evolutionary trait of yellow perch may explain why they often have very high egg survival and are capable of producing big year classes.”


Lakewoods Resort in Cable is hosting the Hot Air for Hearts Balloon Rally Saturday and Sunday March 10-12, an event that raises money for the Cable Area Lions Heart Benefit. Weather permitting, flights run mornings and afternoons on Friday and Saturday, and Sunday morning. In addition to the balloon flights, there is a “glow” in front of Lakewoods Resort after dark on Saturday night when dining room guests and spectators alike will enjoy a fantastic view of Lake Namakagon and seven story high balloons illuminated from the inside like giant luminary candles. For more information, visit www.lakewoodsresort.com or call (715) 794-2561.


The DNR has mailed postcard notifications to the 12,850 hunters who successfully drew a bear permit for the 2017 September 6 through October 11 hunting season. Status updates are available online at gowild.wi.gov. The NRB approved this year’s 5,000-bear harvest quota at its January meeting. The DNR set the quota with the intention of reducing the bear population in northwest Wisconsin and stabilizing the population in the remainder of the state. For more information, search “bear” on the DNR website.



Note: Check with local businesses for the most current, up-to-date trail conditions, especially trail closures.

The March 3 Cable area trail report says numerous warm spells created various issues, with many swamps, lakes, and wet areas not frozen; large rocks exposed; fields and open areas have little, if any, snow; and many trails could be very rough. Most trails have not had grooming and all are in highly variable condition.



Gamefish season closed Sunday, March 5, and will reopen May 6. Walleye anglers who fished the final days and hours of the season caught fish on shiners under tip-ups and fatheads on spoons. Northern pike action finished strong for anglers fishing deep green weeds with shiners and suckers on tip-ups. The season apparently closed none too early, as word is that it was difficult to find large minnows and suckers.

Crappie action is good to very good and getting better, offering the best fishing at this time. Look for fish deep, but keep moving until you find them, as some fish are moving toward shallower water. The most productive presentation is waxies on jigs.

Bluegill fishing is best on waxies and plastics on teardrops and small jigs fished in and over weeds.

Perch anglers are working soft bottom areas with waxies, plastics, and small minnows on small jigs and spoons.


Upcoming Events

March 5: Game fish season closed.

March 5: Seasons closed: Mink, muskrat trapping.

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

March 12: Daylight Saving Time starts – turn clocks ahead one hour.

March 20-24: Leftover spring turkey permits on sale at 10 a.m. by zone, one zone per day.

March 20: Winter crow season closes.

March 22: Hayward Bass Club planning meeting; 7 p.m., Hayward Rod and Gun Club (715-699-1015).

March 25: Trout season opens on some sections of Lake Superior tributaries.

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

April 10: Statewide spring hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings.

April 30: Seasons close: Beaver and otter trapping in North Zone.


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]