By: Steve Suman
Following this week’s cold start, the forecast predicts somewhat moderate temperatures and possible snow accumulation of up to four inches Wednesday through Thursday. After dealing with single-digit lows Monday and Tuesday, highs in the 30s the end of the week will feel almost tropical! (Almost…)
The Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau 2019 Vacation Guide is now available. The North Woods and the greater Hayward area of Sawyer County is a great place to visit at any time of the year, offering an extremely wide variety of outdoor activities for all seasons, as well as something for just about any area of interest. Pick up your guide at the Hayward Information Center or view it online at the HLVCB website www.haywardlakes.com.
Trent at Hayward Bait says there is as noticeable increase in anglers expressing interest in ice fishing.
“Most anglers are reporting 4-5 inches of ice in the bays and on the smaller lakes, but there is still open water or thin ice in the middle of larger and/or deeper lakes. People who decide to go on the ice should certainly be very cautious.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fisheries induced evolution.
“Natural selection, when you boil it down, is an elegantly simple concept. There are any number of factors that can prevent a fish from living long enough to successfully reproduce and pass on its genes. Fish that do not overcome these factors will not pass on their genes. Fish that do survive these factors and reproduce will pass on their genes.
“When it comes to fish, angler harvest is one of the natural selection factors. Research is showing that fishing might even be a big enough factor to drive changes in how fish are evolving, a concept known as ‘fisheries induced evolution.’ Researchers believe they are already seeing the effects on commercially harvested marine species.
“The common trend in fisheries induced evolution is for fish to mature earlier and have a smaller size, both of which are responses to mortality levels that are higher than what they naturally encountered before commercial fishing. In essence, the fish population is responding evolutionarily to this new factor.
“Fish that breed early, before they might be harvested, are now more successful and pass on their genes at a higher rate. There is evidence of fisheries induced evolution in freshwater populations, too.
“Research has found that a fish’s ‘aggressiveness’ is to some extent genetic and fish that are genetically more aggressive are likely to be the first ones anglers catch. This removes those aggressive genes from the gene pool, leaving behind fish that are genetically more passive or wary.
“This may be one explanation for why fishing is so much better ‘off the beaten path’ in areas that get very little fishing pressure. It is not necessarily that there are more fish, but that the populations with less exposure to harvest may have individuals that are more aggressive.”
Hayward’s 3rd annual A Lure of Lights “Chilly” Cook-off & Winter Beer Bar is Saturday Dec. 22 from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. on Main Street. Local legends submit their best chili recipes for you to enjoy and judge. Cast your ballot for your favorite and help determine the next Chili Champ! For those 21 years of age and older, The Whistle Punk will be serving up your favorite winter brews. There will be fun games for the family and s’mores pits as always. There is no cost for the games and s’mores pits thanks to the generous sponsors. Cost for chili and/or the beer bar is $5-$15 and all proceeds go to A “Lure” of Lights. If you think your chili recipe has what it takes, submit your entry at www.alureoflights.com/event-registration. The entry fee is $10. You are responsible for providing a crock pot and serving spoon for your chili. Awards are as follows: 1st Place- $100 in local dining; 2nd Place- $50 in local dining; 3rd Place- $25 in local dining;
Beginning Dec. 17, campers booking a campsite at Wisconsin State Park System properties will use a new, improved, and less expensive reservation system. The DNR is contracting with a new provider, Camis USA, Inc., that received the reservation contract through a competitive bidding process. All reservations previously booked through Reserve America will automatically transfer to the new system. Prior to Nov. 30, customers should make sure their email, postal address, and phone numbers are up to date in the existing Reserve America system. This information will also transfer to the new reservation system. To allow for transfer of existing reservations to the new system, the system will be down Dec. 1-16 and will not take reservations. Prior to Dec. 17, customers can log into the new system through the DNR website to set up their accounts and view their current reservations. Campers who made reservations in the past using Reserve America only need to set up accounts in the new system. Users will now pay $7.75 to make a reservation, compared to the current $9.65 fee. The new system also accommodates reservations for shelters and amphitheaters. Campers can call or go online to make reservations for sites up to 11 months in advance. For more information, search “camping in state parks” on the DNR website.
Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area will offer carnivore tracking and wolf ecology workshops Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8-9, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The state’s wolf monitoring program relies on volunteers to help track animals each winter and DNR biologists and volunteers provide classes on wolf ecology, population biology, and field study. Carnivore tracking classes focus on identifying tracks of medium to large carnivores. Wolf ecology and management classes cover the history of wolves in Wisconsin, wolf biology and ecology, population monitoring, research, and management. Students must complete both classes to participate in the wolf program as a volunteer tracker. The courses (limited to 40 participants) require pre-registration. To register, call (715) 463-2739. Lodging is available at Luther Point Bible Camp. To reserve a cabin, call (715) 689-2347. For more information, search “carnivore tracking” on the DNR website.
Reports on ice thickness vary, with some saying up to five inches, but a few anglers are already trying their luck – as well as testing it. If you go – and there is plenty of ice fishing season remaining – go with a friend, go prepared, and make safety you number one priority. Check with your favorite bait shop before going on the ice and ask about the current conditions, which can change overnight. These knowledgeable folks can tell you where to go for the best success – and perhaps more importantly, where NOT to go! Fishing reports will return/expand as conditions improve.
Nov. 25: Regular gun deer season closed.
Nov. 26: Muzzleloader deer season opened.
Nov. 27: Duck season closes in North Zone.
Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.
Nov. 30: Seasons close: Muskellunge; Turtle.
Dec. 1: Lake Superior lake trout season opens.
Dec. 2: Seasons close: Southern Zone duck and goose; South Exterior Zone Canada goose.
Dec. 4: Mississippi River Zone duck season closes.
Dec. 5: Muzzleloader deer season closes.
Dec. 6-9: Antlerless-only firearms hunt.
Dec. 8: Ruffed grouse season closes in Zone B.
Dec. 8-9: Carnivore tracking and wolf ecology workshops at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area (715-463-2739).
Dec. 10: Permit application deadline: Spring turkey; Bear.
Dec. 12: Bobwhite quail season closes.
Dec. 16: Canada goose season reopens in Southern Exterior Zone.
Dec. 22: A Lure of Lights “Chilly” Cook-off & Winter Beer Bar (800-724-2992).
Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Antlerless-only Holiday Hunt in farmland units (see regs).
Dec. 25: Period 1 bobcat hunting/trapping season closes.
Dec. 26: Period 2 bobcat hunting/trapping season opens north of Hwy. 64.
Dec. 31: Seasons close: Frog; Ruffed grouse in Zone A (Northern Zone) under emergency rule (not in printed regs).
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.