This week started with colder temperatures and snow flurries – and it appears the weather will continue in this manner through the weekend. According to the current forecast, highs this week will range from 18 to 35 degrees, with lows ranging from -2 to 19 degrees. For comparison, the November average daily high is 42 degrees and the daily low 22 degrees.
“Temperatures in the Quiet Lakes area continue to fall,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Surface temperatures on most waters are in the 30s, ice is forming in shallow bays and along shorelines, and most anglers have given up on open-water fishing. We truly believe anglers will be ice fishing by Thanksgiving this year, if not earlier.
“Fishing will be a challenge for anglers who insist on going out, and deeper lakes with open water – or if you do not mind breaking some ice – should be the best bet.
“Walleye and northern pike are in deep transitional holes, and the bait recommendation is big sucker minnows, if you can find them. Crappies are in those same areas and the best tactic is crappie minnows under floats.
“Time of day is not a major factor this time of year, but there are very limited daylight hours to fish. If you go, wear your life jacket and dress warm.
“With the sub-freezing temperatures, it is important to drain all water from boats and motors. Trim the motor all the way down, wait about five minutes, and then turn the key for a dry start to blow any remaining water out of the engine.”
According to Trent at Hayward Bait, it is ‘officially’ time to put the boats in storage!
“Open water fishing season is ending, though perhaps too early for some anglers – and not early enough for other anglers. We are seeing good ice formation on area lakes and hearing reports that some waterbodies already have as much as 3 inches of ice. There could still be thin spots on those lakes, however, and we could still get a few warmer days in the mid 30s. Check the ice for thickness before you go and as you go on it.
“Gun deer season is fast approaching, despite a later Nov. 23 start date that is offering small game and bow hunters some extra days of hunting prior to gun deer season. Although rut is already in progress, expect peak to be somewhat late this year. Does have not yet chased off their fawns and until that happens, the mature bucks will simply bide their time.
“With open water getting harder and harder to find in this part of the country, waterfowl hunters, too, can start storing their decoys and equipment.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses “fish parts” and angler knowledge of them.
“Mouth, tail, gills, scales – sure, everyone thinks they know all the parts of a fish. However, if you want to impress your friends in the fish-cleaning house, here are the terms that fish biologists use to describe different parts of a fish.
“For starters, the tail fin is the caudal fin, the anal fin is the single underneath fin between the anus and caudal fin, and the dorsal fin is on the back. There are two sets of paired fins. The pectoral fins are further to the front and/or higher on the body. The pelvic fins, sometimes known as the ventral, are under the fish, often just in front of the anus.
“The little fleshy fin behind the dorsal fin on trout, salmon, and catfish is the adipose fin. The vent where eggs, milt, and liquid waste come out of the fish is the cloaca, which sits adjacent to the anus (you know what comes out of that – I do not need to tell you!)
“The base of the tail is the caudal peduncle and the gill cover is the operculum. The lines of grouped muscles in a fish fillet are the myomeres.
“There are several scale types among fish, including ctenoid, a rough-edged scale common in bass and panfish; cycloid, a scale common in trout, salmon, and some minnows; and ganoid, an armored type of scale found on gar and some other ancient fish.”
During its September 25 meeting in Mishicot, the Natural Resources Board (NRB) approved emergency rule WM-18-19 (E) to close the Zone A ruffed grouse hunting season Jan. 5, 2020, rather than January 31, as was the closing date in past seasons. The emergency rule does not affect the Dec. 8 closing date for Zone B and this early closure applies only to the 2019-20 season. However, the DNR’s draft ruffed grouse management plan recommends a permanent rule change to close Zone A ruffed grouse season on the Sunday nearest Jan. 6. The DNR will present the changes to the NRB at its December meeting. For more information, search “ruffed grouse management” on the DNR website.
The DNR invites deer hunters to listen to Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record podcasts to help prepare for the regular gun deer season opening Nov. 23. Recent episodes cover the impact of CWD and the DNR’s Hunt for Food program. People interested in purchasing a deer license or other licenses can find more information on the DNR’s Go Wild webpage. For more information, search “Wild Wisconsin - Off the Record” on the DNR website.
This Saturday, November 16, Hayward Area Ski Trails Association (HASTA) is holding its annual HASTA Ski Swap at Hayward Wesleyan Church from 7:30-11:30 a.m. Drop-off is 7:30-8:58 a.m.; HASTA members shop from 9-9:20 a.m.; shopping is open to the general public from 9:20 a.m.-11 a.m.; and pick-up of unsold items is from 11-11:30 a.m. This event is for people who are interested in buying or selling Nordic skiing, biking, and other silent sports equipment and clothing. This includes all silent sports gear, with the exception of downhill skis and snowboards. Proceeds support local ski trail grooming and skier development. For more information, email email@example.com or call (715) 634-8079.
Hayward Rod and Gun Club is holding its annual sight-in days starting Saturday Nov. 16 through Friday Nov. 22. The club range is approximately three miles east of Hayward on County Road B. The hours of operation are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and the cost is $6 per rifle. The club welcomes the public and experienced club members will be on-hand to assist with the sight-in process. During sight-in days, the club is selling fundraiser raffle tickets for a Ruger American Predator bolt-action rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor caliber. The rifle has a stainless barrel and synthetic stock. Raffle tickets cost $10/each or 3/$20. You do NOT have to sight in a rifle, be a club member, or even be present to win – just stop during open hours and buy the tickets! For more information, visit www.haywardrodandgun.club or call (715) 634-4912.
Unseasonably cold temperatures are bringing an early end to open water fishing. While those same temperatures might very well bring an early start to ice fishing season (yeah, there are already “reports), it is still too early. Anglers who are not yet ready to give up on this year’s open water fishing – musky season does not end until Nov. 30 in the Northern Musky Zone – some open water remains, primarily on the bigger, deeper lakes. Live bait, the bigger the better, in deeper water is best for musky, walleye, and northern pike, while crappie minnows work best for crappies. If you insist on open water fishing (or testing your “luck” ice fishing), make safety your primary concern, and use common sense. While the current extended forecasts shows no real warming trend in the near future, next week has some somewhat warmer temperatures that could affect ice conditions and make thing more pleasant on open water... if you can find some. Be safe!
Nov. 16-22: Sight-in days at Hayward Rod and Gun Club; $6/rifle. Public welcome (715-634-4912).
Nov. 23: Regular gun deer season opens.
Nov. 26: Duck season closes in North Zone.
Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.
Dec. 1: Regular gun deer season closes.
Dec. 2-11: Muzzleloader deer season.
Dec. 12-15: Statewide antlerless-only deer hunt.
Dec. 16: Goose season closes in Northern Zone.
Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Antlerless-only Holiday Hunt in farmland units (see regs).
Dec. 25: Christmas Day.