Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 4-25-23

Steve Suman

The forecast indicates sunshine Tuesday and Wednesday, with showers/possible showers returning through the weekend. Temperatures are running slightly below the April average. The National Weather Service says spring flooding will continue, with impacts varying depending on location.

Travelers can check current road conditions at 511wi.gov for Wisconsin and 511mn.org for Minnesota.

“It has definitely been a prolonged winter in the Quiet Lakes’ area,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “We received another 10 inches of snow one week ago and have had a dusting of snow nearly every day since!

“A few anglers are still venturing out, although access is poor on most lakes and the ice sheets are sketchy at best. There is a lot of flowing water from rivers and creeks that is surely making thin spots. The ice is taking its sweet time to go out, as we have not had a consistent warm-up and there is no big warm-up in the near future.

“Anglers should focus on cleaning/re-lining reels, checking for broken rod eyelets, and making sure they are stocked up on their favorite tackle. Most bait shops have received their spring orders and are full of new gear for the season.

“It is a good thing to go through the boat as well, making sure to charge batteries, have checked and changed lower unit and engine oil, and have washed and waxed the rig. Also, make sure that you look over the trailer lights and tires. Finally, do not forget to purchase your new license for the 2023 season!

“Some hunters are in the woods chasing gobblers, as the turkey season is just getting underway. We have not heard any success reports thus far, but have seen and heard a lot of strutting and gobbling, so the birds are moving!

“Let’s all keep praying for ice-out by the opener!”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says fishing is tough right now and few anglers are fishing.

“We do not have safe ice, but we also have too many ice chunks floating around and/or snow at the launches that are preventing anglers from doing much of anything.

“Add in the rain and snow every day in the past week and flooding in river areas, and no one is out fishing!”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses ideas for lake groups and shoreline owners.

“We are very fortunate to have so many people and organizations interested in improving and protecting our fantastic water resources in the Hayward area. In fact, one of the biggest challenges is harnessing and directing all that positive energy into projects! Here are a few ideas for groups or even individuals to consider for improving their favorite lake or river in 2023.

“Hosting a native plant sale is a great way to get people to take steps to restore shorelines. It was exciting to see the Chippewa Flowage Property Owners Association coordinating such a sale for their members. Going together as a group might encourage more people to participate and could increase your buying power. The benefits of well-vegetated shorelines are numerous, ranging from water quality improvements to habitat for fish, wildlife, and even butterflies.

“Another idea is coordinating a lakeshore cleanup day. It is easiest to do these from canoes or kayaks, which might require splitting large waterbodies into different zones for volunteers. This could include public spaces on land as well. While we (the DNR) do our best to keep boat landings clean, these high-traffic areas always need help!

“The Wild Rivers Conservancy and Hayward Fly Fishing Company have been doing a similar cleanup on the Namekagon River for several years, with great participation and results. Awards for strangest trash found and removed, most trash, or most area covered might help motivate volunteers and make the event more fun. Getting trash out of our waters is important for both water quality and aesthetic enjoyment.

“A final idea is to spend time documenting and preserving lake history. This might mean gathering and scanning old photographs or lake association newsletters, interviewing older members, visiting the historical society, and seeking out perspectives of native peoples who occupied the area before European settlement.

“I am always surprised and amazed at what I learn when going through this exercise on my own for work. Understanding what lakes were like in the past and how people interacted with them provides important context for our relationship to them today.”

Results from the 2023 Spring Hearing are now available. More than 11,500 people responded to the 2023 Spring Hearing questionnaire available online April 10-13. The results and questions are available on the DNR website.The hearing offers the public the opportunity to comment on natural resource related advisory questions from the DNR, Natural Resources Board, and the Wisconsin Conservation Congress. Public input received through this process is advisory to Natural Resources Board members, DNR staff, and anyone working on these issues. For more information, search “2023 spring hearing results” on the DNR website.

The DNR has announced that the Natural Resources Board voted unanimously during the April board meeting to approve the 2023 migratory bird season frameworks and regulations. Thanks to input from hunters and new scientific research, there are changes to the 2023 migratory bird hunting season. The public plays a crucial role in setting the migratory bird season structure.

“The 2023 season frameworks are based on the most current scientific data, as well as input from the public, conservation and hunting groups, and results from a waterfowl hunter survey,” says DNR game bird ecologist Taylor Finger. “We used everything in our toolbox to collect public input – in-person meetings, virtual meetings, and expanded online outreach – to ensure engagement with anyone interested in migratory bird management. In total, we received 500 comments regarding the 2023-2025 migratory bird season proposals.”

For more information, search “waterfowl hunting” on the DNR website.

The Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries will host its 36th Annual event May 19-20, 2023, at the Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. The Hayward Chapter was the very first chapter of the national Fishing Has No Boundaries organization, making Hayward’s event the “Grand-daddy” event of all the chapters. Hundreds of volunteers gather to assist 120-150 anglers with various disabilities to enjoy this unique fishing experience.

The two-day event offers evening meals, adaptive equipment, and more, to ensure everyone has a wonderful time. Community involvement is outstanding, with individuals and business owners donating all watercraft used for the event. People interested in volunteering their time or watercraft should contact the chapter office.

For more information, visit the Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries website or call (715) 634-3185.

Wisconsin’s 2023 spring turkey season opened Wednesday, April 19, and bonus harvest authorizations are still available for purchase for zones 1, 3, and 4. The spring season includes six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday. All seven turkey management zones are open for hunting. Hunters can (and should) review the spring turkey hunting regulations in the fall 2022-spring 2023 combined hunting regulations.

Turkey harvest registration is mandatory and hunters must register their turkey by 5 p.m. the day after recovery. Do so at gamereg.wi.gov or by calling (844) 426-3734, and use the number on the paper or electronic harvest authorization. Registering your turkey harvest remains a critical component of wildlife population management.

The DNR offers turkey hunters a “first harvest or experience certificate” to commemorate the experience and honor that special moment. The DNR also offers these certificates for deer, bear, bobcat, fisher, and otter. Hunters who would like to receive a first harvest or experience certificate should visit the First Harvest or Experience webpage on the DNR website. The DNR will send a printable certificate to your email address. For more information, search “turkey hunting” on the DNR website.

The DNR’s free Hunt Wild mobile app provides public lands maps, rules, regulations, and shooting hours. Through a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the public has access to nearly 40,000 acres of private land through the Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program and the Turkey Hunter Access Program. Select state parks allow spring turkey hunting during the two-day youth hunt and the first two periods of the regular season. For more information, visit the state park hunting webpage.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. welcomes the public to its club meeting Tuesday, May 2, at Flat Creek Lodge in Hayward. A general business meeting starts at 7 p.m. Following the business meeting, featured guest and speaker DNR fisheries biologist Nathan Thomas, who works in Bayfield County, will discuss the musky lakes in his county. The meeting is open to everyone. Admission is free and anyone interested in becoming a new member of Muskies, Inc. can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.

Fishing Report

For all practical purposes, ice fishing season is finished for this season (at least for most the most prudent, safety-conscious anglers!). Ice conditions are unsafe, even if one can find access, due to rain, snow, flooding, and varying temperatures.

Wisconsin’s general inland fishing season opener is May 6 and only two weeks distant! Anglers should consider using this time to renew or purchase a license valid for this year, and to review the regulations for any changes, especially for waters they know they will likely fish. This is a very good time to inspect boats, motors, and trailers (be sure the boat registration is current!) to make sure all are ready to go, as well as making sure you have all required safety equipment onboard. Do not wait until opening morning to check out equipment and put things together for the first day on the water ‑ which of course assumes ice-out occurs before opening weekend!

Upcoming Events

April 1: Boat registration renewals due for some boat owners.

April 24-May 4: CDAC meetings in each county.

April 30: Otter hunting/trapping season closes in North Zone.

May 2: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. general business meeting, 7 p.m., Flat Creek Lodge (715-634-4543).

May 5: Full Flower Moon.

May 5: Early catch-and-release trout season closes (see regs).

May 5: Memorial service for Terry Peterson at Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, 12-2 p.m. (715-634-4440).

May 5: Fundraiser for Terry Peterson Shues Pond Memorial project at Angler’s Haven Resort, 3-7 p.m. (715-634-2757).

May 6: General inland fishing season opener (see regs).

May 19-20: FHNB event at the Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage (715-634-3185).

May 27: Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum Heritage Day Celebration, Spooner (715-635-2479).

Through May 31: Applications accepted for 2023 elk season.

Spring Turkey Season Dates

Spring turkey season is six seven-day periods, Wednesday through the following Tuesday, in the seven zones open for hunting in 2023. Season dates are as follows:

Period A: April 19-25

Period B: April 26-May 2

Period C: May 3-9

Period D: May 10-16

Period E: May 17-23

Period F: May 24-30

For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce websites, view the Calendar of Events, or call (715) 634-8662 or 800-724-2992.