Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 4-30-24

Steve Suman

Wet, and windy ‑ but warmer ‑ are trending for much of this week, says the forecast. The gamefish opener Saturday and Sunday might offer some pleasant weather, so we will go with that for now! Get ready to fish!

“Some much needed rain arrived in the Quiet Lakes’ area this past Friday afternoon,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “but the forecast calls for a dry weekend for the gamefish opener. Everything seems to be shaping up nicely for anglers. Moose Lake is at full pool, the Chippewa Flowage is rising, and the other lakes have good water levels. Anglers should have no issues getting to their favorite spots.

“Fisheries crews say the lakes they surveyed so far show excellent results, with great numbers of all species in both size and quantity.

“Crappie and panfish action is heating up, according to area anglers. Crappies are on top of shallow weed beds and eating everything thrown at them. Try crappie minnows, leeches, and crawlers on small jigs and plain hooks under bobbers. Catch perch in 8-10 feet on the same set-ups.

 “Now is the time for anglers to check out their boats. Make sure to fully charge batteries, plugs are in good shape, lights and other electronics work properly, and the motor starts and runs smoothly. There is nothing worse than figuring it out in the middle of the lake. I have been there, done that ‑ twice!”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says some small to mid-size lakes have hit the high 30s/low 40s water temperatures, but this repeat cold spell could set them back somewhat.

“Walleye and northern pike season will soon open, but bass anglers are taking advantage of catch and release season and finding fish on/near deep points and weed flats. Anglers using jerkbaits should think about long pauses to get the cold water fish to commit. As the water warms, bass will move to shallow flats before preparing for spawning.

“Crappies are still around structure in 10-25 feet, from mid-depth weed flats to main lake basins. Many weed beds did not die off during the warm winter and now provide great structure for crappies moving towards spawning grounds. Catch aggressive fish with slow-moving plastics or minnows, but use slip bobbers for hesitant fish.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses where our native species are not native.

“For Wisconsin anglers, brook trout, lake trout, smallmouth bass, and bluegill are some of our most popular native fish species. They have beloved roles in Wisconsin’s fishing culture and anglers get excited to chase them in local waters.

“However, there are parts of the world where these species are not supposed to be, and they have a very different reputation.

“People have changed the worldwide distributions of fish faster and more dramatically than any natural process could ever do. We can, and do, move fish over mountain ranges, across vast seas, and into otherwise isolated waterbodies, oftentimes doing so with good, but very shortsighted, intentions. The introduction of common carp to North America is a great example, but there are places where our native Wisconsin fish species are now a nuisance as well.

“Brook trout have become a big problem in the western U.S., particularly in places where they are in direct competition with the native cutthroat trout. Lake trout have been similarly problematic in some large western lakes and reservoirs, including Lake Yellowstone. Smallmouth bass are now present and even thriving in some large western rivers, creating concern about impacts on native species.

“Even the humble bluegill, introduced all over the world, can be a menace. In Japan, the bluegill is having devastating effects on a number of native species. The story of how bluegill got to Japan is fascinating in itself.

“We love all these species here in Wisconsin, but now know the disastrous effects of transplanting them around the country and world. Only by understanding these cases can we avoid making these mistakes again in the future.”

The DNR has announced the 2024 Spring Hearing questions and results are now available. More than 18,800 people responded to the hearing questionnaire in person April 8 or online April 10-13. In May, the Conservation Congress will consider results of the public input at its annual convention, and in June will forward its consideration to the DNR and Natural Resources Board.

Spring season turkey hunters continue to do well statewide, with current harvest (as of April 23) at 14,680 birds across all turkey management zones. Remaining bonus tags remain available for periods E and F in zones 1 and 3, and for Period F in Zone 4.

The DNR reminds outdoor enthusiasts to be aware and be safe during the 2024 spring turkey season through May 28. Hunters should follow safety rules, and non-hunters enjoying public lands should consider wearing blaze orange or other high-visibility clothing. For more information on turkey hunting, visit the DNR’s Turkey Hunting webpage.

Spring is baby animal season in Wisconsin. If you encounter a fawn while outdoors, the DNR urges you to not touch it or intervene in any way, as there is a good chance its mother is not far away.

In the first few weeks of life, fawns lie still in brush or grass, keeping quiet until their mother returns to nurse the fawn, which can be at any time of day. White-tailed deer are crepuscular, which means more active at dawn and dusk.

It is rare that an unaccompanied fawn is abandoned. If you find a fawn lying still and quiet, leave it alone, leave the area, and do not go near the spot again. Do not touch the fawn or bring children, pets, or friends to look at it. Doing so could endanger the fawn by giving away its location to a predator. The mother will not return to nurse the fawn while people or pets are nearby.

For more information, search “keep wildlife wild” on the DNR website.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. welcomes the public to attend its club meeting Tuesday, May 7, at Flat Creek Lodge in Hayward. The guest speaker is well-known and long-time local guide John Myhre, who will discuss the use of electronics in finding fish, including the latest forward facing sonar. 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.

The Weiss Community Library and watershed educator Frank Pratt will host a free Family Fishing Fun Fair Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn to make ‑ and take home ‑ your own rods, reels, and lures at no charge. This event includes demonstrations, live reading of Trout! Trout! Trout!, and more. There is a limit of 30 participants, requires pre-registration, and an adult must accompany children.

Sign up at the library checkout desk, email hlibrary@hayward.wislib.org, or call (715) 634-2161.

The DNR reminds anglers that Wisconsin’s 2024-2025 general inland fishing season opens Saturday, May 4. All Wisconsin residents and nonresidents 16 years and older must purchase a fishing license. This year, new fishing regulations are in effect, including bag and length limit changes for fish species in Sawyer, Rusk, Price, and many other counties. The full 2024-2025 hook and line fishing and trout fishing regulations are available online and in print, and trout anglers should view the updated Trout Regulations and Opportunities User Tool (TROUT).

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

The Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame is hosting a Terry Peterson Memorial Fundraiser Friday, May 3, from 12- 2 p.m. Then, from 3-7 p.m., Angler’s Haven Resort will host a celebration dinner and fundraiser with raffles, prizes, and more. Tickets cost $100, with only 75 available. To purchase tickets or donate, visit www.terrypetersonff.com.

Sawyer County Deer Advisory Council is meeting April 29, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Hayward DNR building on Hwy 27 South. The advisory councils provide input and recommendations to the DNR on deer management within each county. For more information, search “CDAC” on the DNR website or call (920) 366-3450.


The DNR requires ATV/UTV trail passes for non-residents. Wisconsin residents must display their registration sticker. State law requires riders to run headlights at all times when operating. Visit the DNR ATV website to review rules and regulations. Follow the ATV/UTV map and know the map legend.

Check the HLVCB ATV/UTV trail conditions report and Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance report for trail conditions and closures. Spring closures are in effect for Chequamegon National Forest (715-634-4821) and Sawyer County Forest (715-634-4846). For Flambeau State Forest, call (715) 332-5271. Spring closures might be shorter than usual, so check for updates.

For specific questions, contact Cathy LaReau at cathy@sawyercountytrails.com or (715) 558-8966.

Fishing Report

It is crunch time ‑ the 2024 gamefish opener is this weekend! Make sure that you have now or purchase a current fishing license (and stamps when necessary), become acquainted with new regulation changes now in effect for some Sawyer County waters, make sure to examine and repair rods, reels, and other tackle, and inspect and prep the boat (registration current?), motor, and trailer. Forecasts predict mild temperatures, but keep rainwear handy!

Upcoming Events

March 31: Annual hunting and fishing licenses expired.

April 1: Panfish limit changes in effect on Moose, Osprey, and Island lakes.

April 29: Sawyer County Deer Advisory Council meeting – Hayward DNR building, 6:30 p.m. (920-366-3450).

April 30: Beaver trapping season closes in Northwest Zone.

May 3: Early inland trout catch and release season closes.

May 3: Terry Peterson Memorial Fundraiser at Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, noon-2 p.m. (715-634-4440).

May 4: General inland gamefish season opener (715-634-7429).

May 4: Northern pike daily bag limit changes in effect on some Sawyer County waters.

May 4: Family Fishing Fun Fair, Weiss Community Library, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., free, must pre-register (715-634-2161).

May 5-6: Peak Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower; 5-20 per hour, 2-4 a.m.

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

May 9-11: Treeland Challenge bass and walleye release tournament (715-462-3874).

May 17-18: Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries eventLake Chippewa Campground (715-634-3185).

May 17-19: Musky Tale Resorts Northern Encounter fishing tournament (715-462-3838).

May 23: Full Flower Moon.

May 25: Musky season opens in the Northern Musky Zone.

May 25: Wisconsin Canoe Heritage DayWisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner (715-635-2479).

May 25: Callahan Lake Resort Northern Pike Challenge, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (715-462-3244).

May 27: Memorial Day memorializing the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country.

May 31: Application deadline for 2024 elk season tag.

Spring Turkey Season Dates

Spring turkey season is six, seven-day periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday, in seven zones.

Period C: May 1-7

Period D: May 8-14

Period E: May 15-21

Period F: May 22-28

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.