Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report-3-29-2022

Steve Suman

 

Spring arrived about one week ago, but apparently departed shortly thereafter, judging by the forecast for this week… or so it appears. However, according to one weather website, the average high in March is 41 degrees, the average low 15 degrees, and the average snowfall 11 inches, and we are within those parameters. April averages are considerably higher and we are “almost” into April, so keep an optimistic attitude!

 

The popular Hayward Family Fishing Expo returns to Hayward Wesleyan Church on Nyman Avenue this Saturday, April 2, from noon-5:30 p.m. The event offers vendors, workshops, activities for kids, and a bucket auction, with food and refreshments available. Keynote speaker Rev. Mark O. Wilson, former pastor of the church, will speak at 4:30 p.m. For more information, or to volunteer to help with the event, contact Frank Pratt (715) 699-3974; email fpratt32@gmail.com.

 

“Ice travel on the Quiet Lakes is somewhat better,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “as we are mostly down to the hard pack snow.

“There is still plenty of safe ice out there, but be cautious around creek inlets and shorelines, as the ice there is the first to get thin. If you fish this week, remember that licenses expire Thursday, March 31. Most panfish are relating to shallow weed beds that are seeing longer light conditions. Some anglers are moving on to open water down south, so fishing here should be good with less pressure.

“Crappie fishing is good in weeds in 7-10 feet in bays that have good light penetration. Use small jigs tipped with crappie minnows, waxies, and plastics.

“Bluegills and pumpkinseeds are relating to the same areas and tactics as crappies, and small jigs with waxies and plastics are a great choice.

“Perch fishing is good with jigging spoons fished aggressively around deep weed edges. Tipping spoons with multiple waxies or minnow heads will entice bigger fish.”

 

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says all the snow is off the ice, but there is quite a bit of water on top.

“We have not yet heard reports of any anglers using planks to get out, though the ice is deteriorating quickly, and walking out is the recommendation.

“Crappie action is very good and anglers are catching them on weed beds in 5-10 feet. Anglers report good success with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, and purple and pink plastics.

“Bluegill fishing is very good on shallow weed beds in 3-10 feet. Anglers are using waxies and spikes, but plastics work best for bigger bluegills.

“Perch fishing is improving with the warmer weather and anglers are catching them on mudflats in 3-10 feet. Fatheads, crappie minnows, rosy reds, waxies, spikes, plastics, and small spoons are all working.

“Trout action is good during the early catch and release season and Namekagon River anglers report success catching brown trout on cloudy, overcast days. This past weekend, many anglers fished the Brule River season opener from U.S. Hwy. 2 downstream to Lake Superior.”

 

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the April 2 Hayward Family Fishing Expo.

“The Hayward Family Fishing Expo, a free event, returns to Hayward Wesleyan Church Saturday, April 2, from noon to 5:30 p.m. The church has hosted the Expo many times in the past. As warm weather and open water return, this well-timed event will get anglers of all ages excited for fishing.

“The Expo features a mix of information, presentations from local fish experts, and activities for kids of all ages, including our popular ‘casting mini-golf challenge.’ Both kids and adults can try their hand at making lures and flies.

“We will have maps available for anyone interested in learning local family fishing spots, including shore-fishing opportunities, and local guides will be on hand to offer tips and pointers on how to catch different species of fish. Local vendors will offer equipment to get you ready for upcoming fishing adventures.

“We hope anyone who loves fishing ‑ or who has an interest in giving fishing a try ‑ will come by to learn from our incredible Hayward fishing community.”

 

Next week, April 3-9, is Keep Wildlife Wild Week, and with spring weather right around the corner, you might start finding baby animals such as fledgling birds, rabbits, or juvenile squirrels as you venture outside.

Wisconsin’s year-round outdoor activities bring people outside to enjoy the natural environment. It is important to observe wildlife at a respectful distance to keep them wild and allow their life in the wild to continue.

During the warm spring and summer month, human-wildlife encounters increase, especially involving young wild animals. While most encounters are harmless, sometimes well-intentioned people assume a young animal is an orphan and interfere in the situation.

A young wild animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother. If you encounter a young animal that appears alone, leave it there. In most cases, the mother will return within a few hours and take care of her young. The best thing you can do is keep your distance. Do not attempt to rehabilitate the animal. Licensed wildlife rehabilitators can help if the animal is injured, ill, or truly orphaned. Your attempt to care for it may ruin its chance of surviving in the wild.

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

 

Turkey hunters can still purchase leftover spring season tags for late periods in five zones. Bonus authorizations cost $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents, with equal purchase opportunities. The authorizations are available at all license agents and online through the DNR at GoWild.Wi.Gov.

As of Monday March 28, leftover harvest authorizations remain as follows:

  • Zone 1: Period D – 2,915; Period E – 10,836; Period F – 11,991 permits available.
  • Zone 2: Period F – 3,212 permits available.
  • Zone 3: Period D – 1,938; Period E – 9,007; Period F – 9,958 permits available.
  • Zone 4: Period E – 957; Period F – 4,920 permits available.
  • Zone 5: Period F – 503 permits available.
  • Zones 6, 7: No permits available.

Hunters should check the turkey zone map and bonus authorization availability to see if authorizations are available for the period and zone they wish to hunt. Hunters can purchase one authorization per day until the zone and period sells out or the season closes. Bonus authorization purchases do not affect preference point status for future spring drawings.

All spring turkey hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, turkey harvest authorization, and a 2022 wild turkey stamp. Hunters must already have or purchase a spring turkey license and stamp authorization when purchasing a bonus harvest authorization.

The regular spring turkey season begins April 20 and ends May 31, and consists of six seven-day hunting periods running Wednesday through the following Tuesday in seven zones. Regulations for the 2022 spring turkey season are included in the 2021 combined hunting regulations. For more information, search “turkey hunting” on the DNR website.

 

Wisconsin’s spring Youth Turkey Hunt for hunters younger than age 16 is April 16-17. Hunters younger than age 12 and youth hunters without hunter safety certification can participate in the youth turkey hunt through the Mentored Hunting Program. A qualified adult must accompany any youth hunter and follow all youth turkey hunting and mentored hunting program rules. Youth hunters must possess a valid spring turkey license, stamp, and harvest authorization. Youth hunters can use a harvest authorization for any period during the youth hunt weekend, but must hunt in the management zone indicated on their harvest authorization. For more information, search “youth turkey hunt” on the DNR website.

 

The 2022 DNR and Wisconsin Conservation Congress (WCC) Spring Hearing will again be online. The public can provide input on proposed natural resources rule changes from the DNR and advisory questions from the Natural Resources Board (NRB) and WCC through the online opportunity. The online input webpage goes live at 7 p.m., April 11, and remains open for 72 hours. The DNR will post results when available. This year, there are 16 advisory questions from the DNR related to fisheries and wildlife management; two advisory questions from the NRB; and 45 advisory questions from the WCC. The WCC will not hold delegate elections this year. For more information, search ‘spring hearing’ on the DNR website.

 

FISHING REPORT

Anglers continue to ice fish, though access is becoming more difficult and ice conditions are deteriorating. Cold weather this week is slowing the process, but it is battling sunshine and strong winds.

Starting April 1 (no fooling!), the panfish bag limit on the Chippewa Flowage changes to 10 fish combined panfish species. The 2021-22 fishing and hunting licenses expire March 31, so if you plan to fish after that date ‑ or turkey hunt in April ‑ make sure to purchase your new license!

The Brule River from U.S. Hwy. 2 downstream (north) to Lake Superior opened this past weekend, with numerous anglers testing the waters. Namekagon River anglers are doing well during the early catch and release trout season.

 

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is good to very good and improving, and fish are in 4-12 feet in shallow bays and in/on weeds and weed beds. Best bait offerings include small jigs tipped with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, Gulp! baits, and plastics, with pink and purple the most productive.

 

Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is good to very good and improving. Fish are in 3-12 feet in bays and in/on weeds and weed beds, with best action on sunny days. Baits of choice include waxies, spikes, and plastics on small jigs and teardrops.

 

Perch:

Perch fishing is good and getting better as spring weather arrives. Look for fish on mudflats in 3-12 feet, as well as on the edges of deep weeds. Fatheads, crappie minnows, rosy reds, waxies, spikes, and plastics all work well, and small spoons tipped minnow heads and several waxies can tempt larger perch.

 

Upcoming Events

March 21: Spring turkey bonus authorizations on sale until selling out or season ends.

March 31: The 2021-22 fishing/hunting licenses expire (2022-23 licenses are now available and immediately valid).

March 31: Sawyer County CDC Zoom meeting, 7 p.m. (Phone-in option: 312 626 6799; Code: 857 8817 3483).

April 1: Chippewa Flowage panfish bag limit changes to 10 combined panfish species.

April 2: Family Fishing Expo at Hayward Wesleyan Church, Noon-5:30 p.m. (715-699-3974).

April 11: Spring Hearing and County Meeting, online, 7 p.m. (608-266-0580).

April 15: Good Friday.

April 16-17: Youth Turkey Hunt.

April 17: Easter Sunday.

April 18: Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fameopening day (715-634-4440).

April 30: Trapping seasons close in Northern Zone: Otter; Beaver.

May 3: Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. meeting, 7 p.m., Flat Creek Lodge.

May 6: Early catch-and-release trout season closes.

May 7: Wisconsin general gamefish opener (see regs for details).

 

Spring Turkey Season Dates

A: April 20-26

B: April 27-May 3

C: May 4-10

D: May 11-17

E: May 18-24

F: May 25-31

 

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.