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Dick Ellis Blog:
5/8/2019
Now it starts.  Too much to keep up with in Wisconsin, and that is one nice problem for an outdoorsman. OWO Columnist Wayne Morgenthaler and his son Neal spelled double trouble for two Richland County gobblers after four days of not filling tags. We put the May-June issue of On Wisconsin Outdoors to bed last week with 100,000 copies being distributed statewide. Look for your copy at any Kwik Trip statewide…that’s 400 stores ...
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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

The unusually mild December weather persists in the North Woods, with highs in the 40s and lows in the low 30s this week, and a few chances of snow. A look at the extended forecast shows temperatures in a slow decline throughout the remainder of the month. If any undone, pre-winter outdoor projects remain, you might want to tackle them this week!

Bob at Hayward Bait says there are reports of 1-4 inches of ice on some lakes.

“Most anglers are targeting walleyes, with some panfish fishing, wherever they can get out on safe ice. Fish with friends and use extreme caution.

“Gun deer season was tough in the North Woods this year. Hunters harvested a few decent bucks during the seasons so far and are tagging some during the current muzzleloader season that runs through December 9. A few hunters are pursuing small game.”

Mike at Jenk’s says not many anglers are ice fishing on the Chippewa Flowage.

“A few people said there are certain spots where ice is 3 inches thick, but the vast majority of ice is in bad shape, not safe to walk on, and I strongly recommend you do not go out on the ice to fish.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses shoreline development, wood habitat, and aquatic plants. 

“It is well known that there is less shoreline wood habitat for fish on shorelines developed by humans – those with residences, docks, beaches, etc. – but shoreline development also impacts the amount of aquatic plants.

“Researchers in Minnesota found 66 percent fewer emergent aquatic plants, such as lily pads, bulrushes, etc., on developed shorelines compared to shorelines with no development. Even more concerning is the positive correlations between many of these plant species and the abundance and overall size of some of our most popular fish species. This suggests that the loss of these plants has a direct negative impact on fishing quality.

“The authors of the study believe that much of the plant loss is the direct effect of lakeshore owners intentionally removing them for aesthetic reasons. Education about the importance of aquatic plant species may go a long way toward improving fishing quality.”

Ice covered most lakes last week, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, but conditions are now extremely variable and generally unsafe for any kind of travel.

“Most ice anglers wait for a solid four inches of ice before venturing out, and with the current warm spell, it may take a while yet to reach that thickness.

“With that said – there have been the first sightings of early season ice anglers venturing out and they seem to be staying in shallow water and close to shore where the ice thickness is 2-3 inches. This early, early season fishing is often quite erratic, and first reports indicate minimal success, with catches of just a few eater-size walleye.”

The DNR’s Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey remains active until the end of all deer seasons. Hunters submit a report of what they saw during their time in the field and wildlife managers use the data to improve population estimates for the state’s deer herd and other wildlife species.

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area is holding a wolf ecology workshop Sunday, December 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at its Education and Visitor Center. Learn from wolf experts about wolf history, biology, and monitoring techniques. A DNR Citizen Science Monitoring grant will provide lunch and materials. For more information, call (715) 463-2739.

Here is the final heads-up reminder for hunters interested in hunting bear and/or spring turkey next year: The permit application deadline for 2016 permits is December 10 – THIS Thursday.

One of these days we WILL have snow and snowmobile riders should be aware of some regulation and trail pass fee changes, effective this year, before heading down a trail. Beginning this year, all snowmobiles (with some exceptions) operating on a Wisconsin snowmobile trail or corridor must display a valid snowmobile trail pass whether registered in Wisconsin or another state. The fee is dependent upon whether the snowmobile has Wisconsin registration and whether the snowmobile owner is a member of a snowmobile club and Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC). The trail pass fee is $30 for a snowmobile registered in Wisconsin. The fee is $10 for a snowmobile registered in Wisconsin and owned by a person who is a member of both a snowmobile club and the AWSC. The nonresident snowmobile trail pass is $50 for a snowmobile registered in or in the process of registering in another state, province, or country. For more information, contact the DNR Call Center (888-936-7463). Visit www.awsc.org for information on the discounted club member trail passes.

Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin is holding a fundraising gun raffle for a Savage bolt-action rifle with scope. Tickets cost $5/each or 3/$10 and are available at Hayward Bait in Hayward and AAA Sports in Spooner. The drawing is December 24. For more information, visit www.wfnw.net or call (715) 462-3559 or 634-5650.

Upcoming Events

Through Dec. 9Muzzleloader deer season.

Dec. 10Permit application deadlineSpring turkey; Bear.

Dec. 10-13Four-day antlerless deer hunt (see regs).

Dec. 16: Canada goose seasons closes in North Zone.

Dec. 25: Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1 season closes.

Dec. 26: Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 2 opens (see regs).

Dec. 31: Seasons close: Pheasant; Extended fall turkey zones 1-5; Hungarian partridge; Fisher trapping; Frog.

Jan. 16Elk Country ATV Club’s 8th annual ice fishing contest on Upper Clam Lake.

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Sawyer County Record co-sponsor this report. For more information on area events and activities, visit the HLVCB’s Calendar of Events or call 800-724-2992.