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Mourning Doves serve as door to new seasons Micah and I will walk again into a new hunting season this afternoon like we’ve walked together into eight Septembers before. Mourning doves are calling us now, more as a way to shake the dust off and welcome a new autumn than anything else. Later it will be more “serious” pursuits of pheasant and duck. Almost certainly, my brother John and his lab Dylan will join us again today as th...
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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

Opening weekend of deer season brought cold temperatures and stiff winds to the North Woods. The Packer-Viking game Sunday afternoon provided some hunters an ‘excuse’ to exit the woods early in the day, though tie games offer little satisfaction and many hunters might have wished they had endured the day in the tree stand.

This week looks to be a bit warmer, but not by much, with lows in single digits or teens, highs not reaching or breaking 30 degrees most days, and chances for snow nearly every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Muskie anglers will target the larger, deepwater lakes as long as they can,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “with the key to success locating and fishing around baitfish. Feeding times during periods of cold water are short and usually associated with the lunar periods.

“Anglers should be looking at ice fishing and no doubt some anxious anglers are ready to hit the early ice. The best thing about early ice is the fishing is usually quite good close to the shore, as walleyes move into shallower water in early mornings and at sundown. Use extreme caution – safety ropes, life preservers, and spud bars are essential equipment.”

Jim at Hayward Bait says grouse hunting continues to be good north and east of Hayward and they recently registered some nice bucks.

“The few, brave muskie anglers are toughing it out fishing suckers, and the even fewer walleye anglers are picking up a few fish on jigs and fatheads.

“Very few people fishing and with the forecast, the mindset is now turning to ice fishing. Many anglers look forward to early ice to fish walleyes on the Chippewa Flowage before the season there closes November 30.”

Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says few anglers are fishing the Chippewa Flowage due to cold weather and hunting seasons.

“Some muskie anglers are still searching for trophy muskies and the best bet is working along river channels with live suckers on quick-set rigs.

“For walleyes, fish 20 feet and deeper water near Popple Island with jigs tipped with fatheads, or for a shot at a lunker, try four- to six-inch sucker minnows.”

 DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says there are fishing regulation changes in the air.

“Anglers should be aware there are a variety of big changes proposed for our local fisheries.

“The reworking of statewide trout regulations will lead to some changes in the Hayward area – look for public meetings sometime in early 2014.

“It appears statewide panfish regulations will stay the same for the time being, but it is likely there will be proposals for changes to individual lakes with poor panfish fishing. Look for these changes at future Conservation Congress hearings.

“The DNR has proposed changes to bass, walleye, and muskellunge regulations for many local lakes and we will present information at a public meeting in February. Lastly, statewide trolling changes will again be on the ballot in the spring of 2014.

“Watch these reports for more information on these public feedback opportunities.”

DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says seasonably cold weather and peak deer rut kept fishing pressure to a minimum on most waters.

“In the last week, only a very few die-hard anglers ventured out, nearly all were muskie anglers, most used large suckers – and there were no reports of success.

“There was some ice observed in the side bays on a few of the waters, with thickness less than an inch, and any kind of walkable ice is still a couple of weeks away.”

In the past week, Hayward area registration stations (Shooting Star, Hillman’s Store, Hayward Bait) registered 18 antlerless deer and 25 bucks for the final week of early archery deer season. During opening weekend of gun deer season, Shooting Star had registered 92 antlerless deer and 94 bucks as of mid-afternoon Sunday, including one very nice 140-class 10-pointer. As in past years, the DNR took aging samples at Shooting Star during opening weekend and Hayward Bait did not register deer.

The Wisconsin wolf harvest reached 213 animals (statewide quota 251) as of November 24 and Zone 3 (harvest 31; quota 71) remains the only zone open for wolf hunting and trapping.


This is the final fishing report (such as it is) for the 2013 open water season. Fishing reports will resume for the hard-water season once the ice reaches a thickness considered ‘safe’ for travel on most lakes. The temperatures this past weekend indicate there might not be much of break between seasons!


Muskie anglers continue to pursue the trophies as the season is winding down to its close November 30. Look for fish in 10-20 feet of water around weeds, baitfish, and near river channels. Expect short bite windows. Suckers on quick-strike rigs are THE bait this time of year, though anglers are taking fish by other means, including swim baits and jigging.


Look for walleyes in deep water, with jigs and fatheads the favorite bait, followed by walleye suckers.


There is a good northern bite around weeds and baitfish with spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and of course the top producer – northern suckers.


Smallmouth anglers are having success on the deep, clear lakes fishing walleye suckers and spoons.


Crappie anglers are fishing 15-22 feet of water with crappie minnows and plastics on small jigs or plain hooks.


If you can find open water and choose to fish for bluegills, try 5-10 feet of water with waxies, worms, crawlers, and plastics.

Upcoming Events

Nov. 30: Seasons close: Muskellunge in North Zone; Turtle.

Dec. 1: Regular gun deer season closes; Lake Superior lake trout season opens.

Dec. 2-11: Muzzleloader deer season.

Dec. 10: Application deadline: Bear; Spring turkey.

Dec. 12-15: Antlerless-only firearm hunt in Herd Control and CWD DMUs.

Dec. 16: Canada goose season closes in Northern Zone.

Dec. 25: Period 1 bobcat season closes.

Dec. 26: Period 2 bobcat season opens north of Hwy 64.

Dec. 31: Seasons Close: Pheasant; Turkey (zones 1-5); Fisher; Frog; Hungarian partridge.

Jan. 5: Late archery deer season closes.

Jan. 18: Winter crow season opens.

Jan. 31: Seasons close: Ruffed grouse (Northern Zone); Squirrel; Bobcat (Period 2).


For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 1-800-724-2992.