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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

February 13, 2017

Steve Suman

Following this week’s mild start, colder weather arrives for a few days, after which temperatures move to the 50s for the weekend and first part of next week. The good news for Birkie skiers, snowmobilers, and ice anglers is that temperatures then return to low-30s highs through the weekend!

“Most area lakes have 14-18 inches of ice with snow cover,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “People are driving vehicles onto the ice, but it still requires extreme caution – no ice is totally safe ice.

“Walleye anglers report good fishing, including a few large fish. Most action is with golden shiners and walleye suckers on tip-ups set at various depths along weedlines, breaklines, humps, and points. Northern pike anglers are catching good numbers of fish, as well as some of good size.

“Panfish action is good for all species, with anglers using electronics, drilling several holes, and moving until they find the schools. Sometimes, on some lakes, setting up and waiting for the school to move through is productive.

“Crappie action is the best and anglers are catching limits. Bluegills are plentiful, though with many small fish. Perch anglers are catching 8- to 10-inch fish on crappie minnows, waxies, and plastics on small jigs and jigging spoons.”

Bob at Hayward Bait says walleye fishing continues to be good on area lakes.

“Walleye anglers are finding the best action on mud flats just off of steep breaklines. Most are using spoons and Jigging Raps tipped with fatheads or tip-ups with walleye suckers and medium shiners. Northern pike fishing is productive on tip-ups with northern suckers and shiners.

“Crappies and bluegills are in deep basins, but they start to move shallower towards in the evening. For big perch, use waxies, spikes, and red plastics on deep mudflats.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses factors surrounding the winterkill of fish.

“At this point in winter, both anglers and fish biologists start to think about the risks of winterkill of fish. Winterkill is most commonly a result of low oxygen in lakes covered with ice for several months. Ice cover prevents the exchange of oxygen between air and the liquid water, the primary means that lakes receive oxygen in the summer.

“When it comes to lakes that are at a higher risk for winterkill, research tells us that more productive lakes, those with more nutrients, have an increased risk. More plant and algae growth in the summer can mean more decomposition in winter, and the decomposition process consumes precious winter oxygen. Snow cover can play a factor as well, as less snow cover allows plants to make oxygen later into the winter.

“Depth, however, is by far the most important determinant of a lake being at risk for winterkill. In general, winterkill is considerably more likely in lakes less than 10 feet deep. Lakes more than 16 feet deep are rarely prone to winterkill, though there are exceptions to the rule.”


The Drummond Sno-Jacks Snowmobile Club is hosting its 18th annual bar stool races and chili feed this weekend, Saturday February 18, starting at noon, on the Brian Miller Hill behind the Black Bear Inn on Hwy 63. The fundraiser event offers food, drinks, and raffle ticket prizes. Check-in begins at 11 a.m. and races start at noon. Pre-event entry registration is $30; registration on race day is $50. Entry forms are available at Bear Country Sporting Goods, Black Bear Inn, Uncle Ryno’s, Crossroads, and Cable Chamber of Commerce. Event proceeds go to the Bayfield County Snowmobile Alliance to help groom and maintain the snowmobile trails. For more information, call (715) 739-6645 or visit


Pat’s Landing is holding its 5th annual Lanes and Links on the Lakes event this weekend, Saturday February 18, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Drive, snowmobile, or 4-wheel over for a fun-filled day of turkey bowling, turkey shoot-out, meat raffles, free stay raffles, door prizes, food and drinks. For more information, call (715) 945-2511.



Note: Trail conditions can change quickly, especially this winter, so always check with local businesses for the most current ice and trail conditions, as well as trail closures.

The February 13 HLVCB trail report says the past weekend was a great one for riding. Sawyer County’s wooded trails are in good condition and lake trails very good, with a few trail closures to keep in mind. Closures include Trail 63 north of Seeley from Boedecker Road to the Bayfield County line, and Trail 5/27 from Tuscobia south to the Rusk County line. Trails in surrounding counties – Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk, and Washburn – remain open.

February 13 Hayward Power Sports trail report says the wooded trails have a 5- to 6-inch base and are in good condition. Groomers groomed throughout the weekend, though there are some bare spots in open areas. Tuscobia Trail has numerous bare spots and Trail 11 on the 9-mile loop south of Tuscobia Trail has a logging operation. The trail is open, but use caution when riding. The forecast predicts the arrival of very unwanted warmer weather, so look for trail condition updates as the week continues.

The February 9 Namakagon Trail Groomers trail report says trail conditions have improved to overall “good” condition. Groomers are grooming and will probably be working with icy corners and hills for the balance of the season. With the warmer weather, please tread lightly. Day or night, expect a groomer over the next hill or around the next corner Ride responsibly, be safe, and have fun!

The February 8 Lakewoods trail report says trails are open, in good condition, and groomers continue to keep the trails as smooth as possible. Watch out for slippery corners and crossing paths with the groomers.




Walleye action is fair to good, with (surprise!) the best action in late afternoon hours into and after dark. Look for fish along breaklines and weedlines, as well as on humps, points, and mudflats. Use golden shiners and walleye suckers on tip-ups set at a variety of depths, as well as Jigging Raps, other jigging baits, and spoons tipped with fatheads.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing remains good to very good and anglers are icing plenty of fish, including some big ones. Look for weeds and weedlines, the greener the better, in a variety of depths and set tip-ups with northern suckers and shiners in/over/on/along those weeds.



Crappie action is good to very good in and along deeper holes, lake basins, and weedlines. Look for fish somewhat shallower in evening hours. Crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, Gulp! baits, and small jigging baits will call catch crappies. Stay on the move until you locate schools of active fish.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good, though mostly for smaller fish. Work weeds, weedlines, and deep lake basins with waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and teardrops.



Perch fishing is good on deep mud flats and deeper weed edges. As with other panfish species, keep moving until you find them. Top baits include crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, plastics, Gulp! baits, and small jigging baits.


Upcoming Events

Feb. 15: Seasons close: Coyote trapping; Raccoon hunting/trapping; Red and gray fox gun/trapping.

Feb. 16: Northwest Relic Riders “Ride to Lunch”; meet at 10 a.m.

Feb. 18: Drummond Sno-Jacks 18th annual bar stool races (715-739-6645).

Feb. 18: 5th Annual Lanes and Links on the Lake at Pat’s Landing (715-945-2511).

Feb. 18: Northwest Relic Riders radar run and bikini run at Trails End; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. (715-634-2423; 699-2606).

Feb. 23-26: American Birkebeiner (715-634-5025).

Feb. 26: Seasons close: Cottontail rabbit; Mink trapping.

March 3-4: World’s Longest Weenie Roast at Lakewoods (715-794-2561).

March 4: Game fish season closes.

March 10-12: Hot Air for Hearts Balloon Rally at Lakewoods (715-794-2561).

March 20: Leftover spring turkey permits on sale at 10 a.m. by zone, one zone per day.

March 31: S.C.O.P.E. 10th annual Fundraising Banquet at The Steakhouse and Lodge.


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

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