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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report 1/19/15

Steve Suman

The forecast promises tolerable temperatures – lows in the teens and highs in the 30s – and more snow, but not much accumulation. There are no major storms in the immediate forecast – subject to change at any time!

“Ice depths range from 15-18 inches,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and people are driving ATVs, snowmobiles, and some vehicles.

“Walleye anglers are catching eating size fish on mud flats in 4-8 feet and larger fish on breaklines in 12-18 feet. Work walleye suckers, shiners, and fatheads just off the bottom. Northern action is slow, though tip-up anglers trying for walleye report a few nice pike.

“Crappies and bluegills are suspending 3-5 feet off bottom in deep water, taking small minnows and waxies. Perch, on mud flats in 16-20 feet and as shallow as 4-6 feet, prefer small crappie minnows.”

Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage anglers are doing well on northern pike.

“The natural lakes on the west side are best. Set tip-ups along weedlines, suspending baits halfway between the ice and the bottom. Suckers and shiners work, but try both to find the preference.

“Crappie anglers do well when they find the schools. Be mobile and use your electronics until you find fish. If fish are active, use jigs tipped with plastics or Gulp! baits. For negative fish, use crappie minnows.

“To target bluegills mixed in with the crappies, use smaller jigs with mini plastics or spikes.”

Bob at Hayward Bait says ice is 14-16 inches and there is ATV, snowmobile, and vehicle travel.

“Walleye fishing is picking up, with anglers catching fish in 15-30 feet on main lake bars, points, weedlines, and cribs. Use walleye suckers and shiners under tip-ups, and jig fatheads. Northern action is good on large shiners fished under tip-ups on cabbage beds in 5-15 feet.

“Anglers using small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and plastics are catching crappie and bluegill on weed beds, but look for crappies suspending in deeper water.”

Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says fishing is good across Chequamegon Bay, with anglers scattered from the marina to second landing on the Ashland side.

“Depths range from 10 feet for perch and walleyes to 30 feet for perch, walleye, brown trout, splake, and northern pike.

“Many anglers on the Washburn and Bayfield side of the bay, and some getting to Basswood Island, are catching good numbers of browns, whitefish, splake, and a few legal lakers.

“Ice seems to be in good shape everywhere, but use caution, especially around Bayfield, Red Cliff, and the islands.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses white crappies and black crappies.

“There are two different species of crappie in the Midwest – white crappie and black crappie. Black crappies, by far more common in northern Wisconsin, have black ‘speckles’ spread across their body. White crappies, found in only a few isolated lakes in northern Wisconsin, have black scales organized into loose vertical bars. Both species reach similar sizes.

“Black crappies are thought to be better adapted to life in northern lakes, as they thrive in more clear water. White crappies are adapted for life in muddy water and are more common in large rivers and reservoirs in the southern U.S.”

DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says most lakes have 12-15 inches of ice, with 5-8 inches of snow on top.

“Anglers are mostly targeting walleye and finding sporadic action. Some found a few eater-size walleye in 6-12 feet along deep weed edges, breaklines, and mud flats, with the fish preferring medium suckers or large fatheads. The best bite is just before dark. Northern pike activity let up a bit and it appears panfish anglers have taken a break.

“Last week, the second full week in January, is typically the coldest week of the year and daily temperatures should start rising through the rest of the winter!”

Snowmobile Trail Reports

The January 19 Runamuk Rides report says Sawyer, Bayfield, Iron, Washburn, and Ashland county trails are open and in fair condition. The warmer temperatures and a fair amount of weekend traffic wore down some sections and there are a few icy corners and bare spots. There is still a good base and overall snowmobiling is very good.

The January 18 Lakewoods report says trail conditions are fair to good. Bayfield County trails have a base of 12-18 inches, while the base on Sawyer and Ashland county trails is 10-14 inches. The trails held up well to the weekend traffic and showed little wear. Crews will continue to groom trails when applicable. Lake trails are marked and in great shape. Stick to the marked areas and be prepared for emergencies, no matter the ice depth.

The Cable Area snowmobile trail report for January 15 says trails remain in fair to good condition. The base is thin, but groomers continue to maintain trails as much as possible – and the lakes are great for riding!

The Hayward Power Sports report for January 15 says most Sawyer County trails are in very good condition. Lakes are in good condition, though with a few ice heaves, so stay on marked trails.

The January 14 Hayward Lakes Visitors & Convention Bureau snowmobile trail report says most Sawyer County trails are in fair to good condition, with a good six-inch base and trails groomed as needed. Crews staked most lakes with very good ice, though some formed ice heaves, so stay on marked trails. Tuscobia Trail is groomed and in good condition. Crews groomed Trail #5 south to Rusk County, but Rusk County trails remain closed.

Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club is holding two “ride to lunch” events in the coming week. On Thursday Jan. 22, meet at Bar H Implement in Stone Lake at 10:30 a.m. On Tuesday Jan. 27, meet at The Fireside in Hayward at 10:30 a.m. Rides are open to the public. For more information, call Mike Wells (715) 634-4608; 520-8220.




Walleye anglers continue to catch fish, with the best action just before dark. Fish are scattered from 6-30 feet and deeper, holding on weedlines, cribs, points, bars, breaklines, and mud flats. Walleye suckers and shiners on tip-ups produce the most action, followed by jigged fatheads, all fished just off bottom.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action slowed, but the fish are starting to show more activity. Fish cabbage beds and along weedlines in 4-15 feet with northern suckers and shiners under tip-ups, suspending your bait at various locations in the water column.


Crappie anglers continue to enjoy good action once they locate the fish – which usually requires electronics and a willingness to be on the move. Concentrate your search near weed beds and deeper water, looking for fish suspending a few feet off the bottom. As always, be sure to check theentire water column. Top baits include crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs or plain hooks, fished with or without slip bobbers and tip-downs.


Bluegills are shallow to deep, suspending just off bottom, and often swimming with the crappies. Baits of choice include waxies, spikes, plastics, Gulp! baits, and small minnows.


Anglers are catching a few perch on a number of lakes, be it by design or coincidence while pursuing other species. Depending on the water, look for weedlines, breaklines, and mud flats in 4-20 feet. Fish on the bottom with small jigs and crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and spikes.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 22Relic Riders “Ride to Lunch”; Bar H Implement, Stone Lake, 10:30 a.m. (715-634-4608; 520-8220). 

Jan. 27Relic Riders “Ride to Lunch”; The Fireside, Hayward, 10:30 a.m. (715-634-4608; 520-8220). 

Jan. 26: DNR public hearing on deer management rules; Spooner DNR Service Center; 6-8 p.m.

Jan. 25: Winter crow season opens.

Through Jan. 31: Bobcat hunting/trapping season Period 2 north of Hwy. 64.

Jan. 31: Seasons close: Squirrel; Ruffed grouse in northern zone; Bobcat Period 2 hunting/trapping.

Feb. 7Flambeau River State Forest 23rd Annual Candlelight Ski (715-332-5271).

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

Feb. 19-22American Birkebeiner (715-634-5025).

Feb. 28: Seasons close: Cottontail rabbit; Mink trapping.

March 7: Early catch-and-release only trout season opens statewide (see regs).

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. 

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