Excerpts from the April 23, 2018 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report by Steve Suman:
One week ago, the Hayward area was dealing with 20 inches of blowing snow. Now, with 65 degrees Monday and an extended forecast showing 60- to 70-degree highs in the next few weeks, it appears spring is (finally!) here for good. The sun and warm temperatures may or may not be enough to melt lake ice for the May 5 gamefish opener, but the weather is certainly moving in the right direction!
“This has been the April of our cold discontent,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “The impacts of frigid weather this month will last well into May, with expectations of near-record late ice-outs... This spring is shaping up similar to those of 2013 and 2014, with some of the latest ice-outs ever across the state, but this year might even be later. The first 12 days of April were bone-chilling cold, averaging 23 degrees, a full 10-15 degrees below normal. The first 12 days of March were warmer, with an average of 25 degrees!.. In some areas, through mid-April, ice anglers continue to report virtually no ice melt. At this point, many lakes remain covered in snow that reflects sunshine and protects the ice from rotting... If you plan to fish open-water lakes come the May 5 gamefish opener – that is less than two weeks away – you may want to be flexible on where and how you plan to fish. Maybe try a river – or bring an auger!.. The good news is that we do have some melting now and the 10-day forecast says temperatures will rise into the 50s and even into the 60s, with lots of sunshine. However, that is short of the number of days required to melt the snow and ice in earnest. A few days ago, a friend said it would take about 27 days of these higher temperatures, along with some rain, to rid the lakes of ice, and he predicted about May 16. What is your guess?”
Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says spring is finally trying to get here, but a few anglers are still venturing out onto the ice... "The anglers who are getting on the ice report decent success. Most of the anglers are targeting crappie and bluegill and say the fish are starting to push shallow. Use caution and definitely be aware, as ice conditions are starting to change... A few anglers who are now hitting the rivers and streams for suckers and redhorse report some success and crawlers will get the job done... There are also success reports coming in from anglers fishing the Brule River. The bite is sporadic, but anglers are catching some good fish. Spawn, flies, and hard baits can all produce some action."
The 34th Annual Treeland Challenge catch and release bass and walleye tournament is May 11-13 on the Chippewa Flowage. The event offers thousands of dollars in contest and drawing prizes. First through third prizes will be awarded for bass and walleye categories for each division.. Daily door prizes and a Grand Prize drawing. For more information, including registration, visit www.treelandresorts.com or call (715) 462-3874).
Area lakes still have considerable ice depths and some anglers continue to have success in their pursuit of crappie and bluegill. Sunshine and warm temperatures (and some rain and wind) could take out much of the ice between now and the May 5 gamefish opener, but plan for the best (open water) and prepare for the “not best” (i.e., an ice fishing opener!)
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.