Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]August 22, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


The forecast for this week indicates somewhat cooler, sunny, and breezy weather, with a few chances for rain and/or thunderstorms. Considering this summer’s previous weather, this is a very encouraging forecast!

“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes improved steadily over the past few days,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Musky anglers report good action fishing topwaters, medium bucktails, and suckers on quick-set rigs on weed edges and deeper drop-offs. The key for walleye is to find transition zones such as mud to weeds, rocks to mud, sand to rock, etc., next to deep water. Use crawler halves on spinning or Lindy rigs. Northern pike action is good all day in shallow and deep weeds with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and large minnows under bobbers.

“Largemouth are in weeds, hitting crawlers, rigged worms, plastics, and topwaters. Catch smallmouth in deep rock and gravel areas with tube jigs and diving crankbaits.

“For crappies, use minnows, tube jigs, small plastics, and Gulp! baits. Fish shallow weeds for panfish, moving deeper for larger fish.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing keeps improving in the North Woods.

“Musky anglers made some decent catches last week, with the bigger lakes providing better success, and most action on bucktails, though topwaters get the nod during low light. Focus on weed edges and rock bars in 5-20 feet. Water is still warm, so quick releases are still important. Walleye fishing is slow. Drift or troll crawler harnesses and crankbaits around the thermocline holding at about 20 feet.

“The bass bite remains the best thing going. Use plastics, swim jigs, and topwaters on deeper weed edges, and throw a few frogs at the slop. For smallmouth, fish crayfish tubes, swim jigs, and jerkbaits on rocks and cribs in 10-20 feet.

“Crappie and bluegill action is good with waxies and leaf worms on most lakes.”

Mike at Jenk’s says most Chippewa Flowage musky action is on black/green or walleye color Bull Dawgs and various swim baits, and this time is good for Hawg Wobblers and creepers. Stay deep and cast shallower to cover the shallows and deeper drop-offs. Walleye anglers report some success trolling Flicker Shads, Bad Shads, and Shad Raps over 20-25 feet for suspending fish following balls of baitfish. When water temperature cool, try crawlers in 6-12 feet around weed edges bordering river channels and river channel bends.

“Smallmouth fishing picked up last week on the far eastern side. During the day, fish 8-11 feet – shallower in the evening – working crawlers, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits on stumps and rocks.

“Catch crappies on bogs, cribs, and weedy humps around 14-17 feet, with crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Gulp! baits, and jigs with spinners.”

Fishing success in the last two weeks was good for many anglers, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.

“Muskies are increasingly active and anglers report plenty of action. Work large bucktails, Bull Dawgs, and topwaters along weed edges and in dense weed beds. Walleye fishing is erratic, with decent catches on minnows, leeches, and crawlers on deep structure such as rock humps and cribs.

“Largemouth favor woody cover and deeper weed and bog edges. Use soft plastics, jig/craw combinations, and topwaters. Smallmouth action is very good on rivers and flowages, with most fish near wood and structure along hard bottom areas close to weeds and deeper water. Large crayfish-imitating plastics and topwaters work best.

“Panfish action is fair, with bluegills and crappies suspending near mid-depth structure.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fish stocking by airplane.

“A 1951 article by Earl Leitritz provides a fascinating glimpse at some of the early days of experimentation in fisheries management.

“Specifically, Leitritz looked at the success of stocking fish into otherwise inaccessible high-mountain lakes via airplane. The practice was becoming popular in the 1940s, and with many talented pilots returning home from the war, viewed as an efficient way to stock fish. Biologists attempted several different methods, including dropping fish in wax covered ice cream buckets. Once in the water, the wax would break away and fish could swim out.

“After trying a handful of delivery techniques, it was finally determined the “free-fall” method of ejecting fish from a moving plane, with no delivery container, had the best success.

“The planes dropped fish from 300-800 feet at a speed of 120 miles per hour. Biologists believed survival with this method was an incredible almost 100 percent for small trout.

“Pilots in California, with practice, stocked ponds as small as 2-3 acres by dropping fish from hundreds of feet high.”


Fishing Has No Boundaries Inc. is hosting a “Concert on the Bay” benefit this Saturday, August 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Lakewoods Resort in Cable. The concert features live music by Joe Bucher and the Young Guns, and Molly and the Danger Band. For tickets ($15 in advance; $20 the day of the concert), visit www.eventbrite.com. For more information, call (800) 243-3462.

The DNR is showing three early segments from Deer Hunt Wisconsin, airing later this fall. These segments cover Farmland Zone tags, Bonus Antlerless tags, and Snapshot Wisconsin. To view, search “deer show” on the DNR website.

The DNR will offer remaining fall turkey permits for sale starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, August 27. For more information, search “turkey” on the DNR website.

Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education’s (SCOPE) free Family Fun Day is this Saturday, Aug. 27, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Summit Lake Game Farm. Visitors can try shooting (including laser shot hunting simulation on a big screen), fishing, archery, kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, and more. (For adults who want to try shooting, SCOPE requests a donation for ammo). Take Highway 27 south from Hayward, turn right on County Road F, and follow the signs. For more information, visit www.sawyercountyoutdoors.com or call (715) 354-7241).



Musky action is improving as we move towards fall, with the most productive areas weeds/weed edges, rock bars, and drop-offs in or near depths to 25 feet. Top baits include bucktails, Bull Dawgs, swim baits, topwaters, and suckers on quick-strike rigs.


Walleye fishing is inconsistent, with fish scattered from deep structure to suspending over deeper water to shallower weeds and rock in the evening. Troll the thermocline (around 20 feet) or work deeper (to 30 feet) rocks, humps, cribs, and weeds during the day. Best baits include crawlers, leeches, minnows, and trolled/cast crank and stick baits.

Northern Pike:

Northern are active all day and anglers continue to catch some nice fish. Work weeds at various depths with spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and northern suckers under bobbers. For trophy pike, fish deeper water with bigger baits.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action is fair to very good, though sometimes inconsistent. Work in/on/over weeds and weed edges, wood, bogs, brush, and slop with plastics (worms, frogs, tubes, etc.), swim jigs, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth action is fair to good, depending on the day and lake. Target hard bottom areas with rock and gravel, stumps, cribs, wood, and weeds in 6-25 feet and/or adjacent to deeper water. Use crayfish color tubes, swim jigs, jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters.


Crappie fishing is good around cribs, bogs, brush, humps, and weeds in 10-20 feet with crappie minnows, waxies, tubes, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and small spinner jigs.


Bluegill fishing is very good around shallow weeds, docks, and other structure. Larger ‘gills are around similar structure and/or suspending in deeper water. Best baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, tube jigs, hair jigs, small minnows, Gulp! baits, plastics, and poppers.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 23: Deadline to transfer Class A Bear License to a youth hunter.

Aug. 27: Remaining fall turkey permits go on sale at 10 a.m.

Aug. 27: SCOPEFamily Fun Day at Summit Lake Game Farm (715-354-7241).

Aug. 27: Fishing Has No Boundaries Inc. “Concert on the Bay” benefit 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Lakewoods Resort.

Aug. 31: Bear dog training by pursuing bear closes (see regs).

Sept. 1: Seasons Open: Early teal; Early Canada goose; Mourning dove; Ginseng.

Sept. 1: Application deadline for hunters with disabilities to apply for sponsored hunts.

Sept. 2-4: 24th Annual Exeland Trout Festival.

Sept. 3: Elk bugling with DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell; RSVP (715-332-5271).

Sept. 3-30: Hook and line lake sturgeon season (see regs).

Sept. 6: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. general meeting at Coop’s Pizza, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Sept. 7: Bear season opens (see regs).

Sept. 8-10: 18th Annual Chippewa Flowage Musky Hunt (715-462-3276).

Sept. 15: Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.

Sept. 16: Seasons open: Canada goose north and south exterior zones, Horicon Zone.

Sept. 16-17: Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival (715-798-3594).

Sept. 17: Seasons Open: Fall turkey; Deer (archery, crossbow); Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Cottontail ( northern zone); Gray and fox squirrel; Crow.

Sept. 17-18: Youth waterfowl duck hunt (see regs).

 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. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]