Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]July 25, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


The forecast indicates another wet week is possible, yet most shower and thunderstorm chances are at less than 50 percent – and with little threat of severe storms. It is nearly August, so rain or shine, best to enjoy your favorite summer activities NOW!


“It appears the fish have found new places to hide in the high water!” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“The best musky bite is late afternoon into dark on topwaters; be sure to do a figure-eight after every retrieve. Walleye action is slow, with evenings best when fish move shallower to feed. Use large leeches or crawlers on drops and weed edges in 6-10 feet.

“Northerns offer all-day action in weeds and weed edges on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and Mepps. Larger pike are deeper; small fish in the shallows bite on almost anything.

“Catch largemouth in and around weeds and docks with topwaters, weedless frogs, and rigged/wacky style worms. Fish smallmouth in rock/gravel areas with tube jigs, crankbaits, and leeches.

“Crappie fishing is best during evening hours on weeds and edges in 6-10 feet with tube jigs and minnows on slip bobbers. For bluegills, use crawler pieces and leaf worms.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says water levels are dropping and temperatures are rising, but fishing is decent.

“Muskies are moving on jerkbaits, bucktails, and topwaters. Use care when handling fish in warm water. Fish very early when the water temps are lowest, but it is best to stop fishing muskies when temps reach more than 80 degrees.

“Walleyes are deeper and harder to find. Troll crawler harnesses and drift Lindy Rigs on points and bars in 15-30 feet.

“The bass bite is the best thing going and topwaters are solid during low light. Senko worms and jigs/plastics get fish as well. Focus on deep weed edges, downed trees, and docks. Smallmouth are active on rock bars extending into deeper water and can be shallow to deep, depending on time of day.

“Panfish are deeper, schooling, and fairly active on small plastics and leaf worms.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake anglers are catching walleye and northern by trolling along and crisscrossing the river channel with stickbaits and bucktails.

“Bass anglers do well fishing weedlines and lily pads with swim jigs, frogs, and scented plastics.

“For crappie and bluegill, drift near cribs and bogs with waxies, worms, leeches, minnows, small dressed jigs, and Beetle Spins.”

Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage muskie anglers are catching some fish, despite warmer water temperatures.

“Muskies are not extra aggressive, but this is a good time to use topwaters. Walleye action is a bit slow with the precipitation and increased water temperature. Try deeper, cooler areas. Natural springs and deep holes in the river channels might be worth a stop.

“Northern pike fishing is also slow and anglers report more success on live bait than artificials. Bass action is unusually slow, with largemouth almost non-existent. For smallmouth, fish crawlers on cribs or work stump and rock areas with spinnerbaits, frogs, and topwaters.

“Crappie action is good despite the warmer water. Fish bogs and deeper cribs with crappie minnows and Mini-Mites tipped with Gulp! Crappie Nibbles.”


Many areas of far northern Wisconsin continue to recover from the heavy rain and flooding, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, and recreationalists should check ahead and prepare for extended detours when traveling in parts of Ashland, Iron, Bayfield, and Sawyer counties.

“Muskies are showing more typical summer patterns and provide the most consistent action. Fish weed beds and edges with topwater for good action. Walleye fishing is erratic, though a few anglers are catching fish with leeches on deep rocky structure.

“Largemouth are in mid-depth wood, reed beds, bog edges, and along deep weedlines, with soft plastics and fast-moving crankbaits producing decent catches. Smallmouth are tougher to find. Fish rocky structure in 12-16 feet with plastic finesse baits.

“Panfish fishing is fair for crappie, perch, and rock bas, but large bluegill are tougher to find.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses northern pike and trout.

“Northern pike can be voracious eaters, which makes them a lot of fun for anglers, but this can create problems when they wind up in places they are not supposed to be.

“Researchers in South Dakota looked at the impacts of invasive northern pike on a reservoir rainbow trout fishery. They found that small pike did not eat many trout, mostly because they could not fit them into their mouths. However, bigger pike ate large numbers of trout, which made up more than half their diet.

“The researchers estimated that over the course of 10 years, a northern pike in that lake would eat 117 trout on average. That consumption level was costly to the state, which was stocking trout, and producing a negative impact on the quality of trout angling.

“Locally, we have taken measures to keep pike out of trout lakes and spring ponds, sometimes even installing barriers to prevent pike from spreading from other waterbodies.”


The Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. annual free Kid’s Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage is Sunday, August 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. The headquarters is Black Iron Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward. This event offers young anglers 8-16 years of age an opportunity to fish with knowledgeable muskie anglers on Upper Twin and nearby lakes. Fishing concludes at noon, followed by a shore lunch and prize distribution. All youngsters receive a bag of fishing goodies, plus an opportunity to win larger raffle prizes. To pre-register (required) at Hayward Bait, a parent/guardian MUST be present to sign the registration form. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.


This is the final reminder for the August 1 permit application deadline for fall turkey, otter, fisher, bobcat, Upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing, and sharp-tailed grouse (25 sharp-tailed grouse harvest permits).


Anglers can still enter the Hayward Bass Club (HBC) open tournament on the Chippewa Flowage this Sunday, July 31, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The entry fee is $50 per team and the field limited to 50 boats. For more information, contact Wayne Balsavich (405-227-1789; haywardbassclub@gmail.com) or Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.




Musky fishing is fair to good, with early mornings, evenings, and after dark best for catching – and best for handling fish with the warm water. Work weed beds and weed edges with bucktails, jerkbaits, and topwaters.



Walleye action is slow, with fish difficult to locate. Success is best in shallower water during late evening hours into and after dark. During the day, fish deeper weeds, point, bars, drops, rock, and channels out to 30 feet. Use leeches on Lindy Rigs and slip bobbers, crawlers on harnesses, and trolled stickbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern fishing is good for small fish and “so-so” for bigger pike. Work shallower weeds and weedlines for smaller fish and similar areas in deeper water for bigger fish. Live baits works best, but spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, chatterbaits, and bucktails all catch fish, whether cast or trolled.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action is fair to very good. You can find the bass around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weedlines, wood, bogs, reeds, lily pad beds, docks, downed trees, and other structure. Best bait choices include topwaters, plastics (worms in assorted riggings, tubes, frogs, creatures, etc.), crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and live bait.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is decent, but discovering what they will bite is the challenge. The fish are on rock, gravel, cribs, and stumps in depths from shallow to deep (more than 18 feet). Try tubes, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic frogs, topwaters, Beetle Spins, plastic finesse baits, leeches, and crawlers.



Crappie action is fair to good, with best success in the evening. Look for fish on deeper weeds, weed edges, bogs, brush, and cribs. Crappie minnows, leeches, small plastics, Gulp! baits, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Beetle Spins are all effective for crappies.



Bluegill fishing is good for small fish around shallow weeds, bogs, and other structure. Work deeper structure for larger ‘gills. The most productive baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler pieces, leeches, and small jigs.


Upcoming Events

July 27-30: 57th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

July 30: Flambeau River State Forest Campfire Cookout; demonstrations, samples, Connors Lake (715-332-5271).

July 31: Hayward Bass Club open tournament on Chippewa Flowage (715-699-1015).

Through July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs).

Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; Sharp-tailed grouse; Bobcat; Fisher; Otter.

Aug. 6: Flambeau River State Forest Smokey Bear birthday party, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).

Aug. 7: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. Annual Kids Fishing Day 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (715-634-2921).

Aug. 21: Hayward Bass Club free youth tournament on Chippewa Flowage (715-699-1015).

Through Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear allowed through August 31 (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]