Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]August 1, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


The Hayward area enjoyed gorgeous weather this past weekend, a welcome change and greatly appreciated by those attending the Lumberjack World Championships. While the forecast predicts a return to rain and thunderstorms again this week, it also shows another beautiful weekend ahead!


“Things are slowly returning to normal after the storms,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Musky action is improving around drop-offs and deeper weeds and weed edges on bucktails, gliders, crankbaits, and topwaters. Night fishing can produce exciting action for anglers willing to stay out late and battle the bugs.

“Walleye anglers do best in late afternoon into dark with leeches and crawler halves on Lindy or spinner rigs and with shallow crankbaits. Work deep holes and humps during the day. Fish northern pike in shallow weeds with spinnerbaits, topwaters, and large suckers under bobbers.

“Fish largemouth in shallow weeds and around docks/piers with rigged worms and topwaters. For smallmouth, fish deeper rock/gravel areas with leeches, tube jigs, and deep crankbaits.

“Catch crappies with crappie minnows and small plastics under slip bobbers on deeper weed edges and drop-offs. For bluegills, fish shallower weeds with waxies, leaf worms, crawler pieces, and small plastics.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says musky action is decent with the cooler water.

“Bucktails and Bull Dawgs work best, fished on mid-lake bars and deeper points with weeds. The walleye bite is good, though moving deeper. Fish leeches and crawlers on slip bobbers, jigs, and crawler harnesses on mid-lake bars and weed edges in 15-32 feet. Pike also moved deeper, with some action on spinnerbaits, weedless spoons, and swim baits.

“The bass bite is a little sporadic, with most fish coming on Senko worms or similar plastics and topwaters early and late. Focus on deeper weed edges and humps, inside corners and points, and hard cover such as trees and docks adjacent to deeper water.

“Crappie action is decent in deeper water on small jigs with Gulp! minnows or similar plastics. For bluegills schooling on deeper weed edges, use waxies, leaf worms, and leeches.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should fish early and late along rocky shorelines or troll the channel with leeches, crawlers, fatheads, Gulp! Alive Minnows and Leeches, and stickbaits.

“Northern pike are active on surface stickbaits, popping plugs, and bucktails – and do not be afraid to go with big baits. Largemouth are in/near lily pads and weed beds, hitting buzz baits, spinnerbaits, frogs, poppers, and scented worms.

“For crappies and bluegills, bobber fish or jig live bait or cast Beetle Spins.”

Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage muskies are around, but not striking.

“Anglers report many follows and boil-ups, but few connections. Consider throwing topwaters and shallower sub-surface baits, or try bucktails with fast, high riding retrieves that bulge the surface. Walleye fishing is spotty. Work brush and cover in 15-17 feet during the day and around weed edges in 6-12 feet at night.

“Largemouth fishing has been slow all year, but now the smallmouth seemed to go dormant. Try deeper rock and cribs, but move to shallower cover if the water cools.

“Crappies are active, but spots are not consistent. They are schooling around deeper humps and weeds, but not around the same humps every night. Use crappie minnows or Mini-Mites tipped with Gulp! Crappie Nibbles.”


Constantly changing weather conditions have kept fishing for most species pretty tough and very inconsistent, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.

“Musky anglers report some success, be it sightings, follows, or strikes, mostly on topwaters and Bull Dawgs fished on deep weed edges and less-dense weed beds. Walleye fishing is especially tough, with leeches and crawlers fished on deep weed edges and rock/gravel bars providing some action, as do Rapalas and stickbaits along weed edges near dark.

“Largemouth action is fair near heavy weed beds, bog edges, and stumps/logs with rubber frogs, soft plastics, and crayfish imitations. Smallmouth fishing is fair on small finesse plastics and wacky-worms around wood and weed edges near hard-bottom and deep areas.

“Bigger panfish are suspending near cover in 8-14 feet, with some nice crappies taken near the surface around woody structure.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses flooding effects on fish.

“It has been quite a summer in northern Wisconsin, with some extreme and dangerous weather, and anglers are asking what impacts all this heavy rain and flooding will have on fish and the aquatic communities.

“Obviously, the impacts in lakes are not as great, but the increased runoff washing more nutrients into the lake can lead to algal blooms. If lake levels rise, it can sometimes be positive for young fish that can find refuge and food in submerged terrestrial vegetation.

“In streams, the impacts can be more severe. It is very common to have fish flushed downstream or stranded in pools when water levels drop. This often impacts the smallest fish the most, as they are not powerful enough to fight the current and find refuge. In 2013, we lost a nice year class of Namekagon River brown trout following extreme flows from a storm.

“There are currently several cases in northern Wisconsin where dam failures, extreme flows, and scouring will have huge impacts on the habitat and fish community for years to come.”


There is still time to register for the Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. free annual Kid’s Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage Sunday, August 7, from 9 a.m. to noon. Headquarters is Black Iron Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward. The event offers anglers 8-16 years old an opportunity to fish with knowledgeable muskie anglers on Upper Twin and nearby lakes. (Adult anglers interested in volunteering as guides should contact Mike Persson: 715-634-4543). Fishing concludes at noon, followed by a shore lunch and prize distribution. All young anglers receive a bag of fishing goodies, plus an opportunity to win raffle prizes. Pre-register (required) at Hayward Bait and a parent/guardian MUST be present to sign the registration form. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.




Musky fishing is decent to good and improving, with anglers at least seeing and tempting many fish. Concentrate efforts on deeper drop-offs, points, weeds, weedlines, points, and mid-lake bars with cover. Best baits include bucktails, Bull Dawgs, gliders, shallower running stick and crank baits, and topwaters.



Walleye success reports vary from good to very difficult, with best action late in the day into dark. During the day, concentrate on deeper (out to 30 feet) weeds, bars, brush, holes, humps, rock, and gravel. In low light/dark hours, work depths to 12 feet around similar structure and shorelines. The most effective baits and presentations include crawlers and leeches on jigs, slip bobbers, Lindy Rigs, spinner rigs, split shot rigs, and crawler harnesses. In the evening, cast and troll Rapalas, crankbaits, and stickbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northerns provide all-day action, particularly for smaller fish. Work shallow to deeper weeds and areas holding panfish with spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim baits, bucktails, and larger topwaters.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is fair to very good on most waters, though action can be somewhat inconsistent. Key locations include shallow weeds, wood, stumps, humps, brush, bogs, logs, lily pads, docks, and downed trees. The most successful baits include plastics (worms in assorted riggings, frogs, crayfish imitations, grubs, etc.), buzz baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters, and live bait such as crawlers, leeches, and minnows.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth action is slow to good, depending on the lake. Look for fish on weed edges, wood, points, hard bottoms, bars, humps, rock, gravel, and cribs in or near deeper water. Tubes, finesse plastics, rigged plastic worms, deep diving crawfish colored crankbaits, crawlers, and leeches are all catching smallmouth.



Crappie fishing is fair to good, with best action late in the day. Fish are in mid-depth to deeper water, schooling and suspending on/over/near weeds, wood, and drop-offs. The most effective baits include crappie minnows, plastics, Gulp! Minnows, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Beetle Spins.



Bluegill fishing is fair (good for smaller fish) on weeds, weedlines, and drop-offs in 3-15 feet. Standard baits, such as waxies, leaf worms, panfish leeches, crawler pieces, plastics, poppers, and Gulp! baits, are all catching fish.


Upcoming Events

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. 9-16: SCOPE Hunter Education Course (715-558-5371).

Aug. 18-21:Sawyer County Fair (715-296-9000).

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

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

Through Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear allowed through August 31 (see regs.)

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


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]