Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]August 29, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


Once we make/made it through Monday, it looks to be a nice week ahead… until Labor Day weekend, when chances for thunderstorms return. Enjoy this week and forget about those “chances” until next weekend!


“Our up and down weather keeps us guessing what the next day will bring,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Muskies are suspending over deep water and in weeds. Try bucktails and topwaters over weeds and bigger plastics over deeper water. Night fishing is good for larger fish. Walleye action is best in late afternoon/night in weeds in 6-8 feet. Use crawler halves, minnows, and leeches. On deep, clear lakes fish weed edges in 12-14 feet. Northern are in weeds and hitting suckers minnows and artificials with flash/noise.”

“Largemouth are in shallow weeds, taking plastics, spinnerbaits, and surface baits. Smallmouth are on deeper hard bottom areas holding crayfish. Orange or brown crankbaits, tube jigs, and crawlers work well.

“Crappies are in weeds in 8-12 feet. Use live bait and tube jigs. Fish bluegills in weeds with waxies and leaf worms.”

At Hayward Bait, guide Steve Genson says there are cooling water temperatures and good fishing reports in the area.

“Musky action is best in early morning on main lake humps and points with topwaters, bucktails, and jerkbaits when action is slow. Walleye anglers report success long-line trolling Husky Jerks and Tail Dancers over deeper water.

“Bass fishing is still the best bet for good action and fun. For largemouth, target weedlines and slop with swim jigs, plastics, and topwaters. For smallmouth, fish cribs, rocks, and weedlines in 12-18 feet with swim jigs, crankbaits, and topwaters.

“Crappie action is good with small plastics and crappie minnows on the edges of deeper humps and weedlines. Bluegills are schooling along deep weeds and cribs and taking waxies and leaf worms.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says the Dog days of summer arrived at Nelson Lake, with warm water, blooming algae, and a slow bite.

“For all fish species, add some splash, flash, wobble or vibration to your presentations.

“Get the attention of walleyes with stickbaits that jerk, wobble, or rattle, and spinners that vibrate or chatter, fishing deeper water mid-day and shorelines early and late. For northerns, use Mepps, buzz baits, and spinnerbaits.

“Fish largemouth with surface poppers, dressed weedless spoons, swim jigs, and frogs.

“If drifting live bait under a bobber isn’t working for panfish, fish Beetle Spin type setups at deeper depths.”

Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing remains decent.

“Muskies are taking slower moving surface baits, rubber baits, shallow crankbait, and bucktails. Stay deeper and cast to the shallows to cover both bars and drop-offs.

“Walleye fishing is slow, but trolling #7 and #9 Flicker Shads through suspended bait balls over 20-25 feet produces results. In the evening, fish crawlers and leeches on weed edges in 6-12 feet. Northern action is good with spoons, spinners, and suckers.

“Crappies are on cribs and brush in about 19-20 feet. Bait choices vary from live bait to plastics. They are with schools of bluegills, so you can fish for both at the same time.”


Fishing is fair to good in the North Woods, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.

“Muskies are active all day along weed edges and in shallower weed beds. Use large plastics, slow stickbaits, and topwaters. Walleye anglers report erratic action, with decent catches on leeches and crawlers fished along deep edges and in/along weeds in river sections of larger flowages.

“Largemouth are in thick cover. Work jig/craw combinations, Texas-rigged worms, Senkos, and topwaters close to wood and bog/marsh edges, or open pockets in weed beds. Smallmouth action is good on flowages and larger rivers for anglers using soft plastics and large crayfish-colored crankbaits around wood near deeper water.

“Panfish action is decent for crappie, perch, and rock bass, though larger bluegills remain tough to find.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses this year’s trout recruitment.

“The Hayward DNR fish management team completed a trout survey on Mosquito Brook in June and several spots along the Namekagon River and its other tributaries in July and August. The trout populations are doing fairly well, despite extreme rainfall events and high, fast water in the rivers and streams.

“Surveys detected considerable recruitment of young brook and brown trout in Mosquito Brook and good recruitment of brook trout in Cap Creek. Both are important tributaries to the Namekagon River and may offer some refuge to young trout when river conditions become dangerous due to flow or temperature.

“Adult populations are holding relatively steady, with a nice 2014 year class of brown trout that are now 8-12 inches.

“The summer of 2016 certainly challenged our trout fisheries! It might not be a bumper year for recruitment of new trout, but the fishery does not appear to have suffered a major setback.”


The Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. welcomes public attendance at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, at Coop’s Pizza in Hayward. At 7 p.m., following a 6:30 p.m. business meeting, featured speaker DNR Spooner Fish Hatchery manager Neal Rosenberg will discuss this year’s fish rearing success and progress on club supported projects. Admission is free and anyone attending the meeting who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.


On September 3, join DNR elk biologist Laine Stowell early in the morning as he checks for bugling bull elk in Flambeau River State Forest. To RSVP, call (715) 332-5271.


Many fall hunting and trapping seasons are just around the corner – early teal, early Canada goose, and mourning dove seasons open Sept. 1 – and the 2016 Wisconsin Fall Hunting and Trapping Forecast is now available. To view this year’s hunting and trapping forecast, search “forecast” or “hunt” on the DNR website.




Musky fishing is fair to decent, with best action during early morning and evening/after dark hours. Concentrate your efforts on weed beds and weedline edges, bars, points, drop-offs, main lake humps, and for fish suspending over deeper water. The most productive baits are bucktails, Bull Dawgs, big plastics, jerkbaits, stickbaits, and topwaters.



Walleye action is improving, though still slow and inconsistent. Late evening into dark offers the best success around weeds and weed edges in 4-10 feet. During the day, fish are primarily in depths out to more than 25 feet. Crawlers and leeches (if you can find them) work best, but trolled and cast minnow baits, spinners, stickbaits, and crankbaits are all producing catches at this time.


Northern Pike:

Northerns offer action all day in weeds, both deep and shallow. Northern suckers work well, as do spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and buzz baits. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action is good and consistent. For best success, work in and on the edges of shallow weeds, weedlines, wood, brush, bogs, and slop with spinnerbaits, swim jigs, weedless spoons, various soft plastics, frogs/poppers, and topwaters.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good on hard bottoms and structure such as cribs, rock, weeds, and wood in depths to 20 feet, areas with crayfish, and at times in shallower weeds adjacent to deeper water. Best baits include crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, tubes, crawlers (live and plastic), and topwaters. Try crayfish color baits to start!



Crappie fishing is fair to very good. Fish are in 7-25 feet of water, near weeds/weedline edges, humps, brush, bogs, and cribs. The current top producing baits include crappie minnows, waxies, tube jigs, plastics, Gulp! baits, and smaller Beetle Spins.



Bluegill action is fair to good, with larger fish in deeper water near weeds and cribs. Waxies, worm pieces, and leaf worms under bobbers work best.


Upcoming Events

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]