Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]July 10, 2017

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


Current forecasts indicate a mild, mostly dry week, aside from possible severe storms Tuesday night into Wednesday. Summer season is short in the North Woods – do not let “possible” weather affect your outdoor recreation pursuits! Get out and enjoy as much as you can of all the area offers!


“Warming water sparked angler enthusiasm, especially musky hunters,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Musky action is good on surface baits near weeds and trolled/cast crankbaits and Bull Dawgs in deeper water.

“Walleye fishing slows significantly when cold fronts pass through. When it warms, fish return to more aggressive feeding patterns. Jigs and minnows still work best. During the day, work holes and humps in 12-18 feet. In evening into night, fish shallow weeds and rocky shorelines.

“For northern pike, fish the weeds with Johnson Silver Minnows, #3 Mepps, and larger minnows.

“Largemouth fishing is good on surface baits and wacky worms around shallow weeds and shoreline cover such as docks. Smallmouth moved to hard bottom areas for the summer and crayfish imitations work best.

“Crappie action is good in shoreline cover and weeds. Use minnows under bobbers, Tattle Tails, Mini Mites, and small plastics. Catch bluegills with leaf worms in shallow weeds and along shorelines. Find perch in deeper weeds with small leeches.”


Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says musky action is starting to pick up on a variety of tactics.

“Topwaters and bucktails are producing on main lake weed and rock bars in 8-15 feet, but if fishing is slow, try jerkbaits during the day.

“Walleye action is decent, with leeches on slip bobbers fished on deep weedlines working well during lowlight periods. During the day, bottom bounce crawler harnesses in 20-32 feet, just outside prime shallow flats. Another daytime tactic that works well in deep water is casting and hopping Jigging Rapalas along those deep breaks.

“Northern pike action is good along the weeds, though the larger fish are moving deeper with the warmer temperatures. Spinnerbaits, swimbaits, spoons, and chatterbaits all work.

“Crappie action is a little tougher, but still some decent reports. Fish deeper water off weed edges with crappie minnows and Gulp! baits. Bluegill reports are good on most lakes. Fish relatively shallow with leaf worms and waxies.”


Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye fishing is steady for anglers jigging fatheads and leeches and casting and trolling Rapalas.

“Catch northern pike by casting larger bucktails, spinnerbaits, and surface baits. For largemouth bass, fish in or on the edges of weed beds, lily pads, and shady spots.

“Larger crappies and bluegills are in 8-10 feet. Bobber fish live bait or cast Cubbies, Beetle Spins, and Mimic Minnows.”


Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing is very good, though more for numbers than size.

“Muskies are definitely active, with bucktails, shads, and spinnerbaits the most productive and surface baits producing some action in early morning and late evening.

“Walleye action slowed compared to previous weeks, with leeches, crawlers, Flicker Shads, and plastic minnows the baits of choice. One east side angler reports larger walleyes on #7 firetiger Flicker Shads on 12-foot brushy flats.

“Northern pike are active in weeds on silver and green Tinsel Tail spinners and Johnson Silver Spoons. For larger pike, work bays on the far west side.

“Largemouth fishing is quiet. Consider fishing Callahan Lake with purple Senkos and purple Tinsel Tail spinnerbaits. Smallmouth action is good on square-bill crankbaits fished around shoreline rocks and stumps during the evening. During the day, try crawlers in cribs.

“Crappie fishing is good on crappie minnows, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! Minnows fished 6-8 feet down under bogs.”


Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay fishing is now in its summer pattern, with all fish on the move following baitfish and water temperatures.

“Lake trout trolling is exceptional from Long Island out to Outer Island, with most success on orange spoons and Spin-n-Glos.

“Anglers will find smallmouth anywhere there is cover in 3-30 feet. Smallmouth are really busting minnows, and if you see this, move your bait aggressively. Otherwise, move baits slowly along the bottom. If conditions allow, the topwater bite is great during the current mayfly hatch.

“Walleye anglers using crawler harnesses and leeches are still catching fish in both sloughs, with some anglers reporting success trolling stickbaits over weeds, humps, and in the channel during the evening.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fish ‘shrinkage’ after death.

“Minimum length limits are a common tool used in fisheries management, but they create an interesting question for anglers: Can a legal size fish shrink after harvest, making it no longer legal size?

“Researchers in South Dakota set out to separate fact from fiction. They caught and immediately measured a group of walleye and then subjected the walleye to various conditions simulating how anglers store fish after harvest, including live well, on-ice, and freezing.

“Walleyes held in live wells did not shrink. However, walleyes held on ice or frozen (whole) did shrink, but typically less than one-quarter inch.

“Results of such studies have implications mostly for anglers and law enforcement officials.

“Anglers should be aware that possession of under-size fish is illegal no matter the surrounding circumstances, be sure a fish meets the minimum length limit before taking it into possession, and never rely on ‘shrinkage’ as a valid excuse for a sublegal fish.

“As such, anglers intending to freeze fish may want to adjust accordingly the size of fish they keep.”


Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner is offering a weeklong kayak building class starting Saturday July 29 and running through Saturday August 5. By the end of the week, students will have a boat ready for the water. The course, limited to four students, costs $695 and includes all materials and instruction to build a kayak and take it home. For more information, call Jed Malischke at (715) 635-2479 or email info@wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org.




Musky fishing is good and getting better, with anglers seeing very good numbers of fish. Concentrate on weeds, weed, stump, and rock bars, and shallow drop-offs out to 18 feet. Baits of choice include bucktails, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits, Bull Dawgs, Bobbie Baits, and stickbaits, with topwaters most effective in low light hours.



Walleye action is slower, though consistent, with low light/evening hours best. During the day, work deep weedlines, breaks, brush, humps, and holes. In low light, target shallow weeds, weed edges, weedy flats, rocky shorelines, and drop-off edges. Productive baits include jigs/minnows; crawlers and leeches on slip bobbers, crawler harnesses, and bottom bouncers; Jigging Raps; and cast/trolled Beetle Spins, stickbaits, and crankbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good and perhaps a “trip-save” for many anglers. Work weeds, weed edges, and near panfish with spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, chatterbaits, bucktails, and topwaters, as well as large minnows/northern suckers under bobbers.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is good to very good in/on/along shallow to mid-depth weeds, docks, lily pads, brush, downed trees, and other shoreline cover. Plastics in various configurations – tubes, rigged/pre-rigged worms – crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters will all entice largemouth.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is challenging, though good once you locate the fish on cribs, stumps, rocks, and other deeper, hard bottom areas. Imitation crayfish remain the most productive bait, with crankbaits, assorted plastics, and crawlers also working well.



Crappie action is good, though slowed a bit. Look for fish in various depths, from 6 feet out, around weeds/weed edges, brush, and bogs. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, small plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs or hooks under slip bobbers, and small Beetle Spins.



Bluegill action is good in and around shallower weeds and shoreline cover in most waters, with larger fish out to more than 10 feet. Top baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler pieces, and small plastics fished under slip bobbers. Try small minnows for bigger ‘gills and to avoid “bait robbers.”


Upcoming Events

July 14-16: Honor The Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8924).

July 14-16: 54th Annual Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).

July 15: Turtle season opens (see regs).

July 20-22: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

July 29: Flambeau River State Forest “Campfire Cookout” at Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).

July 29-Aug. 5: Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum kayak building class (715-635-2479).

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

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

Aug. 6: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. annual free Kids Fishing Day 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Black Iron Bar and Grill (715-634-4543).

Aug. 12: Flambeau River State Forest Smokey Bears’ Birthday Party at Connors Picnic Area; noon (715-332-5271).

Aug. 14-17: Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags where available go on sale at 10 a.m.

Aug. 17-20: Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).

Aug. 20: Hayward Bass Club’s annual free youth tournament noon- 4 p.m., The Landing Resort (715-634-2921; 405-227-1789).

Aug. 22: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license to a youth hunter.

Aug. 26: Remaining fall wild turkey permits go on sale at 10 a.m.

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