Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]August 8, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


This week’s numerous weather forecasts are about as fickle and inconsistent as… this summer’s weather! One predicts sunshine and blue skies as most likely, while another warns of possible severe storms (again) Wednesday night. Maybe the folks marketing weather rocks a “few” years ago were onto something – take it day by day!

The first week of August is history – do not allow the remainder of the month to slip away!


“Musky action is slow,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “though anglers are seeing fish and getting follows, but few hookups. Use smaller bucktails, crankbaits, and topwaters in early mornings and evening into dark.

“Walleyes are on mid-lake structure, but move shallower in the evening hours. Use large leeches or crawler halves on Lindy or spinner rigs. Trolling and jigging will also put fish in the boat. For northern, fish vegetation with spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, and fatheads and walleye suckers under slip bobbers.

Largemouth are in weeds and around docks, taking weedless plastics, rigged worms, frogs, and topwaters. Catch smallmouth on the bottom of deep, rocky structure with tubes, crankbaits, and crayfish imitations.

“Fish panfish in and near vegetation in late afternoon with crappie minnows under slip bobbers, small plastics, and tubes.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says the warm weather and storms make fishing challenging.

“Muskie action is decent, but without strong patterns. Focus on deeper edges, trying different presentations until you find action. Walleye fishing slowed, though anglers continue to catch fish on deeper main lake structure and mud flats. Trolling and drifting crawler harnesses and Lindy Rigs with leeches is the best bet.

“The bass bite is strong on swim jigs, Senko worms, and swim baits with paddle tails fished on deeper weeds and lily pads adjacent to deeper water. Smallmouth are scattered on rock bars and cribs in 10-20 feet. Use tube jigs and swim jigs.

“Schooling panfish are very active on deep weed edges. Leaf worms under bobbers will get all the action you want.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should cast stickbaits.

“Try some of the newer, ‘wilder action’ styles, fishing shallow early and late and going deeper during the day. Crawler, minnow, and leech rigs are also working. For northern pike, bucktails and large sucker minnows under bobbers are working well. Largemouth are holding on and near docks, lily pads, and shaded shorelines. Use spinners, frogs, and surface plugs.

“You can often see panfish feeding on the surface early on calm mornings. Cast small cork poppers, spiders, and flies, or bobber fish live bait and Gulp! Alive on small jigs, starting near the surface and gradually moving deeper. If water clarity is poor, add spinners for extra attraction.”


Wet conditions continue across the north, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, and most rivers and streams remain at high levels.

“The warm, wet, and variable weather makes for inconsistent fishing success across the North Woods. Musky action is hit or miss, with large bucktails, Bull Dawgs, and topwaters providing the most success on weed edges during mid-week, mid-day hours with the lightest boat traffic. Walleye action is especially slow, with fish suspending over deeper mud flats and near deep rock bars.

“Most largemouth are in and near mid-depth woody cover hitting plastic finesse baits, with some in thick weed beds hitting topwaters in early morning hours. Smallmouth are tough to find, near woody cover along deeper breaks. The best success is on larger plastics that are easier to find in the high, dark-stained water.

“Crappie, bluegill, and perch are on mid-depth cover and the deep edges of weedlines.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses largemouth bass growth rates in developed lakes.

“Human activities can have very direct impacts on fish communities through harvest or habitat alterations and researcher Jerome Gaeta looked at how development of lake shorelines impacts largemouth bass growth rates.

“Gaeta looked at the growth rate of all sizes of largemouth bass in 16 Wisconsin lakes that varied from completely undeveloped to 30 buildings per mile of shoreline. The results of this analysis showed that small largemouth actually grew faster in developed lakes. For adult bass, however, growth rates were considerably faster in undeveloped lakes. In developed lakes, it took bass an additional 1.5 growing seasons to get to a 14-inch length.

“Researchers speculate that the slower growth in developed lakes may be the result of increased harvest pressure that could, over time, selectively remove the faster growing fish.”


This year, Hayward Bass Club’s annual free youth tournament for anglers 10-17 years of age is Sunday, August 21, on the Chippewa Flowage, with tournament headquarters The Landing Restaurant and LCO Resort. PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE RESERVATIONS! To request a permission slip, email haywardbassclub@gmail.com. For further information or to sign-up, stop at Hayward Bait or Outdoor Creations, or contact Wayne Balsavich (405-227-1789).




Musky action is slow and inconsistent, though anglers report sightings, follows, and hits – just a shortage of hooked fish. Best fishing is in early morning and evening into dark, though daytime hours can be surprisingly good. Target the edges of deeper weedlines and breaklines. This is a good time to experiment with different lures and presentations, though currently the most productive baits include double-bladed bucktails, Bull Dawgs, crankbaits, and topwaters.



Walleye fishing is decent, but slow. As is usually (but not always) the case, work deep water structure during the day and shallower weeds, rock, and other structure in late evening into dark. Crawler, leeches, and minnows on your choice of harnesses, jigs, and Lindy, split shot, and spinner rigs are all effective baits and presentations, as is trolling crank and stick baits.


Northern Pike:

Northern fishing is good around weeds and weedlines at various depths. Top baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, bucktails, crankbaits, topwaters, crawlers, leeches, and large minnows under bobbers. Go deeper with larger baits for trophy pike.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is good and consistent, as one expects in the summer. Find them in and around weeds, wood, brush, bogs, lily pads, docks, and along shaded shorelines in depths from very shallow to in/near deep water. The fish are taking a variety of baits, from Senko worms and other plastics (worms in various riggings, swim baits, frogs, creature, etc.), spinners, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and live bait.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is generally decent, with fish scattered on deeper rock bars, cribs, wood, weedlines, breaklines, and other structure in 8-25 feet. The most effective smallmouth baits include larger tubes and other plastics, swim jigs, crankbaits, and live bait.



Crappie action is fair to good, with the best time late afternoon into evening hours. Look for fish in/on/over mid-depth and deeper weeds, weedlines, and structure. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, leaf worms, plastics, tubes, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, as well as poppers, flies, and other small surface baits.



Bluegill fishing is fair to good, with constant action available for smaller fish around shallow weeds and other structure. For larger ‘gills, fish mid-depth to deeper weeds and weed edges. Best bluegill baits include waxies, leaf worms, Gulp! baits, and plastic poppers, spiders, flies, and ants fished under a bobber on small jigs and plain hooks.


Upcoming Events

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

Aug. 21: Hayward Bass Club free youth tournament on Chippewa Flowage (405-227-1789).

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. 1-7: Early teal season.

Sept. 1-15: Early goose season.

Sept. 1-Nov. 29: Mourning dove season.

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: Lake sturgeon season; hook and line.

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

Sept. 7-Oct. 11: Bear season.

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


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]