By: Steve Suman
The forecast predicts a fine week through Wednesday, with showers possible Thursday and maybe Friday, then back to mild, sunny weather. Enjoy!
“Fish are feeding in early morning and at night,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Anglers can catch fish during the day, but boat traffic, heat, and sun affect the bite.
“If something is not working, try something different – do not fish memories. Plastics, stickbaits, spoons, and surface baits are all taking fish.
“Musky action is slow, but anglers working shorelines report some success.
“Walleyes are deep, with fishing better some days than others, and best in late afternoon into dark. Try trolling shallow rattling crankbaits and worm and leech harnesses. During daylight, use leeches and crawlers on split shot rigs or under slip bobbers on deep transition areas.
“Northern pike and bass are on shoreline cover. Tip slow dropping plastics with crawlers and leeches.
“Crappie fishing is slow, with anglers picking up one here and there while fishing for other panfish. Bluegills are in deeper vegetation and taking small jigs tipped with plastics and leeches.”
Erik at Hayward Bait says fishing is hot in the Hayward area.
“Musky fishing is good for anglers ripping bucktails and topwaters in bright colors and crappie patterns on weed beds and edges, particularly on Spider, Teal, and some other lakes.
“Walleye fishing is good, especially the Chippewa Flowage and Lac Court Oreilles, with anglers catching good numbers and better size than in past years. Look for deep breaklines, weed edges, cribs, and humps in 10-25 feet.
“Largemouth bass fishing is good on Texas rigs, buzz baits, and wacky rigs near thick weeds, docks, and structure. Smallmouth action is hot for big fish on Grindstone. Anglers report good success fishing Ned rigs, skirted jigs, and leeches on slip bobbers around deeper rock bars and structure.
“Crappie and bluegill fishing is very good on the Chippewa Flowage and Nelson Lake for anglers fishing around bogs and weed edges with Mini-Mites and Chicken Jigs tipped with waxies.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake fishing pressure slowed with the hot weather and thunderstorms… except for some bass anglers who think they are lightning-proof – scary!
“Northern pike anglers are catching fish on stickbaits, large surface poppers, Torpedoes, buzzbaits, and spinnerbaits. Largemouth bass are holding in the weeds where there are higher oxygen levels, so throw swim jigs, dressed weedless spoons, surface poppers, and frogs in and along the weed beds.
“Crappies and panfish are near cribs, bogs, stumps, and structure. Crappies are often suspending, so vary bait depth.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is full, with water temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s.
“With the rising water temperatures, muskies and other fish are heading deeper. Target deeper cover trolling Mattlocks, Jakes, and Grandmas, or vertical jig rubber baits. If you land a musky, minimize its out of water time and keep it upright in the water until it can swim away.
“Walleye fishing slowed, but anglers are catching fish on cover and sand saddles in 20 feet and deeper. Leeches and crawlers are the live baits choices. For artificials, use Jigging Raps and trolled Flicker Shads.
“Northern pike are quiet. Try deep weeds with jigging spoons and countdown crankbaits.
“Smallmouth bass remain active despite the temperatures. Work plastic imitations and crawlers on shoreline and deep structure on the south and east ends.
“Crappies are quiet, even around bogs. Try crappie minnows, plastics, and jigging baits on deep sand saddles.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay is clearing and looking almost normal again.
“Smallmouth are scattered throughout the Bay, along shoreline weeds, wood, and pilings; along rock break walls; and on drops into the channel. Anglers report success with sucker minnows and on plastics such as flukes, Twister Tails, swim baits, Sweet Beavers, and Senkos.
“Walleye anglers are out in full force and last week reported a 29- and 30-inch fish. Most are trolling stickbaits and crankbaits such as Bombers and Flicker Shads over weed beds in 12-15 feet on the Ashland side.
“Trout anglers report excellent success trolling outside the Bay with Flutter Spoons and Spin-N-Glos on downriggers, lead core, and Dipsey Divers.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the sex ratios of fish.
“There are many interesting rumors about fishing and fish management, but one of the oddest I hear repeatedly is that all stocked fish are males. This rumor’s origins are probably rooted in the concept that rearing eggs from certain animals (mostly reptiles) at certain temperatures can lead to all or most being one sex or the other.
“When it comes to hatchery production of muskellunge and walleye in Wisconsin, there is no reason to believe the sex ratio of stocked fish would be different than wild fish. Results of a 2018 Lost Land Lake netting survey illustrate this.
“In 2012, all muskies stocked into Lost Land received a PIT tag before leaving Governor Thompson Hatchery. After six years, most of these fish are mature and showing up during surveys of spawning muskellunge.
“During the 2018 Lost Land Lake survey, crews captured 44 tagged fish – 12 females and 32 males – from the 2012 class. This sex ratio matches what we typically see in wild populations such as on Spider and Tiger Cat Flowage, where males outnumber females by a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio in survey catches.
“So no, not all stocked fish are males. Where we have available data to address this question, the sex ratio of stocked muskellunge appears to be similar to wild populations.”
Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) is offering a Hunter Education course in August. Classes meet at Hayward Middle School from 6-8:30 p.m. August 7, 9, 14, and at Hayward Rod and Gun Club from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. August 11. The course requires advanced registration and the $10 fee includes all materials. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your interest, including name, age, and contact number. You will receive additional information by e-mail. For more information, contact Chris Wunrow (715) 558-5371 or D.J. Aderman (715) 558-1633.
The Hayward area will be busy this weekend! From July 19-21, you can experience the 59th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484) and the 45th Annual LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934). The Birchwood Lions Club Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252) is July 20-22. Check the websites or call for more information.
Musky action is slow to good, with anglers finding fish along shallower shoreline cover, in and around weeds and weed bed edges, in deep water, and suspending at depths between. Trolling large stickbaits can be very effective, but anglers are also catching fish on bucktails, rubber baits, and topwaters.
Walleye fishing is fair to good, with best success in early morning and evening into dark. During the day, fish weeds, breaklines, and humps out to 28 feet and deeper. In “prime” hours, fish shallower areas holding forage. Best baits include crawlers and leeches on jigs, spinner harnesses, split shot rigs, and slip bobbers, and trolled crankbaits and stickbaits.
Northern pike action is somewhat subdued, perhaps the result of warming water temperatures. Try deeper weeds and cover for the best success, though some fish are still around shallower weeds and cover. Productive pike presentations include northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, buzz baits, crankbaits, plastics, and topwaters.
Largemouth fishing is good to excellent on most waters. Fish shallow to mid-depth weeds, docks, brush, bogs, slop, lily pads, and similar structure. Texas, wacky, and Ned rigs, swim jigs, weedless spoons, assorted plastic topwaters such as frogs, and live bait such as crawlers and leeches will all catch largemouth.
Smallmouth action is very good along weeds, docks, rocks, shorelines, structure, gravel, and bars at assorted depths. Best success is on plastics in various configurations and riggings; buzz and swim baits; and leeches and crawlers under slip bobbers.
Crappie fishing is slow and inconsistent, but the fish are still there! They are scattered and suspending over deep water, with locations such as weeds, bogs, cribs, stumps, and other structure at various depths. Top baits include crappie minnows and plastics under slip bobbers, and small jigging spoons.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good, particularly for smaller fish around shallow weeds. For larger fish, try deeper weeds, wood, brush, bogs, cribs, and stumps. Waxies, leeches, plastics, Mini-Mites, and Tattle-Tails on plain hooks, small jigs, and teardrops, with/without slip bobbers, all work for bluegills.
July 19-21: 59th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).
July 19-22: 45th Annual LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934).
July 20-22: Birchwood Lions Club Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).
July 28: Campfire Cookout, Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, noon (715-332-5271).
Through July 31: Illegal to run unleashed dogs on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).
August 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; bobcat, fisher, and otter; Upriver Winnebago sturgeon spearing; Sharp-tailed grouse (season under review).
August 11: Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday party celebration, Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, noon (715-332-5271).
August 13-16: Antlerless deer tags (where available) for regular DMUs go on sale.
August 18: Fall turkey permits remaining after drawing go on sale. Check availability.
August 21: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license.