A family adventure at every turn – Max Wolter, WDNR Senior Fisheries Biologist

It’s summer! Which means it’s time to make some outdoor family memories. Some of my earliest fishing memories are of catching my first walleye and musky in the Hayward area. Now, I am blessed to be raising my family here and helping others to find that perfect family fishing experience. The Hayward area is unique in that we can offer nearly any fishing experience that you can find in the state of Wisconsin. Just looking for a spot to toss bobbers for bluegill and crappie? Pretty much all the lakes have those species, but Nelson Lake, the Chippewa Flowage, and Teal and Lost Land offer some of the best action. Are you and your kids ready for some toothier targets? Check out pike on Sissabagama, Tiger Cat, and Whitefish, or walleye on Grindstone, Sand, or Round. Have you ever tried fishing topwater for bass with kids? It’s a ton of fun, and spots like Spring Lake or Big Chetac are good bets for hungry “bucketmouths”.

But that’s just the standard menu of fishing options around Hayward. Maybe something on this more adventuresome list will be a fit for your crew: Has your family tried their hand at trout? There’s great fly fishing for brown trout on the Namekagon River, or, you can pursue the splendid brook trout in one of many smaller streams in the area. Take your trout game to the ultimate level by hiking into a natural spring pond to fish! Would your group like to “go with the flow” to fish? Float trips are a ton of fun, whether you are fishing or just cruising along on the Namekagon, Chippewa, or Flambeau rivers. But I’d recommend fishing! Smallmouth, musky, pike, and even walleye are all great bets on a canoe trip. Did you know that the fish of a lifetime doesn’t have to happen at the end of your lifetime? Go for the big one with your young anglers by targeting some of the trophy musky waters around Hayward, including The Chippewa Flowage, Whitefish, Round, or Lac Courte Oreilles. If muskies aren’t big enough for you, try for sturgeon in the fall on the Chippewa or Flambeau Rivers.

Every waterbody and every kind of fish offers their own potential for exploration and fun. Come see what you can discover!