Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 10-17-23

Steve Suman

This week’s forecast indicates Tuesday is the best day for outdoor activities (other than dancing in the rain). Friday into Sunday offer somewhat of a reprieve from damp, with other days offering chances for rain ‑ and, as always, the forecast continues to change. Temperatures remain mild and fall colors continue to shine in some areas (around 85 percent in Sawyer County), and so get out and see them while you can!

Quiet Lakes’ water temperatures are at 50 degrees and will probably not change much with this week’s weather,” says Greg at Happy Hooker.

“Musky action is still hot! Many anglers are doing very well working suckers and artificials right on the edge of shallow weed edges adjacent to deep water.

“Walleye anglers are still finding fish right off the docks in the evening, so some fish are coming shallow. A few anglers this week were fishing the Chippewa Flowage and found walleyes in deep water off points. As water temperatures keep dropping, big fish will chase the forage, so if you do not find fish, move around, and try new things.

“Northern pike anglers are catching some nice fish on suckers but most catches are on smaller bucktails and faster moving artificials. Work the same edges as for musky, and look for healthy green weeds.

“There is not much to report on either largemouth or smallmouth bass this week ‑ but the fish are still there!

“Panfish reports were thin this week, but crappies are still in deep water and bluegill and perch catches are mostly coming from anglers fishing weed beds.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is down 2.5 feet, with the water temperature in the high 50s and dropping.

“Musky action is solid, with increasing reports of anglers catching fish on suckers, and suckers are also productive for shore fishing. As water temperatures continue to fall, muskies should become more and more aggressive. Fishing underwater neck-downs in river channels can be good, and dropping suckers amid crappie schools in Moore’s Bay can be very productive as well. We have a limited stock of small and large suckers, but a good stock of medium suckers.

“Walleyes are not super active right now, but they are biting. Most action is on live bait, particularly walleye suckers. Reports indicate fish are in 9-15 feet, with still green weed edges bordering deep water productive.

“Crappie action is great! Fish are now in Moore’s Bay and on Blueberry Flats and anglers are catching their daily limits. Crappie minnows and various crappie plastics such as Gulp! Minnows and Mini-Mites are all effective.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fishing rumors and myths.

“The ‘how’ of the generation and spread of fishing-related rumors always amazes me. It is also frustrating when rumors get in the way of real information sharing, which I try to do in these column pieces.

“Some rumors can be harmful, especially when they promote distrust of other people or groups. Not all rumors are malicious, though, some just relate to fish biology and oddities.

“One of my favorite rumors to talk about is the myth of ‘jumbo perch.’ A sizeable percentage of anglers seem to have the idea that large perch are an entirely different species ‑ jumbo perch ‑ from the small perch present in many lakes. In fact, there is no such thing as a jumbo perch.

“All the perch in the area, big and small, are just yellow perch. Some lakes simply have the ability to grow larger yellow perch based on the habitat and other conditions. This is a place where I can help educate anglers and dispel some myths or rumors, but only if I know what they are!

“If you have heard a fishing myth or rumor that does not sound right, email it to Max.Wolter@wisconsin.gov. I could use it in a future column piece, no names attached, to discuss how the rumor might have started and what information we have on that topic.

“We truly live in an information age, and having reliable and credible information available in public conversation is critically important for managing natural resources.”

Hunting and trapping seasons that opened Saturday, October 14, include coyote and fisher trapping, hunting and trapping seasons for Period 1 bobcat, fox, and raccoon (residents); elk in the Clam Lake Zone (regs), bobwhite quail, and Hungarian partridge (regs).

Trout anglers should be aware that the general inland trout fishing season closed Sunday, October 15, on inland streams, springs, and spring ponds. Some exceptions apply ‑ review the current trout fishing regulations.

Lakewoods Resort will host its annual Fun in the Forest ATV Benefit and Ride from 4 p.m. Thursday, October 19, through 11 a.m. Saturday, October 21. Your registration fee plus a gift of an unwrapped present or food item will put you on the trail visiting your choice of area restaurants and pit stops, as well as entry into the fun activities and great prizes.

Donations benefit children and families over the holiday season, with funds are distributed through Toys 4 Tots, Operation Rudolph, many Area Lions Clubs, toy drives and food shelves. All donations and raffle proceeds go directly to the charities.

Register and drop off gifts and/or food at Lakewoods Resort anytime (during specific times), starting Thursday night through Saturday morning. Enjoy self-guided tours of the ATV trails in Ashland, Bayfield, and Sawyer counties and a visit to your choice of businesses and the many T-shirt run stops. The 9:30 a.m. event kick-off begins in front of Lakewoods Saturday Morning, then hit the trails by 10 a.m.

After the trails, the fun keeps going Saturday night in Lakewoods Buck’s Bar. Your registration includes delicious eats from 6-9 p.m., then dance the night away with live music.

Participation includes special lodging rates at Lakewoods Resort event headquarters. Please mention this event when making reservations.

For more information, visit www.lakewoodsresort.com. To reserve your space, call (800) 255-5937.

Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries is hosting its annual “All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner” fall fundraiser Saturday, October 21, from 4:30-8 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge. Tickets purchased in advance are $8 for people 10 years of age and older, and $4 for kids 2-9 years of age. Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for people 10 years of age and older, and $5 for kids 2-9 years of age. Kids younger than 2 years of age dine free. The event includes live and silent auctions, raffle prizes, door prizes, and more.

For more information, visit Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries or call (715) 634-3185.

Fishing Report

Fishing remains good for most species IF an angler chooses to fish during the times and in the locations when and where fish are active. Water temperatures continue to hang in the 50s and air temperatures are running in the mid- to upper-50s, so aside from some occasional rain, conditions are good, and fall fishing can be extraordinary! As always, talk with your favorite bait shop personnel to get the current fish locations and hot baits and presentations. Fall is passing!


Musky action is good to very good, and will only get better with cooling water temperatures and fish feeding more seriously. Find them on shallow weed edges, particularly those offering nearby access to deeper water, river channels, and near schools of panfish. Suckers on quick-strike rigs, bucktails, jerkbaits, stickbaits, swimbaits, crankbaits, gliders, and topwaters are all drawing the interest of muskies!


Walleye fishing varies from fair to very good. Fish are scattered, with some anglers having success on shallow weed edges near deeper water and even around docks, and others finding fish on deeper weeds, humps, rocks, points ‑ and around baitfish. Evening into dark are the best hours, Walleye suckers, fatheads, and crawlers on jigs, Lindy Rigs, or under slip bobbers, Ned rigs, crankbaits, and stickbaits all work.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good, with fish on the feed trying to fatten up before winter. Find them in and around any shallow to mid-depths green weeds and weed edges holding baitfish and panfish concentration. Northern suckers, walleye suckers, and fatheads under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, swimbaits, and bucktails all work well. For trophy pike, use bigger baits and try deeper water.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is fair to good, depending on the lake and time. Weeds, weed edges, brush, breaklines, and near baitfish and panfish concentrations from shallow to mid-depths and deeper can all hold bass. Minnows, crawlers, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, plastics, Ned rigs, and topwaters can all produce in the right areas at the right time.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action remains good for anglers targeting these fish. Look for them on mid-depth to deep rocky bottoms, as well as on weed beds, weed edges, mid-lake humps, points, and in the same areas holding walleyes. Walleye suckers, fatheads, crawlers, crankbaits, stickbaits, plastics, swimbaits, and Ned rigs are all good.


Crappie fishing is very good to excellent, with schools of fish in various depths on weeds, weedlines, stumps, cribs, bogs, and basins. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits on small jigs or plain hooks fished under slip bobbers, as well as small Beetle Spins and spoons. Plan to move to follow the schools!


Bluegill fishing is good for anglers fishing still-green weeds, weed edges, brush, and cribs in varied depths. Waxies, leaf worms, small minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks under slip bobbers are the offerings of choice.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 14: Seasons opened: Coyote trapping; Fisher trapping; Bobcat hunting/trapping; Fox hunting/trapping; Raccoon hunting/trapping (resident); Elk (Clam Lake Zone – see regs); Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge (see regs).

Oct. 15: General inland trout fishing season closed on inland streams, springs, and spring ponds (see regs).

Oct. 21: Seasons open: Mink and muskrat trapping in North Zone.

Oct. 21: FHNBfall fundraiser all you can eat spaghetti dinner, Flat Creek Lodge, 4:30-8 p.m. (715-634-3185).

Oct. 28: Season opens: Raccoon hunting and trapping (nonresident).

Oct. 28: Full Hunter’s Moon.

Nov. 4: Seasons open in North Zone: Beaver trapping; Otter hunting and trapping (see regs).

Nov. 5: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m.

Nov. 11: Veterans Day.

Nov. 14: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. general meeting, Flat Creek Lodge, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Nov. 16: Crow season closes.

Nov. 17: Turkey season closes in Zones 6-7.

Nov. 18-26: Traditional nine-day gun deer season.

Nov. 18-Jan. 7: Turkey season open in Zones 1-5.

Nov. 21: Duck season closes in North Zone (see regs).

Nov. 23: Thanksgiving Day.

Nov. 26: Full Beaver Moon.

Nov. 27-Dec. 6: Muzzleloader deer season.

Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.

Dec. 7-10: Four-day antlerless-only deer hunt (see regs).

Dec. 10: Application deadline: Spring turkey; Black bear.

Dec. 16: Goose season closes in Northern Zone.

For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce websites, view the Calendar of Events, or call (715) 634-8662 or 800-724-2992.