Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 10-10-23

Steve Suman

The forecast for this week and beyond predicts somewhat steady weather, breezy, with highs in the 50-degree range, lows mostly in the 30s, no shortage of cloudy days, and a few showers. So they say… at this time. Rain chances for this week are toward the tail end and into the weekend‑ but it is still a beautiful time for outdoor recreation in the North Woods!

Quiet Lakes’ water temperatures were around 61 degrees over the weekend,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “and the fall bite should really get good once we dip below the 60-degree mark.

“This week looks decent, though with more rain in the forecast for next weekend. Fish are still active and the weather should help with that this week.

“Musky action is hot and many anglers are doing well with suckers and artificials. Fish are still shallow, working the edges adjacent to deep water.

“Walleye anglers are finding fish off the docks in the evening, and other anglers are also finding fish in shallow water, so fish might be pushing shallow and chasing baitfish. As water temperatures continue to drop, big fish will chase forage, so if you do not find fish where you expect them, move around, and try new things.

“Northern pike anglers are catching some nice fish on suckers, but most on smaller bucktails and faster moving artificials. Look for weeds that are a healthy green and work the edges adjacent to deep water as well.

“Largemouth bass action is very good for anglers working spinnerbaits on the edges of and through weed beds.

“Smallmouth bass are moving around and walleye anglers find them when fishing shallow, sandy bottom structure.

“Crappies are deep, while bluegills and perch are mostly in weed beds.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky anglers are finding fish as shallow as 2-3 feet.

“The fish are doing damage to bucktails and glide baits, but live suckers on harnesses work great to coax fish that follow baits, but do not commit. A lively sucker off the boat side is a deadly tactic that only gets better as the water cools.

“Walleye fishing is still slow. The fishing pressure and boat traffic last weekend might have pushed them further into hiding, which could continue until the weather stabilizes and boat traffic clears. As the water to cools, many fish move to shallow weed flats or hang in adjacent deeper water until prime time. The main bite window is right at dusk when fish patrol shallow weeds. Walleyes will continue this trend through ice-up and about a week or so after most baitfish move out of shallow bays. Fish these areas with walleye suckers on jigs or slip bobbers, and make sure to cover water with jerkbaits while fishing the bobber rigs.

“Largemouth bass will follow a pattern similar to walleye and move shallow for fall and early winter. With cooling water, frogs exit lakes for their winter homes ‑ and some bass remain near shorelines to ambush them. Other bass feed on young bluegills in the weeds and lilies along shorelines. Once fall truly shows, weeds do not last long, so target the bass while you can!

“Smallmouth bass are schooling in mid-depth areas and are feeding heavily on young baitfish, primarily perch. Walleye suckers are a close match for getting on a fun bite with big smallmouth. Plastics are effective, but later in the year big, live bait goes a long way in triggering a fish to bite.

“Crappies are in multiple areas. Some are schooling over main lake basins, while others are close to structure such as weed edges and cribs. Live bait and plastics, under floats or pitched on jigs, will remain effective until ice-up. The tricky part is finding the fish, but the bite is relatively good as long as you are on them.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter reviews volunteers coming together to improve Shues Pond.

“The DNR Hayward Fish Team has been working with the Terry Peterson Fishing Foundation and the City of Hayward to make improvements at Shues Pond, near downtown. Hayward Chamber of Commerce, Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc., and numerous local businesses also support the work.

“In year one of the project, we proposed building four fishing platforms and planting native vegetation along about half of the shoreline. We scaled back the number of platforms from four to two, due to issues with setting the pilings in some locations.

“On September 22, a team of builders led by Nate Yoder completed two large fishing platforms on the south and west sides of the pond. Kevin Clifford, Steve Salisbury, Terry Kowalski, and the DNR’s Scott Braden and Evan Sirianni assisted with building the platforms. These platforms will provide large, level surfaces where people can get out over the water to fish, and do not worry ‑ the water will come back up for fishing next spring!

“The next phase was planting about 1,600 native plants around the edge of the pond. Restoring the shoreline with native plants will have a number of benefits, including water quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat, and reducing the impacts of geese on the park.

“Volunteers helping with the planting September 29 include Molly Cochran, Dalton Mouritsen, and Dan Yankowiak of the DNR; and Cindy Neurohr, Steph Beck, Frank Pratt, Stacey Hessel, Rebecca Slattery, Cassy Lynch, Kevin Lynch, Rick Herdrich, Laura Kasdorf, Tim Wolter, John Simonson, Rich Coon, and Steve Wortman. In addition, volunteers cleaned trash out of the pond and surrounding area.

“The plants will take some time to establish, but will stabilize the shoreline within a couple years. The plants will also be tall enough to deter geese from passing though that area, which we hope will solve the goose defecation issue that park visitors have noticed in the past.

“We are very thankful for the volunteers and other community support for this project and appreciate everyone’s patience as it comes into full bloom.”

Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries is hosting its “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, door prizes, raffle prizes, and more.

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

Northwest Relic Riders is holding its 15th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show and Swap Meet Saturday, October 14, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at Flat Creek. Registration begins at 8 a.m., judging begins at noon, and trophy presentation starts at 1:30 p.m. Enjoy a day of fun with music, trivia, club clothing sales, raffles, and a large selection of vintage sleds on display. Bring your vintage sled(s) and join the fun!

For information, visit www.relicriders.com or call (715) 482-1026.

Saturday, October 14, marks the season openers for coyote and fisher trapping, and hunting and trapping seasons for Period 1 bobcat, fox, and raccoon (residents). In addition, seasons open for elk in the Clam Lake Zone (regs), bobwhite quail, and Hungarian partridge (regs).

Wisconsin’s 2023 bear season closes Tuesday, October 10.

Fishing Report

Fishing for most species is good and getting better as the water cools ‑ and nighttime temperatures in the low 30s are doing just that. Fish are starting to put on their pre-winter feedbags, which is a great help to angler efforts. As always, talk with your favorite bait shop personnel for the most current information on fish locations, favorite baits and preferences, and the current bite windows. The water is getting chilly, so just in case ‑ wear a PFD!


Musky fishing is very good to excellent. Focus on very shallow to mid-depth weeds and weed edges that offer access to deep water. Musky suckers on quick-strike rigs, bucktails, gliders, jerkbaits, stickbaits, crankbaits, rubber baits, and topwaters are all very effective in the right place at the right time.


Walleye fishing slowed somewhat due to a number of factors. As one might expect, best success is in late evening into dark. Fish are surprisingly shallow, near docks and on weedlines and weed flats feeding on baitfish. During daylight, look for them near deeper weeds near those flats. Walleye suckers, fatheads, and crawlers on jigs, slip bobbers, and live bait rigs, and jerkbaits, and jigging baits are all productive.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good around shallow to deeper green weeds, weed edges, and other structure, particularly those that offer deep water nearby, as well as near baitfish and panfish concentrations. Northern and walleye suckers, and fatheads under floats work well, and spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and swimbaits will all do the job.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass action is still very good to excellent. Find them on shallow weed bed edges, lily pads, and other cover that holds baitfish and bluegill concentrations, and watch for very shallow fish feeding on frogs along shorelines. Live bait, spinners, spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters are all very effective.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good to very good as the fish feed aggressively to prepare for winter. Look for them on shallow structure with sandy bottoms, as well as schooled in mid-depths. Walleye suckers are very productive, but other live bait offerings and plastics can also draw their interest.


Crappie fishing is good once you find the fish and can stay with them (use electronics!) Find them near deep weed edges, cribs, and other structure, as well as schooled and suspending in lake basins. Crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks, jigged or fished under slip bobbers, all work well.


Bluegill fishing is good around shallow to mid-depth green weeds, weed beds, and weed edges, cribs, basins, and brush. Best baits include waxies, leaf worms, crawler chunks, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks, fished with or without slip bobbers.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 7-15: Hunters with Disabilities gun deer hunt.

Oct. 10: Bear season closes.

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

Oct. 14: Northwest Relic Riders15th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Show at Flat Creek, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. (715-482-1026).

Oct. 15: General inland trout fishing season closes 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: Seasons open: Nonresident raccoon hunting/trapping.

Oct. 28: Full Hunter’s Moon.

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.