The seasonal cooling trend resumes after midweek, with “chances” for rain nearly every day, but most likely Wednesday and Thursday. Highs and lows are bouncing up and down somewhat and it is wise to check the temperature and conditions before leaving the house. Then again, some people enjoy being cold and wet!
Fall is such beautiful time in the North Woods and you can track color changes and predicted peak color here and across the state by visiting the Fall Color Report map on the Travel Wisconsin website.
“Musky action should get very good in the next few weeks. Many anglers are reporting fish sniffing suckers, but not committing, and some anglers are catching a few nice fish on jointed crankbaits. Work weed edges, as most fish are hunting baitfish.
“Walleye fishing is tough, with fish relating to rocks and sandy bottoms adjacent to deep basins. Fatheads and chubs on jigs are the most popular choices.
“Northern pike are relating to weeds and hitting suckers, crankbaits, and jerkbaits. Casting often brings in fish that will take easy live bait by the boat side.
“Largemouth bass anglers are now less numerous, leaving a good bass bite for the more devoted anglers. Fish the same cover as in summer. Crankbaits that suspend and slowly rise are good, as are walk-the-dog baits.
“Smallmouth bass are in the same spots as walleye and are hitting similar presentations. Smithwick Rogues, Husky Jerks, and other baits that suspend and get down in the water column are good choices, as are plastics on weighted jigs.
“Crappies hugging bottom in deep water are taking slip bobber rigs set a few feet above them. Live bait and plastics on small jigs are also working well.
“Bluegill and perch are in weeds, hiding from predators. Look for green weeds and you will find good numbers of fish. Use live bait and small jigs tipped with small plastics.”
Jarrett at Hayward Bait says water temperatures are cooling and musky fishing is solid.
“It is quite a swing from near-freezing temperatures at night to sunny, 60-degree days, putting some fish into a slow mood. Fish have more freedom to move with cooler temperatures. During primetime hours, anglers are catching fish on various baits including live bait, bucktails, plastics, and topwaters.
“Walleye action remains slow, but some anglers report success. Depths vary, but most fish are typically in 25-40 feet. They will hold there until moving shallow in early winter. Live bait tactics work well if using sensitive line, as it takes some feel to detect bites at this time and in deep water. Anglers trolling for suspending fish also report success.
“Northern pike fishing is good over weed beds in 8-20 feet with live bait, spinnerbaits, spoons, and plastics. Pike activity will pick up with the cooling water and fish start preparing for winter.
“Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is good, with some anglers now using fall tactics. Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and faster moving plastics will thrive as fish begin bulking up for winter. The bass will actively chase schools of baitfish and faster presentations will see more bites. Bass are both shallow and deep, though will start transitioning as the shallow bays lose weed cover.
“Crappie action is good on weedlines, cribs, and main lake basins in 10-30 feet. Live bait and plastics work well, with waxies on small jigs best on tough bite days. No recent reports on bluegills.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 2.5 feet, with the water temperatures in the mid to high 50s.
“Musky action is solid and Muskies Inc. Tournament anglers caught a decent number of fish on the first day. A wide variety of baits is producing fish right now, from bucktails to rubber baits to jerkbaits, and a lot of action on suckers. If you are casting, absolutely send a sucker or two below the boat.
“Walleye action is definitely in a fall bite, with walleyes starting to hunt baitfish that have left the weed beds. Use your electronics to track shallow schools of baitfish that are closer to shore than usual. Live bait anglers are using minnows and crawlers, in that order.
“Northern pike are quiet lately, but more so because fewer people are targeting them. Look for pike chasing baitfish in the shallows.
“Crappies are in Moore’s Bay and Blueberry Flats, but very reluctant to turn on, though crappie anglers report catching many bluegills by accident. The crappies that are biting are 10-11 inches, but not enough of them are super active. Anglers are using crappie minnows and waxies, but also switching to Mini-Mites and Gulp! baits to offer different presentations.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fall Chippewa Flowage fish survey results.
“The Hayward DNR Fish Team completed a fall electrofishing survey on the Chippewa Flowage during the nights of September 6 and 7. The primary goal of this survey, conducted annually, is to assess the strength of walleye reproduction in that year. We surveyed 18 miles of shoreline that included stretches of both the east and west sides, capturing and recording all gamefish.
“This survey is always enlightening, and 2022 was no exception.
“Our most important finding was that in 2022 the Chippewa Flowage produced another strong year class of walleye. This class appears to be very similar in size to the 2021-year class, and will likely end up as the second largest since 2006. The Chip also produced large walleye year classes in 2020 and 2018, pointing to strong adult abundance over the next few years.
“Northern pike are a secondary target of these surveys. We found the lowest pike abundance in a fall survey in more than 10 years, and the second highest average size. We expect a correlation between pike abundance and size. We have recently made efforts to manage pike abundance and improve size and this survey provides some evidence of progress toward that goal.
“Bass are another secondary target, and the 2022 survey found a continuation of a trend towards more smallmouth bass and fewer largemouth bass, especially on the west side.
“Other notable captures include several muskies, including fish from multiple stocked year classes, and a pair of massive common carp.”
Hayward Community Veterans Center in downtown Hayward will host the Hayward Gun and Sports Show Friday, October 7, from 2-7 p.m., and Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults; there is no charge for children 14 and younger. Participants and visitors must follow all federal, state, and local firearm laws and ordinances. For more information, contact Larry Sanders at (715) 943-2723.
Northwest Relic Riders Vintage Snowmobile Club is hosting its 14th Annual Vintage snowmobile show & swap Saturday, October 8, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge. Contest judging begins at noon, but the event offers music, trivia, club clothing, and raffles. For more information, call (715) 634-8377.
The Fishing Has No Boundaries-Hayward Chapter’s annual ‘All you can eat Spaghetti Dinner’ fall fundraiser is this Saturday, October 8, from 4:30-8 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge. Tickets in advance cost $8 for adults age 10 and older; $4 for kids 2-9 years old; children younger than 2 years eat free. Tickets purchased at the door are $10 for adults and $5 for 2-9 years. For more information, call (715) 634-3185.
Weather patterns are starting their fall transition, though “technically” the first day of fall, September 22, was only a couple weeks ago, and fish are starting to transition, too (they do not care about the calendar). Check current fish locations and bait preferences at your favorite bait shop before hitting the water!
Musky fishing is good and continues to improve with cooling water temperatures. Fish are on weed beds, weed edges, and near panfish and baitfish concentrations. Many anglers are using suckers, with others throwing bucktails, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics, Bull Dawgs, and topwaters. Remember to figure eight!
Walleye fishing is slow, though some anglers are enjoying success. Fish are in 20 to 35 feet and deeper, on weeds, weed bed edges, rock, sand, and main lake basins, and following schools of baitfish. In evening into dark, work shallower weedlines. Walleye suckers, fatheads, chubs, and crawlers work well, as does trolling for suspended fish.
Northern pike fishing is good as fish start to pack on the pre-winter pounds. Look for them on weeds, weed beds, weed edges, and near concentrations of panfish and baitfish in 6-22 feet. Sucker minnows, fatheads, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics ‑ if it looks like food, pike will take a shot at it!
Largemouth bass fishing is fair to good, though fewer anglers are now chasing them. The fish are scattered from shallow to deep, but still on weeds, weedlines, and other structure. Top baits include live bait, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics, and topwaters.
Smallmouth bass fishing is fair to good as fish start to transition into fall movements and feeding patterns. Look for them in the same or similar locations as walleye. Sucker minnows, jerkbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and plastics are all effective for smallmouth.
Crappie fishing is fair to good, though inconsistent. Go deep, out to 30 feet or deeper, but also check the entire water column from top to bottom for suspending fish. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits on small jigs fished under slip bobbers and suspended just above the fish ‑ once you find them!
Bluegill and Perch:
Bluegill and perch are in weeds and actively feeding. Waxies, worms, small minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks fished under slip bobbers all tempt panfish.
Oct. 1-9: Gun Deer Hunt for Hunters with Disabilities.
Oct. 8: 14th Annual Relic Riders Vintage snowmobile show & swap 8a.m.-2 p.m., Flat Creek Lodge (715-634-8377).
Oct. 8-9: Youth Deer Hunt.
Oct. 9: Full Hunter’s Moon.
Oct. 11: Bear season closes.
Oct. 15: Seasons open: Pheasant; Bobwhite quail; Hungarian Partridge; Elk; Coyote trapping; Fox hunting/trapping; Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1; Fisher hunting/trapping.
Oct. 15: Inland trout fishing season closes.
Nov. 17: Crow season closes.
Nov. 18: Turkey season closes in Zones 6-7.
Nov. 19-27: Traditional nine-day gun deer season.
Nov. 28-Dec. 7: Muzzleloader deer season.
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.