Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 11-8-22

Steve Suman

This week’s best weather is now through Wednesday, after which, highs in the 20s, lows in the teens, and various forms of “precipitation.” (I just cannot say “it” quite yet…)

A total lunar eclipse occurs Tuesday, Nov. 8, for the second time in 2022.

Veterans Day is this Friday, November 11, honoring America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. The observation is always November 11, regardless of the day, to preserve the historical significance of the date and focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day.

“Avid anglers have much of the Quiet Lakes’ waters to themselves,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “and some of the biggest fish of the year are stocking up for winter.

“Musky action is solid, with big fish hitting the net as open water season winds down. Most catches are with suckers on quick-strike rigs, and some on artificials. Work big rubber baits and crankbaits over rocks, humps, and windy points. Find structure holding baitfish and muskies should be nearby.

“Walleye action is picking up, with fish relating to shallow weeds, humps, and points dropping into deep water. Jigging live bait such as fatheads is the most common approach, though walleye suckers and plastics catch fish as well. Hop baits back to the boat slowly, with a pause between hops.

“Northern pike are also hitting suckers, and big ‘gators’ will crush the same artificials as muskies.

“Largemouth bass are not a prime target now and there is not much to offer for reports.

“Smallmouth bass are on humps, points, and shallow bars where baitfish school. Jigs, Ned rigs, and crankbaits will catch these fish.

“Crappie schools are suspending deep and crappie minnows on small, heavy jigs, and small Jigging Raps and Puppet Minnows will put limits in the boat until ice-up.

“Bluegills and perch are anywhere they can hide from predators, such as remaining green weeds or shallow timber, bays, and creek inlets with vegetation. All will be good from now until first ice. Use waxies and plastics on small jigs.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is steady.

“Most anglers are dragging live bait on sucker rigs while casting bucktails, big plastics, and gliders. Fish will lose the urge to chase in cooler water and live bait and jigging big plastics are the ticket. Fuzzy Duzzits, big Bull Dawgs, and similar baits work well. In most lakes, fish are in 10-20 feet chasing smaller gamefish and panfish. In lakes with whitefish or cisco, fish will lurk just below the big schools.

“Walleyes slide into 8-10 feet or shallower during evenings and mornings to feed. During daylight hours, they move deeper or hold in heavier weed cover. Walleye suckers and fatheads on slip bobbers and jigs work well, as do jerkbaits and swimbaits in low light periods.

“Northern pike fishing is solid as they feed on panfish in shallow weeds and bay mouths, but get into the magical depth with northern and walleye suckers under slip bobbers. Search areas faster with jerkbaits, spoons, and reaction baits.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass anglers are done for the year, except those who target largemouth through the ice.

“Crappies are roaming lake basins, holding to structure such as cribs. Some will move to remaining shallow weeds before returning to basins. They hold to structure in 7-12 feet until rising to feed in low light periods. Minnows and plastics on small jigs under slip bobbers and casting are effective.

“Bluegill reports are scarce, but fish will show again when concentrating in shallow waters during early ice.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses what goes on with the fish you catch.

“When we run, our heart rate goes up. When something surprises us, we experience a release of hormones in response. Despite millions of years of evolutionary divergence, humans and fish still share some similarities in basic physiological stress responses.

“It is important to note that experiencing a stress response is a natural thing. A stress response is the series of processes that allow organisms to be resilient and able to survive all sorts of events. For humans, those stressful events might be speaking in public or getting a shot. For a fish, it might be an angler catching it. In fact, catch and release angling is a focus of many physiological studies.

“A recent study of lake sturgeon in a Canadian river offers some rare insights into how this long-lived species, often managed for mostly catch-and-release fisheries, deals with being caught.

“To conduct the study, researchers caught 60 lake sturgeon below a dam at several different times of the year, taking a blood sample from each fish they caught on hook and line. The researchers observed and recorded whether a fish was ‘impaired,’ meaning it was unable to right itself, or showed other signs of extreme exhaustion.

“Researchers held the fish in large pens for seven days, taking blood samples and making observations of impairment at regular intervals. All captured fish showed a physiological response to the experience, commonly including elevated respiratory rates and changes to ions, blood glucose, and cortisol levels. Most responses returned to normal levels within 24 hours.

“Angling in spring generally induced a less extreme stress response compared to angling in summer when water temperatures are higher and dissolved oxygen in the water is lower. In fact, the most common response observed was higher respiratory rates in the summer compared to spring, as fish must work harder to get the same amount of oxygen.

“The researchers also found that angler skill level played a role in a fish’s response. Fish caught by novice or inexperienced anglers were more likely to show increased signs of impairment. This might have been the result of novice anglers unintentionally playing the fish too long by not having the acquired skill to end the fight quickly.

“These results are interesting, as they support efforts to educate anglers on a variety of safe and effective catch and release practices.”

The Sawyer County deer harvest total, as of November 1, is 458 deer, including 237 antlered and 221 antlerless. These totals include:

  • Archery: 113 deer (62 antlered, 51 antlerless)
  • Crossbow: 291 deer (149 antlered, 142 antlerless)
  • Youth Deer Hunt Oct. 8-9: 54 deer (26 antlered, 28 antlerless)

Fall turkey hunters in Wisconsin have registered 2,248 turkeys in the state as of November 1, with harvest in zones 4, 6, and 7 as follows:

  • Zone 4: 377
  • Zone 6: 213
  • Zone 7: 114

Fall turkey season in zones 6 and 7 closes Nov. 18. The fall season in zones 1-5 runs through Jan. 8. Bonus authorizations ($10/residents; $15/nonresidents) are still available in zones 1-4 at one per person, per day, until the zone sells out or season ends.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. invites the public to attend its club meeting, Tuesday, November 15, starting at 7 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge in Hayward. Admission is free.

This is a general business meeting to review the fall tournament results, set the 2023 budget, and elect officers for 2023. Anyone interested in becoming a new Muskies, Inc. member can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting.

For more information, contact Mike Persson at (715) 634-4543.

Hayward Rod and Gun Club, 3 miles east of Hayward on Country Road B, will host its annual Rifle Sight-in Days November 12-18, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. The fee is $6/rifle. Experienced club members will be on hand to assist. As a fundraiser, the club is also selling drawing chances for a Savage Axis XP .270 Win. rifle with a 3-9x50mm Simmons scope. Tickets are $10/each or 3/$20. The drawing is Friday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m., and the winner need not be present. For more information, call (715) 634-4912.

Fishing Report


Musky action is good to very good. Find fish in 8-22 feet on weed edges, humps, rock, points, and any structure holding schools of panfish and baitfish. Suckers on quick-strike rigs are the favorite offering at this time, but big Bull Dawgs/rubber baits, bucktails, plastics, crankbaits, gliders, and jigging baits such as Fuzzy Duzzits all catch fish.


Walleye action is improving with the seasonal change. During the day, target mid-depth to deep weeds and heavy cover. In the evening hours, concentrate on shallower weeds, points, and humps in 6-12 feet adjacent to deep water. Top bait choices include walleye sucker and fatheads on jigs and/or slip bobbers, minnowbaits, stickbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits, and plastics.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent as fish bulk up for the winter months. Find them around shallow to mid-depth weeds and structure holding panfish and baitfish concentrations (i.e., food!) Baits of choice include sucker minnows on jigs and slip bobbers, jerkbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons. Go bigger and deeper for trophy pike.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is either very good and no anglers are talking about it, or no anglers are talking about it because no one is fishing for largemouth at this time. (Smart money is probably on the latter…)

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good for anglers focusing on them. Work jigs, Ned rigs, and crankbaits on shallow to mid-depth weeds, bars, points, and humps holding panfish and baitfish. Might pick up a walleye, too!


Crappie fishing is good to very good. Find them in lake basins, weeds, and cribs from shallow to deep, depending on the lake and time of day (low light best). Be sure to check the entire water column, from bottom to top. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and plastics on jigs and/or slip bobbers work well, as do Jigging Raps and Puppet Minnows.

Bluegill and Perch: Bluegill and perch are eating (and trying to avoid being “et” at the same time!), but angler interest in these species drops with the temperatures until hard water season. Fish are in weeds, wood, bays, cribs, and around any cover offering protection from predator fish. Waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs and teardrops will get action.

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Nov. 5: Seasons opened in North Zone: Beaver trapping; Otter hunting and trapping (see regs).

Nov. 7: Woodcock season closed.

Nov. 8: Beaver Moon ‑ and total lunar eclipse (second one this year and last one until 2025!)

Nov. 11: Veterans Day.

Nov. 12-18: Hayward Rod and Gun Club rifle sight-in days, $6/rifle, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (715-634-4912).

Nov. 13: Elk season closes (reopens Dec. 8-16).

Nov. 15: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. meeting, 7 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge (715-634-4543).

Nov. 17: Crow season closes.

Nov. 18: Turkey season closes in zones 6-7.

Nov. 19-27: Traditional nine-day gun deer season (see regs).

Nov. 22: Duck season closes in North Zone (see regs).

Nov. 24: Thanksgiving Day.

Nov. 28-Dec. 7: Muzzleloader deer season.

Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.

Dec. 8-11: Four-day antlerless-only deer hunt (see regs).

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.