Spring weather this year is truly a “If it is not to your liking, just wait a bit” situation. The shift from winter seemed to go straight to summer heat! This week’s forecast predicts somewhat cooler temperatures, however, with chances for showers and storms. Go about your plans ‑ but keep an eye on the sky!
“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes is good overall,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “Walleye fishing is good, with most fish coming on jigs and minnows fished on emerging weeds in 5-10 feet. Keep it simple by pitching jigs and minnows and twitching them back to the boat.
“Northern pike will eat anything you throw right now, including jigs and minnows, minnows under bobbers while crappie fishing, and spinnerbaits while bass fishing. Go with northern and walleye suckers under bobbers, spinnerbaits, inline spinners such as a small Mepps, and crankbaits such as Rapalas.
“Largemouth bass are producing some nice catches for anglers pitching jigs for walleye. The bass are in the same weed beds on shallow, sandy lake bottoms, gearing up for spawning.
“Smallmouth bass are also hitting the jigs of walleye anglers and will somewhat mimic walleye patterns throughout the year. Smallmouth hold a bit tighter to rocky points extending into the basins. Jigging minnows and casting deep crankbaits can catch fish.
“Crappie fishing is good in emerging weeds in 7-10 feet. Many anglers are catching fish with crappie minnows on jigs and minnows on small, plain hooks.
“Bluegill and perch action is good on worms under bobbers fished off piers. Fishing shallow water with crawlers, leaf worms, and small plastics under bobbers will always catch fish.”
Levi at Hayward Bait says the walleye bite is very good, with fish shallow.
“Look for them in 5-10 feet on shallow weed edges where it turns to rock or gravel. Anglers report success with walleye suckers and fatheads on jigs and slip bobbers, with some having luck casting jerkbaits and soft plastics.
“Northern pike action is good in sunny bays in 3-5 feet. Anglers are catching pike on northern suckers, medium shiners, spoons, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and large flies.
“Smallmouth bass fishing is good, with fish staging along breaklines, weedlines, steep drop-offs, and rock piles. At this time, jerkbaits are the best presentation.
“Largemouth bass action is very good, with fish cruising and feeding on the edges of shallow bays. Anglers report success with plastic worms, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and on live bait such as medium shiners and fatheads.
“Crappie fishing is very good in 5-10 feet near their shallow spawning areas, around downed trees, and near any other structure. Most anglers are using crappie minnows and fatheads, with some reporting success on plastics.
“Bluegill fishing is also very good in shallow bays in 2-5 feet. Crawlers and leaf worms work best, with some anglers catching fish on small plastics.”
Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says finally, some sunshine ‑ at least between the storms!
“Walleye anglers should jig minnows and crawlers just off bottom, fishing along shorelines early and late day.
“Northern pike and largemouth bass are shallow, feeding on panfish. Use swim jigs, spinners, and surface baits.
“Crappie and bluegill are in warm water in shallow bays and near shorelines. Fish with minnows, waxies, worms, and leeches on jigs and/or under bobbers.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with water temperatures in the high 50s to low 60s, and as of Friday, the bog at the bridge was blocking boat travel between the east and west sides.
“Walleyes are the weeds in 8-9 feet and currently biting on minnows and leeches, in that order. The bite is definitely better on the west side.
“Northern pike are active, though in the last week most catches were incidental by anglers fishing for walleye. Target the far west side ‑ and it is definitely live bait season for the pike.
“Crappies are beginning to move shallow, though the spawn has not yet happened. Crappie minnows and various plastics are proving effective.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses trout and woody cover.
“Large woody cover in streams offers many known benefits to trout. Wood provides trout with protection from larger predators, shade, a resting place from current, and a place to stage their own ambush attacks. Woody cover can also make fisheries more resilient to some of the worst effects of climate change.
“The amount of available woody habitat in streams can vary from one stream to the next and even from one section of a stream to another. The variation in wood can be the result of forest cover type and age, amount of beaver activity, historic logging practices, flow rates, and numerous other factors.
“This summer the Hayward Fish Team is planning a habitat assessment of the Namekagon River from County Road M in Bayfield County down to Hospital Road north of Hayward. The assessment will focus on availability of big woody cover for trout.
“At the conclusion of this effort, we should have maps of woody cover within different stretches of streams, and GPS locations of areas where strategic additions of big woody cover could most benefit trout, other fish, and animals. We will also map where beaver activity is providing big woody cover naturally.
“This effort, paid for with Trout Stamp funds, is the first step towards restoring and enhancing a habitat type that can support the Namekagon’s excellent trout fishery.”
May is Lyme disease awareness month and the DNR and Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) remind people to protect themselves from tick bites that might lead to Lyme disease and other tick-spread illnesses. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by deer ticks as small as poppy seeds. Deer ticks are common in Wisconsin, live in wooded, brushy, and grassy areas, and due to their small size, their bites can go unnoticed. Lyme disease symptoms typically develop between three to 30 days after a tick bite. The often flu-like symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, joint pain, and nausea. For more information, search “Lyme disease” on the DNR and on the DHS websites.
Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner invites the public to its 13th annual free Canoe & Wooden Boat Show Saturday, May 28, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., to celebrate Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day. The museum hosts this event annually on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. It includes an exhibit hall open house, canoe workshop activities, live music, food, and beverages in the beer garden, a silent auction of recently donated items, canoe raffle, and the canoe and boat show. Exhibitors display wooden boats of all shapes, sizes, and designs, and classic and vintage water and paddling related items. For more information and auction item photos, visit www.wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org or call (715) 635-2479.
Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries will host its 2022 event May 20-21 at Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. Hundreds of volunteers gather to assist 120-150 anglers with various disabilities to enjoy this unique fishing experience. The two-day event offers evening meals, adaptive equipment, and more to ensure everyone has a wonderful time. Community involvement is outstanding, with community individuals and business owners donating all watercraft used for the event. People interested in volunteering their time or watercraft should contact the chapter office. For more information, visit the Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries website or call (715) 634-3185.
Fishing is good to very good for all species, as is usual this time of year. Be sure to stop at your favorite bait and tackle shop to get the latest on fish locations, favored baits and presentations, and bite windows.
The Chippewa Flowage 2022 Pike Improvement Project 3.0 is in progress. The Lake Chippewa Flowage Resort Association (LCFRA) encourages anglers to keep any pike less than 24 inches and register it at a LCFRA Member establishment for a chance to win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes! Selective harvest will improve the populations of all fish species and create a more favorable fishery environment. Learn how to clean northern pike in this video; see how to filet northern pike and remove “y” bones in a printable diagram; and enjoy these northern pike recipes!
Walleye action remains good, with fish still in shallower water out to 12 feet. Find them on weeds and weed edges, rock, gravel, points, and along shorelines. Early morning and late afternoon into evening hours are best. Walleye suckers, fatheads, leeches, and crawlers on jigs, slip bobbers, and harnesses, jerkbaits, and plastics are all effective.
Northern pike fishing is good in shallow, sunny bays in depths to 6 feet, and around panfish concentrations ‑ which are currently the same locations. Baits of choice include northern suckers, walleye suckers, and medium shiners on jigs and under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwaters, and Rapalas.
Largemouth bass action is very good as the fish stage for spawning. Look for them shallow, in depths out to 8 feet, on weed beds, weedline edges, sandy bottoms, and in shallow bays. Swim jigs, plastics in various configurations, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, jerkbaits, Ned baits, topwaters, shiners, and fatheads are all productive bass baits.
Smallmouth action is good for fish hanging on breaklines, rock points and piles, and steep drop-offs. Minnows and suckers minnows on jigs, swimbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits, and soft plastics, particularly those in crayfish colors, will all attract smallmouth.
Crappie fishing is very good, with fish staging for spawning. Find them around downed trees, emerging weeds, in shallow bays, and along shorelines in 5-10 feet. Top bait offerings include crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks, fished with/without bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is very good in bays and along shorelines in 2-5 feet. Use waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leaf worms, leeches, and plastics on jigs and under bobbers. Use small minnows for bigger bluegills and avoiding bait robbers!
Perch fishing is good in shallow water and around weeds. Minnows, crawlers, worms, leaf worms, and small plastics fished with/without bobbers are all catching perch.
May 20-21: 35th Annual Fishing Has No Boundaries Hayward event (715-634-3185).
May 21-27: National Safe Boating Week.
May 30: Memorial Day.
June 4-5: DNR Free Fishing and Free Fun Weekend.
June 24-26: Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
June 26: Hayward Bass Club Open bass tournament on Round Lake 8 .am.-4 .pm. (405-227-1789).
D: May 11-17
E: May 18-24
F: May 25-31
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.