Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-11-24

Steve Suman

This week’s forecast has quite the mix, with varied chances for rain and thunderstorms from Tuesday through Thursday, and again Saturday. Enjoy the nice days, but be alert for sudden changes!

“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes is fair to good,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “with water temperatures in the mid to upper 60s on most lakes.

“Musky action slowed since opening weekend. Anglers see fish, but few hit the bottom of the net. Fish in and around shallow weeds and structure during the day; work shorelines at dusk. Walleye and smallmouth move shallow then, and muskies will follow the bait. Bucktails, jerkbaits, rubber baits, and swimbaits all produce.

“Walleyes are transitioning to leeches under slip bobbers, though anglers jigging minnows do well. Fish hold in 10-20 feet during the day, moving shallow at night.

“Northern pike are hitting everything, including crappie minnows, crawlers, crankbaits, and topwaters. Focus on 4-10 feet in weedy bays, mid-lake humps, and shorelines.

“Largemouth bass fishing is solid, with many catches on crawlers, other live bait, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits. Fish are shallow and at some point in spawn. If you see fish protecting big beds, throw wacky or drop shot rigged worms and hold on! Bass are very protective and strike at anything messing with their nursery.

“Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well at dusk fishing walleye spots and off docks with leeches on slip bobbers. Try high in the water column ‑ last year, anglers caught big smallmouth on topwaters all summer.

“Crappie fishing is probably the toughest. Some fish spawned, some stayed deep, and others still carry eggs. The water did not warm quickly and crappies were all over the place. Look in 6-10 feet. Crappie minnows, Kalin’s Crappie Scrubs, and Charlie Brewer’s Sliders on jigs work well.

“Bluegills are shallow and staging for spawn. Leaf worms, crawlers, and leeches under bobbers will all catch fish.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing remains slow.

“Anglers are throwing plastics such as Bull Dawgs and Medussas, bucktails, and live bait. Check deeper weedlines in 5-15 feet. Watch the time you keep a fish out of the water ‑ big as they are, muskies are fragile!

“Walleye anglers are catching many fish in 8-15 feet. During daylight hours, most are on fatheads and extra-large leeches under slip bobbers. In the evening, use jerkbaits and crankbaits. The fish will soon move to the first weedlines.

“Northern pike are shallow, near schools of crappie and bluegill. Fishing is good on walleye suckers, fatheads, spinners, swimbaits, and jerkbaits. Check for size restriction changes on some lakes that encourage harvest.

“Largemouth bass have not spawned, but are in spawning areas. The shallow weeds and lilies hold great numbers of fish. Topwaters such as frogs, buzz baits, and Whopper Ploppers are doing well. For deeper fish, try wacky and Texas rigged worms, letting them sink slowly.

“Smallmouth bass are in 6-12 feet, moving to beds, and offering a great jerkbait bite on gravel and rock flats. For bed fishing, Ned and drop shot rigs are the best options. It is much easier to watch fish interact with high visibility white or chartreuse baits. Give Rapala BX Minnows and Rapala Husky Jerks a chance, too.

“Crappies have mostly finished spawning and moved to the first weedlines. Drag plastics slowly over weed tops to pull crappies from cover until evening when they rise to feed. Crappie minnows and fatheads work well.

“Bluegills roam in packs visible near shorelines in clear water or dimpling the surface when feeding on bugs. Waxies, leaf worms, and plastics all catch fish.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with 60-degree water temperatures.

“Muskies are just outside weed edges, not aggressive, and offering lazy follows. In the evening as fish move in to feed, they follow shallower structure. Moving closer to summer, use larger baits while still throwing smaller ones to entice fish.

“Walleye fishing is tougher, with fish moving to 10-20 feet. Minnows remain popular, but anglers are using both minnows and leeches. During the day, target deeper cover with minnows, leeches, and crankbaits. In the evening, fish weed edges in 6-12 feet with minnows and leeches.

“Northern pike are very active, feeding on panfish in weed cover. Tinsel Tails and Shimano crankbaits fished around weeds offer good action.

“Largemouth bass are in weeds and lily pads. Spinnerbaits and frogs produce consistent action, particularly on the west side.

“Smallmouth bass turned on, with Ned rigs the go-to, and anglers reporting good success with topwaters such as Whopper Ploppers, poppers, and frogs on rock and wood cover areas.

“Crappies are on deeper weeds, sunken bogs, cribs, and brush piles during the day. At dusk, fish the bogs. Crappie minnows, Gulp! Minnows, Mini-Mites, and Bobby Garland plastics are hot.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says Shues Pond is ready for anglers.

“People come from far and wide to fish the lakes and rivers in the Hayward area, but anglers have a great fishing opportunity right in downtown Hayward, too!

“Shues Pond, found at the corner of 3rd. and Kansas streets, is a one-acre pond used as a neighborhood fishing opportunity for decades. Each summer the DNR transfers adult bluegill and sunfish into the pond from one of the connected lakes, providing good fishing action. This year, a few other surprise species are included in the mix!

“In 2023, two level fishing platforms were added with funding provided by the Terry Peterson Fishing Foundation. The design of these platforms makes it easier for anglers of all abilities to get right to the water’s edge to cast.

“In spring 2024, a ‘Lure Library,’ also added with support of the Terry Peterson Foundation, offers a place where anglers can borrow, take a few, or donate used lures.

“The intent of all these actions is to create a true community fishing spot. In keeping with that thought, we ask people to treat the area with respect for both the environment and fellow anglers.

“Anglers can harvest fish, following statewide size and bag limits, but stocking typically occurs just once each year, so please take only what you really need. There are plenty of other local fishing spots that can sustain more harvest.

“A fishing license is necessary for any angler 16 years of age or older. Parents who are simply assisting kids with fishing, such as tying knots, helping with tangles, etc., do not need a license.

“Please be mindful to not litter, as it can be very difficult to get trash out of the pond once it is in the water.

“We in this area are very fortunate to have such a wide range of excellent water resources that can support fishing experiences of all types and for all skill levels.

“Stop by Shues Pond to start your own fishing adventure!”

A free Moms and kids fishing night at Shues Pond is Wednesday, June 12, starting at 6 p.m. Event organizers will provide all necessary equipment, including lure making and fishing supplies to take home. Participants will learn fishing skills from local women anglers, enjoy a dinner and evening of fishing with other families.

For more information, call (715) 634-7429.


The Sawyer County Board of Supervisors voted to allow ATV/UTV traffic on all Sawyer County Roads, except those within the LCO Reservation. These changes are not effective ‑ roads not open ‑ until the County posts signage, which could take six weeks. Check the HLVCB ATV/UTV trail conditions report and Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance report for road and trail updates.

Trail update: Trails 174 and 176 in Spider Lake Township are no longer open to ATV/UTV use. This information is current on Trail Treker, but not on the paper map. Trail Treker changes and updates are available in real time.

An ATV safety education class will be available June 28-29, in Winter in Sawyer County. The course fee is $10. For more information, and to register, visit gowild.wi.gov and choose safety education, register, ATV, Sawyer County. Conservation wardens recommend all ATV/UTV operators complete a safety course.

Fishing Report

Fishing is good for nearly all species, with pike, bass, and panfish very good. In the Northern Bass Zone, smallmouth bass harvest season opens June 15. Check for size and possession limit changes for pike and panfish on some lakes.


Musky action is slow, but improving, though fish are lackadaisical. Focus on shallow to deeper weeds, weed edges, and other structure in 5-15 feet during the day. Work shallow shorelines and structure in the evening hours. Baits producing the most action include suckers, swimbaits, rubber and plastic baits, bucktails, and jerkbaits.


Walleye fishing is fair to stable. Look for fish in 4-20 feet, with fish deep during the day and in shallower areas in early morning and evening into dark. Fish are on weeds, weedlines, weed edges, brush, breaklines, and other structure. Walleye suckers, fatheads, and leeches on jigs and slip bobbers, crankbaits, and jerkbaits are all working.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is very good to excellent in 4-12 feet, in and around weeds and weedlines, weedy bays and mid-lake humps, and near panfish and baitfish concentrations. Favored offerings include northern and walleye suckers, fatheads, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good, with fish around shallow weeds and lily pads and in spawning mode. Baits of choice include minnows, crawlers, wacky, drop shot, and Texas rigged worms, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzz baits, and a variety of topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is good to very good, particularly in the evening hours. Find fish on and around rock, gravel, and wood in 4-12 feet. Sucker minnows, leeches, crawlers, Ned and drop shot rigs, jerkbaits, minnowbaits, and topwaters are all producing very good action.


Crappie fishing is good in general. Most fish completed spawning, though some still contain eggs. Look for them on weeds, weedlines, cribs, and brush in 4-12 feet during the day; fish bogs in the evening. Crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, and Gulp! Minnows on jigs and/or under slip bobbers are working well.


Bluegill fishing is good to very good, with fish shallow and in various stages of the spawning process. Waxies, leaf worms, crawler chunks, leeches, and plastics on small jigs and teardrop are all very effective.

Upcoming Events

June 12: Moms and kids fishing night at Shues Pond, 6 p.m., no charge (715-634-7429).

June 15: Smallmouth bass harvest season opens in the Northern Bass Zone.

June 20: Summer Solstice – first day of summer.

June 21: Full Strawberry Moon.

June 21-22: Hayward Bass Club/Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc.Musky Fest fishing contest (405-227-1789).

June 21-23: 74th Annual Musky Fest (715-634-8662).

June 23: Hayward Bass Club – Round Lake Open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (405-227-1789).

June 28-29: ATV/UTV safety education class in Winter; $10 fee.

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.