A warmer week lies ahead, with some highs reaching the mid-90s, and lows in the 50s and 60s. This unseasonably warm weather could bring strong winds, rain, and severe storm possibilities.
“Musky fishing is slow, with more catches on walleye and crappie rigs than on musky baits. Smaller offerings are good for recovering post-spawn fish.
“Walleye action is good with leeches on plain hooks under slip bobbers fished on deep weed edges adjacent to basins.
“Northern pike action is good with spinnerbaits, spinners, swimbaits, and crankbaits on weeds, bay weed beds, and shorelines with downed trees.
“Largemouth bass fishing is good, with non-traditional crawlers under floats producing some nice fish. They are currently relating to shallow weeds, but will push to shallow, sandy bottom shorelines.
“Smallmouth bass are on rocks and sand bottoms in 10-15 feet. Pitch plastics and live bait on jigs or fish near the bottom with live bait on slip bobbers.
“Crappies finally spawned, though this varies by lake. Fish are pushing deeper into weeds to hide from predators. Look for good numbers of fish near weed beds in 7-15 feet. Plain hooks and jigs with crappie minnows and Gulp! Alive Minnows under floats work well.
“Bluegills have not yet finished spawning and multiple anglers report catching females with big bellies full of eggs. They should soon be moving shallow and making beds. Sight fishing with crawlers and small spinning baits such as Beetle Spins will catch aggressive fish protecting their beds.
“Perch roam everywhere, readily eating the crappie minnows and crawler chunks of anglers fishing for crappies and panfish. Just get a line in the water with something small on it and you will find perch!”
Levi at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is decent according to angler reports.
“Work shallow, dark water bays with baits in crappie and bluegill colors, as those fish are still spawning and muskies are feeding on them.
“Walleye fishing is very good along shallow weedlines in 5-6 feet during early mornings and evenings. Some trolling anglers report fish in 16-18 feet. Best live bait includes walleye suckers, fatheads, and jumbo leeches. Crankbaits and plastics are the preferred artificials.
“Northern pike fishing is good with weedless spoons, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and topwater buzzbaits fished in shallow bays and in lily pads. Late mornings and evenings are the best times.
“Largemouth bass fishing is good, with the fish post-spawn in most lakes. Bigger bass moved out of super shallow water to 5-6 feet and are hitting plastics, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. The best times are early mornings and evenings.
“Smallmouth bass action is very good and many anglers report success. Smaller fish are shallow and the bigger ones in 8-10 feet. Look for some late spawners, as some anglers are still finding a few on their beds. Best baits are plastics, jerkbaits, and leeches.
“Crappie fishing is very good off shallow structure and in deeper water. Start on structure in 4-5 feet and work deeper to find them. Every lake is at a different stage of spawn. Anglers are catching fish on small red and pink plastics, crappie minnows, and crawlers.
“Bluegills are spawning on most lakes and fishing is very good. Look for fish on beds in shallow, sandy bottom bay. Use waxies, crawlers, plastics, and small poppers.”
Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says all Nelson Lake panfish species are very active and generally, size is larger this season.
“Walleye anglers are catching some fish of all sizes on stickbaits, and minnows and leeches on jigs and harnesses.
“Northern pike are hitting dressed spoons, spinners, Mepps, and surface baits.
“Largemouth bass anglers report success with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, scented worms, and crawlers and minnows on harnesses.
“Crappie anglers should start in 6-8 feet and then work their way shallower. Use dressed jigs or fish with small fatheads, leeches, and Gulp! Alive Minnows under bobbers.
“Bluegills are on their beds and most anglers are catching fish with live bait.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with the water temperature 69 degrees.
“Musky action is very solid. Bluegills are spawning and many muskies are active in shallow areas chasing them. Keep your musky baits small and cast where there are spawning bluegills. Anglers report success with suckers off the side of the boat as well.
“Walleye fishing is still best with minnows and leeches for live bait and with Husky Jerks, Flicker Shads, and Jerkmasters the popular artificials. Anglers are catching smaller walleye in good number in areas in and around deeper sunken bogs and drop-offs. Bigger walleyes are fewer in number and in weeds in 8-10 feet.
“Northern pike are chasing bluegills in shallow weed beds, particularly on the west end. Tinsel Tail spinners and weedless spoons are the way to go.
“Crappies are all over the place and it is trial and error fishing. Some walleye anglers report crappies are in the weeds in 8-10 feet and hitting jigs and leeches. Other anglers report catching crappies while bluegill fishing in the shallows.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses angler assistance with PIT tagged muskies.
“‘PIT’ tagging muskellunge can greatly increase our understanding of these long-lived trophy predators. Passive integrated transponder ‑ ‘PIT’ tags ‑ are widely used in Sawyer County to help us better understand muskellunge growth, movement, and survival in our local lakes and rivers.
“We currently have almost 32,000 tags ‘at large’ in muskies in Sawyer County. Retrieving data from a PIT tag requires capturing and scanning a fish, meaning we need to catch many muskies, and we know we will not catch them all.
“Local anglers and guides are doing their part to help generate tag data by scanning muskies they catch in their regular fishing. Our local Muskies Inc. chapter has heavily supported this effort by its purchase and distribution of many scanners, an investment that is already paying dividends.
“In 2019 and 2020, anglers captured 37 muskellunge carrying PIT tags, accounting for 14 percent of all captures in the area. The remaining captures came from DNR netting and electrofishing surveys.
“Having anglers looking for tagged fish helps broaden where we can search for these fish. For example, though the DNR does not perform many musky surveys on rivers in this area, we do have a number of anglers who are very skilled at catching river muskies and they have helped generate data from places such as the Chippewa River.
“Our tagging efforts really ramped up over the last five years, meaning we have huge opportunities to generate tag data in the near future. The next few years will focus on ‘recapturing’ as many of these tagged fish as possible, which will greatly expand our knowledge base about important local muskellunge fisheries.”
The DNR has stocked more than 700,000 catchable-sized brook, brown, and rainbow trout in waters across the state, with stocking efforts still ongoing. For information on stocked waters in Sawyer County and adjacent counties, search “catchable-size stocked trout waters” on the DNR website.
Turtle nesting season is underway and drivers on roads near wetlands, lakes, and rivers should drive with caution and watch for slow-moving turtles. Most of Wisconsin’s 11 turtle species breed in late May through June, often crossing roads to lay eggs in nests on higher ground. Cars running over turtles are a leading cause of decline in Wisconsin turtle numbers, as is nest predation. For more information, search “turtle conservation program” on the DNR website.
Bass and panfish spawning is still in various stages, depending on the lake, but will probably soon see the end. Warming water temperatures will likely affect the locations of most fish species, so talk with your favorite bait shop personnel to keep on top of fish movements. This weekend, take your dad ‑ or any dad ‑ fishing!
Musky action is fair to decent on most musky waters. Look for fish in shallow weeds and sand bottom bays where you find spawning panfish. Smaller baits are working best, with suckers off the boat side catching fish, too.
Walleye action is good to very good. Look for fish on weeds and weed edges, points, drop-offs, and sunken bogs in 8-20 feet during the day; fish shallow weedlines in 4-8 feet in early morning and evening into dark. Top producing baits include walleye suckers, fatheads, leeches, and crawlers on jigs, plain hooks, harnesses, and under slip bobbers. Crankbaits, stickbaits, Husky Jerks, Flicker Shads, Jerkmasters, and plastics are also working well, as is trolling.
Northern pike fishing is very good on shallow weeds, weed edges, lily pads, and wherever you find panfish and baitfish concentrations. Sucker minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, bucktails, buzzbaits, crankbaits, plastics, and topwaters all work well ‑ pike are not necessarily discriminating eaters!
Largemouth bass fishing is good, with fish post-spawn on most lakes. Best fishing is early morning and evening hours on shallow weeds and weed edges, lily pads, sand bottoms, brush, and stumps out to 8 feet. Use leeches, minnows, and crawlers on jigs, harnesses, and under slip bobbers, and spinnerbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, and plastics.
Smallmouth bass fishing is very good from shallow water out to about 18 feet on sand, rock, and other hard bottoms. Sucker minnows, leeches, crawlers, and crayfish color crankbaits, jerkbaits, and plastics such as worms and tubes and other configurations will do the job.
Crappie fishing is very good, with many fish now post-spawn and moving deeper. Find fish around weeds, weed beds, and other structure in depths from 2-18 feet. Start shallow and move deeper ‑ or vice-versa. Top bait choices include crappie minnows, fatheads, leeches, crawlers, plastics, and Gulp! Alive Minnows on jigs and/or under slip bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is very good as fish are on their sandy, shallow spawning beds in most lakes ‑ look for the “elephant tracks.” Waxies, leeches, leaf worms, crawler pieces, plastics, poppers, and Beetle Spins are all effective offerings.
Perch are active ‑ perhaps too much so if you are not specifically targeting them! Work weeds and weed edges in approximately 6-10 feet. Minnows, waxies, worms, crawler pieces, and plastics will all catch perch.
June 18: Free Town of Hayward’s 3rd annual Kids’ Bike Rodeo, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., fire dept. building (715-634-4123).
June 19: Father’s Day ‑ take a father fishing!
June 21: Summer Solstice ‑ longest day (sunlight) of the year.
June 24-26: Musky Fest (715-634-8662).
June 25-26: Free Pro Lumberjack Competition at Lumberjack Bowl.
June 26: Hayward Bass Club open bass tournament on Round Lake 8 .am.-4 .pm. (405-227-1789).
July 15-17: LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-893).
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.