Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-20-22

Steve Suman

This week starts with hot temperatures in the 90s, followed by a “slight” cooling (says the forecast). There are a few chances for rain and thunderstorms, but mostly sunshine and blue skies ahead. Tuesday is the official start of summer, so the timing of the heat wave is on the money! Enjoy the heat or keep cool ‑ whichever is to your liking!

Quiet Lakes’ fishing is good overall for most species,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “but the musky bite is still quite slow and we hope the warmer, stable weather will get some muskies moving. This is the nature of the beast with musky fishing, so it should not surprise anyone!

“Musky fishing is tough, and at this time all fish catches on our musky board are by anglers using bass and walleye size baits, both live and artificial. Fish are still in and around shallow structure, and small inline spinners are great for finding active fish. If they are following, but not committing, downsize baits and slow retrieves. Glide baits and dive-and-risers such as a Suicks can be great to tempt negative or neutral fish into eating.

“Walleye fishing remains good and fish are relating to deep weed edges. Anglers are catching many fish with leeches on small jigs or plain hooks fished under slip bobbers.

“Northern pike action is good and many anglers report catching pike while fishing for walleye, bass, and crappie. Look for fish in and around weed beds, points, bars, and anywhere you find baitfish. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and inline spinners all work great for catching northern pike.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good in and around weed beds and weeds and structure near shorelines, with fish everywhere in the water column. Most catches are on fatheads under bobbers while walleye fishing, as well as crawlers under bobbers.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is solid for both good size and numbers of fish. Most catches are on leeches and fatheads under slip bobbers. Fish in and around structure, and downed trees and wood hold fish.

“Crappies are starting to scatter and the bite slowed. They are using deep weed edges as they start transitioning to deep basins. You might have to search a bit for them, but good fish are there. Crappie minnows are the first bait choice,

“Bluegill and perch are hitting the standard stuff, and a good chunk of crawler on a plain hook under a bobber will always catch fish. Docks, sandy shores, and shallow weed edges hold bluegill and perch all year.”

Levi at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is decent, though it seems more walleye anglers than musky anglers are running into them.

“Look for shallow bays where bluegills and/or crappies are spawning, as muskies will be feeding there. Use bucktails, bluegill and crappie imitations, and topwaters.

“Walleye fishing is very good on weed bed edges and off steep breaks in 6-8 feet. Leeches and crawlers on slip bobbers and harnesses, crankbaits, and jigging small swimbaits work best.

“Northern pike fishing is good. Look for fish sunning in shallow bays in 4-6 feet. Best baits are northern suckers, weedless spoons, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

“Largemouth bass fishing is very good in lily pads on very warm, sunny days, and shallow and just off weed edges and lily pads in 4-6 feet. Best baits are spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, weedless plastics, and topwater frogs.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is good, with most anglers finding smaller fish shallow and bigger fish a bit deeper. Work 8-10 feet with jerkbaits and plastics.

“Crappie fishing is very good around shallow structure in 6-8 feet. Look shallow first, and if the fish are not there, move to deeper structure in 10-12 feet. Best baits are crappie minnows and plastics.

“Bluegills are spawning and fishing is very good. On most lakes, the fish are in shallow bays with sand or rock bottoms, with best depths 2-4 feet. Best baits are waxies, leaf worms, crawlers, and small plastics.

Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says walleye fishing is fair on fatheads and leeches worked near the bottom. Try a floating jig head above a weight.

“Northern pike anglers are catching good numbers of fish on spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, and weedless spoons tipped with double Twister Tails. Try surface baits, too, as Whopper Ploppers are producing considerable success.

“Largemouth bass are hitting the same baits as those for northern pike, plus plastic worms and weedless frogs.

“Crappie and bluegill fishing remains good and anglers are still reporting generally larger sizes. If you are catching only small fish… move! In addition to the usual waxies, worms, crawlers, and leeches, try surface poppers, floating ants, and even Bimbo Skunks ‑ you have to try it to believe it!”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses helping kids catch fish during Musky Fest.

“Fishing is a great way to spend time outside with friends and family ‑ and can be a way to supplement your diet locally. If you already fish, you know these things to be true. If you are interested and want to give fishing a try, we have a great opportunity coming up at the 2022 Musky Fest in Hayward.

“Each year the DNR Hayward Fish Team releases approximately 1,000 panfish into Shues Pond at E. 3rd St. and Kansas Ave. in downtown Hayward to create easy access fishing opportunities, especially for kids. On June 24, from noon-4 p.m., we will be at Shues Pond to help beginner anglers ‑ and we want you to catch a fish at Musky Fest!

“The DNR Hayward Fish Team will provide all of the necessary equipment and bait, along with expert instruction. We can also offer suggestions for other family fishing opportunities, including shore-fishing spots for those who do not have access to a boat.

“We always enjoy our association with Musky Fest, renewing the traditions and enthusiasm the town of Hayward has for fishing, and hope that recruiting new anglers will continue that fishing tradition long into the future.”

The DNR reminds people that summer brings an increase in bear encounters and conflicts, but there are precautions that can prevent or minimize them. Sightings usually increase in early summer when young bears strike out on their own for the first time, and breeding season also occurs in early summer, resulting in many male bears in search of a mate.

Black bears normally avoid contact with people, but conflicts can arise. Bears can quickly learn to associate humans with food, but their visits are likely to stop when food is no longer available. However, it might take several days to weeks for a bear to discontinue visiting food sites.

Bear populations have slowly expanded south in Wisconsin, but wherever in the state, people should take the same precautions. Check the DNR pamphlet Living with Black Bears in Wisconsin to learn more about co-existing with bears.

If you are unable to resolve a bear conflict in northern Wisconsin, contact USDA-Wildlife Services at 800-228-1368.

Smallmouth bass season in the Northern Bass Zone opened June 18 and runs through March 5. Check the 2022-23 hook and line regulations for details. Anglers should note some changes to the walleye and bass regulations in the northern zone. A list of all recent regulation changes is available on the DNR website.

On Sunday June 26, during Musky Fest weekend, Hayward Bass Club will host its annual Round Lakes Open Bass Tournament from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The entry fee is $100 per two-person team, with the contest limited to 50 teams. For complete entry information and form, contest rules, and regulations, visit the Hayward Bass Club Facebook page, email haywardbassclub@gmail.com, or text (405) 227-1789.

Hayward’s 72nd Annual Musky Fest June 23-26 kicks off with the FHNB catch-and-release fishing contest and sidewalk sales, and continues through Sunday. There is a parade, DNR learn to fish event at Shues Pond, vendors, food booths, music, games, art/craft show, car show, street dances, carnival, runs and walks, watermelon eating contest, canoe and kayak races, and so much more ‑ far too much to list here! For more information on event details and participation, visit www.muskyfest.com/events-schedule or call (715) 634-8662.

Fishing Report

Fishing is generally good for all species, with only muskies being bullheaded (is that even a permissible statement in northern Wisconsin?) Summer is now officially in session and fish are transitioning, so again, check with your favorite bait shop personnel for the most current information on fish locations, offerings, and bite windows.


Musky season opened May 28 and thus far, anglers report action is fair. Concentrate on shallow structure, bays, and spawning panfish. Hot temperatures this week could affect fish locations. Bucktails, spinnerbaits, gliders, jerkbaits, and topwaters can all draw a musky’s interest. Suckers work, but probably not a good idea with this heat.


Walleye fishing is good to very good on shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed edges, and steep breaklines, with best action shallow during early morning and late evening into dark. The most productive baits include walleye suckers and fatheads on jigs; leeches and crawlers on jigs, harnesses, and slip bobbers; and crankbaits, swimbaits, and stickbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good around shallow to mid-depths weeds, weed edges, bars, points, and panfish and baitfish concentrations. Top baits include sucker minnows under floats, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, and topwaters.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good on weeds and weed edges, lily pads, cribs, brush, and bogs. A wide variety of baits are catching fish, including crawlers and minnows under slip bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, plastics (worms, tubes, frogs, etc.), and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is good on hard bottom areas, weed edges, wood, and other structure out to 15 feet. Try deeper water for bigger fish. Sucker minnows, fatheads, leeches, crawlers, jerkbaits, tubes, and other plastics in various configurations, particularly in crayfish colors, are all working well.


Fishing is good to very good as post-spawn fish begin to disperse to deeper weed edges, structure, and basins in depths to 15 feet. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, waxies, worms, crawler pieces, leeches, plastics, poppers, and Beetle Spins.


Bluegill fishing is good to very good, with some fish still spawning. Find them shallow in bays, around weed edges, sandy shorelines, docks, and other cover in 2-6 feet. Best baits include waxies, worms, crawler pieces, leeches, poppers, and other small surface baits.

Upcoming Events

June 18: Smallmouth bass season opened in Northern Bass Zone.

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 7-9: Heart of the North Spooner RodeoWashburn County Fairgrounds (800-367-3306).

July 15-17: LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934).

July 28-30: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

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.