Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-25-24

Steve Suman

Monday started the week with sunshine and highs in the 80s, and maybe some late severe storms, then clear and sunny until the end of the week. Excellent weather for any outdoor recreation ‑ get out and enjoy it!

“This coming week should bring great weather to the Quiet Lakes’ area,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “with mid- to upper-70s temperatures and few chances of rain. Water temperatures hover around 70 degrees. Though fishing is tough, stable weather should improve it.

“Musky fishing is decent and we just filled our first musky board. Fish are around weeds, which should continue throughout summer. Start shallow and if you have no action, work deeper. Small bucktails, spinnerbaits, and topwaters work best.

“Walleye fishing is tough. Most anglers use live bait with slip bobbers and leeches, or fatheads on jigs. During the day, look in 8-12 feet. At dusk into night, move shallower, to 3-8 feet.

“Northern pike are in shallow weeds. Most are smaller fish and hitting everything. Small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and live bait all work.

“Largemouth bass are in shallow lilies and other weeds. Anglers report success with live bait, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

“Smallmouth bass went cold in the past week. During daytime, fish jigs and plastics or deep running crankbaits on deeper rock transitioning to basins. At dusk and night, focus shallow with leeches, other live bait, and topwaters.

“Crappie fishing is inconsistent, with fish on the smaller side. Use crappie minnows under bobbers and plastics on jigs around weeds.

“Bluegills have apparently not spawned and no reports of fish on shallow beds. Work weeds in 4-5 feet. As the water warms, look for fish on shallow sandy shorelines.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says fishing is stable, with rain slowing warming water temperatures.

“Fish might move deeper with the return of sun and temperatures in the 80s.

“Musky anglers are catching some nice fish, but action is somewhat slow. Find them in 5-10 feet, but as the water warms, fish will move deeper. Preferred baits include smaller bucktails, crankbaits, and topwaters.

“Walleyes are on deeper weedlines, hitting leeches on slip bobbers. Some anglers are long-lining shallower waters with Husky Jerks and Flicker Shads to locate fish, then returning with slip bobbers.

“Northern pike are chasing spawning panfish in 6 feet or less. Use live bait, spoons, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

“Largemouth bass are shallow, spawning or preparing to spawn. Ned and Texas rigs work well, spinnerbaits and topwaters are good for off-bed fish, and wacky worms work for post-spawn fish in 4-8 feet.

“Smallmouth bass will start moving to main lake weedlines, rock piles, and cribs. Ned, drop shot rigs, and topwaters are the way to go.

“Crappies are in and around mid-depth to deep weeds. During daytime, drag two-inch plastics on jigs over weed beds. Once you find fish, use slip bobbers with live bait. During low light, fish rise and are more accessible.

“Bluegills are concentrated in bedding areas, but they usually come in waves and will provide good fishing for a couple weeks. Live bait and small plastics such as crickets and Gulp! Minnows are great options.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with water temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s.

“Muskies still show the most interest in smaller baits, though a few larger topwater catches could signal a shift. Fish are outside weed beds off breaks. Stay shallow, cast past the drop-offs, and retrieve baits from deep to shallow. Watch surface temperatures. Muskies could go deeper if water temperatures increase.

“Walleye reports vary. Some anglers are catching them off breaklines; some are catching fish in 18-22 feet. Baits of choice are leeches and minnows, in that order. Water temperatures are increasing slowly. Expect walleyes to move deeper with the warm-up this week. If so, try trolling crankbaits deeper during midday.

“Northern pike anglers are catching good numbers of smaller pike, with Tinsel Tails the go-to bait. Shallow weeds on the west side are the most productive. Ripping Tinsel Tails and weedless spoons through the weeds is a good strategy.

“Largemouth bass are hitting spinners and frogs around weeds and lilies. Crane Lake’s back bays and Moss Creek’s eastern shoreline are great for largemouth.

“Smallmouth bass, though on the smaller side, are active on stumps and rock bars. Ned rigs work well.

“Crappies are all over the place. Some anglers catch crappies suspending in 8-9 feet over deeper water, others report success on structure in 19-22 feet. Most fish are around 8-10 inches. Crappie minnows and plastics do the trick.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter turns over the discussion to fisheries technician Evan Sirianni who talks about the Couderay River.

“Over the past half-decade, the Hayward DNR fisheries crew has undertaken an adventurous study of the Couderay River along Highway 70 south of Hayward.

“The research began with the removal of the Grihm Dam in 2011 and locals noticed big lake sturgeon moving back into the small river. This caught the attention of the DNR fisheries crew that then began an exploratory study.

“Through the past five years, the fisheries crew has performed a combination of studies that include one continuous sturgeon survey and three smallmouth bass projects ‑ a mark and recapture study, spatial distribution, and habitat studies.

“Findings from this work on the Couderay unveiled a remarkable fishery. The river has a healthy smallmouth bass population and exceptional habitat that holds a diverse range of other species including channel catfish, northern pike, walleye, musky, redhorse, and other sucker species.

“The Couderay River provides a wonderful opportunity for anglers and canoe and kayak enthusiasts to enjoy the outdoors. From a gentle sandy float that much of the river provides, to the occasional obstacle to keep people excited, the Couderay is a fantastic resource to experience!”

The DNR says turkey hunters in Wisconsin registered 50,435 birds for the 2024 spring turkey season, the fourth-highest spring harvest on record, and a 22 percent increase from the five-year average. The 2024 spring season started April 13 with the two-day youth hunt in which the young hunters younger than 16 years old registered 3,967 birds, a 37 percent increase from the five-year average. The deadline to apply for the 2025 spring’s turkey season is Dec. 10.

The 2024 Fall Turkey Season runs Sept. 14-Nov. 22 statewide; with zones 1-5 then open Nov. 23-Jan. 5, 2025. All seven DNR turkey management zones will be open for hunting.

For more information, search “turkey hunting” on the DNR website.


Unless otherwise posted, all county roads outside the LCO Reservation in are now legal for ATV/UTV use. The Trail Treker app shows these changes (paper map does not). Trail Treker updates are available in real time. The ATV/UTV trails in Sawyer County Forest (715-634-4846), Chequamegon National Forest (715-634-4821), and Flambeau State Forest (715-332-5271) are open. Trails 174 and 176 in Spider Lake Township are no longer open to ATV/UTV use.

The DNR requires trail passes for non-residents; Wisconsin residents must display their registration sticker. State law requires riders to run headlights at all times when operating. Visit the DNR ATV website to review rules and regulations. Follow the ATV/UTV map, and know the map legend.

An ATV safety education class is available June 28-29 in Winter ($10 fee). For more information, and to register, visit gowild.wi.gov; choose safety education, register, ATV, and Sawyer County. All ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who are at least 12 years old for ATV, and at least 16 years old for UTV, must complete an ATV/UTV safety certification course to operate legally on public ATV/UTV trails and areas in Wisconsin.

Fishing Report

Fishing is good to very good for most species. Weather fronts, spawning, and post-spawn factors affect nearly all bite aspects. On your way to the water, check with your favorite bait shop to learn the most current information on fish locations, bites, baits, and preferred presentations.


Musky action is fair to good, with most anglers seeing follows and some even hooking a fish! Focus on weed beds, weedlines drop-offs, and breaklines in 4-12 feet, and deeper as the water warms. Smaller bucktails, spinnerbaits, rubber baits, crankbaits, gliders, and topwaters will all catch attention in the right place at the right time.


Walleye fishing is fair to good. During the day, work weedlines and breaklines in 10-24 feet. In low light conditions, work depths to 10 feet. Fish move deeper as the water warms. Use walleye suckers, fatheads, leeches, and crawlers on jigs and slip bobbers. Try long-lining deeper running crankbaits and stickbaits to locate fish.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good, particularly for smaller fish in and around shallow weeds and concentrations of panfish and baitfish in depths to 8 feet. Bigger pike are somewhat deeper. Northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, weedless spoons, crankbaits, Tinsel Tails, and topwaters are all producing fish.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is decent, with most fish in and around shallower weeds, lily pads, and brush in 3-10 feet, and in some stage of spawning. Best baits include minnows, crawlers, leeches, Ned and Texas rigged plastics, wacky worms, spinners, spinnerbaits, minnowbaits, and frogs and other topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is fair to good. Look for fish on weedlines, rock, stumps, cribs, and deep rock bars that transition to the basin. Best fishing is in shallower water during evening hours. Baits of choice include sucker minnows, leeches, crawlers, Ned and drop shot rigs, plastics, tubes, crankbaits, and topwaters.


Crappie fishing is good, though inconsistent, with fish size now running a bit smaller. Fish are on mid-depth to deeper weeds, weed beds, weedlines, and other structure in 18-24 feet, and suspending at 8-9 feet over deep water. Fishing is best when light is low. Crappie minnows, fatheads, and plastics on jigs, slip bobbers, and plain hooks work well.


Bluegill fishing is good to excellent as fish are in various stages of spawning, from starting to finished. Find fish shallow, in 4-5 feet, on weeds and along sandy shorelines, and look for “elephant tracks” on the bottom. Waxies, red worms, crawler chunks, assorted plastics, and Gulp! Minnows are all productive offerings.

Upcoming Events

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

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

July 6: Boulder Lodge 7th Annual Cardboard Boat Races, noon-6 p.m. (715-462-3002).

July 13: Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo, Washburn County Fairground, noon-10 p.m. (800-367-3306).

July 19-21: 51st Annual LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934).

July 19-21: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2251).

July 21: Full Buck Moon.

July 28-30: Delta Aquarids meteor shower, 15-25/hr., 1-3 a.m.

July 28: HBC Youth Bass Tourney on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m., The Landing Resort (405-227-1789).

July 31-Aug. 3: Lumberjack World Championships, tickets (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.