Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-27-22

Steve Suman

This week’s forecast calls for chances of rain showers and thunderstorms and most daily highs not breaking 80 degrees. Monday night’s low of 37 degrees provided an excellent night for sleeping! If you are looking for things to do, check the calendar below for some of the many area activities and events during July and August.

“Overall, the bite on the Quiet Lakes is a bit tough,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s, and the weeds green and plentiful.

“Musky fishing is slow, with most anglers catching fish on smaller inline spinners such as Mepps, bucktails, and Showgirls. These baits move fast and cover water, both good for locating fish this time of year. If you get follows but fish do not commit, return later and pick apart the area.

“Northern pike anglers are mostly catching smaller fish on walleye and bass rigs in and around weed beds, and on small Rapalas, spinnerbaits, and live bait.

“Walleye action slowed, with fish scattered and never in the same place twice. They are pushing to deeper basins or piling into thick weeds to hide from predators. Live bait is best, with jumbo leeches under slip bobbers getting the nod. Fatheads can be productive, but they do not last long in warm water.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good and anglers still catch many fish on crawlers under bobbers, but a topwater bite should start soon. Weedless frogs worked through lily pads are great for catching big largemouth ‑ and one of the most exciting ways to catch any species!

“Smallmouth bass action slowed as fish push to deep rocks, wood, and structure off main lake points and humps. Drop-shot rigs and jigging live bait are good choices.

“Crappies have scattered and are schooling in deep basins. Some anglers are catching small fish in weeds with crappie minnows on plain hooks fished under bobbers. When you find the fish, work through the small fish to catch nicer ones.

“Bluegills are on shorelines with sandy bottoms, downed trees, and tight to weeds. Crawler chunks, leaf worms, and waxies on small jigs under bobbers work well.

“Perch fishing is good. Many crappie anglers fishing minnows under bobbers on weed beds in 7-10 feet are catching piles of fish.”

Levi at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is ‘okay,’ but with few reports.

“Some anglers are catching smaller muskies, but there is little to no talk of bigger ones. Fish are off deeper weed edges and in the lily pads, and most anglers are using smaller bucktails due to the tough bite.

“Walleye fishing is extremely good, with many anglers focusing on them. Most report success slip-bobber fishing, casting, and trolling, with the best technique leeches on slip bobber rigs. Look for fish on the edges of deep weeds and breaks in 10-15 feet. Early morning and evening offer the best success.

“Northern pike fishing is decent, with many anglers after them. The pike pushed to heavy weeds in 6-8 feet, and along deeper weed edges 10-12 feet. Best baits are weedless plastics and spoons, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and northern suckers.

“Largemouth bass action is decent, though somewhat less than in the past couple weeks, but many anglers still report success. Look for the fish in lily pads in 3-5 feet, or just off weed edges in 10-12 feet. Best baits are weedless plastics and topwater frogs.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is tough. Many anglers are targeting them, but not many are catching them. The fish pushed to rock piles and steep breaks in 12-15 feet. Best techniques are drop-shot rigs and suspending jerkbaits.

“Crappie action is very good, with many anglers reporting great success on deep structure and weed edges in 12-15 feet. Best baits are crappie minnows, fatheads, and plastics, with best times early morning and late evening.

“Bluegill action is very good and many anglers are targeting them. Some fish are on shallow beds; post-spawn fish are in 8-10 feet. Small leeches, crawlers, and plastics on slip bobbers work well.”

Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says largemouth bass fishing is excellent on Nelson Lake.

“The bass are on a virtual feeding frenzy and attack anything that moves! Crawlers and minnows on jigs are good bets, as are spinners and surface frogs.

“Panfish are being very cooperative, with most moving out of the shallows to structure and stumps in 5 feet and deeper. Minnows, leeches, and worms on jigs or under bobbers are working well.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with the water temperature 73 degrees and rising.

“Muskies are active, with anglers catching a few larger fish on suckers in the past week, including a 52-incher. The fish will follow patterns similar to walleye over the next week or so. As temperatures increase, muskies will head to deeper water with good bottom cover and trollers will likely see increasing success.

“Walleyes are somewhat active in mid-depth weeds and wood, but will go deeper with the heat. Watch the surface temperatures ‑ the target depth will increase as temperatures rise. Leeches surpass minnows for live bait, but as fish dive deeper, Flicker Shads, Flicker Minnows, and other deep running crankbaits will prove effective for trolling deep, open water. When trolling, drag baits through the clouds of baitfish showing on your graph.

“Northern pike are active on weed edges along deep drop-offs, with Tinsel Tail spinners and weedless spoons proving most effective.

“Crappie bite windows are ‘on and off’ and unpredictable. Conventional wisdom suggests fishing the bogs at night. During the day, fish deep wood and deep shoreline deadfalls with minnows and Gulp! Minnows.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Evan Sniadajewski leaving the Hayward Fish Team.

“Evan Sniadajewski has been the second fisheries technician on the DNR’s Hayward Fish Team over the past 5 years. Evan came to us after working several years with the Park Falls Fish Team.

“We are excited for the next chapter of Evan’s career, but sad that it will involve him leaving the Hayward area.

“In July, Evan will be starting as a full-time fisheries technician for DNR working out of the Lacrosse office. This is a well-deserved promotion for Evan, who has been building his skillset over his many years with the DNR. He will be a great asset to the team down there and we are very eager to see what kinds of odd fish he turns up in ‘The Big Muddy.’

“Working with Evan was a real pleasure, and anyone from the public who interacted with our team probably struck up a conversation with Evan. He is always enthusiastic about working with, and talking about, fish. Evan brought many skills to our team that will be difficult to replace.

“Evan was excellent at managing all the field data we collected for various surveys. He is also renowned for his skill and tenacity at ‘dipping’ fish from the front of the electrofishing boat. There were countless nights when Evan picked up my slack when I was not getting enough fish!

“Evan is also a fantastic fish photographer. Evan took or set up many of the fine shots of our work in the area that you have seen in publications or presentations, and we look forward to seeing all the great pictures he takes on his next big adventure. “Many thanks, Evan, for all of your service to the Hayward area fisheries!”

Fishing Report

Fishing is good to very good for some species and “challenging” for others, and they continue their spring transition to summer locations and any changes in their bait preferences. Your favorite bait shop personnel can tell you about these changes as they occur. A quick stop at the shop can save considerable time once you get on the water!


Musky action remains somewhat slow, though anglers are connecting on smaller fish. Check shallow weeds and lily pads, but if no activity, move to deep weed edges and deep areas with heavy cover. Most anglers are using smaller bucktails, spinners, gliders, and jerkbaits, and live suckers. Trolling is also an option.


Walleye fishing is fair to very good, depending on the lake, with the best bite in early morning and evening into dark. Fish are slowly scattering and dispersing to deeper summer haunts such as weed edges, breaklines, basins, and wood out to 20 feet. Jumbo leeches, crawlers, and fatheads on jigs, harnesses, and under slip bobbers, and cast/trolled Flicker Shads, Flicker Minnows, crankbaits, and Rapalas are all producing catches.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good in, along, and around weeds, weed beds, weed edges, and drop-offs in 4-12 feet. Sucker minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, weedless spoons and plastics, bucktails, crankbaits, minnowbaits, and topwaters can all get the attention of pike.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is very good to excellent in and around shallow lily pads and near weed edges in 8-14 feet. Top baits include weedless plastics and frogs, spinners, crawlers and minnows on jigs and under bobbers, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is fair and the bite slow. Look for fish on rocks, wood, points, humps, and breaklines in 10-18 feet. Drop-shot rigs, sucker minnows, leeches, and crawlers on jigs, suspending jerkbaits, and soft plastics in crayfish colors are all effective.


Crappie fishing is very good, with best success in early morning and late evening hours. Look for fish on weeds, weed edges, wood, stumps, and other structure out to 18 feet, and in deep basins. Best baits include crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, Gulp! Minnows, leeches, and worms on jigs and plain hooks fished under slip bobbers.


Bluegill fishing is very good, with fish from very shallow out to 12 feet or so, on weeds, wood, weedlines, stumps, and sand bottoms. Waxies, worms, leaf worms, leeches, crawler chunks, plastics, and minnows on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks fished with/without bobbers work well.


Perch are very active ‑ even if you do not target them! Look for fish around weeds, docks, and other structure out to 10 feet. Jigs and plain hooks with crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and plastics are all great temptations.

Upcoming Events

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

June 21: Summer Solstice ‑ longest sunlight day of the year (notice the days now getting shorter?)

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 15-17: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (715-354-3300).

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

July 31: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc.Kid’s Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage (715-634-4543).

Aug. 5-6: Jack Pine Savage Days (715-635-2168).

Aug. 10: Application deadline for fisher, bobcat tags.

Aug. 11-14: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).

Aug. 14: Hayward Bass Club ‑ free Youth Bass Tournament on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m. (405-227-1789).

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.