Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-27-23

Steve Suman

The forecast for this week shows 80-degree highs and rain ‘chances’ (some greater than others) for many of the days. Less than a week since summer began (June 21, the longest day of the year) and there is still plenty of time for recreation. However, the days now get shorter by a small amount each day, but it adds up eventually! There is no better reason to justify getting outdoors and taking advantage of these longer days while they are long! Enjoy summer recreation!

“The Quiet Lakes need water for cooling and raising water levels,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “A rough guess is most lakes are down about 18-20 inches, and anglers say this is scattering fish like crazy. Some people are adding dock extensions to keep boats in the water.

“Muskies are hitting bucktails and topwaters in and around shallow weeds and weedy shorelines. Muskies are fragile in high water temperatures and most die-hard musky anglers will not fish in these conditions. For quick, smooth measures and releases, have all tools, net, and camera ready, keep fish in the water as long as possible, and minimize handling.

“Walleye action slowed significantly and anglers struggle to find fish. In deeper lakes, fish are on deep breaks and points, taking leeches on jigs. On shallow lakes, fish are in deep weed cover and not active, so work weed pockets and deep edges. You can keep live bait in the zone longer to entice bites.

“Northern pike scattered and fishing slowed. Fish are actually hitting crawlers and other panfish set-ups rather than bucktails and spinners! Work weed beds, and try twitching smaller crankbaits over and through weeds.

“Largemouth bass are going strong, hitting everything from spinnerbaits and bucktails to topwaters and live bait. Fish weed beds, shoreline weeds, and sandy bottoms around docks and piers.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is good. A young angler fishing off his dock caught a beautiful fish on a Ned rig in about 4 feet, and there are reports of nice fish in 20 feet on some lakes. Ned rigs, crankbaits, and live bait on jigs work well.

“Crappie success is sporadic, but anglers are catching fish. Try a hook, minnow, and bobber in 6-8 feet. You will have to sort to get some nice ones.

“Bluegill and perch fishing is on fire with crawlers in shallow bays, on weedy humps, and off piers and docks.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky action is solid, with anglers seeing most fish on small baits.

“Work weed flats, rock points, and drop offs with Musky Killers, Cat Tails, Buchers, or any favorite smaller musky bait. Pay attention to weather patterns and moon phases, as they open bite windows that untrained anglers might miss!

“Walleyes are transitioning to deeper summer patterns. To find fish, many anglers troll large flats with crawler harnesses and crankbaits on planer boards, then slow down and fish with slip bobbers. Some fish remain on weedlines.

“Northern pike moved deeper and trolling spoons or crankbaits should prove highly effective. For smaller pike, work live bait and spinnerbaits over weeds in 5-10 feet.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass are moving to deep weeds, flats, and structure such as cribs and rock piles. Jigs, Ned rigs, and drop-shot rigs start to shine at this time of year. However, some fish are still shallow and will be for the summer. Weedless frogs or heavy baits to ‘punch’ through the weed canopy are essential for fishing weedy shorelines.

“Crappies are primarily deep on weeds and structure. Pitching small plastics, spinners, or live baits over deeper weed flats will help you locate fish quickly. Once located, slow down, and use live bait under slip bobbers. Catching should not be difficult this time of year ‑ it is finding them!

“Bluegills have moved to mid-depth structure such as cribs, weeds, and bogs. Waxies, leaf worms, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows on small jigs work well. For bigger bluegills, try regular leeches to deter smaller bluegills and select the bigger ones in the school.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 1-1.5 feet, with the water temperature in the low- to mid-70s and rising.

“Musky fishing was great, but slowed recently with the increased surface temperature. The fish are likely heading into deeper basins and sunken brush. When they are deep during the day, trolling Mattlocks and bigger crankbaits can be a big advantage. At night, if the water temperatures cool, cast to weed edges and drop-offs.

“Walleye fishing slowed a bit with the very hot weather last week. Water temperatures are on the rise, so expect to fish deeper. Now that summer is in full swing, evening fishing should be best around weed edges in 6-12 feet. During the day, look at deeper brush in 20-25 feet. Leeches are the live bait of choice. Trolling anglers will find Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, Tail Dancers, and Shimano World Divers all solid choices. In the evening, Beetle Spins, Husky Jerks, and Shimano World Minnows are effective while dragging live bait.

“Northern pike remain active in the weeds, primarily hitting Tinsel Tail spinners and weedless spoons with trailers.

“Largemouth bass are in shallow to mid-depth weeds that include many lily pads.

“Smallmouth bass are very active on Ned Rigs, the premier bass bait this year ‑ bass cannot leave them alone!

“Crappie fishing is hit or miss. While the fish should be around the bogs at night, the bite is not that great. Anglers report much better action in deep weeds when using minnows, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! Minnows.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter offers anglers some summer trout fishing recommendations.

“Trout fishing is a unique fishing experience that can offer serenity, strategic challenges, an opportunity to bring home some great tasting fish, and sometimes all three. In the Hayward area, trout fishing usually does not involve hopping into a boat and motoring out onto a lake, which means anglers targeting trout will have to venture into wilder areas.

“Here are a few recommendations for summer trout fishing that will help you find some fish while avoiding brush and bugs, at least to whatever extent possible!

“Stress Springs lie to the south of Hayward and offer the easiest access in the area for spring pond fishing. The springs hold native brook trout managed with a catch-and-release only regulation and fishing limited to artificials only.

“The Namekagon River is the centerpiece of our local trout fishing scene. The brown trout population has done very well in recent years, and there are numerous easy access points up and down the river. The Namekagon gets warm in the summer, sometimes pushing the limit of what trout can tolerate. Anglers should be cognizant of the water temperature and target trout during cooler stretches of weather and/or times of the day.

“Maple Creek and Swan Creek near Exeland offer multiple access points to high abundance brook trout streams that still manage to produce quality-size fish. These streams have somewhat liberal regulations allowing some trout harvest.

“Other streams worth exploring include Venison Creek, Benson Creek, Hatchery Creek, and Mosquito Brook ‑ where there will be bugs. It did not get that name by accident.

“Anglers fishing for trout need a fishing license and a trout stamp, even if they do not plan to harvest trout.”

Boaters will see more DNR conservation wardens and area law enforcement on the water July 1-3 during the annual national Operation Dry Water campaign. Alcohol is a leading factor in recreational boating fatalities. In Wisconsin, it is illegal for a person with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher to operate a vessel. Have a designated operator if alcohol is part of your boating day. For more information, visit www.nasbla.org/operationdrywater.

Fishing Report

Weather is changing and fish continue their transitions, so check with your favorite bait shop for the most current information on fishing patterns, favored baits, and low water conditions affecting boating and launches.


Musky action is good and anglers should be aware of how to handle these fish in hot weather or perhaps wait for cooler temperatures to target musky. Find them around shallow to deep weeds, flats, points, breaklines, brush, and drop-offs. During the day, trolled Mattlocks and large crankbaits are productive in deep water. In the evening, smaller bucktails and topwaters work well on weed edges and drop-offs.


Walleye fishing is fair to good, though warm temperatures slowed action recently. Look for fish on deep breaklines, brush, points, flats, weeds, weed edges, and other cover in 18-25 feet during the day. For the evening bite, concentrate on shallower weeds and weed edges in 4-12 feet with crankbaits, Beetle Spins, and live bait. Leeches on slip bobbers work best, but fish are also hitting minnows and crawlers, as well as trolled crawler harnesses, crankbaits, and minnow baits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is fair to good, with many fish dispersing and moving to mid-depth and deeper locations around weeds, weed beds, and panfish and baitfish concentrations. Live bait, bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and stickbaits are all very effective. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is very good for fish on shallow to mid-depth weeds and weed beds, docks, sand bottoms, cribs, rock, slop, and lily pads. Baits of choice include live bait, Ned and drop-shot rigs, swim jigs, spinners, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and topwaters such as frogs, poppers, and prop baits.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing can be very good, but is inconsistent, with fish spread from shallow to deep. Look for structure such as weeds, wood, rock, cribs, as well as on flats. Live bait, Ned rigs, crankbaits, frogs and other topwaters are all producing catches of nice fish.


Crappie fishing is good to very good ‑ once you locate the schools. Find fish in/on/around shallow to deep weeds, weed flats, bogs, and brush. Top producing baits include crappie minnows, fatheads, Mini-Mites, plastics, and Gulp! Minnows on small jigs fished under slip bobbers, and small spinners and Beetle Spins.


Bluegill fishing is very good to excellent around shallow to mid-depth weeds, bogs, bays, humps, cribs, docks, and other structure. Best baits include waxies, leaf worms, leeches, crawler chunks, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks fished with or without bobbers.

Upcoming Events

June 17: Smallmouth bass harvest season opened in Northern Bass Zone.

June 21: Summer Solstice – first day of summer!

July 1: Boulder Lodge Resort cardboard boat race, 12:30-4 p.m. (715-462-3002).

July 2: Full Buck Moon.

July 4: Independence Day.

July 6-8: Spooner Heart of the North Rodeo (715-635-9696).

July 13-16: LCO Honor the Earth Powwow (715-634-8934).

July 20-22: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

July 22-23: Birchwood Lions Bluegill Festival, 7 a.m.-10 p.m. (800-236-2251).

Aug. 1: Full Sturgeon Moon.

Aug. 4-5: Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner (715-635-2168).

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.