Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 6-4-24

Steve Suman

This week starts warm, with Monday’s high of 78 degrees and 82 degrees Tuesday, but then mild for the remainder of the week. The forecast indicates rain and thunderstorms interspersed throughout this week, but with (surprise!) mostly sunshine and blue skies for the weekend!

“On the Quiet Lakes, it was a soggy start to Free Fishing Weekend,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “but the skies cleared for Sunday. Water temperatures still hover around the mid-60s on most lakes, but fishing action will improve with the weather and increasing fish movement.

“Musky season’s opening week produced good reports from anglers, with most seeing fish on weed edges and shallow structure adjacent to basins. Small rubbers baits, jerkbaits, and live bait all produce action.

“Walleye fishing is inconsistent. Find fish on shallow and mid-lake structure and points near deep water, in the shallowest part of these areas. Anglers are doing well with artificial and live bait.

“Northern pike are in weed beds that hold abundant panfish, with anglers catching pike on everything, including all sizes of crankbaits, inline spinners, spinnerbaits, and live bait.

“Largemouth bass are in weed beds, with 6-10 feet the key, and anglers are catching many fish on fatheads under bobbers.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is good in shallow areas at dusk. Anglers find good action with leeches under slip bobbers and jigging Ned rigs.

“Crappie fishing slowed, but fish should become aggressive as the water warms. Anglers report fish that have not yet spawned coming into 4-6 feet and schooling. Crappie minnows under bobbers, Crappie Scrubs, Crappie Sliders, and plastics are all currently catching fish.

“Bluegill and perch are shallow, off docks and tight to shorelines. Leaf worms, crawlers, and leeches all catch fish.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky anglers report relatively slow action.

“In early season, most throw medium size plastics such as Bull Dawgs and Medussas, small bucktails, and live bait. Start on weedlines in 5-15 feet. Warming water increases a fish’s metabolism, so minimize its time out of water.

“Walleye anglers are catching many fish in 8-15 feet. During daylight hours, use fatheads and extra-large leeches on slip bobbers. In the evening, use jerkbaits and crankbaits.

“Northern pike action is very good, with anglers finding fish shallow near crappie and bluegill schools. Walleye suckers, fatheads, jerkbaits, spinners, and swimbaits all put fish in the livewell.

“Largemouth bass in 6-12 feet offer great bites on jerkbaits.

“Smallmouth bass are moving onto beds, so check gravel and rock flats. The best bed-fishing options are Ned and drop shot rigs. High visibility white or chartreuse baits make it easier for anglers to see fish interact with them. Try Rapala BX Minnows and Rapala Husky Jerks.

“Crappies will remain as shallow as one foot until moving to main lake weeds. Look for pencil reeds or standing shoreline vegetation extending into the water. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and plastics are all working well.

“Bluegills continue to make their way into the shallows, where they will remain for a couple weeks. They are visible near shorelines in clear water or when ‘dimpling’ the surface while feeding on bugs. Waxies, leaf worms, and plastics are working great.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is nearly full and the water temperature in the mid-60s.

“Muskies are around shallow weeds chasing baitfish and panfish. Use smaller surface baits, spinners, and spoons that come through the weeds easily. Smaller crankbaits and bucktails work well for anglers fishing edges.

“Walleyes are on weed edges with snags in 8-12 feet. Jumbo leeches and medium walleye suckers are the ticket. Tom Boley recommends Kalin’s Google Eye search baits and the Jerk Minnow Jr. w/Google Eye jig, Acme Rattlin’ Walleye spinner rigs, Uncle Josh Pork Crawlers, and Reef Runner 200, 400, and 900JR crankbaits.

“Northern pike are near baitfish and panfish in shallow weeds. Tinsel Tail spinners, weedless spoons, and Shimano Flash Boost crankbaits put fish in the boat. While casting, hang a sucker or chub on a live bait rod off the boat.

“Largemouth bass in lily pads and weeds find frogs and poppers effective. Smallmouth bass are quiet, but improving. Coppertreuse Ned rigs are outperforming other baits.

“Crappie anglers key on deep cribs, brush piles, and deep weed humps during daylight. In twilight hours, work various depths under floating bogs to find the depth of crappie schools. Crappie minnows, Bobby Garland Mayflies, Voodoo marabou jigs, Mini-Mites, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows are all effective.

“Bluegills are shallow and should finish soon. Anglers report some fish still carry eggs. Fish shallow weeds and beds with waxies and leaf worms on Voodoo Jigs.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses marking new spots on the species map.

“Wisconsin is home to more than 160 different fish species. Of those, anglers routinely target only one or two dozen of them, leaving a whole lot of rare species which anglers do not often see.

The DNR biologists document where these rare species occur throughout Wisconsin and have ‘distribution maps’ that show the waterbodies where we have observed each species. Wisconsin fish surveys have gone on for more than 100 years, and as a result, we have a good idea where different species occur and the maps do not change much.

“There are, however, still rare instances when we get to add a new dot on a species distribution map. This happened last year on Lower Clam Lake, when the Hayward Fish Team captured a pair of northern longear sunfish, a species never previously observed in the lake. We surmise that longear sunfish are native to the lake, but in such low abundance that they never showed up in any previous surveys.

“A similar thing happened this spring when we found our first few warmouth in Barber Lake near Winter.

“Finding a new species in a lake certainly is not something that happens every day. When it does happen, the specific circumstances probably look similar to the cases above, where a species is small, in very low abundance, and not targeted by anglers.”

Spring season turkey hunters enjoyed success statewide until the May 28 end of the season, with the preliminary total season harvest at 49,759 birds. The 2024 Fall Turkey Season runs Sept. 14-Nov. 22 statewide, and zones 1-5 open Nov. 23-Jan. 5, 2025.

A free Moms and kids fishing night at Shues Pond is Wednesday, June 12, starting at 6 p.m. Participants will learn fishing skills from local women anglers, and enjoy a dinner and evening of fishing with other families. Organizers will provide the training, dinner, and equipment at no charge, including lure making and fishing supplies to take home.

For information, call (715) 634-7429.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. invites the public to attend its Tuesday, June 4 meeting, at Flat Creek Lodge. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Featured speaker Christian Dueholm will discuss spot-on musky fishing and building musky lures. Attendees interested in becoming a new member of Muskies, Inc. can purchase a half-price membership.

For information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.


The Sawyer County Board of Supervisors voted May 16 to allow ATV/UTV traffic on all Sawyer County Roads, except those within the LCO Reservation. Howeverthese roads are NOT YET OPEN. The County must first post signage on the roads, which could take up to six weeks. Check the HLVCB ATV/UTV trail conditions report and Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance report for trail updates.

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 will be available in Winter June 28-29. The course fee is $10. For more information, visit gowild.wi.gov, safety education, register, ATV, Sawyer County. Conservation wardens recommend all ATV/UTV operators complete a safety course.

Fishing Report

Warming water and panfish spawning is improving the bite for both panfish and predator fish. Some species are starting to transition, so check with the bait shops as you head for the water.

Smallmouth bass fishing is catch-and-release only until July 15 in the Northern Bass Zone.


Musky action ranges from fair to good. Concentrate on weeds, weed edges, and weedlines in 4-18 feet, shallow structure near deep lake basins, and shallow areas holding concentrations of baitfish and panfish. Top baits include suckers, small rubber baits, Bull Dawgs, Medussas, bucktails, crankbaits, jerkbaits, spoons, and topwaters.


Walleye fishing is generally good overall, but as always, some days are better than other days. Anglers are catching fish in 6-15 feet on points and mid-lake structure adjacent to deep water. Walleye suckers, fatheads, and leeches, on slip bobbers work well during the day. In the evening, try crankbaits, jerkbaits, and minnowbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent on shallow weeds, weedlines, and weed edges around concentrations of panfish and baitfish. There is apparently no “wrong” bait at this time ‑ northern and walleye suckers, fatheads, crankbaits spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and swimbaits can all get the attention of pike.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is very good on weeds, weed beds, weedlines, and lily pads in 4-12 feet. Sucker minnows and fatheads under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, Ned rigs, plastics, and topwaters such as frogs and poppers can all be very effective.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is fair to good and improving as fish start moving towards the spawning beds. Look for fish on rock flats and gravel during the day and shallower in the evening. Sucker minnows and leeches under slip bobbers, coppertreuse, white, and chartreuse Ned and drop shot rigs, and Rapala BX Minnows and Husky Jerks are all productive.


Crappie fishing is good, though slower, and reports some fish have not spawned. Find them from very shallow near the shoreline to 8 feet around weeds and weedlines, and around deeper cribs, brush, and humps. Try bogs in the evening. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, Mini-Mites, one-inch Gulp! Minnows, and plastics all work well.


Bluegill fishing is very good to excellent, with fish shallow on shorelines, weeds, and spawning beds. Reports have them somewhere between spawning and winding down with it, depending on the waterbody. Waxies, leaf worms, crawler chunks, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits will all catch bluegills.

Upcoming Events

June 4: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. general meeting 7 p.m., Flat Creek Lodge (715-634-4543).

June 12: Moms and kids fishing night at Shues Pond, 6 p.m., no charge (715-634-7429).

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

June 20: Summer Solstice – first day of summer and longest day of the year.

June 21: Full Strawberry Moon.

June 21-23: 74th Annual Musky Fest (715-634-8662).

June 21-22: Hayward Bass Club/Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc.Musky Fest fishing contest (405-227-1789).

June 23: Hayward Bass Club – Round Lake Open, 8 a.m.-4 .pm., (405-227-1789).

June 28-29: ATV/UTV safety education class in Winter.

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.