Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 7-11-22

Steve Suman

The Hayward area received a good rainfall Monday evening, and more rain is possible through Tuesday night. The forecast calls for mild temperatures and sunshine for much of the week, with some chances of rain through the weekend. A weeklong forecast is pushing it, however. Get out and enjoy the North Wood’s summer!

Quiet Lakes’ fishing action is good overall,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “and with musky action heating up, our first musky board of the year is almost full!

“Musky anglers working smaller bucktails, crankbaits, and topwaters are catching fish around weeds. Casting on lily pad edges and weedy bars is great this time of year.

“Walleye anglers are catching a few good fish by jigging deep rock and wood, or by fishing leeches and crawler on rigs or under bobbers. Check maps for what ‘deep’ or ‘shallow’ means relative to the lake and focus on those spots.

“Northern pike action is good on everything from spinnerbaits to Beetle Spins to live bait fished on weeds and structure holding baitfish.

“Largemouth bass action is very good, especially off docks, with crawlers, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and topwaters. Weedless baits cast into heavy lily pads can produce big bass.

“Smallmouth bass action is solid with leeches, Ned rigs, and weighted plastics on deep structure.

“Crappie fishing is good, with anglers catching many fish on deep weed edges in bays and basins. Live bait, small jigs, and plastics cast or fished under bobbers work well.

“Bluegill action is good with waxies, leaf worms, and crawlers fished off docks and in shallow weed beds.

“Perch action is strong around weeds and docks, with catches on crappie minnows and crawler chunks on small jigs.”

Levi at Hayward Bait says musky actions improved in the past week.

“Many anglers report follows and catches on figure 8s when fishing weedlines, rocks, deep stumps, and humps. Best baits include bucktails, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, and musky suckers.

“Walleye fishing is good near weed/sand breaks and structure in 15-20 feet, with some suspending fish chasing bait in deeper water. Jumbo leeches, fatheads, and walleye suckers work well, as do trolled crawler harnesses and crankbaits. Early mornings and late evenings are best.

“Northern pike are active in weeds and lily pads in 5-10 feet. Anglers are catching numerous small pike, but few big fish, on northern suckers, small bucktails, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwaters.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good on structure, stumps, breaks, and cribs in 8-10 feet, and in thick lily pads on hot days. Best baits include crankbaits, Senkos, drop-shot rigs, Neko rigs, and topwater frogs.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is decent off rocks and stumps in 15-20 feet. Best success is on drop-shot rigs with plastics and jumbo leeches, and on deep spinnerbaits and crankbaits.

“Crappie fishing is good off weeds, structure, and cribs in 10-15 feet. Crappie minnows, fatheads, white tube jigs, small Twister Tails, and Gulp! minnows are the favored baits.

“Bluegills are very active on weed edges, structure, and cribs in 8-10 feet. Waxies, leaf worms, crawlers, hair jigs, and plastics all entice bluegills.”

Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says daytime walleye anglers should cast ahead of their drift with leeches and minnows.

“During early and late hours, cast shorelines with stickbaits or fish live bait under bobbers.

“Northern pike are near weed beds and weedlines and hitting large spinners, buzzbaits, Mepps, and floating stickbaits.

“Largemouth bass are active in and around weedlines and weed beds. Rig weedless scented worms, wacky worms, Ned rigs, and swim jigs, tipping some jigs with a tail. Make some noise and splash with spinners, buzzbaits, and frogs.

“Bluegills are plentiful and hungry. Fish your favorite worm type, leeches, and Gulp! Alive baits under bobbers. Cast small spinners such as Beetle Spins and Mimic Minnows in 5 feet and deeper water.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 1.5-2 feet and with a mid-70s water temperature.

“The musky bite is okay, but with increased water temperatures anglers should consider trolling deep basins with bottom cover during the day. Mattlocks and other large crankbaits are good choices. At night, stay in 10-15 feet and cast shallower with blade and surface baits. Make sure to figure eight ‑ anglers are catching many fish by doing so!

“Walleyes are in typical summer patterns. During the day, troll crankbaits over deep brush. If trolling is not your thing, try crawlers or leeches on Lindy Rigs. In the evening, fish weed edges in 6-12 feet.

“Northern pike action is decent on Tinsel Tails and weedless spoons with Uncle Josh trailers fished in the weeds.

“Crappie fishing is best around bogs at night with crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits. Kavanagh Bay and the CC Bridge bog are good places to start.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Lake Lac Courte Oreilles musky and pike in 2022.

“Lake Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) is home to one of the most historic muskellunge populations in the world. It is not, however, the native home of northern pike, and introduced northern pike have been a management issue on LCO for several decades.

“In 2017, an effort between DNR and other local partners, including the LCO tribe, removed, about one-third of the total number of adult pike in the lake. In that same year, we stocked 3,474 large fingerling muskellunge, and since that time have continued to monitor the pike and muskellunge populations.

“During a spring 2022 netting survey, we captured 39 muskellunge and only 57 northern pike. I say ‘only’ because past netting surveys have found a much higher ratio of pike to muskies ‑ as high as 68 pike for every one muskellunge. The 2022 ratio of just 1.5 pike for every musky captured is much more in line with what we want in the pike population. Pike in LCO should be able to achieve better size if their density remains at a lower level.

“Our 2022 netting found an average pike size of 24.9 inches, which is much better than past surveys where the average was often less than 20 inches. Our catch rate of muskellunge was also higher than in the past, with a large portion of the catch made up of fish stocked in 2017 that are now 5 years old and around 32 inches in length. These are all favorable signs that we have been able to restore more balance to this fishery.

“The next steps are to recruit more year classes of muskellunge into the fishery, promote natural reproduction of muskellunge, and make efforts to keep pike at a lower abundance. The Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. has been a key supporting partner in all of these efforts.”

The Birchwood Bluegill Festival returns this weekend, Friday through Sunday, July 15-17. The event includes music, food, crafts, softball tournament, beanbag tournament, fun runs, fish fry, fire department open house, pancake breakfast, Sunday parade, and more. A medallion hunt begins July 13 and continues until a lucky person finds it. The reward is $75 if the finder is wearing a 2022 Bluegill Button and $25 without it. Gary’s Grocery posts clues daily.

For more information, visit www.birchwoodwi.com/bluegillfestival or call (715-354-3300).

Fishing Report

Anglers continue to have good success fishing for most species, but finding them is a bit more challenging now that many are dispersing throughout the waterbodies. Check with your favorite bait shop personnel for insights on baits, locations, and bite windows ‑ and remember that fish do not go by the calendar. Where you caught fish at this time last year might not be “the” place this year!


Musky action developed slowly this spring, but recently improved significantly. Though not hooking many big fish so far, quite a few anglers are connecting on figure eights at the boat, so make that action a habit. Look for fish around weeds, weedlines, lily pads, bars, stumps, humps, and rock, working shallows in the evening hours. Bucktails, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and musky suckers are working well, as are large crankbaits trolled over bottom cover.


Walleye fishing is fair to good, while somewhat inconsistent. Look for fish on weeds, wood, brush, breaklines, rock, and other structure in 12-25 feet and deeper during the day. In early morning and evening into dark, work shallower weed edges and shorelines in 4-14 feet. Current best bait choices include jumbo leeches, crawlers, walleye suckers, and fatheads on jigs, slip bobbers, harnesses, Lindy Rigs, spinner rigs, and trolled and cast crankbaits and stickbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is good, particularly for small pike. The fish are in/on weeds, weed beds, weedlines, weed edges, lily pads, and around baitfish and panfish concentrations in 4-12 feet. The most effective offerings include northern suckers, minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, crankbaits, bucktails, buzzbaits, Beetle Spins, and topwaters.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good in 6-12 feet on weeds, weed beds, weed edges, lily pads, stumps, steep breaklines, brush, docks, and cribs. There are many bait choices that include (but not limited to) weedless baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, buzzbaits, Senkos, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, Neko rigs, swim jigs, plastics such as worms, frogs, scented worms, and wacky worms, topwaters, and crawlers.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well fishing rock, stumps, and other structure in 10-22 feet. Top baits include leeches, sucker minnows, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, plastics, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits in crayfish colors.


Crappie fishing is good to very good, with best success in late afternoon into after dark. Look for fish in weeds and on weed edges, in bays and basins, on bogs and cribs, and on other structure in 6-18 feet. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, fatheads, Mini-Mites, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, fished with/without bobbers.


Bluegill fishing is very good around weeds, weed edges, cribs, and other structure in 4-12 feet and deeper. Waxies, leaf worms, crawlers, panfish leeches, hair jigs, plastics, Gulp! Alive baits, small spinners, Beetle Spins, and Mimic Minnows are all working.


Perch fishing is good to very good in and around shallow to mid-depth weeds and structure. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, crawler chunks, and plastics are all effective for perch.

Upcoming Events

July 13: Full Buck/Hay/Thunder moon ‑ ‘biggest and brightest’ of the year.

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 30: Northwoods Bass Anglers (NBA) Open Tournament on Chippewa Flowage (405-227-1789).

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 in Spooner (715-635-2168).

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

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

Aug. 13: Ojibwa Canoe and Kayak Race ‑ Ojibwa Community Park, 9:30 a.m. (877-220-1041).

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.