Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 7-11-23

Steve Suman

The forecast for this week includes moderate summer temperatures and some sunshine, but with chances for rain showers and thunderstorms throughout the week. Go prepared for both, but get out and enjoy the North Woods!

“Temperatures look to stay in the 70s for a while,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “Cool nights are keeping the Quiet Lakes’ water temperatures in the low to mid 70s, and the cool down turned on fishing a bit.

“Musky action is good. Anglers report many follows and catches on smaller bucktails, spinnerbaits, and bass lures, and a few catches on Medussas, Bull Dawgs, and tubes. Concentrate on points, neck-downs, weeds, rocks, and timber holding baitfish.

“Walleyes moved deeper and the bite is good on deep weed edges dropping into basins. Leeches on slip bobbers work best, and delay setting the hook for a bit.

“Northern pike fishing is great on spinnerbaits to bucktails to topwaters to jigs and minnows to crawlers under bobbers. Work in and around shallow weeds in bays, casting baits in the weeds and on the edges.

“Largemouth bass anglers are catching many fish on plastic worms and topwaters such as frogs and prop style baits worked over lily pads and reed beds. Spinnerbaits and spinners thrown into weedy cover work well.

“Smallmouth bass anglers are catching high numbers of bass, and some good size ones, on leeches, Ned and drop-shot rigs, and deep diving crankbaits. Fish deep weed edges, rocks, main lake points, and in the same areas as for walleye.

“Crappie anglers are finding fish in weed beds in 6-10 feet. Crappie minnows on jigs or bare hooks under bobbers work well. To get some nicer fish requires sorting through many small fish while fishing.

“Bluegill and perch anglers, kids and adults alike, are catching many fish from docks and piers. If you fish from a boat, start with shallow cover and inside weed edges. Plain hooks with crawler chunks under bobbers work fine.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says small baits continue to bring big muskies to the boat.

“Many muskies are in 10-20 feet along points, weedlines, and any structure. Bucktails, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and live bait all produce action.

“Walleyes in many lakes transitioned to open water and many anglers troll long lines and planer boards with crankbaits or haul crawler harnesses. This is a great way to explore different areas and locate fish. Once located, finesse them with leeches on slip bobbers. Stock up on leeches, as they are hard to come by in the dog days of summer!

“Northern pike anglers report success in the same areas as walleyes and muskies. There are no wrong bait choices, as pike chase anything from spinnerbaits to crankbaits to crawlers.

“Largemouth bass are scattered, with some in thick, shallow cover, some around piers with deeper water access, and some roam deep weedlines feeding on young panfish. Drop-shot and Ned rigs, Senkos on wacky or Texas rigs, and frog baits all work very well.

“Smallmouth bass are on deep rock or deep flats and weeds. Ned rigs and drop-shot techniques are the key, allowing finesse fishing in deep water.

“Crappies are on deeper structure such as weeds, cribs, and timber. During daylight hours, fish tight to structure to tempt fish away from it. During morning and evening, when fish rise to feed, it is easier to work baits around cover without snagging.

“Bluegills are in deeper vegetation, but try trolling with your electronics while looking for small pods of fish on the bottom. Small schools of bull bluegills often separate to feed on small insects emerging from the deep basin mud. Small blips on your graph can lead to fun ultra-light fishing in deep water!”

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

“Musky action is solid, though they are not jumping into the boat, with good action ranging from daytime trolling to casting blades and topwaters at night and early morning. Surface temperature is the key. Pay attention to the temperature on your graph for whether the fish are shallower or deeper.

“Walleyes are in a typical summer pattern, with fish deeper during the day when surface temperatures are warmer. When surface temperatures are cooler during early morning and evening hours, they are in 6-12 feet off weed edges and breaklines. Leeches are the preferred bait. During the day, trolling deep running crankbaits can cover a lot of water. Fish move around a lot during the summer and will be in a different spot tomorrow from where you catch them today.

“Northern pike remain active in the weeds, and Tinsel Tail spinners and Z-man Jackhammers with Keitech paddletail trailers are the hot baits for pike.

“Smallmouth bass are still active on Ned rigs, but started hitting weedless Daredevles, according to recent reports. Stumpy, rocky areas are the go to spots.

“Crappies are mostly on the bogs at night. Minnows, Mini-Mites, Gulp! Minnows, and Garland Mayflies are all producing fish. When you are bog fishing, work multiple depths under the bog until you find the depth of the school.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses different types of stream surveys.

“Streams and rivers are some of the most dynamic fisheries in our area. We survey streams and rivers of all sizes to determine the health of those fisheries and make recommendations on fishing regulations and habitat improvements.

“We do most of our stream and river work in mid-summer. These surveys can be hot and sweaty work, often plagued by mosquitos and horseflies. The size of the water usually determines the method used for each survey. For very small streams, we use a backpack electrofishing unit. This unit works well in small water or places with a lot of rocks and boulders since it is on a surveyor’s back.

“In most trout streams, we use a barge electrofishing unit consisting of a generator and other equipment in a small barge similar to an Otter sled. We pull the barge in the stream, with cords connected to handheld wands that deliver the electricity into the water.

“These surveys come with special safety concerns, since the people conducting the survey are in the electrified water. Waders provide surveyors a critical layer insulating them from the electricity, but slipping and falling or going into deep holes can lead to safety issues. Scouting areas is important for these surveys to be safe and effective.

“On large rivers, we use a boat-mounted electrofishing unit, which can be effective for smallmouth, sturgeon, suckers, and other species. The boats used for river electrofishing in northern Wisconsin are generally smaller and more maneuverable than those used for lake electrofishing.

“Another survey type, angling, is popular for several reasons. There are a number of instances where angling is the most efficient option for capturing the fish we need to survey. Angling surveys are common for sturgeon, and we have used them for smallmouth in rivers and trout in spring ponds in recent years.

“An angling survey is often different from just a normal day of fishing. We must collect specific data on how long fishing occurred and with what methods. Some standardized angling surveys even require the use of certain baits.”

The DNR reminds people that it is important to be mindful with firewood. Wherever you enjoy a campfire, help prevent the spread of harmful invasive species by following rules for firewood use and transport.

Rather than taking along firewood on your camping trip, or bringing wood home from far away, get your firewood where you will use it. Make sure it from locally harvested trees or buy firewood processed to eliminate pests and diseases. Check property specific firewood rules and resources before visiting your favorite campsite.

Fishing Report

Fishing is good to very good for most species and improving for others. Some species are transitioning and adapting to summer temperatures. This means anglers must “transition” for the best success. Checking with your favorite bait shop for the latest on fish locations, favored baits and presentations, and bite windows can pay great dividends.


Musky fishing is consistent, with numerous follows and hook-ups in 8-22 feet around weeds, weedlines, wood, rock, points, other structure, and baitfish and panfish concentrations. Go deeper when the water warms. Smaller bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters work well, with some fish on Medussas and Bull Dawgs, as well as daytime trolling.


Walleye fishing is fair to good on deeper weeds and weed edges adjacent to basins, breaklines, and flats. Go deep during the day and inside 12 feet in early morning and evening into dark. Leeches and crawlers on slip bobbers and harnesses work well. Crankbaits and stickbaits on planer boards cover considerable water while searching for fish.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is excellent, with fish in and on weeds, weedlines, weed edges, weedy shallow bays, and near concentrations of baitfish and panfish. In addition to minnows, this is a good time to try anything in the tackle box, as nearly all will work, including bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons with trailers, stickbaits, crankbaits, and topwaters.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is very good to excellent in and around shallow weeds, weed edges, weedlines, reed beds, lily pads, piers, and slop. Minnows, crawlers, Ned, drop-shot, wacky, and Texas rigs, plastic worms, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters including frogs and prop baits are all producing bass action.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is very good to excellent, with anglers catching some big fish. Fish are on deep weed edges, rock, flats, stumps, and points that lead into basins. Leeches, sucker minnows, Ned and drop-shot rigs, deep crankbaits, finesse baits, tubes, and weedless Daredevles are all attracting the interest of smallmouth.


Crappie fishing is good to very good near weeds, wood, cribs, and other structure in 6 feet and deeper. Fish deeper during the day; focus on depths to 12 feet early and late. In the evening, hit the bogs at varied bait depths. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Garland Mayflies, and Gulp! Minnows on small jigs and bare hooks under bobbers.


Bluegill fishing is very good around shallow to deep weeds, weed edges, and other cover, near bottom in deep basins, and around docks and piers. Waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leeches, and Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks fished under bobbers are all effective.

Upcoming Events

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. 1: Application deadline for bobcat and fisher permits.

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

Aug. 17-22: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).

Aug. 19: Seeley Lions PreFat bike race.

Aug. 30: Full Blue Moon.

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.