Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 7-2-24

Steve Suman

The current forecast says rain from Monday night through Tuesday night, sunshine and 82 degrees Wednesday, and rain possible Thursday (July 4) through the weekend. Keep a scorecard! Highs range from low 70s to low 80s.

Have a fun, safe, and sane July 4 holiday celebration!

“The Quiet Lakes are taking time to warm,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “The cool nights do not help, and it seems the fish are not sure where they should be right now. We need warm, stable weather to get fish moving.

“Musky fishing is decent, with bite windows important. Small bucktails are #1 on our board, but many reports of follows without hookups. Cast pull-and-pause baits such as Suicks or glide baits to followers. Topwaters made the board, indicating fish are moving shallower.

“Walleye fishing in daytime seems better than the evening/dusk bite. Fish where shallow weeds and rocky bottoms meet. Jigging leeches and minnows on structure produces the most action. As fish push deeper with warming water, the bottom bouncing and trolling bites should improve.

“Northern pike fishing is the most consistent, with everything from crawlers under floats to spinnerbaits to bucktails working. Anglers find fish in and around weedy bays and weed beds.

“Largemouth bass are not yet active on topwaters. Fish suspend in and around weed beds, and plastic worms, spinnerbaits, and chatterbaits are working.

“Smallmouth bass are active. Jig live bait and plastics on the bottom areas that transition from weed to rock.

“Crappies are elusive, with even seasoned anglers having some trouble finding a consistent pattern. Fish weed beds, cribs, and timber in 6-10 feet. Crappie minnows and Beetle Spins work well.

“Bluegill catches are on crawlers fished off docks, but with no consistency. Start shallow and work deeper.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says fishing remains the same with the stable/unstable weather.

“Musky fishing is good in 5-10 feet, but fish will move deeper with warming water. Most anglers report success on smaller bucktails, crankbaits, and topwaters.

“Walleyes are on deep weedlines and fishing is best with leeches and slip bobbers. Some trolling anglers are long-lining crankbaits and minnowbaits to catch a few fish, returning to try with slip bobbers.

“Northern pike are chasing panfish in 6 feet or less. Most large pike moved deeper. Live bait, spinnerbaits, spoons, and topwaters are effective.

“Largemouth bass remain shallow, with Ned and Texas rigs working very well, Spinnerbaits and topwaters are good to find fish not on beds. For fish in post-spawn areas, use wacky worms in 4-8 feet.

“Smallmouth bass are on main lake weedlines, rock piles, and cribs. Drop shot rigs, Ned rigs, and topwaters all shine.

“Crappies are deep in weeds during the day, but rise and are more accessible during low light hours. Jigs with two-inch plastics pulled over weed tops will draw crappies during the day. Once you find fish, circle back with slip bobbers and live bait to coax stubborn fish out of hiding.

“Bluegills are concentrated in bedding areas, and live bait and small plastics such as Gulp! Minnows and crickets are working great.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with water temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

“Musky action slowed, but try sitting in shallower water and casting baits deeper, just off the edges. There is some night action by the bogs as they chase crappies. In the evening, cast bogs and weed edges with tailbaits, toppers, and Ghosttails. When fish move deeper with warming water, trolling is effective. If you see mid-70s water during daytime, troll Mattlocks and similar baits.

“Walleye fishing is tougher, but they are hitting. As water temperatures increase, fish head deeper. During day, fish structure and cover in 15-22 feet. In the evening, fish jumbo or super jumbo leeches in 6-12 feet on weed edges bordering deep drop-offs and river channels. Trolling can cover a lot of ground over deep water. Look for bait balls and drag jointed Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, and World Cranks baits through them.

“Northern pike remain active in weeds, hitting Tinsel Tails, Silver Minnows, and Jackhammer Chatterbaits.

“Largemouth bass are around weeds and lily pads, with poppers and Big Foot Frogs producing catches.

“Smallmouth bass action is good on Ned Rig plastics fished around stumps and rocks, especially on the south end, though other baits work.

“Crappies are on structure in 18-22 feet during the day. At night, the action is on bogs. Crappie minnows work best, but artificials are producing. Garland imitation mayflies are particularly effective following the recent mayfly hatch.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses summer survey plans for the Hayward Fish Team.

“From ice out to early June, the Hayward DNR Fish Team focuses primarily on lakes. As the lakes warm and fish start moving deeper, we shift our focus to streams and rivers.

“Our stream and river surveys include a mix of sites we visit annually, called ‘trend’ surveys, and those on a rotation that we visit every few years, depending on size and importance. Our trend surveys include two sites on the Namekagon River: Cap Creek and Mosquito Brook.

“Annual trend surveys allow us to track year-to-year changes in these streams, primarily for trout. Other survey sites on our rotation this year include many stops in the greater Exeland area where we will survey Fortyone Creek, Beaver Creek, and Maple Creek. We try to survey multiple sites on longer streams with many access points, often finding big differences in the fish community from one site to the next.

“We also plan to return to the Little Weirgor River, where we are monitoring brook trout recolonizing areas that beaver had heavily impacted.

“Lastly, we will survey the Totagatic River upstream from Nelson Lake. This stream had been trout water in the past.

“Summer stream surveys require us to watch flow rates carefully to ensure crew safety and optimal survey conditions. These surveys are also a major test of our fish identification skills, as we encounter dozens of small minnow, dace, and darter species that we do not encounter on most lakes.”


Notice: County roads within the LCO reservation are NOT open with the other county roads ‑ and various LCO law enforcement entities are issuing tickets. On both Trail Treker and paper maps, the LCO reservation is pink. Some just-opened county highways lead into the LCO reservation and dead-end at the reservation boundary. When riding down County Hwy K south past Sevenwinds Casino, turn left onto Gitigaan Road to pick up Trail 30. The route on K ends a short way past Gitigaan. Make sure you follow a legal route or trail by using Trail Treker to navigate.

Please share this announcement and tell other riders.

Trails 174 and 176 in Spider Lake Township are no longer open to ATV/UTV use. The ATV/UTV trails in Sawyer County Forest (715-634-4846), Chequamegon National Forest (715-634-4821), and Flambeau State Forest (715-332-5271) are open.

Check the HLVCB ATV/UTV trail conditions report and Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance website for trail and road 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.

All ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who are at least 12 years old for ATV, and at least 16 years old for UTV, must complete an ATV/UTV safety certification course to operate legally on public ATV/UTV trails and areas in Wisconsin.

Fishing Report

Fishing remains good overall, but get ahead of the fronts and move deeper when/if the water warms. Talk with your favorite bait shop personnel for the most current information on fish locations, best baits, and presentations, as the weather patterns are affecting all three.


Musky action is fair to good, though anglers report more follows than hookups. Learn the bite windows and watch for warming water that sends fish deeper. Work weed beds and edges in 4-12 feet, and bogs at night. Bucktails, crankbaits, jerkbaits, gliders, and topwaters attract interest. Troll big crankbaits and stickbaits as the water warms.


Walleye fishing is fair to good, with best action usually in low light morning and evening hours. During daytime, target deep weedlines, rock, and other cover in 12-25 feet. In the evening, fish weedlines, drop-offs, shorelines, and river channels out to 12 feet. Use leeches, minnows, and crawlers under slip bobbers; crawlers on spinner rigs; or try trolling Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, and World Cranks.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action remains very good for smaller fish and good for larger ones. Focus on shallow weeds, weed beds, and weedy bays out to 8 feet. Anglers interested in catching trophy pike should go deeper with bigger baits. Sucker minnows, crawlers, bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, chatterbaits, stickbaits, and topwater baits are all effective.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is good to very good and improving as the water warms. Weeds, weed beds, lily pads, and brush in depths to 10 feet can all hold fish. Live bait, plastics in various forms and configurations, wacky worms, Ned and Texas rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, and topwaters such as poppers and frogs all do the job.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good to very good. Look for fish on shallow weeds, weedlines, weed to rock transitions, rock piles, cribs, and stumps. Sucker minnows, leeches, crawlers, drop shot rigs, Ned rigs, plastics ‑ especially in crawdad colors with a splash of red ‑ and topwaters are very productive baits.


Crappie fishing is good, with fish somewhat scattered. Depending on the lake and time, depths are 5-25 feet, with weeds, wood, cribs, bogs, and other structure for cover. Best time is early morning and evening into dark. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, fatheads, and plastics on jigs and/or slip bobbers, Beetle Spins, and imitation mayflies.

Bluegill: Bluegill fishing is good to very good, but a bit erratic. Anglers are catching fish with crawlers in bedding areas and off docks; perch are hitting crawlers on deep weedlines. Waxies, crawler chunks, worms, assorted panfish plastics, and Gulp! baits all work well.

Upcoming Events

July 6: Boulder Lodge 7th Annual Cardboard Boat Races, 12-6 p.m. (715-462-3002).

July 13: Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo, Washburn County Fairground, 12-10 p.m. (800-367-3306).

July 18-21: 51st Annual LCO Honor the Earth Powwow (715-634-8934).

July 19-21: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2251).

July 21: Full Buck Moon.

July 28-30: Delta Aquarids meteor shower, 15-25/hr., 1-3 a.m.

July 28: HBC Youth Bass Tourney on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m., The Landing Resort (405-227-1789).

July 31-Aug. 3: Lumberjack World Championships, tickets (715-634-2484).

Aug. 2-3: Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner (715-635-2168).

Aug. 4: Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. Kids Day, Tiger Cat Flowage, Black Iron Grill (715-634-4543).

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.