As is often the case with the forecasts, this week’s is in a state of flux and it is best to check on a day-to-day basis (which is also often the case!) It appears we can expect highs in the upper 70s to low 80s, rain chances fluttering about through the weekend, and perhaps a slight warming trend. Make and follow your plans ‑ but have a Plan B in place!
“Quiet Lakes’ fishing is good overall,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “and a good topwater bite should develop with the increasing water temperatures.
“Musky action improved, will get better with consistent weather, and anglers are catching good numbers of fish. Most catches are on small musky baits and large bass baits such as spinners, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits worked over mid-lake humps and points. Focus on structure, as the muskies are feeding on crappie, bluegill, perch, and other baitfish.
“Walleye fishing slowed as the fish move deeper or bury in the thick stuff. Leeches under slip bobbers are good around deep weeds; basin fish are hitting drifted and trolled Lindy Rigs, crawler harnesses, and leech harnesses.
“Northern pike action is good, as they are eating anything and everything. Spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and crappie and walleye set-ups are all catching pike. Get kids into bigger fish by using leaders with bass spinnerbaits and cast into weeds ‑ great action and the leaders prevent bite-offs.
“Largemouth bass fishing is consistent, with good fish numbers and sizes and most on crawlers under bobbers. The topwater bite should pick up as water temperatures warm and emergent weeds hit the surface. To target big bass, work frogs over lily pads and weed beds; work plastic worms, Ned, and drop-shot rigs on deep structure.
“Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well fishing leeches under slip bobbers on deep weed edges and structure. Ned and drop-shot rigs work well on deep rocky breaks and main lake structure.
“Crappies are moving toward deep lake basins and deep weed edges. Crappie minnows on slip bobbers, small hair jigs, small jigs with plastics, and Tattle-Tails, Cubbies, and Crappie Scrubs all catch fish.
“Bluegills are off their beds and deep into weeds. Leaf worms and crawlers work well, and fishing off docks always produces fish. Bigger bluegills are on inside weed edges on big weed beds and deep cribs.
“Perch catches are good for anglers fishing crappie minnows under bobbers around shallow weeds and weed beds.”
Levi at Hayward Bait says musky fishing remains slow.
“Many anglers are getting follows, but few bites, and most bites are smaller fish. Work weedy points and deep weed edges with small bucktails and topwaters.
“Walleye action is really good just off weed edges 12-15 feet. Leeches under slip bobbers, work best, though some anglers report success with walleye suckers, fatheads, and trolled crankbaits and crawler harnesses.
“Northern pike fishing is good and many anglers continue to target them. Focus on weeds in 5-10 feet with northern suckers, spoons, spinnerbaits, small bucktails, and crankbaits.
“Largemouth bass fishing is decent. In early morning, catch them in shallow weeds with weedless lures and topwaters. Most of the day, you can find them in 4-6 feet, though during very warm days the bass move to deep weeds, cribs, and stumps. Plastics and topwater frogs work best.
“Smallmouth bass fishing is also decent and many anglers are chasing them. Post-spawn fish have moved to deeper structure such as rock piles and steep breaks in 10-15 feet and deeper, depending on water clarity. Jerkbaits, plastics, and leeches under slip bobbers are all producing.
“Crappie anglers report good success on weed edges, cribs, and structure in 10-12 feet. Crappie minnows, fatheads, small crankbaits, and plastics are catching fish, and early mornings and evenings offer the best fishing.
“Bluegills are now off their beds and many anglers report fishing is very good. Most fish moved deeper, with bigger fish off weedlines and in weeds in 8-10 feet. Best baits include waxies, leaf worms, and crawlers.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 1-1.5 feet, with the water temperature in the low to mid70s.
“Muskies are active on bucktails and various spinnerbaits. Surface temperatures are manageable and the fish have not gone super deep and are hanging on deep weedline edges. Anglers boated many fish on figure eights in the past week!
“Walleyes are just about in their summer patterns. During daylight hours, target deep cover with your graph showing plenty of baitfish balls. During low light hours, move to 6-12 feet around weed edges bordering deep water. Leeches are the bait of choice.
“Crappies are solidly in their summer patterns and fishing the bogs at night is your best bet. Crappie minnows, Gulp! Minnows, and Mini-Mites produce the most action.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter explains how to tell your fish biologist what you want.
“In my opinion, public input is a critical component of fisheries management. We strive to increase those opportunities in the Hayward area, and are very transparent and vocal about increasing angler involvement.
“However, in the public input we receive about fish management, there is a common theme, that of anglers unable to resist jumping to the end of the process. Here is what I mean: If we ask a group of anglers what they think about a fishery, very often one will respond with something such as “I think it should have a slot limit.”
“This can be an issue, because such statements do not actually tell us anything about what problem the angler sees in the fishery. Perhaps the angler is concerned that there are not enough fish, or that the fish are not big enough for their liking. It is also possible that the angler is catching plenty of fish, but the current regulation does not allow harvest of certain size fish so they want something different.
“When we jump ahead to what we think is a good solution, it leaves others, including the biologist, with an unclear understanding of the actual problem. This approach can also lead to not considering other viable options fully, such as in this example, a habitat project, or changes in stocking practices that would be a better solution than a regulation change.
“Here is a better example for how to give input to a fisheries biologist: “I’m not catching as many walleye as I used to and would support efforts to increase population abundance, including more protective regulations.” A statement such as that identifies the problem and outlines support for one possible management action, without closing doors to other actions that might provide a better solution.
“We need good two-way communication for management to be truly effective and act in the public’s best interests. I hope that this example will offer anglers some ideas on how they can communicate more effectively with fisheries professionals.”
The Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo is this Thursday through Saturday, July 7-9, at the Washburn County Fairgrounds in Spooner. This year marks 68 years for the event that draws some of professional rodeo’s top competitors from around the country. The three-day celebration offers three nights of rodeo events, Mutton Bustin’, various vendor booths, music, and a Saturday afternoon parade of more than 100 units that includes bands, floats, horses, fire trucks, military vehicles, classic cars, kids, rodeo clowns, and more. For more information, visit www.spoonerrodeo.com or call (800) 367-3306.
Mark your calendars for the weekend of July 15-17 and the LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934) and the Birchwood Bluegill Festival (715) 354-3300. Look for more details next week.
Fishing remains good for most species, even with varied weather fronts moving through the area. Know the species you pursue, choose the best bite window times, and check with your favorite bait and tackle shop for guidance.
Musky fishing is still lagging, but showing improvement. Anglers are seeing fish, but getting few hookups other than smaller fish. Look for fish on deep weeds, weedline edges, humps, points, and other structure, and panfish and baitfish concentrations. Smaller bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, and suckers are all tempting muskies. Remember to figure eight on the retrieve!
Walleye action ranges from fair to very good. Fish are dispersing to somewhat deeper locations, but check weed edges in 10-18 feet adjacent to deep water, as well as lake basins. In early morning and late evening into dark, work shallower weed edges, points, and humps. Leeches under slip bobbers are the first choice, with crawlers, walleye suckers, fatheads, and crankbaits also producing catches.
Northern pike fishing is good to very good just about anywhere there are weeds or panfish and baitfish concentrations in depth out to 12 feet. Northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, bucktails, crankbaits, and topwater are all effective baits. For trophy pike, fish deeper with bigger baits.
Largemouth bass fishing is steady. Look for fish in lily pads and in weeds from very shallow out to 8 feet, but on hot days go to deeper weeds, wood, stumps, cribs, and other structure. Best offering include crawlers, Ned and drop-shot rigs, plastics, weedless baits, and topwaters.
Smallmouth bass anglers report good success fishing weed edges, weedlines, rock, breaklines, and other structure in depths to more than 15 feet. Top baits include sucker minnows, leeches on slip bobbers, Ned and drop-shot rigs, and plastics and crankbaits in crayfish colors.
Crappie fishing is good, with best success in early morning and evening hours. Weeds, weed beds, weed edges, cribs, brush, and other structure in 8-14 feet, and deep basins, hold fish. Fish bogs in the evening. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, Gulp! baits, and Beetle Spins all work well.
Bluegill fishing is still very good, though they have moved off their beds to weeds, weedlines, weed beds, and cribs in 6-12 feet. Waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawlers, plastics, and Gulp! baits all catch fish.
Perch fishing is very good and anglers are doing well fishing crappie minnows and plastics on jigs and/or under slip bobbers in and around weeds and weed beds. If you cannot find them, try fishing for other species ‑ that always brings in the perch!
July 7-9: Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo ‑ Washburn County Fairgrounds (800-367-3306).
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 31: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. ‑ Kid’s Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage (715-634-4543).
Aug. 5-6: Jack Pine Savage Days (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.