Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 7-9-24

Steve Suman

The current forecast calls for a mix of rain/thunderstorms and sun into Wednesday, then clear and sunny heading into the weekend. Temperatures are warming to 80-degree highs this week, with nighttime lows in the 50s. Summer IS here!

“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes remains tough,” says Greg at Happy Hooker, “and this will probably continue until water temperatures rise. Warm nights should really help the bite. Fishing is hit or miss and many anglers struggle to find consistent patterns.

“Musky action is fair to decent on small bucktails fished on shallow weeds and structure. The topwater bite should pick up as temperatures warm.

“Walleye fishing is tough, with the midday bite better than in the evening. Lower water temperatures have fish shallow and relating to weeds more than usual. As the water warms, fish should push to deeper structure such as rocks and deep sandy points. Leeches are the top bait choice, but try throwing some bigger jerkbaits and crankbaits.

“Northern pike are eating all baits, small or large, including live bait, around shallow weeds and shoreline structure.

“Largemouth bass anglers do well on everything from crawlers to spinnerbaits to topwater frogs. Look for fish in and around shallow weeds, reeds, and lily pads.

“Smallmouth bass are on deep weedlines and structure off rocks and anglers are doing okay with live bait, Ned rigs, and plastics on jigs.

“Crappie action is sporadic. Cribs and other structure hold some fish; on lakes with a weed bite, look for fish in 6-10 feet. Minnows work best.

“Bluegills are shallow, in and around docks and shorelines, with anglers making some good catches off the docks. Crawlers under floats are the ticket.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says the amazing spring fishing should remain solid throughout summer.

“Musky fishing is very good, with anglers raising most fish on the Chippewa Flowage. Work weedlines adjacent to panfish spawning areas. Baits for this time are smaller bucktails, Medussas, and topwaters.

“Walleye fishing slowed, with some fish on deep weedlines and structure such as cribs, and others scattering to mid-depths and/or suspending over deep water. Long-lined crawler harnesses and crankbaits are effective. On larger waterbodies, cover water with planer boards. Use electronics to locate fish and set depths accordingly.

“Northern pike fishing is solid on live bait, spinnerbaits, spoons, plastics, and topwaters. Many eating-size pike are in less than 15 feet. For bigger fish, work points and weed edges.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass moved to mid-depth flats and are hitting various baits. For largemouth, use wacky rigs in assorted colors (black and blue!). Topwaters work well, even over deeper water.

“Crappie fishing is very good, with finding them the issue. Anglers are catching fish on plastics over deep weeds and cribs. If not there, use electronics to find pods of fish roaming flats. Stay on fish without dropping anchor, as that scatters them.

“Bluegills are moving to deeper weeds. Slip bobbers and live bait are the ticket, but plastics and one-inch Gulp! Minnows still deliver. Larger bluegills often move to deeper flats. This requires searching, but worth it when you hook a 10-inch or bigger bluegill!”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage it at full level, with the water temperature in the low 70s and rising.

“Musky action is on fire one day and lazy the next, with bucktails and surface baits the best choice. Temperatures will increase this week and drive fish into open, deeper water, making daytime trolling effective. If the water warms into the high 70s/low 80s, take a break, as higher water temperatures can be fatal to muskies.

“Walleyes are on sandy bottoms in 14-18 feet during the day and on weed edges and drop-offs in 6-12 feet during the evening. Leeches work best. If water temperatures rise and fish head deeper, try trolling open basins with Flicker Shads, Shad Raps, or World Cranks during daylight hours.

“Northern pike are on weed edges, feeding on panfish and baitfish. Tinsel Tails and chatterbaits are the way to go.

“Largemouth bass are in and around lilies and weed beds, and spinners, frogs, and poppers are effective.

“Smallmouth bass are active in the stumps and rocks, with crawlers and Ned rigs the go-to baits.

“Crappies are on sand and rock hump in 14-22 feet during the day, likely feeding on bug hatches. Imitation mayflies can be very productive. Bog fishing at night is productive, with crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits the key.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the Spider Lake Musky and Pike Project.

“Northern pike are not native to most muskellunge waters in the Hayward area, yet were introduced or spread into many different waterbodies. This has made maintaining historic abundances of muskellunge a major challenge.

“The typical strategies of encouraging pike harvest and stocking muskellunge have a mixed track record. Currently, a large information gap on specifically how these two species compete limits our response to this issue. Fortunately, we are closer than ever to finally answering some of those questions.

“Using Spider Lake as a study site, DNR fish research scientist Dr. Colin Dassow is partnering with the DNR Hayward Fish Team to develop a state-of-the-art research project to learn more about how pike and musky interact.

“Funding for the study comes from a number of local and statewide groups and private individuals in the Spider Lake and Hayward community. This includes the Rich Ford Fish Fund, Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc., H.C. Becker Foundation/Muskies Inc., Terry Peterson Fishing Foundation, and Wisconsin Musky Alliance.

“This study allows researchers to track pike and muskellunge continuously for three years, leading to a better understanding of how, when, and where they compete, with analyses of what each species eats, reproduce, and detailed habitat mapping.

“We expect this information to lead to new management strategies to enhance and protect muskellunge populations in lakes that now have northern pike. These strategies will have application in the Spider Chain, but might translate to other area waters dealing with the same issue.

“The fisheries goal for Spider Chain and many other waters is to have something close to the historic abundance of muskellunge and a low-density pike population with better size structure. Expect to hear more about this study as it gets fully underway in fall 2024.”

The 2024 Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo is this weekend, July 11-14, at the Washburn County Fairground. In addition to the rodeo events, there is a parade, music, a Saturday Lions Club BBQ, and more. For a schedule of activities, visit www.spoonerrodeo.com or call (800) 367-3306.


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.

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.

Unless otherwise posted, all county roads outside of the LCO Reservation in Sawyer County are now legal for ATV/UTV use. The Trail Treker app shows these changes; the paper map does not reflect them. 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. Trails 174 and 176 in Spider Lake Township are no longer open to ATVs/UTVs.

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

Fishing Report

Fishing is fair to very good depending on the lake, species targeted, time, and weather. Check with your favorite bait shop for the most current information on fish locations, bite windows, bait, and preferred presentations.


Musky action ranges from fair to very good, but inconsistent. Fish are on shallow weeds, weedlines, and other structure, and around concentrations of panfish. Look for them to move deeper as the water warms. The most successful baits at this time include small bucktails, Medussas, and topwaters, with daytime trolling also productive.


Walleye fishing slowed and fish will move deeper with warming water. Look on weeds, weedlines, sand, rock, points, drop-offs, and cribs, in 6-20 feet, fishing shallower in evening hours. Leeches and crawlers on slip bobbers and spinner rigs work well, and trolling Shad Raps, Flicker Shads, and similar baits can be productive.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is good to very good for smaller fish on shallow shoreline structure and in weeds around panfish and baitfish. Find bigger pike on deeper weed edges and points. Best baits include minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, chatterbaits, plastics, and topwaters.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good in and around shallow weeds, weedlines, reeds, lily pads, and mid-depth flats. Use live bait such as crawlers, minnows, and leeches, wacky rigs, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass are on mid-depth to deep weeds, weedlines, rock, sand, stumps, and flats. Live bait, Ned rigs, swimbaits, crawdad color crankbaits and plastics/tubes, and topwaters are all productive.


Crappie fishing is fair to very good once you find them. Depending on the lake, look in 4-24 feet around weeds, cribs, bogs, and sand and rock humps, and suspending. Crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, plastics, imitation mayflies, and Gulp! baits on jigs and/or slip bobbers work quite well.

Bluegill: Bluegill fishing is good around shallow weeds, shorelines, docks, brush, and deep weeds and flats. Use waxies, worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs, plain hooks, and fished with/without slip bobbers.

Upcoming Events

July 11-14: Heart of the North Spooner Rodeo (schedule), Washburn County Fairground (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 20: WRTU Chapter fly casting and fly tying clinic, Silverthorn Park, Seeley, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

July 21: Full Buck Moon.

July 27: Barnes Area Historical AssociationSummer Festival, 12-4 p.m. (425-318-0851).

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).

Aug. 10: Musky Tale Resort – Pig Roast Fundraiser for Hayward Veterans Cemetery Fund, 3-7 p.m. (715-462-3838).

Aug. 10: Ojibwa Canoe & Kayak Race at The Wannigan, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (715-415-6539).

Aug. 11-13: Perseid meteor shower, 45-90/hr., 1-3 a.m.

Aug. 15-18: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).

Aug. 17: Seeley Lions PreFat Bike Race, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Aug. 18: HBC free youth bass tournament on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m., The Landing Resort (405-227-1789).

Aug. 19: Full Sturgeon Moon.

Aug. 25: HBC Tom Turner Memorial Open/HS Team Benefit Tourney, Tiger Cat, 8 a.m.-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.