Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 8-16-22

Steve Suman

This week’s forecast predicts a wet week into the weekend. Most rain chances are less than 50 percent, so this could be a much nicer week than indicated. As is usually the case, make plans and take it on a day-to-day basis!

Quiet Lakes’ musky fishing continues to be good,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “Anglers are catching many fish on bucktails and spinners, as well as on gliders, jerkbaits, Bull Dawgs, and Medusas. Muskies are around weeds and structure ‑ good places to start when on the water.

“Northern pike reports come from many anglers targeting other species. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are producing, and kids fishing small set-ups from docks and boats are catching quite a few.

“Walleyes are near bottom in basins and around deep weed edges, depending on the waterbody you fish. Anglers are using Lindy rigs, bottom bouncers, and baits pulled around the bottom. Ned rigs and drop shot rigs are working on walleye and smallmouth as well.

“Largemouth bass are in weeds and shorelines with lily pads or bulrushes, and spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are producing. Frogs and topwaters fished over that cover, and spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and rigged worms in main lake weed beds are great for targeting largemouth.

“Smallmouth bass are on deep bottom structure and hard-to-soft bottom transitions. Ned rigs, wacky worms, and drop-shots are good finessing choices. Work crankbaits over the same structure for aggressive fish.

“Crappie fishing is solid, with most catches on crappie minnows worked through weed beds. Crappie Scrubs and Gulp! Minnows on small jigs are also great producers.

“Bluegills are mixed in with crappies and hitting the same presentations. Crawlers under bobbers are never out of style off docks and boats.”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is solid and fish are moving in these cooler temperatures.

“Many are hanging in 10-15 feet, with some a bit shallower, and hitting a variety of baits, with bucktails, musky suckers, and topwaters the ticket.

“Walleye fishing slowed considerably, with many fish now deep. Anglers are fishing deep weeds or trolling crankbaits and crawler harness across rock and mud flats.

“Northern pike fishing is solid. Bigger fish are on deep weedlines and points feeding on panfish. Smaller pike are in weeds and cover in 5-10 feet. Spoons, spinnerbaits, plastics, and live bait are all working well.

“Largemouth bass action is sporadic. Some fish hunker in thick lily pads and some are on weedlines chasing small bluegills. Texas rigs, wacky worms, spinners, topwaters ‑ you name it and it is working.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is good, but fish are in varied locations. Some fish are cruising as deep as 25 feet and some are as shallow as 2 feet, and presentations vary depending on where you find the fish. Leeches, Senkos, drop-shots, and topwaters are still working.

“Crappies are deep, roaming basins, hanging in weeds, or holding to cribs. Plastics work well, but jigs and minnows can lure fussy fish.

“Bluegill anglers are catching many fish, but most of the big males and females pushed to 10-30 feet and you have to look for the pods of fish. Live bait is working very well.”

Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says water temperatures remain warm and anglers should look deeper than usual to find fish.

“Water clarity is a factor, so light, bright lure colors can help, and splash and noise attract attention.

“Walleye anglers should troll deep divers and crawler harnesses in the river channel.

“Crappies are being finicky ‑ here one day and gone the next.

“Northern pike and largemouth bass anglers are having success casting spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and rattling swim jigs into weed beds.

“Bluegills are the best bet. Fish near the bottom in 8-10 feet with waxies, worms, chunks of crawler, and leeches on dressed jigs.” (Note: Minnow Jim’s is changing hands and this is Cathy’s final fishing report ‑ stop in to wish her well!)

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage water level is down 2.5 feet, with the water temperature in the mid-70s.

“Musky fishing is solid with a mix of casting and trolling. When casting, stay over deeper water and cast toward breaklines and edges. It is August and Hawg Wobblers and Creepers are good choices during low light hours. During the day, trolling Mattlocks and other big crankbaits is a good idea.

“Walleyes are deep during the day and in 6-12 feet off breaklines at night. With cooling water temperatures, anglers might soon see more shallow action during the day. Leeches are no longer available, so live bait options are crawlers and minnows. Flicker Shads and Shad Raps remain the best producing crankbaits.

“Northern pike are in weeds. Most pike anglers toss spinnerbaits such as Tinsel Tails and weedless spoons such as Johnson Silver Minnows, though some are switching to live bait.

“Crappies are scattered on bogs, brush, and cribs. Anglers are not finding big schools, but catching 2-3 fish and then moving to the next spot. Crappie minnows, one-inch Gulp! Minnows, and Mini-Mites are the ticket.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Tiger Trout in the Hayward area.

“‘Tiger trout’ are a strikingly beautiful hybrid between brook trout and brown trout. Hatchery staff can crossbreed the two species to create tiger trout artificially, but tigers occur naturally in many places. Of course, producing tigers requires both species co-existing and spawning in the same stream, at the same time, in the same place.

“In the Hayward area, tiger trout are quite rare, despite healthy and naturally reproducing populations of both brown and brook trout. In fact, in the tens of thousands of trout handled in DNR surveys in Sawyer and Bayfield County over the last several decades, crews have observed only 27 tiger trout. The vast majority of these fish came from Bayfield County, with streams such as Cap Creek and the White River producing most of the records, two streams surveyed quite often.

“A handful of other streams have produced one or two tigers in our surveys, with most small and only 1 of 27 greater than 10 inches. This shows the extreme rarity of catching a wild tiger trout, in this part of Wisconsin, let alone a large one. Other hybrids, such as tiger musky (northern pike x muskellunge) and various sunfish hybrids are far more common.”

The DNR will host a virtual public meeting Tuesday, August 23, from 7-9 p.m., to discuss a fisheries management plan for Sand Lake. The DNR encourages people who are interested in Sand Lake fish management or who are curious about how these plans work to join the meeting. Anyone interested in participating can do a quick registration at any time before the meeting at https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/calendar/meeting/60416 on the DNR website. For more information, contact Max Wolter at (715) 634-7429.

According to the DNR, it seems as if just about everyone has a kayak or knows a friend with a kayak. Kayaks serve a variety of activities that include fishing, photography, and more. Check the DNR’s “Find a Park” map for paddling opportunities near you, as well as introductory courses at some park properties. Guided tours offer an inside scoop to the geology, history, and wildlife of properties. Several properties rent kayaks and adaptive kayaks, adaptations to ensure the stability of the paddler within the kayak.

Find places to kayak in northwest Wisconsin by checking the following links.

For more information, search “kayaking in Wisconsin” on the DNR website.

Fishing Report

Fall is on the horizon and fish will soon begin transitions. Keep on top of the movements by visiting with your favorite bait shop personnel for the most recent (daily!) fish locations, baits, presentations, and bite windows. Fall is a great time for fishing ‑ perhaps the best time!


Musky fishing is good and getting better. Focus on weeds, weedlines, breaklines, and structure out to 18 feet. Favorite baits include bucktails, Bull Dawgs, gliders, jerkbaits, crankbaits, musky suckers, and topwaters. Trolling large stickbaits and crankbaits during the day is also a viable option.


Walleye action is somewhat slow. Look for fish on deep weeds, weed edges, rocks, and mudflats during the day. In low light, work weed edges and breaklines out to 12 feet. Use crawlers, leeches, minnows, crawler harnesses, Lindy rigs, Ned rigs, and drop-shot rigs, or troll deep diving crankbaits and stickbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is very good in weeds and around panfish and baitfish concentrations, and on mid-depth to deep points, weed beds, and weed edges. Live bait, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, chatterbaits, crankbaits, plastics, and topwaters all work. Small fish are plentiful shallow, but go deeper with bigger baits for trophy pike.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass action is good, though fish are finding many places to hide, feed, and sulk. Find them from shallow to mid-depths in slop, lily pads, main lake weed beds, and on weedlines. Nearly all baits are working, including crawlers, chatterbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, plastics, Texas rigs, wacky worms, frogs, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good in depths from very shallow out to 27 feet, on weedlines, deep structure, and hard/soft transition areas. Check the entire water column! The most productive baits include sucker minnows, leeches, crawlers, crankbaits, Senkos, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, wacky worms, and topwaters.


Crappie fishing is good, though somewhat inconsistent. Fish are somewhat scattered in deeper basins and on weeds, wood, brush, bogs, and cribs. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, plastics, Crappie Scrubs, Mini-Mites, Tattle Tails, and Gulp! baits fished on small jigs and under slip bobbers.


Bluegill fishing is very good to excellent. Smaller fish provide considerable action around shallow weeds, wood, brush, and other structure. Larger fish are near the bottom in 6-30 feet. Fish waxies, worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs under slip bobbers.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 15: Bonus antlerless deer harvest tags now on sale.

Aug. 20: Seeley Lions Pre-Fat Mountain Bike Race.

Aug. 20: Barnes VFW Car Show and chicken BBQ (715-292-2922).

Aug. 23: DNR virtual public meeting on Sand Lake fisheries management plan; 7-9 p.m. (715-634-7429).

Aug. 28: Hayward Bass Club benefit open tournament for Hayward High School Bass Team (405-227-1789).

Sept. 1: Seasons open: Early teal; Early goose; Mourning dove.

Sept. 1: Application deadline for hunters with disabilities gun deer hunt.

Sept. 2-4: Exeland Trout Festival (715-943-2242; 492-1073).

Sept. 3: Hook and line lake sturgeon season opens (see regs).

Sept. 7: Bear season opens (see regs).

Sept. 8-10: 23rd Annual Lake Chippewa Flowage Musky Hunt (715-462-3874).

Sept. 9: Early teal season closes.

Sept. 15: Early goose season closes.

Sept. 17: Seasons open: Deer (archery/crossbow); Turkey; Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Cottontail; Squirrel; Crow.

Sept. 17: 39th Annual Chequamegon MTB Festival (612-518-8234).

Sept. 24: Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).

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.