This forecast for this week shows mild and sunny, with a warming trend, and chances of rain Friday. Then it is back to sunshine and blue skies heading into Labor Day weekend. Enjoy a fun and safe one!
“Quiet Lakes’ musky fishing slowed somewhat,” says Greg at Happy Hooker.
“Anglers report many follows when moving baits fast and high in the water column, but few fish will commit. If you get a follow, cast something you can work slower, such as Suicks, Phantoms, creepers, and topwaters. Big suspending baits will start working better than burning bucktails, but mix it up if you do not see fish.
“Walleyes on the big, deep lakes relate to basins at this time. Trolled crankbaits, slow death rigs, and drifting Lindy rigs towards bottom are effective. For fish in weeds, work the pockets with fluke-style plastics on jigs and Beetle Spins.
“Northern pike action is consistent with spinnerbaits and bucktails worked through weed beds in 3-10 feet. Ticking the weed tips with crankbaits and letting baits rise a bit works great.
“Largemouth bass fishing is good, with spinnerbaits working best for big fish, and anglers are catching loads of mid-size fish on crawlers under bobbers in and around weeds. Swim jigs worked through thick cover are great for largemouth.
“Smallmouth bass are on deep rocks, points, and hard bottom structure. Focus on structure rather than depth, which in some lakes can be 10-15 feet and on other lakes 20-25 feet. Jigs with plastics, drop-shot rigs, and Ned rigs are all good for deep smallmouth.
“Crappie fishing is a little tough, but some anglers report success fishing shallow bars that drop into basins with small jigs and crappie minnows or plastics under bobbers.
“Bluegill and perch anglers are fishing crawlers on small hooks over and through weed beds and from docks, piers, and sandy shorelines.
“Waterfowl season is fast approaching and hunters should start scoping spots for duck blinds. Early goose, early teal, and mourning dove seasons open September 1.”
Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky action slowed with the up and down weather.
“With the cooler temperatures, fish are able to scoot shallow or remain deep. Anglers having success are using smaller bucktails in the standard colors such as black, gold, perch, and crappie patterns. Topwaters are still producing, and sucker season is just around the corner.
“Walleye fishing is slow, with most fish in most lakes sitting very deep, and anglers are slow trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses. Live bait will soon be a factor with the cooling temperatures and fall bite starting as fish begin to put on weight for winter.
“Northern pike action is steady both shallow and deep. Northern suckers, spinnerbaits, spoons, and trolling large stickbaits work really well. Points, flats, and weedlines hold good numbers of fish. If you find schools of bluegills, pike will not be far behind.
“Largemouth bass fishing is solid and much easier to access if you fish near shore. Many fish still sit in shallow cover such as lilies, docks, and swim rafts, while others are on deep structure feeding on bluegills. Spinners, plastics, topwaters, and you name it are catching largemouth.
“Smallmouth bass are on deep rock piles and fishing remains solid, with drop-shot rigs and Ned rigs the key tactics.
“Crappies still roam basins, sit on deep structure, or hold in weeds until prime fishing time. Small jigs and crappie minnows, plastics, and small crankbaits are working well.
“Bluegills are plentiful, all over the place, and from off the docks to deeper weedlines, fish are hitting live bait well.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is down 2 feet and the water temperature is in the low to mid 70s.
“Muskies are active in shallow weeds, but with a short bite. The thicker the weeds the better, so make sure to have some weedless baits at the ready.
“Walleye are starting to transition to early fall patterns with the cooling water temperatures. Some walleyes are hanging around the edges of weed beds, though reluctant to bite. The good news is that those biting are bigger fish, many 20-24 inches. Crankbaits, crawlers, and minnows are the choice baits.
“Northern pike are active in the weeds. Tinsel Tails and Silver Minnow spoons are the way to go, but suckers will work as well.
“Largemouth and smallmouth bass are very active on a variety of baits. Spinnerbaits are good for subsurface presentations, while Whopper Ploppers and Revolvers are good for topwater action.
“Crappies are quiet, though anglers report there is some action around the bogs at night.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Hayward DNR Fish Team surveys for this fall.
“The DNR Hayward Fish Team will conduct fall electrofishing surveys in September and October. These are relatively short surveys, typically just one night per lake targeting very specific parts of the fishery.
“Several other partners such as the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission and the U.S. Forest Service also conduct these surveys, with all data shared among agencies.
“The main objective on most lakes is to document natural reproduction of walleye and muskellunge. A secondary objective is documenting the stocking success of those two species from the previous year, in this case, 2021.
“In some of these surveys, we also target bass and northern pike, though the timing is not ideal for those species and the data are not as useful as that gathered in spring surveys.
“This year in the Hayward area we will conduct fall surveys on the following lakes: Lac Courte Oreilles, Round, Grindstone, Sand, Windigo, Big Chetac, Big Sissabagama, Chippewa Flowage, Windfall, Spider, Nelson, Smith, Lower Clam, Teal, Lost Land, Whitefish, Durphee, Ghost, Tiger Cat Chain, and Osprey.
“If you see the electrofishing boat on your lake, please remain on shore and keep pets from entering the water.”
Wisconsin offers several types of motorized vehicle activities, including off-highway motorcycles, defined as any two-wheeled motor vehicle straddled by the operator, equipped with handlebars, and designed for use off highway, regardless if for use on a highway. All OHMs must have Wisconsin public use registration if operated or intended to operate on designated OHM trails, areas specifically open to the public for recreational OHM use, designated and signed OHM road routes, and while otherwise operating legally on or adjacent to public highways. For more information, search “OHM trails” on the DNR website.
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. invites the public to attend its club meeting Tuesday, September 6, at Flat Creek Lodge in Hayward. Admission is free. This general business meeting begins at 7 p.m. Anyone interested in becoming a new Muskies, Inc. member can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting. For more information, contact Mike Persson at (715) 634-4543.
Exeland Rod and gun Club is hosting the 30th annual Exeland Trout Festival September 2-4. This event includes fishing contests, sports tournaments, live music, medallion hunt (in progress), Queen Coronation, parade, food, beverages, pancake breakfast, rummage sales, craft sales, youth games, giveaways, and more. For more information on the event, visit www.facebook.com/ExelandTroutFest.
Visitors and others should be aware of hunting seasons opening soon in the North Woods. Thursday, September 1, is opening day of early goose, early teal, and mourning dove hunting seasons. Early goose season runs through Sept. 15, early teal season runs through Sept. 9, and mourning dove season runs through Nov. 29.
September 1 is also the deadline for hunters to apply for the hunters with disabilities gun deer hunt.
In the next week, hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 30, and Wisconsin’s black bear season opens Sept. 7.
Fishing is good to very good for some species; others can require extra time and effort. If simply catching fish is your goal, do not be a masochist ‑ fish for species that are biting when they are biting! Check with your favorite bait shop for the most active species, their location, and best baits ‑ and do the same even if you target a specific species!
Musky action is slower ‑ maybe fish are lounging (lunging?) before they go on the big fall feed to prepare for winter? Look for muskies in shallow, thick weeds that are adjacent to or in deep water. Suckers, small traditional color bucktails, jerkbaits gliders, creepers, and topwaters are now all tempting muskies. Do. Figure. Eights!
Walleye fishing is fair to good, with fish mostly holding in deep water except when feeding shallow during low light into dark hours. During the day, concentrate on deep weed beds, brush, basins, and breakline edges. The most successful baits include crawlers, fatheads, minnows, plastics, Beetle Spins, and slow-trolled crawler harnesses, crankbaits, Lindy rigs, and stickbaits.
Northern pike action is good to very good in 3-20 feet, with fish in/on weeds and weed edges, points, flats, and wherever you find baitfish and bluegill concentrations. Baits of choice include sucker minnows, fatheads, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, crankbaits, and bucktails. Go bigger and fish deeper for trophy pike.
Largemouth bass fishing is very good to excellent in shallow to mid-depth thick weeds, wood, lily pads, slop, brush, cribs, docks, and other structure. Crawlers, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, plastics in various riggings, and topwaters all do the trick!
Smallmouth bass fishing is consistent. Fish are on deep rock, points, and other structure, though depths range from 8-28 feet, depending on the lake. The most productive baits include live bait, plastics in assorted configurations, Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, crankbaits, and topwaters.
Crappie fishing slowed somewhat, but anglers are still catching fish. Look for crappies in/on deep weeds, structure, bars, bogs, brush, and suspending over deep water. Best offerings include crappie minnows, fatheads, and plastics on jigs or plain hooks fished under bobbers, and small crankbaits and Beetle Spins.
Bluegill and Perch:
Bluegill and perch fishing is good to very good from shallow to mid-depths around docks and weed beds and deeper weedlines. Use waxies, worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small plain or dressed jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks under bobbers.
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. 5: Labor Day.
Sept. 7: Bear season opens (see regs).
Sept. 3: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon 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. 16: Goose season opens (see regs).
Sept. 17: Seasons open: Deer (archery/crossbow); Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Turkey; Crow; Cottontail (Northern Zone); Squirrel.
Sept. 17: 39th Annual Chequamegon MTB Festival (612-518-8234).
Sept. 17-18: Youth Waterfowl Hunt.
Sept. 24: Seasons open: Woodcock; Duck in Northern Zone (see regs).
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.