Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 8-8-23

Steve Suman

This week’s forecast predicts ‑ again ‑ we will see high temperatures mostly in the mid-70s or so. They predicted the same the past two weeks and highs were mid-80s, so will see how they do this time. Otherwise, rain is possible from Wednesday night through the weekend, but it might be wise if you “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Enjoy the North Woods!

“Fishing is good on the Quiet Lakes and it seems like all species are active right now,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “The fish are where anglers should expect them to be, so they should not have to get too creative in their approach!

“Musky fishing continues to be good, fish still favor smaller baits around shallow weeds, and anglers are catching some nice fish on topwaters. Start shallow and work weeds, wood, and rock. Water temperatures are 75-80 degrees, so handle fish with care.

“Walleye anglers are finding some scattered fish, but it takes patience, and most still use leeches and suckers. Look for deep weeds transitioning into the basin and keep baits near the bottom. Deep running crankbaits also work.

“Northern pike are active and anglers are doing well. Look for fish in and around weeds in bays and along weedy shorelines. Spinnerbaits, bucktails, and crankbaits are catching fish right now.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good on topwaters, with Whopper Ploppers still really hot, along with frogs and buzzbaits. Spinnerbaits and live bait such as crawlers still catch fish suspending in deeper water.

“Smallmouth bass are hitting crankbaits on deep rocky points and hard to soft bottom transitions. Jigs tipped with crawlers or leeches fished on deep weed edges work well, too.

“Crappie anglers casting and retrieving small Beetle Spins and similar baits are doing well in cabbage. Other anglers are catching fish suspending over the basins by fishing crappie minnows on jigs or hooks under a bobber.

“Bluegill and perch reports are scarce, but many panfish anglers are buying leaf worms and crawlers. A plain hook, split shot, and chunk of worm under a bobber will get it done!”

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says fishing continues in a nice summer pattern.

“Musky fishing is steady, with anglers throwing small bucktails, gliders, and topwaters on rock and weed edges in 10-20 feet. Peak moon phases during daylight hours can produce an amazing two-hour window at those times.

“Walleye anglers are trolling big waters with crankbaits and crawler harnesses, running most baits near the bottom, except in areas where suspending baitfish draw walleyes to mid-depths. Use electronics to pinpoint baitfish and select crankbaits for that depth. Shallow water trollers should to use long lines or planer boards to get baits far from boat noise.

“Northern pike, the larger pike, are in deeper water. Work areas holding panfish concentrations with access to deep water. Pike are primarily daylight feeders and slide up and down those areas during peak feeding times. Live bait, bucktails, spoons, and swimbaits are effective.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass moved to deep structure and drop-shot baits work well. Some fish remain in shallow, thick weeds, and heavy jigs to punch through them or weedless frogs to glide over them work well.

“Crappies are roaming deeper water or sitting on deeper structure. For crib fishing, park over the top and jig one-inch Gulp! Minnows and plastics. Casting plastics with plain jigs or Beetle Spin type baits work for searching. Once you find a pod of fish, slow down, and finesse those fish.

“Bluegills are roaming mid-depths and holding to the same structures as crappies, though near the bottom of the water column. Leaf worms, leeches, and small plastic tubes, worms, cricket, and hellgrammites under slip bobbers are working.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 2 feet, with the water temperatures in the mid to high 70s.

“Musky reports suggest fish are moving again, but with these water temperatures they are likely sitting in deeper, cooler areas. Throwing rubber baits and swimbaits off deeper edges is effective, as is trolling deep basins and river channels. When water temperatures warm, keep in mind it can be dangerous for deeper fish brought into hotter surface water. Handle the fish with care. We advise not fishing for muskies if surface temperatures rise above 80 degrees.

“Walleye fishing with these very warm surface temperatures requires looking deep during daytime fishing. Look for fish suspending at 14-18 feet over 20-25 feet in deep basins having good cover, with trolling most effective. The best way to catch fish right now is night fishing with leeches and crawlers.

“Northern pike are actively hitting Tinsel Tails and other various spinnerbaits just outside weed edges and around the bogs at night.

“Smallmouth bass are very active and hitting crawlers, leeches, and in particular Ned Rigs, which are the go-to bait this year. Rocks and stumps are the most productive areas.

“Crappie action during the day is best in deeper cover and brush piles, with bogs best in the evening. Crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Voodoo Flash Bang jigs, imitation mayflies, and Gulp! Minnows are all productive.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Mosquito Brook: Still ‘mosquito-y, and fishy!

“Mosquito Brook, north of Hayward, is one of a few trout streams that the DNR Hayward Fish Team surveys annually. Repeated surveys on the same water give us a good sense of how populations change from year to year, and what factors might be responsible for those changes.

“In 2023, we found Mosquito Brook very much lived up to its name. The bugs were bad enough that we wore head nets throughout the survey. We also had to deal with many tag alders along the stream bank that had slumped over the water under the weight of winter snow, creating a labyrinth of wood and branches.

“After managing the additional challenges, our survey revealed that the coldwater fishery in Mosquito Brook is doing fairly well, and we captured both brook and brown trout, as expected.

“Brown trout outnumbered brook trout by about 4:1, a ratio that had tilted even higher towards brown trout in the past. We found ‘young of year’ of both species, demonstrating the importance of this small stream as a nursery area for both the native brook trout and introduced brown trout.

“The biggest difference between the 2023 survey and past surveys was the size of adult trout, with the biggest adult trout captured only 9 inches in 2023. In the past, we have captured brown trout up to nearly 18 inches.

“Lack of larger trout this year likely has to do with available habitat. Deeper holes present in the past appeared filled with sand, and several habitat structures that maintained deeper runs or overhanging cover had washed out. Lower water levels and stream flow might also be a factor. Some rehabilitative actions might be necessary to restore these habitat types.

“Still, it is encouraging that Mosquito Brook maintains its primary function as a spawning and nursery area for young trout. Preserving groundwater inputs throughout the watershed, and minimizing sediment inputs to the stream, are critical to maintain the health of this important fishery.”

Fishing Report

Fishing is good for most species, though better for some than for others ‑ and sometimes just being there is all it takes… or so people tell me. Reports indicate most species are where one expects them to be at this point in summer, which does not mean they are feeding at all times. Talk with your favorite bait shop personnel to learn the bite windows!


Musky action is good and consistent around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed edges, wood, rock and other structure, and panfish concentrations. Smaller bucktails, gliders, swimbaits, rubber baits, and topwaters remain the most productive. During the day, try trolling river channels and deep basins. If surface temperatures reach 80 degrees or warmer, use extra care when handling fish.


Walleyes are scattered, with fishing fair and challenging, but anglers continue to catch fish. During the day, focus on mid-depth to deep basins, weeds, wood, and structure in 12-25 feet, as well as trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses. Work shallower areas in the prime time evening into dark hours. Leeches, crawlers, and walleye suckers work well.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is good and offers an all-day bite. Look for fish around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed edges, weedy shorelines, and baitfish and panfish concentration. Sucker minnows, smaller spinners, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, spoons, Tinsel Tails, bucktails, and crankbaits are all producing. For trophy pike, go deeper with bigger baits.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action is very good for anglers fishing shallow weeds, wood, lily pads, slop, and out to mid-depth structure. Spinners, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, minnow baits, buzzbaits, crankbaits, drop-shots, topwaters such as Whopper Ploppers and weedless frogs, and live bait such as crawlers and leeches are all very effective at this time.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good to very good on deep weed edges, hard to soft bottom transitions, rock, rocky points, stumps, and other structure. Baits of choice include sucker minnows, crawlers, and leeches on jigs, drop-shot and Ned rigs, tubes and other plastics, crankbaits, and topwaters.


Crappie fishing is good to very good, with fish deep, suspending over/in deep basins and on weeds, cabbage, cribs, brush, and other structure, and bogs in the evening hours. Top offerings include crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, mayfly imitations, Voodoo Flash Bang jigs, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows, as well as Beetle Spins and similar baits.

Bluegill and Perch:

Bluegill and perch fishing is very good for smaller fish around shallow weeds, brush, and docks. For larger fish, target mid-depths to deeper weeds, brush, cribs, and other structure. Crawler chunks, leaf worms, leeches, and various panfish plastics on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks, fished under bobbers, will draw good action.

Upcoming Events

Aug. 17-22: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).

Aug. 19: Seeley Lions PreFat bike race, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Aug. 20: Hayward Bass Club ‑ Free Youth Bass Tourney, The Landing Resort, Noon-4 p.m. (text 405-227-1789).

Aug. 27: Hayward Bass Club ‑ Tom Turner High School Benefit Tourney, Tiger Cat Chain, Blackiron Grill, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (text 405-227-1789).

Aug. 30: Full Blue Moon (second full moon in August!).

Sept. 5: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. meeting at Flat Creek Lodge, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Sept. 16: Hayward Lions Club 3rd Annual Oktoberfest at Sawyer County Fairgrounds, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (715-558-6251).

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.