If you have waited for a week of perfect weather to pursue outdoor summer activities, this week could very well be the one! The forecast calls for sunshine all week, mid-70s to low 80s highs, and nighttime lows in the 50s. If this is not “the” week, it could very well be as close as it will get. Get out and take advantage!
“Musky action is hot, with many anglers working fast-moving bucktails and spinnerbaits through weed beds. Look for good cabbage and work pockets of milfoil.
“Walleyes are not showing like other species. Fishing with a friend, we found one very small fish on the deep edge of a milfoil bed. Locating fish is the key and difficult without electronics. Look for deep points with rocks and sand. Use leeches and crawlers on Lindy rigs and similar presentations.
“Northern pike are hitting small bucktails and bass size spinnerbaits on weed beds.
“Largemouth bass anglers are catching fish by working spinnerbaits through weed beds in 6-10 feet.
“Smallmouth bass reports are scarce lately, but start with deeper rocks, sand, wood, and other structure in 12-20 feet. Jigging plastics and live bait work well, as does crashing crankbaits off structure and the bottom.
“Crappie action is good in the weeds with small hair jigs fished plain or tipped with waxies. Some fish might relate to weeds; some might be schooling in the basins. Use minnows under slip bobbers and small jigs tipped with waxies.
“Bluegill anglers are catching some nice fish in with crappies in the weeds and on the same jigs and waxies combos. Kids fishing crawlers on plain hooks off the docks are catching good numbers and good sizes.
“Perch are in the same areas and weed beds as crappie and bluegill, with some smaller fish around docks.”
Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is strong, with many catches in 10-20 feet.
“Fish are more able to move with cooler temperatures. Suckers, small bucktails, swimbaits, and topwaters work well. Daytime action is solid and peak periods are good, with many catches during evening hours.
“Walleye action is slow. Trolling anglers are catching fish and some anglers snap-jig Jigging Raps, Hyper Hammers, and Hyper Rattles. Ripping and trolling are catching more than live bait, as faster techniques get more reaction strikes.
“Northern pike are both shallow and deep. Small, shallow fish provide great action, but the big dogs are deep. Spoons, reaction baits, and large northern suckers work well.
“Largemouth bass action is solid. Some fish school on deep weedlines and respond to Texas and drop-shot rigs, crankbaits, and live bait. For fish in shallow slop, punching techniques and topwaters work well.
“Smallmouth bass are on deep weeds, rock, and structure. Use drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, snap jigging, and live bait. For suspending fish, try topwaters.
“Crappies are on deeper cribs, weeds, and structure, but rise to feed during morning and evening hours. Bounce small jigs back to the boat or fish crappie minnows on slip bobbers. Get on top of negative fish to coax a bite.
“Bluegill fishing is strong, with many big bulls and females on deep weedlines or flats looking for food. Small drop-shot rigs, jigs and crawlers, and light slip bobbers that move with the wind can help you find fish in deeper water.”
Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says northern pike anglers are using large minnows and stickbaits in areas holding panfish.
“Largemouth bass anglers should toss spinners, weedless worms, and swim jigs in/along weed beds. Soft weedless plastics and scented worms rigged Ned or wacky style work great, and critter and crawfish shapes will do the job, too. With the water clarity diminishing, add scent or flash.
“Crappie and bluegill fishing is good. With the warm weather, fish are in more than 8 feet and closer to the bottom than usual. Use light baits in bright colors.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is down 2.5 feet and water temperatures are in the high 70s to low 80s.
“Muskies are all over the place, action is a mix of casting and trolling, and both methods have potential to produce. Keep an eye on water temperatures ‑ the higher the temperature, the more likely fish will go deeper. If trolling is your choice, run Mattlocks and other large crankbaits. If casting, bucktails and slower moving surface baits are the ticket.
“Walleye fishing is better than in previous weeks. Work deeper areas with good cover during the day; target weed edges and drop-offs in 6-12 feet during early morning and evening hours. Crawlers and leeches are the ticket for live bait, with crankbaits for artificials.
“Northern pike are biting in the weeds on Tinsel Tails and Johnson Silver Minnow spoons with pork rind trailers. Fish the west side for bigger pike.
“Crappie reports are mixed, but fish are not jumping in the boat. Some anglers report little to no success; others report moderate to decent success. Successful anglers are constantly on the move, picking up 2-3 crappies in a spot and moving, as no one spot holds large numbers of fish. Crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! Minnows are the baits of choice.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the benefits of wood on the Namekagon River.
“Wood is an important habitat type for many fish species, including trout. Trout of all sizes use in-stream wood for resting cover, feeding, and protection from predators.
“Woody habitat in streams can often be limiting, however, such as on the Namekagon River, where historic logging activities reduced both the amount of wood in the river and the amount of trees available to ‘recruit’ (fall) into the river.
“Researchers have estimated that the amount of wood in the Namekagon River around 2010 was likely one-third to one-fifth of what was present historically. In 2022, we conducted an updated inventory of woody habitat in the Namekagon River from County M in Bayfield County to Hospital Road north of Hayward. This is the prime ‘coldwater’ stretch of the river with the best capacity for supporting trout.
“Woody habitat varied considerably by reach, from as little as 37 pieces of in-stream wood per mile up to 371 pieces per mile. A much smaller percentage of the woody habitat was large trees, and only around 30-40 percent, depending on the reach, still had branching that offered more complex habitat for trout. Additionally, about three-fourths of the wood in the river is shallower than one foot, which makes those pieces less appealing to larger trout.
“The overall amount of wood in the Namekagon today looks very similar to past habitat assessments, suggesting that new wood is not recruiting into the river fast enough to increase the amount of available woody habitat.
“The team also documented beaver activity, and found that while beaver were present in many parts of the river, there was no evidence that they were adding many trees into the system. This combination of results points to the appeal of targeted woody habitat additions that we might consider as a part of future projects on the river.
“Trout Stamp funds made this survey possible.”
Hayward Bass Club’s annual free Youth Bass Tournament is this Sunday, August 14, from noon to 4 p.m., headquartering at The Landing Resort on the Chippewa Flowage. This is open to all youth 10-17 year of age. Bass Club members, local guides, and youth anglers fish from noon-4 p.m., followed by a shore lunch and awards ceremony. For more information, or to volunteer to help with guiding, cooking, and prize distribution, text Wayne Balsavich at (405) 227-1789, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fishing is generally good for most species and cooler temperatures this week might improve the action. Even if not, it looks like an amazingly nice week ahead just to be on the water! If catching is most important to you, go prepared to target various species ‑ at least a couple of them should be on the “very active” end of the spectrum!
Musky action is good to exceptionally good, with evening hours best. Look for weeds and weedlines in depths to 20 feet, though fish are scattered. Favored baits include suckers, swimbaits, spinnerbaits, bucktails, and topwaters. Trollers are using large crankbaits such as Mattlocks and stickbaits.
Walleye fishing is best early and late into dark. Work deep weeds, weed beds, breaklines, rock, sand, points, humps, and drop-offs during the day. In early morning and late evening, fish weedlines and weed edges in 6-12 feet. Crawlers and leeches on Lindy rigs and harnesses, snap-jigging Jigging Raps and similar baits, and trolling, are all producing.
Northern pike fishing is very good and they are just about anywhere you find weeds and/or panfish and baitfish concentrations. Small fish are shallow, but for trophy pike, go deeper with bigger baits. Productive offerings include large sucker minnows, bucktails, stickbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.
Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good, as one expects in the summer months. Look for fish anywhere from shallow slop and lily pads to deeper weeds, weedlines, and weed beds in depths out to 15 feet. Baits of choice include spinners and spinnerbaits, crankbaits, drop-shot, Texas, and Ned rigs, swim jigs, various soft plastics, and live bait.
Smallmouth fishing is fair to good on sand, rock, weeds, wood, and other structure in 10-25 feet. Sucker minnows, crawlers, leeches, various plastic configurations, crankbaits, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, and topwaters are all catching fish.
Crappie fishing is good to very good, with best success in early morning and evening. Look for fish on mid-depth to deep weeds, weed edges, wood, cribs, brush, bogs, and basins. Best baits include crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and leeches on jigs and plain hooks, Mini-Mites, Tattle Tails, Gulp! baits, and small Beetle Spins.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good on mid depth to deep flats, weeds, weedlines, weed edges, docks, cribs, brush, and bogs. Check the entire water column. Waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leeches, and small minnows on small jigs, plain hooks, drop-shot rigs, and/or under slip bobbers are all effective offerings.
Aug. 11-14: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).
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.
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.