Hayward and the North Woods had a slight (and not necessarily welcome) taste of winter this past weekend. This is a good reminder to address those “I’ll do it later” outside projects now. The forecast says the area should see weather that is more seasonal later this week.
“Musky fishing pressure has increased, the sucker bite is on, and suckers are in big demand. Unfortunately, suckers are in short supply. If you intend to use suckers, call in advance to check availability.
“Walleye and crappie anglers are catching fish in deep water and around structure by jigging and/or drift fishing live bait and soft plastics. Do not be surprised if you encounter other species as well. Live bait becomes increasingly popular this time of year, but some days are better than other days, often in direct relation to the day-to-day weather patterns. A more consistent blend of weather would certainly improve the fishing.
“Now that water and air temperatures are falling, it is time to dress for the occasion – and remember to wear a life jacket! On a different note, this time of year more and more hunters are in the woods and on the water and it is a good idea to wear a blaze orange hat or similar clothing.”
Trent at Hayward Bait says fall weather is here, lakes are turning over, and fish are moving into their fall patterns.
“Musky and northern pike are hanging in about 10 feet and best bait choices include hard swimbaits, bucktails, Red October tubes, and rubber baits such as Bull Dawgs and Medussas.
“Walleyes are pushing deep, 30-40 feet on most lakes, and suspending. If you are catching smallmouth, fish just a little deeper and you should find walleye. Jigs with minnows or plastic minnow are very effective this time of year.
“Largemouth bass are close to the edges of green weeds and shallow humps. Spinnerbaits, spoons, skirted jigs, and square-bill crankbaits are all good options. Smallmouth bass are staging in about 20-30 feet and this time of year favor crankbaits, jigs, and jigs and minnows.
“Panfish are moving to 10 feet and shallower. Work the edges of green weeds and shallow humps with ice fishing tackle such as Kastmaster spoons and small jigs.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool and rising, with water temperatures in the low to mid 50s.
“Muskies are active on a variety of baits and suckers remain very scarce. The sucker situation is looking grim, and at this point, it is on a week-to-week basis. Good alternatives to sucker fishing are vertical jigging and/or casting rubber baits, and trolling, which will be the go-to approach for most anglers if suckers remain scarce.
“Walleyes are a bit scattered, but with the colder weather might start congregating along deeper edges and holes. Large fatheads and sucker minnows are the norm, though a few anglers are using crawlers.
“Crappies are still in and around Moore’s Bay, but seem active there only during certain times throughout the day. Crappie minnows and Gulp! Minnows are the popular bait choices.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the business of fish in Wisconsin and the world.
“We know fishing is big business in Wisconsin, as DNR statistics show that fishing annually generates $2.3 billion in economic activity in the state. Fishing is also big business worldwide, as well as an important source of food.
“According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 40 million people in this world make their living catching fish commercially, with an estimated 20 million fish farmers on top of that. For comparison, there are an estimated 13 million people directly involved in commercial timber harvest (logging).
“For every job directly related to fishing, there are numerous more indirectly related jobs, such as those at fish processing and canning facilities. Of those who make their living from fishing and fish farming, a very large percentage of them live in Asia. When adding up direct and indirect fishing industry jobs, fish support an estimated 828 million people!
“Fish have contributed much to our society and key in sustaining human population growth. As a result, this means we ask a great deal from our world’s fisheries.”
Results from the latest 2019 DNR wildlife surveys, made possible through Pittman-Robertson funding, are now available on the DNR website. Survey results include population surveys and estimates, harvest results, and wildlife observation reports. The reports include data collected on small game, big game, waterfowl, furbearers, and non-game species. For more information, search “reports” on the DNR website www.dnr.wi.gov.
Though difficult to believe, the DNR’s Deer Donation Program marks its 20th anniversary this year! To celebrate, hunters who donate a deer will receive a commemorative ball cap (while supplies last). The Deer Donation Program began in 2000, and since then has donated and distributed more than 92,000 deer, producing more than 3.7 million pounds of venison, to food pantries across the state. Hunters can donate their deer at participating meat processors and can make monetary donations when purchasing hunting licenses to help cover processing costs. Hunters should know if the deer needs CWD testing before donation, the processor’s location, and call the processor before delivering a deer to make sure the processor is accepting donations at that time. For more information, details on donating a deer, a list of processors by county, and more, search “deer donation” or visit www.dnr.wi.gov/topic/hunt/donation.html on the DNR website.
This Saturday, October 19, from 10 a.m.-noon, FISH (Friends into Spooner Hatchery) and the DNR Gov. Tommy Thompson Fish Hatchery in Spooner will host an Adopt a Musky event at the hatchery. Come see the hatchery and adopt a PIT tagged musky that is destined for stocking in its new Chippewa Flowage home. Choose your fish, learn why these fish receive the tags, and how you might be able to follow your fish as it grows. You can snap some photos, scan the fish for its tag number, name the fish, and receive an adoption certificate to take home. The suggested “adoption fee” is a $5 donation. This is a fun way to get involved in fish stocking, as well as see the impressive Spooner Hatchery at 951 West Maple St. in Spooner. For more information, visit www.spoonerhatchery.com or call (715) 635-4147.
Musky fishing has improved greatly from summer and the sucker bite is going great guns. Sucker availability (or lack thereof) is presenting some issues, however. Fish are mostly inside of 12 feet looking for food (hence the annual fall sucker bite!) There are options other than suckers, including Bull Dawgs, Medussas, and other rubber baits, tubes, bucktails, jerkbaits, gliders, and big stickbaits, especially for trolling, another option to counter the sucker shortage.
Walleye anglers continue to have some success, but fish are scattered and present a challenge. Target edges and holes in depths to more than 30 feet, and use your electronics to look for suspending fish. The best baits include walleye suckers, fatheads, crawlers, plastics, crankbaits, and Jigging Raps.
Northern pike fishing is good as they remain active and on the feed around shallow to mid-depth cover and schools of panfish. Top producing baits include bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, stickbaits, and northern suckers.
Largemouth bass continue to offer anglers good action. Look for fish on shallow to mid-depth weed edges and humps out to about 12 feet. Spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, spoons, plastics, and live bait are all enticing the bass.
Smallmouth fishing remains good for fish on hard bottoms with rock and wood in depths out to 30 feet. Swim jigs, soft plastics, and live bait are all very effective smallmouth baits.
Crappie action ranges from fair to very good, but inconsistent, with fleeting bite windows. Look for fish around deeper weeds, brush, breaklines, humps, and other structure, and often suspending. Cover the entire water column! Crappie minnows, plastics, Gulp! baits, small spoons, and small Jigging Raps will all catch crappies.
Bluegill fishing is fair to good around weeds and humps in depths out to about 10 feet. The most productive baits include waxies, leaf worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks, with or without bobbers.
Oct. 15: Inland trout season closes.
Oct. 19: Seasons open: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse in Zone B; Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Raccoon gun/trapping for residents; Red and gray fox hunting/trapping; Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1 north of Hwy. 64; Coyote trapping; Fisher trapping.
Oct. 26: Seasons open: Muskrat statewide; Mink in north, south, and Winnebago zones.
Oct. 31: Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame closes for season (715-634-4440).
Nov. 1: Wild ginseng season closes.
Nov. 2: Seasons open: Beaver trapping; Otter trapping.
Nov. 4: Woodcock season closes.
Nov. 23: Regular gun deer season opens.
Nov. 26: Duck season closes in North Zone.
Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.