Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 11-2-2021

Steve Suman

 

Monday’s weather was somewhat “iffy,” but the forecast for the remainder of the week is encouraging. Temperatures will be a bit cool, but then with highs in the low 50s going into the weekend. For now, at least, there is no mention of precipitation (in any form!)

In other good news (snooze news?), Daylight Saving Time ends (officially) at 2 a.m. Sunday, November 7, and we turn clocks back one hour. Hunters whose seasons revolve around sunrise and sunset should take particular notice.

 

“Many anglers are now between open water and ice fishing seasons,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but fishing on the Quiet Lakes remains steady. Water temperatures are now in the mid-40s and plenty of good fishing opportunities will be available all the way up to first ice. If you plan a trip, dress accordingly!

“Musky action continues to get better as the water temperatures cool. Anglers who are slow-trolling medium musky suckers on quick-strike rigs have caught several nice fish, and those casting large swimbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and topwater lures are reporting some success.

“Walleye anglers should concentrate on the same spots and utilize the same techniques as during the early open water season. Fish have not received much pressure lately, and if you see fish on the graph, there is an 85-percent chance they will react to your presentation. Most walleye catches are coming from deeper holes.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good in the same areas as during the peak of summer, which means the edges of remaining green weeds and previous dock locations. It is tough to beat spinnerbaits, but many fish are coming on walleye suckers.

“Crappie action is best on old summer vegetation in 15-20 feet. This has been a weird autumn season for setting up on the usual productive crappie holes. Nonetheless, anglers are catching fish on crappie minnows under bobbers.”

 

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is steady, but not anything to write home about… yet.

“Turnover is just starting on many lakes and that will bring oxygen and nutrients to many overdue areas of the lakes. With the cooler temperatures, muskies and the prey they seek will start moving shallower. Check along weedlines, points, and small bays in 10-20 feet. Suckers are the main bait, but anglers are seeing fish on Bull Dawgs, spinners, surface baits, and glide baits.

“Walleyes are still deep, but push into shallow water at night to feed, just as they do throughout spring and summer. Deep structure such as humps and weedlines are holding schools of fish. Walleye suckers, and jigs and minnows, are working well during daylight hours. Farther into feeding hours, crankbaits and jerkbaits are putting fish in the boat.

“Northern pike are also starting to move shallower, but you can still find bigger fish deep, mixed in with walleyes. Live bait works well for pike, and some anglers are resorting to small musky suckers to find the biggest fish.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass remain deep, feeding over open water. Suspending baits and drop-shot rigs are working well. Anglers are also catching many fish on live bait, with big walleye suckers the ticket.

“Crappie schools are in basin areas, waiting to make the push to shallow weeds before there is too much ice. As the water cools, fish will move into shallow water harboring weeds, small minnows, invertebrates, and slightly warmer water. Jigs and minnows and small plastics are working well for schooled fish.”

 

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses 2021 musky stocking in the Hayward area.

“The fleet of hatchery trucks at Governor Thompson State Hatchery is finally resting after another busy season of stocking walleye and muskellunge into Hayward area lakes and across the region.

“Every production season brings unexpected challenges, and 2021 was no different. The professionals at Governor Thompson deserve a lot of credit for producing very impressive numbers of fish, year in and year out.

“Musky stocking in 2021 utilized eggs from Lac Courte Oreilles Lake (LCO), with the resulting fingerlings stocked into lakes throughout the same drainage and into the source lake. Crews stocked LCO with 2,570 fingerlings, 1,773 in Grindstone, 242 in Whitefish, 481 in Sand, 121 in Big Sissabagama, and 562 into Big Round.

“While the numbers of muskellunge stocked into these lakes is not eye-popping, at least compared to some other years, the size was exceptional. Muskellunge stocked into the aforementioned lakes averaged greater than 13 inches, a nice size bump that should help them survive at a higher rate than smaller fingerlings.

“Crews also stocked muskellunge into Osprey Lake in 2021. Those who follow local fisheries issues closely might not associate Osprey as a musky lake, but it is sandwiched between two other famous musky waters and muskies do occasionally turn up in surveys. We hope that stocking muskellunge directly into Osprey increases their abundance to a fishable level in the future, creating another exciting destination for anglers to chase these wily trophies.”

 

Hayward Rod and Gun Club, three miles east of Hayward on County Road B, will host its annual rifle sight-in days Saturday November 13 through Friday November 19, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day. The fee is $6 per rifle. As a fundraiser, the club is offering drawing chances ($10/each or 3/$20) to win a Savage Axis XP .270 Winchester rifle that includes a 3-9x50mm Simmons scope. The drawing is Friday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m., and the winner need not be present to win.

 

Crex Meadows Wildlife Area near Grantsburg will host a carpooling sandhill crane viewing tour this Friday evening, November 5, from 5-7 p.m. Participants will meet at the Crex Visitor Center and then carpool through the state wildlife area to view sandhill cranes as they fly from daytime feeding grounds to their nighttime roosting grounds. More than 7,000 migrating sandhill cranes gather at Crex each fall, with their numbers normally peaking during the last week of October or the first week in November. For more information, and to pre-register for the tour, call (715) 463-2739 or visit www.crexmeadows.org.

 

The Wisconsin DNR will accept public comment through November 4 on a proposed plan to designate a .9-mile span of existing forest road within Flambeau River State Forest as a snowmobile trail. This is part of a larger snowmobile trail re-route to improve Rusk County snowmobile trails, planned through the Flambeau River State Forest Master Plan variance process.

Flambeau River State Forest, located in Price, Rusk, and Sawyer counties, contains 90,147 acres. This includes 55 miles of snowmobile trails that provide access to the Tuscobia State Trail and Sawyer County trail system to the north, and Price and Rusk county trail systems to the south. For more information, search “Flambeau River State Forest master plan variance” on the DNR website.

 

The Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. is hosting a club meeting Tuesday, November 2, starting at 7 p.m., at Flat Creek Lodge on Hwy 27 South in Hayward. Members will review the fall tournament, including financials and other aspects of the event, set the 2022 budget, and elect officers and board members for the coming year. Meetings are open to the public and the club welcomes visitors. For more information, call Mike Persson at (715) 634-4543.

 

FISHING REPORT

The weather is changing ‑ and fish are changing with it. Lakes are experiencing turnover, though nearly a month later than usual, which adds to the challenge of finding active fish. Make it easier on yourself by stopping at your favorite bait shop for the most current information on fish locations and their preferred baits and presentations. On another note, this is a good time to locate and prepare ice fishing equipment, ‘cause… well, you know.

 

Musky:

Musky action is fair to good and improving with the cooling water temperatures. Look for muskies near food sources such as baitfish and panfish concentrations, keying on weeds, weedlines, bays, and points in 8-24 feet. The most productive presentations include large bucktails, Bull Dawgs, crankbaits, swimbaits, jerkbaits, gliders, and topwaters, though as usual at this time, suckers on quick-strike rigs are most productive.

 

Walleye:

Walleye fishing is fair to good on mid-depth to deeper weedlines, holes, and humps. During the day, use walleye suckers, fatheads, and jigs/minnows. During evening feeding hours, work shallow weeds and weed edges with jerkbaits, crankbaits, and stickbaits, as well as offering live bait temptations.

 

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is good to very good, with fish moving toward shallow, weedy locations holding baitfish and panfish. Northern and walleye suckers work best, but spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, swimbaits, and minnowbaits also get attention. Go bigger and deeper for trophy pike.

 

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing remains good into November, from shallow weeds, wood, brush, and other structure, to the same cover in deep water. Walleye suckers, spinnerbaits, Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, and glide baits are working well.

 

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good to very good on hard bottoms in mid-depths and deeper, and with some fish suspending. Walleye suckers, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, swimbaits, and glide type baits are getting the hits.

 

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is good and it will improve with the water cooling and schools of fish moving to shallow cover. Check those areas as well as weeds and basins in depths to 20 feet. Crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, and Gulp! baits all work well, though on some days one will work better than other baits.

 

Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is fair to good. Shallow weeds and structure still hold good numbers of small fish that offer plenty of action, but the large fish are on weeds, wood, and cribs from mid-depths to deep. Best baits include waxies, worms, crawler chunks, minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and teardrops, with or without floats.

 

Upcoming Events

Oct. 30: Non-resident raccoon hunting/trapping season opened.

Nov. 2: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. meeting at Flat Creek Inn and Suites, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Nov. 6: Seasons open: Otter trapping (North Zone); Beaver trapping Zone A (Northwest).

Nov. 7: Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. ‑ turn clocks back one hour.

Nov. 8: Woodcock season closes.

Nov. 13-19: Hayward Rod and Gun Club annual sight-in days, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Nov. 14: Elk season closes in Clam Lake Elk Management Zone (see regs).

Nov. 18: Crow season closes.

Nov. 19: Wild turkey season closes in zones 6, 7.

Nov. 20-28: Traditional nine-day gun deer hunt (see regs).

Nov. 23: Duck season closes in Northern Zone.

Nov. 29-Dec. 8: Muzzleloader deer season (see regs).

Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes statewide.

Dec. 9-12: Four-day antlerless deer hunt (see regs).

Dec. 9-17: Elk season open in Clam Lake Elk Management Zone (see regs).

Dec. 10: Application deadline for bear and spring turkey season permits.

Dec. 16: Goose season closes in Northern Zone.

Dec. 24-Jan 1: Antlerless-only Holiday Deer Hunt in select Farmland/Zone 2 counties (see regs).

 

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.