by: Steve Suman

Highs in the mid-20s to mid-30s this week, according to the forecasts, with lows in the teens – except for a predicted single-digit low Thursday night! The forecast also includes more snow, though not any appreciable amount (at this time.) If you are not ready and/or prepared for the transition from fall to winter… it is going to happen, regardless. Might as well GET prepared and enjoy it as much as possible!

“The weather certainly changed from the previous week, when temperatures were in the 50s and 60s,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “We began this week with a layer of snow on the ground and more in the short-term forecast.

“As for fishing, musky fishing is now the primary open water activity. The cold weather triggered the fish into a feeding frenzy and musky action is the best of the year, with anglers catching muskies nearly every trip. Most of the fish are coming on suckers on quick-set rigs or on jigging baits. The current water temperatures are in the upper 40s and some crust ice is forming along the shorelines. This weather is more in line with rifle season than fall archery or fishing, but a few brave anglers will still be on the lakes, even with the falling snow.

“We have no reports from anglers fishing any other species, with most having retired their boats for this fishing season and now thinking about getting into the woods.

“Whitetail deer are moving into rut and rutting activity will near its peak soon and through the early weeks of November. Bowhunters are finding buck scrapes and report deer movement increased significantly.

“It is the time of year when if you see one deer, you will probably see some more, and it seems everyone is seeing more deer than during the past couple years. Get your guns sighted in – rifle season will be here before you know it!”

Bob at Hayward Bait says late fall/winter arrived this week, with dropping temperatures – and snow.

“Some anglers are getting on the water in this inclement weather and the bite is still solid over the past couple weeks.

“Musky anglers are catching most fish with suckers on quick-set rigs. In addition, some anglers are trolling diving lures such as Mattlocks, some are casting large jerk and swim baits, and still others are vertical jigging Fuzzy Duzzits or Bondy baits. Focus on 15-30 feet depths, on steep breaking points and humps that drop quickly into deep water.

“There are still a few crappie anglers on the water and they report some success on suspending fish by working small minnows and plastics in 20-35 feet.

“With bowhunting and rut getting into prime time, this should be a great week to spend time in the stand and archery hunters are already taking some nice bucks.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses 2017 as a big year for the Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies, Inc.

“There are many great fishing clubs in the Hayward area, all of which do fine work to promote fishing, habitat, and conservation. The Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies Inc. is one of the clubs and this year it deserves specific recognition for its involvement in a considerable number of projects.

“During this past spring, the Chapter provided funding and volunteers to help control non-native northern pike in Lac Courte Oreilles. They paid to have many of the smaller pike – in which anglers have little interest – turned into fish patties donated to local food shelves.

“Later in the year, the Chapter donated funds to Governor Thompson Hatchery to purchase extra food so some muskies raised there could get bigger before stocking. Bigger fingerlings tend to have better survival. The club donated funds to tag many of these fish and provided much of the volunteer labor necessary to implant all the tags.

“In yet another project, the Chapter donated funds to the hatchery to help develop a system to keep ospreys from eating so many fish out of the hatchery ponds. That effort, if successful, could significantly boost hatchery production of muskellunge.

“Most recently, the Hayward Chapter, along with several other local groups, donated funds to extend one of the Chippewa Flowage boat ramps. Longer ramps mean better access to the Flowage, no matter the water level.

“The Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. deserve a big thank you for all the fine work it did in 2017 to improve our fisheries and the sport of fishing in the Hayward area.”

According to DNR wildlife biologists, whitetail rut is in full swing and deer are moving more each week – in the daylight as well as just before and after sundown. As such, this time of year has the highest rate of deer-vehicle collisions. Drivers should be alert for deer frequently appearing on roadsides and be especially vigilant when driving through areas with trees and other vegetation close to the road. This is especially true in early morning and evening hours when deer are most active. For more information and tips on how to improve your chances of avoiding a deer-vehicle collision, search “car killed deer” on the DNR website.

The DNR seeks volunteers to help with an elk herd project in Flambeau River State Forest near Winter. To help monitor the Forest’s elk herd, DNR biologists designed a grid of 100 trail cameras similar to grids in use near Black River Falls and Clam Lake. The grids, intended for year-round use in perpetuity, generate thousands of photos each year and provide an accurate and cost-effective system to monitor the elk herds. The DNR needs volunteers to help set up and monitor cameras in the new elk reintroduction area in Flambeau River State Forest, as well as to monitor existing cameras near Clam Lake and Black River Falls. The DNR provides training and equipment, but volunteers must have transportation to the camera sites, a GPS/smart phone, computer (Windows OS), internet connection, and email. For more information about these positions, requirements, and job duties, contact Susan Frett (608) 221-6323 or email

The Hayward Area Ski Trail Association (HASTA) is holding its annual Ski Swap Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9-11 a.m., at Hayward Wesleyan Church on Nyman Ave. Come swap, buy, and sell Nordic ski, bike, and other silent sports equipment, as well as clothing. Proceeds support local ski trail grooming and skier development. For more information, call (715)634-8079.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. invites the public to its meeting Tuesday, November 7, at 7 p.m., at the Flat Creek Inn (location change) restaurant meeting room. The meeting will include a review of the fall tournament, discussion of donations and other activities, election of officers, and a lure/fishing equipment swap. Anyone attending the meeting who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson at (715) 634-4543).


Angler interest is dropping with the temperature, but this is THE time for trophy muskies and musky anglers continue to pound the water in search of the big ones. Look for fish in deeper water (15-30 feet) on breaks, points, and humps adjacent to steep drops to deep water. Suckers on quick-strike rigs are the most effective bait this time of year, but some anglers are catching fish trolling/casting stickbaits, divers, jerkbaits, swim baits, and jigging baits. There are still a few crappie anglers trying their luck, with some reporting success fishing small minnows and plastics for fish suspending in deeper water (20-35 feet). Single-digit lows forecast for this week will surely end open water fishing on many waters.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 28: Seasons opened: Muskrat statewide; Mink in North, South, and Winnebago zones.

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

Nov. 11: LCO Veterans Powwow (715-634-8934).

Nov. 11: HASTA Ski Swap at Hayward Wesleyan Church from 9-11 a.m. (715-634-8079).

Nov. 16: Crow season closes.

Nov. 17: Fall turkey season closes in zones 6 and 7.

Nov. 18-26: Traditional nine-day gun deer season.

Nov. 21: Duck season closes in North Zone.

Nov. 27-Dec. 6: Muzzleloader deer season.

Dec. 7-10: Four-day antlerless hunt.

Dec. 10: Application deadline: Spring turkey, Bear.

Dec. 10: Carnivore Tracking and Wolf Ecology Workshops at Crex Meadows Wildlife Area (715-463-2739).

Dec. 24-Jan. 1: Antlerless-only Holiday Hunt – farmland units only.

Dec. 25: Period 1 Bobcat season closes.

Dec. 26: Period 2 Bobcat season opens.


For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.