Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 11-9-2021

Steve Suman

 

The forecast for this week indicates falling temperatures, though finally aligning with the annual averages for this time of year. We had a wonderful fall run, but knew that “late fall” weather would eventually catch up to us. Look for highs in the 40s (mostly), lows in the low 20s, and a mix of precipitation from Wednesday evening into next week.

 

Veterans Day is this Thursday, November 11, a day to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. The observation is November 11, regardless of the day of the week, to preserve the historical significance of the date and focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day. For more information, visit www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.

 

“Most avid Quiet Lakes’ outdoor enthusiasts would agree that it can be difficult to decide what activities to pursue in November,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Deer are mating, grouse are flushing, waterfowl remain fair game, and fishing is on fire in many waters ‑ but daylight hours are very short!

“One thing for sure is it is starting to get cold, making jackets mandatory when heading outdoors. We probably have a few more weeks until we can tiptoe onto first ice, but until then, many good open-water fishing opportunities still exist.

“Musky action is heating up thanks to the cold weather, and medium to large suckers on quick-strike rigs is the way to go. Casting and trolling large baits are also productive, but not quite as effective.

“For walleye, ripping jigs on mid-lake humps is one of the most fun ways to target fish. Fan-casting stickbaits towards shorelines will also produce bites. Trust your electronics!

“Typical this time of year, the regular spring honey holes are now producing fish. Most fish are schooled and on a good feed, if you time it right, with bite windows mostly from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. Minnows are the way to go, but you can diversify with other productive tactics.”

 

Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky anglers are now reporting good fishing success.

“Muskies are on the edges of steep breaks and weedlines in 10-20 feet, picking off baits. Dragging suckers is productive, jerkbaits, crankbaits, and bucktails are still catching fish, and trolling big baits is effective for covering water.

“Walleyes are still deep, with some already sliding shallow for early ice, and we already had water temperatures cool enough for skim ice in the bays. Walleyes will transition from deep hideouts to weedlines and shallow bays in pursuit of baitfish making the same move. Slow-rolling jerkbaits and live bait work well this time of year. The key is to move bait slowly. Fish are hungry, but more lethargic with the cooler water, so back off the gas on the retrieve!

“Northern pike fishing is good, with many fish coming from 15-20 feet on deep weed flats adjacent to shallow bays. These fish will soon work their way into those bays and start stocking up and gain some girth, so do not be afraid to throw some bigger baits.

“Crappies are still deep, holding to cribs and above weeds. Good electronics can help you find fish fast! The crappies should be close to bottom in 5-10 feet, stacked vertically. Drop baits to the bottom and slowly work them up through the schools. Active fish are typically toward the top of the school. Crappies feed ‘up’ and look for food above them, rather than on the same level or below them, and will move a few feet for baits, especially if there is competition for food.”

 

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 2 feet and the water temperature is in the low to mid-40s.

“The musky bite overall is slower than usual during this late fall due to higher than normal water temperatures. However, we are starting to get a cool-down and some anglers report increased action. With water temperatures currently in the low to mid 40s, suckers and trolling are the two tactics to utilize if you plan a trip.

“Walleye reports are scarce since most anglers are targeting muskies, but with water temperatures dropping, fishing deep holes with walleye suckers is the way to go.”

 

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses 2021 walleye stocking in area lakes.

“Walleye stocking has long been a part of fisheries management in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, we rely on stocking to maintain walleye populations in many local waters once sustained through natural reproduction.

“Stocking can provide good fisheries and can be a useful tool to rehabilitate a population in decline, but adult densities that result from stocking are typically lower than lakes with natural reproduction. Still, we tip our caps to the staff at Governor Thompson Hatchery in Spooner who did excellent work raising walleyes for stocking into lakes in the Hayward area. We were even able to take advantage of a surplus to stock a few additional lakes.

“In 2021, the DNR stocked large fingerling walleyes into Lac Courte Oreilles, Lost Land, Teal, Ghost, Lower Clam, Spider Chain, Smith, Black, and Nelson lakes. Stocking rates (number of fish per acre of water) differ among these lakes, and the outcome of different stocking rates is the subject of ongoing research.

“During midsummer, the DNR stocked surplus small fingerlings into the Tiger Cat Chain and Lake Hayward. We are also fortunate to have partners who contribute to stocking in the area. This year, partners stocked walleye into Lake Winter, Fish Trap, Hunter, Perch, and the Spider Chain. Another key local partner, the Lac Courte Oreilles Conservation Department, stocked many waters in the area as well.

“It is encouraging to see strong community support for stocking fish in the area. We can also harness that same energy and spirit for local habitat and angler recruitment efforts.”

 

Deer Hunt Wisconsin 2021, the special’s 31st annual episode, airs on the PBS Wisconsin digital channel Thursday Nov. 11 at 8:30 p.m.; Friday Nov. 12 at 12:30 a.m.; Saturday November 13 at 10:30 a.m.; Sunday Nov. 14 at 1 a.m.; and on a number of community public access stations in November and December. Check local listings for dates and times. Host Dan Small will also discuss the show and new deer regulations on Larry Meiller’s WPR show Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 11:45 a.m. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/deerhuntwi.

 

The DNR is encouraging hunters to donate Wisconsin-harvested deer to the Deer Donation Program to help stock food pantries to support residents in need throughout the state. Since the program began in 2000, hunters have donated more than 94,000 deer, providing more than 3.8 million pounds of ground venison. Hunters interested in donating a deer to should check the DNR website for instructions. Deer harvested in CWD-affected counties require testing for CWD before or at the time of donation, and processors will hold the venison until learning the results.

 

Hayward Rod and Gun Club on County Road B, three miles east of Hayward, is hosting 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. While you are there, pick up fundraiser drawing chances to win a Savage Axis XP .270 Winchester rifle with a 3-9x50mm Simmons scope for $10/each or 3/$20. The drawing is Friday, Nov. 19, at 4 p.m., and the winner need not be present to win.

 

FISHING REPORT

The fall transition is picking up this week as both air and water temperatures likely make a big drop. If you hit the water, take suitable warm clothing, have safety equipment at hand ‑ and stop at your favorite bait and tackle shop for the most current information on fish locations, favorite bait, and presentation preferences.

 

Musky:

Musky action is good and improving with the cooling water temperatures (and less comfortable fishing conditions). Target the edges of breaklines and weedlines in depths to 22 feet, as well as near baitfish and panfish concentrations. Large suckers on quick-strike rigs are the top choice, as expected this time of year, but big bucktails, crankbaits, gliders, and jerkbaits are all catching fish, too. Trolling big stickbaits can be especially effective this time of year.

 

Walleye:

Walleye action is good with fish schooled, feeding, and starting a move from deep cover to shallow weeds. Baits of choice include walleye suckers, fatheads, jigs and minnow, jerkbaits, stickbaits, and crankbaits.

 

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is very good on mid-depth and deeper weeds, weed edges, humps, bays, and near schools of baitfish and panfish. Use northern suckers, walleye suckers, fatheads, spinners, spoons, and swimbaits, and for trophy fish, work deeper water with bigger baits.

 

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good on weeds, weed edges, wood, breaklines, and points in various depths. Sucker minnows, spinnerbaits, stickbaits, Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, and some plastics work well.

 

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing, as with largemouth, is good to very good, but few anglers are chasing them. Work deep hard bottom areas, weed edges, and river channels as the fish migrate to deep wintering areas. Sucker minnows, plastics, drop-shot and Ned rigs, and crankbaits are all good options.

 

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is good to very good when you locate the active schools by using your electronics and keeping on the move. Look for fish on and over weeds, weed edges, brush, and cribs in 4-20 feet, and suspending, so check the entire water column. Crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits, suspended above the fish, all work.

 

Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is good when you find active fish. Target deep weeds, weed edges, wood, and cribs for bigger fish. Waxies, worms, crawler chunks, minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits work well, fished on small jigs under floats. Fish are looking for food, but also looking over their shoulders so they do not become food!

 

Upcoming Events

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

Nov. 7: Daylight Saving Time ended at 2 a.m. ‑ running an hour ahead of schedule?

Nov. 8: Woodcock season closed.

Nov. 11: Veterans Day.

Nov. 13-19: Hayward Rod and Gun Club annual rifle 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: Fall turkey season closes in zones 6 and 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.