By: Steve Suman
The forecast for this week predicts mild temperatures, with chances for rain thunderstorms, and (for some) – relief from the 90-degree temperatures. Great weather for nearly all outdoor recreation!
“Summer-like temperatures are giving way to spring-like conditions,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Water temperatures in the upper 70s should cool with the rain and cool nights.
“Muskie season is off to a slow start, with anglers catching a few undersize, beat-up, post-spawn fish. Use mid-size bucktails, crankbaits, and plastics with slow retrieves.
“Walleyes finished spawning and moved to the mid-depth ranges and humps. Jigs and minnows work well, with the best times early morning and late afternoon into dark.
“Northern pike and bass are sticking near vegetation and following spawning fish. Use small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters. Smallmouth bass remain catch and release until June 16.
“The panfish bite is good on most inland lakes. Crappies are finishing spawn, while bluegills are coming in to spawn and will stick near vegetation.
“Crappie minnows, tube jigs, and hair jigs under bobbers are producing some nice fish in shallower areas with vegetation. Polarized sunglasses can help locate fish. Anglers are also finding some walleyes in similar areas.”
Erik at Hayward Bait says fishing is solid in the Hayward Area.
“Musky anglers report numerous follows – and some lazy fish. Musky action will only get better as weeds establish and water temperatures warm. Various glide baits and plastics are producing success. Look for wind-blown shorelines, established weed beds, and areas near musky spawning grounds.
“Walleye fishing is picking up and anglers should look for summer transition areas. Jigs and minnows, and crawler/harness rigs with crawlers and leeches are producing catches.
“Northern pike are active and anglers should work various jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and spoons over/along weed beds.
“Bass fishing remains strong, with largemouth and smallmouth spawning on many lakes. Work the shallows for cruising fish, using jerkbaits, soft plastics, drop-shots rigs, Ned rigs, and topwaters. Handle fish carefully and release them as close to the bedding area as possible.
“Crappies are post-spawn, depending on the lake and water temperature. Look for deeper timber and weeds close to deep water. Use jigs and crappie minnows, plastics, and waxies, moving from spot to spot to find active schools.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full level, with the water temperature 75 degrees.
“Musky action is on various baits and trolling deeper areas will become more effective the farther we move into summer. In early morning and at night, breaklines and weed edges are usually productive. Tail baits and crankbaits are solid choices. Stay deeper and cast in to work drop-offs effectively.
“Walleyes are active at varied depths, with smaller fish around shallow stumps and rocks and bigger fish deeper. Large chubs, leeches, plastics, and swimbaits are all producing action.
“Northern pike are active in weedy bays on the west end, with live bait and tinsel tail spinnerbaits working well.
“Smallmouth bass fishing is solid on plastic craws and frogs, spinnerbaits, and crawlers along stumpy and rocky shorelines.
“Crappies are a little quiet as they transition to summer patterns. Try deeper weeds, brush piles, and cribs with minnows and plastics. Bluegills are in the weeds, hitting leaf worms, leeches, and waxies, and many anglers report perch 11 inches and larger.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fish “personalities.”
“All anglers have a story of a time when they simply could not get a fish to bite, even after casting over and over right in front of the fish. At other times, a fish wanted to destroy any lure in the area. This leads to an interesting question – do individual fish have personalities? Research tells us the answer is yes.
“Studies on different fish species found strong evidence of ‘behavioral syndrome,’ a concept summarized as some fish consistently being more bold and aggressive and some fish being much more shy and wary. The two personality types exist in nature because there are situations when being aggressive is beneficial and situations when being wary is beneficial, so both kinds of fish can be successful in a population.
“This information has obvious implications for fishing, but note that fish of all personality types need to eat – and therefore anglers can catch them. A fish with a bold personality might be more likely to rush out and strike a crankbait, while an angler might need to target a more wary fish with a finesse bait for a longer time.
“Now this is where it gets really interesting. There is evidence that behavioral syndromes are genetic, meaning that aggressive fish are more likely to have aggressive offspring, and vice versa.
If aggressive fish are easier for anglers to catch and harvest, one can imagine how decades of angling could alter the long-term makeup of a population.”
This is nesting season for many Wisconsin turtle species. From May through July, female turtles cross roads for nesting areas in sunny uplands with sand, gravel, and loose soil. As such, DNR biologists ask citizens to submit turtle sightings, emphasizing road crossing hot spots, to the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. The DNR considers vehicles running over turtles as a leading cause of decline in Wisconsin turtle numbers. The loss of even one adult female can affect population numbers, especially in species such as the wood turtle and Blanding’s turtle, which can take 12-20 years to reach reproductive age. For more information, search “turtle conservation program” on the DNR website.
Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area is hosting a Wing-shooting Workshop Saturday, June 16, from 9 a.m. 3 p.m. The DNR designed, one-day workshop helps bird hunters improve their hunting skills with proper techniques, range estimation, and choosing the correct shotgun, choke, and ammunition. The goal is to improve the hunting experience, while promoting responsible and ethical hunting. The workshop cost $25/person and requires pre-registration. For more information, visit www.crexmeadows.org or call (715-463-2739).
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. invites the public to attend its meetings Tuesday, June 5, at Flat Creek Eatery. Following a business meeting at 6:30 p.m., the general meeting starts at 7 p.m. Admission is free. Featured guest speaker, DNR fisheries bureau director Justine Hasz, will talk about muskies and various other fish topics. People interested in becoming a new member of Muskies Inc. can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
Musky action is a bit slow as fish are still recovering from their spawning adventure. Concentrate on weed beds and edges, wind-blown shorelines, breaklines, and drop-offs, particularly in early morning and night. Baits of choice include small to mid-size gliders, jerkbaits, crankbaits, bucktails, plastics, and topwaters using slow retrieves.
Walleye fishing is good, with action improving as post-spawn fish return to feeding, but the walleyes dispersed to spots at various depths. Early morning and late afternoon into dark are the most productive hours. Look for mid-depth to deep humps, stumps, rocks, and weedlines. Jigs and minnows, crawlers, leeches, plastics, and swimbaits all work well.
Northern pike fishing is good around shallower weeds, weed beds, and spawning panfish. Northern suckers, minnows, jerkbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and plastics all work. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits deeper.
Largemouth are shallow, spawning, and hitting plastics, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and more. This is a good time to test your collection!
Smallmouth fishing is very good, but it is catch and release until June 16. Fish are near shallower stumps, hard bottom areas, and rocky shorelines. Soft plastics such as crayfish and frogs, jerkbaits, drop-shot rigs, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and crawlers are all effective offerings.
Crappie fishing is fair to good, but post-spawn fish moved deeper and it might take some searching to find the schools. Work deeper weeds, wood, timber, brush, and cribs with crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, tubes, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and hooks, with or without bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is good to excellent, with fish spawning and even finishing on some lakes. Look for shallower weeds and other vegetation – and “elephant tracks” on sandy bottoms. Use waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leaf worms, leeches, plastics, and tubes on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks, fished under bobbers.
June 5: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. meeting at Flat Creek Eatery, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).
June 15, 29: Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area Bird Watching Fridays, 8-10:30 a.m. (715-463-2739).
June 16: Wing-shooting Workshop at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (715-463-2739).
June 16: Northern zone smallmouth bass season goes from catch-and-release to daily bag limits (check regs).
June 22-24: 69th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
June 22-24: Hayward Lions Fishing Contest (715-634-8662).
June 24: Hayward Bass Club’s Round Lakes Open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Props Landing Waterfront Grille (715-699-1015).
June 24-26: Musky Tale Resort – Stumpmasters Annual Invitational Bass Tournament (715-462-3838).
July 1: Training dogs by pursuing bear allowed through August 31 (see regs).
July 15: Turtle season opens statewide (see regs).
July 20-22: Birchwood Lions Club Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).
August 5: Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. – Annual Kids Fishing Day (715-634-4543).
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.