By: Steve Suman
The forecast for this week is much like a repeat of last week, with chances of mid-week showers and then partly cloudy skies and mild temperatures through the weekend. This is great recreational weather for the last week of July!
“Bring bug spray,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “biting flies and mosquitoes are now a nuisance.
“Musky anglers are finding some success over and around vegetation, wind driven points, and breaklines. Bucktails, crankbaits, spinners, and various topwaters are all producing equal success.
“Walleye fishing is fair, with the best fishing in early morning and late evening into dark. In late afternoon to evening, troll shallow vegetation with spinner rigs with crawlers and leeches, or cast crankbaits, bright stickbaits, and topwaters.
“Northern pike fishing is good on shallow to mid-depth weeds. To catch big pike, fish deeper, cooler water.
“Largemouth fishing is very good around structure and lily pads with crankbaits, soft plastics, buzz baits, and topwaters such as Hula Poppers.
“Crappie fishing is slow, with some anglers finding them on drops-offs and holes as deep as 12-18 feet. Crawler pieces and small leeches under slip bobbers work best, but small plastics and feather jigs also produce some catches. Small fish in the shallows provide great times for young anglers.”
“Musky fishing is good on weed edges and over open water. Casting large jerkbaits and spinners in the evening should get some action.
“Walleye fishing is good on most lakes, with plenty of fish in shallow weeds and wood and the deeper bite picking up. Try weedless jigs with leeches or paddle-tails, as well as leeches on slip bobbers for the shallow bite, and trolling crawlers on spinners. Casting Jigging Raps in deeper water will also get bites.
“Bass fishing is very good. For largemouth, work wacky worms and topwaters on weed edges and overhead cover. Smallmouth are active on topwaters and tubes over rock and gravel.
“Panfish action is improving, with decent reports on crappies and bluegills. Look for schooling fish along weedlines and deep cribs and use crappie minnows and plastics.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage water temperature is 76-79 degrees and the water level is down 6-9 inches from full pool.
“Musky anglers report success trolling Mattlocks, Jakes, Grandmas, and 10-inch Cranes. With cooler water temperatures, cast bucktails and topwaters shallow in early morning and evening hours. Bull Dawgs are producing some nice fish off breaklines.
“Walleye fishing picked up a bit and anglers report catching legal fish off weed edges and breaklines in 8-12 feet. Crawlers and leeches are the live baits of choice. During the day, troll Flicker Shads over deep brush.
“Northern pike fishing is good for smaller fish on weed beds. Use spinnerbaits and weedless spoons.
“Smallmouth bass fishing is great around very shallow stumpy and rocky shorelines on the east side. Imitations such as frogs, craws, and minnows are very effective. During the day, fish cribs with crawlers.
“Crappie action is picking up for evening bog fishing, with brush piles and cribs also solid choices. Use crappie minnows and Gulp! 1-inch minnows.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses local habitat projects to help trout anglers.
“In the Hayward area, tag alder and other brush can overgrow many trout streams, making them difficult to fish. Several local habitat projects will help trout anglers as they chase their next trophy or meal. The Hayward Fish Team and LCO Youth Conservation Corps have cleared stream corridors to provide better fishing access and casting lanes.
“Brushed areas include Hatchery Creek in Hatchery Creek Park; Maple Creek between Polish Road and Hendrickson Road; Mosquito Brook from Porky’s Road down to the Namekagon River; Benson Creek down from Chapel Road; Swan Creek in the Exeland park; Stress Springs surrounding the spring ponds; and Little Weirgor upstream from Hwy 48. All of these sites have healthy trout populations and anglers should have increased success with the easier access.
“Do not forget that you need an inland trout stamp to fish for trout! The funding from stamp sales goes to habitat and access projects such as these.”
Register now for the August Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) hunter education course. Classes meet at the Hayward Middle School from 6-8:30 p.m. August 7, 9, 14, and at Hayward Rod and Gun Club from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. August 11. The course requires advanced registration and the $10 fee includes all materials. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name, age, and contact number. You will receive additional information by e-mail. For more information, contact Chris Wunrow (715) 558-5371 or D.J. Aderman (715) 558-1633.
Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. is hosting its annual free kids Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage Sunday, August 5, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Black Iron Bar and Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward. Knowledgeable muskie anglers guide young anglers 8-16 years of age on Tiger Cat Flowage and other nearby lakes until noon when they stop for a shore lunch and prize distribution. All young anglers receive a bag of fishing goodies and an opportunity to win raffle prizes. Pre-register (required) at Hayward Bait and a parent/guardian MUST be present to sign the registration form. Adult anglers interested in volunteering as guides should contact Mike Persson. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921 or Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
August 1 is the application deadline for hunters and trappers interested in pursuing wild turkey, bobcat, fisher, and otter this fall, as well as for Upriver Winnebago sturgeon spearing. For more information, search “permit applications” on the DNR website. In a change this year, the application period for sharp-tailed grouse permits is Aug. 1-31. The DNR will issue 25 permits in Game Management Unit 8 for the Oct. 20-Nov. 11 season. For more information, search “sharp-tailed grouse permits” on the DNR website.
Flambeau River State Forest is hosting a Campfire Cookout Saturday, July 28, starting at noon, at the Connors Lake picnic area. Cooks from around the state will share campfire cooking tips, techniques, and recipes. For more information, call (715) 332-5271.
Musky action is fair to good and anglers are picking up a few nice fish. Concentrate on weeds and weed edges, points, breaklines, and drop-offs. Work shallower areas in early morning and evening hours. A wide range of baits will work, including bucktails, spinners, Bull Dawgs, crankbaits, large stick and jerk baits (cast and trolled), and topwaters.
Walleye fishing is fair to good and improving, with (as usual) the best fishing in shallower water during early morning and late evening hours into dark. Look for fish around weeds, weed edges, wood, brush, and breaklines out to about 15 feet. The most productive presentations include crawlers and leeches on jigs, split shot rigs, under slip bobbers, and on spinner rigs, as well as cast and trolled Flicker Shad, crankbaits, and stickbaits.
Northern pike fishing is good to very good, with most action on small fish. That could change with cooling water temperatures. Look for fish everywhere from shallow to deep weeds, with bigger pike deeper. Top baits include minnows, northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, small bucktails, crankbaits, stickbaits, and plastics.
Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good on shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed edges, lily pads, structure, and overhead cover. Best baits include soft plastics in various configurations, wacky worms, crankbaits, spinners, buzz baits, and topwaters.
Smallmouth bass action is good to very good in shallow, mid-depths, and deep water for anglers fishing around rock, gravel, weeds, wood, and cribs. Top producing baits include plastics such as tubes, worms, crayfish, frogs, minnows, and topwaters, and crawlers.
Crappie action is fair to good, but improving with cooler weather. Look for fish on deeper drop-offs, weedlines, brush, bogs, and cribs out to about 20 feet. Late afternoon into evening hours is generally the best time for success. Crappie minnows, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs under slip bobbers are all producing catches.
Bluegill fishing is good, especially for smaller fish in and around shallow weeds and structure. For bigger ‘gills, work deeper water in/on weeds, weedlines, and cribs. Waxies, worms, crawler chunks, small leeches, small minnows, and plastics on plain hooks or small jigs fished under slip bobbers will all produce action.
July 28: Campfire Cookout, Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, noon (715-332-5271).
Through July 31: Illegal to run unleashed dogs on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).
Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; bobcat, fisher, and otter; Upriver Winnebago sturgeon spearing.
Aug. 11: Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday party celebration, Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, noon (715-332-5271).
Aug. 13-16: Antlerless deer tags (where available) for regular DMUs go on sale.
Aug. 18: Fall turkey permits remaining after drawing go on sale. Check availability.
Sept. 1: Application deadline for hunters with disabilities hunt.