Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 7-27-2021

Steve Suman


The forecast (in a state of flux), currently indicates a mix of sun and rain early this week, then sunny and “less warm” from Wednesday through the weekend. Just keep moving forward… while keeping an eye on the sky.


There is still time to sign up for the free Kids Fishing Day, hosted annually by Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. It takes place this Sunday, August 1, from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Black Iron Bar and Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward.

Knowledgeable anglers guide young anglers 10-16 years old as they fish for muskies, bass, and panfish on Tiger Cat Flowage. Fishing begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon for a shore lunch and prize distribution.

Participants must pre-register at Hayward Bait and a parent or guardian must be present to sign the registration form. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.

Adults interested in guiding or helping with the shore lunch should contact Mike Persson at (715) 634-4543.


“The drought continues,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “leaving some Quiet Lakes’ area water levels at near historic lows. Surface water temperatures range from the low 70s to upper 80s.

“Musky action remains slows, though it will get better as fall approaches. Recently, a musky angler friend returned to his dock after spending hours looking for muskies without success. He tried one more time and landed a 47-inch musky. A week later, he did it again, with a 44-inch tiger musky. Maybe the secret is fishing off or around docks?

“Walleyes are on weed edges, steep drop-offs, mid-lake humps, and deep rock to sand/mud transitions. Anglers report a late evening into dark bite on jigs/minnows, jigs/leeches, and crawler halves on spinning rigs.

“Northern pike and largemouth bass on shallow weedlines are hitting spinnerbaits and swim jigs. Bass seek shade near docks and weeds, and frogs and other weedless lures over weed tops will work.

“Crappies are deep, sometime suspending and sometimes near bottom. Electronics help locate fish and crappie minnows and small plastics under bobbers will produce. Late afternoon offers the best bite.

“This is a great time to introduce less-experienced youngster to sunfish, as well as teach the importance of catch and release conservation. Almost any shaded beach area holds a good population of active panfish. Small hair jigs cast or twitched under floats will turn panfish, and fly-rodding can provide some fun entertainment.”


Jarrett at Hayward Bait says muskies remain deep, but last week’s cool temperatures put some lethargic fish into gear.

“Musky anglers report many follows and boat-side action on bucktails and glide baits. Target deep weed flats and edges, making sure to match bait color to water clarity.

“Walleyes are all over the place, but most anglers are targeting fish on weed edges and flats in 20-30 feet with harnesses and slip bobbers. Jiggin’ Rap’s, Snap Raps, and other small reaction baits work well. Some walleyes are sitting in weeds in less than 10 feet, so check any type of cover.

“Northern pike are on deeper weed flats and edges and live bait is shining lately, along with crankbaits, Rattle Traps, and Rippin’ Raps.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass are on deep slopes, weedlines, and rock flats. Live bait under slip bobbers, crawlers on jigs, drop-shot rigs, Texas rigs, and wacky worms are catching fish.

“Crappies hold to cribs and sit in weeds until prime time, when they lift from structure to feed. Crappie minnows, fatheads, small plastics, and Beetle Spins will do the trick.

“Bluegills are still structure oriented. Look for weed edges, cribs, and any fallen structure offshore. Some bigger bulls might roam deep basins, depending on the lake. Do not be surprised to find perch and bluegill mixed in deep schools.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is down 2-2.5 feet, with the water temperature high 70 to low 80s.

“The musky bite is good, with best success in early morning and at night. Fish are deep due to the very warm water, so try trolling Mattlocks, Jakes, and Grandma baits over deep water and structure.

“Walleye fishing is good for numbers, but fish length is less than desired. Anglers are using various techniques and baits, but the common denominator is that fish are deep. Jigging rigged leeches and crawlers, and trolling deep running crankbaits in deep water, are the best options.

“The northern pike bite continues in weeds, despite warm temperatures. Concentrate on the west side, and Tinsel Tail spinners and weedless spoons are the ticket

“The bass bite slowed last week. Anglers are catching fish, but not like in recent weeks, and most are using Ned Rigs and frogs. If the fish go deep, try dropping crawlers into cribs.

“The crappie bite is somewhat disappointing. The east side is fishing much better than the west, but anglers are catching fewer crappies than in past weeks. Bog fishing slowed and most crappie catches are on deeper cribs and brush piles. Not every crib holds fish at the moment, however, and you might have to play connect the dots. Minnows, Gulp! baits, and Crappie Scrubs are the baits of choice.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Grindstone musky growth.

“Passive integrated transponder tags, or PIT tags, have become a key element of muskellunge management in Wisconsin and elsewhere. The PIT tags allow for identification of an individual fish throughout its life, enabling biologists to measure growth rates and movements, among other data.

“A recent survey of muskellunge in Grindstone Lake illustrates what these data look like.

“In 2021, DNR crews captured 37 adult muskellunge as a part of a netting survey, with 13 of them carrying PIT tags they received when caught in a previous survey. Two other fish carried PIT tags received at the time of their stocking. We can determine growth rates by looking at the lengths of fish when they received tags and when they are recaptured.

“In Grindstone, female muskellunge averaged greater than 2 inches of growth per year, while males averaged about 1.3 inches per year. Different growth between the two sexes is typical. However, those averages hide the fact that growth is not consistent among individuals. Some recaptured muskellunge had grown more than 4 inches a year, while one male grew just a quarter-inch per year.

“We can also learn something about fish movements from muskellunge tagged in interconnected waters. Two muskellunge stocked into Lac Courte Oreilles, one in 2014 and one in 2017, appeared in the 2021 Grindstone survey.

“All untagged muskellunge captured in this 2021 survey received tags, which increases our odds of collecting more population data in the future. Survey crews will catch many of these fish several more times during their lives, such as a 44-inch female captured in the 2021 Grindstone survey that had been captured in three previous surveys.”


On July 28, the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will offer two 90-minute performances (5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) at the Sawyer County Fairgrounds. For 32 weeks each year, the circus brings its action-packed, family friendly show to more than 200 towns in 17 different states.

The circus offers the public a free tour of the circus grounds at 9:30 a.m. that includes watching the tent raising. You can meet the animals up close and personal, and learn about their routines and care.

Advance tickets cost $12 for adults and $7 for children 2-12 years of age and seniors 65 and older. Tickets are available at MarketPlace foods and the Hayward Information Center. Sales of advanced tickets end Tuesday.


The Lumberjack World Championships begins this Thursday, July 29, and runs through Saturday, July 31, at the Lumberjack Bowl on County Road B in Hayward. The world’s best lumberjack athletes will compete to determine who IS best in the world! Preliminaries are Thursday and Friday, with the finals Saturday.

For more information, visit www.lumberjackworldchampionships.com or call (715) 634-2484.



Fishing is generally fair to good for most species, with some days better than other days. Well, it IS fishing! The most current information to help you catch fish is available from your favorite bait and tackle folks. They will gladly steer you towards what is hot “today.”



Musky action is slow to good, depending on location, time, and the angler. During the day, fish are on deep weeds, weed edges, flats, and other structure. In the evening, fish move shallower. Bucktails, gliders, stickbaits, and topwaters work well. When fish are deep, trolling deep cover with Grandma, Jakes, and Mattlocks can produce.



Walleye fishing is good, with better success in very early morning and late evening into dark. Fish are widely dispersed in a variety of areas. Look for fish on weeds, weed edges, drop-offs, breaklines, mid-lake humps, flats, rock, sand, mud, and transition areas. Depths range from 8-35 feet, with shallower water best in low light hours. Leeches and crawlers on jigs, spinning rigs, and slip bobbers, Jiggin’ Raps, and cast/trolled deep crankbaits are all catching fish.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good on weeds, shallow to mid-depth (and deeper) weedlines, and near concentrations of panfish and baitfish. Best bait choices include live bait, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, minnowbaits, and crankbaits.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is fair to good on weeds, weedlines, brush, bogs, and cribs, from shallow to mid-depths and deeper. Spinners, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, plastics and live bait rigs, and topwaters are the top presentations at this time.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is fair to decent on weeds, weedlines, breaklines, drop-offs, cribs, rock, and other hard bottom areas. Sucker minnows, crawlers, leeches, plastics in assorted configurations and crawfish colors, Ned rigs, Texas rigs, drop-shot rigs, wacky worms, and topwaters can all tempt smallmouth at certain times.



Crappie fishing is fair to good, with best action in late afternoon/early evening hours. Fish are in mid-depths to deeper water on weeds, brush, bogs, and cribs, near bottom and often suspending. Crappie minnows, fatheads, plastics, Gulp! baits, Crappie Scrubs, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Beetle Spins can all draw the crappies’ interest.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good on weeds, weed edges, wood, brush, bogs, and cribs in various depths, from shallow to deep basins. Waxies, worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits are all effective.


Upcoming Events

July 28: Culpepper & Merriweather Circus at Sawyer County Fairgrounds; 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (715-634-8662).

July 29-31: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

Aug. 1: Hayward Muskies, Inc. ‑ Annual Kids Fishing Day at Black Iron Grill; 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (715-634-2921).

Aug. 10: Application deadline for wolf, fisher, bobcat tags.

Aug. 13-15: Sawyer County Fair (715-296-9000).

Aug. 15: Hayward Bass Club Free Youth Bass Tournament at The Landing Resort, 12 noon-4 p.m. (405-227-1789).

Sept. 18: Hayward Chapter-FHNB event at Lake Chippewa Campground (715-634-3185).


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.