Steve Suman


Should the forecast hold true, this will be a beautiful week in the North Woods, with clear skies, mild summer temperatures, and only “slight” chances for rain on the weekend. Check below for a number of events you can enjoy!


August 1 is the permit application deadline for bobcat, fisher, otter, and the 2020 upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing season. Applications are available online at and at all license agents and DNR service centers. Applications cost $6 for bobcat and $3 for fisher, otter, and upriver sturgeon spearing. The DNR draws winners in August and issues permits in September. For more information, search “trapping” and “sturgeon spearing” on the DNR website.


“We are transitioning into summer patterns and fishing remains positive,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“The Quiet Lakes are providing some good catches, with anglers finding fish on sharp breaks off weed edges in 10-16 feet. Slow trolling or drifting is producing walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass, and the morning and late afternoon bites are improving.

“Fish are seeking cooler shaded waters off shore and under shade. Structure areas to target should include mid-lake islands, humps, reefs, steep breaks, and docks. It is important to plan your outings to fit the best bite times of early morning, late afternoon, and evening.

“Musky action is picking up, with some anglers finding success when casting mid-size spinnerbaits on shallower mid-lake humps. Look for musky angling pressure to increase through the remainder of the open water season, especially during early morning and evening hours.

“Panfish continue to be easy targets in the shallows and near shoreline vegetation. Small minnows and soft plastics fished under bobbers are taking a variety of year classes, but the bigger fish seem to bite best in late afternoon.”


Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s say Nelson Lake walleye anglers should use Rapalas, Beetle Spins, fatheads, crawlers on harnesses, and leeches.

“To get the attention of northern pike and largemouth bass during these high temperatures, warmer water conditions, anglers should cast baits with more plop, splash, flash, and rattle. In addition, do not be afraid to use larger spoons with trailing tails, as well as buzz and chatter baits. Try larger stickbaits might normally use and toss swim jigs and frogs into weed beds.

“For panfish anglers targeting crappie and bluegill, minnows, waxies, crawler chunks, and Gulp! Alive will all work in bog and crib areas.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage remains full, with the water temperature 73-76 degrees.

“Musky action slowed, but anglers are still catching fish. During cooler water temperatures in early morning and evening, use bucktails and surface baits, and expect to see more fish shallow. Trolling Mattlocks and other larger crankbaits are best during daylight hours.

“Walleyes are biting, but average on the small side. With the cooler temperatures, fish breaklines and weed edges in early morning and evening. During daylight, work leeches and crawlers in cover in 18-25 feet. For trollers, Flicker Shads, Flicker Minnows, and Shad Raps are solid choices.

“Northern pike action is somewhat slow. Try fishing spinnerbaits and weedless spoons in weeds in 7-8 feet.

“Smallmouth bass activity somewhat rebounded from a slow down. Anglers should target stumps and rocks and cast imitation craws, spinners, and frogs. If shallow action is slow, try crawlers in the cribs.

“The crappie bite is primarily on bogs at night with crappie minnows and plastics, particularly one-inch Gulp! Emerald Shiner minnows. During the day, fish deeper cribs and sand saddles”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses public meeting for the Big Chetac management plan.

“Anglers who fish Big Chetac Lake should mark Aug. 15 on their calendars and plan to attend a DNR public input session for the Chetac Chain, including Big Chetac and Birch lakes, which is part of developing the fishery management plan.

“The DNR has already developed similar plans for Lac Courte Oreilles, Nelson, Chippewa Flowage, Grindstone, Round, Moose, and Teal/Lost Land lakes.

“Angler input is a critical component of developing these plans. Anglers tell us which species they value and how they want to see the DNR manage that species in terms of catch and release vs. harvest, and trophy vs. action fisheries.

“Using that input, DNR fisheries biologists can create measurable goals and objectives that are in line with angler preferences and then apply the best tools available to steer the fishery towards meeting those goals.

“This meeting is August 15, starting at 6 p.m., at Birchwood School in Birchwood. If you fish the Chetac Chain, please attend and make your voice heard!”


The DNR will not issue sharp-tailed grouse hunting permits for the fall 2019 hunting season due to concerns over future viability of the population in Wisconsin. By state law, sharp-tailed grouse do retain game species status. For more information, search “sharp-tailed grouse” on the DNR website.


Sawyer County Outdoor Projects & Education (SCOPE) is offering a DNR Hunter Education course in Hayward. Classes meet August 6, 8, and 13 at Hayward Middle School. The August 6 class begins with registration at 5:30 p.m. and class from 6-8:30 pm. A Saturday, August 10, class runs from 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Hayward Rod & Gun Club. Students must attend all sessions and pass written and hands-on tests. Successful students receive a hunting vest complements of SCOPE, a distinctive embroidered emblem, and a hunter education certificate. The $10 fee includes all materials and bonus items. These courses fill quickly and require advanced registration by emailing with your name, age, phone number. You will receive additional information by e-mail. For more information, call (715) 558-5371 or 558-1633, or visit


The 60th Annual Lumberjack World Championships runs Thursday through Saturday, August 1-3, showcasing the best in sawing, chopping, speed climbing, log rolling, boom-running, and more! For more information, including ticket pricing and availability, seating options, parking, and more, call (715) 634-2484).


Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner runs Friday and Saturday, August 2-3. This event includes pancake breakfast, races, games, car show, food booths, entertainment, and more. For more information, call (800) 367-3306).


Flambeau River State Forest is hosting a cast iron cooking techniques class and demonstrations at the Connors Lake picnic area Saturday, August 3. Learn how to cook meals in cast iron cookware over fire and charcoal – and enjoy the results! For more information, call (715) 332-5271


This Sunday, Aug. 4, Hayward Chapter-Muskies, Inc. will host its annual free Kids Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage, from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at Black Iron Bar and Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward. Club members and other knowledgeable muskie anglers guide young anglers 10-16 years of age on Tiger Cat Flowage and other nearby lakes for musky, bass, and panfish. Participants fish until noon and then meet for a BBQ 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. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921 or Mike Persson (715) 634-4543. Adult anglers interested in volunteering as guides should contact Mike Persson.




Musky action is improving for bigger fish, with early morning and late evening into dark best. Fish are holding on shallow to mid-depth breaklines, weedlines, and mid-lake humps. Cast medium bucktails, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwaters, or troll Mattlocks and other big crankbaits during daylight hours.



Walleye action is good to very good, with best success in low light early mornings and late afternoon hours into after dark. Look for fish on weeds and weed edges, breaklines, humps, and other structure out to 30 feet. Work deeper water during the day, moving shallower for the low light periods. Leeches and crawlers on jigs, slip bobbers, harnesses, spinner rigs, and split shot rigs work well, as do Beetle Spins and stickbaits, and Jigging Raps in deeper areas. Trolled Flicker Shads and Minnows, and Shad Raps are also catching fish.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is fair to good and improving with the somewhat cooler weather. Work on, over, along, and in shallow to deeper (5-18 feet) weeds, weed beds, and weedlines, and wherever you find schools of panfish. The most effective baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, stickbaits, crankbaits, buzz baits, and topwaters.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to excellent, with fish locating on weeds and weedlines, breaklines, brush, bogs, and cribs. Top producing baits include spinner, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, buzz baits, chatter baits, stickbaits, various plastics, and topwaters.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is fair to good and improving. Fish are holding in 8-18 feet and deeper on weed edges, stumps, humps, rocks, cribs, breaklines, and other cover. Best baits include spinners, assorted plastics such as tubes, worms, frogs, and crayfish imitations, crawlers, and topwaters, early and late hours offering the best chances for success.



Crappie fishing is good to very good when you locate them, with best success early and late in the day. Look for fish on shallow to mid-depth (and deeper) weeds, humps, breaklines, bogs, and cribs. Best baits include crappie minnows, crawler pieces, waxies, plastics, and various Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks, with or without bobbers.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good in and on the edges of shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed beds, brush, bogs, and cribs. Waxies, worms, crawler pieces, small minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits fished on jigs and small hooks, with or without bobbers, are all effective baits.


Upcoming Events

Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs).

Aug. 1: Application deadline for bobcat, fisher, otter, and Upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing.

Aug. 1-3: 60th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).

Aug. 2-4: Jack Pine Savage Days – Spooner (800-367-3306).

Aug. 3: Flambeau River State Forest – cast iron cooking techniques, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).

Aug. 4: Hayward Chapter-Muskies, Inc. Annual Kids Fishing Day (715-634-2921).

Aug. 6-13: Hunter Education Course in Hayward; offered by SCOPE (715-558-5371; 558-1633).

Aug. 10: Flambeau River State Forest – Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday party, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).

Aug. 15: DNR Big Chetac Lake public meeting on fishery management; Birchwood School, 6 p.m.

Aug. 17: SCOPEFamily Fun Days (715-558-5371).

Aug. 19-22: Antlerless tags on sale in regular DMUs where available.

Aug. 20: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license.

Aug. 22-25: 112th Annual Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).

Aug. 24: Family Fun Day at Brule State Fish Hatchery, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (715-372-5678).

Aug. 25: Hayward Bass Club Youth Bass Tourney on Chippewa Flowage; noon-4 p.m. (715-699-1015).

Aug. 30-Sept. 1: 27th Annual Exeland Trout Festival (715-943-2242).

Through Aug. 31: Bear dog training by pursuing bear open (see regs for exceptions).


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.