By: Steve Suman
The forecast for this first week of August includes highs in the lower 80s, lows in the upper 40s, and chances for rain and/storms a few days. The majority of the week looks to be outstanding, so take advantage of these near-perfect days!
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.
Youth anglers: Register NOW for the Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. annual free kids Fishing Day 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 and youth anglers still have time to register. Knowledgeable anglers guide young anglers 8-16 years of age on Tiger Cat Flowage and other nearby lakes for multiple species, fishing 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 and for other duties should contact Mike Persson. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921 or Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
“Cooler days are definitely making it more comfortable for anglers,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and this pattern should continue over the next week or so.
“Muskie success is picking up for anglers working various baits near dark. During the day, cast bucktails, swim baits, and jerkbaits along weed edges.
“Walleyes are concentrating on mid-lake humps, reefs, and deeper holes. Anglers should try jigging buckshot spoons tipped with minnow heads and large plastics or trolling crawler/leech rigs and small crankbaits over deep humps. Fishing is best in very early mornings and early evening into night when fish move shallower to feed.
“Northern pike are in shallow, weedy areas, hitting spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters.
“Largemouth bass are in/around shallow weeds, structure such as docks or downed trees, and lily pads. Use spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters. Smallmouth bass are on deep rock and gravel, with small, deep diving crankbaits, tubes, and plastics producing.
“Crappies are around deep submerged vegetation and cribs. Crappie minnows, tubes, and small plastics under slip bobber are all productive. Better bluegills are in 10-17 feet, with many small fish in shallows providing young anglers great entertainment.”
Erik at Hayward Bait says area lakes are fishing quiet well, especially following a recent cool-down that dropped water temperatures to the mid-70s.
“Musky fishing is fairly steady on bucktails, topwaters, and big rubber baits fished off cabbage weed edges.
“Walleyes anglers should look for mid-lake structure, humps, and points. Try leeches on plain hooks under slip bobbers, trolling crankbaits, and Jiggin’ Raps and other vertical jigging lure.
“Northern pike fishing is on shallow to mid-depth weed edges.
“Bass are active and offering a good bite, with plastics the key to success. For largemouth, use Texas rigged or wacky rigged Senkos. For smallmouth, NED rigs in crawfish colors are extremely effective, as are drop shotting and tube baits. Also, work topwaters in the morning and evening hours, chugging poppers with intermittent pauses, or scooting Whopper Ploppers scooted across the water.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage water level is down about a foot, with water temperatures in the mid-70s.
“Musky trolling is strong, with Mattlocks, 14-inch Jakes, Grandmas, Go-Getters, Cranes, and Magnum Head Hunter solid choices. Rubber baits are big, and casting during early morning and evening hours is more effective than in the past several weeks, and try throwing Creepers and Hawg Wobblers.
“The walleye bite is good during mid-day for anglers trolling Flicker Shads over deep bogs humps, and sand saddles. In early morning and evening, fish leeches and crawlers in 6-12 feet off breaklines and weedlines, particularly those bordering the river channel. Google Eye jigs are still the jig of choice for live bait.
“Northern pike are active in weeds, but fish are small, with tinsel tails producing the most action.
“Smallmouth bass are active on the east side, with no signs of let-up, and crawlers, plastic imitations, frogs, and spinners are equally deadly.
“Crappie action is slow, but may be picking up a bit. Try fishing the bogs with minnows or trolling small (#5) Flicker Shads at slow speeds over the areas holding walleyes.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses how water temperature can determines fish species present in a stream.
“During the summer, DNR fisheries crews across the state are in the field performing stream surveys. These surveys can have a variety of objectives, but most target trout or smallmouth. In addition to the target species, crews often observe many other types of fish.
“Water temperature plays a huge role in fish species present in a stream. In Hayward area streams with warmer water temperature, there may be nearly two dozen species present, including many species of minnows, dace, chubs, suckers, shiners, and darters. These species are all more tolerant of warm water and thrive in that environment. The presence of these species is often an indicator that the water is too warm for trout (especially brook trout). In streams with cold water temperature, there will be very few of these species.
“Coldwater streams are more likely to hold trout and may also have sculpin and mudminnow. In a good coldwater trout stream, it is common to find trout and only one or two other species. As such, anglers looking around for great trout water might want to skip over streams where they consistently catch minnows.”
Musky action is consistently fair to good, with better success in early mornings and late evening hours. Look for fish on the edges of shallow to mid-depth cabbage and other weeds. Casting bucktails, jerkbaits, swim baits, rubber baits such as Bull Dawgs, and trolling large stickbaits and crankbaits are all producing some action.
Walleye fishing is good, with best success in early morning and late evening into after dark. During the day, fish deeper weeds, reefs, humps, holes, points, breaklines, and sunken bogs. In the evening, concentrate on shallower areas holding forage. Successful presentations include leeches and crawlers on plain hooks, jigs, split shot rigs, slip bobbers, and spinning rigs; trolled minnow and crank baits; and Jigging Raps.
Northern pike action runs from fair to very good, with fish holding in shallow to mid-depth weeds and near panfish concentrations. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, bucktails, crankbaits, topwaters, minnows, and northern suckers will all attract pike. For trophy pike, fish deeper water with bigger baits.
Largemouth fishing is good to very good, with fishing holding around shallow to mid-depth weeds, lily pads, brush, bogs, trees, docks, cribs, and other cover. Various plastics in assorted configurations are working well, as are spinnerbaits, topwaters, and live bait.
Smallmouth bass action is very good on deep, hard bottom areas with rock and gravel. The most productive baits include crayfish colored tubes, plastics, crankbaits, spinners, drop-shot rigs, NED rigs, crawlers, and topwaters in early morning and evening hours.
Crappie action is fair, though showing some improvement. Look for fish around deep weeds, cribs, bogs, and suspending over deeper water. Best baits include crappie minnows, tubes, plastics, and Gulp! baits under slip bobbers, small minnow baits, and spinners.
Bluegill fishing is fair to good for larger ‘gills around weeds in 8-15 feet, but very good for small fish in/around shallow weeds and brush. Top producers include waxies, worms, crawler pieces, plastics, and Gulp! baits fished on plain hooks, small jigs, and teardrops with/without slip bobbers.
Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; bobcat, fisher, and otter; Upriver Winnebago sturgeon spearing.
Aug. 23-26: Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).
Sept. 15: Early Canada goose season closes.
Sept. 15: Seasons open: Archery and crossbow deer; Fall turkey; Ruffed grouse in Zone A; Cottontail rabbit in Northern Zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Crow.
Sept. 16: Canada goose season opens in North and South exterior zones.
Sept. 29: Seasons open: Duck in Southern and Mississippi zones; Canada goose in Mississippi River Subzone.