The forecast shows a cooling trend, and with Wednesday and Thursday the only days not showing rain chances. We need moisture, though not all at once, but forecasts have built-in “flexibility.” This is only the start of July, but summer moves along quickly, whether or not you take advantage of it, so… take advantage of it!
“Fishing is hit and miss, depending on the Quiet Lakes water you fish,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and some anglers are struggling to catch fish. This is peak boating season and picking off-peak times of the day is important. Rivers see less boat traffic this time of year, and you are likely to have many areas to yourself. Regardless, you cannot catch them while sitting in the cabin!
“The key is fishing little to no pressure times and bigger waters, keeping tabs on lakes experiencing bug hatches. Best success is in 10-25 feet.
“We are not hearing much success from musky hunters.
“If you are after big walleyes, angling has declined for now, but anglers report success casting small jigs with crawler halves. Take your time and slow your casting and jigging cadence.
“There are always some fish that can be had, and trolling crankbaits, spinnerbaits, Bagleys, Husky jerkbaits, chatterbaits, and swimbaits can certainly catch a few walleye, pike, and bass. Try throwing topwater plastics such as weedless frogs, mice, and rigged worms over vegetation. Bite windows are important as we move into the warmest months of the year.
“Another successful approach is bobber fishing leeches and crawlers. Look for shady waters, especially when bass fishing, concentrating on docks, swim rafts, wood or concrete cribs, and leafy vegetation.
“Panfish fishing is good, with bite times in play. Crappie minnows under slip bobbers and plain hooks with leaf worms and waxies will produce fish. Bigger fish are schooled and moving around the lake in 10-20 feet, and electronics can help locate them. Vary your bait depth, as fish are sometimes close to bottom and other times suspending.”
Jarrett at Hayward Bait says muskies are sliding deeper with the increased fishing and boating pressure, and all fish species spook more easily at this time.
“Musky anglers should target deeper weedlines and structure adjacent to cribs. Muskies do not hold to cribs, but station near these high traffic fish areas waiting for their next meal. When muskies slide deeper, subsurface and diving baits are good options. Bucktails and topwaters come back into play at prime time.
“Walleyes are on deeper weedlines and flats, as well as on shallow weeds, points, and feeding areas near deep water. In the evening, fish slide up ledges to feed. Jumbo leeches under slip bobbers are very effective, as is trolling deep diving crankbaits and Lindy Rigs.
“Northern pike are on deeper points, weedlines, and structure holding baitfish. Jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and minnow presentations work well.
“Largemouth bass are around docks, piers, thick weeds, wood, and lily pads near deep water. Wacky rigs, Senkos, and other plastics do the trick, and topwater frogs work well in weedy areas. Pull fussy fish from cover with leeches and small minnows.
“Smallmouth bass are on deep rock flats eating crayfish and young fry, and bass suspending over deep water will at times hit topwater lures. Drop-shot, football, and Carolina rigs, and crankbaits rolled off rocks, will tempt smallmouth.
“Crappies and bluegills are in 15-25 feet. Crappie schools wander aimlessly, while bluegills intermix and school. Active fish are near the top of schools. Crappies feed up, so keep baits above schools! Slip bobbers, small jigs and plastics, small spinners, and crankbaits can pull the largest panfish from schools.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should jig minnows, bobber fish with leeches, and cast or troll stickbaits.
“Northern pike and largemouth bass fishing have picked up recently. Fish weed bed edges, lily pads, and reeds with weedless surface baits such as frogs and scented worms, buzz baits, and spinnerbaits. Cast weedless swim jigs into the middle of the beds.
“Crappie and bluegill anglers can catch fish by drift fishing minnows, worms, waxies, and Gulp! Alive baits in 6-10 feet, as well as casting small Beetle Spins, Thumper jigs, and Cubbies.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down about 2 feet, with the water temperature at 76 degrees.
“Musky action, primarily a casting bite, is very good lately. As water temperatures increase, muskies will transition from shallow structure to deep cover, so break out the trolling baits. Be mindful of the water temperatures. Surface temperatures above 80 degrees get more and more dangerous for the fish, regardless of release techniques.
“The walleye bite remains strong on jumbo leeches in weeds in 4-12 feet. Increasing water temperatures may push them deeper. If action in the weeds slows, troll deep running crankbaits over deeper cover.
“Northern pike action is still strong in the weeds. Focus on the west side for maximum success. Tinsel Tail and Northland Reed Runner spinnerbaits are currently the hot ticket.
“Smallmouth bass are active on stumps and rocks on the east and south ends, with frogs and Ned rigs bringing the most success.
“Crappies are now solidly in their summer patterns. During the day, you will find them in weeds, cribs, and brush piles in 16 feet and deeper. At night, fish the bogs with crappie minnows, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses maintenance of Chippewa Flowage fishing trails.
“Anglers know well that the Chippewa Flowage offers excellent fishing for a variety of species. In recent years, it has been a goal of local DNR staff to create opportunities for anglers to enjoy fishing the Chippewa Flowage, including those who do not have access to a boat.
“The first update was an ADA accessible fishing pier and single vehicle parking added at the CC North Landing, a project supported by many fantastic local partners. We later added two fishing trails along the water.
“The first trail is the ‘Good Day’ trailhead, off CC just east of the CC North Landing. This trail extends out to a point with great shore fishing for everything, including walleye.
“The second trail is near the CC South Landing boat ramp, starting just behind the kiosk. This trail follows the shoreline and provides angling access to several small bays that commonly hold northern pike, bass, crappie, and bluegill.
“Both of these fishing trails recently received maintenance to clear brush and other obstacles and should be in good shape for anglers. In some areas, the trails can be a little steep for someone with stability issues. For those worried about footing, the CC North Pier is a great option. We hope to see these access points get use.
“It is worth pointing out that though they are plenty nice, the design of the trails and pier was not for scenic beauty, but specifically to get people to good fishing areas!”
The Birchwood Bluegill Festival is happening July 16-18! The annual Medallion Hunt begins July 14 and continues until someone finds it. The finder receives $75 if wearing a 2021 Bluegill Button ‑ and $25 if not. The event includes a queen and her court, craft show, vendors and artisans selling various goods, men’s softball tournament, live music, food tent, beer garden, Friday night fish fry, pancake breakfast, horseshoe tournament, beanbag tournament, parade, and more. For more information, visit www.birchwoodwi.com/bluegillfestival-2021.
Big Fish Golf Club is offering free youth golf clinics from 10.a.m.-11:30 a.m. Friday July 9 and 16. These clinics are for age levels 6-8, 9-12, and 13-17 years. For more information and to sign up for the clinics, call (715) 934-4770.
A cooler week ahead should make for more comfortable fishing conditions ‑ and maybe more active fish, though fishing is good for most species. Early and late hours generally offer the peak bite windows, and choose fishing depths accordingly. A stop at your favorite bait shop for the most current baits and locations can save hours of search time!
Musky fishing is fair to very good, depending on the lake and time, and cooler temperatures will improve release conditions. Look for fish on and near deep weedlines, points, humps, cribs, other cover, and panfish concentrations. Cast bucktails and topwaters, or troll crankbaits and stickbaits in deep water.
Walleye action slowed with the hot weather, but anglers continue to catch fish. Most fish are on deep weedlines, flats, humps, and points during the day, but in the evening move shallower to feed. Productive presentations include crawlers and jumbo leeches on jigs, slip bobbers, crawler harnesses, Lindy Rigs, and bottom bouncers, or cast and troll stickbaits and crankbaits.
Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent in, over, and around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weedlines, weed edges, points, lily pads, cribs, and panfish concentrations. Northern suckers, minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, jerkbaits, minnowbaits, crankbaits, buzzbaits, and topwaters will all produce. Fish bigger baits deeper for trophy pike.
Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good. Target shallow to mid-depth cover such as weeds and weed edges, wood, docks, cribs, brush, bogs, lily pads, slop, reeds, and near panfish concentrations. Top offerings include live bait, plastics, spinners, spinnerbaits, weedless swim baits, buzzbaits, crankbaits, chatterbaits, and assorted topwaters.
Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well fishing deeper rock and stump areas with live bait, plastics, topwaters, crankbaits, and Carolina, football, drop-shot, and Ned rigs. Some fish are suspending over deeper water.
Crappie fishing is good to very good once you lock onto moving schools. Look for fish around weeds, wood, brush, bogs, and cribs in depths from 5-25 feet, with some suspending over deeper water. Check the entire water column. Best baits include crappie minnows, waxies, worms, leeches, various plastics, and Gulp! baits fished under slip bobbers, as well as small Beetle Spins, spinners, crankbaits.
Bluegill fishing is very good in depths from very shallow out to 25 feet, with fish anywhere in the water column. Weeds, wood, brush, and cribs all hold fish. Baits of choice include waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits fished under bobbers, and poppers.
July 8-11: Spooner Heart of the North Rodeo (715-635-9696).
July 9, 16: Big Fish Golf Club free youth golf clinic 10-11:30 a.m. Call to register (715-934-4770).
July 16-18: LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715-634-8934).
July 16-18: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (715-354-3411).
July 29-31: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).
Aug. 13-15: Sawyer County Fair (715-296-9000).
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.