August 10, 2020

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

 

This week should be similar to last week, with warm temperatures, mild nights, and low percentage chances for rain and thunderstorms, though increasing odds for the weekend. Great weather – get out and enjoy it!

 

“Last week’s weather was ideal for outdoor activities on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.

“Fishing is like a game of ‘hide and seek.’ Those who find do quite well, while those who seek… are still seeking. Good electronics can really help find fish, and early morning and late afternoon into well after dark offer the best success.

“Musky action remains somewhat slow. It is a little early for good fishing, but swimbaits and bucktails around mid-depth weeds are getting some follows. Try topwaters in early morning and evening.

“Walleyes are feeding on bug larvae in soft mud. Speed-trolling stickbaits and slow-trolling worm harness rigs on bottom bouncers work well, the slower the better, mixing in some curves to your trail. In the evening, fish sand and rock areas in 6-12 feet.

“Northern pike anglers are catching fish on deeper weed edges by slow-drifting live bait and casting spinnerbaits towards shore.

“Largemouth bass anglers are working heavy vegetation and docks, fan casting frogs, Hula Poppers, Jitter Bugs, and other topwaters, and working buzzbaits near heavy cover. Do not be surprised if you hook a northern pike, especially during low light times of the day.

“Crappies are in deeper vegetation and the best tactic is worm chunks under bobbers. Fish are schooling, so catch one and you should be in business. Mid to late afternoon is the best time.”

 

Trent at Hayward Bait says these are the dog days of summer, but with comfortable temperatures lately. Fish are returning to their normal hangouts after moving deep for the hot spell.

“Musky action improved with the cooler temperatures. Most fish remain deep during the day, but shallow in early morning and late evening into night. Jakes, Shallow Raiders, and other large crankbaits are working well.

“Walleyes are on breaks and weed edges in 20-25 feet. Crawler harnesses and jigs/fatheads work for most anglers.

“Northern pike are shallow in mornings and evenings, hitting topwater frogs, jerkbaits, and swimbaits. During the day, fish 10-20 feet with large Beetle Spins and Mister Twister curly tail jigs.

“Largemouth bass are along shorelines around wood, vegetation, and docks. Wacky worms and Texas rigs work well, and topwater frogs are effective in mornings and evenings.

“Smallmouth bass are holding on humps and weeds in 10-20 feet, depending on the waterbody. Whopper Ploppers and Ned rigs are angler favorites, and darker colors can pay off with all the algae in the water at this time.

“Crappies are scattered, with some anglers finding them along shoreline structure. However, most report success over deep water, catching fish suspending high in the water column.

“Bluegill anglers are catching fish anywhere from 4-10 feet and even off docks. Bimbo Skunk Bugs work great, but waxies and worms are the current favorites.”

 

Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s say Nelson Lake walleye fishing is very slow.

“The best bet for walleye anglers is to troll Rapalas along the shorelines in early mornings and later afternoons into dark, or work jigs and minnows in the river channel.

“Northern pike are in weedlines and weed beds and hitting larger surface baits, spoons, and bucktails.

“Largemouth bass are in those same weedlines and weed beds as northern pike, and anglers are catching them with noise and splash. Throw spinner and buzz baits, chatter baits, rattling swim jigs, and stickbaits. For newcomers to these baits, recheck your knots after a few casts, as vibrations can loosen them.

“Crappie and bluegill anglers should drift fish minnows, worms, leeches, and artificial baits on jigs or under bobbers. Quite often, adding a small spinner for casting will trigger a bite.”

 

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is above full pool, with the water temperature 75 degrees.

“Muskies are on fire for anglers who are both casting and trolling. Casting is very good on surface baits and bucktails during the low light hours of dawn and dusk. Trolling is very strong during midday, with Mattlocks, Big Jakes, and Grandmas producing big fish. One angler reported catching seven fish by trolling.

“Walleye action slowed somewhat recently. Anglers are still catching fish, but in fewer numbers. Fish are typically holding deeper during the day and around shallower weed edges at night. Leeches and crawlers are the baits of choice, though a few anglers report some success on large fatheads. During daylight hours, trolling Flicker Shads and Shad Raps over deeper areas should prove successful.

“Northern pike are active, but mostly smaller fish. They are sitting in weed beds and hitting spinners and spoons, and some anglers report success with northern size sucker minnows.

“Smallmouth bass remain active around shallow stump and rock areas. Hit these spots, throw Ned Rigs, and have fun!

“Crappies are now around brush piles and cribs, rather than bogs, but seem disinterested, and anglers who usually catch 30-50 crappies per day are now catching only 10-18 fish. Crappie minnows and Crappie Scrubs work best. Fish are still hitting – you just have to work to get them to hit.”

 

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Round Lake fishing opportunities.

“Due to habitat differences, fish community composition, and various management actions, some lakes deliver higher quality fishing experiences for certain species than do other lakes. In Sawyer County, 3,294-acre Round Lake has a well-balanced fishery, with healthy populations of several predator species and improving panfish.

“Walleye continue to reproduce naturally on Round Lake, leading to decent adult abundance. Walleye size is also very good, and in the most recent fisheries survey (2019), 85 percent of adult walleye measured more than 15 inches.

“Round is also well-known for smallmouth bass, which are well-suited to the rocky substrate found throughout much of the lake. Areas with weeds are more likely to hold largemouth bass.

“Unlike many other area lakes, Round Lake northern pike are relatively low density and good size, with 25 percent longer than 28 inches in the 2019 survey. This is likely because of the limited shallow, weedy bays that are good nursery habitat for young pike.

“Muskellunge are not known to reproduce naturally in Round, at least to any meaningful extent. However, stocked muskies survive and grow well, leading to a fantastic trophy fishery.

“Historically, Round Lake is known to produce nice size perch, but large perch have become rarer in recent years and it is unclear why that is the case. Anglers might still catch big perch occasionally, but it is not a consistent fishery.

“Crappies in Round Lake have always been low density and decent size, but recent surveys indicate the size might be increasing. The 2019 survey showed 69 percent of all crappies we handled were longer than 10 inches. Survey results show bluegill size may be increasing as well, though less dramatically.”

 

Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags go on sale starting at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 17, for the Northern and Central Forest zones, and continue for other zones through Aug. 20. Sales are one per person, per day until the unit sells out or the season ends. Bonus authorizations cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents, and $5 for age 12 and younger.

 

Bonus fall turkey harvest authorizations go on sale Saturday, August 15, starting at 10 a.m., on a one per day basis. Purchase authorizations at license sales locations and the DNR Online Licensing Center. Cost is $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. Bonus authorizations are available in zones 1-4, with no bonus permits available in zones 5-7.

 

FISHING REPORT

Musky:

Musky action is fair to good and improving during the cooler temperatures. Fish hold in mid-depths to deeper water during the day, but move to adjacent shallower areas in low light hours. During the day, try trolling Mattlocks, Jakes, Grandmas, Shallow Raiders, and similar baits. During low light, cast bucktails, swimbaits, and topwaters.

 

Walleye:

Walleye fishing is slow, with early morning and evening into dark the best times. During the day, work deep weeds, sand, rock, and mud areas. In the evening, fish weed edges, sand, and rock inside 15 feet. Use leeches and crawlers on various riggings, jigs/fatheads, and trolled stickbaits, Rapalas, Flicker Shads, and Shad Raps.

 

Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is fair to good, especially for smaller fish. Target weeds, weed beds, and weed edges in depths to about 23 feet with northern suckers, bucktails, Beetle Spins, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters. Go deeper with bigger baits for trophy pike.

 

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is very good, with mornings and evenings providing best success. Weeds, weedlines, wood, docks, slop, lily pads, and other thick cover all hold fish. Topwater baits work great at this time, but worms rigged wacky and Texas style, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, chatterbaits, swim jigs, and stickbaits are also working well.

 

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is good on hard bottom areas, weeds, humps, stumps, and rock in depths to 22 feet. Plastics in various riggings in crawdad colors, Ned Rigs, Whopper Ploppers, and live bait are all producing good catches.

 

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is fair to very good if you can locate the scattered schools. Best fishing is in the late afternoon into evening hours. Search mid-depth to deeper weeds, weedlines, brush, bogs, and cribs, as well as look for fish that are suspending high over deep water. Best offerings include crappie minnows, worms, leeches, plastics, and small spinners.

 

Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is very good to excellent on most waters. Look for fish in and around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weedlines, brush, bogs, and cribs. Effective baits include waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leeches, dressed jigs, plastics, Gulp! baits, and poppers.

 

Upcoming Events

Aug. 15: Fall bonus wild turkey harvest authorizations go on sale at 10 a.m.

Aug. 17-20: Bonus antlerless harvest authorizations on sale where available (see DNR website for details and updates).

Aug. 25: Deadline to transfer Class A Bear License (see DNR website for restrictions).

Aug. 28-30: Musky Tale ResortPoor Man’s Fishing Event (715-462-3838).

Aug. 31: Bear dog training by pursuing bear closes (see regs).

Sept. 1: Seasons open: Mourning dove; Teal; Early goose in designated areas; Wild ginseng.

Sept. 4-6: 28th Annual Exeland Trout Fest (715-943-2242).

Sept. 5: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens on designated waters (see regs).

Sept. 9: Black bear hunting season opens (see regs).

Sept. 9-12: Lake Chippewa Flowage Musky Hunt (filled).

Sept. 12: Seasons open: Archery and crossbow deer; Fall turkey; Ruffed grouse in Zone A; Cottontail rabbit in Northern Zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Fall crow (see regs).

Sept. 19-20: Youth Waterfowl Hunt (see regs).

Oct. 2-4: Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. 43rd annual fall tournament – Canceled – (715-634-4543).

Oct. 3-4: Musky Tale ResortCrappie Quest (715-462-3838).

Oct. 8-10: Treeland’s 5th Annual Musky Fly Fishing Championship; limited to first 100 entries (715-462-3874).

 

For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view the Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.