Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

The North Woods can look forward to a very nice week, according to the forecast, with Tuesday currently showing the only chances for rain. Highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s offer great weather for recreation AND sleeping! Take advantage – we have already passed mid-August!

“Anglers using various presentations are finding plenty of fish on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “with early mornings and late evenings the best times.

“Musky anglers are making some nice catches, with mid-size bucktails the baits of choice, though some anglers are dragging musky suckers. Always run the lure near the sucker and do a boat-side figure 8.

“Walleyes are in 8-20 feet along weeds, weed edges, and other structure. Trolling is putting some fish in the boat, but soft plastics and live bait produce the most success.

“Northern pike and bass are on vegetation and windblown shorelines and points. Casting jigs and plastics from deeper to shallower is effective, and do not be in a hurry to retrieve your bait – anglers catch many fish right underneath the boat!

“Crappie anglers are catching fish with plastics and live bait on weeds and weed edges in 8-20 feet.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing action is solid, though no amazing reports.

“Musky action is decent and anglers are catching some nice fish. Focus on weed edges and bars with access to deeper water. Bigger bucktails and topwaters are working early and late in the day. During the day, try jerkbaits and plastics.

“Walleyes are definitely dropping deeper and the best bet is trolling crawler harnesses on bars, weeds, and mudflats in 20-30 feet. Slip bobbers with leeches are getting some bites as well.

“Largemouth bass action is good on wacky- and Texas-rigged worms, as well as on frogs and topwaters around emergent vegetation. Smallmouth bass are near rock and gravel bars, and docks with deeper water access, and plastics and topwaters should get some bites.

“Crappies and bluegills are schooling in deeper water. Work cribs and deep weed edges with crappie minnows, leaf worms, and plastics.”


Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should cast and troll stickbaits and crawler harnesses along the river channel up to the dam, varying bait depth.

“Northern pike fishing is good for anglers tossing Mepps, chatterbaits, larger stickbaits, and spoons.

“Largemouth bass are active and hitting swim jigs, frogs, and plastic worms and creature baits.

“For panfish, drifting seems to be the best tactic. Drift or cast dressed jigs, minnows, worms, waxies, and Gulp! Alive on and around cribs, tree sticks, and bogs.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is slightly lower, with mid-70s water temperatures.

“Some musky anglers report decent action and those having success are paying close attention to water temperatures, graphs, and baitfish. Try trolling deeper water when temperatures go higher. During cooler temperatures, fish spinnerbaits on weed edges.

“Walleye are biting, but fish still seem on the smaller side, with best baits leeches, crawlers, and minnows. Water temperatures are cooling with cooler nights and early mornings and weeds and breaklines in 6-13 feet are productive at those times. During hotter times of the day, fish deeper areas holding baitfish.

“Northern pike are still somewhat quiet. Anglers having some success are fishing Tinsel Tails in weed beds, particularly on the west side.

“Crappie fishing is best on crappie minnows and plastics on bogs at night, but some anglers report success fishing deeper cribs and weeds during the day.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Mosquito Brook trout and fishing.

“Each year, DNR crews survey Mosquito Brook, a Namekagon River coldwater tributary between Phipps Flowage and Lake Hayward, to track trends in brook and brown trout populations. This is an important spawning and nursery stream for brown trout that primarily reside in the Namekagon River, and it holds a self-sustaining brook trout population.

“One can think of Mosquito Brook as a ‘nursery,’ especially for brown trout, and as such there was always high numbers of very small trout, 2-8 inches. Once trout got bigger, they moved to the Namekagon, which offers better habitat for adult trout. Recent surveys indicate that may be changing.

“From 2006-15, the largest trout observed in Mosquito Brook were 10-to 12-inch brown trout, but in 2016, a 14-inch brown surprised the survey crew. The crew saw that size again in 2017, captured a 15-inch trout in 2018, and in 2019 captured three browns more than 16 inches, the biggest 17.2 inches.

“It is not clear why bigger trout are showing up in Mosquito Brook, but we know that interested anglers now have an easier time getting to them. In 2018, crews ‘brushed’ the stretch of Mosquito Brook from Porky’s Road downstream to the Namekagon River, allowing for easier wading and casting.

“Anglers looking for an interesting trout adventure on a beautiful, forested stream in the North Woods should put Mosquito Brook on their list!”


Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB) will host its first annual Angler Fundraising Fishing Tournament Sept. 8 on Lost Land Lake, hosted by Northland Lodge. Check-in starts at 8 a.m., fishing runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and dinner follows at 6 p.m. Entry for this FHNB fundraising event is $50, which includes the BBQ pork picnic dinner and live music. For more information and to register, call Kathy at FHNB (715) 634-3185 or (800) 243-3462.


Young anglers should register NOW for Hayward Bass Club’s annual FREE Youth Bass Tournament on the Chippewa Flowage this Sunday, from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The Landing Resort is serving as tournament headquarters. Club members and local guides take the young anglers for an afternoon of catch-and-release competition bass fishing, just like the pros. Anglers can bring tackle or use provided gear, and a shore lunch for participants, families, guides, and spectators follows the weigh-in. Youth anglers must pre-register and have a permission slip. For more information and to register, stop at Hayward Bait (715-634-2921) or Outdoor Creations (715-634-1044), or contact Wayne Balsavich haywardbassclub@gmail.com; (715) 699-1015.



Musky success continues to improve, with action primarily on weeds, weed edges, points, and bars at various depths, but adjacent to deep water. Water temperatures and food indicate where you should fish. Bucktails, jerkbaits, plastics, spinnerbaits, topwaters, and musky suckers all work well. Try trolling during the day when water temperatures are rising.


Walleye action is good, with most success in early morning and late evening into night in shallower waters. During the day, concentrate on deeper weeds, weed edges, bars, breaklines, mudflats, and river channels as deep as 30 feet. Leeches, crawlers, minnows, stickbaits, and plastics work well, as does trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is fair to good. Look for fish in/on weeds, weed beds, weed edges, and near panfish concentrations. Best baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, chatterbaits, crankbaits, and plastics, and minnows under bobbers.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action is good to very good. Work shallower structure in early morning and evening hours and deeper structure during the day. Look for weeds, weed edges, shorelines, points, brush, bogs, and cribs. Swim jigs, creature baits, wacky- and Texas-rigged worms and other plastics, frogs, and topwaters will all catch fish.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is fair to good on deeper rock, gravel, and hard bottom bars and points, with shallower action in early morning and evening hours. Baits of choice include various crayfish color plastics such as tubes, creature baits, and worms, swim jigs, frogs, and topwaters.


Crappie fishing is good, with best action in shallower water during early morning and late evening hours. Look for fish around weeds, weed edges, brush, bogs, and cribs out to 20 feet and deeper. The most effective baits include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks, fished with or without a bobber.


Bluegill fishing is excellent for small fish in shallower water and good for nice fish in/on/near deeper weeds, weed edges, brush, bogs, and cribs. Standard bluegill temptations do the trick, including waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits. Try small minnows in deeper water for bigger bluegills.

Upcoming Events

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 free 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).

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

Sept. 1: Application deadline for hunters with disabilities to apply to participate in a sponsored hunt.

Sept. 4: Black bear hunting season opens (see regs).

Sept. 7: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens on designated waters (see regs).

Sept. 8: FHNB First Annual Angler Fundraising Fishing Tournament – Northland Lodge (715-634-3185).

Sept. 13: Elk bugling with Laine Stowell, Flambeau River State Forest (715-332-5271).

Sept. 14: Seasons open: Archery and crossbow deer; Fall turkey; Ruffed grouse in the Zone A; Cottontail rabbit in northern zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Fall crow (see regs).

Sept. 14: Early September Canada goose season closes.

Sept. 14-15: Youth Waterfowl Hunt (see regs).

Sept. 16: Canada goose season opens in North and South exterior zones (see regs).

Sept. 21: Woodcock season opens.

Sept. 28: Seasons open: Duck in South Exterior, North, and Mississippi River zones; Canada goose in Mississippi River Subzone (see regs).

Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day at Flambeau River State Forest (715-332-5271).

Sept. 29: Trout season closes on rivers flowing into Lake Superior (see regs).

Sept. 30: Seasons close: Lake trout – Lake Superior; Sturgeon – inland waters hook-and-line (see regs).


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.