Steve Suman

The forecast indicates another mostly warm week with a mix of sunshine and thunderstorms. At this time, it shows Monday night with the only possibility of severe weather. As is always the case, make plans and follow plans, but watch for changing conditions. Fishing is often extremely good before a storm – but do NOT take unnecessary chances!

“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes is a good day followed by a tough couple days,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “High-pressure systems have been the biggest detriment, with fish not in a feeding mood. Best fishing is in early morning and late afternoon into dark.

“Musky action is slow. Anglers see fish and get follows, but few hook-ups. Try bucktails and swimbaits during the day and topwaters early, late, and on overcast days.

“Walleye fishing is fair. The weed bite is very weather dependent, but fish on the rocks show some activity. Early mornings and late afternoons are best. Jigs/minnows, crawler halves, and crankbaits are all taking fish.

“Northern pike are hitting spinnerbaits and swimbaits. If you find no takers, switch to fatheads and walleye suckers under bobbers.

“Largemouth bass fishing is good on worm rigs and weedless frogs fished around structure and weeds. Smallmouth bass action is inconsistent, with anglers finding fish on outside weed edge in 6-10 feet. Crawler halves and 3-inch Gulp! Minnows work well.

“Panfish fishing is consistent. Crappies are scattered and on the move along coontail weeds in 10-16 feet. The best bite is in late afternoon. Crappie minnows and tube jigs under small bobbers are producing some nice catches.

“Bluegill fishing is fair. Anglers are finding fish on the outside edges of coontail weeds in 16 feet, with fish suspending at 8-12 feet. Waxies and leaf worm pieces on tiny jigs are working well.”

Trent at Hayward Bait says rain this week could limit time on the water, but could also make for some good fishing.

“Musky anglers have their work cut out for them with increasing temperatures. Most anglers fish in 10 feet and report better fishing in early morning and late evening. Spinnerbaits, bucktails, musky suckers, and topwaters all draw interest.

“Walleye reports suggest fish are more active at night, but you can usually find fish in 20-30 feet during the day. Fish rock humps and ledges with jigs and minnows and crawler harnesses.

“Northern pike are hitting best in the morning, but then start again in late afternoon into evening. Lily pads, submergent vegetation, and dams are good late summer spots. Bucktails, swimbaits, topwaters – and even a gob of crawlers on a treble hook! – will do the trick.

“Largemouth bass are shallow and hitting a variety of lures. Aside from wood structure and lily pads, try working shallow humps that come up to 5-10 feet. Swimbaits, swim jigs, Senko worms, and topwater frogs get the most bites.

“Smallmouth bass anglers are doing well fishing rock and gravel humps, points, and around flowing water. Ned rigs, creature baits, and topwater lures get the most attention.

“Crappies and bluegills are hitting poppers and dry flies. When they are not coming to the surface, small jigs and worms are good options. Depths vary from 3-6 feet on some waterbodies and 8-12 feet on others.”

Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s say the summer heat might have finally gotten to Nelson Lake fish and anglers.

“Surface water temperatures are hovering around 80 degrees and fishing deep is a must. Early mornings, and especially evenings, work best. Fish near the river channel and deeper holes.

“Troll stickbaits for walleyes and cast spinners and swim jigs for northern pike and largemouth bass. Mepps and spoons are good in and around weedy areas.

“Crappies and bluegills are taking waxies, worms, and crawlers. Use dressed jigs or plain hooks and either jig or fish them under a bobber.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage’s pool is full, with the water temperature 74-75 degrees.

“Musky fishing slowed a bit, but overall fishing is good. The forecast is for another hot week, so trolling Mattlocks and Jakes during the day is a good idea. At dawn and night, cast bucktails and various surface baits.

“Walleye fishing is still slow, but recent reports indicate a bit of life. According to local anglers, there is a small window of walleye action each day from 4-6 a.m., with the bite turning off after 6 a.m. Work large fatheads off deep breaklines in 8-20 feet.

“Northern pike fishing is solid. Anglers are catching a few bigger pike in the low to mid 30-inch range, which suggests bigger ones are starting to move. The baits of choice are definitely spinnerbaits in the weeds.

“Smallmouth bass continue to be active on Ned Rigs and Whopper Ploppers fished around stumps and rocks, with Ned Rigs the strongest bait choice.

“Crappie activity picked up slightly since last week and they are predominantly on the cribs. A few local guides suggest crappie minnows and various plastics, keeping baits 2 feet off the bottom.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the Hayward Fish Team’s fieldwork.

“Many people are asking what the Hayward Fish Team is up to this summer with the disruption of our normal routines. The answer is that some things are the same and some things are different. We cancelled large surveys, such as our annual Namekagon trout survey, that require many staff members. We completed some trout surveys on smaller streams, including a check-in on Mosquito Brook, with more on that in a future installment.

“We cancelled our outreach at events such as Musky Fest, as well as youth programs with the Cable Natural History Museum. Our information and outreach this summer consisted of more writing and local radio interviews.

“We were able to get out and do some visual and netting sturgeon assessments on the Couderay River and are pleased to report that new sturgeon continue to show up in the river. We are capturing sturgeon longer than 50 inches more often, and it is common to see sturgeon where the river flows through Radisson.

“Technicians Scott Braden and Evan Sniadajewski are also assisting with other DNR programs, working at boat landings and other state properties that are seeing lots of use this summer.

“In short, we are adapting and working hard to stay busy, productive, and safe, just like everyone else!”

Upland bird hunters should note that the DNR will not issue permits for a sharp-tailed grouse hunting season this fall and will neither offer nor accept applications. Accumulated preference points will not expire. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, biologists were unable to complete surveys and data for 2020 remains incomplete. The sharp-tailed grouse advisory committee will reconvene prior to fall 2021 to evaluate the possibility of a season. For more information, search “sharp-tailed grouse” on the DNR website.

The DNR continues to sell remaining bonus antlerless deer tags and hunters can purchase one permit, per person, per day, until the unit sells out or the hunting season ends. Bonus authorizations cost $12 for residents, $20 for nonresidents, and $5 for youth under age 12. The DNR also continues to sell bonus fall turkey harvest authorizations and hunters can purchase one permit, per person, per day until the unit sells out or the hunting season ends. Cost is $10 for residents and $15 for nonresidents. Hunters must also purchase a fall turkey license and possess a Wild Turkey Stamp.

FISHING REPORT

Musky:

Musky fishing is somewhat slow, shows encouraging signs, and then slows again. Action is best inside of 15 feet during early morning and late evening into dark. Bucktails, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and trolled crankbaits and stickbaits work well during the day. Bucktails and topwaters work best during low light hours.

Walleye:

Walleye action is slow and fish are most active in very early morning and late evening into after dark. During the day, target weeds, rock, holes, humps, breaklines, and river channels out to as deep as 30 feet. During the low-light feeding periods, work along weedlines and shorelines out to about 12 feet. Best bait choices include jigs/minnows, fatheads, crawlers, leeches, and trolled crankbaits and stickbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent, with most success in early morning and late afternoon into evening. Fish are in weeds and weed edges, lily pads, and near concentrations of baitfish and panfish, and do not overlook deeper vegetation. Best baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, swim jigs, fatheads, and large sucker minnows.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good, with bass holding on weeds and weed edges, brush, stumps, slop, and lily pads, from very shallow to deeper than an angler might usually expect. The most productive baits include various plastics from worms to creature baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, swim jigs, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is good to very good on and around weeds and weed edges, humps, stumps, rock, gravel, and moving water in depths out to about 18 feet. Ned Rigs, plastics in assorted configurations, Gulp! baits, sucker minnows, and crawlers are all effective, as are Whopper Ploppers and other topwaters.

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is fair to good, with best success in late afternoon into evening hours. Fish are in and around weeds and cribs anywhere from very shallow out to 20 feet, and often suspending anywhere in the water column. Top offerings include crappie minnows, waxies, worms, and plastics on small jigs with/without bobbers, as well as dry flies and various topwater baits.

 

Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is good to excellent for most anglers. Look for fish around deeper weeds and weed edges, brush, cribs, and other structure out to 18 feet, making sure to check the entire water column for suspending fish. Use waxies, leaf worms, crawler chunks, and plastics on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks with or without bobbers.

Upcoming Events

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).

Oct. 10: Hayward Chapter-FHNBall you can eat spaghetti feed fundraiser 4:30-8 p.m. Flat Creek Inn (715-634-3185).

 

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.