Steve Suman


The forecast includes chances of showers from now through Wednesday, followed by a return to mild, sunny days with 70-degree highs and lows in the 40s. Fall is in the air!


Wisconsin’s early Canada goose, early teal, and mourning dove hunting seasons open this Sunday, Sept. 1. Early Canada goose season runs Sept. 1-15, early teal season runs Sept. 1-9, and mourning dove season runs Sept. 1-Nov. 29.


Quiet Lakes fishing action is mostly routine,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but changes are taking shape and fishing will only get better.

“Musky anglers are reporting more hook-ups and action will improve as temperatures drop. Mid-size bucktails are producing the best results. It appears there is a musky sucker shortage this year – check ahead for availability.

“Walleye action is slow during the day. Work jigs tipped with minnows and crawler halves, and small diving crankbaits, around weed and rice beds in 17-20 feet and on deeper hump edges and other structure. The best fishing is late afternoon into dark.

“Northern pike and largemouth bass continue to roam around shallow weeds. Spinnerbaits and crankbaits are taking fish, and plastics such as frogs and rigged worms are producing largemouth in weeds and lily pads.

“Crappies in 12-20 feet and crappie minnow and small leeches under bobbers work best, with the best bite in late afternoon.

“Small bluegills, numerous in weeds, offer good action for young anglers fishing leaf worms on small hooks and under small bobbers.”


Trent at Hayward Bait says musky action is picking up, with more anglers reporting takers.

“Try casting 8- to 10-inch baits in 3-6 feet, and bucktails and topwaters can pay off in the shallows.

“Walleyes are around 30 feet during the day and hitting spinners. In late evening, fish move shallow to feed, about 6 feet, and bright, soft plastics and flashy crankbaits can produce good fish.

“Largemouth bass are on shallow grass and wood along shorelines, but bigger fish in 5-10 feet.

“Smallmouth bass are also pushing deeper. Look for structure on drop-offs near deeper water. Bass are starting their fall patterns and bay mouths can be good for fish. Flukes and swimbaits are good options going into fall.

“Crappies, too, are migrating deeper, to 20 feet on average, and jigging crappie minnows can pay off. Crappies in smaller, shallower waterbodies can hold in 10-15 feet.”

“Bluegills are close to shallow shorelines grass and wood structure, with bigger fish out to 10 feet. Chicken Jigs, Tattle-Tails, and soft plastics are great options for bluegill.”


Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers have some options.

“Early and late, troll shorelines and weed edges with shallow divers, Lindy leech and minnow rigs, and crawler harnesses. Still-fish deeper water with minnows and leeches on jigs or troll the river channel with deep diving stickbaits.

“For northern pike and largemouth bass, cast spinners and rattling surface baits around docks and diving rafts, or work weedless frogs, scented worms, and swim jigs in weeds and lily pads.

“Crappie fishing is improving. Catch larger fish on or near bottom on jigs tipped with minnows, scented Wigglies, and worms. Do not ignore deeper weed beds, and drifting is a good strategy.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down one foot and water temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

“Musky action slowed, with some trolling and casting action, but mostly lazy follows and short hits rather than actual connections. Change baits and retrieval rates and throw baits fish have not seen in awhile.

“Walleye fishing is slow as well, with anglers catching fish on the smaller side. Live bait is the strong choice. Walleye patterns changed and they have moved shallower. During the day, work deeper points and breaklines, but not necessarily in deeper open water. The evening bite, with walleyes in 6-13 feet, is best.

“Northern pike fishing is better than for most species, but slower than early season. Use spinnerbaits, spoons, suckers, and chubs in weeds.

“Smallmouth bass fishing is good on shallow stumps and rock piles – particularly on the east side – or try crawlers on cribs.

“Crappie action is solid at night on bogs. During the day, work deeper weed humps, cribs, and brush piles. Minnows and plastics work best.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Couderay River changes.

“The Couderay River, running from Billy Boy Flowage Dam to the Chippewa River in southern Sawyer County, is a charming, mid-size river with a rock/sand bottom throughout most of its channel that runs fairly clear.

“In 2011, removal of the dam that created Grihm Flowage near the lower end of the Couderay River allowed fish passage from the Chippewa River upstream into the Couderay. One expected beneficiary of that action was sturgeon.

“Over the last three years, the Hayward Fish Team has surveyed Couderay sturgeon and documented their return to the river. The team has captured and tagged several dozen sturgeon from 32-55 inches, with little doubt these sturgeon originated from the Chippewa River. In 2019, a 53-inch sturgeon captured 4.5 miles upstream from the confluence with the Chippewa confirmed that theory. The fish carried a tag indicating its last capture was below Arpin Dam on the Chippewa several years ago during spawning season.

“It is unclear if sturgeon will try to spawn in the Couderay itself or will continue to drop down to traditionally used areas on the Chippewa River. Regardless, it is exciting to see new prehistoric residents in the Couderay.

“Joining the sturgeon in moving up from the Chippewa River are channel catfish, with some in our survey nearly 30 inches long.

“These examples show how creating connectivity between different habitat types, such as large and medium sized rivers in this case, creates more dynamic and diverse fisheries.”


Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. is hosting a club meeting Tuesday, September 3, starting at 7 p.m., at Flat Creek Eatery and invites the public to attend. This month’s featured guest is DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter. Admission is free and people interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase a half-price membership at the meeting. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.


The 27th Annual Exeland Trout Festival is this weekend, running from Friday August 30 to Sunday September 1. The event offers food, live music, parade, medallion hunt, assorted contests – including cow pie bingo – and much more. For more information, visit 27th Annual Exeland Trout Festival call (715) 943-2242.




Musky action is improving and anglers are now actually hooking more fish. Concentrate on mid-depths and shallows offering access to deeper water. Bucktails and topwaters are producing the most interest, but trolling stickbaits is all putting a few fish in the boat.



Walleye fishing is fair to good, with early morning and late afternoon into dark best. Fish are scattered in depths from 4-30 feet. During the day, target deeper weeds, breaklines, humps, and points. In the evening, fish shorelines and weed edges in 4-12 feet. Minnows, leeches, and crawlers on jigs, harnesses, and spinner rigs work well, as do stickbaits, crankbaits, and plastics.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is good to very good in/on/around weeds, weeds beds, weed edges, and panfish configurations. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, surface baits, minnows, and suckers are all producing pike action. Go deeper with larger baits for trophy pike.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth action continues to be good on most lakes, with fish spread from 5-20 feet and in/near weeds, weed beds, weed edges, brush, slop, lily pads, and other shaded structure. Swim baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, plastics in most configurations, topwaters, minnows, leeches, and crawlers are all effective on largemouth.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good to very good, with fish holding on rock, stumps, cribs, drop-offs, wood, and other structure out to 22 feet. Top producers include plastics (worms, tubes, grubs, etc.), swim baits, jigs and minnows, leeches, and crawlers.



Crappie fishing is fair to good and improving, with late afternoon and evening offering the best bite. Look for fish in 8-22 feet on deeper weeds, humps, cribs, brush, and bogs. Check the entire water column for suspending fish. Baits offering the most success include crappie minnows, leeches, worms, and plastics on jigs and plain hooks.



Bluegill action is good and getting better. Find good number of small fish around shallower weeds and docks. Larger fish are around deeper weeds, weed beds, brush, bogs, and cribs out to 12 feet. Best baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, and plastics on small jigs and plain hooks, fished with/without bobbers.


Upcoming Events

Aug. 29-30: Explore Archery (bowhunting) course at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area (715-463-2739).

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. 3: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. meeting at Flat Creek Eatery, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

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. 21: 35th Annual Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).

Sept. 27-28: Treeland’s 4th Annual Premier Musky Fly Fishing Championship (715-462-3874).

Sept. 27-28: Cable Area Fall Fest (715-798-3833).

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.