Steve Suman


Aside from a chance of thunderstorm Wednesday, the forecasts indicate a very nice week through the weekend. Daytime highs in the 70s are perfect for outdoor activities and nighttime lows around 50 degrees make for very good sleeping weather. If you are waiting for better conditions, well… good luck with that! Enjoy all the North Woods has to offer!


“Consistent weather brought on good days for anglers to be on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but do not forget the bug repellent!

“The most successful fishing right now is in deeper, cooler waters, with angler having success fishing mid-lake structure in 12-20 feet.

“Musky action is improving and anglers are seeing a lot of following fish, but with few successes. Mid-size baits with varying retrieval speeds fished on weed edges and humps work best. Warm water temperatures make it increasingly important to handle and release fish with care.

“Walleye fishing is good, depending on the time of day fishing. Early morning and late evening into dark are the best times for walleye when they come shallow to feed. Live bait, minnows, leeches and crawlers, and small crankbaits are all taking fish.

“Back bays are still providing some good action for northern pike and largemouth bass.

“Panfish anglers are catching nice mixes of crappie, bluegill, and perch. Fish leeches and small minnows on slip bobbers over drop-offs and mid-lake humps in 12-17 feet.”


Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing remains solid with the stable weather patterns.

“Musky action is improving with the cooler nights. Anglers fishing bucktails and topwaters on deep weed edges and bars are getting some nice fish.

“Walleyes are relating to deep weeds, humps, and cribs. Slip bobbers and jigs are the best way to target these fish and leeches and crawlers in 10-20 feet should get bites. Some fish are relating to mud flats. Try trolling crawler harnesses and crankbaits to cover water, and Jigging Rapalas work great once you locate the fish.

“Bass action remains quite good and wacky worms, swim jigs, creature baits, and topwaters should get some fish. For largemouth bass, target cover and weed edges. For smallmouth bass, target gravel and rock bars.

“Crappies and bluegills are biting, with bluegill reports slightly better than for crappie. Weed edges, cribs, and bogs are all producing decent catches at the right times.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool, with water temperatures in the mid 70s.

“Musky action is improving and anglers are catching fish with various techniques that include trolling Mattlocks and other large crankbaits and fishing suckers in deep water beneath bogs. Surface baits and bucktails are effective in early morning and later evening hours. If the water is calm during those hours, using Creepers and Hawg Wobblers would be a good idea.

“Walleyes are active, but the average size remains small. Look for bigger fish on the deeper breaklines in 8-14 feet. During the day, try various techniques in deeper water. Trolling Flicker Shads, 3-way crankbait rigs, and bottom bouncing crawler rigs are all good over deep cover.

“Northern pike action is unusually slow, though anglers are catching a few, with most success on spinnerbaits and spoons in the weeds.

“Crappie fishing is primarily on bogs in the evening with crappie minnows, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp!, and make sure to try various depths under the bogs.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the Namekagon River’s possible biggest ever year class.

“The Namekagon River, particularly between Hayward and Cable, supports a fantastic brown trout fishery. The DNR has stocked trout in this reach of the Namekagon in the past, but in recent years, natural reproduction, exclusively, has supported the population.

“Each year, in July/August, the DNR conducts electrofishing surveys from Tag Alder Road to Larsen Road to check on abundance of adults and ‘young of year’ trout born in spring.

“The 2019 survey found 461 young of year per survey mile, more than three times the long-term average for the site and almost double that of 2010, the second highest year. Conditions in fall/winter 2018-19 were apparently very good for trout spawning and egg survival.

“Anglers getting excited about a super abundant trout fishery should understand there are still many bottlenecks where small trout can perish before reaching adulthood.

“Cannibalism can diminish large year classes of brown trout and little browns are currently one of the most abundant food items in the river for larger browns. In addition, any number of environmental factors could limit survival of this year class as well, including summer heat, extreme winter cold, drought, or sustained high flow events.

“Competition for food and feeding areas among the members of this abundant year class will be fierce, with many that lose out in the competition perishing.

“Still, despite the long-road these trout must travel to get big enough to take a large hopper fly, it is exciting to see such a big year class coming into the mix.”


This Saturday, August 10, Flambeau River State Forest is celebrating Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday from 12 noon to 1 p.m. at the Connors Lake picnic area. The event offers educational programs, programs for children, games, cake – and a visit with Smokey! For more information, call (715) 332-5271.


The DNR urges the public to beware of online hunting and fishing license scams. It is aware of at least two unauthorized websites that offer fishing or hunting licenses and collect sensitive personal data. After paying a fee, consumers only receive information on how to apply for hunting or fishing licenses. They do not receive a license from the websites and the fee is non-refundable, despite the sites money-back guarantee. To avoid these scams, purchase a valid Wisconsin license at a DNR service center, a DNR authorized independent license sales agent, and from the DNR’s GoWild online site. If you think you were the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection by calling (800) 422-7128 or email




Musky fishing is slowly improving as we move toward the fall months (yikes!) Concentrate on deeper weed edges, humps, bars, and bogs. Bucktails, crankbaits, and topwaters are all producing fish, as are trolling larger crankbaits and live suckers. The trick is matching your offerings to their desires.



Walleye fishing is good if you fish the right times and/or places, with shallower water during low light conditions most productive. During the day, fish deeper weeds, humps, breaklines, and mudflats. Depths can range from 6-20 feet and deeper. Leeches, crawlers, and minnows on jigs and slip bobbers are catching fish, but so are trolled crankbaits, minnow baits, and crawler harnesses. Jigging Raps are productive once you find the fish.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is a bit slow, though fish are still active. Look for them in and on the edges of weeds and near panfish concentrations in shallow to mid-depths. Best baits include spinner, spinnerbaits, spoons, and live bait.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is good to very good on shallow to mid-depth weeds, weed edges, brush, bogs, stumps, slop, and other heavy cover. Top bait choices include plastic worms, creature baits, swim jigs, spinnerbaits, and assorted topwaters.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good on rock, gravel, and other mid-depth to deeper hard bottoms areas. Swim jigs, crayfish color plastics in various configurations such as worms, tubes, and creature baits, and topwaters are all working well.



Crappie fishing is fair to good, with best action in the evening hours. Fish are holding near/in/on weeds, weed edges, drop-offs, mid-lake humps, cribs, and bogs in 10-20 feet. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, panfish leeches, Crappie Scrubs, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks, fished with or without slip bobbers.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good. Look for them on weeds and weed edges, mid-lake humps, cribs, and bogs in 10-20 feet. Waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawler chunks, and plastics on small jigs under slip bobbers will all catch fish.


Upcoming Events

Aug. 10: Flambeau River State Forest – Smokey Bear’s 75th birthday party, Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).

Aug. 15: DNR Big Chetac Lake public meeting on fishery management; Birchwood School, 6 p.m.

Aug. 17: SCOPEFamily Fun Days (715-558-5371).

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 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.


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.