The forecast for this week indicates we could see anything from sunshine to rain to thunderstorms at any time. Not sure if the weather or the forecast changes more often! That aside, temperatures are running near the annual September average ‑ high of 73 and low 45 degrees ‑ and fall colors are becoming more and more apparent!
“Fishing continues to improve on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Water temperatures are in the mid-60s to 70s, which is much better than just a few weeks ago, and some lakes are in the preliminary stages of turnover.
“Time of day does not matter as much as during the summer and you do not have to be the first one on the water. Most anglers still target morning and late afternoon, however, as avid anglers agree that fishing is always best when the sun is coming up or going down.
“Musky anglers report a few more catches and follows, with the best tactic trolling stickbaits, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits along weed edges.
“Walleyes are starting to school in 15 feet in basins. On no-wind/glass surface times, it can be fun to catch them with ice fishing tactics. Some anglers take their Vexilars and fish using jigs and minnows.
“Northern pike and bass are along weed edges in 10-20 feet. If you are looking for a trophy, try even deeper.
“We are waiting for a good crappie bite to form, with the key jigging deep cuts with tube jigs and jigs and minnows.
“Panfish fishing is good around docks, beaches, and cabbage, and it is hard to beat worm chunks, small minnows, and plastics under floats. When you locate fish, try not to spook them.”
Jarrett at Hayward Bait says that musky fishing, unlike the weather, is going to be heating up in the coming weeks.
“Lower temperatures will trigger muskies to fatten up before ice-up. On large waters with ciscoes and whitefish, they might suspend right below bait balls. In other lakes, they will roam shallow weedlines and points feeding on walleye, bass, and panfish. Bucktails are working well, musky suckers are coming around, and trolling will soon be an option.
“Walleye are roaming on deep weedlines, but a move to shallow weeds will come as the temperatures drop. Trolling crankbaits and crawler harnesses is effective, and once you find fish, walleye suckers on jigs and slip floats work well.
“Northern pike are putting on the feed bag as well. Many fish will be in 8-12 feet chasing panfish near weeds and drop-offs. Live bait, spinnerbaits, and reaction baits are catching fish.
“Largemouth bass are scattered on deep weed edges and shallow weed beds. The shallow bass bite will soon pick up with frogs starting to move to their winter homes along the shore.
“Smallmouth bass are cruising deep rock flats and weeds. Ned rigs and drop-shot rigs are performing well, along with the occasional topwater.
“Crappies are on fire. Though not necessarily smacking it, the numbers and size are awesome. Fish are schooled and on cribs and roaming basins. Once you find a few, you will camp on a host of fish for a while. Crappie minnows and small plastics and spinners are putting many fish in the boat for anglers.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 3 feet, with the water temperature 68-70 degrees.
“Musky fishing is decent, with action split evenly between surface and subsurface baits. The sucker bite is getting better and fall trolling patterns will soon be here.
“Walleye fishing is solid for numbers, but size is still small. Live bait anglers are using crawlers and minnows, and trolling Flicker Shads is effective during the hotter times of the day. Fish are transitioning between summer and fall patterns, so use your electronics to find where fish are moving.
“Northern pike fishing is good with Tinsel-Tails and spoons in the weeds, especially on west side bays. Keep the pike you catch and take them to a resort to get your Pike Improvement Project raffle tickets!
“Crappies are finicky, but several anglers report that fishing Jigging Raps and similar jigging baits with waxies deep and in holes is working very well.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. conservation project donations.
“The Hayward Lakes Chapter of Muskies, Inc. is at it again, and in 2021 the club racked up an impressive list of local conservation projects it supports.
“First, the group purchased 15 new passive integrated transponder (or PIT) tag readers. Distributed to local anglers and guides to assist in data collection efforts, the anglers and guides have already reported tagged fish this year.
“Next, they committed funds to support the purchase of equipment for Governor Thompson Hatchery in Spooner. The hatchery will use the equipment to better understand and provide feed for muskellunge at the critical fry stage, which could lead to increased propagation efficiency.
“Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. also set aside money to PIT tag muskellunge destined for stocking into Lac Courte Oreilles this fall, allowing us to learn more about how that population is recovering.
“The club made an additional contribution to support a national study on the effects of angling on muskellunge during periods of high water temperature. Those results will be tremendously valuable for managing muskellunge in all parts of the species’ range.
“This all this comes on top of the Hayward Lakes Chapter’s usual and impressive commitment to supporting youth angling efforts and young people interested in conservation. In my opinion, this is the absolute model for how a private organization can support the management and success of a public resource through effective partnership and a problem-solving mentality.
“I applaud the club on another year of supporting great projects, and look forward to working with it on many more.”
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc. will host its 43rd Annual Fall Fishing Tournament October 1-3, and anglers have the opportunity to win more than $30,000 in prizes. The tournament awards prizes and trophies to the first 10 places, including gift certificates, trolling motors, depth finders, GPS units, rods, reels, cameras, and more. The angler releasing the largest fish wins a graphite replica, and every angler releasing a 34-inch or larger fish receives a plaque.
Each registered angler is eligible for the Grand Door Prize drawing ‑ a 2021 Lund 1725 Pro Guide tiller boat, ShoreLand’r trailer, and 60hp Mercury motor. You do not need to catch a fish, but you must be present to win!
Entry fees are $90 ($115 after Sept. 15) for adults and $25 for youth 16 and younger. Enter in person at Jenk’s Bait and Tackle or in person and by phone at Hayward Bait (715-634-2921) until 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30. The tournament will not accept any mail-in entries postmarked after September 15.
For more information, visit www.muskiesinc-hayward.org, or call (715) 634-2921 or 634-4543.
The upcoming weekend will be an extremely busy one in the North Woods and particularly so in the Hayward area. A listing here serves as a reference point to use for researching the details of various events and activities.
Saturday, September 18, is a major opening day for hunting seasons that includes archery and crossbow deer, turkey, ruffed grouse in Zone A, cottontail rabbit, squirrel (gray and fox), and crow. The Youth waterfowl hunt is Saturday and Sunday, and a Ruffed Grouse Society banquet/event takes place at Summit Lake Game Farm.
The Chequamegon MTB Festival Chequamegon 40 race begins in Hayward and finishes in Cable.
A one-day Hayward Chapter-FHNB event at Lake Chippewa Campground takes place Saturday to fill-in for the spring event missed this year due to virus concerns. The following day, Sunday, the national FHNB has a fishing tournament fundraiser hosted by Northland Lodge on Lost Land Lake.
See the calendar below or visit the individual websites for additional information.
Musky action is showing great improvement with the cooling temperatures. Anglers report increasing follows and catches on bucktails, swimbaits, and topwaters worked on/over shallow weed edges, points, and weedlines. Trolled large spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and stickbaits are productive, and the sucker bite is starting.
Walleye fishing is good, with fish slowly starting a transition from deep water to somewhat shallower depths. Target weeds, weedlines, and basins in 12-18 feet, and shallower in low light conditions. Fish crawlers and walleye suckers on jigs, harnesses, and under slip bobbers, as well as troll harnesses and crankbaits, stickbaits, and Flicker Shads.
Northern pike action is good and getting better with the cooling water. Look for fish on shallow weeds and weedlines to deep weeds, weed edges, and drop-offs out to 25 feet. Sucker minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, and topwaters can all attract or irritate hungry pike. Go deeper with bigger baits for trophy fish.
Largemouth bass fishing is good on weeds, weed edges, drop-offs, and breaklines from shallow out to about 22 feet. Top bait offerings include live bait, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, stickbaits, plastics, and topwaters.
Smallmouth bass action is good on deep rock and gravel, weeds, and weed edges out to 20 feet. Sucker minnows, Ned rigs, drop-shot rigs, various plastics, and topwaters are all producing catches.
Crappie fishing is good to very good once you locate them. Look for moving schools of fish in and around deep holes, basins, and cribs. Find them and stay on them. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, Gulp! baits, Jigging Raps, and Beetle Spins.
Bluegill fishing is good, though excellent for small fish in and around shallow weeds, brush, and other structure. The bigger ‘gills are still holding on/along deep weeds and cribs. Waxies, worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, plain hooks, and teardrops, with/without floats, are all catching fish.
Sept. 9: Early teal season closed.
Sept. 15: Early goose season closes.
Sept. 18: Seasons open: Deer (archery and crossbow); Turkey; Cottontail; Squirrel; Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Crow.
Sept. 18: Chequamegon MTB Festival (952-229-7330).
Sept. 25: Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).
Sept. 25: Clam Lake Elk Festival (715-794-2781).
For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce websites, view the Calendar of Events, or call (715) 634-8662 or 800-724-2992.