Hayward Lakes Outdoor Report 9-23-2019

by: Steve Suman

The current forecast for this week includes a mix of nice and “wet” days, with temperatures cooler than last week, which was a warm one. Mild temperatures should encourage considerable outdoor activities – and the cool nights should make for great sleeping to rest from those activities!

“The bite is mostly hit-and-miss on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but fall fishing patterns have certainly taken shape, though area waters are seeing fewer anglers.

“Musky activity is increasing and anglers are catching some nice fish on a variety of baits, including suckers. Anglers who fish with suckers should call to check availability before making the trip.

“Some walleye anglers report success by slow-trolling in about 20 feet, with others catching fish by dragging live bait on Lindy Rigs over mid-lake humps and other structure. The best times to fish the shallows along gravel and rock areas is from late afternoon well into dark.

“Northern pike anglers are catching fish on spinnerbaits cast around breaklines and shoreline vegetation.

“Bass anglers are catching fish on spinnerbaits, buzz baits, poppers, and topwaters.

“Crappies are more and more active in the usual fall areas; use hair jigs or plastics. Panfish are plentiful near vegetation in and around 5-15 feet and deeper. Fish worm chunks or minnows under floats.”


Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says the bite slowed somewhat with the warm weather last week.

“Muskies are moving shallow. Try fishing shallow flats and humps with bucktails and topwaters.

“For walleyes, look along deeper breaklines and flats. Lindy rigging with walleye suckers should work, or try trolling crankbaits.

“The bass bite is decent. Largemouth are easy to find on weedlines and flats, and Senko worms and topwater should get bites. Smallmouth are starting to group along rock flats and humps and soft plastics seem to work best.

“Panfish remain scattered, but should start schooling in deeper water.”


Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s say Nelson Lake walleye anglers should troll and cast Rapalas, Flicker Shads, and crawler harnesses.

“Northern pike are in or near weed beds and hitting Mepps spinners, dressed spoons, and large stickbaits. While you cast, try floating large sucker minnows under bobbers.

“Largemouth bass are in the same locations as pike and active on surface-disturbing baits such as frogs and creature plastics, and spinner and buzz baits.

“Crappies are very active near Lake 25 for anglers fishing minnows and Gulp! Alive – and be sure to vary bait depth. For bluegills, use waxies, worms, and small dressed jigs near crib and bogs.

“It is hard to believe summer has passed (the weather still feels too warm!), but Sept. 30 we will close for the season. Thank you for your business!”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down about 2 feet, with high 60s to low 70s water temperature.

“Musky fishing is solid, with anglers seeing decent action on bucktails, rubber baits, suckers, and trolling. When fishing bucktails, it is very important to figure-8 on every cast. With suckers rarer than in past years, vertical jigging Bondy Baits is a solid alternative.

“Walleye fishing remains slow and warmer water last week might have set back fall patterns a week or two. Walleyes have dispersed rather than concentrating in certain spots. Large fatheads, suckers, chubs, and crawlers are the baits of choice, and trolling Flicker Shads is an excellent way to cover water.

“Northern pike action is good on spinnerbaits and live bait in weed beds, particularly on the west side with Tinsel Tail spinners and larger sucker and chub minnows.

“Crappie action is decent on cribs and a few anglers report sparse schools of fish migrating toward Moore’s Bay. Best baits include minnows, Gulp!, and Crappie Scrubs.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses burbot in Wisconsin.

“One of the odder ‘fishy’ residents in Wisconsin is the burbot, the only member of the cod family in Wisconsin and one of only two freshwater members of the cod family worldwide.

“Known also as eelpout, lawyers, or ling, some of burbot’s more colorful nicknames include spineless catfish, gudgeon, mudblower, and mother eel.

“Those who have encountered a burbot are not likely to mistake it for another fish. Long and eel-like, with dorsal and anal fins extending the length of most of its body, they sometimes wrap that long, flexible body around the arms of an angler trying to remove a hook.

“Burbot prefer large, cool rivers and lakes and are more widely distributed throughout Wisconsin than many anglers may realize. They are present in both of Wisconsin’s great lakes, the Mississippi River, and Chippewa, Wisconsin, Rock, St. Croix, and Wolf-Fox river drainages.

“In the Hayward area, burbot are in the Chippewa Flowage, Moose Lake, Chippewa River, Teal River, Brunet River, Kenyon Creek, and several smaller trout streams including Eddy, Maple, and Swan creeks.

“Burbot are opportunistic feeders and will eat insects, crayfish, and other fish, both dead and alive. When food is plentiful, burbot are gluttonous eaters, stuffing themselves to the point their belly protrudes to an almost comical extent.

“In Wisconsin, burbot are the earliest spawning fish and begin spawning under the ice in mid-winter or very early spring (January-March), spawning at night, over gravel and sand, in both deep and shallow water.

“Despite its nutritious, quality meat – they are, after all, members of the cod family – burbot do not have a mainstream following among anglers and not typically a target of commercial fishing.”


Deer hunters now have CWD sampling and testing opportunities available in Sawyer County, as well Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Price, Rusk, and Taylor counties for the 2019 seasons, with several testing options available. In addition to the 24/7 self-service sampling stations around the state, many meat processors and businesses offer in-person sampling assistance. Some locations have DNR staff available to take samples and answer hunter questions. For more information, search “CWD sampling” on the DNR website.


Flambeau River State Forest will host its first National Public Lands Day Saturday, September 28, from 9 a.m-12 noon, at Forest Headquarters on Hwy W. The event offers educational programs, nature and wildlife study, and volunteer opportunities, with focus on cleaning a section of forest roadway. Come and volunteer as little or as much time as you like. At noon, enjoy some tasty brats grilled by Flambeau staff. For more information, and to RSVP, call Forest Headquarters at (715) 332-5271.




Musky action is good to very good, with fish finally showing some activity. Concentrate on shallower humps, bars, flats, and other structure. Now that fish are moving, various baits are productive, including bucktails, rubber baits, musky suckers, topwaters, and trolling large stickbaits.



Walleye fishing is fair to good, with best success in late afternoon into after dark near shallow weeds, rock, and gravel. During the day, fish mid-lake humps, points, breaklines, and flats. Best baits include crawlers, walleye suckers, fatheads, and chubs on jigs, crawler harnesses, Lindy Rigs, and trolled/cast Flicker Shads and Rapalas.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good and improving, with fish holding in/on/near weeds, weedlines, breaklines, and near panfish concentrations. Top producing baits include spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, plastics, minnows, and suckers under bobbers.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass action is good on flats and in/on weeds and weedlines. The most productive baits include spinnerbaits, buzz baits, assorted plastics such as worms, creatures, and frogs, poppers, and topwaters.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass are on flats, humps, rock, and other hard bottom areas and taking buzz baits, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, poppers, and topwaters.



Crappie fishing is good and getting better as the fish begin to school in deeper water out to 20 feet. Fish for them around weeds, brush, bogs, and cribs with crappie minnows, worms, plastics, dressed jigs, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits with/without bobbers. Be sure to check the entire water column!



Bluegill fishing is good around weeds, cribs, and bogs in depths to 18 feet and deeper. Tradition bluegill baits, such as waxies, worms, crawler chunks, plastics, and Gulp! baits on plain and dressed jigs, plain hooks, and/or fished under floats, are all taking fish.


Upcoming Events

Sept. 21: Woodcock season opened.

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. 28-29: Hayward UTV FestivalSevenwinds Casino (920-419-2863).

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).

Oct. 4-6: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies Inc.42nd Annual Fall Musky Tournament (715-634-2921).

Oct. 5: 41st Annual Stone Lake Cranberry Festival (715-865-3378).

Oct. 5-6: Musky Tale Resort’sCrappie Quest (715-462-3838).

Oct. 5-6: Youth Deer Hunt (see regs).

Oct. 5-13: Gun deer hunt for hunters with disabilities (see regs).

Oct. 8: Black bear season closes.

Oct. 15: Inland trout season closes.

Oct. 18-20: Ladies Musky Fishing SchoolDeerfoot Lodge (608-215-7397).

Oct. 19: Seasons open: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse in Zone B; Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Raccoon gun/trapping for residents; Red and gray fox hunting/trapping; Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1, north of Hwy. 64; Coyote trapping; Fisher trapping.

Oct. 26: Seasons open: Muskrat statewide; Mink in north, south, and Winnebago zones.

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.