Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]May 22, 2017

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


The forecast for this week shows warmer, less wet weather Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Better yet, at this time, the following week looks very promising for sunshine and warm temperatures. Hang in there – better weather is on the way!


“Last week was not good for fishing,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but with the high fire danger, we needed the rain.

“Walleye fishing is good, with fish starting to feed in weeds. Fatheads work best, with a few anglers using leeches and crawlers. Smaller fish are in deeper holes; bigger fish are in green weeds, especially in the evening.

“Northern pike, often mixed in with walleyes, will hit jigs and minnows, as well as spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.

“Largemouth bass are sweeping beds and will soon spawn. Largemouth harvest season is open. Smallmouth season is catch and release until June 17. Fish them in shallow rock/gravel areas.

“Crappies are in to spawn and minnows, tube jigs, Tattle-Tails, and Mini Mites work well. Bluegills are moving shallow, though not ready to spawn, and will hit worms.”


Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says the bite remains solid despite the changing weather.

“Walleye anglers should focus on new emerging weeds in less than 10 feet for larger fish, working jigs and swimbaits, fatheads, and leeches. Smaller fish are on the primary break in 8-15 feet and jigs and Lindy Rigs work well.

“Northern pike are very active in less than 10 feet around new weeds and other cover. Jigs/swimbaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and spoons all get action.

“Largemouth are slowly pushing shallow. Target emergent weeds, overhead cover, and wood with Senko worms and crankbaits. For catch and release smallmouth, work shallow flats and bays with sand and gravel bottoms, in less than 10 feet, with jerkbaits such as X-Raps and jig/plastic combos.

“Crappie action is strong in less than 6 feet, with shallow bays and weed flats holding fish. Some bluegills are also showing up in the shallows.

“There are decent stream trout reports on crawlers and leaf worms and the rains should improve the bite.”


Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage walleye fishing slowed since opening weekend, but they are still biting.

“Deeper brush and sunken bogs hold fish during the day. In the evening, try shallower areas with cover that border river channels. Minnows, leeches, and crankbaits, in that order, are the baits of choice.

“Northern pike fishing is very good on the west end with suckers and creek chubs. Focus on the far back bays and live bait offers your best chance for action. Largemouth bass are very active in shallow weed areas, with crawlers and plastics the top baits.

“Crappies moved into the bays last week, but the storm system messed them up a bit. They are still active, but not shallow. Fish deeper areas (8-9 feet) of bays with Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, Gulp!, and tube jigs.”


Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says Chequamegon Bay anglers had an interesting time last week dodging lightning and raindrops and the Bay is red from stream runoff.

“Smallmouth anglers who know the structure caught fish, even with the poor visibility. There are pre-spawn fish and some fish making beds. Most success is on slowly moved light jigs and plain hooks with plastics, while fly anglers slowly strip large profile streamers. Do not be afraid to change baits and experiment.

“Walleye anglers were doing well slow-trolling stickbaits over weed beds. As the water clears, work the mudlines.

“The wind especially affects trout and salmon fishing. If it calms down, look for mudlines. Most anglers are flatlining stickbaits or using lead core line and Dipsey Divers.

Most streams are ‘blown out,’ but should be fishable by the holiday weekend.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses why there is little data on tiger muskies.

“Anglers know the northern pike-muskellunge hybrid as the ‘tiger musky.’ These beautifully patterned fish, protected under musky fishing regulations, grow quickly, and anglers generally look upon them positively.

“Both northern pike and true muskies are relatively easy to survey, most often using fyke nets, so there is a wealth of data on these species in Wisconsin. However, DNR fisheries biologists get very little data on tiger muskies for reasons tied directly to biology.

“As hybrids, tiger muskies are not as fit reproductively as either parent species. They also do not go through the same spawning routines that bring both pike and musky into shallow water in the spring to spawn. Since tiger muskies do not exhibit the same behavior, they are less susceptible to capture in nets. Even in lakes with significant populations of tiger muskies, such as the Chippewa Flowage, Sand, Teal, and Lost Land lakes in the Hayward area, the DNR rarely capture tiger muskies in their surveys.”


Musky season in the northern zone opens this Saturday, May 27. State fisheries biologists say that based on 2017 spring netting surveys and angler reports from recent years, plenty of big fish await anglers, including many fish more than 40 inches – and a 55-inch monster in Sawyer County. Due to the unseasonably cool weather, the biologists suggest anglers cast smaller, slower moving baits in the shallowest, warmest bays they can find. Anglers should check for special regulations on the waters they fish. The musky is Wisconsin’s official fish and the state is home to the current world record, a 69-pound, 11-ounce Chippewa Flowage fish taken in 1949. For more information, search “musky” and “musky fishing forecasts” on the DNR website.


Check out the DNR’s new live release record fish program that offers anglers the satisfaction of a successful live release AND a state record. Submissions must include one photo showing the fish on its side beside a measuring device with the length number clearly visible and one showing the angler with the fish. If biologists are unable to make conclusive species identification from the photos, they will not consider the record claim. The length-only record program is honor-based and does not require witnesses. For more information, search “live release records” on the DNR website.


This Saturday, May 27, the Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner opens its season with free festivities in celebration of Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day. The museum will host a canoe and wooden boat show, an open house with tours in the exhibit hall, ongoing activities in the canoe workshop, and live music, food, and beverages available in the beer garden. The free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is a fundraiser for the museum. For more information, visit www.WisconsinCanoeHeritageMuseum.org or call (715) 635-2479.




Walleye fishing is generally good, though a bit inconsistent. The post-spawn fish are starting to scatter and you will find them in new weeds, wood, brush, bogs, deep holes, and on breaks in depths from 6 feet and deeper. In the evening hours, look for fish to move into shallower weedy areas. Try jigs and Lindy Rigs with walleye suckers, fatheads, leeches, crawlers, as well as swimbaits, crankbaits, and stickbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is very good on all lakes holding pike – and that is most of them. Concentrate on shallow to mid-depth areas with new weeds and concentrations of panfish. The most productive baits include northern suckers and jigs/minnows for live bait (first choice), and jigs/swimbaits, crankbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is good and getting better as the fish prepare for spawning in shallow water. Good areas include new green weeds, wood, fallen trees, and brush. Best baits include jigs/plastics, pre-rigged worms, tubes, crankbaits, and crawlers.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing in the northern bass zone is catch and release only until Saturday June 17. You will find them on hard bottom rock and gravel flats, bays, and points in depths to 12 feet. Jerkbaits, X-Raps, jigs/plastics, tubes, and grubs are all good smallmouth baits.



Crappie action is very good in mid-depths to shallow water, though they will move in and out with the storm fronts. Look for them in 4-10 feet in bays and around weeds and other cover. Top baits include crappie minnows, tube jigs, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits, with or without slip bobbers or other floats.



Bluegills are starting their move toward the shallows for spawning, but it is not yet time. Waxies, worms, plastics, tube jigs, and Gulp! baits will all do the trick.


Upcoming Events

May 17-23: Period E spring turkey season.

May 24-25: Fishing Has No Boundaries Kid’s Event at Nelson Lake (715-634-3185).

May 24-30: Period F spring turkey season.

May 27: Muskellunge season opens north of Highway 10.

May 27: Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner celebration of Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Day (715-635-2479).

June 3-4: Free Fishing and Free Fun weekend.

June 17: Northern Zone smallmouth bass season opens for daily bag limits (see regs).

June 18: Fishing Has No Boundaries benefit concert, Sawyer County Fairgrounds (800-243-3462).

June 20-24: $100,000 Musky Fest Lions Family Fishing Spectacular (715-634-8662)!

June 22-25: 67th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).

Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).


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. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]