Outdoor Report

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]June 5, 2017

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

This week looks to be the best of the year so far this spring, with the exception of “chances” of showers later in the week. Otherwise, clear skies, cool nights, and warm, sunny days. Nothing more to say, other than get out now and enjoy this long-awaited break in the weather!


“Cold temperatures, wind, and rain affected fish activity last week,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but the panfish spawn should pick up again with the sun and warmth.

“Walleye and northern pike produced the best fishing during the recent conditions. Walleye anglers are using minnows on jigs and under floats, fishing drop-off edges and deep, submerged weeds. In the evening, walleyes move shallow to feed. Northern are aggressive and will bite nearly anything, but try spinnerbaits, spoons, and jigs and minnows.

“Bass are sweeping beds in preparation for spawn, and once on the beds, these fish are easy prey. Largemouth season is open on many lakes, but be sure to check the regulations for the lakes you fish. Smallmouth fishing is very good, but remains catch and release only in the northern bass zone until June 17.

“The stage is set for panfish spawn and all we need is a few warms days and they will again be shallow. Work 2-5 feet with minnows under bobbers or small tube jigs.

“Bluegills are still a little deeper – start deeper and work shallower until you find them. Waxies, leaf worms, and small feather jigs will all catch fish, and action should be very good for anglers using fly rods.”


Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should troll shallow weed edges.

“Jig or bobber-fishing suckers, fatheads, leeches, and crawlers will work, with most success in early morning and 6-9 p.m. in the evening.

“Northern pike and bass are in the shallows, where there are bluegills, and you can catch them by throwing poppers, spinnerbaits, and buzzbaits.

“Crappie fishing is good on minnows, Gulp! baits, and Beetle Spin rigs worked around bogs, cribs, and stumps.

“Bluegills are spawning and action is very good for anglers are using leaf worms and waxies under bobbers and jigging artificials along the shorelines.”


Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky anglers have not reported much action since opening weekend.

“The few muskies registered at the shop came on smaller surface and sub-surface baits by anglers disciplined enough to maintain slow retrieves.

“Walleyes are very active, but the size is less than desired. Minnows and leeches, in that order, are the live baits of choice. Most artificial action is on minnow shaped plastics such as Ripple Shads, Jerk Minnows, and 3- to 4-inch Gulp Minnows, with some action on crankbaits.

“There is some largemouth bass success, but smallmouth action is outstanding around stumpy and rocky shorelines on the southeast portion of the Flowage. The real action is on plastic craws – they are significantly outperforming other baits – though spinnerbaits and Mepps are popular.

“Crappie action is a little off, but warm weather should push them back shallow. Crappies holding in 9-18 feet are biting, while fish in the shallows are reluctant to strike. Most likely this is due to the changes in temperature from cold to warm and back to cold again throughout May. Tube jigs and Kalin’s Crappie Scrubs are the best producers, followed by crappie minnows. Do not get stuck on one spot or depth – keeping moving around to try and pinpoint the patterns.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses using lure size as a fishing regulation.

“Fisheries biologists commonly use minimum length limits to enhance fish populations by protecting smaller fish. The incidental catch of fish below a minimum length limit can have negative effects on the population if there is a fair amount of hooking mortality or fish dying even though anglers do their best to release them alive.

“This loss of sub-legal fish may seem unavoidable, but researchers in Texas examined methods to minimize the catching and subsequent hooking mortality of sub-legal fish. The researchers examined bass fisheries and found that by increasing lure size, anglers could decrease the number of sub-legal fish they were catching without negatively affecting the number of legal fish they caught.

“While regulating lure size is unlikely to become a common management approach, there may be certain situations where it could at least become a recommendation for anglers. One example is fishing tournaments on lakes with a minimum length limit, where it would be beneficial to minimize hooking mortality on sublegal fish.”


The 67th Annual Musky Festival is June 22-25. This year the Hayward Lion’s Club Musky Fest Fishing Contest introduces the $100,000 Musky Fest Lions Family Fishing Spectacular in which any angler catching a state record fish has the opportunity to win $100,000! The contest runs June 20-24 for the following species: musky, tiger musky, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and black crappie. For more information, rules, entry requirements, and other specifics, visit www.muskyfest.com/100000-musky-fest-lions-fishing-spectacular or call (715) 634-8662.


Fishing Has No Boundaries is hosting a “FISH ON” benefit concert Sunday, June 18, from noon to 7:30 p.m., at the Sawyer County Fairgrounds. Entertainers include Marty Cina, Gaelynn Lea, Sean & Ian Okamoto, and Joe Bucher & the Young Guns. Tickets cost $15 (youth 12 and under free) and are available at the FHNB Hayward office, Hayward Bait, Marketplace, and www.eventbrite.com. All proceeds benefit Fishing Has No Boundaries to provide people with disabilities great opportunities to get out and fish and enjoy the outdoors. For more information, call 800-432-3462, email fhnbinc@cheqnet.net, or visit www.fhnbinc.org.


Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. welcomes the public to its Tuesday June 6 meeting at Grid Iron Pub and Grub on Main Street in Hayward. Following a 6:30-7 p.m. business meeting, internationally known local musky historian and guide Larry Ramsell will begin his presentation “The History of Big Muskies.” Admission is free and anyone attending the meeting who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.




Musky fishing is fair to good, with most anglers at least seeing some fish. The best success continues to be on smaller baits fished slowly. Rip them if you want, but…



Walleye fishing is fair to good, though inconsistent, with best success in the evening before and into dark. Concentrate on mid-depth weed edges and drop-offs, moving shallower during those evening hours. Best baits include walleye suckers, fatheads, crawlers, leeches, plastics, crankbaits, and stickbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is very good in shallow weed areas and anywhere you find pre-spawn bluegills. Throw what you have in the box, including spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, plastics, buzzbaits, and topwaters.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is excellent in shallow to slightly deeper water, as the bass are moving shallow for spawning purposes. Live bait, spinners and spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and nearly all types of plastics will get their attention.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth fishing is good to excellent – but remember, it is catch and release only until June 17. Work shallow to mid-depth stumps, rock, points, and hard-bottom areas with spinners, spinnerbaits, and plastics, including tubes, grubs, Twister Tails, and craws.



Crappie fishing is good to very good in 2-20 feet around bogs, brush, cribs, and stumps, though not all fish are cooperative. A variety of baits will work, including crappie minnows, spinners, small spoons, plastics, tube jigs, Beetle Spins, and Gulp! baits.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good in and along shallow shorelines out to mid-depths as the fish prepare for spawning. Use waxies, leaf worms, small dressed jigs, plastics, and Gulp! baits, with or without bobbers.


Upcoming Events

June 6: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. meeting at Grid Iron Pub and Grub, 6:30 p.m. (715-634-4543).

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

June 18: Fishing Has No Boundaries “Fish On” 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).

June 25: Hayward Bass Club Round Lake Open tournament (715-699-1015).

July 15: Turtle season opens (see regs).

July 1 Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear (see regs).

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

Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; Bobcat; Fisher; Otter; Sharp-tailed grouse.


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]