Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
This week’s forecast shows a blip or two of rain Tuesday and Wednesday, but it then appears like clear sailing into and possibly through the weekend (always subject to change). Do not allow a little rain dampen your spirits or change your plans!
“Weather wise,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “the past week was a better week for people to enjoy time on the lake. Water temperatures are in the mid-70s and fishing is decent.
“Musky and northern pike anglers are catching fish on rapidly retrieved bucktails and topwaters in shallow to mid-depth heavy weeds and cover. Rapid retrieves trigger the most aggressive fish.
“Walleye anglers are having the best luck during early morning and late evening hours, with jigs and minnows, crawler, and leeches producing fish. Jigs tipped with fatheads or Twister Tails under bobbers work for walleye and bass, as does jigging them on the bottom without a bobber.
“The crappie bite is good, with most action in early morning and late evening hours. Work submerged weeds and rock/gravel areas in 12-16 feet with crappie minnows and small tube jigs under slip bobbers.”
Loren at Hayward Bait says anglers should adjust their techniques to fit the weather.
“This time of year, deep weeds and weedy ledges are good bets for big muskies. Cast topwaters early in the day, switching to bright spinners as the day warms. Troll deep crankbaits and shallow runners to cover the water column.
“Walleye fishing is consistent off main lake points and humps. Use Jigging Rapalas, Mimic Minnows, small crankbaits, spoons, crawler harnesses, and jig/leeches. Big pike are deep and smaller fish are shallow.
“Largemouth bass anglers are catching both size and numbers. Cast swim jigs under docks and structure and on deep rocky/weedy points and fish baits slowly.
“Fish smallmouth with plastic worms on drop-shop rigs, working rock shelves, main lake ledges, and island walls in more than 10 feet. Look for changes such as rock/sand transitions, or boulder fields, jigging baits slowly on the bottom.
“Bigger panfish are close to logs and stumps in 8-12 feet. Jig plastics, continually switching colors and styles, as well as small leeches and waxies.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers are catching fish.
“Fish leeches, fatheads, and stickbaits along rock shorelines and structure, or try trolling deep divers in the river channel. To catch northern pike, float sucker minnows while casting surface baits near weedlines.
“For largemouth bass, work spinner and buzz baits along weedlines and shaded areas or cast weedless jigs and spoons into lily pads and heavy weeds.
“Crappie fishing is good near bogs and cribs with minnows, small spinnerbaits, and Gulp! baits. Catch bluegills in those same areas with worms and waxies.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the diet of brook trout.
“A recent study in New York examined the diet of brook trout in lakes. Brook trout, considered a generalist species, will eat a wide range of prey items and this study certainly supported that consideration.
“Researchers documented 78 different taxonomic groups in the diets of brook trout in the study, with items ranging from other fish, to insects, to amphibians, spiders, and even terrestrial animals.
“What makes this study particularly interesting is that despite the brook trout eating a wide variety of prey as a group, individual fish mostly specialized on just a few prey types. Some keyed on and almost exclusively ate insects, while some keyed on other fish as the bulk of their diet.
“Anglers could interpret these results to mean that when fishing for brook trout, a wide variety of baits might work, but they may find that only some fish in the lake will be interested.”
Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) is offering a Hunter Education course with classes meeting August 8, 10, 12, and 15. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1973 must complete a hunter education course to purchase any hunting license. Participants must attend all class sessions and pass written and hands-on tests to complete the course. Upon completion, students receive a hunting vest complements of SCOPE, distinctive embroidered emblem, and Wisconsin Hunter Education Graduate Certificate. The $10 course fee includes all materials and bonus items. The course, limited to 30 students, requires advanced registration. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org indicating you would like to register for the class and include your name, age, and contact telephone number. You will receive additional information at the e-mail address you provide. For more information, contact Chris Wunrow (715) 558-5371.
Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner is offering a weeklong kayak building class Saturday July 29 through Saturday August 5. Limited to four students, the course fee of $695 includes all materials and instruction to build and take home a water-ready kayak by week’s end. For more information, call Jed Malischke at (715) 635-2479 or email email@example.com.
The annual Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. free Kid’s Fishing Day on Tiger Cat Flowage is Sunday, August 6, from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the staging area Black Iron Bar and Grill on Hwy 77, 10 miles east of Hayward. Anglers 8-16 years of age fish with knowledgeable muskie anglers on Upper Twin and nearby lakes. (Adult anglers interested in volunteering as guides should contact Mike Persson (715-634-4543). Fishing concludes at noon, followed by a shore lunch and distribution of prizes. All anglers receive fishing goodies and the opportunity to win raffle prizes. Pre-register (required) at Hayward Bait and a parent/guardian MUST be present to sign the registration form. For more information, call (715) 634-2921 or 634-4543.
Musky fishing is very good if you hit the bite windows of opportunity. Concentrate on weeds and weedlines/edges in assorted depths, as well as look for fish suspending over deeper water. Bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and topwaters are all producing fish at this time.
Walleye anglers continue to catch fish on a relatively steady basis, with best action in early morning and late evening into dark. Look for fish on weedlines, points, humps, rocks, brush, and river channels. Use fatheads, crawlers, and leeches on jigs, Lindy Rigs, harnesses, and under slip bobbers, or cast/troll crankbaits, stickbaits, and spoons at various depths.
Northern pike action is good to very good on weeds, weedlines, and other shallow to mid-depth cover. Find fast action for smaller fish in the shallower depths, but for trophies fish deeper depths with larger baits. The most productive baits include northern suckers on bobbers, bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and topwaters.
Largemouth fishing is very good for size and numbers on most lakes. Work shallow to mid-depths structure such as docks, weeds, weedlines, rock, and lily pads. The most productive baits include plastics, spinnerbaits, spoons, buzz baits, and jigs with fatheads, crawlers, leeches, and Twister Tails under bobbers.
Smallmouth fishing is good once you find them on deeper hard bottom areas with rock, gravel, sand, and similar areas. Use jigs and drop-shot rigs with plastics (Twister Tails, worms, grubs, etc.) in crayfish colors, fatheads, leaches, and crawlers. Fish the baits under a bobber or bounce them slowly on the bottom.
Crappie action is good, with best success in early morning and late evening. Look for fish around weeds, rock, gravel, logs, bogs, stumps, and cribs in 6-18 feet of water. Top baits include crappie minnows, waxies, leeches, small plastics, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits on jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good around weeds, bogs, logs, cribs, stumps, docks, and other structure. Catch good numbers of smaller fish shallow, but go to deeper structure for bigger ‘gills. Best baits include waxies, worms, leeches, and small plastics on jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks.
July 29: Flambeau River State Forest “Campfire Cookout” at Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).
July 29-Aug. 5: Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum kayak building class (715-635-2479).
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.
Aug. 4-6: Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner (800-367-3306).
Aug. 8-15: SCOPE Hunter Education course (715-558-5371).
Aug. 12: Flambeau River State Forest Smokey Bear’s Birthday Party at Connors Picnic Area; noon (715-332-5271).
Aug. 14-17: Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags where available go on sale at 10 a.m.
Aug. 17-20: Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).
Aug. 22: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license to a youth hunter (see regs).
Aug. 26: Remaining fall wild turkey permits go on sale at 10 a.m.
Through Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear (see regs).
Sept. 1-3: 25th Annual Exeland Trout Festival.