May 11, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

The chilly, wet start to this week modifies somewhat by the weekend when highs again reach the 70s. The first couple of days this week ... well, just ignore them and maybe they will go away!

“Walleyes moved to traditional spring/summer locations,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Cast crankbaits over flats and along weed edges, jig along shoreline breaks and humps, or work fatheads and crawlers along the bottom or under bobbers. Pike are very active, taking spinnerbaits and crankbaits along shorelines and over weed tops. Use a leader to avoid bite offs!
“Largemouth bass are prowling the shallows, in season, and harvesting them will help increase walleye populations in our lakes. Crappies are in shoreline weeds, brush, and shallow flats in 1-6 feet. Use tiny crankbaits and spinnerbaits, or tube jigs and crappie minnows below bobbers.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says the Chippewa Flowage water level is near normal and slowly rising.
“Anglers are catching walleyes in 10-20 feet on jigs and fatheads, with some doing well on Countdown Rapalas and Husky Jerks in 1-8 feet in the evening. Northern action is good on the west side with ‘hot’ color spinners and crankbaits.
“Crappies are stacked in shallow, dark-bottom bays in 1-3 feet near weeds and wood. Use crappie minnows, feather jigs, or jigs with plastics. Some bluegills and largemouth are with the crappies.
“Anglers are seeing muskies spawning in the shallows and we hope they have spawned by the muskie opener!”
At Hayward Bait, Jim says is it was a good first week of gamefish season.
“The walleye bite is good, depending where you fish, with shallower lakes out-performing the bigger, deeper lakes. Northern pike action is fair, with Nelson, Smith, and Chippewa Flowage best. Bass fishing, both largemouth and smallmouth, is good in water 2-6 feet of water.
“Crappie action is fantastic in shallow water on most lakes, with some fish in less than two feet. Minnows and plastics work well. Bluegill fishing is okay, but will pick up as the water warms.”
Mike at Jenk’s says walleye fishing is awesome on the Chippewa Flowage.
“The majority are on deep brush/wood in 15-24 feet. Large females are in 3-12 feet on wood in bays and near humps. Use Berkley Rib Worms or slip bobbers and leeches in deep brush. During low light, fish crankbaits on shallow humps and bars.
“Pike are active in 2-8 feet on spinnerbaits and jerkbaits. Fish largemouth with wacky-rigged worms worked slowly over stumps and logs in 1-6 feet. For smallmouth, work shallow rock and wood with square bills, jerkbaits, and tubes.
“Crappie action is excellent in shallow water. Work jigs and plastics under floats around wood and brush and keep moving until you find fish.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses white suckers.
“White sucker are common in many of our lakes and you can often see them in spring when they spawn over shallow gravel in lakes and streams.
“During spawning season, male suckers display a distinct black or crimson lengthwise strip down their body. This temporary marking is not visible at other times of the year. The marking often causes confusion, leading people to think they are seeing a different sucker species or a big largemouth bass (with a permanent dark stripe).
“White suckers are an important food source for many of our gamefish species and we encourage people to leave spawning suckers alone to ‘do their thing’.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says walleye success is best just as the sun starts to set in the evening.
“Live bait – jigs/minnows and slip-bobber rigs – work best, and crankbait anglers find good action casting shallows and mid-depth flats in low-light. Northern prefer live bait and slower moving spinnerbaits. Bass action is good, with smallmouth more active than largemouth.
“Crappies started moving into shallow bays, with a few already spawning. Work weedlines with small minnows below a bobber. For bluegills, fish shallow bays and mudflats with crawler pieces under slip bobbers. Perch are on mudflats with growing green weeds.”

Female turtles will soon move to upland sand/gravel areas to lay eggs and then return to the wetlands. When driving through wetlands during late May to early June (and through August), be extra cautious and watch for turtles crossing roads. Some turtles, such as the wood turtle, can take 12-20 years to reach reproductive age. Submit your observations to the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program. For more information, search ‘turtles’ on the DNR website.

Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum in Spooner is hosting a free Wooden Boat and Canoe Show on Canoe Heritage Day, Saturday May 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The show feature many canoes, boats, and canoe related materials of all types and exhibitors include some of the Midwest’s finest canoe builders. The event includes museum tours, unveiling of a new annual exhibit, live music by The Porch Dogs, and food and beverages in the beer garden. For more information, visit or call 715-635-2479.

The Hayward Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries 28th annual fishing event is May 15-16 at Lake Chippewa Campground. The event hosts 150 participants fishing from boats and pontoons, an experience that for some was once only a dream. The event always needs and welcomes additional volunteers to assist with various duties. For more information or to volunteer, call (715) 634-3185 or email

Walleye fishing is fair to very good, with early morning and evening hours best. The fish have scattered to various locations and depths. Depending on the lake and time of day, look for fish on flats, humps, wood, weeds, breaks, bays, bars, and brush in 3-25 feet. Try jigs and fatheads or crawlers and leeches on slip bobbers and bottom bouncers. Troll or cast crankbaits and stickbaits on shallow areas in the evening.

Northern Pike:
Northern pike action is fair to very good in shallow bays, weeds, and around panfish. Work minnows under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and jerkbaits over and along those weeds and shorelines.

Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth are lethargic on some lakes, but quite active on other waters. Try depths from very shallow to 7 feet, particularly around stumps, trees, and brush, slowly working live bait and plastics – worms, grubs, Twister Tails.

Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth activity is fair to good around rocks, gravel, breaks, and wood in 2-10 feet with crawfish color tubes, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and plastics.

Crappie action is fair to outstanding, depending on the day, lake, time, and conditions. Look for fish in the shallows, from 1-6 feet or so. Dark bottom bays, brush, wood, weeds, and flats can all hold fish. Top baits include crappie minnows; various jigs tipped with live bait, tubes, plastics, and Gulp! baits; small spinners; and spinner and crank baits.

Bluegill fishing is fair to good, but the best days are ahead with warming water temperatures. Look for ‘gills in shallow bays and flats – wherever you find the warmest water. Waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawlers/pieces, leeches, plastics, and Gulp! baits, without or without bobbers, will all get their attention.

Upcoming Events
May 6-12: Spring turkey hunting Period D.
May 13-19: Spring turkey hunting Period E.
May 15-16: Fishing Has No Boundaries, Lake Chippewa Campground on Chippewa Flowage (715-634-3185).
May 15-17: Musky Tale Resort’s Northern Encounter (715-462-3838).
May 20-26: Spring turkey hunting Period F.
May 23: Muskie season opens north of Highway 10.
May 23: Canoe and Wooden Boat Show, Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum, Spooner (715-635-2479).
June 6-7: Free Fishing and Fun Weekend. Free fishing, free admission to all state parks, forests, and trails.
June 20: Northern zone smallmouth bass season opens to daily bag limits (see regs).
June 25-28: Hayward 66th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
June 28: Hayward Bass Club Open Tourney, Round Lake (715-699-1015).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and Federal WPA (see regs for exceptions).

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Sawyer County Record co-sponsor this report. For more information on area events and activities, visit the HLVCB’s Calendar of Events or call 800-724-2992.