June 1, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

This week’s forecast predicts moderate temperatures, though far too many chances for rain showers. Do not let a chance of getting wet stop you from enjoying any and all outdoor recreation the North Woods offers!

This weekend, June 6-7, is “Free Fishing and Fun Weekend” and the DNR waives fishing licenses, trail passes, and admission stickers for state parks and forests. Residents and nonresidents can fish all inland waters, Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River without a license or trout stamp.

“Musky fishing is best with small to medium lures and slow retrieves in shallow water around spawning panfish,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Walleyes are in 4-6 feet on some lakes and much deeper in other lakes. Best hours are early morning and late afternoon into dark. Use jigs with minnows or plastics on light tackle. Largemouth are shallow, preparing to spawn. Smallmouth action is good, but catch-and-release.
“Small minnows and plastics under bobbers will take crappies. Bluegills need some warm days and when that happens, expect good action on small jigs and surface lures.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage musky anglers are finding action.
“Work small twitch baits and bucktails tight to fresh, green weeds and shallow wood. During low light, try topwaters. Walleye action is good on wood in 10-20 feet with jigs and fatheads, leeches, and crawlers. Northern fishing is best with spinners, twitch baits, and live bait.
“Crappies are in weeds in 6-10 feet and over sunken bogs. Jigs with plastics, Gulp! baits, and minnows will all catch fish. Bluegills are moving shallow. Catch them on jigs with waxies, worms, or plastics.”
Jim at Hayward Bait says small bucktails, gliders, and stickbaits around weeds in 8-15 feet work well for muskies.
“Walleye fishing is good on gravel and structure in 10-20 feet with walleye suckers, fatheads, crawlers, and leeches on jigs and Lindy Rigs. Catch northerns on weedlines in 5-15 feet with suckers, spoons, and bucktails.
“Largemouth action is good in 4-10 feet on twitch baits, plastics, spinners, and topwaters. Smallmouth action is good on crankbaits and stickbaits.
“Catch crappies in shallow bays with minnows, waxies, and plastics. Bluegill fishing is exceptional on waxies, leaf worms, and plastics in 1-4 feet.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky action is good on small bucktails and topwaters.
“Use slow retrieves on structure and weeds. Walleye fishing is good on wood, humps, and bogs with walleye minnows, Rib Worms, and leeches. Fish northerns on bogs and weeds in 3-15 feet with jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and suckers.
“For largemouth, fish heavy weeds and wood with creature baits and Texas-rigged worms. Smallmouth action is great with topwaters, tubes, and stick worms fished tight to wood and rock. Fish crappies on bogs, weeds, and wood in 4-12 feet with fatheads, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should still-fish minnows or leeches on Lindy Rigs or troll the river channel with deep divers during the day.
“In the evening, try shallow bays and points with jigs and minnows, leeches on slip bobbers, and shallow diving or floating stickbaits. Fish northerns on weedlines with larger stickbaits and sucker minnows. For bass, cast shorelines with scented worms, frogs, and poppers.
“Panfish are still trying to spawn, but the weather keeps moving them in and out of the shallows. Catch them on crappie minnows, worms, and waxies.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter talks about fish nest sharing.
“Male pumpkinseed sunfish, like bluegill and bass, build saucer-shaped nests to raise eggs. Researchers noticed that golden shiners often spawn in pumpkinseed nests and a study in New York found shiner eggs in about 30 percent of the pumpkinseed nests examined.
“Shiners did not use abandoned nests – only nests with male pumpkinseeds guarding them. Even more interesting, shiners were more likely to use nests of male pumpkinseeds that attracted a mate.
“The researcher suggests shiner eggs benefit from protection of male pumpkinseeds that guard nests even more aggressively if there are eggs to protect.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says last week’s weather continued to confuse bass and panfish attempting to spawn.
“Musky anglers report good success on small jerkbaits and medium bucktails. Walleye fishing is best two hours before dark with minnows on slip bobbers, jigs, or bare hook/split shot rigs along drop-offs in 6-12 feet. An hour before dark, cast Rapalas into the shallows.
“Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are in the middle of spawning. You can see dished out areas in the shallows, with the males often sitting tight and guarding the nests.
“Crappies are finishing nesting, while pumpkinseed and bluegill are just starting to congregate prior to spawning.”

The Great Divide Ranger District of the U.S. Forest Service is hosting its annual free Kids Fishing Derby June 6, from 9 a.m. until noon, at Lake Hayward Beach and Park behind the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. Bring your own equipment (loaners available) and anglers from Hayward Bass Club and Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin will offer assistance. For more information, contact Kathy Moe (715) 634-4821.

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. invites the public to its meeting Tuesday, June 2, starting at 7 p.m., at Coop’s Pizza. Guest speaker Scott Toshner, DNR fisheries biologist for Bayfield County, will discuss musky lakes and “fish sticks” habitat. Attend the meeting and purchase an annual membership for half price!

Musky action is fair to good. Look for fish in 6-10 feet of water near weeds, especially new green weeds, wood, gravel bars, shorelines, and just off shallow water holding spawning panfish. Use small to medium baits including bucktails, Bull Dawgs, gliders, spinners, stickbaits, twitch baits, jerkbaits, and topwaters with slow retrieves.

Walleye fishing is best in early morning and late afternoon into dark. Look for wood, gravel, bars, bogs, drop-offs, humps, and mid-lake structure in depths from 4-20 feet, depending on the lake. Use walleye suckers, fatheads, leeches, crawlers, and plastics, on jigs, Lindy Rigs, split shot rigs, and slip bobbers, and try stickbaits and crankbaits.

Northern Pike:
Northern pike are active around weedlines, bogs, and spawning panfish in 2-16 feet. Baits of choice include northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, jerkbaits, twitch baits, and bucktails. Fish larger baits in deeper water for trophy pike.

Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth fishing is good in and around weeds, wood, and other cover in depths out to about 8 feet. Use plastics such as creature baits and worms in various riggings and configurations, twitch baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth action is very good, with fish in pre-spawn/spawn/post spawn mode, depending on the water. Fish shallow rock and wood with tubes, plastic worms, crankbaits, stickbaits, and topwaters.

Crappie action is good on crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers. Target weeds, wood, bogs, and stumps in depths from 1-12 feet in bays and other areas with dark bottoms and warmer water.

Bluegill fishing is very good as the ‘gills head to their nesting sites. Look for “elephant tracks” on sand bottoms in shallow water. Waxies, leaf worms, panfish leeches, and plastics on small jigs or plain hooks will all catch fish.

Upcoming Events
June 2: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc., general meeting, Coop’s Pizza, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).
June 5: Flambeau River State Forest Open House.
June 6-7: Free Fishing and Fun Weekend. Free fishing, free admission to all state parks, forests, and trails.
June 6: Kid’s Fishing Derby, 9 a.m.-noon, Lake Hayward Beach and Park (715-634-4821).
June 8: DNR Beaver Management Plan meeting, DNR office Hwy 27 South, 6-8 p.m.
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.