July 6, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

Now that today (Monday) is in the history book, the remainder of this week looks to be especially nice (pay no attention to predictions for the week’s end!) Mild days and cool nights – perfect North Woods summer weather. Get out and take advantage of it – we have already burned through the first week of July!

“July and August heat typically slow fishing, but not always.” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Fish still feed – the key is finding them.
“Musky fishing is slow, but steady. Muskies will move during daylight on cloudy, muggy days. Work weeds with black-tailed bucktails with gold blades, crankbaits, and topwaters in early morning and late evening. Walleyes are not far from deep weeds. Work the weed edges with crawlers or leeches on jigs.
“For largemouth, fish the edges of lily pads and thick cover with frog imitations, fake minnows, and plastic worms. Smallmouth moved to deeper rock bars and gravel beds. Use deep running crankbaits and crayfish imitations. Panfish, those worth taking, are in deeper water.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing is excellent.
“Muskies are on fresh green weeds in 3-10 feet. Work the edges and tops with bucktails and topwaters. In the evening, try topwaters. Walleyes are in 12-20 feet along weed edges and around wood and snags near river channels. Use jigs with large leeches or plastics. Cast Rapalas over/along weeds in the evening.
“For northern pike, fish thick weeds in the natural lakes on the west side with spinners and weedless plastics. In the same areas, catch largemouth with weedless frogs.
“Crappies are near weeds, wood, snags, and cribs in 12-22 feet. Try crappie minnows, jigs/plastics, and Beetle Spins. There is a good evening bite along the bogs.”
At Hayward Bait, Jim says musky fishing is a little soft, though anglers are catching some fish.
“Walleye fishing is very good around weeds in 12-20 feet with leeches and crawlers on live bait rigs, jigs, and slip bobbers. Northern fishing is good on spinnerbaits, spoons, small bucktails, and suckers under bobbers around cabbage weeds in 5-12 feet.
“Largemouth action is very good around weeds in 2-10 feet with topwater frogs, creature baits, rubber worms, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits. Fish smallmouth on rocky humps and gravel bars in 15-25 feet with leeches, crawlers, jigs/craws, jigs/plastics, rubber worms, and topwaters.
“Crappie are suspending over deeper water. Use crappie minnows, waxies, and plastics. Bluegills are in 4-10 feet and biting on waxies, crawlers, leaf worms, and plastics.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers are doing best fishing rocky points and weed edges.
“Fish early and late with leeches, fatheads, and sucker minnows; troll the channel with stickbaits during the day.
“Largemouth are very active! Try noise and splash with spinnerbaits, buzz baits, and poppers along weed edges, and fish weed beds with weedless worms, dressed swim baits, and frogs.
“Panfish anglers should fish around cribs, bogs, and other structure with live bait, dressed jigs, or Gulp! baits, varying the depth until finding fish. Floating spiders and cork poppers are fun on the surface!”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter talks about ducks – and northern pike.
“Anglers who spend a lot of time on the water (or watching Internet videos) may have at some point seen a northern pike or musky attack a duckling. Anglers know enough about the occurrences that there are even duckling fly patterns.
“Researchers in Sweden actually studied if northern pike had a significant impact on duck breeding success. They used a series of lakes with breeding ducks, but no fish. The researchers introduced pike to half of the lakes, while leaving alone the other half.
“Over the next few years, they surveyed the duck populations and found that ducks still choose to breed on the lakes now containing northern pike. There were, however, noticeably fewer ducklings surviving in the pike lakes compared to the lakes without pike.
“It is not hard to imagine what happened there.”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says more stable weather last week made for increased fishing pressure.
“Musky action is consistent, with most anglers seeing several fish per trip. For best success, fish bucktails and stickbaits on deep weedlines. Walleye fishing is good in/around mid-depth weed beds with leeches or crawler pieces on slip bobbers or small jigs dropped into weed pockets.
“Largemouth are providing great action on topwaters and soft plastics fished near weed beds, woody cover, and in/along bog edges and lily pads. Smallmouth are hitting small finesse plastics fished near mid-depth woody cover.
“Some nice crappies are along emergent weedlines and over mid-depth weed beds, brush, and cribs. Most bluegills completed spawning and bigger fish retreated to deeper water. Pumpkinseed and rock bass are still nesting and providing fair action.”

Musky action is fair to excellent, depending on the water (and the angler). Target green weeds, weedlines, and weed edges in assorted depths, from 2-12 feet and deeper. Bucktails, crankbaits, stickbaits, and topwaters (particularly in the evening) all work well at this time. Select your bait (color, size, action, etc.) and presentation to fit the water fished, location on that water, and time of day.

Walleye fishing is good to very good, with best action early and late in the day. Fish are holding on deep weed edges, wood, rocky points, and along river channels in depths to 25 feet. Look for fish to move to shallower weed areas during early and late hours, as well as on overcast days. Leeches and crawlers on jigs, live bait rigs, and under slip bobbers are the most productive presentations. In addition, Rapalas, plastics, fatheads, walleye suckers, and trolled stick and crank baits work well.

Northern Pike:
Northern actions is good to very good in and around thick weeds and cabbage out to 12 feet or so with northern suckers under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, small bucktails, and weedless plastics.

Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth action is very good in depths to 10 feet or so on most lakes. Concentrate your efforts in/on/along/near thick weeds, wood, lily pads, bogs, brush, and stumps. Top baits include rigged worms, creature baits, imitation frogs and minnows, swim baits, spinnerbaits, soft plastics, buzz baits, crankbaits, and topwaters.

Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth anglers are finding fish on deeper rock, gravel, wood, and humps in depths to 25 feet. Jigs/craws, tubes, rigged worms, crayfish pattern crankbaits and other imitations, and finesse plastics will all extricate smallmouth from their holding areas.

Most crappies moved to deeper water, out to about 25 feet, suspending near/over weeds, weedlines, wood, cribs, bogs, brush, and other structure. Use your locator to locate crappies. Best baits include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, dressed jigs, Gulp! baits, and Beetle Spins.

Bluegill fishing is good for smaller fish in shallower water, but fish deeper weedlines, cribs, bogs, and brush for bigger ‘gills. Waxies, leaf worms, panfish leeches, Gulp! baits, and plastics on plain hooks or jigs fished under bobbers all work, as do small poppers and other topwater temptations.

Upcoming Events
July 15: Turtle season opens statewide (see regs).
July 17-19: LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715) 634-8934).
July 17-19: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).
July 23-25: Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).
July 26: Hayward Bass Club Open Tourney, Chippewa Flowage (715-699-1015).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and Federal WPA (see regs for exceptions).
Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; Sharp-tailed grouse; Bobcat; Fisher; Otter.

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.