July 20, 2015
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

The forecasts show a relatively mild to warmish week ahead, with mostly clear skies and plenty of sun ... and yes, a few days with shower and thunderstorm possibilities. It is past mid-July – get out and enjoy summer while you can!

“Muskies started slow and have yet to reach expectations,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Try both shallow and deep with bucktails and topwaters in early mornings and at sundown. For walleyes, fish weeds with leeches and crawlers in morning and evening, with evening best. Catch northerns around shallow weeds with smaller bucktails and spinnerbaits tipped with Twister Tails.
“Largemouth are in thick weeds and heavy cover. Use weedless plastic worms, frogs, topwaters, and crankbaits. Fish crappies on deeper weed edges and suspending in 12-18 feet with minnows and plastics, or try thick weeds in 4-8 feet with minnows.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage musky action is excellent.
“Muskies are holding in fresh cabbage in 3-8 feet. Shallow running bucktails are hot during the day; topwaters produce during early mornings, evenings, and in low light. Catch walleyes on humps in 15-20 feet with leeches on jigs or slip bobbers, and in weeds in 6-10 feet with jigs and leeches or crawlers. In the evening, work Rapalas over weeds.
“For largemouth, fish the slop in the natural lakes on the west side with weedless lures and frogs. Catch crappies on deeper brush and snags with crappie minnows and jigs with plastics.”
Jim at Hayward Bait says musky action is fair.
“Work bucktails, gliders, tubes, and topwaters on weedlines, humps, and gravel bars. Catch walleyes on gravel bars and weed edges in 10-20 feet with leeches, crawlers, walleye suckers, and fatheads. For northerns, fish weed edges in 5-15 feet with spinners, spoons, and northern suckers.
“Largemouth fishing is good on buzz baits, spinnerbaits, plastics, and frogs in weeds in 3-10 feet. Catch smallmouth on rock bars, humps, and weedlines in 8-20 feet with jigs, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits.
“Crappies are suspending in depths to 30 feet. Use minnows, waxies, and plastics.”
Mike at Jenk’s says fishing is on and off for Chippewa Flowage muskies.
“During early morning and late evening, throw surface baits. During the day and early evening, use bucktails, Bull Dawgs, and Vexers. For walleyes, work crawlers, Rib Worms, and crankbaits on the outside edges of weeds and stumps bordering river channels. Catch northerns in the weeds on spinnerbaits and spoons tipped with teaser tails.
“Crappies are biting in the evening on bogs, brush piles, and cribs, with some on deeper cribs and brush in mid-day. Use crappie jigs with minnows, Gulp! baits, or Crappie Nibbles.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake fishing is good, with most anglers working the channel and deeper parts of the lake.
“For walleyes, leeches are the first choice, followed by minnows. Northern action is good on spinnerbaits, buzz baits, Mepps spinners, and bucktails. Fish largemouth with spinner and buzz baits.
“Crappies are scattered all over the place, with best luck on minnows, waxies, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows. Bluegill fishing is good on crawlers and worms.”

Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says trout and salmon fishing is great outside Chequamegon Bay, with many fish, both big and small.
“Smallmouth fishing is a tough with the weird weather, but there is a good live bait bite.
“Walleye anglers trolling stickbaits over humps and in the channel in the evening are catching some nice fish, with a few brown trout in the mix.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses musky temperature preference.
“Spring anglers always have water temperature on their minds, but it is an important consideration throughout the summer.
“Musky research shows water temperature plays a very important role in where fish hang out and when they eat. Aaron Cole, a DNR biologist, previously studied a Tennessee power plant lake, implanting temperature sensitive tags in muskies to learn their temperature preferences.
“Due to the warm power plant outflow, the muskies could choose from a wide range of temperatures, from 45-91 degrees, depending on location, but consistently chose water within 68-77 degrees. This closely aligns with other studies showing the highest rates of muskellunge feeding and growth is around 72 degrees.
“Anglers looking for midsummer success should bring a thermometer!”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says fishing is good, despite windy conditions.
“Musky anglers are doing well with slower topwaters, medium-size stickbaits, and bucktails along weed edges. Walleye success is best on leeches or crawler pieces on weedless jigs. Drop them into open pockets in mid-depth weed beds during low light periods.
“Largemouth are near woody cover, docks, deep bog edges, and thick weeds. Fish soft plastics and topwaters in late afternoon. Smallmouth are hitting small finesse plastics and crayfish-type baits on mid-depth wood and rock bars.”

Openings remain for the Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) DNR hunter education course starting August 4. The $10 fee includes all materials. To pre-register (required), email scope4youth@hotmail.com. For more information, contact Chris Wunrow (715) 558-5371.

The Lumberjack World Championships start this Thursday July 23 and runs through Saturday July 25. To view an event list and to purchase tickets, visit the website. For more information, call (715-634-2484).

Hayward Bass Club’s is hosting its Chippewa Flowage Open this Sunday, July 26, from 8 am.-4 p.m. The Landing Resort is tournament headquarters. The event is limited to 50 teams; single anglers can enter as a “team.” The entry fee is $50/team. For information, contact Wayne Balsavich (715-699-1015; haywardbassclub@gmail.com) or Hayward Bait (715-634-2921).

August 1 is the application deadline for fall turkey, sharp-tailed grouse, bobcat, fisher, and otter.

Musky action is best in early morning and in the evening until after dark. Target the edges of weedlines, mid-lake humps and gravel bars, and deeper weedlines. Anglers are having success with bucktails, Bull Dawgs, stickbaits, gliders, plastics, tubes, and topwaters.

Walleye fishing is fair to good, but inconsistent. Find fish in 5-25 feet along the edges of weeds, wood, gravel bars, humps, stumps, and river channels. Work shallower water during low light. Use leeches, crawlers, walleyes suckers, and fatheads on jigs, Lindy rigs, split shot rigs, and slip bobbers. In the evening, work crankbaits over shallow weeds and bars.

Northern Pike:
Northern action is fair to good around weeds in 4-18 feet of water. Use Mepps/spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, bucktails, buzz baits, and northern suckers under bobbers.

Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth fishing is good to excellent. Concentrate on thick weeds, wood, slop, rocks, docks, cribs, brush, and bogs in 3-12 feet with soft/weedless plastics (rigged worms in various configurations, tubes, frogs, etc.), spinnerbaits, buzz baits, crankbaits, twitch baits, and topwaters. Leeches, worms, and minnows also lure largemouth.

Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth fishing is fair to reasonably good, depending on the angler and the water fished. Look for smallmouth out to 22 feet on humps, rock bars, weedlines, wood, and cribs. Crayfish color baits such as tubes, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, plastics, and topwaters work well, as does live bait such as minnows and crawlers.

Crappies are scattered, but fishing is good to very good once you find them. (Hint: There is a reason anglers call electronics locators!) Look for fish around weeds, brush, bogs, cribs, and other structure in 4-18 feet. Some fish are suspending over deeper water out to 30 feet. Top baits include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks, with/without bobbers.

Bluegill fishing is good to very good in a variety of areas, from shallow weeds, mid-lake bars and brush, to deeper weedlines. Baits of choice include waxies, worms, leaf worms, crawlers, and plastics on jigs or plain hooks, as well as flies, poppers, and other surface baits.

Upcoming Events
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.
Aug. 2: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. Annual Kids Fishing Day 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (715-634-4543).
Aug. 4-11: SCOPE Hunter Education course; pre-registration required (715-558-5371).
Aug. 8: Smokey Bear’s birthday party Flambeau River State Forest (715-332-5271).
Aug. 17-20: Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags go on sale at noon.
Aug. 22: Remaining fall turkey permits on sale at 10 a.m.
Aug. 25: Deadline to transfer Class A bear licenses to youth hunters.
Aug. 31: Bear dog training by pursuing bear closes.

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.