June 11, 2018
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

The current forecast indicates it might be a good idea to enjoy your outdoor recreation and activities during midweek when days should have mild temperatures and clear skies. At this time (again, according to the current forecast), there are chances for strong thunderstorms from this Friday through Sunday. Always subject to change! If the weather interferes with your outdoor plans for Father’s Day, take him out for a good meal – a really, REALLY good meal!

“Weather inconsistencies with big temperature variations have affected recent fishing success,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “producing inconsistent bites.
“Musky anglers are reporting some success, with the ideal tactic medium crankbaits, bucktails, and plastic swimbaits with slower retrieves. Topwaters are creating action in early morning hours.
“Walleye anglers are making some nice catches with bladed spinners on crawler rigs. Jigs and minnows action is slowing, but there are still productive areas to target. Walleyes are starting to drift off shorelines, on drop-offs, and on mid-lake structure. Dragging live bait is producing some nice fish.
“Largemouth bass are in and around shallow vegetation, producing catches for panfish and walleye anglers. Smallmouth bass fishing is good for anglers casting crankbaits and plastics over rocky areas. Fresh vegetation is taking shape and providing some good baitfish habitat.
“Panfish are in shallower areas as well and it is hard to beat a slip bobber and live bait. Crappie action is still good near shoreline areas in about 5 feet of water. Bluegills are also along shorelines and starting their spawning cycle.”

Erik at Hayward Bait says fishing continues to be solid in the Hayward area.
“Musky anglers are seeing numbers of fish and fishing will get better with warming water temperatures and growing weed beds. Anglers that have been finding success have been using various Glide baits such as Phantom HardHeads, Soft Tails, Warlocks, Hell Hounds, and plastics such as Swimming Dawgs, Poseidons, and Lake X Shallow Frogs. Look for windblown shorelines, new weed beds, and areas not far from musky spawning grounds.
“Walleye fishing picked up and anglers should look for early summer transition areas. Try jigs and minnows or crawler and leech harnesses such as Lindy Rigs and Northland spinner rigs.
“Northern pike are active and anglers should add a leader and cast jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and spoons over and along new weed beds.
“Bass fishing is strong and largemouth and smallmouth are spawning on many lakes. Scan the shallows in search of cruising fish, as these fish are the most aggressive and will hit jerkbaits, soft plastics, and topwaters. Anglers targeting fish on beds using drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, and other plastics should handle fish carefully and release them as close to the bedding area as possible.
“Crappies have spawned or are post-spawn, depending on the lake and water temperature. Look for deeper timber and any new weeds close to deep water, and keep moving to locate active schools. Jigs and panfish plastics can be dynamite for crappies, but do not overlook live bait such as waxies and crappie minnows.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleyes are hitting minnows and leeches on jigs and Lindy Rigs, as well as on cast and trolled stickbaits.
“Northern pike angler should use larger stickbaits and sucker minnows under floats. Largemouth bass anglers are taking bass of all sizes on wacky worms, spinnerbaits, and leeches.
“Anglers can catch crappies, bluegills, and perch on shallow shorelines and in bays, fishing from deeper to shallower water.”

Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is full and the water temperature is in the low to mid 70s.
“Musky action is decent, with some anglers catching 40-inch fish in two feet of water on rubber baits such as Bull Dawgs and X-Toads, an on Ghosttail bucktails.
“During the cooling temperatures last week, anglers caught more walleyes in and around shallow cover, though many fish were smaller and under-size. The best live bait choices are minnows and leeches, with Beetle Spins, square bill crankbaits, and plastic minnows the choices for artificials.
“Northern pike remain active in the weeds, hitting live bait, spinners, and spoons. Regardless of the species you chase, expect to hook into a few northerns.
“Smallmouth bass are very active around shallow rocks and various other types of cover. Imitation craws, wacky worms, and crawlers are all producing.
“Crappies and other panfish moved shallow with the cool down, lingering around deadfall trees along the shorelines. Minnows, waxies, and leaf worms on slip bobbers are producing the most action, followed by Crappie Scrubs, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! one-inch minnows.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the job duties of DNR fisheries biologists.
“A common question fish biologists receive is ‘What kinds of things do you do at work?’” Most people understand that fish biologists conduct surveys, but people may not be aware that biologists perform a wide range of other activities.
“We are associated with fish stocking, though DNR hatchery and operations staff do most of the hands-on stocking work. We meet with lake associations and angler groups, conduct fishing clinics, represent the DNR at sport shows, and perform outreach events with schools and universities. We field calls from people shopping for lake real estate.
“We attend professional conferences to share what are doing in Wisconsin and learn what other states are doing. We assist with university research. We help hire new fish biologists and technicians.
“We review permits for everything from fishing tournaments to new bridge construction. We consult on dam operating licenses. We manage DNR properties and administer work contracts. We help acquire new properties and develop fishing access spots such as handicap fishing piers. We work with tribal, federal, and county agencies on projects and plan development.
“We propose fishing regulation changes, review changes proposed by the public, and – once in a great while – we certify record fish.
“As you can see, fisheries biologists have a wide range of duties that makes the job both interesting and challenging!”

Musky season’s slow start is quickly improving and action is fair to good. Concentrate on shallower weed beds, windblown shorelines, and known spawning areas that are adjacent to deeper water. Currently, the most effective offerings are small to medium bucktails, crankbaits, swimbaits, stickbaits, gliders, plastics, rubber baits, and topwaters, all with slow retrieves.

Walleye action is picking up following a brief slow period. Work shallower cover, drop-offs, bars, and mid-lake structure, fishing shallow in early morning and evening into dark. Presentations producing the best success include minnows, crawlers, and leeches on jigs, spinner and bait harnesses, and Lindy Rigs, as well as plastics, Beetle Spins, crankbaits, stickbaits, and Rapalas.

Northern Pike:
Northern pike are in shallow to mid-depth weed beds, as well as near spawning panfish, and on the feed. Northern suckers and minnows under floats, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, stickbaits, and jerkbait fished with steel leaders are all effective for pike. Anglers fishing for other species seem to have no trouble catching them. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.

Largemouth Bass:
Largemouth are in the shallows, spawning, and very active and aggressive. Soft plastics, jerkbaits, wacky worms, spinnerbaits, topwaters, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, crawlers, and leeches will all draw the attention of largemouth.

Smallmouth Bass:
Smallmouth are shallow and spawning on/around rocks, gravel, and other hard bottom areas. Plastics (crayfish, grubs, Twister Tails, wacky worms, etc.), jerkbaits, crankbaits, drop-shot rigs, Ned rigs, crawlers, and topwaters all work. Remember – smallmouth season in the Northern Bass Zone is catch and release only until June 16.

Crappies are post-spawn and transitioning to deeper water between temperature fluctuations. Anglers will have to do some searching to find them. For now, concentrate on shorelines, weeds, wood, trees, and brush from shallow to deep. Top baits and presentations include crappie minnows, waxies, leaf worms, plastics, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits on small jigs and plain hooks, with or without a slip bobber.

Bluegills are shallow, spawning in bays and along shoreline, and easy to locate. Look for “elephant tracks” on sandy bottoms. There is a wide variety of productive bait choices, including waxies, leaf worms, leeches, small minnows, plastics, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits.

Upcoming Events
June 15, 29: Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area bird watching Fridays, 8-10:30 a.m. (715-463-2739).
June 16: Wing-shooting Workshop at Crex Meadows State Wildlife Area 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (715-463-2739).
June 16: Northern zone smallmouth bass season goes from catch-and-release to daily bag limits (check regs).
June 17: Father’s Day.
June 22-24: 69th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
June 22-24: Hayward Lions Fishing Contest (715-634-8662).
June 24: Hayward Bass Club’s Round Lakes Open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at Props Landing Waterfront Grille (715-699-1015).
June 24-26: Musky Tale Resort - Stumpmaster’s Annual Invitational Bass Tournament (715-462-3838).
June 29: Universe in The Parks at Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, 9 p.m. (715-332-5271).
July 1: Training dogs by pursuing bear allowed through August 31 (see regs).
July 15: Turtle season opens statewide (see regs).
July 20-22: Birchwood Lions Club Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).
July 28: Campfire Cookout at Flambeau River State Forest, Connors Lake picnic area, noon (715-332-5271).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).

For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.