August 20, 2018
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Steve Suman

“Ample rain led to many hatches of mosquitoes, blackflies, horseflies, and deer flies,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “so we cheer on the dragonflies, hoping they eat all the other bugs! “Musky anglers throwing bigger bucktails, spinnerbaits, swim baits, crankbaits, and topwaters near vegetation report fair success for small fish, with late afternoon and evening best. “Walleye anglers are trolling deep lake humps and holes with crawler rigs and deeper diving crankbaits, and vertical jigging crawlers and minnows during the day. Best times are early morning or late afternoon into dark. “Northern pike are in mid-depth weeds and on weed edges, taking spinnerbaits, plastics, and topwaters. “Largemouth are hitting weedless worms, topwaters, and frogs around shallow vegetation and structure. Best time is as the sun is going down. Smallmouth anglers are catching some nice fish on deeper, rocky areas. “For crappies, use small minnows and plain hooks in 10-18 feet. Small panfish are easy to catch with crawler chunks and leaf worms under floats. Larger fish are around deeper vegetation.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing is consistent, though the musky bite is a little slow. “Work jerkbaits, spinners, and topwaters on the edges of bars and points close to deep water. Lowlight periods will offer the highest percentage. “Walleye reports are slowing, but anglers are still catching fish. Troll crankbaits and crawler harnesses over deeper water, or try Jigging Raps around deep humps and mudflats. “Bass fishing is good. Largemouth are around cover from shallow to deep, with wacky- and Texas-rigged worms working well. Smallmouth are relating to rocks, and tube jigs and topwaters should get some bites. “Panfish action is solid, with decent reports on crappie and bluegill. Fish deeper weed and crib edges with waxies and plastics.”

Jim at Minnow Jim’s says warm weather made Nelson Lake fishing a bit tougher and water clarity makes sound, scent, flash, and splash even more important. “Walleye anglers are catching fish in weed beds and deeper water, the river channel, and dam area on Lindy Rigs, artificials, and deep running stickbaits. “For bass and northern pike, fish shaded areas, tree over hangs, docks, swim platforms, and weed beds and weedlines into deeper water with rattling swim baits, buzz baits, and spinnerbaits. “Crappie and bluegill action is good around bogs, stumps, and downed trees, and adding a spinner or thumper to small dressed jigs might make the difference.”

Musky: Musky fishing is fair, which “could” indicate an extremely good fall season. For now, most action is late in the day and evening hours, with fish holding on weeds on deeper bar and point edges adjacent to deep water. Jerkbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, bucktails, swim baits, and topwaters will all gather some interest.

Walleye: Walleye action dropped off a bit, but anglers continue to catch fish, primarily in early morning and evening into dark. During the day, troll and jig fish deeper weed beds, holes, humps, mudflats, and river channels. During low light, concentrate on shallower cover holding forage. Best baits, in the proper application, include crawlers and minnows on jigs, harnesses, Lindy rigs, spinner rigs, crankbaits, stickbaits, and Jigging Raps.

Northern Pike: Northern pike continue to provide action to pike anglers and for anglers targeting other species in and around mid-depth to deeper weeds, weed edges, and other cover. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim baits, buzz baits, topwaters, and northern suckers are all excellent producers. As per usual, fish deeper water with bigger baits for trophy pike.

Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass fishing remains good to very good, with bass holding in a wide range of depths and near a wide variety of cover, from weeds and wood to slop and docks to brush to bogs. Late afternoon hours are producing the best action. Soft plastics (tubes, worms in various riggings, etc.), spinnerbaits, swim baits, and topwaters are all catching largemouth.

Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth anglers are doing well fishing mid-depth to deeper rock, gravel, and other hard bottom areas with soft plastics, tubes, drop-shot rigs, and topwaters.

Crappie: Crappie fishing is fair to good on weed edges, bogs, brush, stumps, and cribs in depths out to about 20 feet. The best baits include crappie minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks under slip bobbers, and small spinners.

Bluegill: Bluegill fishing is good to very good. Find fast action for small fish in shallower water and for larger ‘gills work deeper weeds, weed edges, woods, brush, bogs, cribs, and stumps. Use waxies, plastics, and small minnows on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks fished under bobbers.