September 5, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

September’s start looks to be a continuation of August and the past summer, with far too many chances for rain and thunderstorms throughout this week. Keep in mind those are NOT guarantees! On the optimistic side, it appears rain chances dwindle after mid-week, with sunshine and blue skies on tap for next weekend. Rain or shine, get out and enjoy your outdoor activities of choice!

“Now is a great time to fish,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “It is quieter, weeds are declining, and fall is the best fishing of the year.

“Musky action on the Quiet Lakes is slow, though with some catches. Cast Bull Dawgs over deeper water and bucktails over weed beds. Suckers work, though difficult to keep alive, and night fishing is very good.

“Walleye fishing improved last week and daytime fishing is fair with crawlers and minnows in 12-18 feet. On big, deep lakes, fish weeds and weed edges in 18-30 feet. Late evening and night fishing is best. Northerns are hitting sucker minnows under bobbers and #3 and #4 Mepps in/over weeds.

“Largemouth fishing is good on plastics, spinnerbaits, and topwaters in thick, shallow weeds. Smallmouth anglers are catching fish on topwaters over weeds and with minnows on rocks.

“Crappies are moving deeper, with some on some shallow mudflats. Use minnows, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, tube jigs, and plastics. For bluegills in weeds, use leaf worms and crawler pieces.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says summer is ending, but not fishing, and anglers can look forward to excellent fall action.

“Musky action is really improving in shallow water. Fish main lake points and bars with bucktails and topwaters. Walleye fishing is slow, but the bite will improve as temperatures drop. Jigging and rigging in deeper water are your best tactics.

“Largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing is strong with a variety of tactics. Try tubes, swim jigs, jerkbaits, and topwaters over weeds and rocks.

“Crappies and bluegills are on deep weed edges and cribs. Use plastics and small jigs for crappies and waxies and leaf worms for bluegills.”

Fishing is good in the North Woods, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.

“Muskies were the highlight last week and the good action continues. Most success is with large stickbaits, double-blade bucktails, and Bull Dawgs on less-dense weed beds and deep weed edges, and in deeper water for suspending fish. Many walleye anglers have given up until the start of fall patterns. Northern action is good with spinnerbaits along mid-depth weed edges.

“Bass action is sporadic. Largemouth are around mid-depth cover and weed beds, with soft plastics and jig/craw combinations most successful. Smallmouth are most active around deeper cover on flowages and large rivers, with plastic finesse lures and spinnerbaits best.

“Panfish anglers are catching decent crappies and bluegills suspending around deeper cover and rock bass just about everywhere else!”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses invasives.

“In Wisconsin, we have concerns about invasive species such as round gobies and rainbow smelt and their impacts on our native ecosystems, while some parts of the country consider the native species we cherish as invasives.

“In most of the mountain west, brook trout are an invasive in streams, with the potential to outcompete native cutthroat and rainbow trout. Oregon considers smallmouth bass invasive, with concerns about their effects on salmon. Parts of Alaska consider northern pike invasive, with concerns about high levels of predation on salmon smolts.

“Many large reservoirs, such as Lake Yellowstone in the west, had lake trout introduced and now consider them problematic due to competition with bull and cutthroat trout.

“In the Midwest, it is difficult to imagine a mindset where having too many of the ‘ever-popular’ walleye is a problem, but they are unwanted in the Columbia River!”

Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. welcomes the public to attend its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 6, at Coop’s Pizza in Hayward. Following a 6:30-7 p.m., business meeting, featured speaker Neal Rosenberg, who manages the DNR’s Governor Tommy G. Thompson Fish Hatchery in Spooner, will discuss this year’s fish rearing success and progress on club supported projects. Admission is free and anyone attending the meeting who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.

FISHING REPORT

Musky:

Musky action is slow to very good. Target weeds and weed edges at assorted depths on points and bars as well as look for fish suspending over deeper water. Anglers report good fishing success after dark. Currently, the most productive baits include big bucktails, Bull Dawgs, stickbaits, topwaters, and suckers.

 

Walleye:

Walleye fishing is still slow, though the daytime bite is improving, but the best bite is in late evening and after dark. During the day, concentrate on deeper weeds, weed edges, and rock out to 30 feet. In the evening, work shallower weeds, weed edges, and other structure that provide cover for baitfish. Try jigs with crawlers and minnows, or cast/troll crankbaits and stickbaits.

Northern Pike:

Northern action is very good around shallow to mid-depth weeds and panfish concentrations. Sucker minnows under bobbers, spinners, spinnerbaits, and stickbaits all work. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper depths.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is stable and more consistent than for other species. You will find largemouth around weeds, wood, rocks, brush, bogs, and slop from 3 feet out to 12 feet or so. Swim jigs, jig/craw combos, plastics, tubes, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, and topwaters all catch largemouth.

Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth action is good, though somewhat inconsistent, with best results on rivers and flowages. Look for fish around weeds and rocks at various depths, but primarily in deeper water. The most effective baits include plastics, tubes, swim jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, minnows, and crawlers.

Crappie:

Crappie fishing is fair to good, with fish on weeds, cribs, and mud flats in various depths and suspending near cover in deeper water. Crappie minnows, waxies, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, tube jigs, and small plastics are all effective baits.

 Bluegill:

Bluegill fishing is fair to good, with larger fish suspending over and near deeper weeds, cribs, and brush. Best success is with waxies, leaf worms, and crawler pieces on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks under bobbers.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 6: Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. general meeting at Coop’s Pizza, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Sept. 7: Bear season opens (see regs).

Sept. 8-10: 18th Annual Chippewa Flowage Musky Hunt (715-462-3276).

Sept. 15: Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.

Sept. 16: Seasons open: Canada goose north and south exterior zones, Horicon Zone.

Sept. 16-17: Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival (715-798-3594).

Sept. 17: Seasons Open: Fall turkey; Deer (archery, crossbow); Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Cottontail ( northern zone); Gray and fox squirrel; Crow.

Sept. 17-18: Youth waterfowl duck hunt (see regs).

Sept. 22-25: Youth Musky Hunt at Mystic Moose Resort.

Sept. 23-24: 15th Annual Cable Area Fall Fest (800-533-7454).

Sept. 24: Seasons Open: Woodcock; Duck in northern zone.

Sept. 30: Seasons Close: Trout on inland waters and rivers flowing into Lake Superior; Lake Superior lake trout; Hook-and-line sturgeon on inland waters (see regs).

Sep 30-Oct 2: 38th Annual Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. Fall Fishing Tournament (715-634-2921).

Oct. 1: 38th Annual Stone Lake Cranberry Festival & Parade.

Oct. 1-2: Musky Tale Resort’s Crappie Quest (715-462-3838).

Oct. 6-8: Musky Fly Fishing World Championships (715-462-3874).

 

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.