October 17, 2016

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


According to this week’s forecast, every day following Monday should be sunny and somewhat mild, though cooler than in recent weeks. Perhaps most surprising is the lack of chances for rain and thunderstorms! This could be a GREAT week for outdoor recreation of all types – other than waterfowl hunting. Get out take advantage of the sunny fall weather!


“The water temperatures are still very warm for this time of year,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “moving fish deeper into green weeds.

“Muskies are spread out, from deep water to weeds, and still hitting all bait types, including suckers. Some anglers are switching to smaller artificials duplicating suckers, and plastics are working well for deeper fish.

“Walleyes are taking jigs and minnows in or near holes in various depths and on deeper humps. On deep, clear lakes, start in 12-15 feet and work deeper until you find the fish. In fall, fish seem to school off deeper breaklines.

“Northern in deeper weeds are hitting large spinners. Many walleye and musky anglers are catching pike by accident.

“Bass fishing is slowing, but largemouth in the deeper green weeds are still hitting plastics and spinnerbaits. Smallmouth are primarily in deeper water, though sometimes in weeds and weed edges feeding on minnows.

“Panfish fishing is good for crappies and perch. Crappies remain scattered about, with some in shallow weeds and some in deeper water near and around cribs. Perch are in weeds, hitting worms and small minnows.”

Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fall colors are changing and fishing is going very well.

“The musky bite is getting better and better with the cooling temperatures, with large bucktails, jerkbaits, surface baits, and suckers getting the most action.

“Walleye fishing is picking up, too, with most action on the base of breaklines and bars in 10-25 feet. Large minnows on jigs and rigs are your best bet, with some catches on Lindy Rigs with bottom bouncers.

“Bass action remains solid, with most fish coming from slightly deeper water. Jigs, jerkbaits, and larger sucker minnows work well, with an occasional surface bite on Pop-Rs.

“Crappie fishing is good in 15-30 feet on small jigs with minnows or soft plastics.”

Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing is decent.

“Most action is on jerkbaits, twitch baits, and suckers. With the warm water, baby your suckers a bit more than usual for this time of year, using proper aeration and keeping them at a cooler temperature.

“Walleyes are a bit more aggressive, but not yet in their fall feeding frenzy. Some anglers are using crawlers, but most are switching to larger minnows and fishing drop-offs near stump areas around twilight.

“While there are few bass reports from the Flowage, Round Lake smallmouth fishing is very good on the cribs for anglers using 4- to 5-inch suckers.

“Crappies are schooling in Moore’s Bay and Blueberry Flats, but not all that active, perhaps due to the nice weather. The baits of choice are crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows.”


According to DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, a few days of great weather last week offered excellent conditions for anglers to be on the water.

“Muskies remain the species of interest and provide the most consistent success. With water temperatures in the mid-50s, musky anglers are seeing the best action by slow-trolling live suckers under bobbers along the shallow/deep breaks. Sunny, warmer days still produce hits on stickbaits and Bull Dawgs.

“Walleye fishing is erratic. Best action is near dark with medium to large minnows on jigs and slip bobbers fished long weed edges and deep breaklines. Crankbaits cast along shorelines in low light hours are also effective presentations.

“Most bass anglers have stored their boats for the year, though warm, sunny days are producing good action for the die-hards.

“Panfish action is fair, but anglers report nice catches of crappie, bluegill, and perch around green weeds and mid-depth cover.”

This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses a bass recruitment theory.

“Our fall surveys showed that 2016 was a very good year for bass spawning in many Hayward area lakes, with largemouth and smallmouth young of year (born this spring) more abundant than average and bigger than in the past.

“Retired DNR fisheries biologist Frank Pratt shared an interesting theory on why this pattern might be happening and the possible implications.

“In the past, winter was a critical bottleneck for bass, with small young of year bass often perishing and not making it into their second year of life. According to Pratt, a longer growing season brought about by climate change would give young bass an opportunity to put on more size before going into winter.

“For larger young bass, winter may now be less of a bottleneck and more bass are surviving. This in part might explain why largemouth bass are becoming more abundant in northern Wisconsin.”


This Saturday, October 22, Lakewoods Resort in Cable is hosting its annual Fun in the Forest ATV benefit ride. The proceeds from this event benefit children and families in Sawyer, Bayfield, and Ashland counties over the Christmas holidays. Registration begins Friday Oct. 21 with a pre-event reception from 6-10 p.m., or register from 8-9:30 a.m. the morning of the ride. Entry cost is a $20 donation plus unwrapped gift or food item. The self-guided ATV ride begins at 10 a.m., covers ATV forest trails in the Hayward, Cable, and Ashland areas, and includes lunch at your choice of participating restaurants. Open houses at Hayward Power Sports and Runamuk Rides will offer specials and mystery drawings. Poker Run riders stopping at five or more locations receive a t-shirt and chance to win cash. The Saturday night reception includes hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, door prizes, and the Poker Run drawing. For more information, visit www.lakewoodsresort.com or call (715) 794-2561.




Musky fishing is good and improving with the cooler fall temperatures. The fish are scattered on most lakes, from shallow weeds and flats to deeper structure, and a wide range of baits continue to produce action. Choices include large bucktails, jerkbaits, Bull Dawgs, plastics, stickbaits, twitch baits, topwaters, and of course suckers on quick-strike rigs. On these warmer than usual fall days, give suckers extra care to keep them healthy.



Walleye fishing is inconsistent, but improving, with best action occurring just before and after dark. Concentrate on weeds and weed edges, breaklines, bars, drop-offs, and stumps in 8-25 feet, targeting shallower water in low light hours. It is primarily a large minnow bite, with best presentations on jigs, slip bobbers, and Lindy Rigs. However, anglers are catching fish on crawlers, as well as crankbaits cast along shorelines in evening hours.


Northern Pike:

Northern fishing is good in weed cover at various depths. Try spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and northern suckers under bobbers. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth are mostly moving deeper and action is slowing, though warm, sunny days can offer good fishing. Look for green weeds and try jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, spinnerbaits, surface baits, and sucker minnows.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth action is fair to very good. Fish are in deeper water near cribs, weeds, and other cover, with the most productive baits sucker minnows, jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, and on occasion, topwaters.



Crappie fishing is good and improving, with the best baits jigs and crappie minnows, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits. Fish are scattered in various depths, from shallow to 30 feet, around weeds, cribs, and other cover.



Look for bluegills around weeds, brush, cribs, and other shallow to mid-depths cover. Waxies, worms, teardrops, and plastics all work. Try small minnows for larger ‘gills in deeper water.



Perch fishing is fair to good around green weeds and mid-depth cover, with some action in deeper water. Waxies, worms, plastics, and small minnows can all tempt perch.


Upcoming Events

Oct. 15: Seasons opened: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse Zone B; Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Raccoon gun/trapping (residents only); Red and gray fox hunting/trapping; Coyote and fisher, trapping; Bobcat hunting/trapping Period 1.

Oct. 15: Inland trout season closed (see regs for exceptions).

Oct. 22: Seasons open: Muskrat; Mink.

Oct. 22: Fun in the Forest ATV benefit ride at Lakewoods Resort (715-794-2561).

Oct. 29: Raccoon hunting and trapping season opens for non-residents.

Nov. 1: Wild ginseng season closes.

Nov. 5: Trapping seasons open in North Zone: Beaver; Otter.

Nov. 7: Woodcock season closes.

Nov. 15: Trout and salmon fishing closes on downstream section of Lake Superior tributaries (see regs).

Nov. 17: Fall crow season closes.

Nov. 19-27: Regular gun deer season (see regs).

Nov. 22: Duck season closes in the north zone.

Nov. 28-Dec. 7: Muzzleloader deer season (see regs).

Nov. 29: Mourning dove season closes.

Nov. 30: Seasons close: Muskellunge; Turtle.

Dec. 8-11: Statewide antlerless deer hunt (see regs).


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.