August 7, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
The North Woods finally enjoyed a string of good weather days and forecasts indicate it might continue this week, though perhaps with a “hiccup” here and there in midweek. Moderate highs will provide excellent daytime recreation conditions, with cooler nights for good sleeping to rest from the day’s adventures!
“This is not a typical summer,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and that has made fishing a little more difficult.
“Fish muskies in and adjacent to deeper weeds during the day. Nearly all baits are producing, from deep runners to topwaters. At night, fishing is good with bucktails and surface baits.
“For walleyes, fish deeper mid-lake depths and mud flats, working crawlers and jumbo leeches on the bottom. In the evening, fish shallower weeds and weedlines with minnows on weedless jigs or slip bobbers.
“Northern pike fishing is good in weeds out to about 15 feet with northern suckers under bobbers and surface baits in shallower weeds.
“Largemouth fishing is good in weeds and along docks and other structure. Plastics, rigged weedless worms, spinnerbaits, and surface baits will all produce action. For smallmouth, fish deep, hard-bottom areas and cribs with crayfish colored plastics and crankbaits.
“Crappies are in 12-18 feet and minnows and small tube jigs under slip bobbers work well. Fish bluegills in shallow weeds with leaf worms and small leeches.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says fishing remains good on Nelson Lake.
“Walleye anglers should jig fatheads and leeches or cast and troll wobbling and/or rattling stickbaits.
“Use some splash, noise, and vibration to get the attention of northern pike and largemouth bass. Use chatterbaits, buzzbaits, wacky rigged worms, propeller plugs, surface poppers, and rattling swimbaits.
“The crappie bite is still good on crappie minnows, Gulp! baits, and small spinnerbaits. Catch bluegills with waxies and worms under bobbers.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky action slowed a bit.
“Muskies remain active, though anglers are catching many smaller fish, which is promising for future musky fishing. Open water trolling during the day remains productive with large Jakes, Grandmas, Believers, and Mattlocks. In early morning and evening hours, cast structure with bucktails, Creepers, and Globes.
“Walleye fishing is slow and it appears leech season is ending, though you can substitute Uncle Josh and Gulp! leeches. During the day, target deeper cover with crawlers and shad style crankbaits. As evening approaches, target breaklines and deep weed edges with crawlers and Beetle Spins.
“Northern pike are active in weed beds, including some really large pike on the west side, on Tinsel Tail and Wahoo spinnerbaits.
“Largemouth bass fishing is very good with purple Tinsel Tails on Callahan Lake. Smallmouth are very active on the southeast end for anglers casting square-bill crankbaits.
“Crappie fishing is fair to good on the bogs, with anglers using crappie minnows, Gulp!, and Crappie Scrubs.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the mudminnow, a tiny cousin to the musky.
“Unless anglers are adept at catching and identifying their own bait, they may never notice the central mudminnow, a species native to Wisconsin. Because of its distinct appearance, anglers often confuse it with several other notable species.
“The mudminnow has a round body and a dorsal fin on the posterior half of its body. People who catch mudminnows in minnow traps often confuse them for small bowfin, or more alarmingly, invasive snakehead, though it is not even closely related to either of these larger species.
“The mudminnow exists in its own taxonomic family, Umbridae, but it boasts some impressive distant cousins: musky and pike.
“When examining a mudminnow, one can see the resemblance to an Esox in the fin placement, but unlike its larger distant cousins, mudminnows only reach about 6 to 7 inches in length.”
The DNR’s Operation Deer Watch offers residents a great opportunity to assist with deer herd management efforts. From August 1 to September 30, participants use an online tally sheet to record all bucks, does, and fawns they observe daily. The DNR and County Deer Advisory Councils use survey data for insight on the deer herd’s reproductive status and to help shape deer management. For more information, search “deer watch” on the DNR website.
The DNR will start sales of bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags at 10 a.m., August 14, at one per person per day until the tags sell out or hunting season ends. Sales go through license sales locations and the Go Wild website. All site users will receive a randomly assigned a number at 10 a.m. and there is no advantage to enter the site before 9:59 a.m. Bonus tags cost $12 for residents, $20 for non-residents, and $5 for youth ages 10-11, and hunters must know the deer management zone, unit, and if they will hunt on public or private land. Sales are zone-specific as follows Aug. 14 – Northern and Central Forest (Zone 1); Aug. 15 – Central Farmland (Zone 2); Aug. 16 – Southern Farmland (Zone 2); Aug. 17 – remaining bonus tags for all zones). For more information, search “bonus availability” on the DNR website.
Come join the Flambeau River State Forest staff at the Connors Lake picnic area at noon, August 12, to make sure Smokey Bear has the best birthday party ever. There will be games, cake, and maybe even a surprise visit from Smokey himself! For more information, call (715) 332-5271.
Musky action ranges from slow to very good. Look for fishing holding in deeper water and/or around structure. Bucktails, crankbaits, stickbaits, and swimbaits are all getting hits and trolling larger baits is producing action during the day, with night anglers doing well casting topwaters.
Walleye action is fair to fairly good, with the best success in early morning and late evening and after dark. Locations include weeds, weedlines, breaklines, points, humps, and mud flats, targeting deeper water during the day and shallower water in the low light hours. Productive baits include crawlers, leeches, and fatheads on jigs, crawler harnesses, and live bait rigs; trolled and cast stickbaits, crankbaits; and Beetle Spins.
Northern pike fishing is good to very good in the weeds on most waters. Catch numbers in shallow weeds, but go deep with larger lures for trophy pike. Northern suckers under bobbers work well, as do spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, buzzbaits, swim baits, plastics, and topwaters.
Largemouth fishing is very good on most waters. Find the bass around weeds, brush, bogs, docks, downed trees, and other cover. To paraphrase a popular quote, “Throw ‘em if ya got ‘em.” Give the bass many choices, including weedless plastics (worms, tubes, etc.), spinners, spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, buzzbaits, swim baits, topwaters, and of course crawler, minnows, and leeches.
Smallmouth action is good to very good on deeper hard bottom areas and around cribs. The smallmouth are feeding on crawdads, so use crawdad colored plastics, worms, tubes, and crankbaits.
Crappie fishing is fair to good around weeds and bogs and over open water (suspending fish) in depths to about 20 feet. Top producing baits include crappie minnows, tube jigs, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, small spinners, and Gulp! baits, fished with and without slip bobbers. Early mornings and evenings are the best times.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good in/around shallow to mid-depth weeds, brush, and other cover. Best baits include waxies, worms, leaf worms, small leeches, and micro plastics on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks.
Aug. 12: Smokey Bear’s birthday party at Flambeau River State Forest Connors Lake Picnic Area; noon (715-332-5271).
Aug. 14-17: Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags where available go on sale at 10 a.m.
Aug. 17-20: Sawyer County Fair (715-934-2721).
Aug. 22: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license to a youth hunter (see regs).
Aug. 26: Remaining fall wild turkey permits go on sale at 10 a.m.
Through Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear (see regs).
Sept. 1: Seasons open: Early teal; Early September Canada goose; Mourning dove; Wild ginseng.
Sept. 1-3: 25th Annual Exeland Trout Festival.
Sept. 2-30: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season.
Sept. 6: Black bear season opens (see regs).
Sept. 15: Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.
Sept. 15: “The Singing Forest” elk bugling at Flambeau River State Forest, 6 a.m. (715-332-5271).
Sept. 16: Seasons open: Canada goose; Fall turkey; Archery and crossbow deer; Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Cottontail rabbit in north zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Fall crow.
Sept. 16-17: Youth waterfowl hunt (see regs).