August 14, 2017 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Following a damp start to the week, the forecast indicates a mix of sunshine and possible showers throughout this week, but at present no expectations of severe weather. Temperatures should be good for most outdoor recreation, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. We have hit mid-August – get in your summer fun now!
“The unusual weather patterns continue to confuse fish and frustrate anglers,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Musky fishing is slow, with early morning and late evening into night most productive. Bucktails, shallow crankbaits, gliders, and topwaters are all effective.
“Walleyes are close behind small fish growing in size and venturing deeper outside of weed beds. Use crawlers on spin rigs or harnesses with bottom bouncers, or try leeches just off the edges of structure. Early morning and late afternoon into dark is best.
“Northern pike are in weeds, hitting large minnows, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.
“Largemouth bass are in 5-10 feet in weeds, around docks, and off the edges of structure. Cast brown, blue, and green plastics. Wacky rigging also produces fish. Fish smallmouth on points and rock piles with brown, orange, or red tube jigs to imitate crayfish.
“Crappies are schooling off deeper weedlines in 8-12 feet. Set crappie minnows or small tube jigs under slip bobbers 3-5 feet off bottom. Mid to late afternoon is best. Catch larger bluegills on leaf worms and small leeches.”
Bob and Erik at Hayward Bait say most Hayward area lake temperatures are in the low- to mid-70 degrees.
“Much of the musky success is on bucktails and topwaters, with a few anglers tossing rubber baits such as Bull Dawgs and paddle-tail baits. Trolling Jakes, Depth Raiders, Grandmas, and Matlocks also shines on various waters.
“Walleye fishing is spotty, but a number of anglers are still finding good fish. Crawlers on harnesses work well, as do casting and trolling crankbaits to cover water.
“Bass fishing is very good on topwaters during first and last light. As the day progresses, plastics are the hot ticket. Drop shot rigs with finesse worms or wacky-rigged Senkos are also productive.
“Panfish anglers are finding fish along weedlines, off shoreline structure, and weeds on mid-lake/off-shore structure. Use slip bobbers with crawlers and various plastics on jig heads.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake says walleye anglers should troll and cast stickbaits, jig fatheads and leeches (while available), or use crawler rigs.
“The largemouth bass and northern pike bite is a little slow, but you can get their attention with vibration, rattle, flash, and splash.
“Crappie anglers are catching bigger crappies on larger than usual plastics and minnows – do not be afraid to go big! If the bites miss the hooks, trim the length of the tails.
“Bobber-fish panfish by casting to 8-10 feet.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing remains strong.
“In particular, trolling Mattlocks, Grandmas, Jakes, and Believers in open water areas over deep cover between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. are moving the most fish. At other times, cast spinnerbaits and topwaters over structure and drop-offs.
“Walleye size has gotten a tad better, with anglers reporting more legal fish. They are finding fish in deeper water during the day by drifting live bait or trolling shad style baits.
“Northern pike of all sizes remain active in weed beds, with many anglers catching them while fishing other species, and the pike hitting just about everything from crawlers to spinnerbaits.
“Callahan Lake largemouth bass are really aggressive in dense vegetation, hitting imitation frogs and to a lesser extent spinnerbaits.
“Crappie action definitely picked up on deep cribs, with crappie minnows working best.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses how to identify bowfin boys and bowfin girls!
“For most species of fish in northern Wisconsin, it is almost impossible to tell if the fish you just caught is a male or a female based on color, markings, or other identifying characteristics. However, for the bowfin – also known as dogfish – it is relatively easy.
“During spawning season, the belly and fins of the male turn an almost unbelievable fluorescent green. Male bowfin also have a distinct ‘eyespot’ near the tail that consists of a black spot often rimmed with bright orange.
“The eyespot is present on the male year-round and may serve several evolutionary functions. Eyespots have benefits for avoiding or misdirecting attacks from predators and since the male bowfin guards the young, the eyespot may serve to confuse potential brood predators.
“Bowfin generally have a bad reputation in Wisconsin, though it may be undeserved. While bowfin are poor table fare, they do put up an excellent fight on rod and reel and can consistently reach 5-10 pounds and 30 inches in length in most waters where they are present.”
The Wisconsin Canoe Heritage Museum (WCHM) in Spooner is hosting the Upper Great Lakes Regional Canoe Assembly August 24-26. During a free open house August 24, UW-Extension natural resource educator John Haack will present “Wild Rice: The Food that Grows on Water.” Wild rice has provided nutritious food for humans in the Upper Midwest for the past 2,500 years and Haack’s presentation highlights wild rice growing, harvesting and processing, and the plant’s historical significance. The presentation begins at 7 p.m., with a pre-event social hour and a post-event question and equipment inspection opportunity. The assembly concludes Saturday, August 26, with an antique canoe and wooden boat show on the shores of Shell Lake. For more information, visit www.wisconsincanoeheritagemuseum.org or call (715) 635-2479.
Musky action is good, with early and late hours into dark producing the most success. Baits of choice include bucktails, Bull Dawgs, stickbaits, jerkbaits, crankbaits, gliders, and topwaters. Trolling many of those baits over deep cover in open water is also producing some good fish.
Walleye fishing slowed, but anglers continue to find some nice fish, particularly in early morning and then from late afternoon into and after dark. Work deeper water during the day and shallower areas in the evening hours. Fish are holding on weed edges and near other structure. Leeches work well (but difficult to find), as do fatheads and crawlers on jigs, harnesses, and split shot rigs. Casting and trolling stickbaits and crankbaits are also catching fish.
Northern pike action is slower, though still good around weeds at various depths. Northern suckers under bobbers work well, and spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and topwaters will all attract pike. Fish bigger baits in deeper water for trophy pike.
Largemouth fishing is fair to very good, depending on the lake. You will find them in, near, and on the edges of shallow to mid-depth weeds, lily pads, slop, docks, and other structure. Plastics in various configurations (worms in assorted riggings, tubes, etc.), drop-shot rigs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, and of course topwaters are all good.
Smallmouth action is very good on deeper hard bottom areas such as points, rock, and gravel. Best offerings include crayfish colored plastics such as rigged worms, tubes, and swim baits, crankbaits, and spinnerbaits. Try topwaters early and late in the day.
Crappie fishing is good and getting better. Concentrate on deeper weeds, weedlines, cribs, and other structure, with afternoons offering the best chances for success. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, crawlers, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits, with/without slip bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good. For fast action, fish small ‘gills in and around shallower weeds and structure. Catch larger fish in deeper weeds, brush, and cribs. Top baits include waxies, worms, crawler chunks, leaf worms, leeches, and plastics on small jigs, teardrops, and small hooks, with or without bobbers.
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).