August 21, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
This week’s forecast is encouraging, with cooler weather – highs in the upper 60s/low 70s and lows in the mid-40s – and (mostly) only “slight” chances for rain showers. The first “real” feel of fall is on the way!
“Late summer fishing can at times be very difficult,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but as water temperatures drop, we should get some great fall fishing.
“Musky anglers are moving fish on all bait types, but with moderate success. Work weeds and over deeper water for suspending fishing during the day. Use surface baits over weeds in morning and evening.
“For walleyes, fish deeper holes and mud flats with crawler halves on spin and Lindy rigs, drifting 12-18 feet over soft and hard bottom areas. In evenings, fish jigs with crawler halves or minnows on weed edges and rocky structure in 6-10 feet. Early morning and evening into dark are best.
“Northern pike are in weeds, hitting flashy baits, surface lures, and large minnows on slip bobbers.
“Bass fishing is good on deeper weeds and rock. For largemouth, use wacky worms, plastics, crankbaits, and surface baits. For smallmouth, use plastics and crankbaits.
“Crappies are schooling in deeper water. Try pink/white Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, and tube jigs, or minnows under slip bobbers. Use waxies and leaf worms for small bluegill in shallow weeds and bigger fish on weedlines.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing continues to be on fire, particularly with trolling.
“Casting during early morning and evening hours is effective, but trolling Mattlocks, Grandmas, Jakes, and Believers in midday is outstanding. Target the combination of deeper cover (13-20 feet) and baitfish, running baits 4-7 feet down at about 3.5 mph.
“Walleye fishing remains solid in numbers, but the size is still not up to par. Trolling Flicker Shads and other deeper running baits during the day is producing the best results. During evening hours, fish live bait around weed edges and humps in 6-12 feet.
“Northern pike are in the weeds and Tinsel Tail spinners, Daredevles, and Silver Minnows work well.
“After a summer full of smallmouth action, the bass seem to be taking a break. When bass fishing gets tough, a crawler in the cribs always seems to be the answer.
“Crappies are in 19-22 feet in cribs and river channels. Various baits are effective, including crappie minnows, Crappie Scrubs, and Mini-Mites.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says it was a fabulous lake trout season until it closed Sunday night, Aug. 20.
“You can still fish for brown trout, coho, splake, and steelhead, so trolling is not over by a long shot. Some brown trout and coho are showing up off the ‘outer’ islands, suspending in about 60 feet.
“In the past couple of weeks, whitefish anglers report very good success jigging off the green buoy in the bay.
“Smallmouth fishing is very inconsistent, along with the weather, with best success on sucker minnows and plastics moved slowly off the drops.
“Walleyes are scattered, with trolling stickbaits over weed beds and humps producing the most fish. Northern pike anglers casting spinnerbaits and spoons are still catching fish along the break wall.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses a Namekagon River trout survey.
“On August 8, the Hayward DNR fish team partnered with a National Park Service crew, Trout Unlimited, and several other volunteers to complete a trout survey on a one-mile section of the Namekagon River just south of Seeley. We survey this transect every summer and it provides very useful data on how the trout population changes over time. Results of the 2017 trout survey are very encouraging for fishing prospects now and into the next few years.
“The last three surveys have documented three very strong brown trout year classes. Brown trout from 2016 are now around 7-8 inches; those from 2015 are around 10-11 inches; and those from 2014 are around 14-16 inches. Larger trout from older age classes were present, but at a much lower abundance than is typical, because the harsh winter of 2013-14 wiped out many adult trout in the river. Fish from the 2017 year class– about 3-4 inches long – look relatively strong as well.
“The four year classes should mean a lot of very good fishing in the Namekagon for the foreseeable future, provided that no major environmental events set back the population.”
Wisconsin’s early Canada goose, early teal, and mourning dove seasons open Friday, September 1. Early Canada goose season runs Sept. 1-15, with a daily bag limit of five geese. Regulations apply statewide, with no zone-specific regulations. Early teal-only duck season runs Sept. 1-7, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Mourning dove season runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. The daily bag limit is 15 doves, with the possession limit three times the daily bag. As always, be sure to check the regulations!
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 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.
Sawyer County Outdoor Projects and Education (SCOPE) is holding its annual Family Fun Day Saturday, Aug. 26, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at Summit Lake Game Farm. Registration opens at 8 a.m., interactive stations start at 8:30 a.m., and stations close at 2 p.m. for the free raffle giveaways (must be present to win). Activities include .22 rifle target shooting, archery, sporting clays, birdhouse building, outdoor cooking, fly-fishing, laser hunting simulation, mountain bike, raptor, and K-9 demonstrations, and much more. Featured exhibition archer Randy Oitker, who holds multiple Guinness World Records, will perform shooting demonstrations at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Summit Lake Game Farm is located east of Stone Lake. Take Highway 27 south from Hayward, turn right on County Road F, and follow the signs. Visit www.sawyercountyoutdoors.com for more information.
Musky action is fair to good and anglers are seeing good numbers of fish. During early morning and evening hours, work bucktails and surface baits on shallower weeds and weedlines adjacent to deeper water. During the day, troll large stickbaits over deeper cover, looking for suspending fish.
Walleye action is slow, though anglers are catching fish, with best success in early morning and evening into after dark. Look for holes, flats, weed edges, rock, and humps, concentrating on deeper areas during the day and shallower locations in early morning and evening hours. Crawlers and crawler halves on jigs, spinner rigs, and Lindy Rigs, as well as jigs and minnows, work well, and trolling crankbaits during daytime hours is producing some action.
Northern pike fishing continues to be good to very good nearly anywhere you find weeds and/or panfish concentrations. Northern suckers and minnows under bobbers, lures with flash and splash, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and surface baits are all excellent offerings. Fish bigger baits in deeper water for trophy pike.
Largemouth action is fair to good, as the bass moved to deeper weeds, weedlines, brush, rock, and cribs. Rigged worms and plastics in various configurations will get their attention.
Smallmouth action is fair to good on deep weeds, cribs, rocks, and other hard bottom areas. Plastics (worms, tubes) remain the top baits, but crawlers and minnows can be very effective.
Crappie fishing is good to very good for fish schooling in/on deeper weedlines, cribs, brush, and river channels in depths to more than 20 feet. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, tube jigs, plastics, and Gulp! baits, with or without slip bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is very good for small fish around shallower weeds and structure, while bigger ‘gills are in deeper water on weedlines, brush, docks, and cribs. Waxies, leaf worms, plastics, and small minnows are all productive.
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).