August 28, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
The forecast indicates a mostly nice week, with mild days, cool nights, and a few chances for showers. It is nearly September – better get busy on those procrastinated “summer” activities!
“Musky anglers are moving a lot of fish,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but action is slow. Bucktails, jerkbaits, and topwaters are the go-to baits until cooler weather when suckers on quick strike rigs come into play.
“For walleyes, cast jigs with fatheads or crawler halves in 12-18 feet. Fish deeper weeds and humps during the day, but late evening into dark is best.
“Catch northern pike around weeds on spinnerbaits, spoons, and minnows under slip bobbers.
“For largemouth bass, work shallow weeds and docks with spinnerbaits, rigged worms, and topwaters. Fish smallmouth in/around rocks with small crankbaits, jerkbaits, and tubes.
“Crappies are in deeper weeds and structure, hitting minnows and small plastics under slip bobbers. Bluegills are shallow and taking red worms and waxies on slip bobbers. Perch are moving into rock/gravel areas. Use small minnows under slip bobbers.”
“Musky action is consistent on main lake humps and points in 5-15 feet, with both rocks and weeds holding fish. Large spinners and topwaters work well during lowlight periods. During the day, cast jerkbaits or troll crankbaits for fish suspending just off the weeds.
“Catch walleyes on weed edges in 15 feet with minnows or crawler halves on jigs and swimbaits, slip bobber fishing deeper humps, and during the day, slow troll crawler harnesses in 20-30 feet.
“Northern pike action is improving. Work deep weeds and rock bars with chatterbaits, spinnerbaits, and weedless spoons.
“Largemouth bass action is solid on wacky worms, swim jigs, and Carolina rigs worked along deep weedlines, and of frogs and other topwaters around slop. Smallmouth are active on topwaters in early mornings. During the day, work rock bars with tube jigs, Ned Rigs, and drop-shot rigs.
“Crappie and bluegill action is decent, with crappies suspending over 20-30 feet and bluegills on deep weedlines. Waxies, leaf worms, chicken jigs, and jigs with plastics all work.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should cast or troll stickbaits and harnesses in the river channel and on rock shorelines and points, or jig fatheads and large Gulp! minnows and leeches.
“Fishing is good for northern pike and largemouth bass along weedlines with Mepps/spinners, surface plugs, and buzz baits, or try weed beds with dressed swim jigs, weedless spoons, and weedless surface baits.
“For crappie and bluegill, jig live bait near cribs and bogs deeper than 8 feet.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing is excellent, with multiple groups reporting many fish.
“Suicks in black head, red head, perch, and orange are the hot bait casting baits, while trolling Mattlocks, Grandmas, Jakes, and Believers remains strong. Make sure you fish with a leader designed for trolling. Search for schools of baitfish when trolling and when casting, pick spots bordering trolling zones that have nice cover.
“Walleye fishing improved and leeches and crawlers are the live baits of choice. Try #7 Flicker Shads and Jigging Raps on deeper mud flats, bars, and reefs. Northern pike action is good on spinners and spoons.
“Smallmouth fishing is decent for anglers fishing crawlers on the cribs.
“Crappie fishing is very good in 18-22 feet on cribs and river channels and deeper weed humps. Use crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses trout hybrids.
“Hybridization is possible among many fish species and the trout family is no exception. Many anglers are familiar with the brook trout-lake trout hybrid known as ‘splake.’ Another somewhat common and naturally occurring hybrid is the ‘tiger trout,’ a cross between a male brook trout and a female brown trout – or vice versa. The different male-female combinations produce slightly different looking hybrids.
“Rainbow trout also get in on the fun with the ‘brownbow,’ a cross between a brown trout and a rainbow trout. Rainbow trout can also hybridize with brook trout and even with splake, which creates a trout with the genetics of three different parent species.
“Hybrid trout, as with many other hybrid fish species, are most often sterile or have only limited fertility.”
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. invites the public to attend its meeting Tuesday, September 5, at Grid Iron Pub and Grub on Main Street in Hayward. The general meeting begins at 7 p.m. and features two special guest speakers, DNR fisheries biologists Max Wolter from the Hayward office and Spooner fish hatchery manager Neal Rosenberg. The duo will discuss current muskie populations and stocking plans for this year. 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.
Hook and line lake sturgeon season opens Sept. 2 and runs through Sept. 30 on several major rivers, including sections of the Chippewa, Flambeau, and Yellow rivers. Lake sturgeon can grow to more than 6 feet long and exceed 150 pounds. The hook and line world record is a 170-pound, 10-ounce lake sturgeon pulled from Yellow Lake in Burnett County in 1979. Anglers can purchase a carcass tag ($20 resident; $50 nonresident) to harvest one 60-inch or longer fish per season. Lake sturgeon anglers must have a valid Wisconsin hook and line fishing license and a harvest tag if they intend to keep a sturgeon. For more information, search “hook and line sturgeon season” on the DNR website.
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. Early teal-only duck season runs Sept. 1-7, with a daily bag limit of six teal. Opening day shooting hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with sunrise to 7 p.m. for the remainder of the season. Mourning dove season runs Sept. 1 through Nov. 29. The daily bag limit is 15 doves; the possession limit is three times the daily bag limit. Make sure to check regulations for special requirements or limitations!
Musky fishing is fair to very good, with anglers seeing numerous fish, though not all hitting the baits. Search shallow to deeper points, humps, rocks, weeds, and/or areas holding concentrations of panfish and baitfish. Bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and topwaters work well, as does trolling large minnow baits, crankbaits, and stickbaits.
Walleye anglers continue to catch fish, though action is somewhat inconsistent and late evening into after dark still offers the best odds for success. Look for weeds/weed edges, humps, rock shorelines, points, bars, mud flats, and river channels in depths from 6-20 feet depending on the time of day. Fish deeper during the day and shallower at night. Anglers are catching fish on fatheads, crawlers, and leeches, as well as cast and trolled stickbaits, crankbaits, swim baits, and minnow baits.
Northern pike fishing is good around weeds and rock bars, both shallow and deep. The most productive baits include spinners, spinnerbaits and spoons with Twister Tails, chatterbaits, and minnows/northern suckers under bobbers.
Largemouth bass action is good to very good in and around shallow to mid-depth weeds, weedlines, docks, and slop. A variety of baits are working well, including buzz baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim baits, spoons, Carolina rigs, wacky worms, and topwaters. Pick the presentation that best fits the area you are fishing.
Smallmouth anglers fishing deeper rocks and cribs are catching fish on tubes, drop-shot rigs, smaller jerkbaits and crankbaits, and crawlers. Early in the day, try shallower areas with topwaters.
Crappie fishing is fair to good on mid-depth to deeper weeds, cribs, bogs, humps, and other structure, with some fish simply suspending over deep water. Crappie minnows, waxies, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, Crappie Scrubs, plastics, and Gulp! baits will all catch fish.
Bluegill fishing is good to very good from shallow to deep (4-25 feet) on weedlines, cribs, bogs, and humps. Fish shallow water for fast action on smaller fish and deeper water for bigger ‘gills. Top baits include waxies, leaf worms, red worms, small minnows, small jigs/plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits.
Aug. 26: Remaining fall wild turkey permits on sale until sold out or season ends.
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).