September 4, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Following a moist start this week, the forecast indicates cool, dry, and sunny weather through the weekend! It is early September, but fall is definitely in the air!
“This has really been a different year and we are still waiting for summer to arrive!” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Frustrated musky anglers report seeing fish and having follows, but few hookups. Try bucktails, swim baits, crankbaits, and topwaters.
“During the day, fish walleyes in/around the edges of deep holes and weeds. In late evening into night, move to shallower weeds and rocky points. Use fatheads and crawler halves on jigs, and run crankbaits deep during the day and shallow in the evening.
“Fish northern pike in weeds with spinnerbaits, swim baits, topwaters, and sucker minnows under bobbers.
“Largemouth bass are around shallow and deep weeds and structure. Use crawlers, plastics/plastic worms in various riggings, and topwaters/frogs. Smallmouth are on/along deep rocky bottoms. Use crawlers and crayfish imitations.
“Crappies are schooling off weed edges in 8-18 feet. Try crappie minnows and small plastics under slip bobbers at varied depths. Small bluegills are in shallow weeds, larger fish are in deeper weeds, and waxies and leaf worms on slip bobber rigs will work. Perch are just off the weeds, near the bottom.”
“Work deeper edges during midday and focus on shallow flats and humps during low light. Bucktails and topwaters are producing, but if the action is slow, try jerkbaits.
“Walleye anglers are catching fish by slow-trolling crawler harnesses at 1-1.5 mph along breaks and humps in 20-30 feet. Some anglers are catching fish in those areas by pitching Jigging Raps and working them back along bottom.
“Northern pike action is solid on spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, and spoons fished on weedlines and large flats.
“Bass action is still strong, with largemouth along deeper weedlines and docks near deep water. Use wacky worms, swim jigs, and topwaters. Smallmouth are around rock and gravel bars and deeper cribs. Try topwaters early and then tube jigs and drop-shot rigs during the day.
“For panfish, focus on deep edges and cribs, using crappie minnows and larger plastics for crappies and waxies, leaf worms, and plastics for bluegills.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky action is very promising.
“For casting, Globes, Suicks, and Ghosttails are producing the most results. Trolling Mattlocks still outshines other baits, but Jakes, Grandmas, and Believers remain strong choices. Use a proper leader – insufficient leaders lead to lost fish, lost baits, and the fish possibly dying.
“Walleye fishing improved a bit. During the day, Jigging Raps in deeper mud produces fish just off the bottom. In later evening, work bars and reefs rising out of deeper water, using crawlers or minnows on Lindy Rigs with 6-foot leaders. Northern pike are quiet, though spinnerbaits are producing a few.
“Crappies and panfish are active in cribs and river channels in 18-23 feet and minnows, tube jigs, and other plastics work well. Live bait is nearly always the bait of choice, but lately the hot choice is yellow tube jigs with white skirts on orange or chartreuse jig heads.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses a review of fish stocking in the United States.
“A 2008 Halvorson review of fish stocking data from all 50 states and the Federal hatchery system from the 1930s through 2004 contains some incredible statistics.
“In 2004 alone, 1.75 billion fish were stocked totaling 44 million pounds. Walleyes made up about 60 percent of the total number of fish, largely due to the high number of walleye fry stocked in many parts of the country. Because so many stocked walleye are fry, they made up only a small portion (1 percent) of the total weight of stocked fish.
“Rainbow trout, a popular sportfish in the West, made up 50 percent of the total weight of all fish stocked in 2004 since they are often raised to large sizes before stocking. Rainbow trout stocking occurs in every state except for five states in the Deep South.
“Stocking trends have shifted over time. In the past, stocking consisted of larger numbers of fish because most stockings were fertilized eggs or fry. Now, stocking consists of a greater weight of fish since it is more common to stock larger size fish.
“Across the U.S., reports indicated the stocking of 104 different species. Most species stocked are to support sport fisheries, but the stocking of some rare or endangered fish is part of efforts to conserve those species.”
Wisconsin’s 2017 archery and crossbow deer seasons run concurrently statewide from Sept. 16 through Jan. 7. In 2016, archery and crossbow hunters combined for one of the highest buck harvests in history, and DNR biologists expect a similar buck harvest this year. Hunters interested in using both a conventional bow and crossbow can pay full price for one license and purchase a $3 upgrade for the second license, using the same buck and antlerless tags issued with their first license. Antlerless hunting opportunities are available through Farmland Zone and bonus antlerless tags offered in many DMUs. Bonus tags are on a first-come, first-served basis for $12/resident, $20/non-resident, and $5/youth hunter age 10-11. For more information, search “deer” on the DNR website.
Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. invites the public to attend its meeting Tuesday, September 5, at Grid Iron Pub and Grub on Main Street. 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. They will discuss current muskie populations and stocking plans for this year. Admission is free and anyone attending who is interested in joining Muskies Inc. can purchase an annual membership for half price. For more information, call Mike Persson (715) 634-4543.
Musky action is inconsistent, though there is no shortage of anglers seeing fish. Best locations include points, humps, rocks, weeds, flats, and edges from shallow to deep. (If it was easy, everyone would do it – or no one would do it!) A good range of baits are getting interest, including bucktails, crankbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, swim baits, jerkbaits, stickbaits, and topwaters, with trolling larger baits also productive.
Walleye action is slower, but improving. During the day, look for fish in and on the edges of deep holes, weed beds, and mud bottoms. In the evening into dark, concentrate on shallower weeds, rocky points, and bars. Trollers should move at less than 2 mph along humps and breaks in 20-30 feet. Baits of choice include fatheads and crawler halves on jigs, crawler harnesses, and Lindy Rigs, Jigging Raps, and crankbaits. Leeches work if you can find them.
Northern pike action is fair to very good, with reports coming from both ends of the spectrum. Look for pike in weeds, weedlines, large flats, and wherever you find panfish/baitfish concentrations. Flashy and splashy will to the trick, with spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim baits, chatterbaits, topwaters, and sucker minnows under bobbers all working.
Largemouth fishing remains good to very good in various depths on weeds, weedlines, docks, and other structure adjacent to deep water. The most productive baits include crawlers, rigged worms/plastics (in assorted configurations), swim jigs, and topwaters/frogs.
Smallmouth anglers report good success on deep rock, gravel, and other hard bottom areas, and on cribs. Top bait offerings include crayfish imitations, tubes, crawlers, and drop-shot rigs, with topwaters working early in the day.
Crappie fishing is good to very good once you locate them. Look for fish in/on weeds and weed edges, cribs, and river channels in 7-25 feet. Use your electronics and check the entire water column for suspending fish. The most effective baits include crappie minnows, tube jigs, small to mid-size plastics, and Gulp! baits under slip bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is generally fair to good. Small fish offer fast action in shallow weed and brush areas, while larger fish are in/on/around the edges of deeper weeds and cribs. Best baits include waxies, leaf worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits.
Sept. 2-30: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season.
Sept. 6: Black bear season opens (see regs).
Sept. 7-9: 19th Annual Chippewa Flowage Musky Hunt (715-462-3276).
Sept. 15-16: Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival (715-798-3594).
Sept. 15: Early September Canada goose hunting season closes.
Sept. 15: 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).
Sept. 21-24: Youth Musky Hunt at Mystic Moose Resort (715-462-3014).
Sept. 28-30: 2nd Annual Treeland Premier Musky Fly Fishing Championships (715-462-3874).
Sept. 29-30: Cable Area Fall Fest (800-533-7454).
Oct. 6-8: 40th Annual Hayward Lakes Chapter – Muskies Inc. Fall Fishing Tournament (715-634-2921).
Oct. 7-8: Musky Tale Resort’s Crappie Quest (715-462-3838).