September 11, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Following a very nice weekend, this week – should the forecast hold – appears to be a continuation of the same, with warm, sunny days, mild nights, and only slight chances for rain showers into the weekend. Get out and enjoy it!
“Fall is upon us,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “with some lakes already experiencing some turnover.
“Musky fishing is sporadic, but hit an active period and you will have great action. All bait types are working and sucker fishing is starting. If you fish turnover lakes, use the brightest lures in your box. There are feeding windows in the weeds and times to cast or troll deeper water. When off weeds, use deep running lures such as Bull Dawgs or crankbaits.
“Walleye action is fair. In the daytime, use half crawlers in 15-18 feet on hole edges. In the evening, fish jigs and minnows on weed edges in 5-8 feet.
“Northern pike are in weeds, with some in deeper water. Use Mepps, spinnerbaits, spoons, and minnows.
“Largemouth bass moved deeper, though still use the weeds, and it was a great year with plastics and surface baits. Smallmouth are switching to minnows and you can get some good action in the weeds.
“Crappie action is best in 15-18 feet as the fish are schooling. Use crappie minnows, small tube jigs, Tattle-Tails, and Mini- Mites. Fish deeper weeds with worms for bluegills and with worms and minnows for perch.”
“Musky action is improving, with reports of some nice fish in the upper 40s, and bucktails and topwaters still producing. Focus on shallow flats and bars and make sure to do good figure-8s!
“Walleye action is challenging, but anglers slow-trolling (around 1 mph) crawler harnesses are catching some nice fish. Bottom bounce them in 25-32 feet over mud flats and on the edges of main lake bars. In addition, try working #7 and #9 Jigging Rapalas through those same areas.
“Northern pike anglers made some nice catches last week fishing spinnerbaits and spoons on weedlines and points.
“Bass fishing is a little tougher, but still providing decent action. Largemouth are on flats and edges in 5-12 feet, hitting wacky worms, swim jigs, jerkbaits, and topwaters. For smallmouth, fish deeper cribs and rock bars with tubes, drop-shot rigs, and topwaters.
“Panfish action is stable. Focus on deeper weedlines and cribs with the usual live bait and plastics.”
Mike at Jenk’s says the trick to Chippewa Flowage musky action, whether you are casting or trolling, is finding the baitfish.
“Maximize the use of your electronics and look for areas with nice cover or breaklines that dump into deeper water. Hot baits are bucktails, globes, Vexers, and Mattlocks.
“Walleyes remain a challenge, with size still a challenge and most walleyes caught less than 15 inches. Try crawlers, minnows, Jigging Raps, and #7 Flicker Shads on deeper mud flats.
“Northern pike are active in and on the edges of weed beds, particularly on the west side and Round Lake, with several pike larger than 40 inches taken on Tinsel Tail spinnerbaits last week.
“Crappies are not quite ready to school. Dropping water temperatures suggest it should happen within the next few weeks. For now, fish brush piles and cribs in 18-23 feet with minnows, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, and Gulp! baits.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says fall-like temperatures started to drop water temperatures and coho and brown trout became more prevalent by the islands and inside Chequamegon Bay.
“Anglers are successful working the triangle from Houghton Point to Long Island to Pikes, running spoons and stickbaits on downriggers, Dipsey Divers, and lead core. Fish are suspending at about 20 feet over 60-foot depths, but this is all subject to changes in water temperatures.
“Smallmouth action is spotty, with live bait/suckers the most productive bait, though anglers ripping jigging spoons report some success.
“Walleye action is best on stickbaits during low light hours and dark.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses Hayward area sturgeon.
“Lake sturgeon, an ancient species and the largest species of fish in Wisconsin, is native to most large and medium-size warmwater rivers in the state. Two rivers in the Hayward area once held native populations of sturgeon and restoration efforts show positive signs of sturgeon recovery.
“The Namekagon River between Hayward and Trego is the sight of an active recovery effort as a result of DNR hatchery raised fingerling sturgeon stocked into the river. Initial returns on these stocked fish seem promising and anglers report catching a few adult sturgeon in this reach.
“The Couderay River, between Billy Boy Flowage and the Chippewa River, is also seeing a return of sturgeon. Sturgeon from the Chippewa River had the opportunity to return to the Couderay following the removal of the Grimh Dam in Radisson. A survey in the summer of 2017 showed that quite a few sturgeon have taken advantage of that opportunity, with some moving more than 10 miles upstream into the Couderay.
“These kinds of recoveries of a unique and valued native species are true success stories and will provide interesting opportunities for anglers for years to come.”
Inland water trout anglers enjoy a longer harvest season through October 15, the second year for the extended harvest season. Anglers can use the DNR mobile website tool Trout Regulations and Opportunities User Tool (TROUT) to find places to fish, trout regulations, classified trout water, and more. In Sawyer County, summer trout surveys show more big brook trout( 12 inches and larger) than usual and trout up to about 15 inches in some areas, according to DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter.
The online public comment period for preliminary recommendations by County Deer Advisory Councils (CDAC) started Sept. 11 and runs through Sept. 22. Once the comment period closes, CDACs receive feedback from the surveys for consideration as they develop final recommendations. Final recommendations go in effect in 2018 and guide antlerless quota recommendations for the next three years. For more information, search “CDAC” on the DNR website.
Join DNR assistant elk biologist Josh Spiegel at 6 a.m. September 15 (be sure to RSVP!) as he checks for bugling bull elk on Flambeau River State Forest. For more information and to RSVP, call (715) 332-5271.
Musky action is fair to very good on shallow flats and bars and over deep weeds. Bucktails, Bull Dawgs, crankbaits, jerkbaits, topwaters, and suckers can all get the interest of muskies.
Walleye action is fair to good, though inconsistent. During the day, work the edges of deep holes, flats, bars, and points. In evening into after dark, fish shallow weeds, weed edges, points, bars, and rock. Use jigs/minnows, jigs/crawler halves, slow-trolled crawler harnesses, and #7 and #9 Jigging Raps.
Northern pike fishing is good in/on deeper weeds, weedlines, and points. Use northern suckers, minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.
Largemouth action is fairly good, but more challenging with the temperature drop. Target deeper weeds, flats, and edges in 6-15 feet. Top baits include wacky worms, swim jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, and topwaters.
Smallmouth fishing is fair to good. Look for fish on deeper weeds, cribs, and rock bars. The best baits include minnows, drop-shot rigs, tubes, and topwaters.
Crappie fishing is good and fish are schooling on deeper weeds, weedlines, and cribs in 12-20 feet. The most productive baits are crappie minnows, tube jigs, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, plastics, and Gulp! baits.
Bluegill fishing is good and consistent on deep weeds, weedlines, and cribs. Use the traditional baits of waxies, worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits.
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. 23: Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).
Sept. 23: Seasons open: Woodcock; Duck in Northern Zone.
Sept. 24: Trout season closes on rivers flowing into Lake Superior (see regs).
Sept. 28-30: 2nd Annual Treeland Premier Musky Fly Fishing Championships (715-462-3874).
Sept. 29-30: Cable Area Fall Fest (800-533-7454).
Sept. 30: Fishing seasons close: Lake Superior lake trout; Sturgeon on inland waters (see regs).
Oct. 6-8: 40th Annual Hayward Lakes Chapter – Muskies Inc. Fall Fishing Tournament (715-634-2921).
Oct. 7-8: Youth deer hunt.
Oct. 7-8: Musky Tale Resort’s Crappie Quest (715-462-3838).
Oct. 7-15: Hunters with disabilities deer hunt.
Oct. 10: Black bear season closes.
Oct. 14: Seasons open: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse Zone B; Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Cottontail rabbit southern zone; Raccoon gun/trapping for residents; Red and gray fox hunting/trapping; Coyote trapping; Fisher trapping; Bobcat Period 1 north of Hwy. 64.
Oct. 14: Inland trout season closes.
Oct. 28: Seasons open: Muskrat statewide; Mink in north, south, and Winnebago zones.