September 19, 2016
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
Conflicting weather forecasts (there’s a shocker!) show sunshine very early in the week, followed by chances of showers nearly every day thereafter. Mild temperatures hold steady, however, and continue through the weekend. The fall season is far too good and far too short, so do not allow a bit of “inclement weather” prevent you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activities!
“Fall season is upon the Quiet Lakes for sure,” says Pat at Happy Hooker.
“Muskies are spread throughout the lake. Catch fish over deeper water with Bull Dawgs and Medusas or over weed beds with bucktails and surface baits. Walleye fishing is fair, with evening and night fishing best. Use crawler halves or jigs/minnows off weeds in 6-15 feet. Northern action is good on weeds and weed edges with bucktails, jigs/minnows, suckers, spinners, and spoons.
“Largemouth are in weeds and all baits from plastics to surface baits are productive. Smallmouth are spread out, but basically over hard bottoms in 8-15 feet.
“Crappies are in shallow cover one day and off deeper weeds the next day, but action is good when you find them. Bluegills are in weeds and hitting waxies and worms.”
Bob at Hayward Bait says cooler temperatures in the forecast will bring much better fishing action.
“Musky action is ramping up with fish moving shallow. Fish main lake points and bars and large, shallow flats in depths out to 10 feet. Use double-blade bucktails with fast retrieve, crankbaits, and surface baits. Walleye fishing is picking up, with decent reports of fish from 15 feet and deeper. Troll crankbaits and crawler harnesses on clear lakes, or work jig/minnow combos on deeper humps.
“Largemouth action is good in deeper weeds. Fish smallmouth on rock and weed edges with plastics and topwaters. For crappies suspending in deeper water, use live bait and plastics. Catch larger bluegills on plastics in 8-12 feet.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky action really turned on in the past few days.
“Muskies are coming out of all depths, with large spinnerbaits, bucktails, rubber baits, and topwaters producing the most action. Walleye fishing is slow and with nothing consistent. Try finding schools of suspended baitfish and troll crankbaits through them.
“Crappie fishing is so-so as they transition to their fall pattern and they should school soon. Crappie minnows and Gulp! one-inch minnows are the baits of choice. Try fishing cribs in 19-20 feet or drift mud flats in 15 feet to locate groups with your depth finder. Finally, try fishing deep weed humps in 10 feet coming up from 17-20 feet up to 10 feet.”
Cooler, more seasonal fall weather has spurred fall fishing action, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt.
“Musky fishing is very good, with fish most active during mid-day hours. The most productive baits are bucktails, gliders, and suckers fished on weed beds and along deep weed edges. Walleye fishing continues to improve, especially on rivers and flowages. The favored baits are crawlers, leeches, and minnows on deep breaklines and along deep weed edges. Northern pike are taking stickbaits and spinnerbaits along and over weed beds.
“Largemouth are in mid-depth cover and shallower weed beds, with soft plastics and jig/craw combinations providing the most consistent action. Smallmouth action is good with crankbaits and finesse plastics fished near woody cover along deeper water on rivers and flowage.
“Panfish anglers are catching some nice crappies and bluegills around mid-depth cover.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses musky spawning habitat.
“Studies of Sawyer County’s Spider Lake muskellunge have found the muskies returned to the same site to spawn year after year. A recent study in Canada found similar results, with some startling implications.
“Researchers radio tagged muskies in Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay and tracked them for several years, taking particular note of where muskies spawned. Spawning areas were typically very close to nursery areas, often holding young muskies at other times of the year.
“These results suggest that adult muskies may choose spawning sites where newly hatched fish need not travel far to find cover. They found that as in Wisconsin, muskies returned to the same site to spawn year after year, behavior making them very vulnerable to habitat degradation.
“When good spawning habitat was lost to human development, muskies continued to show up at those sites and attempted to spawn, likely with little success.
“Results like these point to the need for good shoreline management and protection of critical habitat.”
The 39th Annual Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. Fall Fishing Tournament is Sept. 30-Oct 2. The event offers participants more than $30,000 in prizes, including trolling motors, gift certificates, depth finders, GPS units, and more. Each entrant is eligible for the Grand Door Prize – a 2016 Lund 1725 Pro Guide tiller boat, ShoreLand’r trailer, and 60 hp Mercury motor. Entry fees are $90 for adults and $25 for youth 16 and younger and you have until 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, to enter in person at Jenk’s (715-462-3055) or in person and by phone at Hayward Bait (715-634-2921).
The 15th Annual Cable Area Fall Fest is this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 23-24. The event includes sidewalk specials, corn and pig roast, beer and wine garden, live music, pumpkin pecan pancake breakfast, art and craft vendors, farmers market, car, motorcycle, and truck show, chili cook-off, bounce houses, and carnival games, and more. For more information, visit www.cable4fun.com or call (800) 533-7454.
The 32nd Annual Hayward Fall Festival is this Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The family oriented event includes a farmers market, a variety of live music, numerous artists and crafters, children’s games for all ages, pumpkin decorating contest, sidewalk chalk drawing, food vendors and booths, brat and brew garden, pumpkin lasso contest, and more. For more information, visit www.haywardareachamber.com or call (715) 634-8662.
Musky fishing is good and getting better with the changing weather and this is the time for big fish. Target weed beds and edges in various depths, main lake points, bars, and shallow flats. The currently most productive baits include large double-blade bucktails, crankbaits, Bull Dawgs/rubber baits, gliders, topwaters, and suckers on quick-strike rigs.
Walleye action is slowly improving, with the best success in late evening into and after dark. Look for fish in 5-18 feet and deeper around weeds, weed edges, and humps. Crawlers, leeches, and minnows on jigs, harnesses, and split shot rigs work well, as do trolled crankbaits and stickbaits.
Northern pike are providing good action for anglers fishing in/on/over/along shallow to mid-depth weed beds and weed edges. The most productive baits include northern suckers under bobbers, jigs/minnows, bucktails, stickbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.
Largemouth action remains good and consistent on most waters. Concentrate on weed, brush, bogs, and other cover from shallow to mid-depth areas. Various baits work well at this time, including soft plastics, jig/craw combos, spinners, spinnerbaits, and topwaters.
Smallmouth fishing is fair to good on weed edges, hard bottoms, rock, and wood in 8-20 feet. Top bait choices include plastics, crankbaits, topwaters, and live bait such as crawlers and sucker minnows.
Crappie fishing is good, though you will have to look for them. Fish are suspending over deeper water as well as holding on cribs, weeds, humps, and mud flats in 10-23 feet. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits.
Bluegill fishing is good around weeds and other cover out to about 15 feet. Waxies, worms, and plastics work well for most ‘gills, but for bigger fish try deeper water with plastics and small minnows.
Sept. 16: Seasons opened: Canada goose north and south exterior zones, Horicon Zone.
Sept. 17: Seasons opened: Fall turkey; Deer (archery, crossbow); Ruffed grouse (Zone A); Cottontail (northern zone); Gray and fox squirrel; Crow.
Sept. 22-25: Youth Musky Hunt at Mystic Moose Resort.
Sept. 23-24: 15th Annual Cable Area Fall Fest (800-533-7454).
Sept. 24: 32nd Annual Hayward Fall Festival 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (715-634-8662).
Sept. 24: Seasons Open: Woodcock; Duck in northern zone.
Sept. 30: Seasons Close: Trout on inland waters and rivers flowing into Lake Superior; Lake Superior lake trout; Hook-and-line sturgeon on inland waters (see regs).
Sep 30-Oct 2: 39th Annual Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. Fall Fishing Tournament (715-634-2921).
Oct. 1: 38th Annual Stone Lake Cranberry Festival & Parade (715-865-3378).
Oct. 1-2: Musky Tale Resort’s Crappie Quest (715-462-3838).
Oct. 6-8: Musky Fly Fishing World Championships (715-462-3874).
Oct. 8: Fish Harvest Fest and Adopt a Musky at Spooner Hatchery (715-635-6002).