June 19, 2017
Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report
This week has the potential to be very nice – cool and somewhat dry (for a change) – IF the “slight chances” for rain and thunderstorms remain “slight” (preferably non-existent, especially through Musky Fest weekend!) High temperatures will hover in the low 70s and nighttime lows will reach into the 40s at times, providing good sleeping weather!
“Water levels are high,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but most boat landings are in good shape and good weed growth is providing cover for the fish.
“Musky action is improving, with females recovering from spawn beginning to feed. Topwaters and smaller bucktails work best. During the day, try Bull Dawgs for suspended fish. Nighttime anglers are moving some big fish.
“Walleye fishing is best in the evening, though a current mayfly hatch is providing fish abundant natural food. Try smaller leeches and crawler pieces where mayflies hover over the water.
“Northern fishing is good in the weeds on sucker minnows, surface baits, and flashy lures.
“Largemouth bass are in shoreline cover in 2-14 feet. Plastics, crawlers, and leeches work very well. Smallmouth spawn is ending and the fish will move to rocks/boulders and hard bottom areas for the summer. Crayfish is their primary food, so try plastic crayfish imitations.
“Crappies are in weeds and on shoreline cover, taking minnows and small plastics, Tattle-Tails, Mini Mites, and tube jigs. Bluegills are on shorelines for spawning, hitting waxies and leaf worms.”
Erik at Hayward Bait says water temperatures are hovering around 68-72 degrees, depending on the lake.
“Musky fishing is getting better, with many fish shallow and/or on established weed beds. Locate bluegills and a musky or two are usually not far away.
“Walleyes anglers continue to catch fish on walleye suckers and fatheads. Leeches and crawlers are picking up and deep crankbaits are still getting reaction bites.
“Bass fishing is improving, with plastics such as Senkos, Texas rigged worms, and wacky rigging, etc., very effective.
“The panfish bite is still heating up! Crappies are a little deeper, near structure, weed edges, and breaklines, and bluegills are starting to push shallow.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye action is fair on fatheads, shiners, and leeches.
“Work shallow stickbaits along rocky shorelines in early and late hours. During the daytime, troll deeper divers in the river channel.
“Northern pike and largemouth bass action is picking up along weedlines and panfish spawning areas. Use surface plugs, poppers, dressed Mepps spinners, and spinnerbaits.
“Catch crappies by fishing minnows, worms, and Gulp! baits under slip bobbers around bogs, cribs and the dam area. Male bluegills are still on shallow spawning beds and hitting live and scented baits.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing slowed a bit, with some action in weeds and shallows.
“Walleye anglers continue to report catches, but of small size. For legal fish, work weedy breaklines in 8-10 feet with #5 and #7 Flicker Shads. For live bait, use crawlers, leeches, and minnows, but fish minnows deeper so they stay alive.
“Northern pike fishing is good on spinnerbaits, spoons, and weedless baits ripped through weed beds. Most fish are ‘hammer handle’ size, but once in awhile an angler pulls out a bigger fish.
“Largemouth bass are in shallow weed beds, hitting surface baits. Smallmouth are nearing the end of spawning. Try Berkley Chigger Craws and wacky worms, followed by spinnerbaits and frog imitations.
“Crappie anglers are still catching fish containing eggs. Fish deeper, weedy humps that rise from 20 feet up to 10-12 feet. Expect more action on the bogs in the coming weeks.”
This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses fish “parenting.”
“It is likely many people do not fully understand how many species of fish invest time and energy in parenting their offspring. Of course, parenting in the fish world is different from parenting in the human world. For fish, being a good parent typically means protecting eggs and young fry, the most vulnerable stages in a fish’s life.
“In northern Wisconsin, some fish species such as muskellunge, pike, and walleye do not do any active parenting – they spawn and then abandon the eggs.
“Many other species, however, are dedicated parents. Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, rock bass, crappie, bluegill, and other sunfish species will build and aggressively defend a nest of eggs or a group of newly hatched fry.
“Interestingly enough, parenting is actually more common than not in freshwater fish. One study estimates that parenting occurs in more than 60 percent of freshwater fish families and that in a majority of species, it is the male providing the parental care.
“Coincidentally, for many northern Wisconsin fish species such as bass and bluegill, the males are on their nests diligently guarding their young right around Father’s Day.”
Hayward Bass Club is hosting its Round Lakes Open Bass Tournament this Sunday, June 25, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Prop’s Landing Waterfront Grille the official tournament checkpoint. This open tournament has a 50-boat limit, with the entry fee $100 per two-angler team. Anglers can drop off entry forms and fees (cash only) at Hayward Bait and HBC will accept entries and fees on site. The contest has a 90-percent payback, with five cash winners – first place pays $2000 – and retains 10 percent to fund HBC’s free August youth tournament. For more information, contact Hayward Bait or Wayne Balsavich (405-227-1789; email@example.com).
The 67th Annual Musky Festival is June 22-25 and this year the Hayward Lion’s Club Musky Fest Fishing Contest is introducing the $100,000 Musky Fest Lions Family Fishing Spectacular in which any angler who catches a state record fish can win $100,000! The contest runs June 20 through 5 p.m. June 24 for the following species: musky, tiger musky, walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and black crappie. For more information and specifics, call (715) 634-8662 or visit www.muskyfest.com/100000-musky-fest-lions-fishing-spectacular.
Musky action is improving on most waters, particularly for big fish at night. Use topwaters and bucktails to work shallow weed beds and weedlines, as well as near spawning bluegills. Try Bull Dawgs for suspending fish.
Walleye fishing is fair to decent, considering there is a mayfly hatch. Best success is during early morning and evening hours (surprise!) when many fish are somewhat shallower. Target weedlines, weed edges, rocky shorelines, and river channels. Top bait choices include walleye suckers, fatheads, shiners, leeches, and crawlers on jigs and live bait rigs, as well as trolled and cast stickbaits and crankbaits covering varied depths.
Northern pike fishing is very good in shallow weeds, weedlines, and anywhere you find concentrations of panfish and it is an all-day bite. Use northern suckers, surface baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, and spoons.
Largemouth action is good and getting better as we enter summer season. Concentrate on weeds, weedlines, wood, and other cover along shorelines and in depths from 2-14 feet. Productive baits include assorted plastics and worms in various riggings, crawlers, leeches, topwaters/poppers, spinners, and spinnerbaits.
Smallmouth are finished/finishing spawning, fishing is good, and harvest season is now open in the northern bass zone (though catch and release remains the recommendation). Look for fish on deeper rock and other hard bottom areas. Baits of choice include plastics such as Senkos, worms in various riggings, tubes, and especially crayfish imitations.
Crappie fishing is good to very good from shallow to mid-depths. Look for cover along shorelines, weeds, weedlines, breaklines, bogs, drop-offs, cribs, and other structure. Best baits include crappie minnows, worms, small plastics, tube jigs, Tattle-Tails, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits, fished with or without slip bobbers.
Bluegill fishing is very good as the fish are in or moving to the shallows for spawning. Fish the skinny water along shorelines, in bays, and along fallen trees and weeds. Look for “elephant tracks” (the spawning beds) in the shallows and use waxies, worms, small plastics, and Gulp! baits, although the ‘gills will hit just about anything at this time!
June 17: Northern Zone smallmouth bass season opened for daily bag limits (see regs).
June 20-24: $100,000 Musky Fest Lions Family Fishing Spectacular (715-634-8662).
June 22-25: 67th Annual Musky Festival (715-634-8662).
June 25: Hayward Bass Club Round Lake Open tournament (715-699-1015).
July 15: Turtle season opens (see regs).
July 1 Aug. 31: Training dogs by pursuing bear (see regs).
July 29: Flambeau River State Forest “Campfire Cookout” at Connors Lake picnic area (715-332-5271).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs for exceptions).
Aug. 1: Application deadline: Fall turkey; Bobcat; Fisher; Otter; Sharp-tailed grouse.
Aug. 14-17: Bonus unit-specific antlerless deer tags where available go on sale at 10 a.m.
Aug. 22: Deadline to transfer Class A bear license to a youth hunter.
Aug. 26: Remaining fall wild turkey permits remaining go on sale at 10 a.m.