July 15, 2024

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


Monday evening has thunderstorms possible, but once they pass, the remainder of the week is mostly sunny and mild, with highs in the low to upper 70s and a few lows in the 40s. This is excellent for any and all outdoor activities you choose! Keep in mind we are already halfway through July, so take advantage of ALL nice weather!


“Hot days and less wind skyrocketed surface water temperatures to the upper 70s in the Quiet Lakes’ area,” says Greg at Happy Hooker. “Tuesday night we saw 78 degrees on Little Spider, with similar reports for the Quiet Lakes.

“Muskies are on deeper breaklines off shallow structure, and hitting bucktails and topwaters. Try Suicks or pull/pause baits if the fish are not active. With warming waters, take extra precaution with fish handling, and photos. Make a quick measurement, photo, and release.

“Walleye fishing slowed, with a few catches on deep trolled crankbaits and on leeches at dusk. With fish relating to deeper water, fish summer patterns.

“Northern pike are on shallow weeds, timber, and rocky shorelines with weeds, and still hitting almost everything thrown at them. Favored baits include spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jerkbaits, and live bait.

“Largemouth bass are around shallow weeds and lily pads, and fishing is good. For live bait, crawlers work best. For artificials, Ned, wacky, and Texas rigged plastic worms work well, and topwaters such as Whopper Ploppers and frogs have been great.

“Smallmouth bass are hitting leeches on jigs, Ned-rigged plastics, and drop shots. Work baits deeper, as fish are relating to the bottom on deep weed-to-rock transitions.

“Crappies are around relatively shallow weed beds in 6-10 feet and action is hot for both good size and numbers. Most catches are on crappie minnows and similar size plastics. As the water warms, check for schools in deeper water.

“Bluegills and perch are mixed with crappies and anglers find all three around weed beds in 6-10 feet.”


Jarrett at Hayward Bait says musky fishing is very good, with fish raised on a number of lakes.

“Anglers report success fishing smaller bucktails, Medussas, and topwaters on weedlines adjacent to panfish spawning areas. Water temperatures in the mid to high 70s make it necessary to limit a fish’s time out of water.

“Walleye fishing slowed to the summer bite. Some fish are on deep weedlines, cribs, and other structure, while others are in mid-depths or suspending over deeper water. Long-lined crawler harnesses and crankbaits are effective. On larger waters, planer boards can cover water away from the boat. Use electronics to find fish, and then set depths accordingly.

“Northern pike fishing is solid on various baits including live bait, spinnerbaits, spoons, plastics, and topwaters. Many of the eating size pike are still in less than 15 feet, but for bigger fish, target deeper points and weed edges.

“Largemouth bass are on mid-depth flats and hitting a variety of baits, with many anglers using wacky rigs.

“Smallmouth bass also moved to mid-depth flats, with topwaters working well, even on deeper waters.

“Crappie fishing is very good, with most catches on plastics over deeper weeds and cribs. Finding fish is the issue. If fish are not on structure, use electronics to find pods of fishing roaming flats. Crappies typically stack vertically, so look for fish piled that way on the screen.

“Bluegills are on deeper weeds, with large bluegills in small pods on deep flats, though this requires considerable searching. Live bait and one-inch Gulp! Minnows on slip bobbers work well.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses categorizing trout streams by quality and access.

“Fishing for trout in small streams can be rewarding and a lot of fun. It can also be very challenging. In our part of the state, tag alder brush lines many trout streams and might leave only one or two access points, which are usually bridges. Some streams might be worth a little extra effort; others might not have trout populations worth bushwhacking to access.

“Here is a quick categorization of stream trout fishing opportunities in our area based on the quality of the fishery and ease of access.

“The Namekagon River stands out in both quality and access. It holds the largest trout in the Hayward area and it is wide enough to fish using a variety of methods. There are also many points of access. The combination of easy and great is rare for a reason, and no other streams check all those boxes. However, other notable streams with good trout and easy access include Hatchery Creek, Swan Creek, and Mosquito Brook.

“Another group of streams have fantastic brook trout populations, but are more challenging to access and fish. That category would include Venison Creek, parts of the Brunet River, Beaver Creek, Benson Creek, and Maple Creek.

“Harvest regulations vary from stream to stream based on population strength and size. Before venturing out, check the trout fishing regulation booklet and make sure you have a trout stamp!”


The Wild Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited will host a fly casting and fly tying clinic Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Silverthorn Park, just north of Seeley. The event provides all equipment, as well as snacks and beverages.


The 2024 Birchwood Bluegill Festival is this weekend, Friday through Sunday July 19-21, in Birchwood. The event includes a medallion hunt, parade, food, fun run, softball tournament, fishing contest, many games, beer gardens, pancake breakfast, indoor and outdoor church services, Friday fish fry, water fights, fire truck rides, and much more.

For additional information, visit birchwoodwi.com or call (800) 236-2251.


The 51st Annual LCO Honor the Earth Powwow is this weekend, Thursday through Sunday July 18-21, on the Honor the Earth Powwow Grounds at 8575 North Round Lake School Road.

For additional information visit www.facebook.com/LCOHonorTheEarth or call (715) 634-8934.



All ATV and UTV operators born on or after Jan. 1, 1988 who are at least 12 years old for ATV, and at least 16 years old for UTV, must complete an ATV/UTV safety certification course to operate legally on public ATV/UTV trails and areas in Wisconsin. The DNR requires trail passes for non-residents; Wisconsin residents must display their registration sticker. State law requires riders to run headlights at all times when operating. Visit the DNR ATV website to review rules and regulations.


Unless otherwise posted, all county roads outside of the LCO Reservation in Sawyer County are now legal for ATV/UTV use. The Trail Treker app shows these changes; the paper map does not reflect the changes. Trails 174 and 176 in Spider Lake Township are no longer open to ATV/UTV use. The ATV/UTV trails in Sawyer County Forest (715-634-4846), Chequamegon National Forest (715-634-4821), and Flambeau State Forest (715-332-5271) are open. Follow the ATV/UTV map and know the map legend. Check the HLVCB ATV/UTV trail conditions report and Sawyer County Snowmobile & ATV Alliance for trail and road updates.



Rising water temperatures are affecting fish movement and other factors. On your way to the water, take time to visit your favorite bait shop for the most current updates on fish locations, bait, preferred presentations, and bite windows.



Musky fishing is good to very good on deep breaklines close to shallow structure and weedlines near panfish spawning areas. Bucktails, Suicks, jerkbaits, Medussas, gliders, and topwaters are all producing at this time. Switch to slower offerings if you do not find action. Anglers should watch warming water temperatures and take safeguards to limit the time a fish is out of the water. Make sure to quickly measure, snap photo, and release.



Walleye fishing is slower than in past weeks due to mayfly hatches and fish moving deeper with the warming water. Find them on mid-depth to deep weeds, weedlines, flats, breaklines, cribs, and other structure, with some fish suspending over deeper water. Best success is in low light morning and evening into dark hours when fish move to shallower areas. Leeches and crawlers on jigs and slip bobbers, and trolled crawlers harnesses and crankbaits long-lined or on planer boards, are all catching some fish.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike action is good to very good for smaller fish on weeds, weed edges, weedy shorelines, wood, rock, and points out to 15 feet. Northern suckers, walleye suckers, minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, jerkbaits, plastics, and topwaters all grab the attention of the fish. For trophy pike, go deeper with bigger baits.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good, with fish in shallow weeds, slop, and lily pads, and on mid-depth flats and weeds. The most productive baits include minnows, crawlers, leeches; Texas, Ned, and wacky rigged worms and other plastics; and chatterbaits, Whopper Ploppers, frogs, and other topwater baits.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good on rock, mid-depth flats, and deep transitions from weeds to rocks. Best baits include sucker minnows, crawlers, and leeches on jigs and slip bobbers, Ned and drop shot rigs, crankbaits, tubes and other plastics in crawdad colors, and topwaters.



Crappie fishing is very good to excellent, with anglers catching fish of quality and in quantity ‑ once they locate them. Look for fish from shallow to deep on weed beds, cribs, other structure, and flats. Warming water could push the fish deeper. Crappie minnows, plastics, and Gulp! baits under slip bobbers, and Beetle Spins, are all very effective offerings.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good. Find some in with crappies in/on weeds and weedlines in depths to 8 feet and deeper, and some bigger fish on deep flats. Baits of choice include waxies, worms, crawler chunks, panfish leeches, small minnows, plastics, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows on slip bobbers.


Upcoming Events

July 18-21: 51st Annual LCO Honor the Earth Powwow (715-634-8934).

July 19-21: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2251).

July 20: WRTU Chapter fly casting and fly tying clinic, Silverthorn Park, Seeley, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

July 21: Full Buck Moon.

July 27: Barnes Area Historical AssociationSummer Festival, 12-4 p.m. (425-318-0851).

July 28-30: Delta Aquarids meteor shower, 15-25/hr., 1-3 a.m.

July 28: HBC Youth Bass Tourney on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m., The Landing Resort (405-227-1789).

July 31-Aug. 3: Lumberjack World Championships, tickets (715-634-2484).

Aug. 2-3: Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner (715-635-2168).

Aug. 4: Hayward Chapter-Muskies Inc. Kids Day, Tiger Cat Flowage, Blackiron Grill (715-634-4543).

Aug. 10: Musky Tale ResortPig Roast Fundraiser for Hayward Veterans Cemetery Fund, 3-7 p.m. (715-462-3838).

Aug. 10: Ojibwa Canoe & Kayak Race at The Wannigan, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (715-415-6539).

Aug. 11-13: Perseid meteor shower, 45-90/hr., 1-3 a.m.

Aug. 15-18: Sawyer County Fair (715-699-2022).

Aug. 17: Seeley Lions PreFat Bike Race, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Aug. 18: HBC free youth bass tournament on Chippewa Flowage, noon-4 p.m., The Landing Resort (405-227-1789).

Aug. 19: Full Sturgeon Moon.

Aug. 25: HBC Tom Turner Memorial Open/HS Team Benefit Tourney, Tiger Cat, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., (405-227-1789).


For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Hayward Area Chamber of Commerce websites, view the Calendar of Events, or call (715) 634-8662 or 800-724-2992.