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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

September 2, 2019

Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman


The current forecast is less than encouraging for Monday and Tuesday (showers, t-storms). However, Wednesday into next weekend looks good, though with cooler high temperatures, especially Saturday and Sunday.


“As overnight temperatures cool the water, the jig bite will pick up on the Quiet Lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and fall fishing can be some of the best fishing of the year.

“Musky fishing slowed due to the weather. Midsize bucktails and swimbaits are producing the most fish, but some anglers are also dragging suckers while casting shorelines.

“Walleye fishing is slow, though anglers willing to fish after dark are having success. Early morning and dusk into night is best. Jigs and minnows, crawlers, and leeches are all taking fish, but leech season is ending.

“Northern pike and bass anglers report catches while working crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and soft plastics over basins in back bays. Fishing spinnerbaits and drop-shot rigs near shorelines are also producing some nice fish.

“Panfish anglers are jigging and bobber-fishing minnows, leech, leaf worms, and plastics on small jigs in 10-15 feet. Use your graph to locate structure and fish, focusing on anything sticking out such as rock piles, wood, submerged points and humps, and vegetation near shallow water.

“River fishing is slow, though the lower sections are producing a few walleye, northern pike, perch, and an occasional bonus musky.”


Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s say Nelson Lake is providing good action for multiple species.

“Anglers report some walleye success fishing minnows and leeches in 5-15 feet, and the cooling water temperatures make fishing shorelines early and late in the day worth a try.

“Northern pike are lurking in heavy weed areas. Float large sucker minnows while casting Mepps, buzzbaits, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, and dressed weedless spoons.

“Largemouth bass are in areas similar to pike and chasing similar baits, as well as frogs, poppers, and scented plastic worms and critter baits.

“Crappie and bluegill anglers should fish near bogs and cribs, jigging and bobber-fishing waxies, worms, minnows, and Gulp! baits.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage pool is down 1-2 feet, with the water temperature in the mid-60s.

“Musky fishing picked up, with bucktails and surface baits very good in early morning and late evening. Trolling is still strong during the midday hours.

“Walleye fishing also picked up, but average size is still small. Crawlers are the first choice, but some anglers are again using minnows and suckers, and a few report success on crankbaits. In late summer and early fall, walleyes can sit in anywhere from 2-25 feet, so do not become stuck on one small depth range. In early morning, target weedlines and shallow flats bordering deeper water. As the day progresses, move over deeper water, returning to weed beds during low-light hours.

“Northern pike fishing remains somewhat slow, though you might pick one up here and there.

“Smallmouth bass are active in the stumps and on rock bars, as well as on deeper cribs, where crawlers are your best bet. For artificials, Ned rigged-plastics and smaller topwaters are most effective.

“Crappie anglers report activity is increasing around weeds in about 14-16 feet, with crappie minnows and Mini-Mites the way to go.”


This week, DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter discusses the Hayward Fish Team’s fall survey schedule.

“Cooling water in September and early October provide a window of opportunity for the Hayward DNR Fish Team and it is releasing its fall survey schedule for assessing walleye year-class strength. There are many walleye lakes in this area so the team is always busy with the numerous fall shocking surveys.

“Young walleye born this past spring are now 4-7 inches in length and move shallow to feed before ice-up. These surveys also provide an opportunity to check on previous year classes, including walleye stocked last fall. Surveying these young walleye involves electrofishing the entire lake shoreline on all but the largest lakes, such as the Chippewa Flowage, where we can do only a portion.

“This fall, the team will conduct surveys on the Chippewa Flowage, Lac Court Oreilles (LCO), Nelson, Smith, Big Chetac, Ghost, Lost Land, Teal, Spider, Sissabagama, Barber, Black Dan, Blaisdell, Blueberry, Osprey, Island, Whitefish, Windfall, Windigo, Durphee, and Lower Clam lakes. Different DNR crews or Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission crews will survey other lakes, including Sand and Grindstone.”


The DNR’s 11th annual Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey begins with the Sept. 14 start of the 2019 deer season. Hunters record observations of deer and other wildlife while hunting and can enter observations by computer, mail, or smartphone. The survey period ends January 2020. Survey results help track deer and other wildlife populations. At the end of the survey, participants can receive a personalized summary of all recorded wildlife from the season. For more information, search “Deer Hunter Wildlife Survey” on the DNR website.


New baiting and feeding restrictions are in effect in Barron, Burnett, Polk, and Washburn counties following a captive elk on a Burnett elk farm testing positive for CWD. State law requires the DNR to enact a ban on feeding and baiting of deer in counties or portions of counties within a 10-mile radius of a captive or free-roaming domestic or wild animal that tests positive for CWD or tuberculosis. This will create a three-year baiting and feeding ban in Burnett County and two-year baiting and feeding bans for Barron, Polk, and Washburn counties. For more information, search “baiting and feeding” on the DNR website.


Fishing Has No Boundaries (FHNB) is holding its first annual Angler Fundraising Fishing Tournament Sept. 8 on Lost Land Lake, with Northland Lodge hosting the event. Check-in starts at 8 a.m., fishing runs from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and the BBQ pork picnic dinner, with live music, starts at 6 p.m. The entry fee is $50. To register, call Kathy at FHNB (715) 634-3185 or (800) 243-3462.




Musky action is improving with the cooler water. Target shorelines, weedlines, and shallower points and humps adjacent to deeper water. Current bait choices include bucktails, swimbaits, topwaters, and live suckers, and anglers continue to catch fish by trolling large stickbaits.



Walleye fishing is fair to good, with best success in very early morning and late afternoon into after dark. During the day, fish deeper weedlines, brush, rock, and flats out to 28 feet. During low light hours, work shallower weedlines. Leeches (as long as you can find them), crawlers, and minnows work well, with anglers also catching fish on crankbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is fair to good, depending on the water. Look for fish in and around shallow to mid-depth weed cover and panfish concentrations. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swim jigs, and live bait are all productive offerings. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass action remains good to very good in shallow to mid-depth cover, from weeds to wood to slop, as well as in bays and along shorelines. Spinnerbaits, crankbaits, swim jigs, drop-shot rigs, plastics in various forms, and topwaters are the baits of choice.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass fishing is good on mid-depth and deeper rock, wood, and cribs. Crawlers, various plastics, and topwaters are all producing fish.



Crappie action is fair to very good when you find them. Look for fish in depths to about 18 feet, holding near weeds, brush, bogs, humps, and cribs. Best baits include crappie minnows, leeches, plastics, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! baits on jigs and plain hooks fished under slip bobbers.



Bluegill fishing is fair to good from shallow out to about 18 feet on weeds, wood, bogs, brush, humps, points, and cribs. Traditional baits and presentations continue to produce – waxies, worms, leaf worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, fished with/without a float. Try small minnows deeper for larger ‘gills.


Upcoming Events

Sept. 1: Seasons opened: Mourning dove; Teal; Canada goose in designated areas; Wild ginseng.

Sept. 3: Hayward Lakes Chapter-Muskies, Inc. meeting at Flat Creek Eatery, 7 p.m. (715-634-4543).

Sept. 4: Black bear hunting season opens (see regs).

Sept. 7: Hook-and-line lake sturgeon season opens on designated waters (see regs).

Sept. 8: FHNB First Annual Angler Fundraising Fishing Tournament - Northland Lodge (715-634-3185).

Sept. 13: Elk bugling with Laine Stowell, Flambeau River State Forest (715-332-5271).

Sept. 14: Seasons open: Archery and crossbow deer; Fall turkey; Ruffed grouse in the Zone A; Cottontail rabbit in northern zone; Gray and fox squirrel; Fall crow (see regs).

Sept. 14: Early September Canada goose season closes.

Sept. 14-15: Youth Waterfowl Hunt (see regs).

Sept. 16: Canada goose season opens in North and South exterior zones (see regs).

Sept. 21: Woodcock season opens.

Sept. 21: 35th Annual Hayward Fall Festival (715-634-8662).

Sept. 22: Hayward Area High School Bass Team Tiger Cat Flowage Open Benefit Bass Tournament (715-699-6356).

Sept. 27-28: Treeland’s 4th Annual Premier Musky Fly Fishing Championship (715-462-3874).

Sept. 27-28: Cable Area Fall Fest (715-798-3833).

Sept. 28: Seasons open: Duck in South Exterior, North, and Mississippi River zones; Canada goose in Mississippi River Subzone (see regs).

Sept. 28: National Public Lands Day at Flambeau River State Forest (715-332-5271).

Sept. 29: Trout season closes on rivers flowing into Lake Superior (see regs).

Sept. 30: Seasons close: Lake trout - Lake Superior; Sturgeon - inland waters hook-and-line (see regs).


For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 800-724-2992.