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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

Steve Suman

As happens nearly every year, as if on schedule, ‘inclement’ weather arrives during the first full weekend of October to coincide with the Stone Lake Cranberry Festival, Muskies, Inc. fall tournament, and Bayfield Apple Festival – and as happens every year, people shrug off the weather and have a good time!

“Muskie anglers report success with suckers on quick-strike rigs and casting bucktails, gliders, and plastics along breaks and weedlines,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “Be sure to figure-8 on every cast!”

Jim at Hayward Bait says fishing is good, but weather patterns this time of year can affect fishing on a daily basis.

“The muskie bite is picking up on deeper weedlines and mid-lake humps. Walleye fishing is good in 15-35 feet on the deep, clear lakes with fatheads, walleye suckers, crawlers, and trolled stickbaits.”

Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage muskie anglers are not moving many fish, but they are seeing some large ones.

“Muskies are in green weeds and the most productive baits are big bucktails and minnow baits. On the west side, anglers fishing thick weeds with spinnerbaits and weedless plastics are catching numerous pike and largemouth.”

Randy at Jenk’s says muskies are active and show no preference for any one thing.

“As the water continues to cool, go to glide baits and suckers. Crappie fishing is good on the cribs, but better drifting deeper brush with minnows, Gulp! baits, and tubes.”

At Anglers All in Ashland, Carolyn says Chequamegon Bay is loaded with coho, brown trout, kings, steelhead, and smallmouth.

“Anglers are still trolling from Pikes to Long Island to Washburn to the head of the Bay, and most are flat-lining stickbaits. Check current conditions – dirty water due to rain and wind will change some of the trolling.

“Tributary streams are full of fish and the rain should bring in even more.”

DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says completed fall walleye recruitment surveys on many area lakes show mixed success, as expected.

“Sand, Round, Grindstone, and Lac Courte Oreilles produced moderate size year classes, Whitefish, Windigo, and Chippewa Flowage had small year classes, and Nelson, Teal, Chetac, and Lost Land year classes were small to non-existent.

“To compensate for the lack of naturally produced fish, the DNR plans walleye stocking for Chippewa Flowage, Nelson, Whitefish, Sissabagama, Chetac, Lost Land, and Teal. Private stocking is planned for several other area lakes.”

DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says muskie fishing borders on excellent and several anglers report multiple catches on a single trip.

“Bucktails and large stickbaits are doing okay, but the sucker bite really turned on last week. Best action is on fish suspending near mid-depth cover such as fish cribs and rock bars.”

In the past week, Hayward area registration stations (Shooting Star, Hillman’s Store, Hayward Bait) registered three bear and nine antlerless deer and four bucks for archery season. The stations registered 18 deer for the Youth Deer Hunt – nine antlerless and nine bucks – including one exceptional 10-point and two nice 8-pointers taken by two young huntresses 10 and 13 years of age.

During the Hayward Lakes Chapter Muskies, Inc. fall tournament this past weekend, of the 427 anglers entered, 52 caught 70 fish (some with multiple catches). Ernie Thieding, McFarland, Wisconsin, took big fish honors with a 48-inch muskie from Spider Lake. Ray Baerenwald, Iola, Wisconsin, won the Grand Door Prize drawing, a 2013 Lund 1725 Pro Guide tiller boat, ShoreLand’r trailer, and 60 hp Mercury motor.

The DNR will host a public meeting October 15 at Hayward High School, from 7-9:30 p.m., to discuss the state’s walleye fisheries and get opinions on how the state should allocate the large walleye for stocking made possible by the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative. For more information, search ‘Wisconsin Walleye Initiative’ on the DNR website.

Cabela’s North American Bass Circuit World Championship is October 11-12 at Treeland Resorts on the Chippewa Flowage, hosted by Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau and Lake Chippewa Flowage Resort Association. The top 40 two-person teams from Cabela’s NABC’s 2013 tournament trail will battle for more than $30,000 in cash, Cabela’s gift cards, and more. Each day, teams bring their best five bass to the scale and then release them back into the Flowage. Weigh-ins are free and open to the public. For information, visit

Hayward Chapter-Fishing Has No Boundaries is holding an all you can eat spaghetti dinner fundraiser October 19, starting at 4:30 p.m., at Flat Creek Inn and Suites. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $4 for children (10 and younger). For more information, visit or call (715) 634-3185.




Muskie action is greatly improved. Look for fish shallow and deep, suspending on/along weedlines, cribs, rock bars, breaks, mid-lake humps, and over deeper water. Most baits are working, including Bull Dawgs, bucktails, topwaters, tubes, stickbaits, gliders, jerkbaits, twitch baits, and suckers on quick-strike rigs.


Walleye action is improving, with fish holding in deeper water on weedlines, rock bars, brush, breaks, points, structure, humps, and holes in depths from 15 to more than 35 feet. The most productive baits are walleye suckers, fatheads, crawlers, trolled stick and crank baits, and jig/minnow combinations.


Northern pike action is fair to good. Fish are in/near weeds, weedlines, structure, and baitfish in depths from 5-22 feet. The most productive baits include northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, swim baits, and plastics. For trophy pike, work bigger baits in the deeper depths.

Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth fishing is inconsistent, with fish found in very shallow water to more than 15 feet, near weeds, brush, and baitfish. Top baits include plastics (worms in various riggings, lizards, tubes), topwaters, swim jigs, spinnerbaits, crawlers, and minnows.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth anglers report only fair action, with fish locating on shallow rock bars and weed flats, mid-depth woody cover, breaks, points, and deeper brush and weeds. Baits of choice include jigs/plastics, jerkbaits, swim jigs, spinnerbaits and plastic worms, lizards, and tubes.



Crappie action is fair to good, with fish suspending over deeper water and near mid-depth weeds, cribs, and brush, as well as shallow weedlines. Crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, plastics, tubes, and Gulp! baits, fished on jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers, are all catching fish.


Bluegill fishing is good and you will find them on weedlines in 6-15 feet of water and in depths to 30 feet. Use waxies, leaf worms, crawler pieces, small minnows, and plastics on small jigs, teardrops, and plain hooks, with or without bobbers, and on split-shot rigs.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 5-13: Special deer hunt for people with disabilities.

Oct. 8: Bear season closes.

Oct. 15: Wolf hunting and trapping season opens.

Oct. 15: DNR Walleye Initiative meeting; Hayward High School.

Oct. 19: Seasons open: Pheasant; Ruffed grouse (Zone B); Bobwhite quail; Hungarian partridge; Raccoon gun and trapping (residents); Red and gray fox hunting and trapping; Coyote trapping (hunting continuous); Muskrat; Mink (Northern Zone); Fisher trapping; Bobcat hunting and trapping Period 1.

Oct. 19: Fishing Has No Boundaries spaghetti dinner fundraiser (715-634-3185).

Oct. 28: Hayward Chapter-Whitetails Unlimited banquet (715-634-6013).

 For more information on area events and activities, visit the Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau website, view its Calendar of Events, or call 1-800-724-2992.