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Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report

June 15, 2020

Steve Suman


The current forecast shows nice weather through Wednesday, but then predicts highs in the upper 80s and chances of rain and thunderstorms through the weekend. Forecasts seem quite fluid, so go ahead and make your plans, but keep an eye on weather conditions! It is a great time for recreation of all types in the North Woods!


“Fishing on the Quiet Lakes continues to be busy,” says Pat at Happy Hooker. “The best part is that many anglers are finding success!

“Fishing patterns continue to change often as the temperatures continue to rise and fall. Water temperatures range from the 60s to low 70s, with warmer water spurring new weed growth and bug hatches. Fishing new vegetation is often very good. Bug larvae in soft substrate sticks to fresh weeds as they rise and small baitfish love to eat them.

“Musky action remains slow, with anglers seeing follows, but getting few hookups. Anglers are throwing smaller bucktails, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, and stickbaits. Be patient – you never know when it will happen!

“Anglers report good action for walleye, northern pike, and bass when fishing in and around new vegetation. Other good walleye areas are mid-lake humps and underwater rice beds as walleyes transition to mid-lake areas. The best bet is fishing leeches and minnows under slip bobbers. Some anglers report success by working shallow, mid lake humps with worms and minnows on jigs.

“Panfish spawning is still visible in the shallows on some lakes. These fish are vulnerable, however, and taking fish off beds before they complete the full spawning cycle does not help future fish populations.”


Trent at Hayward Bait says the bite is good for most species and anglers are doing well.

“Muskies are not too aggressive, but anglers report some success. Medussas and Bull Dawgs are working, as are glide and twitch baits. Topwater action will improve with warming water temperatures. Fish are in lily pads as well as in 10-15 feet.

“For walleyes, use leeches, fatheads, and worms in 15 feet during the day. In early morning and late afternoon into dark, work shallow crankbaits in 5 feet.

“Northern pike are very aggressive. Small pike are shallow most of the day, while bigger pike cruise weedlines in 10 feet. Rapalas, Mepps, and spoons all work well.

“Largemouth bass are hugging shorelines and most active in mornings. Wacky worms, Ned rigs, and other finesse options work well. Topwaters work in mid-day heat and during evening hours when bugs are on the surface.

“Smallmouth bass anglers report success with wacky worms, creature baits, and swimbaits on weed edges and sand/gravel flats in 10-15 feet.

“Crappies finished spawning and most have moved deeper. Anglers are doing well working jigs, minnows, worms, and very small swimbaits over vegetation in 10 feet.

“Bluegill anglers are catching fish in 4-5 feet on Bimbo Skunks, worms, leeches, and poppers. Most bluegills have spawned, but a few still guard shallow beds.”


Jim and Cathy at Minnow Jim’s says Nelson Lake walleye anglers should work leeches and minnows on jigs along shorelines early and late in the day, or troll shallow and deep diving crankbaits.

“Cast spinners, spoons, Mepps, and buzz bait in the weed beds for largemouth bass and northern pike.

“Crappies are in 5 feet and deeper water. Jig and bobber-fish minnows, worms, waxies, and Gulp! Alive.

“Panfish anglers continue to see some bluegills on spawning beds.

“Brown trout anglers fishing the Namekagon River report success with small spoons and black Rooster Tail spinners.”


Mike at Jenk’s says the Chippewa Flowage is at full pool and the water temperature is in the low to mid 70s.

“Muskies are semi-active. Anglers are catching mostly smaller fish, with bucktails and surface baits the way to go. If water temperatures rise to the mid 70s, try trolling deeper water with Mattlocks and other trolling baits.

“Walleye fishing is constant. During the day, walleyes sit in 15-20 feet with good bottom cover. During low light hours, they move to weed edges in 6-12 feet. Around 8 p.m., they move to bogs, particularly by the CC Bridge. Leeches are the live bait of choice during low light. During the day, trolling is effective in deeper water.

“Northern pike are very active in weeds, particularly on the west side. They are hitting various baits, from live bait to spinnerbaits to bucktails.

“Smallmouth bass are active in the wood and rock on the east side. Ned rigs are the go-to baits and Cranberry Lake and Cedar Swamp are solid spots to fish for smallmouth.

“Crappie fishing during the day is tough, but they seem to congregate around bogs about 8 p.m. at night. Get to the bogs 15-30 minutes early to get your spot – the bogs are very popular! Crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, Crappie Scrubs, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows are solid choices.”


The DNR will host a public “virtual meeting” conference call on the Lake Superior management plan Tuesday, June 23, starting at 6 p.m. The meeting will discuss the results of creel surveys and bycatch monitoring during commercial fishing. Access the meeting via Skype or by calling (866) 715-6499 and entering pass code: 8395854504#. For more information, visit or call Bradley Ray at (715) 779-4036.


The DNR has released preliminary harvest registrations for the 2020 spring turkey season. The figures indicate hunters registered 44,963 birds during the season, a nearly 17 percent increase from the 2019 season, with significant increases across all zones and periods. The 2020 spring harvest was the highest harvest since 2016 and the second highest since 2010. Overall, the statewide success rate was 20 percent. Youth season hunters registered 2,880 birds – a 47-percent increase from 2019! For more information, search “turkey” on the DNR website.


There is still time to enter Hayward Bass Club’s annual Round Lake Open tournament Sunday, June 28, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Prop’s Landing on Big Round Lake will serve as tournament headquarters. Participation is open to anglers in two-person teams, but an individual may compete alone as a team. The entry fee is $100/team. The club guarantees a 90-percent payback, retaining 10 percent to help fund the August 16 free Youth Tournament on the Chippewa Flowage. The club bases cash prize money on a full field of 50 boats. First prize is $2,000. For more information, text Wayne Balsavich at (405) 227-1789 or email



Might be a good idea to fish early in the week, if possible, as the forecast for Wednesday night through the weekend calls for good chances for showers and thunderstorms. There are still opportunities to catch fish in the shallows, but some species are dispersing and starting to move to deeper water. Go fishing now!



Musky fishing is somewhat slow. Anglers are seeing fish and getting some follows, but most fish are not taking the baits. Look for fish in shallow to mid-depths, often near any remaining spawning panfish. Small to mid-size baits seem to work best at this time. Baits of choice include bucktails, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, stickbaits, gliders, Bull Dawgs, Medussas, and topwaters, with trolling effective during warmer water conditions.



Walleye action has slowed somewhat, but anglers are still consistently catching fish. Target mid-lake humps, bogs, shorelines, and weeds and weed edges in depths to about 22 feet. The best bite is during low light conditions such as early morning and evening. Work shallower areas during these times, moving to deeper cover during the day. The most effective baits include leeches, crawlers, and fatheads on jigs or under slip bobbers, and cast and trolled crankbaits.


Northern Pike:

Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent! Look for them around weeds, weedlines, and other vegetation, and near concentrations of panfish and baitfish. Smaller pike can offer nearly non-stop action in shallower water, while trophy pike are in deeper weeds. Spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, stickbaits, buzz baits, bucktails, #5 Mepps, and live bait are all catching pike.


Largemouth Bass:

Largemouth bass fishing is good to very good and improving with warming water temperatures. Concentrate your efforts around shallower new weed growth, humps, brush, bogs, and shorelines. Top baits include Ned rigs, spinners, spinnerbaits, buzz baits, live bait on jigs or under slip bobbers, and topwaters.


Smallmouth Bass:

Smallmouth bass action is good to very good. Look for fish around new weeds and weed edges, wood, humps, and rock, gravel, and sand flats in depths to about 18 feet. Fish are taking Ned rigs, jigs with worms, minnows, and leeches, and plastics such as wacky worms, swimbaits, and creature baits.



Crappie fishing is fair to good, with fish completing spawn and moving toward somewhat deeper water. The best bite is during the evening hours, particularly around bogs, and around weeds and weedlines. Best bait offerings include crappie minnows, worms, waxies, and Gulp! Minnows on jigs, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Crappie Scrubs.



Bluegill fishing is good to very good and anglers continue to find a few fish spawning in the shallows on some lakes. Look for them on beds in depths from very shallow out to about 6 feet. Productive baits include waxies, worms, leeches, minnows, dressed jigs, poppers, and Gulp! baits.


Upcoming Events

June 20Smallmouth bass fishing changes to regular season in the Northern Bass Zone (see regs for exceptions).

June 20Summer solstice – the longest day (daylight) and shortest night of the year (days start getting shorter!)

June 23DNR “virtual meeting” on Lake Superior management plan; 6 p.m. (715-779-4036).

June 28Hayward Bass Club’s Round Lake Open tournament 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (715-699-1015; 634-2921).

July 15Turtle season opens statewide (see regs for restrictions).

Through July 31Illegal to allow unleashed dogs to run on DNR lands and FWPAs (see regs).

Aug. 1Application deadline for bobcat, fisher, otter, and Upriver Winnebago system sturgeon spearing.

Aug. 7-8Jack Pine Savage Days in Spooner - TBD (715-635-2168).


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


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