The week ahead looks to include mild highs and cooler nights, with a warming trend developing late in the week. As always, the forecast includes rain and thunderstorms chances, but with most showing low percentages.
There are many events scheduled this summer – check the calendar below for a brief list with hot links for more detailed information.
“Muskie action should pick up with the heat and humidity,” said Pat at Happy Hooker. “Fish crankbaits, bucktails, and topwaters on weeds near drop-offs. Walleyes moved to deeper weed beds along exposed sand or rock. Fish jigs with crawlers, leeches, and plastics, and try over cribs and wherever you find mayfly hatches.”
“Smallmouth fishing is good with deep running crankbaits on deeper rock and gravel areas. Panfish are all over the board, with most crappies and bluegills moving to deeper water and some bluegills still on their spawning beds.”
Jim at Hayward Bait says there is a good muskie bite.
“Smaller bucktails, glide baits, and plastics work well on shorelines, weedlines, bays, and humps in 5- to 15-feet. Walleye fishing is good on crawlers, leeches, and stickbaits over weed beds in 10- to 20-feet.”
“Largemouth bass are shallow and aggressively hitting topwaters and plastics. For smallmouth, fish 10- to 15-feet with crawlers and leeches.”
“Crappies are taking minnows, waxies, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits near down timber and weed edges in 8- to 15-feet. Fish bluegills very shallow with waxies, worms, crawlers, and plastics.”
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage muskies are starting to hit baits.
“Muskies are holding in weeds and weed edges, with the hot baits Ghost Tails and Pacemakers. Muskie anglers are also catching some decent pike on the same lures in the same areas.”
“Walleye fishing is good on humps in 12- to 18-feet of water with leeches and crawlers under slip bobbers. In the evening, cast Rapalas near shorelines. Bounce Beetle Spins over weeds for crappies, and use waxies, worms, and jigs with mini plastics for bluegills on spawning beds.”
Carolyn at Anglers All in Ashland says smallmouth fishing is super, even with dirty water from the strong seiche.
“The most productive technique is slowly fishing plastics, although sucker minnows, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits are also working. Walleye action slowed in the shallows, but some catches reported on deeper channel drops. Northern are in the shoreline wood and weeds and if northern are feeding, they will eat anything!”
“Trout and salmon trolling is good off the first breaks with stickbaits on planer boards, lead core, and Dipsey Divers, with many anglers fishing deeper water with spoons off downriggers looking for that magic 50 degrees!”
DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt says muskie action is so-so, with the most consistent action on medium suckers behind the boat.
“Walleye fishing is good and many anglers report success in late evening hours. One productive rig is leeches on floating jig heads fished near weed edges and muck/hard bottom breaklines.”
“Largemouth bass are cruising weed beds, hitting surface baits and soft plastics. Look for smallmouth to move to mid-depth woody cover – try finesse plastics and small crankbaits.”
“Crappies are active along emergent weed lines, taking small minnows a foot below the bobber. Many bluegills are spawning, but most should finish in the next week or so.”
DNR fisheries biologist Max Wolter says bluegills are one of the most harvested fish in the Midwest.
“Numerous studies show it common for anglers to harvest 30 to 40 percent of big bluegills from a lake each year and that can hurt size structure over the long term.”
“A study on Murphy Flowage in Rusk County found that in a three-year span angling reduced by 90 percent the number of bluegills larger than eight inches! Bluegills are capable of growing to 10- to 12-inches, but because of harvest, these fish are now exceptionally rare – we have not seen a 10-inch bluegill in a Hayward area DNR survey for many decades.”
“Perhaps anglers should treat big bluegills more like big female walleye? Releasing some bigger fish and harvesting the more abundant smaller bluegills (6-7 inches) can help maintain fish community balance, prevent a decline in bluegill size, and lead to true trophies 10 inches and larger.”
Hayward Bass Club’s annual Round Lakes Open bass tournament is Sunday July 29 and is limited to the first 40 two-person teams to register. The entry fee is $100 per boat, with a 90-percent payout to the top five places. Hayward Bass Club holds 10 percent to fund its free Youth Bass Tournament in late summer. Anglers interested in fishing the tournament can pick up registration forms at Hayward Bait, Outdoor Creations, and Famous Dave’s, or contact Wayne Balsavich at 715-699-1015 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Come out and experience the excitement of the 4 p.m. weigh-in at the docks of Famous Dave’s Restaurant!
Muskie fishing is fair to good and improving. Target shallow to mid-depth weeds and weedlines adjacent to deeper water, bays, bars, and humps to about 18 feet of water with bucktails, crankbaits, gliders, plastics, and topwaters in varying sizes, and medium suckers.
Walleye fishing is good, with best action in late evening and early morning hours. Fish leeches and crawlers on jigs, live bait rigs, or under slip bobbers on deeper (10- to 20-feet) weed beds, bars, breaklines, rock, sand, cribs, humps, and soft/hard bottom transition areas. Crankbaits, stickbaits, and plastics also work. In the evening, cast or troll crank, stick, and minnow baits along shallow weeds, bars, and shorelines.
Northern pike action is fair to good around weeds, with muskie anglers catching them in the same locations as muskies. Northern suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and plastics are all good pike baits. Fish deeper water with bigger baits for trophy pike.
Largemouth are plentiful, shallow, and currently ready and willing to do battle. Fish shallow water areas near weeds and brush with plastics/rigged worms, topwaters, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, crawlers, minnows, and leeches.
Smallmouth action is good to very good on gravel/rock and wood in depths to 20 feet, with bigger bass in deeper water. The most productive baits include plastics, tubes, deep running crankbaits, crawlers, and leeches. Catch-and-release fishing is the recommendation for smallmouth – and artificials are easier on the fish.
Crappie action is still very good, with fish moving toward/to deeper water weeds and brush. Start shallow and move out to 18 feet or so until you find them. Top presentations include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits fished on small jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers, as well as Beetle Spins.
Bluegill fishing remains very good to excellent. Look for the ‘gills in very shallow water and/or near weedlines, brush, bogs, and fallen trees. Best baits include waxies, worms, crawlers, small minnows, panfish leeches, and plastics fished on small jigs or plain hooks, with or without bobbers.
June 29: Hayward Bass Club Round Lakes Open (715-699-1015).
July 5: Flambeau River State Forest Family Fun Day (715-332-5271).
July 12: Flambeau River State Forest annual wolf howl-trek presentation (715-332-5271).
July 15-20: LCO Honor the Earth Pow Wow (715) 634-8934).
July 18-20: Birchwood Bluegill Festival (800-236-2252).
July 24-26: 55th Annual Lumberjack World Championships (715-634-2484).
Through July 31: Illegal to allow dogs to run on DNR lands and Federal WPA (see regs for exceptions).
Aug. 2: Flambeau River State Forest Outdoor Camp Cooking (715-332-5271).
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.