Excerpts from the May 15, 2017 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report by Steve Suman:
Cool, rainy weather to start this week might have set the tone for the remainder of it, judging from the current forecast (which can be wrong!) Make plans day by day and go prepared for showers and strong thunderstorms.
“Despite cooler evening temperatures,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “the water temperature remains fairly warm, around 47-52 degrees... Walleye are in 10-15 feet off drop-offs and humps, with jigs and fathead minnows working best. Fish will move shallower as the water warms and weeds grow... Northern pike action is fair, though anglers report pike mixed in with walleyes hitting jigs and minnows... Largemouth bass season is open and anglers may keep any size. Smallmouth fishing is catch and release until June... Crappies are coming to the shorelines to spawn, with some anglers catching fish in 2-5 feet. Smaller fish are shallow and large females are deeper. If you can locate the schools, you can get some good fishing... It is too early for good bluegill fishing, but they will move shallow as the weather warms.”
Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing is picking up with water temperatures in the mid 50s to low 60s at some locations... "The walleye bite is decent and a variety of tactics work now. Larger fish are hanging shallow, in less than 10 feet, and jigs and minnows and jigs tipped with swimbaits work well. Cast crankbait early and late in the day. Any new weed growth should hold fish... Similar areas should hold northern pike, and action is good on spinnerbaits, spoons, and swimbaits... Largemouth bass are pushing shallow. Look in the shallows for cover and the warmest water and try Senko worms, swimbaits, and crankbaits. Smallmouth fishing is hit or miss, but fish are moving shallow. Work jerkbaits and swimbaits in less than 10 feet... Crappies are moving in and out, but expect a more consistent shallow bite this week. Jigs with small plastics are hard to beat. Bluegills are moving shallow as well. Try small jigs tipped with waxies or leaf worms.”
Wally at Outdoor Creations says reports are good for most species... “Walleyes are hitting jigs with leeches and fatheads in 12-18 feet and on drop-off edges. Crappie action is good on crappie minnows in 3-5 feet on some waters. Bluegill and perch are hitting leaf worms.”
Jim at Minnow Jim’s says sunny days are warming shallower water, providing Nelson Lake anglers good fishing for walleye, northern pike, bass, and panfish... “Jigs with fatheads or sucker minnows work well for walleyes. Although not all are keeper size, the near future looks promising with the number of 14- to 16-inch fish anglers are catching... Northern pike action is a little slow, with some hitting sucker minnows, spinnerbaits, and crankbaits... For crappie and bluegill, jig or bobber fish minnows, waxies, worms, and Gulp! baits, or cast small spinners.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage walleye fishing is decent, though many 14-inchers... “Minnows and leeches are the live baits of choice, with some success on crankbaits. When fishing crankbaits early in the season, retrieve only fast enough to get a light wobble. During the day, look for deep, weedy holes in river channel. As evening approaches, target shallower areas with cover along the river channel... Northern pike action is slow, though anglers fishing crankbaits for walleyes catch an occasional pike... Chokecherry trees are blooming and that means the crappies are close to moving shallow to spawn. Anglers report catching small males in shallow weeds and females in deeper water outside the bays. Both spots are producing fish on crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and Kalin’s Crappie Scrubs.”
This Friday and Saturday, May 19-20, Hayward Chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries will host its 30th annual fishing event for people with disabilities at Lake Chippewa Campground on the Chippewa Flowage. The event hosts 150 participants fishing from boats and pontoons and always welcomes additional volunteers. For more information, visit www.haywardfhnb.org, or call (715) 634-3185; (800) 243-3462.
Walleye: Walleye action is fair to very good, with most anglers catching fish. Concentrate on depths to 15 feet, new green weeds, drops, humps, and holes in river channels. Try shallower water in the evening hours. The most productive baits include jigs tipped with fatheads, walleye suckers, swimbaits, and leeches, and crankbaits early and late in the day.
Northern Pike: Northern pike fishing is fair to good, with most action around shallow weeds and panfish concentrations. Best baits are northern sucker, jigs/minnows, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, swimbaits, and crankbaits.
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth fishing is slow, but the bass are starting to move toward shallow, warming water with some type of cover. Use swimbaits, crankbaits, Senko worms, and other plastics.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth bass fishing is catch and release only in the northern bass zone until June 17. Fish are moving shallow – to less than 10 feet – and jerkbaits, swimbaits, and tubes are all effective offerings.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is very good as the fish move shallow to spawn. Anglers are catching fish from extremely shallow to 10 feet and deeper, in bays and around weeds. Use jigs and/or bobbers with crappie minnows, waxies, worms, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tales, Gulp! baits, or try small spinners.
Bluegill: Bluegills are starting to move shallow for spawning. Traditional panfish baits, such as waxies, worms, leaf worms, and Gulp! baits on plain hooks, small jigs, and teardrops, with or without floats, will all produce action.
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.