Excerpts from the November 7, 2016 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report by Steve Suman:
“The unusually warm fall weather brought a late drop in water temperatures,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “and most lakes in the area range from 47-51 degrees. Fall fishing reflects this warmth, turnover is in mid form, and the usual fall walleye and musky patterns are slow in arriving... Musky fishing is improving as the water temperatures drop, with the best fishing on suckers and sucker imitations on weed edges. Jerkbaits such as Eddie Baits and Suicks are also working now... Walleye fishing is fair, but not as good as usual in early November. The usual fall patterns should get going as the temperatures drop. The fish are deep, hitting jig and minnows combinations, but so far this fall, the fish are not showing a lot of size. The bite is only fair on the big, deep lakes. Work jigs tipped with large minnows on the drop-offs... Most anglers are concentrating on musky and walleye and very few anglers are fishing for northern pike or bass. However, you can still catch these fish in the weeds, especially if you can find some green weeds... Panfish action is almost non-existent, as most panfish anglers have put away their boats. However, those still fishing are finding crappies mixed in with the walleyes and perch in the weeds.. .”
Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says that with the warmer than normal weather, water temperatures range from the high 40s to low 50s... “The musky bite is quite good, with most fish coming on large suckers on quick-set rigs fished in 10-30 feet. There is some action for anglers casting large crankbaits, gliding jerkbaits, and big rubber baits such as Bull Dawgs. Other options include vertical jigging blade baits such as Fuzzy Duzzits or jigs with smaller suckers... Walleye anglers also report decent action, with most fish biting on walleye suckers and fatheads on jigs or rigs. Focus on deep points and cribs in 15-35 feet... Crappies are starting to school in deeper water, 15-35 feet. On most lakes, fish are biting on small minnows and plastics either vertically jigged or fished under slip bobbers."
Hunting has pretty much replaced fishing as the main recreation in the last few weeks, says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt... “The beginning of deer rut has bowhunters spending more time in their deer stands, and grouse hunters are still finding birds in fairly good numbers. Water temperatures are slowly dropping and most lakes are in the upper 40s... Muskies continue as the main species of interest and are providing some very good action. Most musky anglers are dragging live suckers and seeing quite a few fish in a variety of habitats, including the shallow weed edges, mid-depth flats, and some fish suspending over deeper water. The few anglers still throwing artificials with some success report fish are more active on sunny, warmer days after the water warms a bit... Walleye anglers who are still trying their luck report very inconsistent success, with good action for small and medium walleyes on some days and virtually no action on other days. Live minnows work best, fished on jigs, bare hooks dragged along the bottom, or below slip bobbers. On sunny days, look for the bite in late afternoon and right at dark, but cloudy days often produce some catches all day... Panfish action is fair, with anglers catching a few nice crappie and perch along mid-depth breaks and near cover.”
Musky: Musky action is good to very good and getting better with the cooling water temperatures. Fish are scattered from shallow weeds to mid-depth flats to suspending over deep water, and suckers on quick-strike rigs are producing the majority of fish. Anglers fishing artificials report action is better late on warm, sunny days, with best success on large crankbaits, Bull Dawgs/rubber baits, gliders, and jerkbaits.
Walleye: Walleye action is fair to good, though erratic, and not quite up to expectations for early November. Best success is late in the day into dark, though daytime fishing can be productive on overcast days. Look for fish on points, bars, cribs, and drop-offs in 12-30 feet and deeper. Walleye suckers and fatheads, fished on plain hooks, jigs, and under slip bobbers, are the most productive offerings.
Northern Pike: Northern pike continue to feed in and around weeds at various depths. Northern suckers, walleye suckers, spinners, spinnerbaits, stickbaits, and spoons are all good choices. As always, try bigger baits in deeper water for trophy pike.
Bass: Bass activity, as well as angler interest, has waned with the dropping air and water temperatures. However, the fish are still there and catchable for late season anglers. Look for largemouth in the weeds – preferably green weeds – and smallmouth in weeds and on hard bottom areas. Live bait works best for both at this time.
Crappie: Crappie action is fair to good and getting better as fish start to school in deeper water. Look for them suspending on/near cover, along mid-depth breaklines, weedlines, brush, and in some of the same areas that hold walleye. Check the entire water column! Baits of choice include crappie minnows, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits under slip bobbers.
Bluegill: Look for bluegills in 5-18 feet along breaklines, weedlines, rock, brush, and near other cover. Top baits include waxies, leaf worms, plastics, and Gulp! baits on plain hooks, small jigs, and teardrops.
Perch: Perch are in a variety of depths in the weeds, on weed edges, and in some of the same areas you will find walleyes. Jigs with fatheads and crawlers should produce some action.