Excerpts from the October 17, 2016 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report by Steve Suman:
“The water temperatures are still very warm for this time of year,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “moving fish deeper into green weeds... Muskies are spread out, from deep water to weeds, and still hitting all bait types, including suckers. Some anglers are switching to smaller artificials duplicating suckers, and plastics are working well for deeper fish... Walleyes are taking jigs and minnows in or near holes in various depths and on deeper humps. On deep, clear lakes, start in 12-15 feet and work deeper until you find the fish. In fall, fish seem to school off deeper breaklines... Northern in deeper weeds are hitting large spinners. Many walleye and musky anglers are catching pike by accident... Bass fishing is slowing, but largemouth in the deeper green weeds are still hitting plastics and spinnerbaits. Smallmouth are primarily in deeper water, though sometimes in weeds and weed edges feeding on minnows... Panfish fishing is good for crappies and perch. Crappies remain scattered about, with some in shallow weeds and some in deeper water near and around cribs. Perch are in weeds, hitting worms and small minnows.”
Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fall colors are changing and fishing is going very well... “The musky bite is getting better and better with the cooling temperatures, with large bucktails, jerkbaits, surface baits, and suckers getting the most action... Walleye fishing is picking up, too, with most action on the base of breaklines and bars in 10-25 feet. Large minnows on jigs and rigs are your best bet, with some catches on Lindy Rigs with bottom bouncers... Bass action remains solid, with most fish coming from slightly deeper water. Jigs, jerkbaits, and larger sucker minnows work well, with an occasional surface bite on Pop-Rs... Crappie fishing is good in 15-30 feet on small jigs with minnows or soft plastics.”
Mike at Jenk’s says Chippewa Flowage musky fishing is decent... “Most action is on jerkbaits, twitch baits, and suckers. With the warm water, baby your suckers a bit more than usual for this time of year, using proper aeration and keeping them at a cooler temperature... Walleyes are a bit more aggressive, but not yet in their fall feeding frenzy. Some anglers are using crawlers, but most are switching to larger minnows and fishing drop-offs near stump areas around twilight... While there are few bass reports from the Flowage, Round Lake smallmouth fishing is very good on the cribs for anglers using 4- to 5-inch suckers... Crappies are schooling in Moore’s Bay and Blueberry Flats, but not all that active, perhaps due to the nice weather. The baits of choice are crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and one-inch Gulp! Minnows.”
Musky: Musky fishing is good and improving with the cooler fall temperatures. The fish are scattered on most lakes, from shallow weeds and flats to deeper structure, and a wide range of baits continue to produce action. Choices include large bucktails, jerkbaits, Bull Dawgs, plastics, stickbaits, twitch baits, topwaters, and of course suckers on quick-strike rigs. On these warmer than usual fall days, give suckers extra care to keep them healthy.
Walleye: Walleye fishing is inconsistent, but improving, with best action occurring just before and after dark. Concentrate on weeds and weed edges, breaklines, bars, drop-offs, and stumps in 8-25 feet, targeting shallower water in low light hours. It is primarily a large minnow bite, with best presentations on jigs, slip bobbers, and Lindy Rigs. However, anglers are catching fish on crawlers, as well as crankbaits cast along shorelines in evening hours.
Northern Pike: Northern fishing is good in weed cover at various depths. Try spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, and northern suckers under bobbers. For trophy pike, fish bigger baits in deeper water.
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth are mostly moving deeper and action is slowing, though warm, sunny days can offer good fishing. Look for green weeds and try jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, spinnerbaits, surface baits, and sucker minnows.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth action is fair to very good. Fish are in deeper water near cribs, weeds, and other cover, with the most productive baits sucker minnows, jigs, jerkbaits, plastics, and on occasion, topwaters.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is good and improving, with the best baits jigs and crappie minnows, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and Gulp! baits. Fish are scattered in various depths, from shallow to 30 feet, around weeds, cribs, and other cover.
Bluegill: Look for bluegills around weeds, brush, cribs, and other shallow to mid-depths cover. Waxies, worms, teardrops, and plastics all work. Try small minnows for larger ‘gills in deeper water.
Perch: Perch fishing is fair to good around green weeds and mid-depth cover, with some action in deeper water. Waxies, worms, plastics, and small minnows can all tempt perch.
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