Excerpts from the July 11, 2016 Hayward Lakes Area Outdoor Report by Steve Suman
“The hot weather is great for boaters,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, but not so much anglers... Muskies are suspending in deeper water and in weeds. Fish walleyes on weed edges in 8-18 feet and structure in 17-20 feet with leeches, crawlers, fatheads, and walleye suckers. Night and early morning are best… Northern action is good on deep weedlines and structure near baitfish with suckers, jigs/minnows, spinners, and spinnerbaits. Catch largemouth in weeds from 5 feet out on spinners, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, topwaters, plastics, crawlers, and leeches. Fish smallmouth on breaks and rock bars with plastics, tubes, leeches, fatheads, and topwaters… Crappies are suspending on weedlines in 12-18 feet and over deeper water. Use crappie minnows on split shot rigs, Mini Mites, Tattle-Tails, and tubes. Catch bluegills along weed edges with waxies, leaf worms, leeches, crappie minnows, plastics, and poppers.”
Guide Steve Genson at Hayward Bait says fishing is good with the more stable weather… “Musky action is decent on deeper weed edges. Fish topwaters early and then spinners and jerkbaits during the day. Walleye fishing is good, with most action in early morning and evening. Fish weed edges and main lake bars in 10-25 feet with leeches on jigs or under slip bobbers… Pike action is slower with the warmer water. Try fishing deeper with suckers or jigs and swim baits. Bass fishing is good for both largemouth and smallmouth on wacky worms, Power Worms, and topwaters during low light… There is a good deeper water crappie bite with plastics and crappie minnows, especially on the Chippewa Flowage.”
Mike at Jenk’s says musky fishing remains solid, with fish active on a variety of baits… “Anglers report success on SS Shads to Buchertail Slopmaster spinnerbaits and everything in between. Remember to stay out deep and cast in shallow to ensure that you cover the drop-offs… Daylight walleye fishing improved slightly, with anglers using crawlers and leeches catching some more fish during early afternoons in 15-17 feet around deep brush and schools of baitfish. Trolling Flicker Shads, Bad Shads, and Wally Divers is also effective. Try fishing at night around weed beds and humps with crawlers and leeches… Crappie fishing is very good on bogs in the evening with crappie minnows, Mini-Mites, and Gulp! micro-baits. Try different depths to find the schools.”
According to DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt, water levels on area lakes, flowages, rivers, and streams dropped to more normal levels, though most remain a few inches above average… “Musky anglers report good action along weed edges and over less-dense weed beds on bucktails and topwaters. Walleye success is hit or miss, with just a few reports of decent action along weed edges and deeper breaklines… Largemouth are near firm overhead cover such as logs, bog edges, stumps, and thick reed beds, with soft plastics getting the most action. Smallmouth are very close to woody structure, with the best action on the larger flowages for anglers using finesse plastics and spinner baits… Panfish anglers are finding some crappies and larger bluegills suspending near mid-depth cover.”
Musky: Musky action is generally good, with fish on deeper drop-offs, weedlines, and breaklines, as well as suspending in deeper water. The fish are not particularly selective, hitting bucktails, spinners, spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, topwaters, and probably whatever else you might throw at them!
Walleye: Walleye fishing is fair to good, with early morning and evening into after dark best, though some anglers are having success during the day. Concentrate on weed edges, brush, bars, breaklines, humps, and other structure out to 25 feet and deeper, working shallower cover during low light. The most productive baits include leeches and crawlers on slip bobbers, jigs, Lindy Rigs, spinner rigs, and slip shot rigs; fatheads, walleye suckers, and cast and trolled crankbaits.
Northern Pike: Northern action is good, though it slowed a bit with the warmer temperatures. Look for them on weedlines, weed flats, and/or near panfish in somewhat deeper water. Sucker minnows, jigs/minnows, swim baits, spinners, spinnerbaits, spoons, crankbaits, and chatterbaits will all work for pike.
Largemouth Bass: Largemouth action is good on weeds, wood, brush, bogs, logs, stumps, slop, docks, and lily pad beds from shallow out to about 12 feet. Various baits work well, including soft plastics (worms in various configurations, grubs, tubes, creatures, jigs/pigs, frogs), swim jigs, crankbaits, spinners, spinnerbaits, topwaters, crawlers, and leeches.
Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth fishing is good on wood, rock bars, and breaklines. Best baits include plastics (worms in various configurations, grubs, tubes, creatures), swim jigs, jerkbaits, spinnerbaits, topwaters, leeches, and fatheads.
Crappie: Crappie fishing is best in the evening at varied depths around bogs and other cover. During the day, look for fish suspending near cover in 10-20 feet. Crappie minnows, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, Twister Tails, tube jigs, and Gulp! baits will all catch crappies.
Bluegill: Bluegill fishing is fair to good and inconsistent. You will find them in and suspending near weeds and other cover, with smaller fish in shallow water and larger ‘gills out to about 20 feet. Standard bluegill fare works well, including waxies, leaf worms, leeches, small minnows, plastics, Mini-Mites, Tattle-Tails, and poppers.
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.