Hayward, Wisconsin & Chequamegon Bay Fishing Report 5-20-16
We were finally able to run that nasty cold front out of here this week, but it wasn’t easy. North and east winds persisted until late in the week before some warm temps got things back to feeling like spring. Tuesday was spent with my friend Mike Masterson from Iron River, WI. Mike and I missed out on our annual trip last fall, and a last minute change in my schedule was a perfect fit! We fished the Hayward area and found an extremely tough crappie bite. We were able to put a few fish in the boat up to 10″ on plastics in 10′ of water, but they weren’t over eager to cooperate with a bunch of short hits and lazy strikes. North winds and high skies had fish bunched up outside of spawning areas with 53 – 56 degree water temps, and I’m sure it will take a bit of stable weather to get the spawn back on track. We bumped into a few bonus fish as well including an 18″ walleye, and a 30″ pike. Not a bad day though considering the conditions, and I know the Masterson family ate well that night. How were those walleye fillets Lucas!?
My friend Jeff Miller from Bloomer, WI made his annual spring trip up to fish with me on Wednesday and brought along his daughter Mariah. In all of the years I’ve fished with Jeff, this was Mariah’s first time in my boat. Well it was a long time coming, and Mariah made those Chequamegon Bay smallies pay for it! We found a bunch of fat and spunky pre-spawn fish in 4′ – 6′ of water using plastics, and the Millers accounted well for themselves. Mariah is definitely a natural on the water, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last I see of her. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the bay with very little wind and warm temps. Finally!!! Water temps hit 60 in some spots by the end of the day. It was a perfect day and a perfect trip. With fish continuing to push shallower and water temps on the rise, I’d expect to see nesting fish pretty soon. Awesome job out there today Mariah. You taught those fish AND your dad one heck of a lesson!!!
Paule Spaude from Colgate, WI and his son Nick from Franklin, WI jumped in the boat with me on Thursday, and we were back on the bay chasing smallies. The day started with a steady bite, and we caught fish on plastics in 4′ – 5′ of water at a pretty good clip. It wasn’t hot action, but good enough for sure. Something changed around mid morning however as an east wind kicked up, and we saw an obvious change in activity with lots of misses and short hits. From there on out it was a one here, one there kind of day. We bounced around to several different spots, and we’d have action at each one. It just wasn’t consistent. The fish we caught were bruisers though including several in the 20″ range, with water temps from 55 – 58 degrees. Paul and Nick did an outstanding job. By quitting time, we had put decent numbers of fish in the boat despite a tough bite. Job well done Spaude’s. It was a pleasure!
We ended the week on Chequamegon Bay with Steve Rollins and Bob Shannon from Stevens Point, WI. Warm temps and calm conditions in the morning had the smallies in a pretty happy mood. Steady action took us till around noon with some really big fish up to 21″ coming on plasitcs in 3′ – 5′ of water. We could see lots of bait fish popping the surface, and there appears to be no lack of forage in the shallows right now. Again, around mid day and east wind kicked up. You guessed it… Our bite slowed to a crawl, and we started to look at some different spots. Our efforts paid off in the afternoon when we stumbled into a hot school of fish that were gorging on small minnows. We were back in the game, and a variety of plastics and presentations took good numbers of fish. This time of year is all about finding new schools of bass that are coming in ready to feed and preparing to spawn. We did see a few nests in the shallows with fish around them, so I think it’s safe to say we’ll see our first spawning fish over the weekend. Water temps hit 61 degrees in some areas. Steve and Bob were a hoot to have in the boat, and we had lots of laughs on a day you hated to see come to an end. Our warming trend is supposed to continue, and fishing conditions should improve for all species over the next week. Get out there and enjoy it. Have a great weekend!!!
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