Hayward, Wisconsin & Chequamegon Bay Fishing Report 9-1-16
With fall fast approaching, a couple of old friends joined me for our annual get together. As usual, our trip didn’t disappoint. Brent Jacobson (Jake) and Kevin Murphy (Murph) grew up with me many moons ago in New Lisbon, WI, and this is a trip I wouldn’t give up for anything. Jake is all about walleyes, and we spent Saturday in the Hayward Lakes area. Conditions were good with overcast skies and a west wind, but the bite was tough. We were able to scratch out a few eyes up to 17″ on jigs & minnows along 5′ – 7′ weed lines, but we worked for every one we caught. We’d catch one or two at each stop, but had to move frequently to keep lines tight. Our goal was a fish fry for the evening, and we boated what was needed by noon. With our fry in hand, we decided to switch to crappies in the afternoon on a different lake. After a quick stop and an awesome pizza at Angler’s Haven, it didn’t take us long to find them suspended in 15′ – 20′ of water. Plastics and small cranks put fish up to 11″ in the boat, and we added a few fillets to what would be a meal for a king. Water temps on both lakes held at 71 degrees, and we pulled off the water at just the right time with rain covering us up on the way home. Love putting my boat away wet! Heck of a day though, and one heck of a fry…
Jake and Murph were back in the boat on Sunday for a few hours on a half day trip, and the big fish woke up. We spent our morning back in the Hayward area and searched rock piles in 20′ – 30′ of water, The boys connected on some crazy good fish landing walleyes up to 25″ and smallies up to 21″ on a combination of minnows and Jigging Raps. Both species are mingling together right now in some of our lakes, and each bite is an adventure! In just a few hours my old friends were able to put some incredible fish in the net that included Murph’s personal best 21″ smallie. Jake put some fantastic fish in the boat as well including a 21″ beast of a smallmouth. Whoppers! As usual in late August we had to move around a bunch, but every spot produced at least a strike. Water temps remained in the low 70’s on a near perfect day for fishing with light winds and overcast skies. It was a fun couple of days, and I can’t wait to do it again. Nice job fellas. You made me proud, but I wasn’t surprised… Good times with good pals. I’m fortunate to have such awesome friends!
One of our favorite Razorback families returned this week. Jim Sandlin (Fayetteville, AR) and his son Craig (Leoti, KS) were back in my boat Monday, and we fished the Hayward area lakes. The weather was goofy and so was the bite. We started out putting a few good walleyes up to 20″ in the net on Jigging Raps, but big winds kicked up with storms rolling around us. We couldn’t stay on top of the spots holding fish and had to move. After relocating out of the wind, we were able to get into some good smallies that included two 21″ pigs landed by Jim. Big fish and great way to wrap up the morning! Our afternoon started hot with the first spot producing several nice bronzebacks up to 19″, but the bite slowed around mid afternoon. We bounced around to a few spots before finishing the day on a positive note with a couple of good fish landed as time ran down. Smallies of all sizes were holding over rocks in 15′ – 25′ of water, and we caught most of our fish on minnows with slip bobbers and jigs. Water temps hit 73 degrees on a warm and humid day. Great to have this crew back in the boat!
Jim’s wife Renee joined us on Tuesday, and we were on a Crappie mission in the Hayward area. Strong storms had moved through overnight, and I was curios to see what kind of fishing conditions we’d be facing with high skies and north winds blowing the weather system out. After some searching with our electronics we located fish over mud flats in 20′ – 25′ of water using jigs and plastics as well as small crankbaits. This is a pattern that’s probably starting to happen on most lakes right now. If you’ve lost your crappie bite, it’s time to start looking deeper… We caught a bunch throughout the day, and sorted through the small ones to put a limit of fish up to 11″ in the livewell. The schools of fish we located seemed to be size specific, and we moved around quite a bit to find crappies worth keeping. By quitting time it was mission accomplished, and the Sandlins will be eating well! Water temps hit 73 by the end of the day. You can definitely feel and see fall approaching with crisp mornings and leaves changing. I’m not ready for summer to be done, but nobody asked me what I thought…!
Wednesday morning was spent on Chequamegon Bay with the Sandlins, and we were after some big lake smallies. We had a brisk north wind to start the day, and the fish were cooperative. Craig, Jim, and Renee put several nice brownies up to 20″ in the net drifting over rocks in 12′ – 15′ of water. Most of the fish we caught had a buddy with it, and the buddy always seemed to be larger than the one on our line. Why is that always the case?! Water temps on the bay were pretty consistent at 69 degrees. I tried throwing crankbaits without any luck, and live bait was definitely the key to connecting on fish. We decided to explore in the afternoon and moved inland to see if there was a top water bite going. NEGATIVE! We landed a few nice fish up to 19″ on plastics, but it was a tough bite to say the least. There were some short strikes, and nothing broke the surface on our topwater presentations. The fish we caught were in 2′ – 5′ of water and relating close to rocks. It was tough conditions with a tough bite, but the Sandlins weren’t deterred and caught some impressive fish. Water temps inland were 71 degrees. Even though the Sandlins are die-hard SEC fans, I asked them to give our Badgers a little support this weekend. We’re gonna need it… Have a great Labor Day Weekend everyone, and Go Bucky!
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Love seeing all the eyes!