Hayward, Wisconsin & Chequamegon Bay Fishing Report 7-1-17
Rain, wind, sun, repeat. That's been the story with our weather lately… The Jatzow men from Iron River, WI were back in my boat for their annual trip on Monday. John along with his sons Andy and Greg joined me in Hayward to target walleyes, and we had conditions that felt more like October. High skies, 45 degree air temps, and northwest winds aren't exactly what you expect at the end of June. Steam was rolling off the water when we got the landing, and I immediately noticed that water temperatures had dropped to 63 degrees. That's one heck of a swing in just a few days! Much to my surprise however, the bite was decent. We put together a good morning catching walleyes up to 18" on jigs and minnows along weed edges in 6' – 7' of water. Most fish were just off the edge, and not in the weeds. After lunch we decided to switch lakes. More rain and wind moved in giving us some interesting conditions, but the Jatzows put together a nice flurry of fish up to 17" at the end of the day on minnows and leeches. Again, most of those fish came off the weed edge in 7' – 8' of water. Something about this weather change pushed those fish to the edges. I won't argue as long as they bite… It was great to have these guys back in the boat, and we always have a good time. Just can't figure out why the guy in the middle of the boat can't get any bites…? What do you think Andy? Thanks fellas!!!
I'm not really sure what "normal" weather is anymore, but I think it returned to the Hayward area on Tuesday. Jackson Sedivy from Chippewa Falls, WI received a trip with us as a 16th birthday present, and he brought along his father Jordan to chase smallmouth bass. Overnight temperatures continued to be cool, and we started the day with water temps in the low 60's again. I wasn't surprised that we started slow with a few short hits and nips in the first hour. After that, we began to dial it in… Heavy jigs and plastics banging through rocks in 4' – 10' of water began to produce, and we ended up putting a more than respectable morning together. I even had a couple of good takes on top waters just before lunch. I contemplated switching lakes in the afternoon but though better of it. Never leave em to find em. Turned out to be a good choice. We had high skies, west winds, warm temperatures, and the bite got better as the day went on. Jackson and his dad had one heck of an afternoon and put a bunch of fish in the net including a gigantic old 21.5" brute landed by dad along with a super father & son double that included a little drama. Glad we didn't loose that rod boys! Wind blown rocks produced the best action, and the Sedivys absolutely wore them out. Slow start but an awesome finish. Happy birthday Jackson. Fantastic day!
Things that look good on paper don't always turn out, but sometimes they do. David and Nick Russo from Wheaton, IL were back in my boat fishing out of Angler's Haven on Wednesday, and the rain was back. In this scenario, I wasn't exactly disappointed however. The Russos are "musky or bust" and the forecast looked like perfect conditions to have a big day with several fronts moving through. You wouldn't have known it in the morning however. We chopped water all morning without moving a single fish, and it was beginning to feel like "one of those days"… Not a sniff. Heavy rain moved in, and we pushed through it until mid afternoon when things got interesting. The rain slowed, and I had a giant fish chase up my bucktail as we worked shallow weed edges in 5' – 10' of water. It took a swipe at boat side and missed, but there was hope. Not long after, David had a fish chase his bucktail in. He executed a perfect figure 8 and hooked up after a violent and spectacular strike with lots of air time. David played the fish perfectly, and we were able to get it in the net. It was a thick 43" fish, and we probably would have been more than satisfied had it been the only one of the day. Nick had other ideas though… We moved to another weed flat, and Nick had a fish follow his bucktail to boat side. He hung with it and not long later was hooked up. Funny thing was that he told me it looked like a "35 plus" inch fish. Well, it turned out to be a 44" tank. Nick battled it perfectly, and put it in the net. The Russos had a couple of tough days with me last year, and I believe they just got even. Absolutely awesome!!! Water temps held in the high 60's throughout the day, and we returned to the landing soggy, but happy. That was one we won't forget. Cheeseburgers next time Nick, and I'll take those 35 inchers any time!
This nasty weather system has definitely worn out its welcome. More clouds, cool temperatures, NW winds, and rain were all in the forecast for Thursday. I'm starting to get a bit soggy! Thankfully the rain was light, and I had a couple of great guys in the boat. Desi Sipsas and his son Shane from Iron River, WI were back in my boat, and we spent our day exploring the Hayward area. Our morning objective was to catch a few walleyes for a fish dinner. It took some work, but we got it done. Jigs with minnows and slip bobbers with leeches produced the fish we needed in 5' – 7' weedbeds. There were a few pike mixed in as well, but we really had to keep moving to stay on fish. The bite was tough, and each one in the net was earned. We looked at some deeper spots as well, but the fish we marked wouldn't cooperate. Stick with what's working! Water temps were in the mid 60's with gusty winds and mist. After a perfect lunch at Angler's Haven we switched lakes for a change of scenery. The afternoon walleye bite wasn't happening, but we did manage to land some fat largemouth up to 18" in 15' weeds on slip bobbers and minnows. We hadn't stumbled into any good largemouth yet this year, and it was a fun way to wrap up an enjoyable day with a couple of good friends. Nice work gentlemen. Can't wait until we do it again!
Long time friend and fishing partner Greg Miller from The Hunt with Greg and Jake was back with me on Friday, and we wrapped up June in grand fashion. Words won't do this any justice, but I'll do my best. We spent our day in the Hayward area and had overcast conditions with light NW winds and water temps in the mid 60's. Even though this has been typical lately, you could feel warm air starting to move in. The fish responded accordingly, and we got into a hot mixed bag walleye / smallmouth bite over deep rocks in 25' of water using slip bobbers with leeches and Jigging Raps. Historically this is a time of transition for both species, and they seem to be right on cue. Greg and I put a hurting on them catching eyes up to 20" and smallmouth up to 18". Every spot we stopped at with the right combination of structure and depth had fish on it, and we'd catch a bunch until the bite slowed and move on. Absolutely fantastic! After lunch with our friends Jordan and Kelsey Gensmer at Angler's Haven Greg and I decided to finish our day off looking for crappies. I haven't been on a good crappie bite since May, but it didn't take us long to dial in on exactly what we were looking for. As Greg would say, "It was criminal". We anchored up on a huge school of fish in 10' of water that were laying just above the weeds, and it was a "fish on every cast" kind of afternoon. We caught and released huge numbers of fish up to 12" with some added excitement as well. What I assumed was a pike had grabbed one of my crappies as I was reeling it in. Well, it turned out to be a monster walleye that let go at boat side. I'd love to have slipped a net under that fish and can only speculate on how big it was. It was LARGE! Greg also landed a dinner plate sized bluegill that measured out at 10" but was darn near as thick as it was long. We even got a glimpse of the sun on a few occasions. So that's what that thing looks like? I was beginning to forget… It was a truly amazing day with a good friend. We taught 'em a lesson Miller!
If the weather stabilized over the next few days, we're hoping to have some Chequamegon Bay and St. Louis River news for you. Until then, Have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend everyone. Sunshine is on the way!!!
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