Onward to Hayward: Musky Fest celebrates northern Wisconsin’s fishing culture
Something’s especially fishy in Hayward every June during the annual Musky Festival. This nearly 70-year-old tradition celebrates Wisconsin’s Northwoods and its love affair with fishing each year with music, a street fair, pirates, games, and of course, fishing!
This year’s party begins Thursday, June 21, at 10am with sidewalk sales in downtown Hayward and sails through four days of fun to the grand finale: the Annual Musky Festival Grand Parade at 1pm on Sunday, June 24.
The festival draws locals and cabin visitors alike with a carnival for all ages, an arts and crafts show, and live music and dance performances throughout the weekend. A classic car show takes place on Saturday, with prizes for the best overall vehicle, best original, best modified, and people’s choice.
Stand-out munching opportunities include the Lions Beer/Brat Tent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; The Sawyer County Dairy Breakfast 6:30-11am on Saturday; and more. Beach party gates open at 7:30pm Saturday, and music by Pirates, Guitars, and Beachfront Bars starts at 8pm.
But what about the honorees: the muskies? Saturday at noon, the Department of Natural Resources hosts a learn-to-fish event for new anglers (no license required), but for the seasoned fishers, a catch-and-release fishing contest runs from sunrise on Thursday until 3pm Saturday in all Hayward waters. First and second place will be awarded in eight fish categories. For spectators with a camera, the Lions Club also offers a fish photo contest.
If you find your week in the woods wasn’t scheduled just right to attend Musky Fest, there’s still plenty to do in Hayward. This little Wisconsin town is home to the world’s biggest musky, a four-story sculpture with a lookout deck in the jaws of the beast. The fine fish is right outside the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.
The Hayward Musky Fest runs June 21-24. For more information, visit muskyfest.com. For more information about the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, visit freshwater-fishing.org.