Underwater Photography in Round Lake-Hayward, Wisconsin:
I just got back from a few days in the Hayward Lakes area shooting underwater images in Lake Owen, Round Lake and Whitefish Lakes near Hayward, WI. Of all three lakes, the clarity in Round Lake seemed to be the best this time of year, although Lake Owen wasn't bad. In Round Lake, I encountered twelve different species of fish at one dive site. This is remarkable as it's pretty rare to encounter that kind of diverse fish community holding on a single piece of structure.
While I've been to Round Lake in the past, I've never seen such a large and diverse group of fish in one place at one time as I did this week. One element that I believe contributed to this was the increase in the invasive Eurasian Water Milfoil. The site I was at had beautiful, dense, tall, beds of EWM. I know the presence of this weed has been met with a good deal of concern from property owners on the lake, but it's absolutely a "fish magnet". In a lake that otherwise doesn't have a lot of underwater elements to attract fish, these isolated beds of milfoil, if you can find them, will concentrate fish all season. They also make strikingly attractive backdrops for underwater photography. Although it's an invasive, this milfoil might actually improve a lake like Round Lake. The water is deep enough that it will never impede boat or recreational traffic like many lakes in southern Wisconsin that are shallower, and native species of plants generally aren't thriving in this lake anyway. If there was ever a lake that wouldn't be harmed by the presence of this invasive species, it would be Round Lake. One of the key ways it would improve the lake would be by providing much needed cover for juvenile fish and minnows. If left undisturbed, I think fishing in Round Lake for species like largemouth bass, crappie and bluegills will improve dramatically in the future.
For information on local diving in the Hayward Area, contact my friend Al Winsor at Winsor's Pro Diving, 15409 W County B Road. (715) 634-5122
Al is a great guy who knows all the area lakes well. He helped me out quite a bit and was very generous with his time and expertise. He is a valuable resource of diving knowledge.