The Hayward Hydro is located on the scenic Namekagon River and operates as a run-of-the-river plant. This single generator plant is the smallest hydro plant operated by Xcel Energy. Built in 1910, the Hayward dam was the site of a sawmill and an important part of the logging industry on the Namekagon. In addition to using the water’s energy to operate saws and other equipment, the mill provided electricity to its neighboring village. Fishing abounds both below the dam and on Hayward Lake which is above the hydro plant. The town of Hayward hails as the muskie capital of Wisconsin and as a tribute there is a 4½ story muskie replica built along the banks of the Namekagon just above the dam.
Hayward Hydro has nine spillway bays, each 12 feet wide and four feet high, a fact not usual in itself. But these spillways aren't automatic, or even mechanical. A logging pick is used to manually lift the wooden boards that hold back the flow.
Fishing abounds both below the dam and on Lake Hayward, above the hydro facility. Fishing for pike, bass and panfish is good, but the Hayward area is particularly known for its excellent muskie fishing. In fact, Hayward hails as the "Muskie Capital" of Wisconsin. As a tribute to this fish, a 4 1/2 story muskie replica, complete with museum and observation deck and billed as the area's only high-rise, was built along the banks of the Namekagon River just above the dam.
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