Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – December 28th, 2012
There was ice all of the way across Chequamegon Bay as of Dec. 18, which also was the first day of anyone fishing in the shallows near shore in certain places. Be very careful. There was 3 to 4 inches of ice in the near-shore shallow areas.
Inland lakes are ice-covered. Anglers were fishing the smaller lakes in the Delta/Drummond area, and the bays on Lake Namekagon. There had been snow on top of the ice, but that was mostly gone because of rain. Ice started forming or building again last week. Use spud bars to check while heading out. Better ice is coming fast, as long as the area doesn’t get a lot of snow on top of the ice that exists.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
Anglers are getting out, but they were still restricting themselves to near-shore spots because ice depths varied, with only a few of the smaller lakes or bays on larger lakes having 4 to 5 inches of ice. Rain and warm weather Dec. 15-17 melted snow that had been covering the ice, so cold overnight lows through this past weekend should go a long way toward making better ice. Call ahead for ice reports. The fishermen who were getting out were finding decent action on walleyes, pike, and panfish.
Northern Highland Sports Shop, (715) 385-2134.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
Anglers are still getting out, and ice conditions are improving, but ice thickness still varies. There was about 3 inches of ice on Glenlock Lake, but Rock Lake had 10 inches and Marshmiller had 15. Lake Wissota was still building ice, but it will make ice quickly if it stays cold.
Big Mama’s Bait Shop, (715) 231-0839, Menomonie.
Mouldy’s Archery & Tackle, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-3607.
Bill’s Sport Shop, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033.
The area had some ice, but that disappeared and no ice had built as of Dec. 18. Anglers were trying to fish the river, but water levels were low and they weren’t having much luck.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Winter just doesn’t want to get here, or stay when it does show up. The area had very good, but brief, days of ice fishing at mid-month, but that gave way to some rain and above-freezing temps. Now the forecast looks good, with cold weather ahead. The area lost a little ice, but cold overnight lows Dec. 15 and Dec. 17 firmed up things. Wear creepers – no snow cover means extremely slippery conditions Walleye action has been excellent. Lots of larger fish (25 to 29 inches) are being caught on tip-ups (complaint from Big Arb – not enough smaller fish, below 14 inches). Most of the action has been toward dusk, but cloudy weather seemed to produce fish throughout the day. Shiners, suckers, and chubs are all working. There were even some takers on jig/grubs meant for panfish. Northern pike action is excellent. Big shiners, suckers, and chubs are scoring lots of action and lots of eaters (22 to 26 inches), picklers (18 to 22 inches), and some bigger pike up to 34 inches. Fish in 6 to 8 feet of water near green weeds. Guys are catching limits of bluegills from bays with standing green weeds in 4 to 8 feet of water. Use teardrop jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, or Gulp Alive. Bright colors are working the best because the fish not finicky. Yet. Crappie action is excellent, with some very nice catches of 10- to 14-inch crappies coming in. Lots of anglers are taking advantage of warm weather to use tip-downs with minnows in 8 to 12 feet and in the weeds. Perch action is very good. There are lots of shallow-water perch. It takes some sorting, but nice 9- to 10-inchers are coming on tip-downs and tip-ups rigged with smaller minnows. With most lakes having ice of 3 to 5 inches on bays, fishing is definitely being done. Some large lakes (Trout, Fence, Tomahawk) still had some open water. No one is recommending vehicle travel. Walk out and use spud bars.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.
Captain Hooks, (715) 277-2405.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Ice conditions were still variable through Dec. 18, but some lakes had up to 5 inches by that date. Ice on some of the big lakes was still questionable, but angles were getting out on most of the smaller lakes. Walleye action had been decent early and late in the day, with some very good crappie action and decent northern pike action during the day. There hasn’t been a lot of fishing interest yet. Anglers are waiting for more ice.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248
Small and mid-sized lakes, and bays on bigger lakes, had 4 to 5 inches of ice on Dec. 17. The big lakes had barely skimmed over as of that date, but should build ice quickly if the forecast for cold overnight lows – and now snow – is accurate. Fishing has been pretty good. The walleye fishing has been the best, and panfishing has been OK. The panfish action should pick up quickly once anglers can reach their favorite spots. They had to fish near shore last week.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA
Anglers have been fishing on 3 to 4 inches of ice on the bays of the Holcombe Flowage, but movement has been restricted because ice thickness vary. Based on limited reports, the action has been better than average for walleyes, pike, and panfish.
Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.
Anglers are just starting to check out the ice again. The ice was pretty questionable the second week of December, but it’s been getting colder and that should make some good ice quickly.
Bait Box, (715) 398-3554.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The Price County area had 3 to 5 inches of ice on most lakes last week. Ice thickness is not super consistent, but anglers are getting out. They’re fishing near shore for walleyes and pike in shallow water. The best walleye action has been early and late. On lakes where there is deeper water near shore, anglers are finding crappies over the cribs. Anglers should expect to have great ice conditions this week, based on the forecast.
Bridge Bait & Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
RICE LAKE AREA
The best ice has been on Bear, Rice, and Long lakes, with most reports being of 2 to 4 inches. Guys were catching mostly bluegills and a few walleyes. There weren’t a lot of people going out. Most ice fishermen are waiting for better ice.
Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300
Guys have been fishing the smaller and shallower lakes, with some northern pike action starting on most lakes, such as Clam, Doctor, Bashaw, Rice-Benoit, and Diamond. There is better ice on the shallower lakes, but all lakes have ice now. There had been some walleye action on Yellow Lake. Most lakes had a 3- to 4-inch base.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.
There were just a few people fishing last week, with some reports of good ice north toward Minong, but there should be more people out soon if predicted cold weather builds ice, as expected. The south bay of Shell Lake has ice, and guys have been fishing walleyes there.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.