Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – January 10th, 2014
The Ashland side of Chequamegon Bay is in good shape despite the 31 inches of snow. The landings are likely to be slushy where the snow drifted, but snow depths are less as you get farther out on the bay. Snowmobiles are probably the best bet. There is no road system, though some anglers plowed out to their shacks. The Washburn side is slushy, but with no slush on the north side of Houghton Point. Anglers are walking off Bodin’s and maybe, by now, the Sioux and Onion rivers. Fishing is good, with anglers catching numerous brown trout off Bodin’s in about 30 feet of water. On the Ashland side, anglers report mixed bags. Take a spud and flotation.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
Prior to the cold snap, anglers were catching panfish regularly on lakes throughout the area. If you take the cold days out of the equation, the fishing has been pretty good. Even on the cold days, if the conditions are stable for a few days, the fish still bite. Ice conditions are good, with anglers now driving on most lakes with trucks. Most lakes have 18 to 20 inches as of Jan. 2. That’s much better than last year. The next warming trend will see fishing activity kick in once again.
Buroker’s, (715) 835-0847.
Bill’s Sport Shop, (715) 723-9033.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
It can’t get much colder than this. The cold has kept most ice fishermen indoors. If we can believe the forecasters, better weather is on the way. Boy, will it be welcome if it shows up! The area has great snow and ice conditions. If only it was just get a little warmer. Teens would be perfect. It is a surprise there is not a lot of slush on the ice, but the area has 10 to 15 inches of really nice ice out there. Even with this cold weather, things are in better condition than last year at this time. Walleye fishing has been OK for most anglers. Despite the cold weather, those who have gotten out there have done well, especially in the evenings. It is the usual bite, with the fish coming out of their daytime haunts in deeper water to feed in evenings in weeds or on structure holding panfish and minnows. Suckers and shiners work best. Guys are setting tip-ups in 10 to 15 feet of water, and moving shallower after dark. Dusk has been better than after dark so far. Northern pike fishing has been pretty good during the day, even with the cold weather. Larger shiners have worked best for these fish under tip-ups in the deeper weeds. Limits have been common. Panfish action has been very good for perch and for crappies. The crappies are now in deeper water, 20 feet or so. Try jigs with waxies. Action on the Eagle River chain has been good. Perch also have been hitting; the challenge has been finding the bigger ones. Try fatheads rather than smaller stuff for the bigger fish. Some bluegills have been reported, but the best bluegill fishing lies ahead of us.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.
The frigid weather has not been for the faint of heart. The good news is that the area has excellent snow and ice conditions. Walleye fishing is good, with a consistent evening bite. The best fishing has been on live bait under tip-ups in 10 to 25 feet of water near deep-water drops-offs, flats, and structure such as gravel, rocks, and cribs. Walleye action is good to very good, and is the top draw at this time. Northern pike fishing is fair to good. Look for fish in weeds and on deep weed edges in 8 to 22 feet of water, and anywhere you find panfish. Use suckers and large shiners fished under tip-ups. Crappie action is fair to good if you can find the fish. Crappies are suspending in deep water, a few feet off bottom. Use you electronics. Try crappie minnows, rosy reds, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs, treble hooks, and single-hook split shot rigs. Bluegill action is slow to fair, according to the few anglers pursuing bluegills at this time. Look for fish suspending over deeper water, often with crappies. Waxies and spikes on small jigs work best. Prepare for a soft bite by downsizing tackle. Perch anglers report fair action, with fish on deeper weed edges and in areas holding walleyes. Ice conditions vary by lake. The deep, clear lakes have the best ice conditions, with a consistent depth of 12 or more inches. Slush areas are making travel difficult on the Chippewa Flowage, Nelson, and some smaller lakes, and ice thickness on these lakes is very inconsistent, with thickness varying from 5 to 12 inches. Archers did not register many deer as the bow season came to a close. The snow makes it challenging to get around in the woods.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
Ice is good on area waters, with 14 inches being reported in most places. Lake Noquebay has been doing well for bluegills. Purple glitter and blue jigs tipped with spikes or wax worms are working well. A crappie bite from dusk to early evening has been excellent for anglers using small minnows. Bluegills and crappies are in 6 to 7 feet of water. Tip-up fishing has been good, with some walleyes being caught on tip-ups baited with golden shiners. Cauldron and High Falls flowages have been offering a fair amount of panfish action.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
Ice depths are running 12 to 16 inches on most lakes, but there is a lot of slush on most lakes because of the deep snow. Walleyes have been hitting on Yellow Lake, bass and pike have been hitting on Big Doctor, and panfish have been active on Dunham Lake. The biggest challenge hasn’t been finding fish, it’s been trying to fish during the cold snap.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.
Guys have been catching walleyes and crappies just about everywhere on the St. Louis River system. Some guys are using ATVs, but most guys are walking out.
Bait Box, (715) 398-3554.
Even though it’s been cold, guys have been catching a few bluegills and crappies if they are fishing from shanties. An angler did catch a 27-inch walleye last week. Ice depths have been running 18 inches, but there is some slush in a number of spots. Most guys have been fishing the Wisconsin River or flowages.
Backwater Sports, Merrill, (715) 536-9056.
Gander Mountain, Rothschild, (715) 355-5500.
UPPER PENINSULA REPORT
Interest in fishing Lake Gogebic has slowed a bit with bitter cold weather. The walleyes are being just as fickle as the anglers during this cold snap. Perch anglers are still coaxing some nice perch onto the ice by using wigglers, but that action has slowed from what it was. For perch, concentrate on depths of 20 to 24 feet. Ice travel is good. Most slush pockets have firmed up, allowing snowmobilers and ATVers to travel on top. Most local anglers are aware of the slush areas that remain, but are able to get through them if they are using chains.
Bear’s Nine Pines, (906) 842-3361.