Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – January 24th, 2014
Warmer temperatures finally brought out the anglers, and they’ve been fishing Chequamegon Bay from east of Ashland all the way around to Washburn. Most anglers are fishing the channel and the drops into the channel. Many also are heading for the deep water out in the Apostle Islands. There have been very good reports from Red Cliff anglers fishing in 60 feet of water. If you travel among the islands, check your way with a spud. Never assume you can safely go where there are others. Wear flotation. Trout anglers fishing off of Bodin’s and the Sioux are doing well fishing lake shiners on jigs in 30 feet and deeper. There are good reports of cohos, walleyes, and perch off of Second Landing, especially toward the tip of Long Island.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
The cold weather kept most of the fishermen off the ice, and only a few guys ventured out last week when it warmed up a bit. The brave few who did go out reported few fish being caught inside their ice shacks. There has been a walleye bite on the Menominee River near the dam on Hwy. 180 in Marinette. Jigging Rapalas in firetiger, perch, and silver in No. 7 were working the best.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Finally! A break in the weather so we can get out and fish. With temps in the balmy 20s early last week, anglers got back out on the ice – not as many as expected, but those who got out were greeted with some good fishing. Perch action was good to very good. The best action for big perch was on flowages for those using rosie reds or smaller shiners on tip-ups. Fish of 11 to 13 inches were common. Anglers plying the mud flats of 18 to 25 feet were finding good perch (8 to 10 inches) when using Swedish Pimples and Hali Jigs tipped with wigglers or red spikes. Bluegill action is good in bays with green weeds and 8 to 12 feet of water. Use No. 12 to No. 10 tungsten jigs tipped with mousies or spikes. Jigs and plastics (red, purple, and black) also are working. Crappie action went from good to fair based on a limited number of reports. It’s been a bit windy for tip-downs. Try “slow-dropping” tungsten jigs tipped with white or silver plastics. Walleye action has been good, with the best bite after dark on suckers off weed edges of 12 to 15 feet and also on midlake humps of sand grass in 18 to 22 feet. No. 9 Jigging Raps are scoring some big fish off of these same humps. Fish of 26, 27, 28½, and 29 inches were reported using this method since the cold weather broke. Flowage action has been mostly for smaller walleyes during the day. Pike action has been good to very good – not great numbers, but nice fish in the low 30-inch class are hitting on big weed points jutting out to deeper water. Ice thickness is averaging only 17 to 18 inches despite the cold weather. There is some slush, but almost all lakes are drivable. Most all of the accesses are excellent.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
After all that cold weather of the last several weeks, the warmer weather was very welcome. A fair number of anglers took advantage of it. That ice is thick on all lakes, averaging 16 to 20 inches. Pretty soon we’ll be thinking of extensions on our augers. More snow hasn’t hurt the ability to get around, as it is packed down pretty well on the ice. The skiers and snowshoe buffs are in hog heaven with this great snow cover. There have been some reports of slush on some lakes, but it is not as widespread as it was last year at this time. Walleye fishing is holding up throughout the area. There have been daily reports of decent fishing on the Eagle River chain. The basic patterns are the same: evening and late-afternoon success in the 10- to 15-foot range with tip-ups baited with shiners or suckers. There haven’t been reports of good fishing on the chain well after dark, but there have been reports of good late fishing on some of the deep, clear lakes. On these lakes, anglers are setting the tip-ups deeper. Some jigging action for walleyes has started, too. Northerns have been hitting tip-ups fished in the weeds – the deeper the better for the weeds. Look for the deep edge of the cabbage weeds or those deep grass beds for best success for these fish. Large shiners are working the best. Action has been good to very good for crappies, with that action having started early in the year. They are in 20 feet of water or so, but they will be anywhere. You’ll be best served searching vertically for these fish right from the start. Surprisingly, waxies on smaller jigs are working well. Some anglers also are using tip-downs and minnows with some success. Perch have started hitting wigglers on many lakes, which means searching for those muddy areas. Fish very near the bottom when using wigglers. There hasn’t been much reported about bluegills, although they have started hitting in the weed areas on many of the shallower lakes.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The brutal cold put a damper on angling pressure and fish activity. Subzero highs and wind kept most anglers off the ice, with virtually no fishing activity on many lakes during a few of the coldest days, and diehard panfish and walleye anglers fishing from shanties found limited action. Most area lakes now have about 14 inches of ice, with 4 to 8 inches of snow cover on top, and travel on the ice is fair. There are some good-sized snow drifts and some areas of slush, so anglers venturing out should be cautious, sticking to packed trails to avoid getting stuck.
Bridge Bait & Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
RICE LAKE AREA
Ice conditions on some lakes are still questionable. Most of the slush is frozen, but ice depths did not increase much with the cold snap and travel can be difficult due to the snow depth. Walleyes have moved to deeper water, and tip-ups with suckers have produced well, although anglers also are having success with fatheads on jigging spoons.
Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
Walleye action remains relatively good, though it waned just a bit in the past week. Fish for them in deeper water (to 35 feet or more on the big lakes) using suckers on tip-ups or jigging spoons tipped with fatheads. You will find northern pike in/on deep weeds and weedlines in 10 to 20 feet of water. Use suckers and shiners under tip-ups. Crappie action is fair to good on Nelson, Smith, and Long lakes, and the Chippewa Flowage. Be mobile and use your electronics until you find the fish, then start drilling. Look for them in 15 to 22 feet of water and use minnows or jigs tipped with waxies, plastics, or Gulp baits. Bluegill action remains only fair, with anglers reporting success on Spring, Chetac, and the Chippewa Flowage. Target 10 to 22 feet of water, with the top baits being waxies, spikes, and plastics on small jigs or teardrops. Perch action is picking up on the deep, clear lakes, with anglers fishing in 6 to 18 feet of water with minnows, rosy reds, waxies, and plastics on the bottom and near deep weedlines.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.