Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – Dec. 29, 2017

ASHLAND AREA

Chequamegon Bay completely iced over recently. At this point, anglers are walking and spudding their way out. On the Ashland side, water clarity is OK. The bay has 4 to 6 inches of ice about halfway out to the lighthouse. So far, anglers report whitefish, northern pike, and perch, with most anglers using lake shiners, crappie minnows, and waxies.

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

CUMBERLAND AREA

Anglers are reporting 4 to 6 inches of ice on most small lakes and the areas being fished, but thin ice spots remain on some bigger lakes. Big Round Lake is kicking out sunfish and crappies in 12 feet, while the northwest end of Bear Lake is giving up sunfish and northern pike in 6 to 8 feet.

Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164

DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA

The smaller bays are starting to get some ice cover and, as of last week, there were some fishermen who ventured out and found some fish. Perch fishermen managed a few decent batches of fish from the shallow bays of Sawyer Harbor and Little Sturgeon. Up until this point, only the back bays had safe enough ice to walk on, so choices were a bit limited, but never the less, most fishermen managed to catch enough fish for a meal. Shiners under tip-ups and an assortment of jigs tipped with minnow heads and waxies were working. There was some decent pike action mixed in with the perch – intended and not. Pike fishermen have been finding some fairly safe, walkable ice in a few of the marinas. There have been a few bonus brown trout, too.

The region has not had enough cold weather to build ice over the whitefish spots, but it is coming. It looks like the weather is going take a turn for the better for the diehard ice fishermen and it’s going to get very cold and hopefully freeze up all of Green Bay. The only whitefish action so far has been from the Dykesville area in less than 6 feet. Once the bay freezes and becomes safe for travel fishermen will head out to spots like Henderson’s Point, Larson’s Reef, Sherwood Point, and all of the shoreline north of Sturgeon Bay where the options are endless with safe ice.

Walleye action hasn’t started as of yet either because of the lack of ice cover, but the go-to spots include Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Point, Sherwood Point, and Larson’s Reef, just to name a few.

Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.

Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.

EAGLE RIVER AREA

The lakes had only OK ice last week. The area is getting too much snow to build good ice at this point, and that snow translates into slush. The walleye season has started somewhat slowly, with few reports straggling in of good fishing. Much of the problem is that anglers are reluctant to go out to their favorite spots because of fear of the thin ice, and this is pretty sensible as a few guys have gone through in the last week or so. The deep edge of the weeds are the best evening spots, and this can be in 12 to 15 feet on many lakes. Guys will start hitting these spots as the ice thickens. Shiners big enough to avoid perch hits have been the best bait. When fishing after dark, move in over the weeds for best action.

Northern action has been good for those few getting out there. Use large shiners under tip-ups. Look for the greenest weeds in a given spot, and set the tip-ups right at the top of the weeds.

Panfish action has started to improve. Lakes like Boot, Muskellunge, Lost, Thunder, South Twin, Pioneer and Deerskin all produce good action throughout the winter. Waxies are best for bluegills and also will produce crappies when they are in deeper water.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

FLORENCE COUNTY AREA

Colder weather is moving in and fishermen are starting to get out onto the ice. Anglers are reporting 4 to 6 inches of ice on many of the area lakes, but the ice is not consistent. The thickness varies from one spot to the next, so it’s a good idea to carry a spud bar and ice picks. It’s early, but fishing reports have been coming in. Bluegill action has been good. Small jigs tipped with waxworms are working well. Northern pike have been hitting well on suckers and shiners.

Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.

HAYWARD AREA

Continue to check the ice as you go, with 3 to 4 inches being found on the big lakes and 4 to 6 inches on some smaller lakes. Look to Nelson Lake for bluegills and crappies in 12 to 16 feet and to the bays on Namakegon Lake for a mixed bag of panfish in 20 to 24 feet. Walleye fishing is fair to good in shallower areas on most area lakes. Northern pike action is good over weed flats and on weed edges.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.

Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.

IRON COUNTY AREA

Guys are getting out on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, but ice conditions were dicey last week and travel mode and direction were limited.

Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.

LA CROSSE AREA

The dam was recently opened so water levels have gone up on the Mississippi River and that has slowed the walleye and sauger action. The backwater bays, sloughs, and marinas now have 4 to 6 inches of ice and they are kicking out perch, bluegills, and crappies.

Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.

Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.

LAKE MICHIGAN/
METRO-AREA LAKES

Cold temperatures and lighter wind conditions in the last couple days have improved ice conditions on the smaller lakes. A few of the small, shallow lakes, and wind-protected bays on bigger lakes have 2 to 3 inches of ice. However, there is inconsistency with snow cover and ice formation on the lakes. If venturing out, use a spud bar to check the ice, wear a life jacket or floating suit and safety picks, and bring a throw cushion. Avoid areas near springs and current. Most areas on large, deep lakes still had open water early last week.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.

LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA

The big lake is sheeting over with ice, but there were still areas of open water on Dec. 19. Most of the fishing is being done in bays and channels, where there is walkable ice and some panfish and white bass. Asylum Bay has been a busy spot for white bass.

Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.

MADISON AREA

There is a lot of ice fishing going on in the area, with Cherokee Marsh bluegills and small walleyes kicking things off for many anglers since that area usually freezes over first. Lake Monona was still open last week, but some of the bays were iced over. Most of the bluegills have been small so far. Waubesa, Mud, and Kegonsa lakes are all frozen over, but no one has really gotten anything going on any of those lakes so far. Lake Wisconsin has some ice, with some small pike during the day at Harmony Grove and walleyes at night along Whalen’s Grade. Fox Lake produced some walleye action recently.

D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA

Snow has created problems here in the Northwoods as the insulation and weight of winter’s blanket has shut down the ice-making abilities of even the coldest of nights. Caution and high waterproof boots are required for fishing right now. Areas of good ice are being fished heavily as access and ice thickness are not good everywhere.

Walleyes: Very good. There has been some good shallow action at dusk. Lots of eaters have been caught, with some trophy fish of 27 and 29 inches again last week. Suckers and chubs have been tops on tip-ups while jigging Raps, Slab Raps and Hyper Glides, which have produced large, aggressive fish even in water as shallow as 4 6 feet.

Northern pike: Very good. Big, lively bait is producing larger-than-average pike of 30 to 39 inches. Weedy flats of cabbage in 4 to 8 feet has been the best. Rigging big shiners on Finicky Foolers or Danglers so as to get the rod/reel experience has been fun.

Bluegills: Very good. Numbers are good, but for those willing to search out some off-the-beaten-path lakes, action on big bluegills has been very good. Guys have brought in honest 10-inchers and even an 11¼-incher.

Yellow perch action has been good over shallow flats, but the crappies have been scarce.

Ice was running 2 to 7 inches last week. The snow is keeping ice from building and causing slush. Fishermen are only walking and spudding their way around right now. A good cold snap, as forecasted, will change that.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.

J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.

SPOONER AREA

Walking is a safe bet on many lakes and ATVs are being used on others as ice depths slowly improve. Fishing reports continue to be pretty limited despite the improving ice conditions. Look to Spooner Lake for panfish, northern pike, and perch in 6 to 12 feet.

AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.

SUPERIOR / DULUTH AREA

You’ll find 6 to 9 inches of ice on most lakes, but any current and deep-water areas still have 2 to 4 inches, so you really have to watch it. Walleyes and crappies have started hitting on Whiteface Lake in 12 feet, while the narrows area on Fish Lake is giving up a few crappies and walleyes in 10 to 12 feet. On Boulder Lake, you have to sort through small walleyes, but they are biting well in 10 to 14 feet.

Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094

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