Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - December 27th, 2013
Chequamegon Bay has a lot of ice for so early in the season, but thickness varies. On the Ashland side, there are reports of thickness from 10 inches by the channel to 16 inches near the Ashland coal dock. The Washburn side had about 5 inches by the “S” curve and coal dock. There is snow cover, but it is all light snow; there is no slush issue so far. Anglers are using ATVs and snowmobiles and have been out as far as the Washburn coal dock. Fishing has been slow, except for small perch that seem to be all over the bay, a few trout and whitefish caught off the S curve, and a few trout and northerns caught from the Ashland side.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
Ice conditions and fishing have been pretty darn good. Guys are catching a mixed bag on Lake Altoona. The lake had 14 inches of ice last week, and guys were driving all over. Conditions are perfect for ice fishing so far this season.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait, Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.
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.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
What a miserable piece of weather the area’s been experiencing the past several weeks. It has felt just like the usual weather at the end of January. It has, however, built some ice. There’s now around 6 to 10 inches of good ice on the lakes. The general outdoor conditions for all winter sports is good. People are driving already on some lakes, but use caution out there and check the ice thickness if you are taking a shack or truck out. Walleye fishing is good, especially for the cold weather the area’s been experiencing. The evening bite has been pretty consistent throughout the area. Plan on getting out and having your tip-ups set by 3 p.m. Medium shiner or suckers are best for these walleyes. Set up in 10 to 15 feet of water right off of any structure. These fish are coming out of deeper water to feed in the evenings. Northern action in the weeds on tip-ups is pretty good, also. As it warms, this action should pick up considerably. Larger shiners work best for these fish, with rigs being set right in the weeds. Panfish action is OK for this extremely cold weather. Crappies have been caught right through the cold front.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.
Aside from too-brief breaks, subzero temperatures and snowfall continue to deter the majority of ice anglers. Although some of the more dedicated are braving the elements, there are few detailed reports. Comprehensive ice-fishing reports for all species will begin when angler activity increases. Ice conditions are fair on most lakes, with very little slush reported, and even with the heavy snow cover, the cold weather increased ice thickness on most lakes.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA
The flowage has 12 to 14 inches of ice, and guys are catching bluegills and a few crappies near the bottom in 18 to 22 feet of water. Guys are running snowmobiles and ATVs.
Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.
Ice conditions continue to improve, with reports of 6 to 8 inches of solid ice. Fishing has been slow due to the lower-than-average temps. What we are hearing is that the walleye fishing is a slow bite everywhere. Panfishing on Lake Noquebey is just starting to pick up. High Falls and Cauldron Falls flowages also have just started to pick up. With deer season ending and ice conditions allowing ATV travel, it’s predicted the upcoming weeks will be a busy time, setting shacks and fishing. At the current rate the area could have 12 to 14 inches of ice soon.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Unseasonably cold weather continued to thicken ice cover on area lakes, though the low temperatures also limited fishing pressure. Some reports said lakes have 8 to 10 inches of ice last week; others report just 5 to 6 inches under the insulating layer of snow. Anglers should be cautious and always test the ice before heading out. A few walleye anglers report fair success on tip-ups, with mud and sand flats the most productive areas. Fish small suckers or large fatheads just off bottom in 4- to 8-foot depths. The late-afternoon bite is considerably better than early morning.
Bridge Bait & Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
The low temperatures have kept fishing interest down, and there haven’t been too many reports of ice-fishing success. There have been a few walleye anglers out and they have been having fair success on tip-ups. The most productive areas have continued to be the mud and sand flats, with small suckers or large fatheads fished just off the bottom in the 4- to 8- foot depths. Most fish have been in the 12- to 16-inch range, and late afternoon has been quite a bit better than the early morning.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.
Most lakes in Marathon, Portage, and Waupaca counties are iced over, with the only open water being below dams or where geese are congregated. Many small lakes and bays on larger lakes have 6 inches of ice. There are a few reports of fishermen being out, but no reports either way on success.
Backwater Sports, Merrill, (715) 536-9056.
51 Sport Shop, (715) 359-5204.