Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report - February 8th, 2013
The fishing in Chequamegon Bay has picked up again with the arrival of the coho salmon and smelt. People have been catching cohos and smelt out in the channel. There are lots of little perch everywhere. If you sort through them, you can usually get anywhere from a few to a limit of keepers. There are lots of northern pike being caught, with some really big ones out there. People are finding a few whitefish and some brown trout, too. There is about 20 inches of ice on the Ashland side of the bay, but there’s quite a bit of snow on the ice. People are driving trucks out in front of Ashland, but watch out for drifts.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
Ice access and travel continue to be very good, with low temperatures increasing ice thickness to 15 to 19 inches on most lakes. About 6 inches of snow fell last week, but two warm days ahead of that settled old snow cover, and lake travel is still favorable. Anglers took a break during the extremely cold streak, but most guys have been finding decent crappie and bluegill action. Walleyes are still popping a few flags toward dusk.
Northern Highland Sports Shop, (715) 385-2134.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
A lot of people are fishing all of the area lakes, but they aren’t saying a lot about what they’re catching. Ice conditions are very good. Everyone is driving on most every lake now. Pike were hitting on Lake Hallie last weekend. One young angler nearly caught a pike without hooking it. A bigger pike chased a jig up the hole and nearly threw itself onto the ice before it disappeared back down the hole.
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.
More fishermen are driving out now that the ice is over 14 inches. The extreme cold kept the tip-ups in the pail, but fishing still took place in the shacks. Crappies were still biting, with a fair number of 9-inch panfish caught on Cauldron Falls. Lake Noquebay also is producing crappies, but not in great numbers. Noquebay is better at night for crappies, while High Falls and Cauldron Falls flowages offer a day bite. Small rosy reds and crappie bait are most often used. Walleye fishing on the area lakes has been slow. Bass and northern fishing with tip-ups has been much better. Some fishermen did report a bluegill bite on Chute Pond, but you may have to sort out the smaller fish.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
Most fishermen have been chasing panfish. Crappies have been the better of the three, with the perch bite starting to pick up. The bluegills are always there, but finding the bigger ones can be a challenge. Walleye action has been slow, with the best action coming at dusk and just after. Northern pike action has been very good on most lakes. The severe cold slowed down fishermen. Ice conditions and travel conditions are great. Most lakes now have 18 to 24 inches of ice.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA
Crappie fishing has been OK overall, with some good action here and there. The best crappie action started after the Jan. 30 snow. Northern pike are in 5 feet or less in the bays, such as Cranberry and Pine lakes, which are bays off the main flowage. Guys are catching a lot of 24- to 30-inchers. A 34- and 37-incher topped the list. Walleyes have been hit and miss. Jigs and tip-ups are working for the guys who are finding walleyes. Fish near bottom in 14 to 18 feet of water. The crappies were in about the same depth, and near bottom, last week.
Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Panfish have been providing the best action lately. Bluegills have been staying close to cribs or submerged wood. Crappies have been close to the bottom in 18 to 30 feet of water. Most guys are using plastics for the crappies with good success. Guys are getting a few walleyes, but mostly right at daylight or right at dark. Pike action has been going well all winter. Guys who are finding some green weeds are getting right in the weeds and finding plenty of pike.
Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.
RICE LAKE AREA
The ice has gotten pretty thick. Pike action has been decent, and anglers are catching some big ones. Panfish have been hitting mostly toward dark, with bluegills most active prior to dusk. Then it’s crappies up to about 7 p.m. There hasn’t been much happening during the day, but then comes the “power bite” toward dark. The best pike action has been in the early morning and in the afternoon. The walleye fishing has been pretty quiet – about an hour after dark if they’re catching them at all.
Rainbow Ace, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
The crappies are finally starting to bite, with Clam, Devils, and Yellow lakes leading the way. The crappies have been found anywhere from 5 feet below the ice down to the bottom. Some bigger northern pike have been caught on Big Doctors Lake. Walleye action has been slow everywhere.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
The fish didn’t exactly seem too eager to cooperate last week. There were a lot of mixed reports. Most lakes have 14 to 16 inches of ice, or more. Snowfall this past week put a fresh 6 inches on the ice, but travel is still excellent. Crappie action has been fair. Anglers were picking up very few on minnows with tip-downs. You have to finesse them by using No. 8 or No. 10 Rockers tipped with plastic or No. 8 to No. 10 Moon Glows tipped with Chena. There are still good numbers of fish in weeds (according to cameras). Deep-water anglers along breaks of 18 to 26 feet were doing the best with rosy reds. Perch action has been fair to good. There is some limited deep-water action over mud in 18 to 24 feet. These fish feed on blood worms by rooting through mud, but are willing on good days to rise 5 to 6 feet off of the bottom to hit No. 2 Pimples, Flickers, Hali, and No. 5 Fiska jigs tipped with red spikes, wigglers, or red Impulse plastics. Northern action is fair. Some nice fish of 26 to 32 inches were caught, but not many. Walleye action has been poor to fair, but actually improved early last week in 17 to 25 feet. But the bite was sporadic. Suckers were outdoing shiners lately – typical of deep bites. Bluegill action was poor to fair, but improved last week. The fish are buried in deeper, thicker weeds.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.
Captain Hooks, (715) 277-2405.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.