Southern Wisconsin Fishing Report - January 24th, 2014

Posted on January 23, 2014

LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES

Fishing improved with the “warmup” and a bit more stable weather pattern. Some of that improvement came simply because people went fishing. Most anglers avoided fishing during that brutal cold snap. The good news is that ice conditions have greatly improved with the frigid temperatures. Bluegill action will be best around green weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water. On some lakes, anglers did best in 20 to 30 feet of water. A flasher is needed to find these fish, as often they are suspended just above the bottom. Ice jigs in No. 12 to No. 16 worked the best. Tungsten jigs work best while fishing in deeper water. Wax worms, spikes, mousies, and wigglers work best for live bait, but plastics also will produce fish. A spring bobber and 1- or 2-pound test line must be used for the bluegills. Crappies were most active during early morning hours or just before dusk. Look for them suspended above green weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water, or suspended over 20 to 40 feet of water. Using tip-downs or dead-sticking with a No. 14 treble hook baited with a small fathead, rosy red, or lake shiner is a great way to find schools of crappies. A No. 8 or No. 10 ice jig baited with a wiggler, wax worm, or plastic also will work. Small jigging spoons work best for aggressive crappies. Perch were found in deeper water, tight to the bottom. You can use a jig pole, tip-ups, or tip-downs for perch. Northern pike will be found around weedbeds or along drop-offs. Tip-ups rigged with a 40-pound-test fluorocarbon leader, No. 6 treble, and baited with a golden shiner or sucker will produce the most action. Place your bait above the weeds for best results. Brined jumbo smelt baited on a smelt rig can also work great, especially for big pike. The walleyes have moved out to deeper water, 16 to 25 feet, on most lakes. Fish before and after dark for walleyes. Use tip-ups rigged with a fluorocarbon leader, No. 10 red or gold treble hook, and baited with a golden shiner, sucker, or two fatheads. Jigging with a Jigging Rapala, Swedish Pimple, Buck Shot spoon, or Slender spoon tipped with a piece of minnow also will attract walleyes.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.

MADISON AREA

Ice conditions have improved greatly throughout the Madison area. Most lakes had at least 5 to 10 inches early last week. There are a few slush pockets out there, but it’s not bad. A lot of guys have been out on Lake Mendota looking for perch, mostly on the north shore over the deep water between Governor’s Island and Four Doors. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about bluegills on Mendota, but fishermen have been catching northern pike in a number of places on Mendota. On Lake Monona, the perch action seems a little quiet, except for the Triangle area, which seems to be the better perch area right now. A few perch also have been caught in Monona Bay near Park Street. Mud Lake is still the hot spot because of the new access; guys are catching panfish and a few bass and pike. There has not been much talk about anything happening on Lake Waubesa, and that may be because much of that activity seems to be shifted to Mud Lake. Kegonsa has also been a little quiet. It’s given up a few nice perch, but not many.
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AREA

There is good ice in most spots – 18 inches to 2 feet. Anglers have been catching a lot of bluegills and perch throughout the area, but there has not been much news about tip-up activity. Much of the panfish action has been found in the city sloughs in town, Gremore Lake and Mud Slough. If it warms up a little, anglers will start moving out to the tip-up spots on places like Spring Lake.
Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.

SAUK CITY AREA

Crystal Lake has been a good spot to find crappies and bluegills. Lake Wisconsin panfish and walleye action has been better than average.
Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-2433.