Call for an update on the ice before heading out. Anglers have been fishing the bay and catching a variety of fish, including splake, browns and tons of smelt by the lighthouse. Take an ice bar and check your way. There have been some nice lake trout and whitefish being caught on the Ashland side of the bay. There have been some nice perch and walleyes being caught at Second Landing. Lake shiners have been the most popular bait.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Look for suspended crappies in over 28 to 32 feet on Lake Vermillion and Sand Lake or in 12 to 15 feet at Round Lake. Perch are running small, but they are biting over 25 to 30 feet on Bone Lake, while walleye and sunfish action has been slow.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Whitefish action continues to stay hot throughout the county. Try the Henderson’s Point shoreline in Little Sturgeon, the deeper water in front of Riley’s Bay, the Sand Bay area, and Larson’s Reef, along with many areas to the north of the Old Stone Quarry where the spots are quite endless. Look for rocky shorelines and deep structure and you will find plenty of whitefish. Stay away from high traffic areas and big crowds and the fishing will be much better. Swedish Pimples, Rapala jigs, Forage Minnows and Buckshot spoons are just a few of the top jigs to use. And most fishermen run some kind of a slider hook above their main jig. Wax worms, spikes, minnow pieces and Gulp all work well for whitefish.
Walleye fishing is starting to pick up a bit, as it usually does as we move later into the ice season. Rock-to-sand or mud transitions seem to be the bottom of choice and you can find those areas around Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Bay, Sand Bay, and along with the vast shoreline to the north which rarely sees any pressure. Odd Ball jigs, Rapala Jigs and Shiver Minnows are a few of the most popular baits. Tip your jigs with medium and large lake shiners and work them in the bottom 2 feet.
Pike fishing has been fair, but should continue to get better as it always does later in the season. Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor, the Sturgeon Bay Flats and some areas right in downtown Sturgeon Bay are always good options. As we see some warmer weather and run-off, pike will stage in front of those areas to feed, so all those types of areas would be good spots to set up. Suckers and large golden shiners under tip-ups is the best method.
The perch fishing has been a little slower, but we should see that pick up just like it usually does at the end of February and into March. Still, the best area continues to be the Little Sturgeon area in the inner bay. Other areas to try are Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay flats.
The brown trout fishing is getting better. Some areas have been Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Sister Bay. Golden shiners and large lake shiners under tip-ups have been the best.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Northern pike: Fish are on the weed edges and in the deeper weeds. On the edges, use tip-ups set a foot or so off the bottom. When fishing the deep weeds, set tip-ups so that the bait is just above the tops of the weeds.
Walleyes: These fish are being caught in a couple of areas – all of them around weeds. Setting tip-ups on the weed edges baited with suckers or golden shiners in low light conditions seems to be best. Also, jigging in the same areas rattle spoons are producing fish.
Panfish: Bluegills are being found in the weeds on small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, or plastic. Perch are being caught on the deep weed edge where the mud meets.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
The ice conditions were good and the weather is nice. A good number of walleyes have been caught ranging from 18 to 27 inches. Tip-ups with shiners or suckers seem to be bringing in the big ones. Pike fishing has been pretty consistent. Mostly average sizes with no real big ones being reported over the past couple of weeks. Tip-ups with large shiners or suckers are working the best. Crappies and bluegills are hitting well on most waters in the area. Anglers were doing good on sections of the Menominee River fishing in 20 feet of water and catching them at about 13 feet. Others were fishing much deeper on area lakes at around 40 feet of water. A jig with a wax worm or spike were doing the trick, but minnows were bringing in their fair share, as well. Perch fishing has been slow. Most of those have been caught jigging with crappie minnows.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
Walleye fishing is decent, with the big lakes providing the most success and evenings offering the best action. Set tip-ups with suckers and shiners on the edges of shallower weeds, holes, and drop-offs. During daytime hours, jig deep holes and breaks with jigging spoons, Jigging Raps, and jigs tipped with shiners and fatheads.
Northern pike fishing is good to very good on nearly all lakes. Look for deep green weeds on bars and flats in 8 to 20 feet. The most productive presentations are tip-ups with suckers and shiners, with some anglers having success with jigging spoons.
Crappie fishing is good – once you locate them. Plan to move in the search for active fish. Concentrate on deeper water areas out to 25 feet, particularly in holes. Best offerings include minnows and small tungsten jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits.
Bluegill action is very good in the weeds for smaller fish. Perch fishing is fair to good near the bottom around deeper weeds and on mud flats.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
The area lakes have on average about 10 to 15 inches of ice. With no snow cover, the ice is very slick. Wear your creepers. Bluegills were found around green weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water with the larger fish found near the bottom. They were also found around deep structure in 20 to 35 feet of water. A flasher is a must to find fish in deep water. Crappie fishing was best just before dusk or early morning hours. Look for them suspended over deeper basins, or over mid-depth weeds. Aggressive crappies were caught using a small spoons or jigging lures. Using a tip-down rigged with a light fluorocarbon leader is a great way to catch finicky crappies. Perch were found by jigging deeper areas, most often near the bottom. Active perch can be caught using a small jigging spoon, such as a Swedish Pimple or Slender Spoon baited with spikes or a piece of minnow.
Northern pike were active on area lakes. Set tip-ups around structure in various depths, most often near panfish. Rig tip-ups with a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader, small beads or spinner blade, red or glow treble hook, and bait with a golden shiner, or sucker for the best action. Brined jumbo smelt on a smelt rig can also work great, especially for big pike.
Walleye fishing was best during dark hours when they were found along weed edges in 8 to 15 feet of water, near the bottom. During daylight hours, look for them in deeper water, 25 to 35 feet. Use tip-ups baited with a golden shiner, sucker, small chub, or large lake shiner. Jigging with lures tipped with a minnow head has attracted aggressive walleyes.
Brown trout fishing has been good on the Lake Michigan harbors. Use caution when venturing out as ice conditions can change rapidly.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Ice conditions were good on the Lake Mendota chain last week. Fishermen are still catching perch on the bars, but fish have been slipping to the deep flats in 40 to 60 feet of water. Pike action was a little slower last week. The best panfish bite has been on Lake Monona and in “the triangles.” Perch anglers were fishing on Lake Monona in 55 feet of water. A few guys have been fishing the main basin on Lake Waubesa for crappies, perch and a few walleyes in water up to 32 feet deep. Guys have also been catching a few white bass and panfish on Crystal Lake. Things have been quiet on Lake Wisconsin.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Ice conditions remain excellent for now throughout the Lakeland area. Averages of 17 to 20 inches with very little snow cover made for great travel no matter the method. Fishing overall was just fair. There were lots of varying reports, with some anglers struggling while others found windows of success during peak bite times.
Crappies: Fair to good. The best reports came from anglers using tip-downs on the flowages. Rosie reds were the top bait on this dark water. On lakes, slow drop plastics of white, pink and yellow to the tops of the weeds of 10 to 12 feet. A few crappies up to 15 inches were reported.
Northern pike: Fair to good. Action got better in wind, unfortunately few anglers were out to benefit. Standard fare has been shiners on tip-ups.
Bluegills: Fair to good. Most reports were of smaller fish. The few reports of larger bluegills came from anglers plying deeper waters using No. 4 tungsten Fiska jigs tipped with a single red spike or a purple or black plastic tail.
Walleyes: Poor. There were few reports. The couple decent reports came from anglers getting out early (pre-dawn) using suckers or chubs under tip-ups.
The forecast of temps hitting the mid 40s for five straight days will make for great conditions to start, but could be the beginning of the end of our ice season. With little snow to protect the ice, we may see our ice season end by late March.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
The Yellow River below the dam in Necedah has been producing a few walleyes. Cottonville Lake anglers have been catching large amounts of small perch. With the annual spring drawdown in progress, fishing has been tough on the Castle Rock and Petenwell flowages. Some larger crappies are coming from the brush near the Buckhorn bridge on plastics. Most of the ice has moved out from in front of the flood gates below the Castle Rock and Petenwell dams. Open water anglers have been getting some legal walleyes in both areas using a jig with a 4-inch ringworm in white or bright colors. Back water areas of the Wisconsin River downstream south of the Hwy. 82 bridge have been producing lots of pike in the 24- to 36-inch range.
Parker Lake has been producing nice crappies in water 25 feet or deeper later in the evenings to an hour past dark.
Lake Mason has been slow, with a few panfish being taken.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967.
Walleye reports have been limited, but crappies are biting during the evening hours on Fish Lake over 20 feet. The Kimball Bay area on the Wisconsin side of the St. Louis River is producing crappies in 12 to 14 feet. Anglers fishing from shore are catching cohos in the French River area of Lake Superior.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094