Chequamegon Bay anglers are now out as far as Houghton Point. There is skim ice on the outside, but high winds in the forecast could change conditions. The bite is most consistent on the Washburn side, with anglers catching brown trout, splake, and whitefish by jigging and on setlines. The Ashland side is also producing trout, as well as perch, walleyes, and northern pike. Ice depths ranged from 8 to 11 inches on both sides last week.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Shiners are turning northern pike in the 8-foot weeds of Beaver Dam Lake and Bear Lake. Walleye reports have been limited, but crappies and sunfish are being caught in 8 to 10 feet of water on Big Round Lake. Anglers are reporting 10 to 14 inches of ice, and they’ve started to drive on a few lakes.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Ice fishermen are smiling with the super cold temperatures over the past two weeks. Unlike the past two years, Green Bay is frozen up and locked in all the way north past Chambers Island, which is an excellent sign that safe ice and a long ice season could be upon us. Perch action has been going good. The better areas have been Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor up until this point, but soon the deep water spots will be full of ice shanties. The best baits have been a variety of jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, minnows and minnow heads; the tip-up action has been good, too.
Whitefish action is starting to heat up now around Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Point, and the Sherwood Point area, but soon fishermen will be spread out along the whole peninsula. You can catch whitefish in as shallow as 5 feet of water, but most anglers like the 20- to 65-foot range.
Northern pike fishing continues to provide decent action. A few of the better spots include Little Sturgeon Bay, the state park shoreline, the flats and right in downtown Sturgeon Bay.
Walleye reports are just starting to trickle in now that there is some safe ice. The better areas have been Henderson’s Point and Sherwood Point, with Larson’s Reef coming next as ice improves with the cold temperatures.
There has been some brown trout action in some of the harbors from Sturgeon Bay all the way up to Sister Bay. Golden shiners suspended under tip-ups is always a good bet.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
The area hasn’t exactly experienced T-shirt weather for the last 14 days, but even 20 degrees would be nice one of these days. It was shocking to see the number of people who ice fished during the holidays despite the frigid weather. There was some great ice build-up during this period, with many lakes now at more than 10 inches. The slush is mostly completely frozen now. With only 5 to 8 inches of snow on the ice, getting around is easy.
Walleye fishing is OK now, but with the cold weather it is tough to tip-up fish and keep the holes open. A warm-up will be great, and in all probability will spur fish activity. As usual, guys are getting walleyes and northern pike in the evenings at the deeper weed edges as the fish move in. Pike activity has been good despite the weather. Large shiners are by far the best bait for these pike under tip-ups. The nice thing about fishing for northerns in these weeds is that if the weather allows, you can also fish for panfish in the same areas. Some of the better northern lakes are Anvil, Boot, Pioneer, and Deerskin.
Panfish action has been good for the those brave enough to tolerate this unusual cold. It is really tough to fish outside for them as the holes freeze up, but you can fish inside shacks for these fish. Crappies have been hitting well in some of the deeper locations on the Eagle River chain.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
The steady, bitter cold temperatures have improved ice conditions. As of last week, anglers have reported on the following lakes and rivers: 10 to 12 inches on the Spread Eagle Chain; 10 inches on the Brule River Flowage; 12 inches on Seidel; 10 inches on Emily; 8 inches on Stevens Lake in Forest County; 6 plus inches on Fisher.
Bluegill action has been excellent. Anglers are catching them on the edge of weed beds in 10 to 12 feet of water. Small jigs and flutter spoons tipped with wax worms are producing the best bite. The perch bite has been slow. They’ve been hitting on minnows and averaging between 6 to 8 inches.
Northern Pike action has been good. Anglers are using shiners and suckers under tip-ups.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.
Ice varies from 7 to 12 inches. Walleyes are hitting in the evenings on Lac Courte Oreilles, Grindstone Lake, and Round Lake in 20 to 24 feet. Look for suspended crappies over 17 to 25 feet on the Chippewa Flowage. Mixed bags of panfish were found in 14 to 20 feet on Nelson Lake. Pike remain active on most lakes in 10 to 14 feet.
More anglers are hitting the ice now that ice depths are increasing with the very cold weather. It is still necessary to use caution when on the ice; however, as the snow is insulating some areas and ice depths can still vary significantly in short distances on the same lake.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The dicey ice conditions of late November and early December on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and smaller lakes improved substantially the last two weeks with tons of sub-zero temperatures. The walleye fishing has actually been good, and anglers are also catching perch on the flowage.
Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Frigid temperatures last week really improved ice conditions. Most of the area lakes have 6 to 12 inches of ice. The frigid temps, along with minimal snow cover, has provided optimum conditions to continue to make good ice. Check with local ordinances; ATV or vehicle travel is not allowed on certain lakes. Some areas on large, deep lakes just recently froze over and may only have 1 to 2 inches of ice. Use a spud bar to check the ice, wear a life jacket or floating suit, use safety picks, and bring a throw cushion. Avoid areas near springs and current.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Ice conditions have improved. The fishing clubs have been putting bridges out over pressure cracks and anglers are using ATVs in most areas. Anglers were catching perch, white bass, and bluegills in Asylum Bay. Walleye action has been good on Lake Poygan.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
The lakes have made a lot of ice in the last couple of weeks, with lakes Mendota and Monona now covered. No one had been out over deep water as of last week, but guys have been poking around along the shorelines. On Monona, they have been fishing Monona Bay, Turville Bay, Squaw Bay, and “the triangles.” Anglers report catching a lot of panfish, but mostly smaller in size. Lake Waubesa had 6 to 7 inches of ice and anglers were catching panfish out there. Lake Kegonsa anglers have been doing well on perch over 7 inches of ice. There has been some walleye and panfish action reported on Beaver Dam and Fox lakes.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Despite not seeing air temps above zero for a week or more, fishing has been surprisingly good for those willing to brave the conditions. Now, the action hasn’t been the same for everyone, but rarely is it that way. The cold has probably kept anglers from moving around if things aren’t going well were they are set up, but for those poised over the right spot, fishing has been good.
Walleyes: Good to very good. The evening bite is on just before dusk. Anglers have to be set up by 3 p.m. to see flags popping by 4 p.m. Use suckers, chubs, and shiners under tip-ups. Jigging Raps, Slab Raps, Hyper Glides and Chubby Darters are working well despite the cold. Several 25- to 29-inch fish were reported last week.
Crappies: Good to very good. Action has been surprisingly good considering the cold limiting angler movement. Deeper water (15 to 22 feet) has been the best overall for nicer fish (11 to 13 inches).
Northern pike: Good to very good. By getting away from the crowds anglers are catching some nice pike in the 30- to 35-foot range on the largest shiners and suckers possible. In other areas of less quality, but more quantity, late morning through midday has provided the best action.
Yellow perch: Good. Anglers are already probing deeper mud flats to find perch feeding on mayfly larvae in 18 to 26 feet.
If there has been any plus to the extreme cold, it’s that ice is thickening nicely. Averages of 12 inches over most areas mean truck travel (16 inches for us cautious people) is likely soon. There have been reports of slush on some local lakes, mostly northern Vilas County, and in areas of protected western bays where snow hasn’t blown off.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Ice conditions have improved nicely with the cold weather. Despite the cold, anglers have been out and moving around for panfish, walleyes, and pike. Most anglers are jigging for panfish now inside a warm shelter, since it’s difficult to run tip-ups in such cold weather for walleyes and pike.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
SUPERIOR / DULUTH AREA
Look to Fish Lake for crappies in 15 feet or to Rice Lake for walleyes, northern pike, and crappies in 6 feet. The Park Point area in Lake Superior Bay is producing walleyes during the morning hours in 8 to 10 feet. Anglers have just started driving on some lakes.
Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.