Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Panfish keeping inland anglers busy until fishing opener


In the bay from Washburn, past Houghton Point all the way to
Long Island, and straight back in to Bodin’s Resort, the ice is
8-10 inches thick. People are taking machines out to deeper water
(50-80 feet) for lake trout, or are fishing the shorelines and
channel edges for splake and mixed bag catches. From the Sioux
River up past Van Tassel’s Point and to the south end of Bayfield,
the ice is unsafe. The south channel proper is open. There are
people walking off river mouths; no machine travel. Bring a spud
and check as you walk out. Anglers out deep are picking up lakers
and a few whitefish, as well as some salmon, browns, and splake. In
the bay proper between Ashland and Washburn, the fishing has

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.


Action on the Chetek chain is still decent, with plenty of
bluegill and crappie action. The bluegills are being caught in 8-15
feet in the weeds and along edges, on waxies and wigglers. Crappies
are in 12-17 feet of water along weed edges, with good action
coming on Prairie Lake. Some nice perch are being taken right off
the bottom from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m

Rod and Gun Shop, (715) 924-4181.

Up North Guide Service, (715) 829-9477


The panfish bite has been sporadic, with some medium crappies
and 10- to 12-inch perch being caught on North and South Twin
lakes. There had some decent action in the weeds, in 6-9 feet of
water off the South Twin boat landing. Use ultra-light tackle, with
a wiggler, for crappies and perch. There’s not much to report about
bluegills. As the weather warms, they will turn on.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.


Chute Pond has had some mixed catches of bluegills, crappies,
and perch, although the perch tend to be small. After catching a
few small perch, move to another area since the large perch tend to
be in deeper water. Panfish action on White Potato Lake has slowed
down considerably. In Brown County, yellow perch were being caught
between Little Tail Point and the mouth of the Suamico River, on
the Duck Creek near the old railroad turnstile, and at Dykesville.
Walleyes of 16-18 inches were caught and kept, and a 24-incher was
released at Voyageur Park.

The Sportsman, (920) 734-3299

Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934


In Walworth and inland Racine and Kenosha counties, ice
conditions vary, with some lakes 5 to 13 inches, while others have
open water. Bluegills, crappies, pumpkinseeds, and yellow perch are
biting on most area lakes. Anglers using spikes are doing best.

In Washington, eastern Fond du Lac, and inland Sheboygan
counties, the panfish have been fairly tight-lipped lately.
Underwater cameras are showing lots of fish, but few are feeding.
Very small ice jigs or flies with a small amount of bait seem to be
the ticket.

In Waukesha County, anglers are finding a few panfish here and
there. Perch and crappies are been taken on Pewaukee, Golden, and
Wind lakes in deeper water on jigs and minnows. The early
catch-and-release trout season runs through April 30, and all
Waukesha County streams are open.

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

Dick Smith’s Bait Shop, Delafield, (262) 646 2218.


Walleye action is still good on Lake Winnebago, mostly on jigs,
but also on slip bobbers and tip-ups. Jigging a No. 3 Swedish
pimple in hammered nickel seems to be working the best. The
walleyes have been 4-6 feet off the bottom. Anglers also are
picking up a few perch on Lake Winnebago right off the bottom. On
Lake Butte des Morts, bluegills and a few crappies were being
caught on the north shore and behind Skipper Bud’s.

Fox River Bait & Tackle, (920) 233-7409.


Fishing has been pretty good, with bluegills hitting on lakes
Waubesa, Monona, and Mendota. Monona has had some open water, but
anglers were still getting out for bluegills. Perch fishing has
been slow on Waubesa, but a little better on Mendota, which is
mostly covered with ice. Smaller panfish were being caught on
Cherokee Marsh.

D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Many anglers have been finding large schools of suspended
crappies on High Falls Flowage, but have been having trouble
getting them to bite. Lake Hilbert has produced some nice bluegills
in deeper water. Coyote hunters are reporting that pelt quality is

MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.

Pete’s Sport Shop, (715) 582-3681.


Some high pressure early last week seemed to shut down the fish.
Perch weren’t even as active as they had been during the week.
Warming temps and low pressure will turn the fish back on. Crappie
action is picking up. The best and easiest bite is the 5-6 p.m.
slot, with little finesse required. The rest of the time, try tiny
No. 12 rockers or No. 14 dot jigs tipped with a single maggot or
piece of plastic. Crappies are holding extremely tight to bottom,
but can be enticed to bite by going small and light. Perch are
still out in the mud, but the bite wasn’t as good as it had been.
Lake Minocqua has had the most consistent action – mostly 7- to
8-inchers, with a few up to 10 inches.

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.


Ice conditions are good and slush is at a minimum. Panfish
action has been picking up.

Bridge Bait & Tackle, (715) 762-4108.


Bluegill action was again fairly good on some days in the Cold
Spring area and around Prairie du Chien. Dangerous ice conditions
still exist. On Gremore Lake, some decent crappies and bluegills
have been taken. Only those with air boat or hovercraft can get to
areas like the Tilmont Lake, Mud Slough, the Upper Doubles, and Big
Missouri. Only a few people have been venturing out in boats. A few
sauger were being taken below Lock and Dam No. 9.Turkeys continue
to congregate in large flocks. Many “shed hunters” have been out
looking for antlers. A lot of bucks have yet to drop their

Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.


Perch action continues to be good in weeds in shallow water.
Crappie and bluegill action is starting to improve.

Nelson’s Choice Bait and Tackle, (715) 369-1900.


There’s decent crappie action right now in the Rice Lake area,
but it requires some work. Fish from 4-7 a.m., or 5:30-8 p.m. The
crappies are moving, so be prepared to drill lots of holes.
Electronics are a necessity. Fish 20 feet over weeds or cribs. You
may get some small bluegills in shallow weeds on a waxie or

Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.

J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.


The panfish bite has not been great, but it is improving, with
crappies leading the way. Look for crappies in deep water, where
they will suspend at varying depths over cover. You also can try
shallower (5-10 feet) water in and around weeds. Use a crappie
minnow, and rely on electronics. Perch are slower to bite than the
crappies, but definitely more active than the bluegills. That will
change soon.

St. Germain Chamber of Commerce, (715) 477-2205.


Bluegills and crappies have been going pretty well throughout
the area, with Big Long Lake being one of the better bluegill
lakes. The crappies are suspended. Look for the panfish bite to
improve as winter wanes and the weather warms.

Spooner Sports, (715) 635-6500.


Yellow perch running 7-9 inches have been caught at Sawyer
Harbor. Small pike were hitting near Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay. A
few more fishermen were out near the Stone Quarry and Bluff Drive
(the access to the ice from Birmingham’s is blocked by an ice

Stevenson Pier Mini Mart, (920) 824-5222.


Crappies are still active and are suspended over deeper water
anywhere from 1 foot off of the bottom to right under the ice. Use
electronics to find them. As March goes on, look for them to be
suspended higher and higher in the water column. Use rosie reds on
small ice jigs, or try grubs or spikes.

Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.

Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573.

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