River fishing under way on Mississippi, Lower Wisconsin
Lake trout bobbing on ice up north is done. The ice is candled
through in spots. The snow cover on top has melted quite a bit and
slush is a problem. The ferry started up last weekend. There will
still be people walking off the ice road beach, and Red Cliff, but
machine travel is no longer advisable. The ice is still variable
and rotten in spots; extreme caution must be exercised. From the
Sioux River up past Van Tassel’s Point and to the south end of
Bayfield, the ice is thin and unsafe. The south channel proper is
open. There are people walking off the river mouths. In the bay
proper from Washburn, past Houghton Point all the way to Long
Island, and straight back in Bodin’s, the ice is 8-10 inches thick.
People are still taking machines out to deeper water (50-80 feet)
for lake trout, as well as fishing the shorelines and channel edges
for splake and mixed bag catches. Guys out deep are picking up
lakers and a few whitefish as well as some salmon, browns, splake,
and herring. In the bay proper between Ashland and Washburn, the
fishing has been slow. There are a few fish being caught here and
there around the bay, but a little more warm weather and melt water
Inland lake fishing has still been going well. People are
finding panfish both in deep water, and on some of the smaller
lakes there are still some fish in the weeds.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Panfishing action is decent. Ice conditions are still OK, with
some slush forming. Right now, with fairly thick ice, you can
expect panfish to be high on the water column, trying to find more
oxygen. Some fish are right under the ice. Start out by
concentrating on shallower weedy beds and fish in 4-9 feet of water
with waxies, wigglers, or spikes. Crappies will be somewhat deeper
– add minnows for the crappies. The perch can be shallow or deep.
Check the weeds first, then move out over mud flats.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides Choice, (715) 477-2248.
Warm and sunny weather, followed by more than 12 inches of snow
last week, made for some sloppy ice conditions. Vehicle and ATV
travel was nearly impossible, and very few anglers have been out
the past few days. Panfish anglers had been having some decent
success on perch, with a few limits of 8- to 9-inch fish being
reported. Crappie and bluegill action has been slow. Action and
travel conditions will improve with some warmer weather.
Pastika’s Sporting Goods, (715) 634-4466.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
LA CROSSE AREA
Ice conditions in the La Crosse area are very poor and
dangerous. Any type of travel on the remaining frozen waters is
strongly discouraged. Most landings below the lock and dams on the
Mississippi River are open, and walleye action has been moderate to
good during the past week. However, the water clarity is quickly
diminishing with the spring thaw, and water levels and flow are
expected to increase accordingly. In nearby Monroe County, most
fishermen have switched from ice fishing for panfish to fishing
inland streams during the catch-and-release trout season. Large
flocks of turkeys can be seen feeding along field edges and
Schafer s Bait Livery, (608) 781-3100.
D&J Riversports, (608) 783-3349.
Bob s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
In Sheboygan, Washington, and eastern Fond du Lac counties, ice
conditions deteriorated significantly and are unsafe. Trout streams
were experiencing high run-off, but could become fishable this
week, depending on rainfall.
In Ozaukee County, at the Port Washington power plant, a few
brown trout and steelhead have been caught on spawn sacs.
In Milwaukee, shore anglers fishing beneath the Hoan bridge and
up the Menomonee River near MMSD have been taking a few browns on
spawn sacs or minnows, and by casting spoons. The Milwaukee River
is high, with less-than-ideal conditions. Flows on Oak Creek and
the Menomonee River, however, are improving, and there have been a
few reports of steelhead. When weather permits, boaters near the
Oak Creek Power Plant continue to catch good numbers of browns.
The Root River in Racine is still very high and muddy, making
fishing extremely difficult. The steelhead facility opened March
In Kenosha, parts of the small boat harbor are open and
accessible to shore anglers. Steelhead and browns should be in the
area. Try fishing a spawn sac under a bobber or tube jigs tipped
with wax worms.
Waukesha County lakes are beginning to open up. Shallow bays are
attracting bluegills. Watch for crappies to start staging near
drop-offs as ice clears off. Popular lakes for this early crappie
fishing are Nagawicka, Lac La Belle, and Okauchee.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith s Bait Shop, Delafield, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
The ice on lakes Winnebago, Poygan, and Butte des Morts is
honeycombed, with scattered open water areas. The ice is out again
on the Fox River in Omro. Anglers were catching some nice walleyes
on Lake Winnebago and on the Fox River.
Fox River Bait & Tackle, (920) 233-7409.
Trip’s, (920) 795-4163.
Kiesow’s Landing, (920) 836-2590.
Ice fishing changed a lot last week. The shorelines have been
getting bad on all Dane County lakes. Monona Bay opened up a lot
last week. There was a lot of open water on Mendota, but there was
ice on the university shoreline. A lot of anglers are heading to
the rivers where they’re catching small male walleyes.
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
Late-season panfishing is picking up on inland lakes. Be careful
on Peshtigo River flowages; Wisconsin Public Service is drawing
down Caldron Fall Flowage 4 feet in anticipation of spring runoffs.
This will increase the flow of water and most likely cause weak ice
on Caldron and the flowages downstream.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Pete s Sport Shop, (715) 582-3681.
Weather and fishing were great over the weekend; it was warm
enough to push the snow down so travel on the ice got better and
the fish responded. Bluegill action has been good to very good in
6-10 feet and near cabbage. Small “dot” jigs and No. 12 Marmoska
jigs tipped with mousies have worked the best. Try Minocqua,
Gunlock, Pickeral, Carrol, Big Arb (sunfish), Palmer, and Lost
lakes. Perch action has been very good over mud to 26 feet deep,
with wigglers by far the best bait. The deep perch have averaged
8-9 inches. Larger fish (but fewer) are in weeds on tip-downs; use
large fatheads or small shiners. Try Minocqua, Big Arb, Little Arb,
and Big St. Germain. Crappies are showing up in bays. Use tip-downs
with minnows, or jigs with plastic, chena, or waxies in 8-12 feet.
You must be near standing weeds.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AREA
Panfishing in the Prairie du Chien area slowed down due to poor
ice conditions. Anglers are urged not to go onto the ice. Gremore
Lake has a lot of open water now, and the Ambro Slough opened up
for access to areas like Tilmont Lake, Mud Slough, the Upper
Doubles, and Big Missouri. Very few anglers have been on Spring
Lake because the ice is unstable there, too. There has been little
fishing on the Sturgeon Slough complex off Hwy. 18 between the
bridges. Most of the boat landings in the area are open. At the
Falling Rock/Gordon’s Bay landing, many anglers are trying their
luck for walleyes at the dam, but action has been slow. Some
walleye anglers are finding fish scattered throughout the upper
portions of Pool 9. Most are vertical jigging with minnows.
Stark s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.
Good panfishing opportunities exist for the next several weeks.
Ice travel is still excellent, but scattered areas of slush exist
on most lakes. Perch and bluegill action has been good near
weedlines and in 8- to 10-foot bays with scattered weeds. Most
anglers are having the best action with wax worms and small rocker
jigs. The best panfishing of the winter season will be coming
toward the end of March and into early April. Tip-downs baited with
small fatheads are catching a few crappies.
Nelson’s Choice Bait and Tackle, (715) 369-1900.
RICE LAKE AREA
Ice conditions are still OK, and panfishing action has been
good. More and more anglers are going out as the area starts to get
warmer weather and sunnier days. Fish bluegills in shallow bays
around weeds. Use a waxie on ultra-light tackle. Good numbers and
decent sizes are being caught. Crappie action has been pretty good,
with crappies still over deep water, a couple feet off the bottom.
Look for mud flats, and use a small minnow, or a couple of waxies
on a jig.
Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
ST. GERMAIN AREA
Ice conditions are still acceptable, but there is some slush.
For bluegills and perch, fish 4-9 feet of water, using light tackle
and small jigs or hooks. Waxies are good, and you can also use
spikes or wigglers. Crappies will be a little deeper. Fish right
outside the weedlines, and over mud bottoms for crappies. Use a
crappie minnow. Usually, the warmer the day, the better the action.
Sunny afternoons can be productive for panfish.
St. Germain Chamber of Commerce, (715) 477-2205.
SAUK CITY AREA
Ice fishing is over with, but anglers are starting to catch
walleyes below the Prairie du Sac dam on jigs and Twister
Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-2433.
Ice fishing continues to be good, and right now crappies are
hitting in about 12 feet of water 1-3 feet off the bottom. The best
bite has been when there is some cloud cover. Move around to stay
on active fish. The game fish season remains open on the Wisconsin
River system. Right now is one of the best times for lunker
northern pike through the ice. Find a shallow, weedy bay,
preferably on the northern shore of a lake. Set tip-ups in about
3-5 feet of water with the bait suspended right under the ice. The
river walleye run has just started to get going. Use jigs and
fatheads in the holes on the outer bends.
Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.
Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573
WOLF RIVER SYSTEM
Last week the Wolf River was just starting to give anglers room
to launch boats in the Fremont area.
Chico’s Landing, Orihula, (920) 446-3345.
Ma’s Bait, Fremont, (920) 446-2444.
Cash’s Shop of Bait, (920) 982-4802.