Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Lack of safe ice holding fishermen back in most areas of the state


A few guys are poking around on some inland lakes on 3-5 inches
of ice, but conditions were not good last week. Guys were taking
boats out on Chequamegon Bay last week, and they’re doing very well
on splake and browns. One guy caught an 8-pound whitefish last
week. There are a few people trolling, but most are anchoring and

Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.

Outdoor Allure, (715) 373-0551.


Anglers are fishing all over Fox Lake, where there was 3-5
inches of ice last week. They were catching northern pike,
crappies, and perch. The ice conditions on Beaver Dam were very
iffy late last week, but if anglers could get on, they were
catching walleyes and northern pike.

Phil & Sons Tackle, (920) 885-6766.


The big lake is still open, and guys are out fishing walleyes
and ciscoes from their boats, with the ciscoes providing the best
action. Anglers are still waiting for some cold temperatures and

North Bay Sport, (920) 294-6462.


Anglers were reporting 4-6 inches of ice on most lakes as of
late last week, but anglers are still being warned to check for ice
thickness as they move around. Trout Lake was still open as of late
last week. Wind at night has kept the ice from setting up. Walleye
action has been decent on lakes where anglers can get out.
Panfishing action has been spotty.

Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce, (800) 466-8759.

Northern Highland Sports, (715) 385-2134.


The ice on the Chetek chain is a lot safer now, with a good 4-7
inches of ice safe enough to walk on. No driving is suggested;
there are ice heaves with open water around them. The fishing is
going well on the chain, with the best action being the bluegills
and crappies.The best place seems to be the north end of Prairie
Lake. There also has been great northern pike action going on in
the shallow bays. Get there early. There have been some 40- to
42-inchers measured and released. The walleye action has been good,
with not many big ones, but fishermen are getting some eaters where
they can find bait fish.

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

Up-Der North Guide Service, (715) 829-9477


Lake Altoona had 5-6 inches of ice last week, but it had up to 9
inches the week before. A lot of guys won’t start fishing until
they can drive out or put shacks out. Walking can be a little

Gordy’s Hardware Hank, (715) 726-2515.

Buroker’s Taxidermy, Bait & Tackle, (715) 835-0847.


As of the middle of last week, rain, warmth, fog, and wind had
caused the ice to not only honeycomb, but become thin both from the
top down and from down up on area waters. There are lakes that have
opened in channel areas on the chain. There is standing water, and
while there may be some very shallow back bays with thicker ice,
the fish won’t be there, and even getting out can be dangerous. Be
forewarned about conditions. Locals and visitors alike need to be
safe, not sorry. Stay posted on ice conditions, and you should
always check ahead before going out.

Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.


A few folks were still getting out on the east end of Shawano
Lake; Cecil Bay still had 5 inches of ice late last week, and
that’s about the only place anyone is getting out safely. Fish were
biting all over the area, but then the ice disappeared. Everyone is
waiting for cold weather.

The Sportsman, (920) 734-3299

Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934


Anglers were getting on most of the area lakes as of late last
week. They were finding 4-8 inches of ice on most lakes. Walleye
action has been very good; they’re coming in shallow during the
evening. Northern pike are turning on pretty well and it sounds
like crappies and bluegills are just getting started.

Pastika’s, (715) 634-4466.

Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.


The ice is very slippery on the Holcombe Flowage. It has been
just warm enough to melt a film of water, then it freezes at night.
Most guys are seeing 4-6 inches of ice, and they’re catching
bluegills on waxies or spikes, and northern pike on shiners. One
guy brought in a 40-incher last week. There are a few walleyes
being caught, with more coming by jigging than on tip-ups. They’re
also finding a few crappies; they’re holding close to the

Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.


In Sheboygan, there was some ice on the upper reaches of the
Sheboygan River. In Port Washington, shore-fishing was slow. The
discharge at the power plant has been turned off, and anglers were
only finding a few browns. In Milwaukee, flows are good on the
Milwaukee River. Anglers at the lakefront were catching a few
browns at the Summerfest grounds and at Jones Island. Boaters are
finding good numbers of browns in the harbor. In Racine, the Root
River is down and is fishable again, and anglers are catching
browns and steelhead in the parks. In Kenosha, most action has been
in the small boat harbor for browns and steelhead on spoons and

DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.

Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.

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


There isn’t a great deal of ice around. A few bays on the west
side of Lake Winnebago still had ice that anglers could walk on,
but they were down to 3 inches late last week. Perch action has
been fast and furious on those bays, though. They’re not all
keepers, but anglers are catching fish. The Fox River is wide open
and anglers are catching small walleyes in the river. Guys were
fishing right off the bridge in Oshkosh with Wolf River rigs and
were catching walleyes. Ice conditions on Lake Butte des Morts is
not good. There is a lot of open water in popular fishing spots. On
Lake Poygan, ice was still OK for walking, and guys were catching a
few perch on the south end. In the southwest corner of the lake
they were catching a few walleyes and some nice northern

Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.

Kiesow’s Landing, (920) 836-2590.


A few fellows were getting on the ice last week, but things
really aren’t that safe. Bluegills were hitting on Lake Monona and
Lake Waubesa. There was still a lot of open water on Monona and
Mendota last week. Anglers were talking about taking their boats
out in search of perch. There was some ice on Cherokee Marsh. Ice
conditions should improve in the near future. Call ahead for ice

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

Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.


Ice conditions were very iffy in the Marinette area late last
week, and the forecast called for rain, and that would make bad ice
conditions even worse. Call ahead for ice reports. Anglers are
fishing steelhead in open water on the lower Menominee River, and
they’re catching a few fish there.

MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.

Pete’s Sport Shop, (715) 582-3681.


Walleye fishing is very good. Some bites have slowed, but new,
previously unfished areas were producing well. Some very nice fish
were being caught, with many fish in mid 20-inch range, with a 27-,
28-, and 301/4-incher recorded last week. Most larger fish were
caught on tip-ups and wild shiners, but on some lakes suckers seem
to work better. Anglers working No. 5 Jigging Raps reported good
action on fish that moved into weed pockets in 6-9 feet. The best
lakes included Minocqua, Big St. Germain, Willow Flowage, and
Rainbow Flowage. Northern pike fishing is very good, with good
numbers of 24- to 28-inch fish coming from bays on the Minocqua
chain. Crappie, bluegill, and perch fishing has been good, with
perch leading the way. The snow was off the lakes, so all the area
needs is three to four days of super cold weather to really build
the ice. The area had 10 inches of ice on Lake Tomahawk’s east bay
and 12 inches on Lake Minocqua’s Stack’s Bay (east end) late last

Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.


With the warmth, the rain, and the foggy conditions, ice has
deteriorated in the Rice Lake area. Even knowledgeable locals who
love to ice fish took off a few days last week. Don’t take any
chances. Ice anglers should not only catch fish, but to do so in a
completely safe environment. Always check ahead before going out,
any time of the season.

Rainbow Ace, (715) 234-8116.

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


There had been a ton of rain in the area recently. Where there
had been up to 5 inches of ice, the lakes had about an inch of ice
late last week. Anglers were fishing open water below the dam in
Prairie du Sac, and they were catching a few walleyes, but many of
them were smaller. Pheasant hunting was still going pretty well,
and there are a few birds left on public hunting grounds in the
area for those who are willing to work for their birds.

Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-2433.


Ice depths ranged from 4-8 inches on most area lakes last week.
Yellow Lake had 8 inches and anglers were catching a few walleyes,
but the fish were skittish because there was no snow on the ice.
Big Clam were giving up some panfish and northern pike.

Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports, (715) 349-2400.

Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.


Ice was a scarce commodity last week, so a few guys put boats in
and fished the Sturgeon Bay canal for whatever they could

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


Be cautious. Even if the ice looks safe, it might not be so. In
addition to recent warmer temperatures, rains have pushed the water
levels up, and in some areas there are several feet of open water
between the shoreline and the ice, making it unsafe to even get
out. Several reports from local anglers indicate seeing open water
and honeycombing ice in many areas. The good news is that this is
an opportune time to enjoy some very late-season open-water fishing
if you’re so inclined, and if you still have a boat available. Look
for areas of open water by looking around bridges and/or below the
dams. These are areas with current that can provide access for
fishing, and, with the warm weather, anglers could get into some
fantastic late-season walleye fishing. Presentations should be
simple and slow. A jig and minnow is all you need. You could also
be lucky enough to hook into some crappies or nice northern

Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.

Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573.

Share on Social


Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles