Ice conditions on Chequamegon Bay just aren’t improving, but once
the area gets some cold weather and windless days, anglers will be
walking on ice in no time. The good news is that the inland lakes
have ice, and folks have been out fishing. The first-ice bite for
walleyes has been pretty decent on Namekagon and the Pike Lake
chain, and Middle Eau Claire has been OK. Suckers on tip-ups have
been doing most of the damage. Crappies on Namekagon are going
again, as they are on a lot of the smaller inland lakes. Use small
jig and plastic combos or tip-downs with a crappie minnow. Northern
pike are hitting all over.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BEAVER DAM / FOX LAKE AREA
Fox Lake had frozen over, but then partially opened with the rain
and warm weather. As of Dec. 20 there was 3 to 4 inches of ice in
the Government Marsh area and several of the bays. Walleye action
has been good for anglers who are going out. A few bluegills and
crappies have been caught in the “jug area,” but use caution out
there. There have been a few reports of northern pike action around
the town park off of Blackhawk Trail.
Tim Nehls’ Fish Tales Bait, 920) 520-0015.
BIG GREEN LAKE AREA
Any ice that had been on Big Green Lake disappeared with the recent
wind and rain. The water temperature on Big Green was 41 degrees as
of Dec. 21, as gauged by a few fishermen who were looking for
ciscoes over open water.
North Bay Sport & Liquor, (920) 294-6462.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
Most of the area lakes had 6 to 8 inches of ice as of last week,
and fishermen were getting out in most areas. Trout Lake didn’t
close fully until late last week, so be careful when looking at
fishing the bigger lakes. Everyone is still walking onto the
smaller and medium-sized lakes.
Boulder Junction Chamber of Commerce, (800) 466-8759.
Northern Highland Sports, (715) 385-2134.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
Fishermen were walking onto Half Moon Lake and other smaller lakes
in the Eau Claire area last week, but they had to use creepers
because there was no snow covering the ice. Catches were limited to
mostly panfish and small northern pike. Anglers are waiting for
better ice conditions.
Big Mama’s Bait Shop, (715) 231-0839, Menomonie.
Mouldy’s Archery & Tackle, Chippewa Falls, (715)
Bill’s Sport Shop, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033.
DOOR PENINSULA AND KEWAUNEE AREA
Ice conditions were questionable yet late last week on the Green
Bay side of Door County. Anglers should call ahead for ice
conditions, and if you do try venturing out, use extreme caution. A
few anglers were still fishing open-water areas of Little Sturgeon
last week, but catch reports were limited.
Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce hotline, (800) 626-3090.
Algoma Hardware and Sporting Goods, (920) 487-3374.
Deprey’s Kwik Stop, (920) 866-2934.
Stevenson Pier Mini Mart, (920) 824-5222.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Ice ranged from 3 inches to 6 inches last week, so it’s mostly foot
travel only. Anglers on the smaller lakes are sticking pretty much
to back bays and non-current areas, with the larger lakes quite
iffy as you move away from the shoreline. Walleyes are hanging off
of weed edges in 8 to 10 feet of water. Use a small shiner or
sucker under a tip-up. Northern pike are near weeds in 10 feet of
water or less. Use a shiner or sucker under a tip-up for an all-day
bite. Panfish are schooled up in the same general area. Use a waxie
or a crappie minnow hooked to a small jig. Please note that right
now you won’t be able to get to the panfish on the larger lakes,
because the ice is not thick enough where the panfish are
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Guides’ Choice, (715) 477-2248.
Fishermen were starting to get onto most lakes last week. They were
using ATVs on 5 or more inches of ice on all lakes except the
biggest of the lakes. The big lakes finally froze over last week,
but they had just 2 inches of ice off shore last week. Anglers were
fishing the big lakes hard, but close to shore or in the bays where
the ice thickness was more substantial. Walleye action has been
good on the bigger lakes; just use plenty of caution when looking
Pastika’s Sporting Goods, (715) 634-4466.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
LA CROSSE AREA
Lake Onalaska had about 6 to 7 inches of ice on the north side of
the lake last week. Anglers were catching bluegills, crappies, and
some nice perch. Northerns were hitting shiners under tip-ups all
over the lake. The Mississippi River is open at Dresbach, where
fishermen were catching perch near the fishing dam on rosie reds,
and at Trempealeau. There is no snow on the ice, so wear
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait & Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE HOLCOMBE AREA
Lake Holcombe had some ice in the bays as of last week, but the
lake still had some open spots in the middle. Still, a handful of
anglers were getting out with portable shelters and were catching
some pike and walleyes on tip-ups and shiners. The fishing action
has been good; fishermen now just need some ice.
Lake Holcombe Sport Shop, (715) 595-4293.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Ice has started to form on slow-moving stretches of Lake Michigan
tributaries, but fishable waters can be found on most rivers and in
harbors. Port Washington shore fishing in the harbors has been
decent for browns, on shiners under slip bobbers. A few browns also
have been caught on crankbaits. Milwaukee brown trout action in
harbors has been consistent, and browns have been caught on spoons
off of McKinley Pier. When boaters can get out, 3- to 4-pound
browns have been caught on the lake in 40 to 60 feet of water north
of the harbor. In Racine, Root River flows have been low, but brown
trout and steelhead have been caught at Island, Lincoln, and Quarry
Lake parks on flies or on spawn under bobbers.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
The Madison-area lakes had some ice around the edges last week, but
not enough to hold anglers. However, some anglers were fishing for
muskies from boats on Lake Monona (the season closes Dec. 30) and
for northern pike on Lake Mendota.
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
The Marinette area had decent ice on upriver stretches of the
Menominee River last week, where anglers were fishing behind K-Mart
and around the islands for panfish and northern pike.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Despite loosing ice during a couple of rainy days, the following
cold weather has helped build it back up. While there was still
some open water on the larger lakes such as Trout, Fence, Tomahawk,
and others early last week, most lakes were averaging 5 to 9
inches. Reports of cars, vans, and snowmobiles breaking through
have been coming in from the flowages where current will be a
problem. Foot traffic is recommended. Walleye action has been good.
There has been a small window for a hot bite from 5 to 6 p.m. A few
anglers pulling all-nighters are reporting scattered action until
dawn. Jig No. 5 Raps in 6 to 9 feet for active fish. Use tip-ups
baited with wild shiners along weed patches. Pike action has been
good. Use big shiners/suckers for nice pike on tip-ups, or jig No.
4 or No. 5 Pimples tipped with minnow heads. Bluegill action has
been good. Try grubs and plastics in 5 to 8 feet of water around
green weeds. The fish have been staying fairly shallow. Crappie and
perch action has been fair. A few crappies are starting to show up
in the bluegill catches. With little, if any, snow in the forecast,
access should be excellent. Good light penetration during the day
should mean a good ice-fishing holiday.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors Sports Shop, (715) 356-6818.
Captain Hooks, (715) 277-2405.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
Anglers have been fishing off of Devil’s Elbow for about two weeks,
and they’ve been doing well on crappies and bluegills. Last week,
anglers also got onto the bay at Monroe Center. They didn’t go out
too far, though, because they had just 4 inches of ice. The west
side reportedly had open water spots last week, but the entire east
side was frozen over and had 4 to 6 inches of ice. Ice conditions
should continue to improve with colder weather.
Sunrise Bait & Tackle, (715) 886-5440.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
Most of the inland lakes have frozen over and anglers are getting
out, but few reports have come in from fishermen. The ice breaker
has been keeping the harbor open for shipping, so there is no
fishing going on in the bay. The St. Louis River has very little
ice, so there is no ice fishing or boat fishing going on out
Bait Box, (715) 398-3554.
PRAIRIE DU CHIEN AREA
There was no ice that could be deemed safe in the area as of last
week, so there was no ice fishing going on as of Dec. 21. Very few
people were even attempting to fish for walleyes from boats below
the dams on the Mississippi River.
Stark’s Sport Shop, (608) 326-2478.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Most fishermen were reporting 7 to 8 inches of ice on most lakes in
Price County and surrounding areas last week. They’re also catching
walleyes on Butternut Lake in about 10 feet of water, mostly on
small suckers, and walleyes and crappies on different sections of
the North Fork of the Flambeau River.
Bridge Bait & Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
RICE LAKE AREA
Red Cedar and Chetac lakes weren’t ready for ice fishing as of last
week, but most other lakes in the area had 5 to 7 inches of ice,
and those lakes were giving up good catches of panfish. Walleye
action has been good on Rice Lake, and guys were just starting to
get out on Hemlock last week, but were fishing for walleyes close
to shore on 5 inches of ice. Bear Lake near Haugen had fishable
ice, and anglers were finding some panfish action out there.
Rainbow Ace Home Center, (715) 234-8116.
J.C. Bear Paw Co., (715) 236-7300.
SAUK CITY AREA
There is no ice in the area, so anglers are fishing the Lower
Wisconsin River from shore and from boats for walleyes and sauger.
Boat anglers are jigging with minnows or plastics; from shore
they’re casting crankbaits.
Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-2433.
Most of the area’s lakes are covered with 5 to 6 inches of ice, and
anglers are traveling just about anywhere they want by foot. There
are a good number of anglers out and about, and the guys that were
fishing the south end of Big Clam last week were using ATVs to
travel around. Fishing has been good. One guy came in last week
with two big crappies – a 3- and 21⁄2-pounder, but he did not
divulge where they were caught. Another angler brought in a
4-pound, 7-ounce largemouth bass, and some nice walleyes and a few
10-pound have been reported.
Big Mike’s Outdoor Sports, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.
Solid ice conditions – for the most part – in Marathon County have
led to ample fishing opportunities. While anglers have been able to
drive ATVs safely onto the ice in some areas, ice fishermen should
continue to pay heed as current and springs can still lead to
unsafe ice. Panfish activity has been good, with numbers of
bluegills, crappies, and yellow perch being caught. Depths of 3 to
8 feet are holding the most fish, especially when structure such as
wood or weeds is present. Drilling a number of holes in a likely
area before beginning to fish is a good idea. Small jigs tipped
with waxies or panfish-sized plastics have been consistent
fish-catchers, with colors such as gold, orange, and chartreuse
being productive of late. Northern pike activity has been good, and
some nice fish have been released. The increased traffic and
ever-thickening ice has slowed the ultra-shallow bite some, so
begin in depths ranging from 4 to 10 feet. Structure is again the
key to consistency, with weedlines or sharp breaklines good places
to begin. Try tip-ups baited with large golden shiners. For
walleyes, fish during the low-light periods with tip-ups rigged
with sharp treble hooks and suckers or golden shiners. Set up along
the mouths of bays and flats or along points, especially those
adjacent to deeper water.
Hooksetters, (715) 693-5843.
Wisconsin Angling Adventures, (715) 297-7573.
UPPER PENINSULA REPORT
Anglers have been fishing up and down the length of Lake Gogebic
for about three weeks now as they search for walleyes and perch.
Action has been decent for both species.
Bear’s Nine Pines Resort, (906) 842-3361.