Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – December 12th, 2014

It’s been cold and snowy, with about 16 inches of snow on the ground in some places. The and archery deer-hunting season continues throughout the area. Wardens and rangers have noticed less hunting activity this year, possibly due to snowy conditions, a smaller deer herd, and buck-only restrictions across the northern tier of counties. Ice conditions are improving on inland lakes and on Chequamegon Bay. Inland lakes are in great shape.
    Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
    River Rock, (715) 682-3232.

Lake Altoona has about 6 inches of ice in most areas, but driving on the ice is not advised. Ice anglers are enjoying some consistent catches of nice crappies and perch. Bluegill action has improved, as well. Lake Altoona has a daily bag limit of 10 panfish per person. All fish caught and not released are counted toward that person’s bag limit. Anglers have been catching panfish and walleyes at the cribs west of the fishing dock and out in front of the dock at Lake Altoona Lakeside Park.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait, Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.
Bill’s Sport Shop, Chippewa Falls, (715) 723-9033.

We are solidly into our winter season. There is some snow on the ice (much more in the northern part of the county), but with some cold weather we will be building ice thickness. We are seeing a lot of ice anglers at this point. This cold weather is needed to get this ice safer. Snow conditions are OK for the cross-country skiers and the snowshoe enthusiasts. Now, if we can avoid the extreme cold and unreal snow levels of last winter it will be a great winter. As always, use caution in going out. Check the ice thickness if you go anywhere you don’t see the tracks of other anglers. We are getting reports of ice as thick as 8 inches and as thin as 4 inches. Walleye fishing has been OK, but it seems that we are still sorting out the walleye patterns. Evenings have been good, but not great, for tip-up fishermen. As usual, shiners are the bait of preference for most anglers chasing walleyes. Set your tip-ups on the edges of drop-offs or weeds and intercept these fish in the evenings as they move in to feed. There have not been many anglers willing to get out to deeper water yet until we get some more ice thickness.
There has been some northern pike action on a daily basis, with larger shiners working best. These fish have been in the weeds. Many of the smaller, darker, more fertile lakes have been productive.
Panfish action has been a little slow for the same reason as the walleyes – we just have to locate the fish. Waxies have been producing some perch in the deeper weeds. The crappies are in deeper water and haven’t been found yet for the most part.
    Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.

Whitefish, perch, and walleyes are hitting on the east shore, where the action has been pretty good off of Lipsky’s in Dykesville. Otherwise, there hasn’t been much going on. Ice fishermen are waiting for better conditions. Nothing was happening on the Fox River or the west shore of Green Bay last week. Inland fishing reports from Shawano Lake and the Machickanee Flowage were scarce.
    Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.

Ice conditions and fishing success are improving at almost the same rate, but it is still early and all anglers should use extreme caution when going on the ice. Walleye fishing is good in 4 to 15 feet of water along weedlines, shorelines, and in bays. Suckers, fatheads, and shiners on tip-ups are producing the most catches, but Jigging Rapalas and other spoons also are producing fish. Walleye anglers, please note that the Chippewa Flowage closed to walleye fishing for the winter beginning Nov. 30. Northern pike action is good to very good and they bite all day. Work weedlines in 4 to 15 feet of water with suckers and shiners on tip-ups. Anglers report that largemouths are active and hitting suckers along weedlines in 5 to 10 feet of water.  Crappie fishing is fair to good, with fish suspending over deeper water. Use minnows, waxies, and small plastics. Look for bluegills around weeds in 4 to 18 feet of water. Waxies, leaf worms, and small plastics will all catch those bluegills.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.

Ice is building on lakes throughout the area, with 5 to 6 inches being reported. Bluegills are being caught on Lake Noqueby, but they are running small. Walleyes have been biting on Noqueby at dusk. Fishermen are starting to go out on Caldron Falls and High Falls flowages, but there have been no reports of fish yet. The boat launch on Caldron Falls is iced in. Ice fishermen are frequenting the south bay. Woods Lake is frozen over.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.

While many sportsmen spent the last weekend of November chasing the mythical northern Wisconsin white-tailed deer, others actually set their sights on the continually improving ice conditions and the (in most cases) much-easier-to-find fish underneath said ice. Crappies action is very good. While early ice is typically tip-up time for most anglers, it’s been the crappies that have been providing the best action. Tip-downs baited with small minnows or rosies have been doing very well. No. 8 rockers tipped with slivers of Chena bait or plastics and slow dropped as the wind allows, has also been hot. A measured 16-inch crappie was iced last weekend. Most crappies being caught have been in the 10- to 12-inch range. Bluegills action is very good. They are  holding a little shallower than the crappies – in 5 to 8 feet. Small tungsten jigs tipped with single waxies, spikes, or red, purple, or black plastics are best. Largemouth bass action has been very good. They are not a typically targeted species by ice fishermen, but they are active right now. Use tip-ups rigged with shiner tops, though Jigging Rapalas, spoons, and even small ice jigs tipped with waxies have not been safe from bass in weedy bays in 5 to 10 feet of water. Walleye action has been good to very good. During the early morning or at dusk, use tip-ups with chubs, shiners, or suckers for walleyes. Jigging Raps tipped with the heads of fatheads on the middle hook have been scoring walleyes of 22 to 26 inches. Northern pike action has been good. Some areas could be better, but the bass seem to be beating the pike to the tip-ups. Good numbers of pike in the upper 20s are hitting all over. Use big shiners, chubs, or suckers on  wire leaders with No. 6 or No. 4 trebles. Hold 12 to 18 inches off of the bottom.  Perch action has been good to fair. Where good (flowages), big perch to 13 inches on fatheads are found along drowned roots. On the natural lakes, the action is spotty, but typically nice perch gave been found in 6 to 8 feet of water and weeds.
Ice thickness continues to grow. Most areas were reporting 7 to 8 inches last week, with some areas over 10 inches.
    Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.

With 4 to 5 inches of ice on most lakes across the region, the ice-fishing season has begun for many hard-water anglers. However, some of the larger lakes have only an inch or two of ice, and early season ice is quite variable, so all ice fishermen should use caution. Ice picks and a spud are a must, and no motorized vehicles are recommended. Most early ice anglers target walleyes, and tip-ups are usually the gear of choice. Success so far has been generally good, with many anglers finding walleyes on the gravel/rock drop-offs and mud flats in 4 to 7 feet of water. Suckers and large fatheads have been the best baits, and the hour or so before dark has produced the best action.
    Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
    Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.

The area has approximately a “crusty” inch of snow on the ground. Wildlife viewing should be good in the coming days, especially for eagles, foxes, and coyotes feeding on remnants from the gun deer season. Ice conditions vary across the county. You will find several lakes with ice fishermen walking out to take advantage of the early ice. There are still many good days of grouse and pheasant hunting, with good numbers of birds in the area.
    Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.

Late-season bowhunters have reported good deer movement and made comments about this being a good time to scout for next year’s deer season. Ice conditions vary widely, with ice thickness reports of 2 to 8 inches. Initial reports show the walleye action to be good, along with some good panfish catches.
    St. Germain Chamber of Commerce, (715) 477-2205.

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