BEAVER DAM / FOX LAKE AREA
Anglers found 11 to 14 inches of ice on Fox Lake last week, and guys were getting out just fine. Fishermen were catching a few perch and walleyes on Beaver Dam Lake.
Nehls’ Fish Tales, (920) 520-0015.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Recent frigid temperatures improved ice conditions on area lakes. Most of the small lakes have 7 to 10 inches of ice. Some areas on large, deep lakes just recently froze over and may have 2 to 4 inches of ice. These areas might be hard to detect with the snow cover. If venturing out to unfamiliar areas, use a spud bar to check the ice as you walk out, wear a life jacket or floating suit and safety picks, and bring a throw cushion.
Bluegill action was best around green weeds in 8 to 15 feet of water. On some lakes, anglers did best in 20 to 25 feet of water. A flasher is needed to catch these fish as often they are suspended above the bottom. Wax worms, red or white spikes, mousies, and wigglers work best. Plastics such as Wedgies, Duppies, Ice Mites, and Mustache worms worked, as well. Crappies were most active during early morning hours or just before dusk. Look for them suspended above green weeds or wood in 8 to 15 feet of water, often just a few feet below the ice.
Perch will be found in deeper water tight to the bottom. Jigging with Ratfinkees or tungsten ice jigs baited with spikes will produce. A small jigging spoon loaded with spikes or a piece of fathead minnow will attract aggressive perch.
Northern pike action was best around weedbeds or along drop-offs. Tip-ups rigged with a heavy fluorocarbon leader, No. 6 treble hook, and baited with a golden shiner or sucker will produce the most action. Try adding beads and a small spinner blade to the leader. Place your bait just above the weeds for best results.
Walleyes were found around shallower weed flats or rock bars during dark hours. Otherwise, look for them in 18 to 25 feet of water. Tip-ups rigged with a fluorocarbon leader, No. 10 red or gold treble, and baited with a golden shiner, sucker, or two large fatheads are working.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
Ice now covers the whole Madison chain. On Lake Mendota, guys looking for perch off of Governor’s Island found 4 to 5 inches of ice, but they only found a few fish. On Lake Monona, anglers are fishing Monona Bay, the Triangle, Squaw Bay, and Turvilles Bay. Action on Mud Lake is a lot slower than it was earlier in the year. On Lake Waubesa, anglers off of Rockford Heights were catching a few perch up to 11 inches. They also found some walleyes on the main basin, too, but nothing overly big. Perch have been caught on the main basin of Lake Kegonsa, but with no big catches.
D&S Bait & Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
SAUK CITY AREA
Guys are catching trout on Devils Lake through 9 to 10 inches of ice. They are jigging spoons with minnow heads, or using tip-ups to catch browns running 13 to 15 inches. The limit is three per day. Bluegills and crappies are hitting on Crystal Lake, where there is a solid 10 inches of ice. Sloughs on the Wisconsin River have seen mostly panfish action, but a few pike were being caught on tip-ups. Trappers have been getting a lot of coyotes on cable restraints, while hunters are piling them up by using electronic calls.
Wilderness Fish and Game, (608) 643-5229.