Chequamegon Bay fishing has been improving for all species. Second landing is hot for perch and some walleyes. Look for weeds in 10 to 12 feet, but it might take catching 100 perch to keep 10. Move around to find the larger fish. Fishing off of the lighthouse is productive, and the Ashland side of the pressure crack in 25 to 30 feet is producing nice catches of brown trout, cohos, splake, whitefish, and smelt. Jigging, tip-ups, and dead-sticking shiners or waxies are all working. Whitefish action is very good in 70 to 80 feet from Van Tassel’s to the Apostle Islands.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
In Marinette County, pike anglers from Thompson Park to the south and Pond Road to the north of the Peshtigo Harbor have seen good fishing in 4 to 12 feet of water when using shiners and smelt. Little River remains a hot spot for whitefish, with anglers fishing the trout bar in 38 feet of water. The Hattie Street dam is still producing walleyes; the lack of ice is making fishing difficult.
In Oconto County, whitefish are being caught at the mouth of the Oconto River and out in 28 feet of water on jigs and minnow heads. Anglers at Oconto Park II are going out to Young’s Reef and catching limits of whitefish while employing the jig and minnow presentation. Pike fishermen from the breakwater to Oconto Park II have been having some success on large shiners or smelt in 4 to 10 feet of water. Perch fishing at the Oconto Park II landing has been slow.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Some moderate temps before last week’s cold snap got anglers out on the ice. Many experienced good, though not great, fishing. After the way things were in mid-January, though, things looked pretty darn good. Northern pike fishing has been good and is picking up. Fish of all sizes are hitting large suckers and shiners in weeds of 6 to 12 feet, with larger fish (28 to 34 inches) hanging on deeper edges.
Yellow perch: Good. Weedy bays are seeing good action with the best perch (9 inches) hitting fatheads or large rosies. Over deep mud flats, use wigglers first, followed by red spikes. Use spoons on fast drops to get back down to roaming schools of fish, and to stir up mud to attract attention.
Walleyes: Good. The bite is best at dawn, dusk, and again from 10-11 p.m. Walleyes are becoming active in weeds as shallow as 6 feet and as deep as 14 feet as the sun is going down. Shiners are a top choice in weeds. Jigging spoons, Jigging Raps, and Chubby Darters are working well, also. Try a Slender Spoon or Tumbler jig tipped with a minnow head.
Bluegills: Good. Most action has been in weeds in 8 to 12 feet on small, dark jigs colored purple, black, or red. Mousies, waxies, and spikes crushed on a hook to get the juices flowing are working best. Plastics users found red and maroon the best colors last week. Some bluegills were being caught on clear lakes over sand grass in 14 to 20 feet. Use a No. 4 or No. 5 tungsten jig tipped with a mousie or a red spike.
Crappies: Good. There two places to fish. Weedy bays (standing plants) using Rockers, Moxy jigs, and Cecil jigs tipped with plastics (on Rockers) or waxies (on Moxy and Cecil jigs). For deep, suspended fish, use rosie reds on tip-downs/slip-floats or glow jigs loaded with waxies, in 18 to 30 feet of water. There were no reports of limits, but guys did make nice catches of 10-to 13-inch fish.
With little new snow for the past few weeks, travel conditions are improving, but not everywhere. It’s still mostly truck and snowmobile travel, but with less slush.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Some colder weather is visiting us for a while, but nothing (so far) as bad as last year’s late-winter horrible stuff. The colder weather we got last week did reduce the slush significantly. People are driving now on many lakes, so we can all get around better. Ice is anywhere from 6 inches in current areas on the Eagle River chain to 18 inches on parts of lakes.
Walleye fishing could best be described as spotty. Most anglers report a few fish daily, but not a real concentration of fish that they can find. Tip-ups set with suckers or golden shiners are working best. The usual evening bite isn’t overwhelming this year, but there has been a pretty good late bite well after dark. We have had a few reports of some walleyes caught while jigging for crappies in the afternoons. Northern pike action has been steady and good. Large shiners are working best for these guys, and they always are located near or in some sort of weeds. As a general rule, if you can find some of the deep weeds you will find active northerns.
Panfish action is good, with crappies leading the way. It has been a good winter for these fish. Most of the action has been in deeper water in the holes on the Eagle River chain. Jigging with smaller vertical jigs tipped with waxies has worked best, but there also has been action on tip-downs baited with minnows. Perch action has picked up, with fish feeding on wigglers near the bottom. Bluegills are in the weeds and hitting waxies or spikes. Look for the greenest weeds you can find for these fish.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Walleye action is inconsistent as we near the March 1 close of the game fish season. Anglers are catching fish in 5 to 35 feet on points, rock bars, drop-offs, weed edges, muck/sand flats, cribs, and other structure. The lake and time of day dictate the depths and locations. Look for fish near the bottom and use suckers, shiners, fatheads on tip-ups, jigs, and jigging spoons.
Northern pike fishing is good during the day on weedlines and over cabbage beds in 5 to 20 feet. Suckers and large shiners fished just above the weeds on tip-ups will produce action.
Crappie action is slow to good, with the best fishing in early morning or late afternoon just before dark. Use electronics to locate fish suspending on drop-offs and in deep water. Top bait choices include minnows, rosy reds, waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp baits fished on jigs and jigging spoons, or on tip-ups and tip-downs.
Bluegill anglers report fair to good action over weedbeds, cribs, and on structure in 5 to 30 feet. Use jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp baits – and downsize to improve success.
Perch fishing is also fair to good. Look for fish near the bottom in depths from 6 feet out to deep water. Effective baits include rosy reds, fatheads, waxies, spikes, and plastics fished on jigs, teardrops, and jigging spoons, and various combinations of tip-ups and tip-downs.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Ice thickness has remained in the 12- to 16-inch range on most lakes across the northwoods. Strong winds have been blowing a lot of the snow around. Many lakes had packed or plowed trails that most vehicles could readily access, but the drifting snow closed off some of those trails for a period of time. A few slush areas are being found, and the wind-blown, grainy snow has been bogging down even some four-wheel-drive vehicles. The erratic weather has made for some slow fishing action. Most of the regular walleye anglers have reported inconsistent success, with some decent action about every third day (and in between the cold, windy days). No one tactic or area has been better than the other, as rock bars, gravel drop-offs, weed edges, and muck/sand flats have all been experiencing various levels of success. Panfish action has continued its mid-winter slow period. Most anglers have been moving around in search of active fish.
Bridge Bait, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.
Anglers are still catching fish all over. One guy caught a nearly 2-pound crappie on South Clam. Anglers are catching northerns on Big Clam, and panfish on Viola and Mud Hen. Lake travel is still in good shape.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.