Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – March 20th, 2015
This report is about the Ashland side of Chequamegon Bay. The ice fishing is still good, but with temperatures in the 40s and 50s, it won’t last too much longer. This might be
shutting down by this week. Call ahead. Travel conditions on the bay and to points north have been excellent, but the warmer weather forecast for the next week or so will bring some changes. Access points need to be checked carefully.
The large pressure crack that developed out at Second Landing has been an ongoing issue. Anglers should be extremely wary before venturing out from there or using it as a vehicle access point. ATVs are probably the best option now for travel to and from Second Landing. As always, conditions can change rapidly on Lake Superior. For your own safety and especially if you are unfamiliar with the area you will be fishing, check with a bait shop prior to venturing out on any ice.
Things in the bay proper are about the same as they have been, with a mix of perch, smelt, walleyes, and the occasional brown trout. Anglers have been picking up salmon and whitefish out toward the lighthouse, coho salmon in front of the coal dock, and walleyes near Second Landing. Expect the action to pick up quickly as the temperatures warm and fish start moving toward the shallows in the near future.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
The snow may be gone in much of central and southern Wisconsin, but ice fishing is just getting going in the Boulder Junction area as a week of warm weather has cut into snow depths across the area. That just started to make lake travel a little easier as of March 11, when snow drifts that had blocked truck travel on lakes started receding to the point where fishermen could get around with their snowmobiles and ATVs. Panfish action has picked up, along with the temperatures.
Northern Highland Sports Shop, (715) 385-2134.
CHIPPEWA FALLS / EAU CLAIRE / MENOMONIE AREA
Anglers are catching a lot of walleyes and a few northern pike and sturgeon (sturgeon have to be released) on the Red Cedar River below the Lake Menomin dam. The walleyes are running 16 to 28 inches. Panfish also are hitting below the dam. There was still 24 inches of ice on the lake last week, with some water on top of it. A lot of guys are still going on out on Lake Menomin for panfish.
Bait on Broadway, Menomonie, (715) 231-2194.
Buroker’s Taxidermy and Bait, Eau Claire, (715) 835-0847.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We are finally getting some decent weather for the first time in many weeks here in the northwoods. The ice thickness is over 2 feet on many lakes, but deep snow drifts had made travel difficult in some places until the warmer weather hit last week.
Crappie fishing has been good and will improve with our warming March weather. These fish are located in their usual deep holes on most lakes and in the weeds on shallow lakes. Tip-downs rigged with minnows have been the best method for catching crappies. Electronics really help anglers figure out these fish at this time of year, as they can be right on the bottom or suspended many feet off the bottom. Set your minnow a foot or two above the depth you are marking these fish.
Perch action was pretty good last week. Minnows have been a very productive bait for nice perch. Wigglers also have been working well on lakes where perch are hanging over mud flats. Most perch have been caught in the 8- to 15-foot range, but every lake seems to have its own pattern at this time of year.
Bluegill action also has been decent. Waxies have been by far the bait of choice for these fish. You will find bluegills in the weeds and suspended over deep water.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Crappie action is fair to good and improving. Fish are suspending over deeper water, sometimes over structure, so you might find them in a mix of areas. Anglers are making some nice catches once they locate the fish. Baits of choice include minnows, waxies, wigglers, plastics, and Gulp baits on tungsten jigs or plain hooks fished on tip-ups and tip-downs. Jigging Rapalas work well for larger crappies.
Bluegill fishing it getting better, and anglers report some decent action at various depths on flats, weedlines, and cabbage beds.
Perch action also is improving with the weather. Look for perch on mud flats, midlake bars, and along weedlines in midrange depths to deeper water. Use small jigs and jigging spoons tipped with waxies, wigglers, spikes, minnows, or minnow heads.
The Chippewa Flowage had about 22 inches of ice, and crappie anglers are doing well in the deep holes off Popple Island. Anglers less inclined to compete for spots can try the cribs off Pine Point, the shorelines off Menard’s and Moore’s bays, and Blueberry Flats.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Ice depths on most lakes hit 22 inches with the last cold snap prior to last week’s warmer weather. Deep drifts made vehicle travel difficult, however, and snowmobiles remained the best travel method through early last week. That will change as the snow continues to melt.
Panfish action shows signs of improvement, with fair catches of crappies, bluegills, and perch being made last week. Good electronics are a key to finding panfish, and waxies, wigglers, and small minnows are all producing action. Look for panfish action to continue to improve with the longer days and increasing temperatures.
Bridge Bait , (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, (715) 339-3625.
Guys were still driving out on the ice with trucks last week on most lakes. There was 30 inches of ice on Big Clam as of March 12. Panfish action has picked up, and guys are catching bluegills and crappies on most lakes, including Mud Hen and Big Clam.
Big Mike’s, (715) 349-2400.
Fur, Fin and Feathers Sports, (715) 349-8445.