Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – December 25th, 2015
Significant rain on Monday, Dec. 14 took care of most of the ice that was in place in the area. As of late last week, most area lakes were ice-free – even those lakes where thin ice did exist. Cold weather was expected late last week and during the weekend, so there might be a few spots safe enough to walk on early next week.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
Because of the continued warm weather, ice fishing is still on hold.
Very few people are going out fishing right now because they’ve already put their boats away for the winter. Most boats are usually in storage before deer-hunting season, but that wasn’t necessary this winter. However, anglers who have gone out are having good luck while trolling. They are finding a real good mixed bag.
Anglers have been hauling in brown trout, lake trout, and steelhead, as well as smallmouth bass. They are finding them in the same places they would if there was ice. Give the river mouths – like the Sioux and Onion – a try.
There were still some great open-water opportunities out there for those who have not yet put their boat away, or for those who might be thinking of pulling the boat back out.
If you do want to get your fishing fix and have no plans to bring the boat out of storage, there has been decent walleye activity along the Ashland shoreline, with anglers jigging and dragging crankbaits – mostly Rapalas – and using suckers to catch those fish. The Xcel Energy “hot pond” and the coal dock in Washburn are productive places to fish from shore.
Either way it’s definitely time to at least prepare for ice-fishing season. By ensuring your equipment is in working order now, you’ll be
able to head onto the ice when it forms.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754
River Rock, (715) 682-3232
There’s even less ice in this area than a week ago, so there obviously hasn’t been any fishing to report. Most anglers are saying that it would only take a few nights of cold, calm air for walkable ice to take hold on some of the small, shallow lakes and bays, so get ready. Good things could happen quickly with some single-digit overnight lows.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We thought the last report was on the grim side, but this week’s is positively dismal. With warm weather and a lot of rain, some of the lakes that were closed and fishable have actually opened up again. We aren’t expected have any really cold weather, so everyone is going to be pretty bored. Let’s hope that these lakes close up again quickly. We’ve even had a few anglers out open-water fishing for walleyes, but that action was pretty slow. One option is to cast along the shorelines on the bigger lakes where there is a drop-off. Fish there in the evenings and at night with crankbaits for walleyes. They do move in at night to feed, whether there is ice or not. A few anglers have had some nice fish doing that in past years before the lakes iced up. Some bluegills were hitting on the smaller lakes before the rain, so there was a little panfish action going in the weeds in shallower water, but we wouldn’t trust ice at this point, even on the smaller lakes. Just wait until we get a little colder weather and some better ice before venturing out.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804
The limited ice that did exist in some of the shallow bays deteriorated during the past week so the ice-fishing season continues to be on hold. There was more open water than ice as of Dec. 15 throughout the area. The forecast was calling for some cold nights, so perhaps the ice will quickly return.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992
There was no ice in Marinette and Oconto counties last week. Pike fishing has been very good along the weedbeds in the Menominee River and in Green Bay in 10 to 15 feet of water. A few whitefish were being caught in the river, too. Deer numbers are low.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Two consecutive days of rain last week just about melted most fishable ice. Another shot of rain and snow in the middle of last week did away with any thoughts of being on the ice for at least a few days. Call ahead for ice reports this week; things should start tightening up pretty soon.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616
PRICE COUNTY AREA
With the mild weather of the past two weeks, most lakes have lost their ice cover and this put an end to any sort of early season ice fishing. Some of the smaller lakes still held a thin layer of soft ice last week, but it was not even close to a thickness that would support any kind of ice travel. Lower temperatures were predicted for the last weekend and should give the lakes a fresh start on this winter’s ice cover. But, it will take several nights of single-digit low temperatures to get the 3 to 4 inches of ice needed to support a person on foot, so be patient and be careful. With the re-opening of many area lakes, there were a few anglers who took advantage of the situation and gave open-water fishing a try. Conditions have been rather windy and brisk, and success was generally low, with just a few perch, crappies, and small walleyes being caught. Most anglers, though, are waiting for good ice.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625