Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – January 22nd, 2016
Look for suspended crappies over 15 to 20 of water feet on Bear Trap Lake, Balsam Lake, Big Round Lake, and North Twin Lake. Northern pike seem to be biting everywhere, and sunfish can be had in 8 to 12 feet on Big Round, Bear Trap, and Loveless Lake. Spoons or shiner minnows on dead sticks are producing walleyes in 10 to 12 feet at Big Round and 15 to 20 feet on North Twin. The north end of Lake Wapogasset is giving up panfish and walleyes in 18 to 20 feet.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
The Ashland area received 3 to 4 more inches of fresh snow during the last couple of days, with more on the way. We went into the deep freeze recently. Conditions were kinda iffy prior to the cold weather arriving. We are fishing, but people need to walk out onto the ice; no machines.
Some guys were out in the channel a week ago. They were on foot; quite a long hike. Anglers caught some fish off the coal dock the other day, including brown trout, whitefish, and smallmouth bass, mostly using shiners.
A few anglers have been working the small inland pothole lakes, and we’re starting to see the first signs of ice forming out on the big lake. As far as the inland lakes go, folks have been fishing them and having some luck catching panfish such as crappies and bluegills. Caution is urged, however.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754
River Rock, (715) 682-3232
Ice thickness is improving on lakes in the area, but it still varies quite a bit on the large lakes. Work the shallow to mid-depth weeds for walleyes on Shell Lake during low-light periods. Crappies and sunfish can be had on Staples Lake in 12 to 14 feet and Upper Turtle Lake in 8 to 14 feet.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
EAGLE RIVER AREA
This cold weather is a gift for all of us, as it is firming up and thickening the ice significantly. This is absolutely great! With ice getting thicker, now it is tolerating machines on most lakes – just what the doctor ordered for the area. In general, the fishing has been good, with a lot of people using the ice at this point. With little ice down south, a good number of anglers came up from lower regions this last weekend to enjoy getting outdoors. Look for ice in the range of 4 inches on the bigger lakes to 8 inches (or even more) on the smaller lakes.
Walleye fishing has been pretty good, with a number of good-sized fish having been caught in the last week or so. As usual, the best action is in the evening and after dark. Medium shiners have been the bait of choice for the majority of anglers, with suckers coming in second. The shiners seem to work best, especially on the darker water lakes such as the Eagle River chain. Action has been good there, with Scattering Rice, Catfish, and Cranberry all producing fish. Some of the bigger lakes are now producing fish also, now that we can get out on these lakes. The best general advice that we can give you is to look for weeds wherever you are fishing. Most anglers start in the evenings at the deep edge of the weeds and move shallower after dark as the fish move into the weeds to feed.
Northern pike fishing with tip-ups has been pretty good, with all lakes producing well. Try some of the small lakes for good action on a daily basis. In general, large shiners work best on these lakes, set under tip-ups in the deeper region of the weeds. Good numbers, and some nice fish have been reported in the past week.
Panfish action is good also, with bluegills and perch being caught in the weeds everywhere. The bluegills are shallower in these weeds and are being caught on waxies or spikes and teardrop jigs. Perch are a little deeper in the weeds, especially the larger fish. They can be caught on waxies and minnows both. You will occasionally have perch “bothering” your walleye tip-ups as you fish with shiners for walleyes. Crappies are starting to be caught as we can now move deeper out on better ice to the holes on the chain. Crappie minnows are by far the best, and remember to search vertically for these guys, as they will quite often be off the bottom.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804
Walleyes are being caught in 15 to 17 feet of water on Nelson Lake, Grindstone Lake, Round Lake, and Lake Lac Courte Oreilles. Nelson also is giving up bluegills and crappies in 10 feet of water, while Round Lake is a safe bet for perch and bluegills in 18 to 20 feet of water. ATVs are now being used on several lakes, while anglers continue to walk on others.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992
IRON COUNTY AREA
Walleyes, crappies, and bluegills are all active on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage, where ice conditions continue to improve. Bluegills and northern pike are hitting on most smaller area lakes.
Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123
Ice conditions were not good last week in Marinette County. Ice was just starting to form on inland lakes in the area when Mother Nature dumped 8 to 12 inches of snow in the county, halting the ice-making process. Some of the smaller lakes and bays had up to 4 inches, but most of the ice was less that 3 inches thick. The Menominee River had a very thin layer of ice at the boat ramps. A few boaters have been able to push through the skim ice and access the water. They reported catching fair numbers of perch and walleyes. Bluegills have been caught on some of the smaller lakes, but extreme caution should be used. Coyote hunting has been slow and hunting pressure light.
Waterfront Sport Shop, (906) 424-4108
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Air temps shot down into the negative degree marks, enough to expect a good inch-plus of ice to be made per day over those five-plus days. Soon some lakes become safe for vehicle travel, dispersing the fishing pressure and adding new water to fishing reports.
Walleye: Fair. Action slowed as the week went on. That big fish from last week (14.94 pounds) was followed by a reported 31-incher released the next day. Dusk has been best, but the window of activity was small, giving anglers just 30 to 45 minutes of action. Suckers on tip-ups over 18 to 24 feet of sand grass on the deep lakes has been the best.
Crappies: Fair. Anglers have to work for the best bites. Tip-down action will slow with the recent cold. Try jigging Lethal Cecils tipped with waxies or plastics on rockers (white, yellow, and silver). Anglers are seeing and marking lots of tight-lipped crappies.
Northern pike: Fair. Less active than weeks past and the bite windows are smaller. Suckers and shiners on tip-ups have worked the best. Some nice fish (30 inches plus) have come in, but not very many.
Bluegills: Fair. Anglers are working to keep half limits of 7-inch fish. There are small pockets of biters, but lots of lookers. The tungsten jig flies have continued to produce when tipped with a single spike or waxie.
Yellow perch: Fair. A few anglers are venturing out on safe ice over deeper water (18 to 24 feet) where they are finding some perch cruising sand grass. Try Hali jigs, Perch Talkers, Flash Champs, and Kastmasters tipped with red spikes. In shallower areas up to 10 feet, try small minnows.
Largemouth bass: Poor. Cold temps put the clamps on this species. Look for action to pick back up with warmer weather.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The recent cold snap has helped increase ice depths on most lakes across the region, but ice conditions still remain variable and recreationalists should be very cautious when venturing out on any northern lakes. Most lakes have around 7 inches of ice, but undisturbed areas and some spots on the larger lakes have been measured with only 2 to 3 inches of ice. Motor vehicles are not recommended, and ATVs and snowmobiles should only go where ice conditions are known to be thick enough.
The cold weather has also kept ice-fishing pressure at a relatively low level and action has continued to be quite erratic. Walleyes have still been the main species of interest, and most anglers have had a tough time finding active fish. The best success has been on small suckers or large fathead minnows, and fished near breaklines in 5 to 12 feet of water. Cloudy days have produced the best success, with the hour before dark being the prime time to be out. A few panfish anglers have been venturing out and they have seen a little more consistent action than the walleye fishermen. Some good success for perch has been reported, but crappies and bluegills have been a little tougher to find. Perch are still being caught on wax worms and small minnows, and have been found at depths as shallow as 4 feet and out to 15 feet of water. A few nice crappies and bluegills have been found suspended just off the bottom in 15 to 24 feet of water, with wax worms and small minnows producing some fair action at times. The trout lakes continue to see a moderate amount of pressure, and action continues to be fair. The stocked trout have been whittled down quite a bit by the continuous pressure, but some nice browns, rainbows, and brookies are still being caught.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625
The recent cold snap has kept most anglers off the ice, but before it arrived, Fish Lake was kicking out crappies and walleyes in 12 to 14 feet of water. You’ll also want to look to Rice Lake for northern pike action in 5 feet of water or the Park Point area of the St. Louis River for active walleyes.
Chalstrom’s Bait (218) 726-0094