Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – March 18th, 2016
The ice has started to pull away from shorelines, so most lakes will have to be approached on foot, if at all. Keep an eye on the ice and the weather. Crappies and sunfish are hitting in 8 to 15 feet on the north end of Lake Wapogasset and Loveless Lake. Hit Little Balsam Lake for crappies in 10 to 12 feet, Bone Lake for perch in 25 to 30 feet, and White Ash Lake for sunfish in 6 to 9 feet.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
Bluegills are being caught in 6 to 10 feet on Beaver Dam Lake and Big Round Lake or in 12 feet at Staples Lake. Ice conditions are changing quickly, so ATVs may be out and perhaps even walking might be limited by this weekend, depending on the lake and weather. Call ahead.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We had a great final weekend of the game fish season and ice conditions were the best they had been all season long at that time. We had ice thickness in the 16 to 20 inches then. There are spots in the Eagle River area with thin ice due to moving water and springs. Call for ice reports that could change because of the warm weather.
Bluegill action has started to improve. These fish are being caught suspended in deep water on some lakes and in shallow weeds on other lakes. Many weed beds survived the winter and are still green. Finding these weeds is the key to catching big bluegills on a lot of lakes. Wax worms are working well, along with plastics such as Gulp. Some days you have to experiment with different jig colors and sizes to get the bigger fish. Early morning and late afternoon have been the most productive times of the day.
Perch fishing is also improving. Most big perch have been caught over deep mud flats where they are feeding on wigglers, blood worms and baitfish. Anglers are also getting perch in the shallow weeds on some lakes. You may have to try different baits as these fish get a little moody. Some days wigglers work best; other times minnows or waxies are the way to go.
Crappie fishing has been very good over the last week. These fish can be moody and will test your patience some days. You will find these fish in deep holes on many lakes around Eagle River. Crappies will be anywhere from right on the bottom to suspended at different depths. Anglers are having best success with tip-downs rigged with minnows. Sometimes you will have better luck jigging with wax worms, spikes or wigglers. Crappies are also starting to move into the weeds in the late afternoons.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Grindstone Lake continues to produce perch and bluegills in 10 to 20 feet and anglers are finding suspended crappies over 25 feet or bluegills in the 10- to 12-foot weeds on most lakes. Perch continue to hit in 15 to 20 feet on Round Lake, Lake Lac Courte Oreilles, and the Chippewa Flowage. ATVs were the best mode of travel last week as ice started to pull away from the shorelines on most lakes. Crappie action is a challenge and you have to be on the right lake at the right time for the good bite window. Look for fish suspending over deeper water and be sure to check all depths.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
Guys have been fishing the mouth of the Oconto River to the mouth of the Peshtigo River for pike. Most anglers are fishing in 4 to 12 feet of water using a dead smelt fished on bottom or large shiner minnows. Reports of some very large fish being caught were not verified, but unlike the past few years more anglers were having success. Open water fishing is taking place on the Fishermen’s Walkway below the Hattie Street Bridge with walleye and trout being targeted.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Crappies: Very good. Anglers are finding fish in two types of areas. Weed fish are in 8 to 12 feet and are taking slow dropped Rockers and Lethal Cecils tipped with plastics (a variety of shades of pink were hot recently). Chena, spikes and wax worms are also working. Anglers fishing deeper crappies have had their best success on tip-downs with rosies. Some anglers having success using tungsten jigs to present orange plastic to deep crappies (20 to 30 feet).
Perch: Very good. Fish mud flats in 18 to 30 for nice catches of “eaters” to 11 inches on wigglers or red spikes on Chandelier jigs. These “mud” fish don’t seem to be as interested in minnows, but a few guys do pick up small crappies on minnows/tip-downs, as well as a bonus slab crappie from time to time. Shallower “weed” perch are taking minnows on tip-downs. These plump fish are in weeds of 6 to 10 feet.
Bluegills: Very good. The tungsten “jig flies” continue to be hot for gills tipped with a waxie or spike. Plastics on No. 10 Rockers in darker colors are working. Check shallower water of 8 feet and less. When bite is good, go to larger jigs to discourage smaller fish.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
The Wisconsin River near Nekoosa has been producing a few legal walleyes. Use a jig and a minnow in 12 to 15 feet of water. Lake Necedah has been producing some larger northern pike; panfishing has been slow. Crappies are in 12 feet of water on the Petenwell Flowage. Castle Rock Flowage anglers have been taking lots of short walleyes on tip-downs with larger fatheads. The Wisconsin River below Castle Rock dam has been producing lots of short walleyes. A red hook and split shot has been outproducing jigs. Water temperature is 34 degrees. Mason Lake has been slow for panfishing.
Ice thickness was around 12 inches and deteriorating quickly last week with increased water flows begin. Use extreme caution on the ice this spring.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
Castle Rock Dam Bait Shop, (608) 339-2967.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Panfish action has been a hit or miss proposition, with anglers really having to work to catch fish. That means a lot of moving around and searching for the active fish. A few nice crappies have been found suspended a couple feet off the bottom in the deeper parts of the lake, and some decent perch have been found on the mid-depth mud and weed flats.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
The narrows area on Long Lake is producing perch, while Spooner Lake is giving up perch and crappies in 4 to 6 feet. Lipsey Lake is worth noting for crappies, and Bass Lake is giving up numbers of smaller panfish. Most shorelines are opening, but ATVs were still being used early this week.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.
SUPERIOR / DULUTH AREA
With the snow melting off the lakes, they were pretty sloppy, but that should be soaked away by the weekend, allowing at least a few more days of ice fishing. Reports have been limited to some crappies and bluegills off Fish Lake in 12 to 14 feet. The nice weather has allowed shore anglers to cash in on some decent Kamloops action in the French River area of Lake Superior. Crawlers and waxworms were being used by most people.
Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.