Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – Jan. 26, 2018
Fishing on Chequamegon Bay remained mostly stable last week, with warmer temperatures bringing anglers out in full force. Ice conditions changed following strong northwest winds. Some ice broke up off Bodin’s and a big pressure crack developed between Houghton Point and Long Island. There are trucks going out off the Ashland side of the bay, but as always, check your way. You never know what you might catch in the channel and last week an angler supported that saying by catching a little tiger muskie.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Northern pike are hitting on the northwest end of Bear Lake and Beaver Dam Lake in 10 to 12 feet. Upper Turtle Lake and Big Round Lake are kicking out sunfish in 6 to 8 feet, while walleye and crappie action has been slow.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
The whitefish action is hot and heavy right now with very good and relatively safe ice cover throughout the county. The good ice cover allows people to do a little more venturing and get away from those big groups, making the fishing that much better. There are endless areas to fish whitefish as they are all over along the Door County peninsula from the Chaudoir’s Dock area all the way up to the tip of the peninsula. The best depths also vary depending on ice traffic – from 10 feet of water all the way out past 90 feet. Some of the most popular jigs include Rapala jigs, Swedish Pimples, Buckshot Spoons and Forage Minnows, just to name a few. Most anglers run some sort of a slider hook above their main jig like a fly, small dot jig, plain single, or treble hook.
Perch fishing continues to provide some very nice action as of late. The better areas have been the Little Sturgeon area, Riley’s Bay (some pretty nice catches are coming from the deep water from Riley’s Bay south to Chaudoir’s), and there’s also been some OK action in the Sturgeon Bay area. Staying away from the groups of people and high traffic areas is key. An assortment of jigs tipped with minnows, minnow heads, waxies and spikes work well, along with tip-up fishing with shiners.
Walleye fishing has been normal for this time of year. Some days you get bites and some days you’re just going through the motions. But there are some fish being caught and among them a few big brutes, too. The biggest reported so far this year was 12¾ pounder. Jigging Rapalas and Oddball Jigs are still the most popular, but Puppet Minnows, Moonshine Shiver Minnows and Fuzzy Grubs are always a good bet.
Pike action is going well as the weather is a bit more tolerable for avid pike fishermen to run their wide spreads. Some areas to try are Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, the Sturgeon Bay ship canal edges and Sturgeon Bay Flats.
Brown trout fishermen are having some success in bays from Sturgeon Bay north to Sister Bay by jigging and running tip-up.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Walleye fishing is good, but not great throughout the area. Tip-up fishing has been tough, and most anglers are using hole covers to keep their holes from freezing. As always, the best fishing is in the evening and after dark. We haven’t heard of a lot of size lately, but there have been good numbers for guys going out on some of the Eagle River chain lakes. Shiners have been the most requested bait.
On the bigger lakes we have a few reports of fish being caught by deep water jiggers during daytime hours around deep rock bars. Swedish Pimples tipped with part of a minnow seem to work the best.
Northern action has been good, with good numbers being reported from many lakes. Weeds are the important factor in finding these guys on all lakes. You can catch fish everywhere from the deep grass weeds to shallower weeds.
Panfish action has been steady. You can easily fish for these guys from shelters, so we can avoid the worst of the weather by chasing panfish. There has been some good fishing for crappies in deeper water on the chain. The fish can be everywhere from right on the bottom to under the ice on a daily basis.
Bluegill action has improved, with good action on spikes or waxies on most lakes. Try to find some green weeds for best success.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Panfish action has been excellent. Good numbers of bluegills and crappies are being reported. Jigging with a waxie in 20 feet of water produced a 12-inch crappie for one fisherman. Good numbers of northern pike are being caught, but the majority have been on the smaller side. Walleye action has been fair. Most catches have been 15 to 18 inches, but there have been a few nice ones, including one that measured 28 inches.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Anglers have been experiencing good ice on Green Bay with the primary target species of whitefish, walleye, and perch.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Low-light periods remain productive for walleyes in 15 to 20 feet on Round Lake, Lac Courte Oreilles, and Grindstone Lake. You’ll find suspended crappies over deep water on Round or in 15 feet on Nelson Lake and Smith Lake. Sunfish are hitting in 12 to 15 feet at Round, Smith, and Nelson.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
The warmer temperatures are welcome. Most of the lakes have 12 to 16 inches of ice. The ice is really slick. Bluegill action was best around green weeds in 5 to 12 feet of water. There are some lakes where the bluegills were in 20 to 30 feet of water. A flasher is needed to catch these fish, as often they are suspended off the bottom. Crappies were most active during early morning hours or just before dusk. Look for them suspended above weeds or wood in 8 to 15 feet of water or suspended over 20 to 30 feet, often just a few feet below the ice. Walleye fishing was best during dark hours. Shallower weed flats or rock bars will produce the most fish. Tip-ups rigged with a fluorocarbon leader, No. 10 or 12 treble hook, and baited with a minnow will work best. Several of the local lakes with a minimum length of 18 inches and a three-fish daily bag limit include Pewaukee, Nagawicka, Oconomowoc, Pine, Delavan, Big Cedar, Fox, and Beaver Dam.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Anglers are moving around a little bit about 2.5 miles off of Oshkosh to stay with a good school of white bass, perch, and walleyes that are all mixed together. You don’t know what you’ll catch. There is a similar situation off of Wendt’s down on the south end of the lake, but there fewer walleyes are being caught. The action on Lake Poygan has been going very well for walleyes. It can spotty now and then, but overall the Poygan walleye bite has been reliable. Wolf River anglers near New London have been catching walleyes through the ice. Winnebago has about 20 inches of ice. The bridges are in place over the ice cracks and roads marked.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
A lot of guys are finding wet conditions on the lakes. The expansion cracks got nasty with the cold weather and pushed water onto the ice. Guys are fishing pike off of Governor’s Island, where they are also catching a few smaller walleyes. Guys are fishing Dunn’s Bar and Second Point for a few perch. The bluegill action on Lake Monona continues to be fair in the bays, where anglers are sorting out quite a few smaller fish. There have been no reports coming in from Mud Lake, but there are fishermen giving it a go out there. Lake Kegonsa is continuing to produce perch, with an average size of 8 to 9 inches, but the fishing pressure has picked up right along with the perch action. Guys are also finding a few bluegills out there.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
In Oconto County, Kelly Lake had more than 12 inches of ice; same on White Potato Lake. Fishermen say the fish are biting in the afternoon to evening. They’re catching crappies, perch, and bluegills. In the Townsend area near Horn Lake, anglers were catching perch, bluegills, and crappies. Anglers on the Oconto Falls pond were catching northerns, crappies and other panfish.
Waterfront Sport Shop (906) 792-0467.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Cold and clear skies met anglers early last week, slowing what had been a very good ice fishing season.
Yellow perch: Good to fair. The best chance for a meal is to work mud flats of 18 to 28 feet using VMC Flash Champs, Halis and Pimples tipped with wigglers or red spikes. A warm forecast should allow for tip-down use with small rosies.
Walleyes: Good to fair. It did slow down over early last week, probably due to barometer though flowages were not effected as the lakes).
Crappies: Good to fair. Same as with walleyes; flowages are the better option on high sky days. Warmer weather should improve the tip-down bite.
Northern pike: Fair. The bite slowed, but action from deep-water fish over sand grass should improve with the warmer weather.
Bluegills: Fair. The tighter-lipped fish have to be finessed with smaller, darker jigs tipped with dark (red, black, purple, brown) plastic and red spikes or mousies.
The drop-off in action over the past week can be attributed to high pressure and cold (-28 degrees on Jan 14). Things will improve as temps slowly rise.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
Walleye fishing has been going very good in 18 feet or better on the Petenwell Flowage. That’s the biggest news on the fishing front in the area. The crappie action has been sporadic, but a few fish have been found in 16 to 18 feet. With the walleye fishing going the way it has been, most anglers are chasing walleyes instead of panfish or northern pike.
Petenwell Sports, (608) 564 7707.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Fishermen are now moving all over lakes in the area with 18 inches or more of ice in most areas, but anglers still have to use caution on the ice. Action on bluegills, crappies, and northern pike is running a little ahead of the walleye action. Most guys are just glad to finally get a break from the extreme sub-zero temperatures, and they’re also hoping to see a little improvement in the fishing action along with the warmer weather. Lake of the Pines is reported to have approximately 17 inches of ice and fishermen are catching crappies, and as of now there are only three fishing shacks out and in use. Connors Lake ice depth is reported to be between 16 to 20 inches and are catching walleyes.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
SUPERIOR / DULUTH AREA
Crappies continue to hit in the Highbanks area of Minnesota’s Fish Lake in 15 feet, and there’s walleyes in 10 feet. The harbor on Lake Superior has been giving up walleyes in 8 to 10 feet. Rice Lake is producing pike on suckers in 6 feet.
Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.
The Bait Box, (715) 398-3554.