Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing & Hunting Report – Feb. 22, 2019
If you don’t have a plowed road, lake travel is pretty difficult as the snow continues to pile up and deep drifts continue to limit angler movement. People are getting on Balsam Lake, catching sunfish, northern pike, and a few walleyes in 10 to 14 feet. Crappies are hitting after dark on Lake Wapogasset and Bear Trap Lake over 15 to 22 feet. Look to Deer Lake for perch and crappies in 15 to 18 feet.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
Houghton Point has around 10 inches of ice. There is a pressure crack to cross just out of Washburn about a half mile east of the coal dock where travel is not recommended with a wheeled vehicle. Wind may not be good for the formation of the ice on the outer edges. Be aware that the South Channel between Long Island and Madeline Island is never safe! Be familiar with that area before venturing out. Anglers are fishing the Basswood Island and Hermit Island area and catching whitefish, browns, cohos, splake and more. Anglers on the Ashland side of the bay report 24 inches of ice, but check ice as you go. There are people walking and taking machines out on the S-Curve and catching some nice browns, splake and cohos. There are reports of 15 inches of ice in front of Washburn now. Anglers are fishing off the Sioux and Onion rivers. A new feature on the Ashland side of the bay is the “ice bridge” at Second Landing that is being maintained by a group of volunteers. The bridge allows you to cross the pressure crack with wheeled vehicles.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
You’ll find northern pike in less than 10 feet and brown trout scattered from 4 to 50 feet on Beaver Dam Lake. Upper Turtle Lake is kicking out crappies in 12 to 15 feet and sunfish are going near the island on Bear Lake in 5 feet. This area received another 12 inches of snow since last week so track vehicles or four-wheel drive is a must for travel.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Ice thickness is pretty good for the most part, with 8 to 20 inches depending on location. The issue fishermen are having is with snow depths in some places, and slush in more places. Those conditions steepened with the last snowfall. The whitefish action has been good to excellent throughout the area. One of the main keys for any species is to stay quiet and not follow the groups of fishermen around. Whitefish are all over the place and will bite readily if they are calm and not spooked. So just find a quiet spot out there and start jigging. You can catch them in 10 feet of water out to 100 feet of water and everywhere in-between. Most folks run some kind of a slider above their main jig. If you’re not fishing plastics, tip jigs and sliders with waxies, spikes and minnow pieces.
Pike action has been going good from the three southern bays starting with Little Sturgeon all the way up to Washington Island. Depths vary from as shallow as 3 feet out to 30 feet. Use live or dead bait under tip-ups.
Walleye fishing is just normal for this time of year, which means some days you get a bite or two and some days you’re just practicing. The walleye fishing picks up near the end of February and into March. Perch fishing has been going well at Little Sturgeon, the Sawyer Harbor area and some areas out in the big bay from in front of Riley’s Bay south to Chaudoir’s Dock. Out in that deeper water you have to do a little more searching, but once you find them, they are generally nice sized fish. The big key here again is to steer clear of other fishermen for the best success
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
We now have significantly different conditions on the ice, as the snowfalls have created significant slush out there. Stay on the plowed areas on the bigger lakes. There have been some stories of guys getting bogged down with ATVs on the mid-sized lakes.
Walleye fishing has been just OK, with some spotty action reported around the area. There have been some decant late afternoon “runs” on the Eagle River chain and some of the bigger lakes, but all in all the action certainly declined with that cold weather.
Northern pike action has been the most consistent game fish for the last several weeks. Jigging over deeper weeds and tip-up action has been OK, and the best thing about this fish is that it is a daylight feeder.
Panfish action slowed way down during the cold front. There has been some decent crappie action over deep water, as schools of crappie are roaming these hole at different depths.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
As you can imagine, fishing pressure has been light the last couple of weeks. Sub-zero temperatures, an ice storm and a couple of heavy snowstorms has kept a lot of fishermen off the ice. Anglers are also having trouble getting out on some lakes with vehicles due to increased amounts of slush. A few walleyes, crappies and perch were the only catches reported. Those anglers who braved the weather spent most of their time jigging inside their ice shanties.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
On the Fox River, there has been heavy fishing pressure at Voyageur’s Park. Anglers report catching a decent number of walleyes, with a few perch and a few whitefish mixed. Anglers fishing the Longtail Point area are still struggling to find and catch fish. A few perch and northerns are being caught by anglers willing to stick it out all day. Anglers report good catches of keeper perch at the Hook Road access on small minnows and jigs. Very few anglers were fishing Chaudoir’s due to the hazardous shove conditions that have remained even after the frigid cold. Sugar Creek anglers report only a few whitefish last week. Many anglers were in 13 to 17 feet of water with ice at 14 inches.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
You now likely need four-wheel drive or a snowmobile to travel on most lakes. Look for bluegills around basin flats with any weeds in 17 to 23 feet. You’ll find crappies suspended over deep basin areas and holes in 27 to 35 feet. Walleye fishing has been a bit of a roller coaster with the mornings and evenings most productive in 22 to 28 feet on the area’s larger, more clear lakes. Northern pike fishing has been good with tip ups and shiners scattered in shallow weed flat areas over 6 to 12 feet.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
With the warm temperatures and the snow/slush melt, the ice is in good shape and has “hardened.” Area lakes have on average about 8 to 10 inches of ice. ATV travel, where permitted, has been good – except for areas of deep water such as Nagawicka, Okauchee, North, Delavan, Lake Geneva and Oconomowoc lakes. Auto travel on those lakes is not recommended.
Brown trout fishing has been good on the Lake Michigan harbors. Use caution when venturing out as ice conditions can change rapidly. Tip-ups rigged with a 6-pound fluorocarbon leader and a No. 8 octopus hook or a No. 12 treble hook, and a small golden shiner, baby chub, or a spawn sacs, worked best. Jigging with a Kastmaster or Swedish Pimple tipped with a waxworm worked as well.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Most of the attention last week was focused on sturgeon spearing. Lake travel has been good, with bridges put in place over pressure cracks. It sounds like the south end of the lake has been a little better than the north end for walleyes lately. Anglers are fishing the bays of Lake Winnebago for panfish. Lake Poygan has been going pretty good on all game fish and panfish species.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Ice is now safe on the whole chain, with the slush now gone. Still use caution when traveling on the ice. A few perch have been caught over deep water on Lake Mendota, with some 9- and 10-inchers in the mix. Some walleyes have even been caught on Lake Mendota, along with some pike off Governor’s Island and in University Bay. Lake Monona perch have been also hanging over deep water. The bluegill and crappie bite has been good in The Triangle. Mud Lake has seen some good bluegill action.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MARATHON COUNTY AREA
The fishing reports have been slow coming in. The weather has done its worse this winter. Record cold, rain and now record snow have hampered anglers’ efforts as of late. Northern pike, panfish and small walleyes on Lake Wausau have been reported. The Big Eau Pleine Flowage has had some action, as well, but reports are slow. When the fish have been hitting, large golden shiners have worked best for pike; medium shiners and fatheads for the walleyes.
Riverside Rentals & Bait Shop, (715) 574-1771.
Geano’s Beach anglers saw a few limits of whitefish coming in from the reef, with a few bonus walleyes thrown in. Most of the whitefish have been on Jigging Rapalas. Anglers fishing away from the reefs report catching a few smaller perch and northern. Oconto breakwater anglers report slow fishing for whitefish, with only a handful caught over the weekend. Oconto Park 1 anglers report slow fishing for perch and northerns. Fish are being seen on electronics, but catching them was another story. Anglers fishing Oconto Park 2 reported fast action for perch less than 6 inches, with very few fish over 6 inches.
Peshtigo Harbor anglers reported slow action on walleyes last week. On the Menominee River, Sixth Street slip anglers reported catching quite a few walleyes under 10 inches, a few small northerns, and a few smaller perch.
— Wisconsin DNR report
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Fishing got a little tougher after a week of snow and cold. The cold (29 below on Feb. 9) kept more anglers off the ice than the snow did at that point, but since then the region got clobbered with 36 inches of snow over six days.
Largemouth bass: Good to very good. Huh? Largemouths never seem to get active during the ice season until temps get above 20 degrees. A group of high school students proved that truism wrong, as largemouths were by far the most consistent fish last, with fish up to 20 inches on shiners under tip-ups.
Northern pike: Fair to good. Use big shiners along 10- to 14-foot weed edges for fish up to 34 inches last week.
Bluegills and perch: Fair. The cold and snow slowed panfish anglers.
Walleyes: Fair. Action has been best towards dusk on suckers on tip-ups.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
The lakes are ice covered with 20-plus inches of ice now, and even more snow. They have been fishing for walleyes on Connors Lake and crappies on Lake of the Pine with some success. Mason and Evergreen lakes are being fished for crappies, walleyes and perch.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.