Wisconsin Outdoor News Fishing Report – March 22, 2019
Based on reports there seems to be a little more slush on the Washburn side of Chequamegon Bay and farther out. Some of the slush has tightened up with the colder temps, but still be cautious. We have had a lot of snow and wind lately so we do have a lot of drifting and some slush inside the bay. Suggested travel? A long-tracked snowmobile might do it. Ice conditions change daily, so check your way and check the weather conditions. The Ashland side of the bay has up to 20 inches and the Washburn side is reported to have up to 18 inches in spots. Houghton Point has around 12 inches of ice. There is a pressure crack just out of Washburn about a half mile and east of the coal dock where travel is not recommended with a wheeled vehicle. Be aware that the South Channel between Long Island and Madeline Island is never safe! Anglers are fishing the Basswood and Hermit islands area for whitefish, browns, cohos, splake and lake trout.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
It’s been another slow week of fishing mainly due to lake conditions. With additional snow, any limited options that were available have been eliminated. The snow has to settle or melt quite a bit before anglers will be willing or have the option to start fishing again.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Perch fishing closed March 15. Overall, perch fishing was pretty good for the conditions that we had on top of the ice. Lots of slush and lots of snow made ice travel very difficult this year, so the searching part of the fishing was nearly impossible. Whitefish action continues to stay good overall, and we anticipate it to stay good right through the rest of the ice season. Better areas continue to be around Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point, Larsen’s Reef and along with the shoreline and structure north of the Old Stone Quarry. One thing that fishermen really have to watch out for is the ice breaking that goes on so ships can get out of the ship yard. The “breaking” usually starts right after ice shanties have to be off. For the whitefish, a wide variety of jigs will work.
Walleye fishing is starting to get better as it usually does in March. Areas to try include Henderson’s Point, the Riley’s Bay area, Sherwood Point and the Sawyer Harbor area. Tip jigs with minnows or minnow heads. Pike action continues to get better and better as those fish will feed heavy prior to their spawn. Look for staging areas around shallow bays and creek mouths.
Brown trout action is going pretty darn good and that will get even better as we warm up and get more run-off. Most fishermen will set tip-ups baited with shiners or spawn. When open water arrives, troll or cast in front of creek mouths.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
For those who don’t like to ice fish on crowded lakes, you are in luck. Pick any lake and chances are you will not see anyone else out there! The persistent deep snow and slush is keeping most anglers away from fishing. If you are headed out, snowshoes and waterproof boots are a must. The few anglers we have heard from are reporting decent action. Crappies are being caught in the deep holes with minnows, spikes, waxies and plastics. Late afternoon seems to be the best time to find active crappies. A few bluegills are getting caught in shallow weeds with the usual jig and wax worm presentation.
This is a great time of year to catch some nice panfish. We are ready for better conditions so we can get back out on the ice without working too hard at it.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
It’s still very difficult for anglers to get out on the ice. If you can find a path that’s been plowed or packed down by a snowmobile, you can walk out on that, otherwise it’s not a trek most fishermen are willing to make. The daytime temperatures are warming up and will melt some of this heavy snow and get some weight off the ice. With only a handful of fishermen venturing out, we have very little to report. A couple of anglers had caught their limit of bluegills on tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms while others were catching good numbers of crappies while jigging with small minnows.
Whisler Outdoors, (715)-528-4411.
Fishing pressure has been light due to poor lake conditions, but some anglers are using snowshoes or snowmobiles to move around. They’re basically going where conditions allow them to and reporting as much as 12 inches of slush below the snow on some lakes and very little slush on others.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Anglers are dealing with a lot of water on Lake Winnebago and the bridges will likely be removed by this week, but fishermen are catching walleyes in that stretch from one to two miles out from Oshkosh. Anglers are also picking off a few walleyes on Lake Poygan, but no definate pattern has emerged.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Panfishing has been going OK, with some perch action on the west side of Lake Mendota over mostly deep water. On Lake Monona, Monona Bay has been the most productive area for panfish action, including perch.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MARATHON COUNTY AREA
Fishing has been slow. Record cold temps in January and record snows and cold temps in February threw a curve at most anglers. Bait shops aren’t doing good, as well. Lake Wausau reports of northern pike have been the best news. Radtke Point still has seen some action with smaller crappies coming in. The Eau Claire River above the Schofield dam has had some bluegill action, but anglers struggle in the deeper snow. All in all, it’s time to set your sights on spring. Anglers are advised to use caution on area waters as warming temperatures can create unsafe ice quickly.
Riverside Rentals & Bait Shop, (715) 574-1771.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Snow and bitter cold in early March kept anglers off the ice. Another snowstorm March 9-10 offered anglers nothing but more discouragement. For those who ventured out (by foot, snowmobile or tracked UTV) fishing wasn’t half bad. Four teams of high school ice anglers found very good bluegill action and some crappies.
Bluegills: Good to very good. Despite mobility being so restricted, anglers found bluegills on the mid-sized to larger lakes eating waxies and spikes. Weeds of 7 to 10 feet were key.
Crappies: Good. Jigging with small spoons (Lethal Cecils, No. 2 Swedish Pimples or No. 8 Rockers tipped with waxies or beaver tails) has been working the best.
Perch: Fair. Anglers simply are not getting to the best areas for perch (deep mud flats).
With two feet of ice still on lakes covered by more than 24 inches of snow and temps back in 20s and 30s, our ice will remain for a while.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.