Anglers are finding a mixed bag of panfish in 12 to 18 feet on North Twin, Bear Trap, and Wapogasset lakes. Walleye action has been slow, with a few fish and quite a few northern pike being taken in 10 to 15 feet on Half Moon, Big Round, and Wapogasset. Slush remains an issue on most lakes, with 6 to 8 inches of ice still the norm in the area.
Country Store, (715) 268-7482.
Chequamegon Bay ice is in good shape. The Ashland side has 6 to 8 inches, with a little less on the Washburn side up to Houghton Point. Due to the warm weather and west winds, use extra caution. The ice was holding, but with a lot of water on top. Water clarity is improving and anglers have access to Second Landing where anglers are reporting nice catches of walleyes, northern pike, and perch. Those targeting trout are fishing near Washburn. Inland lakes have a lot of slush, but crappie fishing is good for those willing to battle conditions.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
Northern pike are being taken with tip-ups and suckers or shiners in 10 to 12 feet on Beaver Dam, Bear, and Rice lakes. Look for crappies and panfish on Big Round Lake and Staples Lake in 8 to 12 feet. Walking out is best on most lakes.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Most of the ice was lost due to the rain and warm temps, but up until then anglers saw pretty good perch and pike fishing in Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor. Once some cold weather returns that will once again be the go-to spots. But until we get another blast of cold temps we would say the remaining ice should be considered unsafe. With the warm temps a few guys pulled their boats out of storage and did some trolling for brown trout and pike and were relatively successful by trolling with plugs and spoons. There is also some opportunities for shore fishermen in downtown Sturgeon Bay to cast for a mixed bag of pike, browns and an occasional walleye since the channel is still open.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
The song remains the same in Vilas County. If anything the tune became a little more bluesy following the rain that was then followed by another dumping of snow. Access and lake travel really hasn’t improved much. Guys are still battling snow and slush. The good news is that for those who can get out, the fishing has been better than average for most species. The only thing to do now is keep plugging away while hoping for cold weather.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
Fishermen are reporting 5 to 10 inches of ice, depending on the location. Slush continues to be a problem in some areas. Recent rain and snow did not helping the situation. Bluegill action has been good. Fishermen were catching their limits on various lakes while jigging with waxies or spikes. Walleye action has been fair. Most fish have been smaller. Suckers and shiners under tip-ups have been producing the best bite. Crappie and perch action is picking up.
Whisler Outdoors, (715)528-4411.
Ice conditions are good for walking on most lakes, but bring a spud, check your way, and use caution. Walleye anglers are catching fish on suckers and shiners under tip-ups set along weedlines in 12 to 15 feet. Crappie and bluegill fishing is good around weeds in 15 to 18 feet with minnows, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! on tungsten jigs.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
The ice conditions are questionable everywhere. The local snowmobile club is recommending no travel on lakes and they have not marked the trails on the lakes because of the horrible conditions. Last week prior to the rain, one of our guides caught a few nice crappies on a smaller lake with plastics. A customer reported getting walleyes on a bigger area lake along shore and said the ice was 10 inches but only up tight to shore. The average ice depth reported by those out fishing is 5 to 8 inches, with excessive slush and standing water everywhere. There was open water on the Manitowish Chain before New Year’s Eve.
Flambeau Flowage Sports, (715) 476 2526.
LA CROSSE AREA
Lake Onalaska held onto its ice for the most part through the warm-up, and still “boasted” 4 to 8 inches of ice as of Jan. 2. Anglers are catching mostly bluegills, but also crappies and perch. Some guys were launching boats below the Dresbach dam to chase walleyes.
Schafer’s Boats, (608) 781-3100.
Bob’s Bait and Tackle, (608) 782-5552.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Most of the small, shallow lakes and wind-protected bays on the bigger lakes have 2 to 5 inches of ice. There is no safe ice on the main basins of the bigger lakes in the area. If venturing out, use a spud bar to check the ice as you walk out, wear a life jacket or floating suit, use safety picks, and bring a throw cushion. Never go alone and never assume there is safe ice if you see another angler on the ice. Avoid areas near springs and current.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Fishing has been pretty good on Lake Poygan where there is still 4 to 6 inches of ice, with the walleye bite going fairly strong. Those walleye fishermen are also catching white bass. Northerns are hitting in the channels and on the west side of Poygan. Ice conditions on Lake Winnebago are sort of iffy; call ahead for travel advisements. Bowhunters have been seeing quite a few deer, but the deer have been very spooky. There have been reports of bucks dropping antlers already.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
There is ice coverage in the area, but there really is no safe “walkable” ice on the Madison chain, or in the area. More cold weather is needed to develop better ice conditions. Call in for updates.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MARATHON COUNTY AREA
Anglers are advised to use caution on area lakes and rivers as the warm weather and rain deteriorated ice conditions. Standing water and slush will hamper freezing efforts when the weather cools back down. Spots that froze earlier are still fishable if you have good boots. Reports of 8 inches of ice and 2 inches of yuck were reported on the impoundment above the Schofield dam. Reports of bluegills, bass and small northerns have been coming in from that area. Reports from the the Wisconsin River, Lake Wausau, the Eagle’s Club and Gulliver’s Landing have been good with large northerns and panfish being caught. Pike anglers have had the most success on large golden shiners. Our fishing calendar for the new year shows the beginning of the month to be in the good to moderate range with a slow down in the middle of the month. Jan. 21-27 shows the best chance of catching that big one with the new moon on Jan. 24.
Riverside Rentals & Bait Shop, (715) 574-1771.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
If fishermen can get past the snow and slush, the fishing has been pretty good for all species. Even the walleyes have been cooperating lately. The hard part has been getting around on the lakes. Some of the “usual suspects” can be accessed, such as Zenter’s Bay (near Save More) and Stack’s Bay on Lake Minocqua, Town Bay on Lake Tomahawk, and the shoreline off the town park on Lake Katherine. Hopefully the steady bite continues as anglers wait for the access/travel issue to settle out.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
For as bad as travel conditions had been, things may have gotten even worse recently with the warm weather and rain, followed by even more snow. Guys are still fishing here and there, but they aren’t getting around to areas they might want to visit. River channels opened up into the lakes. Fishermen have been virtually limited to fishing shoreline areas for pike and bluegills. Snow and travel limitations also put a big kink in late-season bowhunting. Very few archers have been going out and those who have given it a go have not been seeing deer.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Ice travel remains the biggest hurdle for anglers. The fish are willing, but getting there is the hard part for fishermen who are still dealing with a lot of slush, water and snow.
AAA Sports Shop, (715) 635-3011.