With even more snow coming it will make it tougher to get around. Houghton Point has around 12 inches plus of ice. There is a pressure crack just out of Washburn about a half mile 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 never has safe ice. Anglers are fishing the Basswood Island and Hermit Island area for whitefish, browns, cohos, splake, lake trout and more. Anglers on the Ashland side of the bay report 24 inches of ice. By the lighthouse there are sturgeon being caught. There are people taking machines out on the S-Curve and catching some nice browns, splake and cohos. There are reports of 15-plus inches of ice in front of Washburn. Anglers are fishing off the Sioux and Onion rivers with some ice formation in that area. The ice road to Madeline Island is open for now to light vehicles. We have reports saying there is a lot of slush around the Islands.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
The last blizzard completely shut any fishing opportunities down. There’s now too many drifts and too much slush on all lakes to even consider going out. The few people who have been checking lake conditions have reported that even snowmobile use or walking is difficult because of all the slush under the snow.
Indianhead Sport Shop, (715) 822-2164.
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
The ice travel is still quite difficult overall because of the snow and slush on top of the ice. The best method of travel is with snowmobiles or tracked vehicles. If you do venture out with any other form of transportation, make sure someone else has a vehicle, a tow rope and some shovels. You do not want to get stuck out on the ice overnight. Whitefish action has been good to very good depending on where you are at and if you are somewhere quiet. The fishermen who stay away from those big groups with lots of noise, whether you are in shallow water or deep, do much better. All sorts of jigs and rigs will work for the whitefish, but some of the main ones are Rapala jigs, Jiggin Shad Raps, Howie’s Gobie Head jigs and Moonshine’s Shiver Minnows. Most folks run some sort of a slide hook above their main jig. Tip the jigs and sliders with minnow pieces, waxies, red or white spikes and an assortment of plastics.
Walleye fishing is starting to pick up a bit more now that we are moving into March. Better areas include Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point, Larsen’s Reef and the steep shorelines and shoals to the north of Sturgeon Bay. Oddball jigs, Rippin Raps, Rapala jigs and Slab Raps are just a few of the most popular jigs used for walleyes. The perch fishing is still going alright. The biggest issue is being able to move around to find the schools of fish because of how hard it is to travel on the ice. An assortment of jigs tipped with minnow heads, waxies and spikes work well, as does suspending large lake shiners, fatheads and rosie reds under tip-ups, hand lines or dead sticks
Pike fishing seems to be heating up. There have been numerous 40-plus-inch fish caught recently. There are many areas to fish for pike, but a few of the most popular areas include Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor and the Sturgeon Bay area.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
WOW! There is a LOT of snow on the ice now, and it is next to impossible to figure out when guys are going to be able to get back on the ice. Our best hopes are for the bigger lakes, where some nice ice fishermen may plow their way out and, thus, make trails for others. When you do get out there, you will find a lot of slush, so rubber boots are in order. Let’s be honest: There will be few anglers out this week, as most guys are still snow plowing, snow blowing and roof shoveling. What a mess. Because of this weather, few anglers were out there. That means there is little to report. Be careful; we have had reports of guys getting stuck in that slush. Auger extensions will be needed soon. At least for panfish we have something to look forward to. As this snow is reduced by the sun (yes, it is out there) and eventually warmer weather, we’ll have an increased ability to get around. The bluegill and crappie fishing is especially good as this weather warms in March. Look for great crappie fishing in the spring before ice-out. The very best times are when it gets warm enough that the holes don’t freeze overnight.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
FLORENCE COUNTY AREA
More snow and freezing rain the past two weeks have not helped the conditions on area lakes. Unless you have tracks on your ATV, it’s almost impossible to get a vehicle out on the ice due to the deep snow and heavy slush. Some fishermen were venturing out with snowshoes; others were simply staying close to land. There were a few reports of northern pike being caught on boundary waters, but nothing sizable. Perch action had picked up some. Wonder Bread-colored jigs tipped with small minnows, wax worms and spikes were producing the best bite.
Whisler Outdoors, (715) 528-4411.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
There was some high fishing pressure at the Fox Point landing, while at Voyageur there was low fishing pressure. At Voyageur there were reports of perch, small walleyes and sturgeon. At Fox Point Landing there were reports of yellow perch and walleyes being caught, but with little success of catching keepers. One group using a camera saw walleyes, whitefish and sturgeon. The ice ranged from 13 to 16 inches. The Sunset Beach Lane area saw moderate fishing pressure, but little to no luck. Fishermen are now waiting for the Fox River to open up and get going.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
With more snow and strong winds, it’s become pretty tricky getting around, and on some lakes deep slush has caused even bigger issues. A few lakes have had some roads plowed in limited areas, but most have not been opened. The strong winds filled in old ruts and plowed roads as well, so you have to really watch where you’re going.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
Brown trout fishing has been good in the Lake Michigan harbors. Use caution when venturing out as ice conditions can change rapidly. Most anglers are running Automatic Fisherman units rigged with a 6-pound fluorocarbon leaders and a No. 8 octopus hook or a No. 12 treble hook, and a small golden shiner, baby chub, or a spawn sac. Ice Stopper Reservoirs help prevent ice-up during cold conditions. Jigging with a Kastmaster or Swedish Pimple tipped with a waxworm worked, as well. Crappies are most active during early morning hours or just before dusk on the inland lakes. 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 Bluegill action is best around weeds in 5 to 12 feet of water. Find the holes in the thick weeds for best success. There are some lakes in the area where bluegills were found in 20 to 30 feet of water.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Ice conditions on the Lake Winnebago system range from open water to 20-plus inches. Remember there is no such thing as 100 percent safe ice. Check with the local fishing clubs for ice and ice road conditions. Clubs have been moving bridges and ice roads as cracks continue to form throughout the system. Water clarity varies greatly on Lake Winnebago. Water visibility of up to 19 feet has been reported on the north shore and as low as 5 feet on the south shore. Anglers have been having some success with walleyes, saugers, and perch in mid-lake areas. The bite has been slow and fish have not been hitting lures very hard. Consider using a lure tipped with bait and a spring bobber.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
The area now has a lot of snow cover and lake travel is a little more difficult, but not impossible. Anglers are still getting around on ATVs. There are a lot of small Lake Mendota walleyes showing up on the deep-water bars in 15 to 35 feet of water. Some perch are also being found in deep water. A few anglers are still catching pike, with one big fish reported last week. The best panfish bite in town seems to be in The Triangle area on Lake Monona. Mud Lake is still producing some nice bluegills at times. Lake Farm Park is still the best bet for bluegills on Lake Waubesa, but the deep water spots are also producing some bluegills. Lake Kegonsa is also producing a few perch and bluegills.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MARATHON COUNTY AREA
Fishing reports have been few and far between with this record-breaking snow. Area anglers with snowplows on their trucks have been pressed into service as of late. Conditions of deep snow and underlying slush have hampered most anglers’ fishing plans. Customers are still trying their luck for Lake Wausau northerns and walleyes on the Big Eau Pleine, while others are still trying their luck for bluegills and crappies. Baits of choice are golden shiners, Rosie Reds and crappie minnows. Permanent ice shacks must be off the ice by Sunday, March 3 south of Hwy 64. Enjoy the rest of the ice-fishing season. It’s far from over.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
Geano Beach has seen some extremely low fishing pressure. At the Oconto breakwater a few anglers were out there giving it the old college try. Anglers fishing to the north of the breakwater reported catching a few whitefish on gold jigs and waxies and a few came on Jigging Raps. Anglers using tip-ups for northern pike report slow fishing. Oconto Park II anglers report catching lots of smaller perch on jigs with waxies. They had to do a lot of sorting for just a few keepers. They also caught a few smaller bass and pumpkinseeds. At the Menominee River, Sixth Street slip anglers caught a few smaller perch and a few smaller northerns.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Since the game fish season closed at midnight March 3, there is little for anglers to get excited about at this time. Record snows for the month of February in our area (50-plus inches so far in the Minocqua/Woodruff area) has caused a nearly total shut-down to anglers, as access has gone from bad to almost impossible! Largemouth bass and perch reports have been decent for anglers who have gotten out, with tip-ups working for bass and anglers jigging spikes for perch. A few areas of high traffic (without long walks) such as Schoolhouse Bay and Stack’s Bay on Lake Minocqua, parts of Carroll Lake, and the southern end of Big Arbor Vitae Lake had anglers getting out by foot or snowmobile. Anglers fishing Feb. 25 did get some crappies, bluegills and perch. This deep snow will likely hurt the shallower, weedy lakes. Keep an eye on your minnows. If fished close to bottom and dying quickly, raise the bait up higher for better oxygen levels. Fish will move up, sometimes to within a foot or two of the ice if necessary, to survive.
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. With the recent heavy snowfall, the lakes are thick with snow and vehicle travel on the lakes is limited to the roads that were plowed on Lake of the Pines and Connors Lake. There have been fishermen out on both lakes enjoying limited success. Anglers were been fishing for walleyes on Connors Lake prior to the season closure and crappies on Lake of the Pines. Mason and Evergreen lakes and the Phillips chain are being fished for crappies and perch.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.