Fishing Report: The bite is slow in 2021

For the Tomahawk Leader

TOMAHAWK – As COVID-19 has everyone socially distancing or locked down at home more than normal, ice fishing has given many relief from cabin fever.

Last weekend, I fished the Somo River where it dumps into Lake Mohawksin west of Tomahawk. This year has been especially sketchy for ice conditions, and these river flowages are particularly dangerous if you aren’t cautious. So please, before going out on any ice, know where the currents are, and check your ice thickness as you go and be safe.

With that being said, we found about 14 inches of ice, even in the area we were fishing, in what I’d consider the river channel, we set up in about 15 feet of water. The ice in general is solid this year. The lack of snow cover has made for very pure ice; there are no pockets of slush or weak honeycombed type of ice, at least not that we have encountered this year at all. In fact, we drove our SUV off the boat landing and to the fishing hole. Fishermen have been doing this now for several weeks, and ice shacks are abundant on the ice throughout the area, with most people driving out with UTVs, cars and trucks.

We set up for crappies. Using Sure Strike Tip Down rigs, light line and tipping treble hooks with Rosie Red minnows, this was the method we used most often. We jigged waxies also on light line and small jigs as well. However, we found that in all cases the fishing action has been slow. The weather pattern we have been stuck in since before Christmas just hasn’t changed. With only a few brief minor snow events this year to speak of and lots and lots of gloomy, foggy days, it feels like the movie Groundhog Day sometimes.

We set up an hour before daylight on a calm overcast Saturday, drilling holes with our cordless drill auger set up. Wow, what an invention. No gas, no loud noise, no mess, half the weight of a gas auger and no fumes or pull starting. We had a dozen holes in no time and were ready to fish.

As the sun rose, there was still no action, but at least with the temp around 30 degrees the holes didn’t freeze over and it was very comfortable to be outside. Then, a few bites happened. A tip down rod slowly dipped towards the ice as a crappie started to suck in the minnow and swim away with it. We had some action like this until about noon that day, several misses as well, but on and off a tip down would go off, and an occasional bite on a jig pole as well.

But, it was just plain slow. Even though the graph showed lots of fish down on the bottom, we just couldn’t get them to turn on. We ended up the day with a half dozen crappies up to 12 inches, a couple small bluegills, and even a few small rock bass, all returned as seed for next year. Yup, another Groundhog Day.

This has been the story all winter for us this year. But you know what? It’s better than sitting inside! Get out and enjoy this mild winter we are having. Good luck!

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