Fishing Report: January Thaw Turns On the Ice Fishing Bite

For the Tomahawk Leader

LAKE ALICE – The beautiful fall that we experienced this year in the Northwoods left many wondering if we would get good ice at all by this time of the year.

When it started to get cold then we got a dumping of ice and heavy snow in mid-December, leaving us to wonder again if we can even get around and if the ice would freeze solid.

But old Mother Nature said “No worries ice fishers,” and gave us a dose of brutal cold in late December to make things a bit more solid.

So here we are in the first days of January now, and area ice conditions are actually pretty good. The warm temps we had right at the end of 2022 and the start of 2023 settled all the snow and made getting around a breeze at this point.

A recent outing on Lake Alice near Tomahawk found us with a solid 12-plus inches of ice and little to no snow on top of it. UTVs, ATVs and trucks are easily getting around, and the typical spots for ice shacks are starting to populate.

The consensus so far this early winter is that the ice fishing has been good to really good, depending on who you talk to. The January thaw we have experienced has turned on the bite, and many ice fishers are seeing good catches on bluegills and crappies, especially.

Walleye and northern pike are also abundant right now, especially for those soaking minnows on tip ups in shallower water areas along weed breaks.

Panfish are relating to jigging waxie worms, and if using tip downs, reports are that there is good action on simple hooks or small jigs tipped with Rosie Reds or the basic crappie minnow. 

As always, check ice conditions before exploring. Extra caution should be taken on flowages where currents could be present, but now is the time to take advantage of the conditions and get out there to fish before Mother Nature throws us a curveball and either makes travel difficult or brings back those subzero temps that usually turn the bite back off.

Good Fishing!

Contributed photo.
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