Fishing Report: Good ice, warmth makes for comfort

By George Langley

NORTHERN WISCONSIN – Mother Nature sure is showing her crazy this year. We can be thankful we got ice when we did, and that it’s still getting below freezing at night, so that what we’ve got is staying – for the most part. We’re seeing anywhere from seven to 12 inches of ice throughout the area, though there is some light slush in some areas.

We’ve still got some warm weather to get through, but the lakes should get through it intact. One thing about this warm weather is that it sure makes for a comfortable day out there, considering it’s the end of January, when we’re used to having sub-zero days.

Walleye fishing has been okay, but not super. We seem to be in a little bit of a slow period, but that’s not stopping anyone from trying. Most anglers report a few fish nightly, but no big runs. The best time for these fish is still from dusk into the evening, with tip-ups set with either medium shiners or sucker minnows. On the Eagle River Chain, the most productive depths seem to be in the eight- to ten-foot range.

Northern are hitting well daily after having slowed down a bit with the warm front. The best action is on those deeper weed edges and inside the weeds on larger shiners. If you can find the perch, you’ll be into some northern, too. The deeper the weeds, the better.

Panfish action has been improving. Perch are in the deeper weeds. Crappie action has picked up, especially in the holes on the Chain. They are hitting crappie minnows. Remember that they are not always right on the bottom, so use electronics if you’ve got them and search vertically. Small jigs tipped with waxies work well, but tip downs with minnows are working also. The bluegill bite has been good, but not as good as it will get later in February. They are hitting spikes in the weeds.

All in all, on the fishing front there is very little to complain about. For everything else “winter,” there is a whole lot lacking. While we only have a month of game-fishing left, we all know winter in northern Wisconsin isn’t even close to over. We still hope to get some nice, big snow so the people who want to snowmobile, ski and snowshoe can have some fun, too. Fingers crossed!

Good luck and good fishin’!

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