This week’s forecast calls for more “typical” winter temperatures (sub-zero lows, single-digit highs) and chances for much-needed snowfall through most of this week, with a return to mild weather by the weekend.
“Ice conditions are good on most lakes,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but there it is thin on some lakes so do not throw caution to the wind and assume it is all good! Anglers are catching above average numbers of bass. They pick up afternoon action – and when fried, they do taste like fish.”
At Hayward Bait, Annie says ice thickness varies up to 12 inches, but it is thin in some spots and anglers should continue to use extreme caution.
Al at Pastika’s says ice conditions and fishing action is about the same as last week, with 6-12 inches of ice on most lakes, though it can be very thin in some areas.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says the ice is mostly safe for snowmobile and ATV travel, though anglers should still use extreme caution. Panfish action is improving – just keep moving until you find the fish.
At Anglers All in Ashland, Carolyn says the best action is still on the Ashland side of Chequamegon Bay, mainly from Pamida to the east. Anglers are catching good numbers of perch and northern pike. The bite is similar off Second Landing, but with a few walleyes in the mix.
“Ice depths range from 10-13 inches on many waters, with two to four inches of snow on top of the ice,” says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt. “Slush is not yet a problem. Many smaller lakes have much thinner ice than the larger, more heavily used waters, and as such, outdoor enthusiasts should use extreme caution when venturing onto the ice with any kind of motorized vehicle.”
The Northland Area Builders Association (NABA) Second Annual Family Ice Fishing Contest is this Saturday, January 21, on Nelson Lake. The entry fee ($8 adults; $5 children) includes lunch. Donate non-perishable food items and receive $1 off the fee. The Grand Prize raffle offers a chance to win a 2012 Toyota Tacoma. Tickets ($1 each; six for $5) are available at People’s Bank, Revelle’s, Four Seasons, and Nelson Lake Landing. Winners must be present. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715-634-2921) or visit www.northlandareabuilders.com.
The Namakagon Trail Groomers and Cable area snowmobile trails reports as of January 13 say groomer will try to run the entire Cable area system. The base is about one foot and with good riding conditions.
The Tuscobia State Trail conditions report (as of Monday Jan. 9) says the trail is open for snowmobiling, though with no grooming and the minimal base continues to deteriorate with many bare stretches. A marked detour remains in place in Radisson due to the August washout of Rock Creek. Snowmobiles will detour onto the Highway 27/70 bridge.
Walleye anglers report fair to good success. The best bite windows continue to be in early morning and evening until after dark, especially on mild, cloudy days. Target bars, points, break lines, weeds, and structure in 8-20 feet of water, depending on the lake and time of day. Jigging fatheads, crappie minnows, and Jigging Raps is effective, as is fishing walleye near weed lines with suckers and shiners under tip-ups.
Northern pike action is good near weeds in 6-20 feet of water and the same areas as walleye. This is great for pike anglers, but irritating to walleye anglers. The top producing baits are northern suckers and shiners under tip-ups.
Crappie fishing is fair to good, once you locate them, and you will have to search for active fish. The crappies are in a variety of depths, from 8-30 feet of water, depending on the lake, holding near weeds or suspending over the deeper water. Baits of choice include crappie minnows, waxies, Gulp! baits, and plastics, all fished on plain hooks or small jigs.
Bluegill action is good, but as with crappies, keep moving until you find them. Fish areas near weeds and structure in 6-18 feet of water, though depths vary from lake to lake. Favorite baits include waxies, spikes, Gulp! baits, and plastics fished on plain hooks or small jigs/teardrops.
Perch anglers report a good bite on a few area lakes. Fish just off the bottom in deeper water (out to 30 feet or so) on transition areas or adjacent to cribs. Teardrops tipped with waxies work well for action, but use bigger bait, such as fatheads and crappie minnows, for bigger perch.
Jan. 18: Crows season opens.
Jan. 21: NABA family ice fishing event on Nelson Lake (715-634-2921).