Fishing report 31 December 2022

Good morning, the weather looks good for a while as far as outdoor sports go and enough snow still on the trails to keep everyone happy.  Ice conditions are good on most lakes as I am hearing pretty consistently around 8-10″ of ice.  The 3 big lakes that I am hearing are still in question are Round, LCO, and Grindstone. On those lakes I am hearing reports of only about 2-3″ of good ice underneath all of the snow/slush.  There are some pretty good facebook posts from the Sawyer county snowmobile and ATV alliance on lake conditions as well.   Most of the lakes are staked now for snowmobile traffic and therefore should be safe for travel all around them as well. As always, use caution and common sense when riding unknown conditions on any lake.  So that’s the ice safety PSA for this week, now onto the fishing!

Northern pike– Pike action has still been good on tip ups in and around weeds/shallow structure.  Look for fish in that 6-12 FOW range and keep baits around weed edges or above timber or rocks.  Shiners underneath tip ups seem to be the most popular choice right now as far as bait goes.

Walleye–Both tip ups and jigging has been producing walleye as of late.  Running a dead stick while jigging in a shanty will also help bring in some nice ‘eyes.  Walleye will be pushing into deeper water  now as there is very little light penetrating to keep shallow weeds green.  Jigging spoons are the ticket to fire up big walleye, and suckers or shiners on both the tip ups and dead stick rods are solid choices.  Start with bigger choices and fish aggressively and slow down and down size if fish aren’t committing.

Crappie–Not a ton to report on a crappie bite right now, but with the walleye my bet would be crappie will start pushing out deeper and schooling up.  Tungsten jigs get the nod for getting down to schooling fish.  Tip jigs with minnow heads or plastics or for the finesse bite, smaller jigs with waxies or spikes.  Look for fish in 15-20 FOW off of points adjacent to the basins.  

Perch–Perch may also be starting to school up out in deeper water.  I have had a few customers fishing deeper lakes in search of perch so that tells me they have moved out of the shallows.  Small jigging spoons tipped with minnow heads is by far the most popular choice for perch.  Even though they are small, perch are super aggressive and will chase bigger baits than you think.  

Bluegill–Bluegill will generally relate to shallower water than other panfish even through the ice.  Focus on bluegill around weed beds and shallow bays, and use small tungsten jigs and tip them with waxies or soft plastics.  Slow movements on the jigs is key to bluegill as they are not as aggressive and are just looking for an easy meal.  

Stay safe this holiday weekend and Happy New Years!!! 


Fishing report 24 December 2022

Good morning, bitter cold temps over the last few days surely have to have helped the ice conditions.  From what I am hearing there is a fair amount of slush in between the snowpack and ice.  Ice travel on anything other than a tracked machine will not be easy and on some lakes still not safe.  I did hear before the wet/heavy snow last week the big lakes like Round, Grindstone, and LCO only had about 3″ of good ice on them.  Smaller lakes like Lost Land and Teal, Ghost had almost 9″ and should still be safe to travel on.  The Sawyer county snowmobile alliance has a pretty good post and are updating on Facebook regularly about the lakes as well.  Since some of the snowmobile trails run across the lakes they are a great resource to check ice safety as they are monitoring ice thickness all the time.  The reports on fishing have been sparse as most anglers just don’t want to deal with ice travel conditions right now, but we will give it a go!

Northern pike–Northern pike could be anywhere in the water column at this point as the snow cover has blocked out a lot of sunlight and killing off all of the remaining weeds that had any kind of growth.  They are predators so if bait fish are still in the weeds then pike will be there too, if baitfish are in the basins then pike will be close by.  They may be relating to points adjacent to the basin, or mid lake humps in the basin or a rocky bar etc.  Using tip ups rigged with suckers or shiners is still the go to when trying to get pike, just adapt to the location where you are fishing.  Set them a bit deeper when you are in the basin and up above the weeds if still fishing those spots.  

Walleye–I have not heard of any kind of walleye bite lately, but my guess is the first ice bite is over and walleye are going to be transitioning to deeper water.  Jigging will take place over tip ups for walleye and bigger spoons, and jigging baits will be the ticket.  Soft bottom basins are a good choice right now as smaller bugs and other offerings will keep walleye close.  

Crappie–Crappie are also starting to roam the basins right now and getting small jigs down to them is how you want to fish them.  Tip the jigs with plastics or waxies or blood worms.  They will be schooling up a little bit, but you may have to stay mobile to stay on them.  Not much fishing pressure should be keeping them pretty aggressive in eating baits.

Bluegill–Bluegill will be the some of the last fish to stay shallower as that is what they generally prefer.  Work the weeds with small jigs tipped with waxies and plastics.  

Perch–Perch may be out roaming basins or still stacked up in the weeds right now.  Weeds give them cover from predators and ample food for them to eat as well.  Perch seem to prefer small spoons vs jigs from what I have seen.  Tip them with a minnow head or tail and fish and start jigging!

Good luck to anyone who ventures out over this holiday weekend/week. Stay safe on the ice as well, a big warm up next week should have a lot more anglers out there! Merry Christmas to you and your families!!!!