Good morning, it is feeling more like early January than late November, but it should make for a good ice base on the lakes. I cannot stress enough to anybody reading this and wanting to get out on the ice…….CHECK EVERY FEW STEPS!!!!!!! Ice is never “safe” and should be treated as such. I know some of the bays are starting to lock up but not sure about the main lakes. Moving to hunting, probably not a great morning for being in the deer woods either with cold temps and pretty strong winds, my guess would be most deer are staying close to their bedding areas and not moving much.
Musky–Musky cannot be targeted through the ice although the season is officially “open” until Dec. 31. Anglers also cannot use ice as a platform to target open water musky so just consider chasing ‘skies done for the year. That being said, guys/gals may get some musky action on early tip-ups while targeting walleye/northern pike.
Northern pike–Pike action is always good and a lot of fun through the ice. Whether hammer handle pike are crushing jigging pole setups or bigger gators are hitting tip-ups catching pike in winter is a blast. Early ice will see pike in shallow bays on edges of weedlines and close to structure. Tip ups rigged with walleye suckers and bigger shiners will have flags going off like crazy.
Walleye–Walleye will also be shallow and hitting the same setups as the pike. Mainly tip ups rigged with suckers or shiners and set up shallow, most times right off of where docks/piers are in summer. Eases the mind a bit knowing you can be on a good bite, without too much risk of wandering on thin ice!
Largemouth/Smallmouth bass–Most people won’t target either bass species through the ice, but quite a few largemouth get caught on tip ups throughout the ice season. Once in a while once ice season is well under way smallies will hit some walleye presentations but it’s not very common.
Crappie/bluegill/perch–For early ice we will combine the panfish as all can be caught in shallow water this time of the year. The exception would be crappie who could still be out in the basins, although some lakes will have them shallow as well. Jigging small jigs tipped with waxies and small plastics is a great choice early ice as weeds are still dying off and things are scattered throughout the water column. Even small spoons jigged aggressively can work good as none of the fish have seen much fishing pressure in the last month or so.
I apologize for the short report, but we are in that odd transition time where there will not be much going on as far as reports go…..I cannot stress enough the importance of ice safety!!! Please check ice consistently if you are heading out to fish. Only one report of a 7 pointer being taken so far today from my customers and a few that did not see anything. Have a great weekend and stay warm, the mercury is going to drop tonight!!! I may get out to chase the 10 pointer I have been after since archery season a little bit later in the week! Good luck to anyone who gets out in the woods or on the water and be safe!!