Good morning, welcome to the first fishing report of 2023 and Happy New Year!! This winter has not been very kind to ice fishermen/women and this last round of snow certainly will not help change that. The good news is most of the lakes are staked for snowmobile trails including LCO and Grindstone (yesterday) and Round will be this weekend. So if anyone has a vehicle capable of navigating deep snow and pulling ice fishing gear, all of the honey holes should be safely accessible. Unfortunately not a whole lot to report on the bite as not too many guys/gals have been hitting the hard water due to getting around on the lakes. But here we go….
Northern pike– Pike action should still be 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–Nothing new to report on the 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.
The report is pretty repetitive this week from last but like I stated above good news that all of the major lakes will be staked by this weekend. Should help mix up the reports a bit knowing everyone will be able to travel all over the ice to find fish. Have a great weekend and talk to you soon.