Fishing report 18 February 2023

Good morning, warmer temps for this weekend and a dip into the teens by the end of the week.  Looks like a “potential winter storm” could bring us snow for the Birkie.  A little bit of snow could be a good thing for ice travel as well, the rain last week knocked the ice down to bare.  The snowmobile trails could use some fresh pow as well.  From what I am hearing the fishing has been a mixed bag.  Anglers that are finding fish are catching loads of them, while others aren’t seeing anything.  That intel was more on the walleye front, I have heard the crappie bite has still been solid.  

Walleye–The walleye bite has been a tough one through the ice this year.  First ice was good, but tapered off dramatically after that.  From what I can gather anglers are fishing basins for walleye right now and using tools like live scope to find them and work schools.  Jigging spoons with rattles/flash/noise will call in eyes’ from a distance. If fishing a lake with more of a weed related bite, work the edges with the same baits and set up tip-ups or deadsticks.  On the tip-ups or deadstick rods, walleye suckers and shiners are the most common approach.  

Northern pike–I have not heard of any recent catches of pike, but no doubt they are still haunting weedy bays and roaming open water looking for a meal.  Work tip-ups with shiners or suckers in pockets of weeds, on edges and points and you will likely have some flags going off!  Dawn and dusk will usually be the best times to target pike, although keeping your tip-ups out all day will catch roaming fish as well.

Crappie–The crappie bite has been good and anglers are finding the fish suspended in the basins from what I am told.  Small jigs tipped with waxies or plastics is the go-to approach.  Tungsten jigs shine here as they are small, yet drop fast.  Using electronics can really help to eliminate water that’s not holding fish.  The schools of fish will move throughout the day so some anglers camp and wait for them to come back around, while others stay mobile and hole hop to stay on them. 

Bluegill/Perch–I’m not getting a lot of intel on a bluegill or perch bite, but I have heard if anglers are willing to walk a bit some of the lesser known small lakes are holding good fish that are looking to eat!  Bigger fish and less fishing pressure is always a good thing!  Same tactics apply no matter the lake for panfish though, small jigs and waxies/plastics for bluegill and smaller spoons with crappie minnow heads/bodies pinched off for perch.  Look for fish around weeds to start and work deeper towards the edges if you aren’t finding them shallow.

Fishing looks to get really good just in time for the gamefish season to close!  The season for walleye/bass/pike ends March 5th. Timing for things like that always seem to be impeccable! Have a great weekend and we will talk soon.


Fishing report 11 February 2023

Good morning, decent weather on tap for the foreseeable future, at least for ice fishing and outdoor activities.  Fishing (or at least anglers) have picked up a bit over this last week.  Ice conditions were back to pretty good before the mid week warm up and a lot of the snow on the lakes is packing down nicely making ice travel fair to good.  Not much has changed in pursuit of fish as most fish are into the winter doldrums, but the crappie bite has been good everywhere from what I can tell.  Both suspend in basins and in the weeds depending on the lake.

Northern pike–No reason to change things up for pike as far as how to fish them in winter.  Tip ups are pretty much the go-to for targeting pike though location may change slightly.  Pike may be pushing just a little deeper off of weed edges and roaming points, deep weeds, and deeper structure out into main lake areas.  Most of their preyfish are now moving into that water and pike will follow the food.  Suckers or shiners are the most popular bait underneath a tip up in my area.  If prepared rod/reel/line wise, jigging for pike can work also.  Big flashy jigs that dart and dance in the water column will call in aggressive pike who usually smash baits unexpectedly.

Walleye–I have not heard a whole lot on a walleye bite as of late, but would start fishing the deeper areas of the lake where the bottom transitions from hard to soft.  Pounding jigging style minnow baits or flashy spoons into bottom and then working them up a few feet will call in walleye from good distances.  Work the bait up the water column until fish commit or turn negative and adjust from there.  Keep a dead stick rod in a hole close as sometimes they prefer subtle to flash.  If nothing is happening on the big flashy stuff, toning it down to smaller spoons and movements can be key.

Crappie–The crappie bite is good right now and some fish are out in the deep basins and some are still in and around the deeper weed edges. Most of that depends on the lake and type of structure in the lake.  Smaller presentations with more subtle movements can be the ticket to picking apart bigger crappie.  Tungsten jigs work well in both shallow and deep although size of jig may come into play a little bit. Size up to get jigs deeper faster and go smaller when shallow.  Tip jigs with plastics, waxies, or spikes for both presentations as well.

Perch/Bluegill–Both perch and gills will most likely be related to weeds in some capacity.  Perch may be deeper and closer to the transition of soft to hard bottom with they walleye, while gills will be shallow and in the thicker stuff.  Both will be feeding on bugs and various things coming off of bottom or the weeds so the smallest spoons and jigs are the best choices to catch fish.  For perch it is tough to beat a minnow head pinched off on the treble of a small spoon, while gills generally prefer plastic, waxies, or spikes tipped on a jig head.

Have a great weekend everyone and talk to you soon.