Good morning, those bitterly cold nights sure helped for making ice on some of the lakes. Reports on ice conditions are all over the place as I am hearing almost 9″ on lakes like Lost Land but open water yet on Round, LCO, and Grindstone. I know I’m not the smartest guy in the world but I am pretty observant, so that’s telling me the smaller shallower lakes are setting up nicely, while the big deep lakes are taking their time. Cannot stress enough each and every lake is different so make sure to check any spot/spots you are heading out too. A decent amount of snow cover can hide thin ice that is not safe so be mindful always on the ice. Looks like temps this week will be hovering right around or just above freezing all week with lows dropping below freezing at night. Also getting more snow midweek with the potential for it to become a major snow storm. Should make the snowmobilers happy as another good snowfall may open the trails up in the area. I was told they are still waiting to stake the lakes, and some of the marshes are still a little soggy but we are getting close to both of those getting good enough to open the trails up. Anyway, back to fishing…..
Northern Pike–Tip ups are still the way to go around here for pike. Look for weeds/weed edges yet and set up there with suckers or shiners. Pike can be anywhere in the water column cruising for food so set your tip ups at different depths.
Walleye–Tip ups are still working good for walleye as well, but we have been selling a good amount of fatheads so makes me believe anglers are starting to jig for them as well. Suckers and shiners are the go-to bait for tip ups, and fathead/crappie minnows are generally the ticket for jigging or deadsticking. Bigger profile jigging baits are still producing as the bite has not yet gone finesse for winter. We are a long way out from that yet.
Crappie/bluegill/perch–Stick to the shallow bays/weeds to catch panfish. Like stated above, deep lakes are not frozen over yet and even deep basins in the shallower lakes may not be safe. Smaller jigs or spoons, tipped with bait or plastics (or not) can catch fish. Using electronics is the easiest way to ice panfish but not required this time of year. Look at lake maps and find weed beds in bays and start there.
If you haven’t tagged out on a deer yet (like myself) you still have time! This weekend is an anterless only hunt Dec 8-11. Late archery goes until Jan 7th for both doe and buck if you still have a tag and there is another antlerless holiday hunt right around Xmas in which any method of shooting is legal. The next week looks to be a great time to be in the woods or on the water as temps are still favorable for being out in the elements! Good luck to anyone who gets out this weekend!