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.