Good morning, it feels more like early spring than winter as of a few days ago, however no big warm up coming anytime soon.  Looks like temps will be steady in the upper 30s to low 40s during the day and dips below the 32 degree mark most nights.  While the snow is melting,  with the forecasted temps it will be around for a while yet.  For anyone wanting to get to their cabins or stored boats, bring a shovel!!  Ice conditions are still safe, although there is a lot of moving water so check as you go.  Snowmobile trails are still open as well but, grooming will stop this weekend and any trails on south facing slopes are getting thin.  I believe the trail stakes out on the lakes will be pulled very soon as well while its still safe to do so.  2022 licenses expire Friday so make sure to get a new one before then.  Not much to report on fishing as many anglers are just done dealing with the ice conditions this year!  If anyone is wanting to venture out for late ice panfish, here is where I would try…….

Crappie/Bluegill/Perch–I would start in bays and some backwater areas that still have safe ice and are relatively shallow.  My guess is most crappie are starting to stage up in spawning areas as the days are getting longer and more light is getting through the ice.  Weeds should  be starting to grow and the influx of fresh water  coming into the lakes will be stirring bugs and other stuff up from the silt.  Using jigs tipped with plastics or waxies should still be catching crappie, minnows may be a little big yet.  Focus on the deeper section of the bay or the deep weed edges, maybe 8-10 FOW of most lakes.  Bluegill most likely will be found in these same bays, but slightly shallower, maybe 3-6 FOW and closer to moving water if there is any in the areas you fish.  Bluegill will be eating bugs and any of the hatches that are coming up through the water column.  Small jigs tipped with plastics and waxies are the norm for all panfish right now.  You may even be able to sight fish most of the species through the ice now, they can be that shallow.  Perch should also be found in these backwater areas or bays and feeding on all of the same stuff.  For perch I would go with a small spoon vs. jig and really pound bottom and fish it aggressively.  

I know its a condensed version of the report, but I’m kind of shooting from the hip as I have not been out myself in a few weeks and not many anglers have been in the bait shop to give me the hot spots.  I hope everyone stays safe if they get out and enjoys their time outdoors! 

Have a great weekend and we will talk soon!