Good morning, the weather looks good for a while as far as outdoor sports go and enough snow still on the trails to keep everyone happy. Ice conditions are good on most lakes as I am hearing pretty consistently around 8-10″ of ice. The 3 big lakes that I am hearing are still in question are Round, LCO, and Grindstone. On those lakes I am hearing reports of only about 2-3″ of good ice underneath all of the snow/slush. There are some pretty good facebook posts from the Sawyer county snowmobile and ATV alliance on lake conditions as well. Most of the lakes are staked now for snowmobile traffic and therefore should be safe for travel all around them as well. As always, use caution and common sense when riding unknown conditions on any lake. So that’s the ice safety PSA for this week, now onto the fishing!
Northern pike– Pike action has still been 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–Not a ton to report on a 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.
Stay safe this holiday weekend and Happy New Years!!!