Well, my attempts to throw some positive energy at the weather gods last week didn’t seem to help much. Sub zero temperatures and biting winds persisted despite my valiant effort. Well it is mid winter in northern WI, and we should expect nothing less. On a positive note, we’re still making ice on all of our waters which is setting us up for an excellent late ice run. Josh Teigen reports that the laker bite has started to take shape with some new water being accessible around the Apostle Islands. He spent a full day mid week with Acorn Armagost and John Darwin in search of some active fish and found exactly what they were looking for. They caught a bunch of fish in the 23″ – 26″ range with the biggest being a 39″ tank caught by John. Tubes and blade baits worked over 70′ – 100′ of water was the presentation they used, and it was obviously the way to go. I love seeing those fat old lakers, and it’s good to see Josh and the gang have them dialed in. If I remember right, Acorn had the hot hand last year. What’s up Acorn???
Josh began the weekend with Ernie, Glen, Josh, Eric, Bill, Andy, and Doug. They put a full day in around the Apostle Islands, but the fish decided they wanted the weekend off. Of course!!! Josh reported an extremely slow bite with only a few small splake and lakers along with a 22″ brown being caught. They fished 10′ – 65′ of water jigging spoons and blade baits along with tip ups and shiners. This is the time of winter when you you’ll get a tough stretch every now and then when you’ll have to work for everything you get. Even though the fish were in a mid winter funk, it usually doesn’t last long. Better days are definitely ahead. Josh fished with Andy and Doug again the next day. There wasn’t a huge increase in fish activity, although they did manage to put 6 lakers on the ice including a 38″ slob landed by Doug. Congratulations Doug! That’s an awesome fish, and I’d say that girl has some eating issues… Tubes and blade baits worked over 60′ – 100′ of water continued to produce. Tell you what… If that’s a tough day on the ice, I’ll take it! Looks like it’s laker time everyone. Please remember to that we need to preserve these awesome giants. Let’s put those big girls back to do there job so future generations will have the opportunity to experience the thrill of catching one of these beasts. Those were some great looking fish this week Josh. Are we going to see a 40???
After a few weeks off I needed to get my crappie fix, and I picked some awesome weather to do it in… With the nasty weather and the fish on Chequamegon Bay in a bit of a slump I wasn’t expecting much action but was pleasantly surprised. Matt Tande from The Hunt with Greg And Jake brought along his fiance Chelsea Johnson from Elk Mound, WI for a two day excursion that left us plenty cold with plenty of fish. On day #1, we had high skies and frigid temps. It took us awhile to locate fish, but after covering some ground we found them suspended over 24′ – 26′ of water holding in anywhere from 10′ – 20′. Small spoons and jigs tipped with a single waxie or plastic did the trick for us as the fish were a bit finicky, but we were able to catch plenty in the 10″ – 12″ range. Not every fish we marked was active, and constantly moving from hole to hole was the key to putting a few in the bucket for a fish fry. There was a solid 20″ of ice and we had easy travel with my truck wherever we wanted to go.
Day #2 brought a warm up in temps with snow and lots of wind. Lots of wind… Well that weather system worked in our favor and put the crappies into a frenzy. We caught fish throughout the day suspended over 24′ – 26′ of water. Small spoons tipped with a waxie was all we needed, and it was smoking hot right from the start with lots of crappies from 8″ – 12″. Once you had active fish in a hole, there was no need to move, and they bit steady throughout the day. Now that’s how it should always be!!! Chelsea and Matt were in the zone, and there weren’t many moments when someone wasn’t reeling in a fish. Fun! Chelsea in particular put on one heck of a performance, and I’m going to have to throw my good friend under the bus on this one… Sorry brother, she out fished you!!! Hope that doesn’t mean he won’t be calling in a turkey for you this spring Chelsea…
When I posted last week’s report, Aron Kastern was pacing around the hospital awaiting the birth of his first son. After over 30 hrs. of labor, Aron and Lacey welcomed Boone Adam Kastern into the world. Boone has already shown us that he’s got a stubborn stretch, and I’ve got a feeling that a lot of fish are going to pay the price for that some day! Despite the chaos, Aron was able to get me a report from his crew with a mixed bag of whitefish and lake trout still keeping them busy although they experienced the same slow down in activity as Josh. The boys have been on a pretty hot bite most of the winter, and they were bound to run into some tough sledding at some point. Unfortunately, fish don’t eat all of the time… I sure wish they did! Even though action slowed up, they were still able to ice some nice fish in 50′ – 100′ of water around the Apostle Islands. Jigging spoons tipped with minnow parts are still producing, but the slow days will definitely keep you on the move trying to cover as much territory as possible while trying to locate biters. Aron noted that they were constantly on fish over the weekend, but they just wouldn’t pop as they have in the prior weeks. Good news is that they’ll bust loose again at some point, and they know where to find them when they do. Aron reports 18″ of solid ice in the areas they’re fishing with smooth sailing by foot, ATV, and snowmobile. In the weeks to come, Aron expects to start chasing big lakers in 150′ – 200′ of water with fish from 18 – 30 lbs. being caught on your regular basis. If last year’s catches are any indicator, you won’t want to miss out. Congratulations to Aron and Lacey on the birth of Boone. We couldn’t be happier for you and wish you all the best!