Brrr… You had to know that the unusually mild winter we’ve been having wasn’t going to last forever. Temperatures have plummeted, and it’s safe to say that all of our lakes are making some serious ice this week. Even Chequamegon Bay is starting to get some fishable ice along the Ashland shoreline, and our crew has plans to fish it later this week. On Monday Aron Kastern reported a lot of pack ice in the head of the bay that was nearly impossible to drill holes through and fish, but there were a few folks fishing areas around the marina and Ore Dock in Ashland with a few good inches of ice. Foot travel only in those areas gang, but we’ll keep you posted.
Josh Teigen spent his week on the inland lakes and got into some really good fishing. He reports 6″ – 9″ of ice on small lakes and 3″ – 7″ on larger lakes with some slushy spots still hanging in there. Snowmobile travel is O.K. on smaller lakes, but you may want to hold off a few more days on the larger lakes although I know that the snowmobile club in Hayward staked out trails across some lakes in that area.
Tom & Kathy from Illinois joined Josh for three fun days on a mixed bag bite. On day #1 they iced around 20 medium sized pike in 8′ – 15′ of water in the morning. In the evening they switched their attention to walleyes, and put some good fish through the hole up to 22″ along with a few more pike up to 27″ in 17′ – 29′ of water. Josh said it was super windy on the ice, which always makes things challenging. Most fish came on tip ups and shiners, but Kathy was able to manage a few while jigging.
Day #2 was a bit of a tougher bite. The crew drew a blank in the morning after fishing two different spots, and completely switched locations for the afternoon/evening bite. Even though the fish continued to be in a stubborn mood they were able to pick up a few walleyes up to 21″ and a couple of pike up to 25″ using tip ups and shiners. As we get into the mid winter pattern, you can expect a few tough stretches in between good action. The key is to be out there when the dinner bell rings to take advantage of every opportunity the fish give you. During periods of slow activity, a few good walleyes and pike are all it takes to save the day!
During the final day of their trip, our friends from Illinois were rewarded for their patience. The switch flipped, and the fish went nuts. Gotta love that! Over 20 pike up to 30″ hit the ice in the morning along with a pile of largemouth up to 17″ in 8′ – 25′ of water in weeds and along weed edges. Everything was caught on tip ups with minnows and jigging Rattle Traps. The walleye bite was just as good in the evening with a bunch of fish up to 24″ landed along with some bonus pike in 12′ – 28′ of water on tip ups and minnows. What a super ending to their trip. Way to go Tom and Kathy, and nice work Josh!!!
For those of you looking for the perfect winter getaway, our friends Jordan and Kelsey Gensmer at Angler’s Haven have opened up Cabin #9 for year around rentals. This cozy northwoods retreat offers snowmobile trail access and is in close proximity to all of the Hayward area lakes, ski trails, and recreation areas. Give Jordan and Kelsey a call to reserve if for your stay. Availability won’t last long!!!
Stay warm out there everyone!!!