Apparently whoever is in charge of El Nino didn’t get the memo. It’s down right chilly out there. We’ve had a typical start to our northern Wisconsin February with below zero temps and some lake effect snow. A warm up is expected next week however, and the new ice that’s been made on Lake Superior should offer a chance to get on some fresh schools of fish that haven’t been targeted yet this season. Aron Kastern and his crew stayed on top of the whitefish and trout action last weekend finding a good mixed bag in 20′ – 60′ of water. Flashy spoons tipped with plastics are all you need when fish are aggressively feeding. When they get picky, downsize and tip small spoons with waxies. Always be ready for high flyers coming through just a few feet below the surface. Whitefish, browns, lakers, and splake have all been cooperative with some big numbers of splake up to 22″, along with browns up to 6 lbs., and lakers running between 19″ – 23″. It’s good to see those splake numbers bouncing back as they sure are fun to catch and generally willing biters. At one time they were prolific in Chequamegon Bay and provided non stop action throughout the winter months. Aron reports that ice conditions on Chequamegon Bay are good including the Bayfield area with 8″ – 12″ of ice and 2″ – 4″ of snow with just a little bit of slush. ATV and snowmobile travel are both smooth. Despite the recent cold snap, we still advise against venturing out to deeper areas in search of big lakers. It might be tempting, but it’s not worth it. With the near shore action that’s going on, you’ll have plenty to keep you busy.
Aron has also been venturing out on the inland lakes and keeping track of the panfish bite. He reports that the bite is deep on most lakes now, and anglers should focus on basin areas in 20′ – 30′ of water. Gills are suspending around 3′ off bottom, and crappies are hugging the ground a bit more. Typical February scenarios for most of our lakes. Pop holes until you locate fish and finesse them with small jigs or spoons tipped with waxies or spikes until they bite. On slow days, you may have to experiment with various lure, color, and bait combinations until you crack the code. Inland ice conditions are all over the map with 8″ – 12″ of ice, 6″ – 12″ of snow cover, and some bad slush pockets to deal with. Foot travel is recommended for most lakes and snowmobiles only where slush isn’t too bad. Having buried way too many snow machines in slush holes when I was younger, I think I’ll stick to walking… Way to stay on top of the fish Aron, and once again another job well done by you and your crew! You know what day it is tomorrow fellas? Don’t forget, or it could be a long February… Happy Valentines Day!!!