We’re back! After a break from the open water season, it’s time to get on the ice. Our inland lakes are in full swing, and Chequamegon Bay is still a work in progress. Those of you looking to drill some holes and break in some new gear should find plenty of opportunities out there.
Josh Teigen reports 3″ – 5″ of good ice on the inland waters he’s been fishing with a good mixed bag early ice bite happening for walleyes, pike, and panfish. Weed edges and flats in 15′ – 25′ on clear water lakes are producing the best for pike and eyes. Josh has been keeping it simple with tip-ups and sucker minnows being the best and most effective approach. Set your tip up spread along various depths in relation to the weeds until you dial in the best bite. You can also pick up a few bonus fish in between flags while jigging as well. Jigging Raps, Kastmasters, and Hyper Glides are good choices. The early ice walleye bite can be the best of the season, and this is definitely the time to get after them. Dawn and dusk will generally produce best for eyes, but the pike bite can keep you busy all day long. Crappies and gills are holding in 15′ – 20′ of water. Locate fish with your electronics and get to work. Small jigs and spoons tipped with plastics or waxies will all produce. The mood of the fish can change from day to day, so switch up presentations until you find the right combination.
Aron Kastern has been on a cool inland trout bite over the last week and has put some beautiful brookies on the ice. The Wisconsin DNR manages several lakes in our area specifically for trout, and it creates a unique opportunity for those looking for a new adventure. Tip-ups and Automatic Fisherman set with minnows along with jigging small spoons tipped with waxies or minnow heads will all produce fish at various depths. Most of these lakes are quite small, and the fish can be anywhere. Spread out and cover as much ice as you can. Don’t sit in one spot for too long, and hold on when you get hit. They’re lots of fun and put up one heck of a battle. Aron reports 3″ – 7″ of ice with a few wet spots that should be avoided when traveling.
We haven’t spent time on Chequamegon Bay yet. Both Aron and Josh are reporting 5″ – 7″ of ice on the Ashland side with quite a bit of open water still on the Washburn side. With warm temps and big winds in the forecast, it may be awhile before we have anything for you from Lake Superior. Aron and Josh will continue to check in weekly, and we’ll keep you posted on the latest conditions and reports throughout the season. Please remember to be smart and safe out there, and check ice depths as you go. Foot travel is definitely the best option early in the season, and there’s no need to take unnecessary chances. Heck, you’ll need the exercise anyway to work off all of those cookies and treats over the next couple of weeks! Get out there, catch some fish, and have a Merry Christmas everyone!