A much needed and deserved warm up that moved in last week resulted in a strong bite on the Hayward area lakes and Chequamegon Bay. Before temperatures dropped again over the weekend, Josh Teigen and Aron Kastern had some really productive days, and our hard water season continues to be a good one. Although we may start to settle into the mid winter phase when the bite can get a bit tough on inland lakes, cold temperatures are continuing to make ice on Lake Superior, and we should start to see some new opportunities around the Apostle Islands happen. Here’s what the guys had to say about their last week on the ice.
Josh Teigen said the inland bite really turned on over the week with a strong panfish bite during daylight hours. He’s been focusing on 10′ – 15′ of water using small jigs tipped with waxies. Crappies and gills on the lakes he’s fishing are holding in and around any weed growth that can be found, and small pockets of cover can hold a lot of fish. Depending on the lake, you should stumble into some perch as well. The inland walleye bite has been limited to low light times, with dawn and dusk producing fish on tip ups rigged with shiners. The windows can be small, so it pays to be set up and ready to go. The bite may not last long, but you can put quite a few fish on the ice in a short period of time if you’re ready. Inland ice conditions are the same as last week with up to 15″ of ice on most lakes. ATV and snowmobile travel is still good, but snow is starting to pile up in some areas toward Lake Superior, which may limit ATV’s soon. Make sure you check snow depths before accessing the lakes or you might need a tow… Josh also reported a really good trout bite again on Chequamegon Bay with some super looking browns coming on Kastmasters tipped with minnow heads jigged in 15′ – 45′ of water. Breaklines and points along the Washburn side of the bay out to Houghton Point are producing fish. Ice is starting to thicken north of Houghton as well, but Josh suggests using caution as it’s still new and we had a lot of wind last week that may have produced some unstable spots. I’m sure Josh is riding high after that big Viking win last night!
Aron Kastern’s report from the week focuses on Chequamegon Bay, and his crew has been covering a lot of water. He reports 12″ – 16″ of ice around Ashland with everything from perch to trout coming from shallow flats in front of town out to the lighthouse. Remember to always avoid the ice around both ends of the breakwall this time of year. That ice should never be considered safe. Aron suggests using different colors and styles of spoons in these areas until you find the right combination for the day, and always set tip ups with lake or golden shiners to target bigger fish. Second Landing out to Long Island has the same ice conditions with perch, walleye, and pike being caught over scattered weedbeds in 6′ – 20′ of water. It’s a moving game, and you need to keep checking weedbeds until you find the one with active fish. When you do, things can happen fast. Rattle spoons tipped with minnow heads and waxies are working best. Long Island to Houghton Pt. is producing big #’s days of whitefish along with decent numbers of trout and smaller cohos in 20′ – 65′ of water. Scout potential fish holding areas on your topo maps looking for turns, bends, or points in contours that may concentrate fish. Ice is running from 10″ – 15″ in most areas with smooth snowmobile and ATV travel. Small spoons tipped with plastics are producing well for both whitefish and trout. Make sure your watching your electronics for high flyers cruising through just under the ice. Aron cautions that there is one very large pressure crack running from the tip of Long Island toward the Sioux River, and you’ll want to navigate cautiously around that. A few guys are starting to fish around Bayfield on 6″ – 8″ of ice, but there have not been any reports from the Apostle Islands yet. Get those guys back in the Sno Bears Aron. The deep freeze has returned!
Josh and Aron will be hard at it again this week, so stay tuned for up to date ice and fishing conditions. You’re not dreaming Viking fans. That really happened. Congratulations to the Purple Nation! Man, that’s hard to say…