A classic mid January thaw landed on northern Wisconsin, and I didn’t hear one complaint about the weather around here. The Lake Superior snow belt received a pretty good dumping of white stuff along Hwy 2 during a mid week system, but much of it was lost as temperatures climbed into the high 40’s and even hit 50 in some places over the weekend. Fishing patterns continue to be stable on the bay with the bite slowing a bit inland along with some new action to report around the Apostle Islands. The Ice Caves remain closed at this time, but there’s still lots of good stuff happening in our area. Here’s what Aron and Josh had to say about the past week.
Aron Kastern and his crew have started exploring new areas around Bayfield and the inner Apostle Islands finding 6″ – 10″ of ice. He says travel is fairly good on snowmobiles, but there are some slush pockets and pack ice to be aware of. He also cautions against traveling past the interior shorelines of the inner islands as those area should still be considered dangerous. Island edges in 20′ – 50′ of water are producing good numbers of trout including browns and a few lakers with some bigger fish mixed as well. Aron suggests probing deeper water for larger fish, although they tend to be more spread out. Flashy spoons and bobbing beetles rigged with fresh cut bait and shiners are working best. Always pay attention to current switches, and don’t get stuck working spots too long without any activity. Inside Chequamegon Bay, Aron reports 18″ – 20″ of ice in the Ashland area with mixed action of trout and cohos around the lighthouse. Lots of smelt are starting to show up as well and will be bringing all of the above with them. Ice from second landing to Long Island ranges from 12″ – 20″ with good catches of whitefish continuing to come around the island with perch, pike, and walleye active around the weedbeds in front of second landing. Presentations and rigging hasn’t changed from our last report. The most active fishermen and women are the ones catching fish. Good to see some island reports and my friend Larry Dittner out there with you Aron. Now that guy is a fishing fool!
Josh reported a much slower bite on the inland lakes last week, but they were still there to catch however. You just had to work at it, and hard work was rewarded with some good fish! Crappies were holding in 10′ – 15′, and jigs with plastics were producing best. It’s definitely hole hopping time, and once you ice one or two, you better fire up the auger. Walleyes are feeding right before dark in a small window, but some nice fish are coming from 15′ – 20′ of water on tip-ups and shiners. Josh reports that inland ice conditions are excellent with 12 plus inches wherever he goes and very little slush at this time. On Chequamegon Bay, Josh had a hit and miss trout/whitefish bite using jigging spoons and tip-ups in 15′ – 35′ of water. Best lures were a Kastmaster tipped with a minnow, and Josh emphasizes moving to find fish rather than waiting for them to find you. This is the time of year when some days you have to make it happen. Josh found good ice conditions with 8″ – 12″, but like Aron found some slush pockets as well. He’s a bit worried that the strong NE winds we’re currently receiving may damage the ice, so make sure to check as you go especially if fishing areas between Washburn and Bayfield. The inland walleye bite may be a bit slow Josh, but it doesn’t take many like that to make your day. Those are some good looking eyes!!!
With the rest of northern Wisconsin’s rooting interests put to bed over the weekend, it’s time to get off the couch and explore all of the opportunities we have around Hayward, Ashland, and Superior, WI. Give us a call if you’re looking to schedule a trip to beat the cabin fever that’s setting in. There’s always next year Packer and Viking fans… Have a great week everyone!