Look for suspended crappies over 15 to 25 feet on Big Round Lake, Half Moon Lake, Balsam Lake, and Bone Lake. Suckers or shiners are producing northern pike on Bear Trap Lake, Lake Wapogasset, East Balsam Lake, and White Ash Lake in 10 to 12 feet. A few walleyes continue to be caught on the shallow humps during low-light periods at Wapogasset, Big Round, Half Moon, Balsam, and North Twin Lake.
Lucky Baits (715) 268-6231
DOOR PENINSULA AND ALGOMA/KEWAUNEE AREA
Ice conditions have greatly improved after the two-week thaw that we went through. According to the guides, most of the bigger cracks have pushed together and are starting to seal up. Again, since there is open water on the other side of the bay and to the north, fishermen have to watch the winds because cracks can, and will, open up and it can happen quickly, especially with southeast winds.
Whitefish action can still be classed as excellent with lots and lots of limits being reported. Some of the hot spots continue to be the Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay areas out in 40 to 60 feet, the Larsen’s Reef and Sherwood Point area from 30 to 80 feet, and from the Old Stone Quarry north past Egg Harbor the spots are endless in the 30- to 100-foot range. The key is to stay mobile and stay away from other fishermen. Best baits have been Rapalas, Swedish Pimples, Forage Minnows and Slick Jigs – above the main jig run some kind of a slider hook like a fly, dot jig, plain single or treble hook. Tip jigs and slider hooks with minnow pieces, wax worms, spikes or Gulp.
Perch fishing continues to provide some good action with decent sized fish and some limits being reported. Better areas have been Little Sturgeon, Sugar Creek, Riley’s Bay, and Sawyer Harbor. An assortment of jigs tipped with minnows, waxies, and spikes work well.
Walleye fishing is still a bit on the slower slide, but that should change as it usually does moving into February. Best areas to fish have been the Henderson’s Point shoreline, Rileys Bay, Sherwood Point, and the Larson’s Reef area, along with some of the shoreline to the north of the Old Stone Quarry. Rapala Jigs, Moonshine Shiver minnows and Odd Ball jigs are the most popular jigs and tip those jigs with minnows and minnow heads
Northern pike fishing reports have been a bit hit-and-miss, but fishing can be considered good as of this writing. Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor and the downtown Sturgeon Bay area all have been producing some fish, with a few very big fish mixed in. Golden shiners, suckers, and frozen smelt all have been working the best for anglers hoping to catch northern pike.
Howie’s Tackle, (920) 746-9916.
Algoma Chamber of Commerce, (920) 487-3090.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Walleye fishing has been very inconsistent in the last week. A number of anglers have reported that they will get fish in a spot one day and then just nothing the next day in the same spot. Weather systems coming through at this time of year seem to have an effect on the fishing. When they are hitting, either suckers or shiners are working well under those tip-ups. Also, deep water jigging during the day has been getting better in the last several weeks.
Northern fishing is good as it has been all winter. Fish for these guys in the deepest weeds you can find. Larger shiners work the best for northerns, setting the tip-ups in the weeds. You will find that you can set a few tip-ups and jig for panfish in the same areas. Since these fish are sight feeders, daytime angling is the best for them.
Panfish fishing has been pretty good, with perch and bluegills leading the pack – mostly in the weeds, with the perch deeper and the bluegills in the thickest weeds. Waxies work best for the bluegills and wigglers for the perch fished over soft bottoms. Crappies have been a little inconsistent, but on some days they are hitting quite well in deeper water. As a bonus, these crappie anglers are getting surprised by a few bluegills.
Access is pretty good – get out there and get some fresh air.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
GREEN BAY/APPLETON AREA
Large numbers of anglers were seen late in the week off of Volks and Bayshore, however catch rates in this area have continued to be lower than those to the north. Most all parties are targeting whitefish. The ice in the area continued to hold, with most people reporting 14 to 18 inches and good conditions. Last week there was still ice on the Fox River at Voyageur Park and anglers were having success catching whitefish, perch, and walleyes. Since then the ice has broken up and only a few open-water anglers have been observed. Their success rate has been low. The majority of anglers have been accessing Long Tail from either Linesville Road or Harbor Lights Road. Anglers report catching good numbers of perch in 5 to 9 feet of water using jigs and minnows. Geano Beach anglers have been having some success catching whitefish and some perch by jigging with live bait south of the landing.
Smokey’s on the Bay Bait, Tackle and Guide Service, (920) 436-0600.
Look for crappies in 20 to 24 feet and sunfish in shallower water on the Chippewa Flowage and Nelson Lake. Grindstone Lake continues to give up perch in 18 to 20 feet. A few walleyes are active early and late each day on Lac Courte Oreilles or Round Lake in 17 to 20 feet. Overall, the walleye action is good, especially in late evening into dark, with some deeper water jigging action during daytime hours. Look for deep/steep breaks in 18 to 30 feet and deeper, working shallow weed areas after dark. Use suckers, shiners, and fatheads under tip-ups and on jigs, or try jigging spoons, Jigging Raps, Slab Raps, and other jigging baits.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
IRON COUNTY AREA
Northern pike fishing is very good to excellent on most lakes. Look for weeds, weed flats, bars, and grass beds in depths from shallow to more than 20 feet, especially in areas holding minnows and panfish. Use shiners and suckers under tip-ups, or give jigging spoons a try. Crappie action is good to very good, but plan on moving around to find and stay on top of active fish. Concentrate on depths from 10 to 30 feet, particularly in deep holes.
Turtle River Trading Co., Mercer, (715) 476-0123.
LAKE MICHIGAN/METRO AREA LAKES
With the past week of cold temperatures, the ice on the local lakes is in excellent condition. The area lakes have on average about 10 to 14 inches of ice. The ice has a good light snow cover, which will help fishing and walking out on the lake. ATV travel, where permitted, has been good. Auto travel is not recommended on the area lakes. There are vehicles venturing on lakes on the central and northern area lakes. Bluegills have been hitting all day, but crappies have been the most active towards dark. Perch are in deeper water. Northern pike action has been steady.
DNR hotline, (414) 382-7920.
Smokey’s Bait Shop, (262) 691-0360.
Dick Smith’s Bait, (262) 646 2218.
LAKE WINNEBAGO AREA
Ice conditions are looking pretty good ahead of the sturgeon spearing season, with depths ranging from 18 to 20 inches. There has been a very good white bass bite going on for a good month now about 3 miles off of Oshkosh. Guys have been talking about a decent perch bite off of the Black Wolf area. Panfish are hitting in the usual bays. Pickings have been pretty slim on the walleye front.
Critter’s, (920) 582-0471.
Fox River Bait, (920) 233-7409.
Dutch’s, (920) 922-0311.
Ice conditions deteriorated a bit during the warmer weather, but guys were still getting on the ice. The ice has since tightened up a bit with the arrival of colder weather. Anglers are catching pike on Lake Mendota in bays around Governor’s Island. Anglers are also catching perch in deeper water around Governor’s Island. There were also perch in the Fox Bluff area. Lake Monona perch were hitting minnows. Monona Bay and the “triangles” were giving up bluegills. Crappies have been hitting on the main basin on Lake Waubesa; size is nice, but the numbers haven’t been too big.
D&S Bait and Tackle, (608) 244-3474.
Dorn Hardware, (608) 244-5403.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
As we head into February and the lull in action that usually comes with this month, it seems the lack of snow on the ice is actually helping the fishing. More light passing through the ice (which at a 17-inch average isn’t a lot) is keeping weeds alive, which in turn, produces oxygen – and everyone likes a little oxygen in their life!
Yellow perch: Good to very good. Be mobile to cover mud flats under 20 to 26 feet of water. Drop heavy, noisy, shiny spoons into the mud to create the appearance of feeding perch. Try Perch Talkers, Hali jigs, Swedish Pimples, Kastmasters and VMC Chandelier jigs tipped with wigglers or red spikes. Some anglers are picking up large perch using rosie reds or medium fatheads on tip-downs. For spoons/jigs, gold, glows and oranges are the top colors.
Northern pike: Good. No monsters, but plenty of numbers were reported on tip-ups and big shiners.
Bluegills: Very good to good. Action slowed as the cold moved in. Some big bluegills are being caught over deep mud by perch anglers.
Crappies: Good to fair. Weather has dictated the bite on these somewhat fickle fish. When the barometer isn’t too high or too low, tip-downs with small minnows have been doing well along transition zones of 18 to 25 feet over mud. In shallower water, weeds have been the spot.
Walleyes: Good to fair. Same as crappies, best on suckers over sand grass flats/humps of 18 to 26 feet.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
J and J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
LAKE PEPIN AREA
Crappies, saugers, and a few walleyes are being pulled from the Maiden Rock area of Lake Pepin in 10 to 14 feet. The harbors are giving up panfish and the bays off the river are producing northern pike. Boat anglers are catching walleyes and saugers from Red Wing to the dam on the Mississippi River in 10 to 12 feet. A jig tipped with plastics or minnows continue to work best.
Four Seasons Sports (651) 388-4334
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Bluegill fishing is good to very good in mid-depth to deeper weeds for anglers using waxies, spikes, plastics, and Gulp! baits on small jigs. Perch fishing is fair to good in depths to 25 feet or so around weeds and on soft bottom areas. Use small jigs tipped with crappie minnows, waxies, spikes, and plastics.
Bridge Bait and Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
Crappies continue to hit on Fish Lake in 15 feet during the afternoon and evening hours. Walleyes are being caught out from the airport in the Duluth Harbor over 8 feet and northern pike are hitting sucker minnows at Rice Lake in 6 feet. Anglers fishing from shore with crawlers or Looper Bugs are catching coho salmon and a few Kamloops near the French River.
Chalstrom’s Bait, (218) 726-0094.