Early ice fishing definitely underway as anglers have been plying waters of the Northwoods for almost two weeks.
Despite rain on Friday Eve/Saturday making things very slippery and not very safe for walking, the rain may have actually helped by removing snow cover and weight from existing ice. We seemed to have lost very little in ice thickness, mostly just the snow cover.
Walleye: Very Good – Early evening bite best followed by dawn bite as next best time. Jigging lures (UL Rippin Raps, Slab Raps, Jigging Raps, Hyper Glides) as well as jigging spoons (Demon Tongues, Slender Spoons, Tinglers w/ minnow heads) have been deadly as Walleyes actively chasing moving baits. Tip-ups with large fatheads, suckers or chubs also producing. Yet, while bite is active, great time to work on your Walleye jigging skills! Lots of “eater” Walleyes reported this past week, yet bigger Eye’s to 28” also caught and released.
Bluegill: Very Good – Where safe ice covers green weeds of 4-8’ nice Gills taking small jigs (Moon Glitter, Dot Tear Drop, Mooska jigs) tipped with waxies, spikes or plastic (red, purple best this week)
Crappie: Very Good – Shallow fish cruising in the same waters as the Gills. Horizontal presentations (Ratso’s, Sled Heads, Z-Vibes and even the smallest UL3 Rippin Raps) producing larger slabs (along with occasional Large Mouth Bass). Slip floats and tip-downs with minnows also producing.
Yellow Perch: Very Good-Good – Great numbers in the shallows, but necessary to sort for some keepers. Try larger baits (medium fatheads, Impulse rigged mayflys, waxtails or Flutter Spoons tipped with 2-3 waxies) Aggressive jigging seems to draw in Perch, then pause to get bites.
Northern Pike: Very Good-Good – Big shiners, chubs and suckers on tip-ups. Pike cruising shallow weeds where panfish are located.
Musky: Poor? – Sorry, but few anglers out. Only a few lakes open for boats, though one report of an ice angler catching a low 30” fish on tip-up. Season’s last day Nov 30th.
Unlike the southern and eastern parts of the state, the weather this weekend should only help our ice formation. A light dusting has put some “grip” back on the ice, but creepers still a must, as well as a spud bar for checking ice thickness. Most anglers reporting 5-6”, but there are areas that need watching. Be safe, carry a rope, get a float suit and take a friend.
Our 9th Annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza is this weekend, Nov 30th, Dec 1st & 2nd. Meet reps, pro staffer’s (Paul Delaney will be here), get great deals and a chance to win a Striker Floating Ice Jacket & Bibs.