It’s gotten plenty chilly outside. Most days not seeing temps above 0 degrees, and wind chills in the 30-50 degrees below keeping anglers off the ice (and who can blame them!).
If there is a bright side to this (and you’ve got to look very hard) most of the heavy snow is south of the Northwoods. The lack of snow cover on the ice is allowing these super cold days (nights) of air temps of 25-32 degrees below zero to build more ice. Truck travel is improving all around. With ice thickness running 20-24” and building, this should help insure for some good ice into March.
Crappies: Good-Very Good – Not in the shallows of 12’ or less, but out over deep water of 15-28’. Crappies being found 2-5’ off bottom. Minnows (small rosie red or Crappie size) on dead sticks or small floats (inside shacks, tip-downs don’t work well in these temps). Tungsten jigs tipped with spikes or even plastics (white, chartreuse, glow) working.
Yellow Perch: Fair – Best bite deeper. Shallower water fish not eating it seems. Use Hali jigs to get spikes or wigglers to bottom in hurry. Bang the bottom to stir up mud. Chandiliers and Bombs also good for this method.
Northern Pike: Fair-Poor – Some tip-up action, but tough to keep holes open without use of cover, be prepared to keep your catch under sub zero temps; eyes and fins freeze quickly. Don’t waste these fish.
Walleye: Poor – A few being caught just before dark, but most anglers off ice before then. Suckers or large fatheads best.
Bluegill: Poor – Most Gill anglers in shallows (less than 12’) seeing same thing – uninterested fish. Go extremely small, tiny 2.5 mm Fiska jigs and single spike or tiny plastic (J:S Icemite Jrs or Larvamites)
Largemouth Bass: Poor – No reports
This cold snap looks to be bottoming out this Wednesday (1/30). Back into teens come Friday, and low 30’s by Saturday. This should help angler’s attitudes, as well as the fishes. Access to lakes will be excellent for truck, ATV and snowmobile use.
One word of caution: the ice below the HWY 51 bridge in Minocqua has an area of only 7-12” as of 1/26/19. Advise not to drive trucks under bridge – snowmobile and ATV are okay.
Lots of derbys coming up in February
Feb 2nd – United Way 14th Annual Ice Jamboree – Stacks Bay, Lake Minocqua
Feb 2nd – 7th Annual Ice Derby Willow Haven Bar & Grill – Willow Flowage
Feb 9th – 1st Annual KISS High School Ice Fishing Tournament (Highschool teams only) – Lake Minocqua
Feb 9th – 17th Annual Plum Lake Ice Fishing Tournament – Plum Lake in Sayner
Feb 16th – 3rd Annual Rob Lemmer Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament – Lake Katherine in Hazelhurst
Feb 23rd – 6th Annual Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament – Carrol Lake in Woodruff