Lakeland area fishing has been good of late, the traveling? Eh, not so good.
Rain on Sunday helped knock down the snow and slush that had been on the lakes, if only it had stayed rain till the cold came back. As the rain turned to snow, first heavy and wet, then lighter yet still insulating, what could have been great conditions just got somewhat difficult again. Mild temps (high teens to low 30's) through the weekend won't be the challenge. Figuring out the wheres and hows to access the ice will be. Actually, ice thickness is good at 6-12+" on most lakes, it's the new slush that could be a hindrance.
Walleye: Very Good – Probably due to the cloudy conditions, good reports of nice fish coming in during the day time. most reports from tip-up anglers finding Walleyes taking medium shiners up on weedy fingers of cabbage covered flats midday. Evening bites (get started early, by 3;30-4) on tip ups baited with suckers on\r jigging Rattlin Raps along 9-12' weed edges. Lots of good reports along with some very nice walleyes of 24-29" being caught and released (thank you anglers0 over the weekend.
Northern Pike: Very Good – Best on big lively shiners or suckers under tip-ups. the biggest pike being caught along outside weed edges of 8-14'. Also, anglers hanging big shiners "high" above cabbage tops reporting good results. Fish to 38" reported again this week with plenty of 25-30" fish being caught.
Crappies: Good-Very Good - Can be off at times in the bays, but the fish are there, just need to be ready when they go on the feed! Slow dropping bright rockers with plastics tops! Some crappie minnow action on tip-downs. Towards mid-day anglers setting up along transition areas of mud to hard bottom are catching fish coming out of deep water using minnows or glow jigs tipped with waxies.
Bluegills: Good – Most action in weeds of 7-12' using small dark jigs tipped with moussee's or waxies. A sliver of beaver tail bait worked on a #10 black rocker scored a nice catch for one angler working the jig 1' off the bottom in 9-10' of cabbage.
Largemouth Bass: Good – While few anglers target Largemouths, action on warmer days (typically above 20 degrees), good on tip-ups baited with medium shiners.
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Fair only because while the action has been good, it's been a lot of smaller perch. With some patience some eaters being caught. Tear drop jigs baited with a load of waxies working well.
While the ice conditions themselves are probably better here in the Northwoods area than farther south (little to no ice), or to the north (too much snow) caution is still advised. With the snow cover of the last 24hrs. slush and areas of thinner ice will be difficult to detect. While ice thickness in some areas safe enough for snowmobile and or A.T.V. travel, best advice is to walk and check before going out. Take your spud bar and wear your tall boots! And HAPPY NEW YEAR!