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Minocqua Area Fishing Report - 1/1/24



We’re slowly sliding back into a “second” early ice season.  Despite warnings to the contrary, some anglers got out on the ice and continued to fish.  Things got dicey with shorelines pulling out 1-2’ from banks (some even further), some open water Musky fishing and water skiing was also witnessed (Trout Lake).  But as nights have gotten colder (and the days since 12/30) ice is firming up and slowly building.  It would be nice to get some sub-zero temps, but the forecast only shows teens for the first 12 days of 2024.


Walleye:  Good-Very Good – Most reports on tip-ups using suckers and shiners as anglers not willing to do as much hole jumping with jigging raps, rattlin raps and hyper glides.  Not that jigging hasn’t been working, it has for those willing to do, but the less walking on 3-4” of spongy ice the better.  Nice catches before dusk and pre-dawn, still most in 6-12’ weeds.


Northern Pike:  Good-Very Good – Nice catches using large suckers and river shiners.  Nothing out of the usual, live green weeds in 5-10’ best.  Nice fish to 36” reported this past week with the best, a 38” caught and released on Friday (12/29).


Crappies:  Good-Very Good – This species being found actively biting (except 12/28) in both weeds and in open basins.  The basins have not been as accessible due to thinner ice (2”) so most activity has been weed related.  Tip-downs with Crappie minnows or small rosies, as well as rocker style jigs with white, pink and yellow plastics.  Jigs with blades such as Lethal Cecils and Tikka Flash tipped with waxies also producing well!


Largemouth Bass:  Good-Very Good – Not typically targeted, but moving the needle in a big way!  Several reports of Bass in the 18-20”+ range caught and released by anglers using medium shiners on tip-ups, as well as those jigging spoons tipped with waxies or minnow heads.  The warm temps always seem to bring out the best in Largemouth activity, with no real “cold” days on the forecast, expect good action to continue.


Yellow Perch:  Good – Anglers looking for Gills finding Perch in 6-10’ weed flats taking #3 tungsten jigs tipped with spikes or waxies.  No jumbos being reported but nice eaters in the 8-9 ½” range.  Also picking some up on tip-downs baited with minnows for Crappies.


Bluegill:  Good – Once past Thursday’s high-pressure system, Gills once again biting well on small, dark jigs (black, red, green) tipped with red spikes or dark colored plastics.  While most attention is spent in weeds of 5-10’, a few anglers (where ice is thick enough) finding suspended Gills in 20-25’ basins.


Thankfully, no reports, that I’ve heard of locally, of people breaking through the ice. While things will be getting better from here on out for a while, caution is still advised.  Most ice reports have gone from 2-4” mid-week up to the 3-5” mark, some small lakes with 6”.  Can’t recommend vehicle travel of any kind.  Creepers are essential for safely walking and safety spikes and flotation suits or throw cushions still a must.  Looks like we will be getting our ice back, not quickly, but enough to have an ice fishing season.


Upcoming Tournaments

Jan 6th – 73rd Annual Rib Lake Area Ice Fishing Contest – Rib Lake

Jan 6th – 16th Annual NCO Club & AMVETS Post 724 Ice Fishing Tournament – Lake Nokomis

Feb 10th – 22nd Annual Plum Lake Ice Fishing Tournament – Plum Lake


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