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Minocqua Area Fishing Report - 1/23/24

With the number of sub-zero nights we had last week, several in negative teens, we disappointedly did not get all the ice I thought for sure we would have by now.  Seems what snow we did get from the previous “storm” (3-4”) was enough to insulate the lakes and slow ice production.


I conservatively predicted 10-12” by last Fri/Sat.  Unfortunately, most reports were of 7-10” (I found 9” on two separate lakes) with a few well-trodden lakes supporting up to 12-12 ½”.  There were even reports of open water last week on Trout, Tomahawk, Fence, Big Crawling Stone and an open rift from Rock Island to North Bay on the Willow Flowage.  Some of these areas froze over during last Thursday’s cold, windless morning (1/18), but should still be traveled with extreme caution.


Northern Pike:  Poor-Good – A few nice fish reported over the weekend following days of very few anglers out due to cold.  Tip-ups with large shiners or suckers, no real secrets here, work weed beds of 6-12’ with green weeds.


Crappie:  Fair-Good – Very small windows of activity.  Best over basins of 22-30’ of water.  Small Kastmasters, Pinhead jigs, Tikka Flash and T-Rips tipped with waxies.  Fish spotted suspended 4-8’ off bottom, selective bite.  If not interested in above spoons, drop small (#3) tungsten jigs w/hair and single spike to coax bites.  With warm up on the way, tip-downs with small minnows should do better.


Bluegill:  Poor-Fair – Lots of “lookers”.  Barometer must have fish “spooky” as lots of reports of fish on the screen, but not biting.  Tiny jigs (#2.5 Fiskas, #12 Rockers) in dull finishes tipped with single red or colored spike teased some bites.  As the week moves on and temps warm, expect better action in weeds of 6-10’ but also look for suspended Gill over sandgrass or mud in 18-26’.


Yellow Perch:  Poor-Fair – Like Gills, two places to find.  Weed fish in 6-10’ taking Northland Forage Minnows and Z-Vibes loaded with waxies.  Also, the mud flat bite is slowly, but surely, picking up as a few anglers are reporting some action over mud basins of 20-30’ using Halis tipped with wigglers or red spikes.  Bang the mud to create a disturbance and watch closely on your flasher for Perch to move in.


Largemouth Bass:  Poor-Fair – A few reports over the weekend as temps got into mid-teens.  Watch as this species will get active as weather warms.  Medium shiners on tip-ups, Jiggin Raps and Rippin Raps in the cabbage of 6-10’.


Walleye:  Poor-Fair – Bite fell off during week, started to slowly pick up by weekend.  Most bites at dusk over sandgrass or along deep weed edges as Walleyes move up for the night.  Walleye suckers, medium river shiners on tip-ups.  A few reports of Walleye taking #3 Jiggin Raps fished over sandgrass of 16-18’ on 1/21, two hours before dusk.


Super cold, super high pressure, super low pressure and the dreaded east-southeast wind all seemed to put a damper on this past week’s bite.  Things looking up as the forecast shows milder temps and more westerly winds.  No major cold to help with what has to be the least amount of ice we’ve seen in the Northwoods this late in the season.


As stated, expect to find 7-10” averages (some as little as 4” others to 12”) with 1-2” of slush between the ice and 3” of snow.  Snowmobiles and ATV use has been fine so far, some UTV where ice 8”+, but definitely no trucks, don’t risk your life or anyone else’s!  Wise to keep a float suit or life preserver on if venturing out to unknown or big water.


Upcoming Tournaments

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


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