A mild, sunny, clear, and comfortable weekend gave way to a week forecast to be cooler and with a few below zero nights. Still, not bad for February!
“Ice conditions remain good and warmer temperatures make being on the ice more pleasant,” says Pat at Happy Hooker, “but it has caused slush on area lakes. Take a good look at conditions before traveling out with your vehicle.”
Bob at Hayward Bait says ice conditions and the weather are both ideal for ice fishing and other winter activities. Annie says travel conditions are good, but people should still be careful. Due to the mild temperatures, there is slush in some areas, particularly around the shorelines.
At Pastika’s, Al says ice is still fine for ice fishing, but the mild temperatures created slush and it’s messy, so bring your boots. If crappie fishing is tough, try downsizing tackle – and plastics sometimes work better than anything else.
Guide Dave Dorazio at Outdoor Creations says Chippewa Flowage anglers willing to move around and find the fish are catching some nice crappies and large bluegills.
Carolyn at Anglers All on Chequamegon Bay in Ashland says fishing is good for coho, browns, northern, and whitefish. One angler reports catching the biggest perch in years. Ice is holding, but varies greatly, so check it yourself!
“Ice conditions continue to be good on most waters across the north woods,” says DNR fisheries biologist Skip Sommerfeldt. “Ice thickness is holding at 13-16 inches, with four to seven inches of snow cover. There are a few slushy spot on the lakes, limited so far to small, scattered areas, and four-wheel-drive is necessary once you get away from the main trails.”
Walleyes for Northwest Wisconsin’s 16th annual Family Fishing event is February 18 from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., on Lac Courte Oreilles. Event buttons cost $5 for adults and $1 for youth 13-17 years of age. Youth 12 years of age and younger receive free entry. For more information, call Hayward Bait (715) 634-2921.
Namekagon River Partnership, a group of canoeists, anglers, resource professionals, and recreationists forming an organization focused on the Namekagon River, is holding a public listening session Thursday February 9, at 6:30 pm, at Weiss Community Library. For more information, call Dave Thorson (715) 376-4260.
Lakewoods Resort trail report for February 3 says trail conditions range from good to poor, with dirty and bare spots appearing on corners and southern exposure areas. The Namakagon Lake trail is in good condition and ice thickness averages more than 16 inches.
The February 2 Namakagon Trail Groomers report says trails are in fair to good condition, and riders say even though there is not a lot of snow, the trails are smooth and good to ride.
Walleye fishing slowed, but anglers are still catching fish. Low light conditions, specifically late afternoon into after dark, continue to offer the best bite. Depths vary from 8-35 feet and deeper, depending on the lake. Look for mid-lake bars and humps, rock bars, gravel drop-offs, breaklines, weeds, muck and sand flats. Jigging fatheads and spoons is the most effective presentation, though tip-ups with walleyes suckers and shiners continue to catch some fish.
Northern pike action is still good, though it slowed a bit. Fish in, on, over, and along weeds and weed edges in 6- 22 feet of water with northern suckers and shiners under tip-ups. Yes, it is that simple.
Crappie fishing is improving, but plan on moving around to find active fish. Reports on locations vary. Fish can be suspending anywhere in the water column, from on the bottom to mid-depths, and a locator is indispensible. Top baits include crappie minnows, rosy reds, waxies, plastics, and Gulp! baits on plain hooks and small jigs with jigging rods or tip-downs. Surprisingly, sometimes plastics can actually be more effective than minnows.
Bluegill action is good and consistent, but as with crappies, it requires moving around to find fish. Concentrate on areas near weeds in 6-15 feet of water and look for fish suspending at mid-depths over deeper water. Waxies, mousies, spikes, and plastics on plain hooks, small jigs, and teardrops are all productive baits. Downsize tackle to improve your success, and go deeper for bigger ‘gills.
Good perch action continues for those who target them. Fish crappie minnows, fatheads, waxies, and plastics just off the bottom on mud flats, on transition areas, and near cribs in depths from 10-30 feet of water.
Jan. 31: Seasons Closed: Ruffed grouse in northern zone; Gray and Fox squirrel; Bobcat period 2.
Feb. 9: NRP public meeting Weiss Community Library (715-376-4260).
Feb. 11: Relic Riders Big Boyz Toyz vintage snowmobile ride.