Northern Wisconsin Fishing Report – March 21st, 2014
Anglers are still fishing on Chequamegon Bay and travel is still difficult unless you have a snowmobile. There are a few roads plowed toward the hot pond and coal dock. Anglers are catching cohos, brown trout, and steelhead in that area during the day, and walleyes during low-light hours. They are catching large numbers of smelt in the channel areas, with the best bite in late afternoon. At night, anglers are targeting eelpout. Anglers are still fishing around the Apostle Islands, but conditions change constantly, so be sure to check your way.
Angler’s All, (715) 682-5754.
River Rock, (715) 682-3232.
BOULDER JUNCTION AREA
Snow levels in the woods are still about 26 to 32 inches. Oxygen levels are being watched on local lakes but appear to be normal for this time of year. Ice shanties were to be removed by March 17, but anglers who are experiencing difficulty removing them may check with their local wardens for advice.
Northern Highland Sports Shop, (715) 385-2134.
Good numbers of whitefish were reportedly being caught around the Trout Bar by anglers who accessed the ice from the Little River Boat Launch. Northern pike action in and around the Peshtigo Harbor area improved, with anglers catching fish in 5 to 14 feet of water while using large shiners or smelt fished on bottom. Walleyes were caught below the dam at Hattie Street on jigging baits tipped with minnow heads or wax worms.
In Oconto County, Geano Beach anglers reported catching walleyes just south of the landing on tip-ups with minnows and jigging with crankbaits. From Oconto Breakwater Park to Oconto Park II, some nice northern pike were caught on large shiners or dead smelt fished on or near the bottom. Some whitefish were caught at the mouth of the Oconto River by those jigging with baits tipped with minnow heads or wax worms. Anglers also reported catching whitefish and some perch on Larson’s Reef.
MBK Sport Shop, (715) 735-5393.
Hook, Line and Sinker, (715) 854-2073.
MINOCQUA/WOODRUFF/ LAKE TOMAHAWK AREA
Last week’s break in the weather had a few more anglers out braving the slush.
Crappie action has been good. Some anglers are having good luck using waxies and plastics in 12 to 15 feet of water. They also are using crappie minnows or small rosies on tip-downs during warmer weather to score some nice catches.
Bluegill fishing has been good and is improving, with some nice catches made by anglers using small Shad Darts and Fiska and Skandia jigs tipped with waxies or plastics. Anglers also are using bright-colored moon glows in 10 to 15 feet of water.
Perch action has been good. Try red spikes over mud bottoms, or small minnows in weeds in 6 to 10 feet of water. Also try bloodworms suspended above sand grass in 15 to 20 feet of water.
The warm weather has dropped snow depths, but there is still a lot of snow and slush to bust through. The milder weather has anglers out and about, but keep your shovel handy; you might need that, or a friend with an old Tucker Sno Cat.
Oneida County has a winter severity index of more than 100, and DNR staff suspect a reduced fawn crop and loss of animals in the northern portion of the state. Some businesses been aiding anglers in removing their fishing shacks from snow-covered lakes. Turkeys also are struggling in the northwoods, and these animals do not have the ability to regulate their metabolism like deer.
Island Sport Shop, (715) 356-4797.
Great Outdoors, (715) 356-6818.
J & J Sports, (715) 277-2616.
EAGLE RIVER AREA
Travel conditions remain poor, with plenty of snow and now slush still prohibiting access by vehicle on most lakes. At least a few days are above freezing to knock down some of this snow. The way it’s been going this year, area anglers may have to dig out tip-ups once again for the game fish opener in May!
Bluegill action has been somewhat slow. It’s possible that oxygen levels in the lakes are getting low enough to start affecting these fish, especially in smaller, shallower lakes in the area. The best bluegill action has been on larger, deeper lakes. Look for these fish in any remaining green weeds you can find, but they also are suspended in deep water.
Perch action has been decent. Anglers are catching them on waxies in the shallow weedbeds, on minnows in deep sand grass, and on wigglers on the deep, soft-bottomed flats.
Crappie action has been pretty inconsistent. Anglers have found fish in a variety of spots from shallow weeds to deep water. They are anywhere from right on the bottom to right below the ice. This can be frustrating, as it is difficult to figure out any consistent pattern on most days. Crappies are being caught on wigglers, waxies, and minnows, depending on when and where you find these fish.
Eagle Sports Center, (715) 479-8804.
Fishing conditions continue to frustrate ice anglers. Deep snow, and now slush under the snow, makes for difficult access to the lakes and restricts travel to established trails. People wandering off the trails often become stuck in deep snow and/or slush. Check with your local bait shop for the most up-to-date information on access and travel conditions, as well as baits and presentations.
Crappie action is fair to good once you find the fish. Electronics are nearly mandatory these days. Concentrate your search for suspended fish in deeper water (to 25 feet) and be sure to check from the bottom to just under the ice. The most productive baits include crappie minnows, waxies, plastic, and small jigging spoons or jigging baits.
Bluegill fishing is decent, but as with the crappies, it can be tough fishing at times. Look for fish in or near shallow weedbeds and suspending over deeper water. Small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, and plastics work well. Try small minnows to target the larger bluegills.
Anglers are catching perch in shallow weedbeds and on soft-bottomed flats in deeper water on waxies, minnows, and jigging spoons.
Hayward Bait, (715) 634-2921.
Hayward Lakes Visitor and Convention Bureau, (800) 724-2992.
PRICE COUNTY AREA
Fishing pressure has still been a little lower than might be expected – despite some higher temperatures – due to deep snow, slush, and tough access conditions. Ice and snow depths were at 22 to 30 inches on most lakes, but it is difficult to tell where the snow ends and the ice begins. Most lakes have several layers of slush in the upper foot of ice/snow, compounding the tough access. The slush layers also make hole drilling difficult – the slush is even bogging down some power augers. It will likely take an extended thaw to melt down the upper foot of slush/ice, which should then allow better access. If that happens, anglers will find that perch are leading the way when it comes to panfish action, with bluegill and crappie action showing signs of improvement. With the game fish season now closed, panfish are the only game in town on the inland lakes until the game fish season reopens Saturday, May 3.
Bridge Bait & Tackle, Park Falls, (715) 762-4108.
Ross’s Sport Shop, Phillips, (715) 339-3625.
ST. GERMAIN AREA
Fishing for panfish has been good, but lake access remains difficult to impossible. Access is limited nearly to foot travel only in many areas due to deep snow and slush. Some guys are using snowmobiles, but even they have to remain on marked trails to prevent getting stuck in the deep slush pockets.
St. Germain Chamber of Commerce, (715) 477-2205.