Fishing/Outdoor Report:

At this time of year we should be just about ready for the winter sports, but with the weather we have had it looks like it still a little ways off. We have had some ice and some snow and had the feeling winter was on the way, but the weather continues to be confusing.  Our open water season is basically over for the year.  Anglers still can get out if they really wanted to and you would be all by yourself on the lake. We only assume that the walleye are biting, but have no reports from anyone as anglers were concentrating on deer hunting over the last week.

Maybe it is time to start preparing for the ice fishing season.  We all look forward to the early season for walleye fishing as the ice starts forming on the lakes, but early ice can be dangerous.  Anglers should have to spud or auger your way out as you approach first ice to check the thickness. When you can get out, look for the deep edge of the weeds and set your tipups in the afternoon and evenings on those edges. This will catch those walleye as they move shallower in the evenings to feed in the weeds.  The greener the weeds the better, as those green weeds hold more baitfish.  Usually anglers prefer shiners or fatheads for bait, as they have a little more visibility than other minnows.  At the start of the season the best times seem to be early evening through about 8:00 PM.

When fishing with tipups with thinner first ice, locate yourselves on the shore side of the tipups while waiting. The fish are sensitive in the early season to movement and noise on the ice.  Drill a few extra holes so you do not have to be drilling later when the fish are moving in and scaring them away.  After dark, move the tipups into the weeds to get those fish who have moved past your bait.

You will find some perch mixed in with the walleye early also, so it may be worthwhile to rig for these fish and jig for them.  It is too early right after ice up to get out deep enough to look for crappie. The crappie are in deeper water now and anglers will be fishing them in deeper water as the ice thickens. 

The gun deer season ended last Sunday and reports from the hunters were not good.  Plenty of does and yearling around, but very few bucks.  Most of the deer harvested this season was smaller bucks.  Maybe the bigger ones will come out for muzzle loader season which started this week.  Figures released by the DNR reports that the harvest is down by 6% from last year.

Let’s Go Fishing

Here are the species of fish available to catch in the “QUIET LAKES”

MUSKY

The king of freshwater fish. They are the top predator and least populated fish in our lakes. Catch and release is the common practice these days. It’s known as the fish of 10,000 casts, but hiring a guide will cut those odds.

NORTHERN PIKE

Wisconsin’s second largest predator fish, second only to their relative the Musky. Pike are typically very aggressive and will feed anytime the opportunity allows. They prefer weed flats and other ambush points.

WALLEYE

The walleye is the largest member of the perch family and is often targeted for its table fare. Walleyes can be tough to find, but when they are located, they typically cooperate and bite. Bait secret: minnows, nightcrawlers and leeches, and back to minnows as the season starts and finishes.

PERCH

A small fish that most anglers seek more for the taste than the tug. Adults average 7 to 10 inches which make it a good fish for all ages to catch. Perch have a tendency to congregate in large schools making it a one-stop spot to catch your dinner.

BASS

Large and smallmouth bass are brothers, but like family they do take separate paths. We have several small backwoods lakes that offer untapped largemouth fishing, and several area lakes that offer numbers to trophy fishing for smallmouth. NOTE: the season for smallmouth isn’t open to harvest until the 3rd Saturday of June. Regulations for harvest of largemouth are different from lake to lake.

PANFISH

These fish are probably one of the most popular sport and eating fish in Wisconsin. Crappies, bluegills, and sunfish are our most common “panfish”. Probably the most targeted fish in the spring, and often over harvested. Remember to take only enough for a meal and leave some for another day.