Fishing with the Guides - Vilas County News-Review
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  • Best fishing of year could be this week
    With the recent much warmer weather, the water temperatures have warmed considerably. This is good for everything, especially the weed growth and the crappie spawning run. 
    The bad news is with the warmer weather came
  • Anglers will enjoy this warmer weather promised for the upcoming time period. It has been a cool spring, with unrelenting winds. For fishermen and      -women, that is undesirable. 
    There is
  • A north wind and brutally cold weather for this time of year made for some tough fishing in the last week. Lakes actually have had a reduction in the water temperatures. What a strange year in more ways than one! 
    The walleyes are
  • It was a good opener, with nice weather on Saturday for a change. This allowed a lot of people to get outside, which was a nice change of pace for many families. 
    On top of that, the fishing was
  • Finally, the general Wisconsin fishing opener is this Saturday, May 2. 

    Even if it is not the most normal opener due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we expect a good number of anglers will be out there enjoying what appears will be great weather. With what has happened this year with the Safer At Home order, we
  • As we’re getting toward this most unusual fishing opener, we now have some lakes opening up around the area. The small shallow lakes and some of the lakes on the Eagle River and Three Lakes Chain are opening up because of the current. 
    We’ve actually seen some boats on the river and
  • Anyone who has spent much time outside lately will notice the increasing warming power of the sun as the calendar moves closer to March. It feels absolutely wonderful on those days like last weekend. Spring is coming.
    The ice conditions have
  • Other than the early winter snow (and way too much of it), the North Woods actually has had a pretty mild winter. 
    There has been a little cold weather in the last two weeks, making the lake ice safer and more useable. There is much less slush out there now.
    Ice anglers don’t
  • The North Woods has been blessed with almost normal winter weather and this has resulted in some improvement in the ice conditions out there. 
    Many anglers have reported that much, if not all, of the slush has finally hardened up enough to get around on the ice. Better late than never. There is still some time for fishing for game fish this season and it
  • Here we are in February already, with very thin ice conditions on many lakes. You will see ice anglers out there, but most of them are walking, with the exception of a few lakes. 
    This has been a difficult year for ice fishermen, with
  • Once again, relentless snow has made ice conditions harder for anglers to get around on the lakes. The North Woods got hit with another 11 inches since last Wednesday. What a winter so far! 
    Depth on the ice varies from a few inches in current areas on the Chain of Lakes to a good solid
  • For ice anglers the word snow has become a bad four-letter word. We have gotten some colder weather, which has thickened the ice and reduced the slush somewhat. 
    Then that darned snow reappeared and
  • As the lake ice ever-so-slowly thickens, it is still problematic for both safety and just getting around on some lakes.
    The North Woods has had some cold weather and it has helped — but not enough. There is still slush and pretty thin ice in spots on some lakes. You will not see any vehicles out there yet. This has
  • We’re heading toward mid-January and we haven’t been exposed to that very cold weather that seems to always occur at this time of year. We’d like some of the cold, however, to improve the ice conditions for anglers.
    It has been a winter and fall season with unusual weather, so we’ll
  • The warmer weather we experienced in the last week or so has actually improved the ice conditions on the lakes somewhat, as the overall snow level on the ice has dropped. This has made it easier to get around walking on the ice. 
    A lot more ice anglers got out there over the Christmas holiday, which
  • Ice fishermen are still being bothered by the same conditions that they were complaining about last week — a considerable amount of slush everywhere out there. 
    The warmer weather this week will drop the snow level some and
  • We are still somewhat in misery as far as ice fishing conditions go. There are reports of slush pretty much everywhere and it is difficult to get around. 
    To add to that, anglers need to check ice thickness as they go out or move around because we didn’t have enough time to build some nice ice before the heavy snows
  • The ice conditions on North Woods lakes should get better with the cold weather this week, but we can do without any more snow for a while. 
    While it is miserable to even go outside in this cold weather, it is really helping to expand the ice and firm it up for the ice anglers and snowmobilers who will be coming when 
  • Multiple heavy snowstorms that dumped about 20 inches of snow on the area last week have put a big damper on the current ice fishing scenario across the North Woods.
    The heavy snow cover has
  • Warmer weather means caution on ice
    The North Woods has experienced a significant change in the ice conditions over the last week, as what looked like a great start to the ice fishing season has been interrupted by warm weather and rain. 

    That is the last thing ice anglers wanted to see and
  • With the open water fishing season behind us, we turn our thoughts to ice fishing. This is a very early start to the ice fishing season and a delight to many — including some deer hunters. 
    First of all, be safe out there. It
  • Wow, is this open-water fishing season ending quickly. On a few larger and deeper lakes, you will find some diehard anglers pursuing muskies or even walleyes, but the small and medium lakes are now frozen for the winter and anglers are frothing at the mouth to get out there ice fishing.

    It happened so fast that we
  • Well folks, it’s almost over for the open water anglers. This is a rather unexpected early winter for us.
    You’ll notice that ponds and some small lakes are frozen, and the bigger lakes will not be far behind. The water temperatures dropped very quickly in the last week, as much as
  • As we near winter, the fish reports seem to be getting shorter. It’s cold out there on the water and the water temperatures are dropping. 
    Meanwhile, most of the leaves are gone now and the sight lines for hunters in the woods are great. Snow is on the way and hopefully will be here by the gun deer season. We sure seem to have a
  • As fall continues, the days are shortening and we can really sense the approaching winter. Evening fishing is almost a thing of the past as the days shorten.
    Water temperatures are
  • My, oh my, we’ve had a surprise taste of winter in the last week. This has made our fall fishing very difficult. We don’t know what has been worse, the cold temperatures or the heavy wind.
    It sure was a surprise to see 
  • Colder weather is here and the water temperatures are dropping on all lakes. That means that turnover will have an affect on all lakes. 
    In a nutshell, here is what happens:
    Remember that this is a process, not an event. It
  • With that extreme warm spell behind us, we’re looking at falling water temperatures again. This is making both the anglers and the hunters happy. 
    Sight lines for hunters have been tough, but with the leaves on many trees starting to fall, they’re improving. We’re starting to get nice color in the maples and the
  • With all the weather changes and all the rain we’ve had, the water temperatures are falling pretty quickly in the area (except for the warm front this week). 
    We’ve had water temps as low as into the
  • Fishing patterns changing with fall
    As we are approaching fall, we’re beginning to see some really nice color just north of Eagle River. Every time it rains or gets just a little windy, we see some leaves down on the pavement. For many of us, fall is our favorite season. 
    Hunting season is starting and
  • Boy oh boy, it looks like fall is coming early this year. As we mentioned last week, we are starting to see some color in the trees. 
    Water temperatures are going down quickly, so we’re seeing a lot of 60s on the lakes. As a fall angler, this writer’s biggest fear is that we’ll get a big warm front in the middle of
  • It certainly feels a lot more like fall out there, with the cold nights leading the way. With these cooler nights, the water temperatures have dropped into the 60s on many lakes. 
    As you drive around, you will notice 
  • These cooler nights sure are a reminder that fall is on the way. Even though we can still get some warm days, it is noticeably cooler now in the evenings.
    Hopefully, this year we will get a slow and consistent slide into cold weather rather than the inconsistent fall weather we have had for the last several years. Nothing is worse for the fishing in September than
  • This is the time of the year the water temperatures  begin that long, slow drop into the 60s. We will probably get some warm spells right through September that will raise the temps, but on the whole they’ll be going down. 
    Warm fronts in the fall are
  • The North Woods finally had a few rain showers the last week, but things are still very dry in the area. The lake levels have held up quite well despite the lack of rain, but they are still dropping somewhat. 
    It is the time of year that
  • As the summer rolls on, fishing patterns continue to be about the same from week to week through August and will not really change until it gets cooler in September. 
    The water temperatures are in the very high
  • My, how summer is flashing by. We have mid-summer conditions in the area, with the higher water temperatures. There is a lot of traffic on the water, so anglers are sometimes better off fishing early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid this boating traffic.
    Weed growth is now normal for area waters and
  • We are certainly into the midsummer doldrums now, with a lot of boat traffic but not a lot of good fishing, according to reports from anglers and guides. 
    It has been a strange year, with the cold of the spring followed by the extreme warmth we’re getting now. The water temperatures are now in the 70s and heading toward the 80s on many lakes. That’s
  • We have had some beautiful days in the last week or so, and hope that this nice weather keeps up. This is the time of a lot of boat traffic on the water, especially on the Chain, so you might want to plan some fishing trips in the evening or early morning on area lakes.
    Water levels are down to normal and
  • Ah, summer. What would the July Fourth week be if we didn’t have hot, humid weather and thunderstorms? This warm weather has significantly raised the water temperatures and brought about midsummer conditions on the lakes. 
    Water temperatures are in the 70s now and
  • Water temperatures are finally climbing closer to summer levels, and with that some better weed growth in lakes across the area.
    With the weed growth, anglers are getting some good fishing in the weed-related areas with a variety of fish. We even have some bluegills still spawning. 
    Water levels are still basically
  • Despite some cool weather, we’ve had some warming in the water and things are looking a little more like summer. 
    Weeds are now growing much better despite high water levels. The biggest change in the lakes now is that the mayfly hatch is on, and that will have an effect on the fishing for
  • With the weather finally getting warmer, we have both the bass and the bluegills on the spawning beds and activity on the lakes is picking up.
    The water temperature is mostly in the 60s locally, so people can go swimming though it’s still a little chilly. A few brave souls were waterskiing and tubing over the weekend, and we’ll be seeing a
  • What an interesting mix of activity we will have for the next several weeks, as the bass, crappies and bluegills are all in spawning on the shorelines. To many, this is the most fun time of the year. 
    We had our usual shot of cold weather last week, but have
  • We certainly had a nice couple of days last weekend, preceded and followed by the staple of this spring weather — rain and cold. It has been a miserable spring for fishing weather.
    The water levels are as high as we can remember, and the Wisconsin River has
  • Well, I guess the fire danger in the North Woods is over after last weekend. Multiple days of rain can do that for us. 
    Once again, the lakes are high — very high. The water temperature has dropped significantly, and it will take a while to get back to where it was a week ago. These last few springs seem to have that
  • As we move into the early fishing season, we realize that things are late by past standards and the spawning activity of all fish is a little slower than past years.
    We are still seeing walleye engaged in
  • Walleye take mixed on opening weekend
    We had an almost perfect opening day, except for a little wind. It is a delight to see the sun after a mostly cloudy and uncomfortable spring. Surprisingly, almost all lakes were open for the weekend. 
    And as usual, the take was mixed. No weeds are up yet, but with more warm weather we expect they will
  • Try fishing shallow on opening weekend
    Here we are, on the cusp of another fishing season and we can’t wait for opening day this Saturday. 
    The weather has been cold, just like last year, but this year more ice is gone from the lakes. Unlike last year, most small and mid-sized lakes (such as those on the Chain) are open this year. We would need some extended sun and strong wind this week to open the
  • What a period of change we are in now, as the ice is deteriorating on a daily basis on almost all lakes. The smaller lakes will open up earlier, along with any lakes with current. The lake ice is getting blacker each day, and some wind along with rain would complete this process.
    Really, the timing of this is pretty much normal, and
  • Just when anglers were getting around on the ice well and preparing for a good finale to the ice fishing season, the North Woods got more snow last week. Things out there will now be a slushy mess at least for a few days. 
    Despite the colder weather last week, the ice is
  • Who knows what the ice conditions are going to be this week, with the warmer weather having reduced the ice somewhat, but colder weather in the forecast.
    To us, it still doesn’t seem like we will have a normal opener with the ice completely gone. The fishing opener is
  • Well, we’re getting ever closer to an actual spring, as the general weather trend is for warmer weather starting later this week. It sure didn’t seem like it last Saturday, but that was just a reminder of winter. 
    The ice is really funny now, with a layer of ice, then water and then 22 or so inches of
  • Conditions improving on North Woods lakes
    Be patient, my friends. We’re getting there day by day. We’ve had some really nice weather over the last week and hopefully more to come — sooner rather than later. 
    Last weekend’s warmer weather allowed a bunch of people to
  • There is not much ice fishing going on at this point as the ice conditions have been as bad the past month as they will ever get up here. 
    However, this warming weather is a delight (except this writer is dealing with some moisture in the basement) and it means much nicer things to come.
    Believe it or not, there is some
  • For those of you who don’t like to ice fish on crowded lakes, you are in luck. Pick any lake in the area and chances are you will not see anyone else out there! 
    The persistent deep snow and slush are keeping most anglers away from fishing the last couple of weeks. If you are
  • Very few anglers got out on the ice for the last weekend of the game fish season. The snow and slush on the ice are keeping most people away. 
    Those few anglers who are still venturing out are going on lakes that have snowmobile trails, or they are walking out or using snowshoes. We have heard of people getting
  • Wow! That’s all we can say about the weather last weekend. There is a lot of snow on the ice now, and it is next to impossible to figure out when anglers are going to be able to get back on the ice. 
    Our best hope is the bigger lakes, where some
  • Conditions are tough on North Woods lakes
    The North Woods sure has had enough snow for a while, but it was great to see all the winter sports going on last weekend. 
    Presidents Day weekend always brings a great number of people to the North Woods and it sure did this year. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling all are
  • Snowstorms bring slush to area lakes
    We now have significantly different conditions on the ice, as the snowfalls have unfortunately created significant slush out there. 
    Be careful to stay on the plowed areas on the bigger lakes. There have been some stories of guys getting bogged down with their trucks and four-wheelers on some of the
  • Nice weather brings out more ice anglers
    Much better weather over last weekend brought out a large number of ice anglers and they had a fair amount of success on the ice. 
    That ice, by the way, is now from 18 to 24 inches in thickness, except for the current areas on the Chain. That is enough for people to drive on, and there were cars all over on most lakes. That is nice for those without shacks, because they can
  • Fishing activity slows with those cold temps
    There sure weren’t too many ice anglers out with this horribly cold weather last weekend. It is the time of the year when we always seem to have this cold weather, no matter what it has been before this.
    The additional snow for the snowmobile fans and the skiers is welcome, but we
  • The recent colder weather has thickened the ice and made it easier to drive on many lakes. This has been a good winter to get around out there. 
    Anglers will find 12 to 16 inches of ice on most lakes, except for lakes with springs or current like the Eagle River and Three Lakes Chain of Lakes. This is great, as you can get
  • Our January weather has in actuality been pretty mild, with very good ice fishing weather and very good ice fishing conditions out there.
    In general, the ice runs from 8 to 13 inches in thickness and anglers are driving on many lakes in the area. This is a good thing, because fishermen and 
    -women can take their kids on some trips and the kids can
  • Walleyes, northerns providing the action
    It has been a tough winter so far with poor snow conditions for skiing and snowmobiling, but the ice fishermen love the ability to walk easily on all lakes. 
    The 4-inch snowfall Sunday and Monday should help the conditions for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. 
    Anglers are driving on most area lakes except for the lakes with current like the
  • The last several weeks have produced some pretty good ice fishing, as the ice has thickened and anglers can get around to all depths on lakes. The only places to use caution now are the current areas on the Chain of Lakes.
    You’ll see machines pretty much everywhere and even
  • Some colder weather again after the warm spell has firmed up the ice again and made conditions for ice anglers very good. 
    Lakes have anywhere from 5 to 9 inches of ice throughout the area, but anglers still have to avoid areas of current and springs on all lakes. We are seeing a pretty good number of four-wheelers on the ice now. We sure could use some snow, but 
  • The North Woods has had some warm weather lately, which has felt good but not helped the snow conditions. 
    It would be nice at this point to get a 5-inch snowstorm, which would allow the whole group of cross-country skiers, snowshoe enthusiasts and
  • Anglers discovering better ice conditions
    The North Woods is certainly heading into a nice weather period, along with increasingly better ice conditions. Lakes probably average 7 to 8 inches of good ice now and that is pretty comfortable for everyone.
    While we are seeing no vehicles on the ice yet, you’ll see some four-wheelers or snowmobiles. A few more very cold nights would be
  • A full dose of winter has arrived, with some snow and much colder weather in the forecast for later this week.  
    Last year, it was much warmer than now and when it got cold, it got really cold around Christmas. Let’s hope that we can avoid that severe cold this year and be able to
  • Ice fishing conditions vary from lake to lake