Fishing with the Guides - Vilas County News-Review
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  • 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
    The beginning of any fishing season can be somewhat of a crapshoot, especially the ice fishing season with a variety of ice conditions each year. 
    Last week, for example, the North Woods had one day of warm weather and rain that changed ice conditions on a lot of lakes. Some small lakes, like
  • The open-water fishing season has come to an abrupt end, with much colder weather than the North Woods had last year at this time. 
    Anglers might be able to get on a few of the larger lakes, but even they are icing up now. This has brought an end to the muskie season (officially ends Nov. 30), and for most of us we’re quite OK with that as we look to
  • The last week has brought about tremendous change in this area, as we have now had a fair amount of icing on the smaller lakes and are done with the open-water season. This happened amazingly fast and is pretty early. 
    As far as open water, only the deep lakes are open for
  • Open-water fishing winding down in North
    With the end of fall right around the corner, fishing with boats is winding down — especially with frigid cold weather in the forecast this week.
    There are a few walleye anglers out there and, of course, those die-hard muskie guys, but that’s it. The muskie fishing season closes Nov. 30.
    The water temperatures throughout the area are about at the
  • The North Woods has had a warm-up from several weeks ago and it has made for much more pleasant fishing conditions. 
    In fact, it has been so warm that the water temperatures have actually gone up in the last week by 2 to 7 degrees on our lakes. This has made for an improvement in the muskie fishing on almost all lakes in the area. Water temps are
  • North Woods lakes have very suddenly moved into the late fall patterns, as the water temperatures are solidly into the mid-40s on all lakes. The temperature drop was very fast, and has resulted in good walleye fishing in the area, especially on the Eagle River Chain. 
    With much wind over the last two weeks, most of the fall color has gone. Meanwhile, lake levels are
  • Rapidly changing weather has sped up the fall process and left much colder water temperatures, along with a whole lot of leaves on the ground all at once. 
    We experienced an
  • With this colder weather we finally have the process of turnover occurring on many area lakes. Provided there is not a big warm spell, this will last for a little more than a week and the lakes will start to clean up.
    This turnover will provide the best
  • Fall fishing patterns starting to pick up
    Fall is here and we’re starting to see some turnover on some lakes. It is very late in coming this year, and hopefully the weather will stay reasonably cold and let that process finish on all our lakes. 
    The reason we say that is that the
  • Weather changes have brought about the water temperature drops that we have been waiting for throughout the area. 
    The dropping of the water temperature will bring on the process of turnover on all area lakes. It is late this year, but it
  • The last week of hot weather was pretty unseasonable and terrible for our fishing, as the water temperatures went up at a time they are supposed to be falling.
    It is
  • Well folks, we are now heading into the fall period in full force as some trees are turning color, especially the birch trees. Ferns along roadways have died off significantly and the soft maples are turning red.
    On the lakes, weeds are
  • Is it midsummer or early fall? It’s hard to tell as the weather has been so hot and humid, yet some leaves are starting to turn. Ferns are turning brown.
    Water levels remain high. The weeds are
  • What a weather pattern we have been in. We seem to either have too much moisture or it’s too dry — no in-between periods. Even with the recent rain, the Wisconsin River below Eagle River has been low. This is great for the smallie anglers, who try to cast a bait behind each rock in the river. There are even some nice
  • Mid- to late-summer fishing can be tougher and we are certainly at that point in this year. It has been a funny year, with those extreme cold fronts this spring and the
  • We have had, as usual, some really hot and humid weather in August. This brings the water temperatures back up on the lakes and justifies the term “dog days” to describe the fishing in the area. 
    The water levels are still high, but 
  • Mid- to late-summer fishing patterns dominate the fishing report this week.
    A cold front moved through last week, dropping the water temperatures 5 degrees or so on the surface. What a summer! We now have temps back in the low 70s on most lakes. 
    Meanwhile, water levels again have been going up on all lakes with all that rain last week. When we get to this time of the year, we start to see some weeds starting to turn brown, especially in shallow water.
    It hasn’t been a normal summer for fishing in any way because of 
  • Fish the weed edges for most species now
    It’s August already and the summer goes by so quickly each year. Water temperatures are now down in the 70s and dropping, but don’t be fooled. The North Woods could still get an extended warm spell which would move those temps up again.
    The North has had some rain, but the water levels are dropping. Weeds are still much less than last year, and those that you can find are starting — just starting — to get a little slimy and brown in the shallow areas. All in all, we are in the midsummer slow pattern.
    Walleye fishing remains inconsistent, with both good and bad reports coming in daily. Most of that population seems to have moved deeper during the daytime, so you’ll have to try the deeper hole edges and
  • The North Woods has had some inconsistent weather recently, making for inconsistent fishing. The water temperatures are going up and down with the weather, which causes the fish to move from spot to spot. That has been a hallmark of this year. You’ll find fish in one spot one day and then the next day they are not there.
    We’ve also had a lot of rain, which has brought the lake levels up considerably. Water temperatures are back down in the 70s after the cold snap. There will be a lot of boat traffic the next few weeks, so plan your fishing trips accordingly. Evening and early mornings are the best.
    Walleye fishing was
  • Midsummer fishing can be a hit-or-miss proposition, and that has certainly been the case in the last week or so. 
    The hot weather has brought the water temperatures up into the 80s in some cases and that is just too warm for this area. The weeds this year are still a mystery, as there are some areas that normally have weeds (and cover) that are just bare. 
    Both walleye and crappie populations seem to be moving around a lot, so it is hard to predict from day to day how the fishing will be. There is a lot of traffic on the water during the daytime, so you might have better luck trying some low-light times for your fishing. Landings, especially on the Eagle River Chain, will be busy throughout
  • Hot and dry weather is dominating the North Woods weather, making activities in the water exceptionally pleasant. If you are going to fish, we suggest starting early in the morning or evening to take advantage of the quiet and the cooler periods of the day. 
    The weed growth is very strange this year, in that there are areas on the lakes that normally have weeds that are just bare this year.
    Walleye fishing has been slightly better since the mayfly hatch has finished, but the fact is that the walleyes and perch were stuffed with mayfly larvae and it will take a while to get them back to their usual haunts. On the Chain, the walleyes are returning to the holes, but you can find some nice fish just drifting the deeper mud flats. Crawlers and leeches are
  • The July Fourth period will bring the maximum number of people to the water this week, so be patient and careful out there. 
    Water levels remain high and the water temperatures are getting quite high with all the hot weather. Weeds are finally growing in a more normal fashion after the late and cold spring. 
    Walleye fishing is in a midsummer type of pattern, with the fish deeper during the daytime or in the weeds. Morning and evening fishing is best. Minnows are still working, but take some leeches or ’crawlers along as a backup. On the larger lakes, fish the weeds from 8 to 14 feet in depth. These weeds provide both cover and
  • Anglers are heading toward midsummer conditions, with the water temperatures warming and high boat traffic. Water levels also continue to be high.
    It has been a strange year so far, with temperature extremes throughout the spring. It seemed to be either too hot or too cold all spring. Right now on the Eagle River Chain, the mayfly hatch is in full bloom and it is having a big effect on the fishing. 
    All spawning activity is finished for the year except maybe a few bluegills on some of the colder lakes. It was a year that some fish of all species did not spawn because of repeated cold fronts, which cause the spawners to retreat to deeper water.
    Walleye fishing is OK. The pattern on the Chain is
  • It feels like the North Woods has gotten a whole summer of rain in the last week. Roads, driveways and basements have all received an unwelcome dose of heavy rain for the last week or so. 
    As a result, the lakes and streams are high and in many cases flooded. The rain has also dropped the water temperatures, which were in the 70s. It’s not a catastrophe, but it has become a mess for many people.
    We’re heading for the Fourth of July period fast, with almost all fish finished with their spawn and adopting summer patterns. Weeds have been a slow growth item this year, but
  • As we head into summer, we’ve had a pretty nice weather period. We could always use some rain, but we’ve also had some nice sunny days to enjoy being outside. 
    The fishing patterns have changed a lot, as we transition from the spawning period to summer. The mayfly hatch is on the horizon and that particular hatch will change the fishing a lot, as the whole food chain responds to that. 
    Lake levels are high. The water temperatures have been moving up and down with the air temperatures, but now are mostly in the 70s. You’ll need insect repellant, as the mosquitoes and
  • Well, we finally got some significant rain in the last week, bringing up lake levels and completing the greening of the North Woods. That’s the good news.
    The bad news is that it has brought out mosquitoes in pretty good numbers. If you are planning to spend time in the woods, take repellant along with you. It looks like we are in for a pretty good weather spell with temperatures in the 70s this week, which is perfect for fishing this time of year.
    Walleye fishing has been a mixed bag. The fish have spawned on the Eagle River Chain and are now in summer patterns, meaning that many of them have gone deeper and are awaiting the mayfly hatch. This hatch will change the patterns significantly, as the balance of the population will move to the softer-bottom areas to feed on mayflies. This will mean that
  • What a batch of weather the North Woods had through last weekend — including the warmest weekend in May that most of us can remember. 
    There were a lot of people enjoying the hot weather and the water temperatures really soared over the holiday weekend. This rise in the water temperatures really spurred the fish spawn. The water temperatures range from the high 60s to the mid-70s on most lakes, bringing bass, bluegills and crappies to the shorelines. 
    The North Woods was also blessed with some heavy rain, especially in Eagle River, which has “greened up” the area and reduced the fire danger. 
    Walleye fishing has been
  • We have had generally nice weather, except for that quick drop in temperature last Saturday afternoon. Nonetheless, it will be summer pretty soon and the warmer weather will increase the water temperatures. 
    This weekend, anglers will see very busy waterways with Memorial Day arriving. Before that drop in temperature last Saturday, we were seeing water temps in the 60s on many lakes.
    At the time of this writing, it looks like it is going to be a great weekend for all fish species.
    Walleye fishing is a mixed bag, with
  • The North Woods is experiencing some great weather now that the grip of a late winter has been released. Except for the fact that it has been dry lately, the weather is perfect. 
    Lakes remain pretty high despite the dryness due to the snow melt. Water temperatures are now in the high 40s or getting even into the 50s on the smaller lakes. In general, the fishing has been very good despite the later start of spring.
    Walleye fishing has been good to great, with anglers reporting the fish basically all over the place as far as depth goes on the Eagle River Chain. We are still catching a good number of males along the shorelines in
  • Who would have guessed at midweek last week that so many lakes would open by Saturday? The wind and warmer weather took quite a toll on the ice Thursday and Friday. 
    With a warm and sunny weekend, much of the ice — except on the bigger, deep lakes — is gone. Not only that, but the spawning season for perch and walleyes is in midstride. We have water temps up into the mid-40s and even higher on some of the small lakes.
    Except for the fire danger, this weather is perfect for fishing and for getting some yard work done.
    There were fewer anglers than usual for
  • Lakes moving closer to ice out as temps rise
    Well, we’re getting closer to some good open water fishing with these warmer temperatures, but not close enough.
    This week’s weather has got us closer, but there has been just so much ice on many lakes that they are not going to be open for several weeks.
    Most anglers have given up on ice fishing because it is so late in the year, plus the fact that it is getting hard to get out onto decent ice with the shorelines melting away. Some anglers use planks or a ladder to get out there, and some wear waders. 
    Opening day is this Saturday and it will be a strange one. You’ll see a ton of fishermen and -women on the Wisconsin River, and a few ice fishing on some of
  • We certainly feel a little better about the weather now than we did last week when there was 18 inches of snow on the ground. It feels good outside now — almost normal for this time of year. 

    In looking around the area, we certainly haven’t seen too many ice fishermen. It’s so late in the year that most people have given up on ice fishing and are simply waiting for open water. 

    Speaking of open water, we are starting to see a small amount on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes where there is some current in the channels. That’s about it for the area, except that we see some
  • Tuesday, April 17, 2018 1:17 PM
    Just when we think that it can’t get any worse, it does. Immeasurably worse. 
    Even though there are some decent days coming, the amount of snow that has arrived is the nail in the coffin for our lakes being open for the opener. To be truthful, this writer is guessing open water throughout the area on the third weekend of the season. We’ll all be stir-crazy by then.
    The worst part of this is that it is so tough to get out on the lakes that hardly anyone is ice fishing either. We need some really warm weather — and sun — to knock the snow level down to be able to get around on the lakes. And that doesn’t take into account some slush on the lakes.
    It looks like the
  • Tuesday, April 10, 2018 11:05 AM
    North Woods lakes are, as far as the ice going out, at a complete standstill. As a matter of fact, with the cold nights the ice might even be building up on some lakes. 
    There is as much as 30 inches of ice on many lakes and getting thicker. This at a time when, during many years, the ice is going out everywhere. What a year this has been.
    The snow thickness on the lakes has kept most anglers from going out to get in some spring ice fishing. There is still some ice fishing ahead for us, but we need at least
  • Tuesday, April 3, 2018 11:23 AM
    Last Sunday had to be Jan. 1, right? It could not possibly have been April 1. 
    This is shaping up to be a tough spring, with a much colder start than many of us can remember. That snowstorm will make the already thick ice more difficult to deteriorate. In short, we’re sick of this stuff and want some warm weather.
    At the time of this writing, we have almost five weeks to opening weekend of the game fishing season May 5-6. Unless we have warmer than normal weather between now and then, we will still have ice on a lot of our lakes. The 10-day forecast is for cold weather. It sure looks like we’re toast for
  • Best late-ice fishing a week or two away
    Tuesday, March 27, 2018 11:31 AM
    We are still looking at as much as 28 inches of ice on lakes in the North Woods, with a little bit of slush in spots. There still is no major warm-up in the forecast, so we will be ice fishing for a few more weeks. The best late-ice panfish action is yet to come.
    Bluegill fishing has been good and will get better as it warms. These fish are mostly in the weeds, and will inhabit dead weeds also. They are hitting on waxies and spikes in these weeds. Use very light tackle for these guys, as they can be quite spooky. At times we hear of the bigger fish feeding off the weeds. These fish are usually feeding actively.
    Perch are
  • Tuesday, March 20, 2018 11:57 AM
    It looks like another cold week for us here in the North Woods. With these cold overnight low temperatures, whatever ice melts during the day refreezes during the night. 
    We are still looking at 30 or more inches of ice on our area lakes. The good news is that the slushy spots are not nearly as bad as last week. 
    Many anglers are still driving trucks out on the lakes, although we do not recommend it. Just remember that no ice is 100% safe, especially this time of year when ice conditions can change very rapidly.
    Bluegill fishing has been good and will
  • There’s plenty of ice for spring panfishing
    Tuesday, March 13, 2018 11:02 AM
    Well here we are in mid-March, when the weather can turn really nice and the high temperatures can even hit 50 degrees on some days. 
    Maybe that will happen, but it certainly has been a slow start to warmer weather, and from this viewpoint, it looks like a slow spring and a late ice-out period. That can change, of course, but it certainly looks like a lot of ice fishing ahead.
    North Woods lakes still have a lot of ice, as much as 35 inches on some lakes. It will take a long time to melt that much. 
    In the meantime, spring will bring about the best panfishing of the season. Expect some slush, but as the sun warms the snow on the lakes, it will compact and reduce the slush to
  • Tuesday, March 6, 2018 12:06 PM
    For about the next two months, these reports will be much shorter than during the game fishing season. That season ended Sunday, and we are restricted to panfishing until the open-water opener on May 5.
    That’s the bad news. 
    The good news is that the panfishing is great from this point forward until the ice leaves, so we can still enjoy some great fishing.
    We’ve got a lot of ice out there. We also still have a fair amount of snow on that ice, so getting around can be a little difficult. We have had reports of guys getting stuck on snow dunes on a number of lakes, so you should
  • Game fishing season comes to end Sunday
    Tuesday, February 27, 2018 11:30 AM
    A very significant increase in the snow load on the ice has resulted in some more slush problems on lakes throughout the area. 
    It is harder to get around out there at this point, but expected warmer weather this week will reduce that snow on the ice and make it easier to access area lakes. The lake ice is getting thick and is closing in on 24 inches. What a winter it has been. 
    Anglers are running out of time to fish for game fish, as that season ends this Sunday. After March 4, they will just be able to fish for panfish.
    As we get to this part of the winter, many people are getting tired of the cold weather and the snow, but we are getting nearer to spring and the weather is
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2018 11:55 AM
    As we head toward the later part of winter, the cold weather has abated somewhat and it has been much more pleasant for anglers on the lakes. This has allowed more people to get out there and enjoy some ice fishing. 
    Getting around on the lakes has been great. There are snow roads on many of the bigger lakes, but be careful for “snow dunes” if you are driving. With all the wind we have had recently, there are some dunes, especially on the bigger lakes. 
    Snow cover in the woods is still absolutely great, but as of the weekend exposed parts of snowmobile trails and ski trails were showing some wear. The sun has much more power now, so
  • Tuesday, February 13, 2018 3:25 PM
    The fishing has been pretty good, but the continued cold weather has seriously hampered anglers’ efforts to be comfortable out there and has kept the number of fishermen down considerably. 
    But it is expected to warm up this week and we hope that those forecasts for temperatures in the 30s are accurate. It is always nice to see families out on the ice and to see kids getting a chance at tip-ups. 
    Ice conditions are good now, with roads plowed out on many lakes. If you are going to venture your own way, be careful of the ice and snow drifts. These have formed because of the heavy winds of a week ago and
  • Tuesday, February 6, 2018 11:21 AM
    Once again the North Woods received a new snow load on the ice, but this one doesn’t seem to have created a lot of slush. 
    The North has had enough cold weather to freeze a lot of the slush, so it is not too hard to get around out there. Many of the lakes have “snow roads” also, so anglers can drive out with comfort. 
    As we get further into February, the sun will get stronger and the days longer, so we start thinking some of spring. There’s not a lot of time left in the game fishing ice season either, so soon we’ll be talking about that March panfishing.
    Snow cover is great now, so all the winter enthusiasts are
  • Tuesday, January 30, 2018 11:28 AM
    Anglers are once again blessed with that dreaded midwinter condition called lake slush. Most, if not all, lakes have slush at some level due to that heavy snow the North Woods received last week. 
    Warm weather last Friday followed by colder temperatures Sunday and Monday have since firmed up some of the lakes.
    It seems to happen at some point every winter, but it sure makes it tougher to get around on the ice. We would sure recommend some waterproof boots for anyone going out. 
    It is hard to believe that it is the start of
  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018 11:31 AM
    We finally got a good weekend for ice fishing and a lot of you took advantage of the weather to get out there. This is what winter is all about. It was great to see everyone enjoying themselves and great to see people also catching fish.
    In general, the fishing has been pretty good, with everything from walleye to panfish doing well. 
    The North Woods could use some snow for the trails, but we really don’t want a huge snowfall for the ice fishermen because that will mean slush on the ice. Lake conditions have been pretty good so far, with anglers able to get around well. Ice thickness is from 12 to 18 inches.
    There is
  • Tuesday, January 16, 2018 11:10 AM
    Once again, anglers have been confronted by difficult fishing weather as it has been too cold for most anglers to enjoy themselves on the ice. 
    Boy, this has been a difficult winter so far. We’ve got pretty good ice conditions now as the ice is thick enough to drive on pretty much everywhere. Do, however, watch for current areas on the Chain of Lakes.
    Despite the cold weather, there have been the hard-core people out there and they’re doing pretty well. Make sure your auger blades are sharp as the ice is getting thicker by the day.
    With some more snow, we’ve got
  • Warmer daytime temps to boost fishing effort
    Tuesday, January 9, 2018 11:48 AM
    The North Woods is finally getting some decent weather for a few days and this is the chance to get out and enjoy it a little. 
    That prolonged cold front was miserable and way too long. It did, however, build some great ice on the lakes. We’re not seeing cars on many lakes yet, but we are seeing snowmobiles and four-wheelers out there. This means that anglers can get out to anywhere they want on the lakes. 
    By the way, people should get to Eagle River to see the ice castle this year — it is great. 
    There were not a lot of ice anglers out during the cold front and those who caught fish were pretty secretive about where they were fishing. These severe cold fronts change the patterns of the fish and
  • Tuesday, January 2, 2018 11:53 AM
    We haven’t exactly experienced T-shirt weather for the last 10 days or so, but we’d sure appreciate seeing 20 degrees one of these days. 
    At the sport shop the past week, we were shocked at the number of people who went ice fishing during the holidays despite the frigid weather. Thank heaven for shelters! 
    The frigid cold has helped the ice build up during this period, with many lakes now having more than 10 inches of ice. This bodes well for the rest of the season as far as ice fishing goes. The slush on some lakes a couple of weeks ago is mostly frozen now. 
    With only
  • Tuesday, December 26, 2017 12:22 PM
    With this cold weather, we have much better ice thickness for both ice anglers and snowmobilers here for the New Year’s weekend.
    It seems we always get cold weather in January, so perhaps we’re getting that cold front early. At any rate, we do welcome the thicker ice for all users. 
    We are now seeing many more people on the ice in the usual spots and it is nice to see. That means that we are getting more reports of their “take” when out there and learning some patterns.
    As the ice thickens, soon it will be time for the power augers rather than the hand augers. Snow conditions are a little better also, so we are seeing a few families on snowshoes and
  • Anglers still waiting for good ice on lakes
    Tuesday, December 19, 2017 12:06 PM
    Anglers are finally getting into the ice fishing season with only OK ice reported on most lakes. 
    The North Woods is getting too much snow and not enough cold at this point to improve ice conditions and the forecast is ominous. Lakes have the one thing that anglers don’t want early in the season — slush. With more snow, especially a heavy snow, we could be cursed with this slush for the remainder of the winter. 
    Many skiers and snowmobile enthusiasts are delighted with this, but we need more ice out there. We all hope for some colder weather to make the lakes safer. While we’re at it, let’s have
  • Tuesday, December 12, 2017 11:20 AM
    While we are slowly but surely obtaining a snow pack, it is not good news at this point for ice anglers. We would prefer some more cold weather rather than snow to make more safe ice on the lakes.
    The cold weather has been helping, but that severe wind had an odd and negative effect on the ice. It even opened up a few lakes that had been closed. We’re looking at pretty iffy ice on many lakes. 
    Nevertheless, the ice fishing season has started in the area. Anglers are reporting ice thickness from 2 to 6 inches in the area and this is enough to start the hunt for walleyes. To be honest, we
  • Tuesday, December 5, 2017 11:38 AM
    There is a little ice fishing going on at this point, but not a lot. It sure has been a weird early winter, just as it was a weird fall period. 

    The weather continues to be inconsistent, with warm and cold intermixed consistently so that it doesn’t allow for development of good ice on the lakes. It’s early, so hopefully we will get some good ice development with cold temperatures predicted for this week followed by snow eventually.

    There have been a few ice anglers though, and they report decent northern fishing on the shallow weedy lakes where the ice development is going to be the best. Tip-ups with large shiners work best for these fish.

    A good piece of advice for this time of year is
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2017 10:37 AM
    We’re still in that transition period between the open water fishing and the ice fishing season. Calendar-wise, this is about the right time for transition.

    We sure would like some consistent cold weather now to thicken that ice cover. There are a few lakes that are still open but for the most part, the rest are all covered with ice but not necessarily safe to travel on. 

    Every time the North Woods gets some snow, it melts within a few days due to warmer weather. This is probably good for ice development, as we don’t want snow on top of it yet. If you venture onto the ice, wear ice grippers on your boots, as it is very slippery now.

    Believe it or not, there are
  • Anglers between seasons for fishing
    Tuesday, November 21, 2017 11:21 AM
    There is not a lot of fishing going on right now for several reasons. The first is that it is the gun deer season and most folks are concentrating on that. The second is that we are between seasons as far as open water fishing and the ice fishing season.
    The North Woods does have ice on many lakes, but the ice is not good enough for safe fishing. We keep having these warm days interspersed with the cold, so don’t trust that ice yet. There are a few small lakes that anglers have gone on. Take safety spikes and spuds along to test the thickness.
    Getting back to the open water fishing, there are a few walleye anglers still out, but not many. They are doing very well using jigs and minnows in deeper water and
  • Tuesday, November 14, 2017 2:25 PM
    In a dramatic turn late last week, the cold weather overcame most lakes in the area and most of them iced over. It seemed early, but that was mostly because it had been so warm before the cold front hit the area.
    With slightly warmer weather in the forecast this week a few lakes might reopen, but we think the ice fishing season is on the cusp before deer season is here — maybe. We’ve also had a lot of snow and that snow will help the deer hunters.
    Despite the cold weather, there are a few diehard muskie and walleye anglers still out on what open water we have left. Ryan Reynolds of Eagle River caught a monster muskie last week and that
  • Tuesday, November 7, 2017 12:23 PM
    We are sure getting to the end of the open-water fishing season quickly, as these water temperatures are dropping like rocks. Lakes had water temps down to 35 degrees last weekend, so unless we get a profound warming trend, ice fishing is not out of the question on some lakes in the next several weeks. We’ll see. 
    The big drop in those water temps did not bring the amount of muskie action that we hoped for, as it seemed like the fish were stunned by the rapid drop in those temps. The muskie fishing season runs through Nov. 30, but some lakes may freeze over before that.
    If you still have your pier or boat lift in on some of the smaller lakes, you
  • Cold temps improve walleye, muskie fishing
    Tuesday, October 31, 2017 11:18 AM
    Wow, what a reversal in our weather patterns! We went from early fall weather to late fall weather in one day last week, and that late fall pattern is sticking with us. 
    Virtually all the leaves are gone, giving the deer and grouse hunters good sight lines. The snow doesn’t stay at this time of year, but it sure makes a mess for a day or two. 
    Lakes remain high with all the moisture we’ve gotten and boat landings are in great shape. Water temperatures are now down well into the 40s and dropping on a daily basis. As these temps drop and we get into November, the next big item on the slate will be
  • Tuesday, October 24, 2017 3:21 PM
    With late fall on the horizon, the fishing is really good across the area for walleyes and crappies, and should get better for muskies. 
    The water temperatures took an unfortunate jump with that warm weather last week, but the fishing held up pretty well during that period. The water temps that were back to the mid-50s have started to fall rapidly.
    With much colder weather this week, the fishing should be in the very good range. Lake levels are very high. The days have become much shorter now, making it tough to get out with daylight left after working during the day.
    To top that off, we’ve got
  • Tuesday, October 17, 2017 11:14 AM
    We are sure seeing the weather make some moves toward late fall in the last week or so. The nights are now cold, no matter what happens during the daytime.
    When combined with the cold weather and rain, it really drops those water temperatures. Speaking of the water temps, we now have them solidly in the 50s on all but a few lakes. That rain Sunday also dropped a good portion of the leaves still on the trees. Now it also looks like late fall.
    Water levels remain high with all the rain we’ve had, so landings are generally in great shape. Many of the piers at the landing have been removed, so we’re on our own there. Many of the smaller lakes have
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2017 12:35 PM
    Well, it’s finally starting to feel and look a little like fall in the North Woods. It’s about time, as we’ve had periods of inconsistent weather for the last two months.
    The lake levels remain high with all the rain we’ve had, including more than 2 inches last weekend. To our knowledge, all boat landings are in pretty good shape with this high water.
    Weeds are
  • Tuesday, October 3, 2017 12:11 PM
    The North Woods is still not getting normal fall weather, as it seems to swing from too warm to too cold on a weekly basis. 
    We’ve only experienced one freeze so far, but many lakes have turned over recently with those two cold nights. For the sake of fall fishing, we’d like to see it get consistently colder and stay that way for the great fall walleye and muskie fishing.
    Weeds are
  • Tuesday, September 26, 2017 3:20 PM
    In the words of Vince Lombardi, “What the hell is happening here?” We’ve got falling leaves, some loons have left, the geese are flying south — and it is almost 90 degrees! 
    Many of us felt during the cold weather this past summer that this very thing would happen; that we’d get our fill of warm weather just when we didn’t really need or want it. 
    Cooler weather in the forecast this week will bring things a little closer to normal, but it sure has been a different fall. This warm weather we’ve had has resulted in a dramatic rise in the water temperatures. This has
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2017 12:28 PM
    Once again we are blessed with unseasonal, very warm weather for this time of year. While this is great for almost all activities, it is typically no good for our fishing. With water temperatures going up at this time of year, it is very confusing for the fish.
    The worst thing from a fishing standpoint about the warm weather is that it holds up the effects of turnover, so lakes that have started this process seem to stay green and messy until it gets cold again. It also delays the turnover process on the lakes that haven’t started because of the warmer water temps. We’d like the lakes to 
  • Recent weather patterns on a fall roller coaster
    Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:14 PM
    The weather roller-coaster ride continues as we are being treated to some above-average warm temperatures this week. Last week, we started to think we were in for an early start to a cold fall, but this week summer has reappeared.
    With the 
  • Tuesday, September 5, 2017 3:21 PM
    With colder temperatures this week, fall weather is upon us. Where did the summer go? 
    It has been cool throughout the last few weeks and the nights have been downright cold in some cases. The water temperatures have dropped into the 60s through­out the area. The days are getting much shorter, so even when we have sunlight it is not raising those temperatures much. 
    Some lakes have had some turnover already, although that process will
  • Tuesday, August 29, 2017 2:48 PM
    What we need around here is a little rain. Just kidding. We’ve had a lot of rain and this rain was a cold one, dropping the water temperatures down to a point of being unusually low for this time of year.
    This has been a strange summer, with a few warm fronts, all interrupted by one cold front after another. It will be interesting to see what happens as we get into fall. My fear is that in September, when it is supposed to be cooler, we will have an extended warm period that will really mess up the fishing. We’ll see what happens.
    Notice that
  • Tuesday, August 22, 2017 11:00 AM
    The freight train that is fall is coming down the tracks pretty quickly now, with the cooler nights and colder water temperatures indicating its imminent arrival. 
    The days are getting shorter now, and while we are going to get some warm weather, the general trend will be cooler from this point forward. We’ll start thinking of that great fall fishing coming our way for walleye, crappie and muskie.
    The water temps are
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:41 PM
    As we head through August, we’re getting into that late summer fishing that can at times be a grind. 
    The lakes have never reached their normal summer temperatures this year, but they are still looking a little “worn” around the edges in many cases. You’ll see a fair amount of scum back in the bays which makes it hard to fish those lily pad areas. If we are going to get outbreaks of “green water” on whole lakes, this is the time. Fortunately, this year has been pretty good due to the colder water.
    Water levels remain high and boat landings are