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 should bring the slush layer closer to the top of the snow. Then some colder weather later would give anglers hope for better and more solid conditions in the future. 

In addition, more angler and snowmobile traffic on the ice will make for easier movement out there. It is hard to imagine a more difficult start to the ice fishing season than we have experienced this year.

To make it even worse, we can now worry about lakes experiencing oxygen-level problems come next spring. It could be a very tough winter for many lakes with this deep snow and the lack of sunlight getting to the weeds.

Walleye anglers doing some tip-up fishing have had some moderate success in the evenings as usual. There are some lakes that have had some traffic on them in the weeds and drop-off areas, so anglers can get out to fish these areas. Follow the usual patterns of evening and after-dark fishing with tip-ups and either shiners or sucker minnows. It is too early in the season for that deeper water jigging, not to mention that it is too hard to get out there.

Northern fishing has been good, but not great so far this year. Tip-ups with large shiners in the weeds have worked, with some guys having some luck right at the deep edge of the weeds.

Panfish action has the same problems that the rest of the fishing is experiencing — slush. There are so few anglers getting out there that no strong patterns have evolved. In addition, anglers haven’t been able to get out to the holes on the Chain yet where the crappie fishing takes place. It has been a tough start for everyone.

On the good side, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing have benefited by this great snow. We’ll see a big number of people engaging in these activities over the holidays. With decent temperatures this week, we’ll enjoy getting outside.

Have a great Christmas everyone.

Good luck and good fishin’.