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 kept the number of ice anglers down significantly.

At this point, we are looking at anywhere from 3 to 10 inches of ice on the lakes. What we don’t want at this point is more heavy snowstorms to add to the slush layer.

Walleye fishing has been OK for those getting out. As always, it is better in the evenings and after dark as the fish move into shallower water to feed. As always, shiners or sucker minnows are by far the best bait under those tip-ups. Edges of the weeds are best and move the tip-ups shallower as the night progresses. We also are starting to see some deep water jigging during the afternoons around the deeper structure. Vertical jigs tipped with minnow heads work best for this type of fishing. Anglers are reporting fish in 25 feet of water or so on lakes like North Twin.

Northern fishing has been good as far as numbers go, but we have not heard of a lot of big fish. As usual, large shiners are the best tip-up bait for northerns. The nice thing about this fishing is that northerns are daylight feeders, so you can fish for them and then switch to walleyes in the evenings.

Panfish action has been good for those getting out on the ice. As usual, crappies are leading the way. They are located in 15 to 22 feet of water in schools. Some tip-downs are working, but most anglers are jigging with waxies and small vertical jigs. Some bluegills and perch are hitting in the weed areas. The perch are starting to root in the bottom for mayfly larvae.

It’s really been a tough winter for ice anglers, but hopefully it will get better as the ice thickens.

Good luck and good fishin’.