The North Woods has had a very good winter so far for ice anglers, with great ice development and not too much snow. 

We are hoping for a little snow for the cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts, but we don’t want a huge snow to ruin mobility on our lakes. 

The ice is thickening on a daily basis and soon will support vehicles. We are seeing four-wheelers and snowmobiles on most lakes and it won’t be too long before we start to see cars or trucks on many of the lakes. Be careful out there.

So far, the fishing is off to a good start with many more people trying out the sport with the improved mobility on the ice and the lack of snow for other winter sports.

Walleye fishing has been good with tip-up action on most area lakes in the evenings and after dark. As always, either medium-size shiners or sucker minnows are the preferred baits under the tip-ups. Evening fishing is best, so be sure to set tip-ups around 3:30 p.m. and expect action just before dark until well after dark. The Eagle River and Three Lakes Chain of Lakes has been great for action, with good numbers of small to medium-size walleye on a daily basis. Some of the bigger lakes have started to produce some action with larger fish in deeper water. Afternoon jigging on those deep rock bars will show some nicer fish as the year goes on.

Crappie action has been good for the panfish anglers as the crappies move to the holes on the Chain for the winter. Tip-downs or jigging with vertical jigs tipped with waxies seems to be the best tactic. Remember with crappies, they will be in different depths, so search vertically for them.

Perch are starting to hit on some flats and in the deeper weeds on some lakes. They usually locate near the bottom, so fish deep. Waxies or minnows work well now. 

Bluegills have been hitting on the medium-sized lakes in the weeds on waxies or red spikes. You can fish surprisingly shallow at times for these fish; as shallow as 4 feet on some darker-water lakes.

We’re sure looking for a great ice fishing season.

Good luck and good fishin’.