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 were not prepared for it. This writer cannot remember the water temperatures ever falling as fast as they did in a week and a half, and I know that as far as weather goes, it was absolutely miserable out on the water during that period.

For the muskie anglers, action has been good this fall, as it always is. If the cisco spawn is on track this week, it provides great trophy possibilities on those big, deep lakes for the last-gasp anglers. Fish the areas near the spawning flats as the cisco drop off the edges during the daytime. Cisco imitation baits also work very well.

Next, we should have some of that old-time walleye ice fishing during the gun deer season for the first time in a few years.

It’s time to remind people to double check that ice thickness, especially when you are going out for the first time. Wear those spikes on a rope around your shoulders and be careful! Ice thickness can vary, especially on lakes on the Chain with current or springs.

Generally, the early ice fishing season revolves around walleye fishing in the evenings with tip-ups. This fishing can be good, especially after a day’s hunting. Medium shiners are the best bait under those tip-ups, but some anglers prefer sucker minnows. Use the lightest leaders you feel comfortable with on those tip-ups. Fish the weed edges. You’ll be intercepting those fish as they move into shallower water and the weeds to feed. Place yourself inside the tip-up spread so as not to scare those walleyes by your movement on thin ice.

We will also find a few anglers trying for perch in much the same manner. Waxies work well for these fish early in the year, especially near the deep weed edges. Larger perch often act like walleyes, so they’ll also hit those tip-ups.

Good luck and good fishin’.