Winter is finally here — to a very high degree. Heavy snow cover, wind and really cold temperatures have made it much harder to be outside ice fishing. Nevertheless, there have been a number of serious guys and gals going out there. 

There is now some slush on all lakes, but nothing like last year. Watch for “snow dunes,” especially on the larger lakes caused by drifting snow on the lakes.

Hopefully, next week things will warm up some and anglers can get on the ice again. The skiers and snowmobilers are delighted with this snow. There will be a lot more winter before this is over. Despite the cold weather, the fishing has remained pretty good.

Walleye fishing has been OK for those getting out. The usual low light bite is still happening on the Chain of Lakes, with decent action in the evening and after dark. Eagle, Catfish and Yellow Birch lakes are providing some decent action. The usual setup with tip-ups and medium shiners is working best. Look for these fish in the 10- to 20-foot range. Jigging in the afternoons is also working. Use vertical jigs with minnow heads. The larger lakes are still producing, but in all honesty usually tend to slow down at this time of year. The same type of vertical jigging works on these bigger, deeper lakes.

Northern action remains good, but a little slower with the cold weather. It will pick up when the temperatures go up. They’ll hit tip-ups set with larger shiners in or near the weeds. Sunny afternoons are best, as they warm the water a little.

Panfish action is pretty good, but the number of anglers was reduced by the cold weather. Crappie action is still good and will be quite active as it warms up. Fish deep water on the Chain, usually in or near the holes. These fish will suspend, so they are not necessarily right on the bottom. Crappie minnows with tip-downs or vertical jigs with waxies work best for these fish. Perch are mostly near the bottom now, feeding on wigglers from the mud. Bluegills are in the weeds and hitting waxies or red spikes.

Some warmer temperatures will help the fishing at this point.

Good luck and good fishin’.