The ice fishing season, despite last week’s warmer weather, is now in full swing with many of the smaller and mid-sized lakes covered with ice and safe for anglers. 

As always, caution is advised. Spud your way out there. With colder weather now here, we are building ice nightly and some lakes have as much as 6 inches. This is great because there is not a lot to do out there until we get some snow. It is slippery on the ice. Take some cleats along.

Anglers who have ventured out report some action on those early-season walleyes and some decent early panfish activity.

Walleye are biting on these cloudy afternoons and evenings, with some regularity. Either medium shiners or sucker minnows are the most common baits under those tip-ups. Place your tip-ups along the deep edge of weed beds and off breaklines. Thin wire leaders are recommended on lakes that also have northerns, as they will hit the same minnows. The northerns are more daytime feeders, so that worry ceases as it gets dark.

Bluegill fishing has been productive on many of the medium-sized lakes with the ’gills surprisingly shallow. We’ve had reports of action as shallow as 3 feet on some of the darker water lakes. As usual, waxies seem to be the best bait, followed by spikes.

Crappies will start biting, though it is a little early for crappie action. That’s partly because anglers are reluctant to go out over that deeper water where the crappies will spend the winter. Minnows are best for these crappies, but waxies will work well on vertical jigs.

Perch action, though limited, has been reported on the deeper, weedy areas of lakes.

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of snow for the skiers and snowmobilers. We rarely get to this time of the year without it and sure hope we get some by Christmas. Remember last year? We had way too much snow by this time and it made it too hard to get around on the lakes. The slush was terrible! 

Have fun out there on the ice.

Good luck and good fishin’.