Some colder weather again after the warm spell has firmed up the ice again and made conditions for ice anglers very good. 

Lakes have anywhere from 5 to 9 inches of ice throughout the area, but anglers still have to avoid areas of current and springs on all lakes. We are seeing a pretty good number of four-wheelers on the ice now. We sure could use some snow, but this has been an off year for weather.

Walleye fishing has been pretty good, with many anglers now reporting some pretty nice catches. There have been some good size and nice numbers reported lately. As usual, afternoons and evenings are better until well after dark. Sucker minnows and medium shiners are working well. The fish are generally moving from deeper water into the weeds in the evenings, and you can catch some deeper during the afternoons also. On the larger deeper lakes, anglers will jig with vertical jigs tipped with a minnow head in deeper water around deep structure.

Bass have been hitting, with largemouth bass fishing surprisingly pretty good in the weeds.We generally don’t think of bass when considering ice fishing, but they can be fun on both tip-ups and jigging rods. Shiners are best for these fish, under the tip-ups. They are always in the weeds.

Northern action also has been pretty good, with a few big ones and some decent numbers being caught. The nice thing about northerns is that they are daytime fish, so you can fish the weeds for them all day and switch to walleye in the evenings. Large shiners are best for them. Fish the weeds where they are feeding on panfish and minnows.

Panfish action has varied. The crappies are now being caught in deeper water in or near the holes on the Eagle River Chain, and generally off the weeds and in slightly deeper water on other lakes. These fish will hit small minnows and vertical jigs tipped with waxies. A lot of guys are using tip-downs on two rods and hand-jigging with the third. Crappies will move quite a bit in the water column, so try different depths. Bluegills are hitting in the weeds, and a real key for ’gills is to locate some greener weeds on all lakes. Waxies or red spikes are working well at this time, and in general afternoon action seems to be better. Perch are in the weeds also, but deeper. They will hit waxies or minnows most days.

It’s time to get out on the lakes before we get that cold January weather.

Good luck and good fishin’.