The North Woods sure has had enough snow for a while, but it was great to see all the winter sports going on last weekend. 

Presidents Day weekend always brings a great number of people to the North Woods and it sure did this year. Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling all are absolutely great right now.

The bad part of the snow (other than having to shovel it) is that it has caused a lot of slush on the ice and it has become much harder to get around for ice anglers. As the sun evaporates and reduces the snow, it will get easier to get around on the lakes but we sure don’t need any more big snowstorms. March, and hopefully some warmer weather, is getting closer.

Walleye fishing is OK, but this in all honesty is not the best time of year for game fish. Many of the good, predictable walleye spots have been fished all winter and the remaining fish are pretty smart. The game fishing season is soon to come to an end and we’ll be putting the tip-ups away in favor of jigging poles for panfish for the rest of the ice fishing season. There has been some deep-water daytime jigging for walleye on the deeper lakes with vertical jigs and minnow heads, and that can be great fun. Tip-up fishing with shiners or sucker minnows is still producing some fish on the Chain, especially in the evenings. There are some walleyes mixed with crappies in the holes on the Chain.

Northern fishing remains pretty good. These fish are daytime feeders so anglers can fish with tip-ups all day for them. Look for deeper weeds to hold the most northerns. Anglers will even find some fish in deeper open water off the weeds. Large shiners are the best bait under tip-ups. Some anglers will jig for them in shallower water on smaller lakes in the weeds with some success.

Panfish action has been slower with the reduction of anglers out there until more roads get plowed or tramped down, but be careful as even snowmobiles were getting stuck after the snow. Crappies remain in the holes on the Chain in roaming schools. Both tip-downs and jigging for these fish will work quite well. Bluegills are in the weeds, as always, and are being caught with waxies. Usually these weed beds are easier to get to as they are nearer to shore. Perch are in these same weed beds, but are somewhat deeper than the ’gills and usually very near the bottom at this time of year.

Hope for sunny and warmer days as they will make it easier to get around on the lakes. There is less than two weeks left of the game fishing season (closes March 3), so it’s time to get out there.

Good luck and good fishin’.