So far, it looks like we are on the cusp of a wonderful ice fishing season. Perhaps we are being rewarded for the really bad one we had to endure last year. 

Ice is developing very well and runs from 4 to 9 inches. So far, you don’t need power augers, but if we get continued cold weather we will all need power augers soon. Reports are good for walleyes, northerns and crappies to start the season. 

Walleye fishing throughout the area has been good with the usual inconsistencies on different lakes. We have had reports of absolutely great fishing on some of the larger lakes with good numbers reported, especially in the evenings. Some of those cloudy afternoons have been productive. As usual, it is either medium shiners or sucker minnows under  tip-ups. The larger lakes have now developed enough ice to venture into deeper water. This will soon lead to some success with deep-water jigging for walleyes.

Northern fishing in the weeds is pretty good with larger shiners working well. Tip-ups set in  weeds is best. Always look for the greenest weeds you can find. The northerns are in the weeds looking for panfish and minnows, so anglers can set a few tip-ups and fish for the panfish in these areas. The small and medium lakes are the most productive right now.

Panfish action has started, with anglers getting some bluegills and crappies throughout the area. For the ’gills, fish with waxies in the weeds. You can fish in surprisingly shallow water at times for these fish. We have had reports of action in 3 to 4 feet on some lakes. Crappie action is started, usually in much deeper water than the ’gills. These fish will hit minnows well, but also vertical jigs with waxies will work. As the winter moves on, crappies will be in or near the holes on the Eagle River Chain of Lakes and they will provide some consistent action. Perch are in the weeds, but usually a little deeper than the ’gills. They will hit waxies or minnows. We hear a lot of walleye anglers report that the perch are hitting their shiners under the tip-ups.

It’s really nice to have such a good start for the ice fishing season after last year.

Good luck and good fishin’.