Just when anglers were getting around on the ice well and preparing for a good finale to the ice fishing season, the North Woods got more snow last week. Things out there will now be a slushy mess at least for a few days. 

Despite the colder weather last week, the ice is getting shaky. A number of anglers reported that the lakes have from 18 to 24 inches of ice, but that it is not strong black ice. Be careful out there. 

In addition, it is hard in many spots to get from the shore to the ice pack with dry feet. Estimates are from one to three weeks until the ice goes out on most lakes. On the Chain, you’ll notice the channels and some of the narrows do have open water already. The lakes will have another mess of melting snow with the warmer weather predicted for this week. 

Then when the snow is finally gone, many of us can spend some time cleaning up the mess of broken branches from the ice storms and wind during the past winter. Ah — spring in Wisconsin!

Anglers do have some good panfishing left on the ice, unless it goes faster than we think. 

Crappie fishing in April can be gangbusters if the conditions are right. What we need are warm days and nights that do not go below freezing so that the holes stay open at night. Then you can go out there without augers and use yesterday’s holes. Minnows work best in this pattern in the deeper weeds. It seems that the fish come in when the sun hits the trees each evening.

Bluegill fishing in the weeds is also very good at this time of year. Waxies or red spikes work the best in the weeds in the afternoons. Move around from hole to hole to find the bigger fish in these weed beds. Sunny days are best.

Perch are ever so slowly moving toward the shorelines that will provide spawning areas when the ice goes out. Soft-bottom areas are best, and red spikes are the best bait for them. Fish near the bottom.

Be careful on the ice now that it is warming, and look forward to perch fishing right as the ice goes out on the warmest spawning shorelines.

Good luck and good fishin’.