Great ice conditions continue across the North Woods, encouraging anglers to get out and try for their favorite fish.

We have roughly 12 inches of nice black ice, and with some colder weather we expect it will quickly get thicker. There are cars driving on some lakes, but mostly snowmobiles or four-wheelers. On the Chain, watch for current areas and check ice thickness which can vary if the dams are open. Let’s hope that we can ice fish like this all season.

Walleye fishing has been good, with reports of this nice fishing from throughout the area. There is an early morning bite and then a very good evening bite for these fish. Setting tip-ups in areas where the fish are moving up and feeding in the evenings works the best. Tip-up action with medium shiners or sucker minnows is the most common way to fish for them. 

Northern action also is very good this winter on all lakes that have them. These aggressive fish prefer large shiners, but will often hit the walleye shiners before dark. They are daytime feeders, so they’re great to fish with tip-ups and also try for panfish at the same time. Locations vary, but generally they are in the weeds or near them. You will find, on occasion, some northerns in deeper water with the walleyes.

Crappie fishing on the Chain has been notable. You will find a lot of anglers off the weeds in deep water. In general, the fish are in 15 to 22 feet of water, but suspending at different depths. Most fish are taken on tip-downs and small minnows, or jigging with either waxies or crappie minnows.

Bluegills have been, as usual, in the weeds and are hitting on smaller teardrop jigs with waxies or red spikes. They can be surprisingly shallow, so move around to look for them.

Perch are in 5 to15 feet of water, generally r near the bottom. They are in the soft-bottom areas looking for mayfly larvae as a main food source at this time of year. They’ll also hit minnows and red spikes. They are known for bothering walleye tip-up anglers by nipping at shiners and tripping those tip-ups.

Get out there with this good January weather and excellent ice conditions with no slush.

Good luck and good fishin.’