We’re now in the heart of winter and things are looking pretty good as far as fishing goes. It was such a crazy and inconsistent start to the ice season that it was impossible to say how the season would go. Luckily, no one in the area went through the ice, but that first ice was pretty bad. Repeated warm spells made it even worse, but a lot of cold since then have made for very good ice now. Let’s hope it stays this way for another six to eight weeks. The snowmobile folks and the cross-country skiers are pretty happy also. It’s beautiful in the woods.

All in all, the ice fishing has been pretty good. We’ve been seeing a lot of folks out there, especially on weekends. On the good old Eagle River Chain the walleye and crappie fishing has been very good at times. As usual, the fish are concentrated in the holes on each lake. The walleye fishing is usually better in the later afternoon and the evenings until after dark on lakes such as Catfish, Cranberry and Eagle. As usual, those holes produce the best fishing, but they are not the only spots.

You also can find fish near the weeds at times and these are “feeding fish.” They are simply following schools of bait fish. When using tip-ups, you’ll be pestered by perch near those weeds. They’ll grab the shiners and run with them, but then drop them. Also there are some northern pike near and in those weeds.

The Chain is famous for its crappie fishing in those holes and on weekends, you’ll find those holes crowded if the weather is OK. There are two ways most anglers fish these holes, either jigging or with tip downs. The tip downs are baited with minnows. The jigging can be with minnows or waxies. You have to remember to change the position of the jigs up or down in the water to find these traveling schools of crappies, as they change depths often in search of minnows. When fishing this way you also can pick up some perch or walleye.

The larger lakes are furnishing us with some fish also. The walleye are hitting on lakes like North and South Twin in the evenings. On these lakes there is a chance for some really big fish and as a consequence, anglers will often use larger shiners. We’ve seen some good perch fishing on Kentuck through the early winter also.

All lakes are in great shape as far as depth and on some there is auto movement. On most others there is snowmobile and four-wheel movement. It’s time to take advantage of the very good conditions.

Good luck and good fishin’.