With ice now forming on the smaller and mid-sized lakes, we are exiting the open-water fishing period and heading to the ice fishing season. 

Oh sure, there are a few muskie nuts still on the water, but for the most part we’re just waiting for enough ice to get on those lakes for the early walleye fishing. There will be some ice anglers who insist on pressing their luck, but mostly it takes a week of really cold weather to assure some level of safety on the lakes. Be careful out there!

Deer season has opened, and we have not heard a lot of shooting. Just moving around town, there didn’t seem to be the usual number of hunters in the area as of last Friday night. With other states restricting just about everything and otherwise discouraging travel, we don’t expect the usual amount of out-of-area hunters. 

In reviewing the 2020 open water fishing season, it was a very good bass fishing season, a pretty good walleye season and only an average muskie season for most of us. Once again, all year we were cursed with inconsistent weather right from the get-go. Over the course of time, this inconsistent weather had a negative effect on the fishing. We will hope for some more normal and consistent weather patterns in 2021.

For the ice fishing, it’s best to have less snow right in the beginning of the season to let the ice thicken. Last year, we had deep snow and slush right from the start. These poor conditions really had an effect on the number of ice anglers until March, when anglers could get out as the snow melted. The winter was great for those interested in snowmobiling and skiing, but not for ice fishing.

There are a lot of new jigging baits for the walleye and crappie anglers, along with better augers and sleds for ice anglers to look at and maybe purchase. This always makes Christmas great for the ice fisherman and -woman. Better electronics makes is much easier for anglers to find structure and fish.

Let’s all hope for cold weather to thicken that ice and solidify the swamps (for snowmobilers) before we get any heavy snow. Then get out and enjoy the winter ahead.

Good luck and good fishin’.