The North Woods is getting into the start of the ice fishing season now, with some decent ice on a number of lakes. 

Caution is still advised when you are going out on to the ice, especially if you are going to a new area on the lake. We have reports of ice as thick as 6 inches on some lakes. There is still open water on some of the larger lakes, but hopefully that will end soon. 

As much as we would like some snow, it would be much better for the ice to get thicker before we get any snow. Remember last year? We got way too much snow before the ice got thick enough and it ruined the ice for much of the ice fishing season. It was way too slushy and tough to get around on the ice until March.

A number of people got out on new ice last weekend, particularly Saturday. Tip-up fishing for walleyes was the favorite call for most anglers, but some just wanted northerns or anything to hit their tip-ups. As usual, shiners are the favorite bait of most tip-up anglers. We have had some reports of decent-sized walleye on some of the Chain lakes already. If fishing these lakes, be especially careful as there is some current and under those areas the ice is way too thin. As always, late afternoons are the best right through dark.

Ice fishing for panfish seems to start slowly each year, as the crappies are in deeper water and it is somewhat scary to try to get out to this deeper water. Bluegill fishing in the weeds has produced some fish on waxies or spikes and some anglers also report some decent perch in these areas. If you can find some green weeds, these areas will be better for panfish than the dead weed areas.

Unfortunately, there is some warm weather coming for a few days, but what we want before snow is cold nights. Let’s hope for cooperation from the weather man for continued cold, especially at night.

Pray for cold, then snow later.

Good luck and good fishin’.