The last several weeks have produced some pretty good ice fishing, as the ice has thickened and anglers can get around to all depths on lakes. The only places to use caution now are the current areas on the Chain of Lakes.

You’ll see machines pretty much everywhere and even small trucks on some lakes as this ice has thickened nicely. Look for 7 to 12 inches of ice on most lakes.

This last snow has made other outdoor sports a little better, but the trails are icy underneath that half-inch of lake effect snow the North Woods had last Friday. At least the cross-country skiers can get out. We really could use about a 6-inch snow, but nothing major is in the forecast at this point.

Walleye fishing has been pretty good, with anglers reporting success throughout the area. Walleyes have been mostly biting in the evenings and after dark, as usual. Many anglers are taking larger shiners along with the walleye shiners or suckers and fishing for northerns in the afternoons and then switching to walleyes in the evenings. The Chain has been producing good numbers and some decent fish in the last week. Catfish and Yellow Birch lakes have been the best. Some of the bigger lakes, like North Twin, have produced some deep-water fish in the afternoons for the jig fishermen and the evening bite is on also. Sucker minnows seem to be the most popular up there, but some action has also been reported on shiners.

Northern action has been very good across the area in the daytime. Tip-up action has been very good near or in the weeds on all lakes. Usually, large shiners have been the best bait under those tip-ups. Very good numbers of fish have been reported on lakes like Thunder and all of the darker water, more fertile lakes have been very productive. This is a great way to introduce kids to tip-up fishing. You can also fish for panfish in the same areas at the same time. A few northern anglers have also been getting good numbers of largemouth bass on tip-ups in those weeds.

Panfish action has been very good, with crappies leading the way. These fish are now in the holes on the Chain and anglers are getting good numbers of these fish in deeper water. Either jigging with vertical jigs and waxies or setting tip-downs is working well at this time. Daytime fishing is best right into the evening for crappies. Bluegills are hitting in the weeds on waxies or on spikes using very small jigs and light line. Perch are also in the weeds, but deeper in those weeds.

It is easy right now to get around out there, so get out and enjoy some outside time on the ice.

Good luck and good fishin’.