Once again, relentless snow has made ice conditions harder for anglers to get around on the lakes. The North Woods got hit with another 11 inches since last Wednesday. What a winter so far! 

Depth on the ice varies from a few inches in current areas on the Chain of Lakes to a good solid 10 to 12 inches on other lakes. You just can’t trust it though and should check if you are moving into territory with no tracks.

Already a number of vehicles have gone through the ice in the North Woods. We can say that most, but not all, lakes are safe for four-wheelers and snowmobiles. Again, stay away from areas where there is current.

We have seen a big increase in ice anglers in the last several weeks, as people are getting stir-crazy. Also, the fishing has been pretty good.

Walleye fishing remains good for this time of year. The evening bite for these fish has been good all winter. Reports are that action in general starts a few hours before dark and goes through the night. Tip-ups baited with either medium shiners or sucker minnows remain the best tactic for getting some nice fish. There have been some nice fish reported from the Chain, with many anglers releasing some of those big fish. There has been some of that deep-water jigging success on the deeper big lakes. This is the time of year to give that a try using vertical jigs tipped with minnow heads. Water depth can vary from 20 to 35 feet, generally in the vicinity of some of the deep rock bars on these lakes.

Northern fishing remains good on all lakes. Tip-ups set in weed areas with larger shiners is the best tactic. Look for green weeds if you can find them, as these weeds will also hold a good number of panfish.

Panfish action is good, with perch leading the way this week. There has been a good perch bite on Scattering Rice and Eagle lakes on the Chain. Red spikes or waxies have been working well. The perch are near the bottom moving in schools. Crappie action in the holes and deeper water has also been good. These fish move vertically also, so you have to search both horizontally and vertically for them. Good electronics help when crappie fishing.

Looking ahead, it’s hard to believe that it will soon be February and at the end of that month our thoughts will be moving ahead to spring. Let’s hope that we don’t get the large amount of snow we got last year in February.

Good luck and good fishin’.