The last week has brought about tremendous change in this area, as we have now had a fair amount of icing on the smaller lakes and are done with the open-water season. This happened amazingly fast and is pretty early. 

As far as open water, only the deep lakes are open for muskie anglers awaiting the cisco spawn.

To be honest with you, some of us worry that we’ll get this ice and snow and then get warm weather in December. That would be a disappointment, as it would leave little to do then.

It’s on to thoughts about ice fishing now. The early season can be fun and a few anglers will be looking to ice fish during the upcoming deer season for the first time in a long time. Watch that ice thickness though, as some anglers break through each year at the start.

The following is a review of the 2018 open water fishing season.

Walleye season is done and it was a pretty good one. The bad spring didn’t seem to have a big effect on the walleyes and they weathered the ups and downs of the spring well. Right from the start, with that big snowstorm in late April, the spring weather was off some. The fall fishing for walleye was in the very good range, especially on the Eagle River Chain. Great numbers and some good-sized fish were caught this fall and most anglers were happy with the results. We’re hoping for continued cold weather so we can get on the ice as soon as possible.

Bass fishing went well, especially for largemouths. Many anglers have learned the southern techniques using plastics for these fish and it has made many of us dedicated largemouth anglers. They also seem to have taken over on many lakes, although it is hard to tell if that is just because we are now targeting them more than in the past. Smallmouth fishing also was good throughout the year. They got a decent spawn in and provided good early season catch-and-release fishing.

Muskie fishing was tough for most anglers. The spring was bad with cold fronts, so we don’t think the spawn went well for these fish. This seems to have a major effect on muskies and indeed the fishing seemed a little tough all year. This fall was a slow one up here, and there just didn’t seem to be too many really big fish caught. In general, the take of fish at tournaments was also down this year.

Panfish action was good, but different this year, as the weed growth was so bad on most lakes. On the Chain, many shores that supplied good cover for fish had no weeds this year, so you really had to look for new spots for crappies and perch. Hopefully, next year will give us a more consistent and warmer spring and we’ll get back to more normal conditions. We’ll see.

Get ready for that ice fishing!

Good luck and good fishin’.