It has been a tough winter so far with poor snow conditions for skiing and snowmobiling, but the ice fishermen love the ability to walk easily on all lakes. 

The 4-inch snowfall Sunday and Monday should help the conditions for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. 

Anglers are driving on most area lakes except for the lakes with current like the Chain of Lakes. The ice is averaging 12 inches in thickness. It’s almost the time of the year to put away the hand augers and get the power auger moving.

As a general point for the panfish anglers, the mornings have seemed to be more productive than the afternoons. When the fish shut down, it just doesn’t seem to make any difference what you see on your electronics — they just won’t bite. 

Walleye fishing has been good in the evenings on the Chain, with Yellow Birch, Catfish and Cranberry lakes producing the best. As always, shiners or sucker minnows are best under the tip-ups. Try to set these tip-ups just off the weeds on the deep sides. On the larger lakes, anglers are getting some action during the daytime in deeper water near structures by jigging with a vertical jig and minnow head. This action can be as deep as 30 feet. 

Northerns are hitting throughout the area, mostly on tip-ups set with larger shiners. These fish are locating in or near the weeds and feeding on minnows and panfish. Best is to set the tip-ups in the weeds and the greener the weeds the better.

Bass are also providing action both on jigging and with tip-ups on many lakes. While most anglers release these fish, they sure provide good action on the tip-ups.

Panfish action has been pretty good, especially in the mornings on the Chain. Crappies are in the holes in pretty tight schools and anglers are doing well jigging with waxies. The fish seem to be always moving, so you should be searching for them vertically. Bluegills are hitting on all lakes in the weeds. The lighter the tackle you use for these fish the better and look for green weeds for the best fishing. Waxies are best for ’gills. Perch are in the weeds in general, but deeper weeds hold more fish. It is just about time to start using wigglers near the bottom, but red spikes have been working well for perch.

Sooner or later we’ll have some cold weather, so take advantage of this nice weather and get outside.

Good luck and good fishin’.