The North Woods has experienced a significant change in the ice conditions over the last week, as what looked like a great start to the ice fishing season has been interrupted by warm weather and rain. 

That is the last thing ice anglers wanted to see and many lakes have becomes pretty “iffy” for getting out. There is the possibility of some snow this week, which could really mess things up on the ice. You can even see some open water on a few lakes.

In general, many of the smaller lakes have 2 to 4 inches of decent ice and can be fished. Extreme care is recommended when you go out on these lakes. Spud or drill your way out, and do the same if you move around on the ice.

Walleye fishing was good at first and was worth going out. The best bite happened right before dark, and some good fishing was had. We saw a few pictures of some nice big walleyes, and the numbers of fish being caught were good. Both medium shiners and sucker minnows worked well under tip-ups. Setting up on the edges of weeds or drop-offs worked the best. Lakes on the Eagle River and Three Lakes Chain of Lakes produced some good action.

Northerns also produced some good. Anglers were setting up in the weeds and using larger shiners, generally in the 4- to 8-foot range. This is good daytime action before you switch to walleye fishing in the late evenings.

Panfish action produced some perch and bluegills in the weeds and a few crappies for those who ventured somewhat deeper. The crappies were near the bottom in the 8- to 15-foot range. Now, with the warmer weather, we won’t see too many guys going deeper for a while.

Deer hunters were happy with the comfortable weather and some good hunting was reported throughout the area. Reports ranged from “nothing” to “15 does and one buck seen all day.” It seemed there were a lot of hunters in the woods to get the deer moving.

The weather should be OK for the holiday. Have a great Thanksgiving.

Good luck and good fishin’ and hunting.