Frigid cold weather the last several weeks has reduced the number of ice anglers locally. This has been a winter of extremes, with nice winter weather for the first two months and really cold weather this month. 

Now that we are in the second half of February, we hope for more comfortable weather for the rest of the month. There is a good thing about February — it is short. We can already see much more strength in the sun with these longer days. 

There have reports about lots of slush on Lac Vieux Desert and little slush on Kentuck. While the snowmobilers and skiers are delighted with the snow, anglers are less excited with the additional snow. 

Walleye fishing has remained pretty good, with the usual tip-up fishing in the evenings and after dark producing fish on most lakes. We have three weeks of game fishing season left this winter and things have held up pretty well. As always, medium shiners or sucker minnows are the best baits under tip-ups for walleyes. General depth range for decent fishing on the Chain remains 10 to 18 feet for walleye. On the deeper lakes, some deep-water jigging has been producing fish in the afternoons.

Northern fishing has been good all year. These aggressive predators usually are in the weeds or near the weeds in search of smaller panfish and minnows, which use the weeds as cover from them and feeding areas for insects on the weeds. Larger shiners are the best bait by far for northerns because of the flash they produce. Very good numbers have been reported in this area.

Panfish action has slowed because of the weather. It has been a great season for panfish and the late ice fishing season can be absolutely wonderful for panfish. When it comes to crappies, both jigging and tip-down fishing in deeper water is the trick — jigs in 20 to 30 feet with vertical jigs tipped with minnow heads or with waxies. Use crappie minnows on the tip-downs. Perch fishing has been very good on lakes like Kentuck and South Twin, using wigglers or red spikes. The secret with these fish is to fish very near the bottom, as perch are searching the mud bottoms for mayfly larvae. Bluegill anglers are doing well, fishing in the weeds. Red spikes or waxies on small teardrop jigs will produce fish.

Surprisingly, there’s not a lot of time to ice fish this winter. Get out in the sun and enjoy the winter.

Good luck and good fishin’.