We continue to get just awful weather for ice development, with the certainty of a lot of slush developing with this snow. Our only hope at this point is that this warm weather coming will cause the snow cover on the ice to thin significantly. With the weird weather we’ve had so far, who knows?

Much to our surprise, there were a number of ice fishermen getting out last weekend for both panfish and for northerns or walleye. Good for them, but be careful if you intend to try it. Spuds are an important item on the ice at this time of year.

Shoreline ice development can be up to 5 inches or so at this time and with this weather, but no one that we know of is trying to get out to deeper water yet. That certainly limits the possibilities for guys getting out to the shallower water areas and the weeds.

The smaller and medium-sized lakes have produced some fish. Surprisingly, some crappies are still hanging in the weeds, along with both bluegills and perch. Waxies will work for all three of these fish, and crappie minnows will work also for the crappies and the perch.

As the ice thickens, the favorite target for many ice anglers will be the crappies in deeper water. These fish travel in schools, moving into different depths, searching for feed. When fishing for these, you must also search up and down for them. There are times they can be 6 feet down in 30 feet of water.

The use of tip-downs has been increasingly popular for this fishing. Minnows work best with this type of fishing.

Let’s hope we finally get some cooperation from the weatherman, as far as the ice goes, and can finally get out with confidence on the ice for the rest of the winter.

Meanwhile, local snowmobile trails will open soon, and many cross-country ski trails have been, at least initially, groomed. There’s a lot to do out there.

Good luck and good fishin’.