Fishing with the Guides by George Langley. Week of 1/17 to 1/24.
Great ice conditions continue in the area, encouraging anglers to get out and try for their favorite fish. It is a conundrum that the better the ice fishing conditions are the worse they are for snowmobiling. We just have to take what we get. We have roughly 12 inches of nice, black ice and with some colder weather we expect it will quickly get thicker. There are cars driving on some lakes, but mostly snowmobiles or 4 wheelers. On the Chain, watch for current areas and check ice thickness which can vary if the dams have been open. Let's hope that we can ice fish like this all season.
Walleye fishing has been good, with reports of this nice fishing from throughout the area. There is an early morning bite and then a very good evening bite for these fish. Setting tip-ups in areas where the fish ae moving up and feeding in the evenings works the best. Tip-up action with medium shiners or sucker minnows is the most common way to fish for them. Some anglers are reporting some decent action jigging in the afternoons for them with vertical jigs tipped with minnow heads. This can be a good tactic in deeper water on the deep lakes for these fish also, near the deeper rock bars. Size limits can vary from lake to lake, so be sure you know what the limits.
Northern action is also very good this year on all lakes that have them. These aggressive fish prefer large shiners but will often hit the walleye shiners before dark. They are daytime feeders, so they're a great way to tip-up fish in the daytime. Locations very, but generally in the weeds or near them. You will find on occasion some northerns in deeper water with the walleye.
Panfish action has been great all year. The crappie fishing on the Chain and on the Rainbow Flowage has been notable. You will find a lot of anglers in both areas. In general, on the Chain the fish are in 15 – 22' of water but suspending at different depths. A little shallower on the Rainbow. These fish are taken on tip-downs or jigging with either waxies or crappie minnows.
Bluegills have been, as usual, in the weeds and are hitting on smaller teardrop jigs with waxies or red spikes. They can be surprisingly shallow, so move around to look for them.
Perch are in 5 -15' of water, generally close to the bottom. They grub in the soft bottom areas for mayfly larvae as a main food source at this time of year. They'll also hit minnows and red spikes. They are known for bothering walleye tip-up anglers by nipping at shiners and tipping those tip-ups.
Still good weather, but a little colder. Gear up and get out there!
Good luck and good fishin’!
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