Spring is upon us...at least in theory. As the local lakes are still iced in, but the rivers start to open up, fishing gets a little different.
Panfish are still being caught in shallow bays, and you can expect that pattern to stay solid as long as the ice does. I haven't been out, but 'd assume from the reports I'm hearing that the ice is okay for now, especially over shallow water, but as daytime temps warm up, and the days get longer, conditions will get worse, traditionally in very quick fashion. It's always a good idea to spud your way out and in.
Myself, I'm starting to turn my attention to the river fishing opportunities. Close to home, the Rock River is opening up, although the water is still very cold, and some of the launches between Jefferson and the mouth are iced in as of yet. I'd expect the warmer temps and the rain that's on the way to break that up quick. Stay tuned, I might be out as early as Wednesday of next week.
If you're ready for a drive, you have two open water options. First is the trophy fishery at De Pere. The piers are going in this weekend at the park apparently, and people who have headed out already report solid numbers of fish being caught.
Of course the other option is in the Dells. Anglers there are getting some nice keepers, plus a ton of slot fish already, and its only set to get better. The pattern appears to be shallow eddies for the keeper fish, as anglers fishing deep seem to be consistently reporting catching smaller males. Fishing pressure in the Dells is sure to increase over the next two weeks. If you're having trouble catching them on jig/minnow or jig and plastic combos try a split shot or lindy rig, which seems to be the ticket for pressured fish in the Dells. (Musky) Mike Kitchen showed me that years ago when he and I would go there together every spring, and I was amazed how well it would work.
Things are sure to pick up as soon as spring moves in and decides to stay awhile.