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Friday, January 13, 2012

Fishing and Ice Update 1-13-12

Not much new to report, but before I get to it, just a word of caution about the ice. Last nights snow is going to cover up some questionable ice. It will be colder now (no more 60 degree days in January) so the ice will firm up, especially during the cold overnights, but until we've had a little more of this seasonal weather, continue to be careful.

One of the most common places people go through is near the shore where people are entering or leaving the ice. These places get alot of foot traffic, and can be soft even with surrounding ice being plenty safe. I went through one year as the last guy in line after a group walking off all used the same spot to exit. Take it from me, going through is not only scary and dangerous, but a cold and wet walk back sucks big time.

In terms of fishing, I'd stick to the smaller bodies of water. Bluegills seem to be moving a bit, so be ready to be portable, but shallow bays with green weeds will have active fish. Bay Five and just off the sandbar in Ice House have been giving up some keepers, as well as Forest, the west cut on Moose, Silver, Golden (South Flat), Middle Geneesee and School Section. Lots of people have been talking about the Kettle on Nag, but it's been hit or miss by the sound of it. Gills love teardrop jigs with waxies or spikes, but wigglers on a tiny hook can really grab some short biters. I'd try to fish just above the weeds, but consider using a spring bobber for light biters.

Crappie are moving into areas adjacent to current. This is a seasonal pattern for winter crappies here. Look for shallow depressions or holes just off the main current area. Green weeds or shallow sand grass will pull them in, but fish attractors, stumps or laydowns will likely have some active fish. I heard some good words about crappie on Golden and Okauchee, but it sounded like the hotspots the last week were Lower Nehmabin and Upper Nashotah.

As for pike, tipups with medium sized live bait (shiners or suckers) will generate the most action. Deeper areas of weed flats will be holding some fish, as well as the first break line into deep water. You might also find some yellow perch in the same areas. Be careful as you head over deeper water, but that's where the big girls are hiding right now. Smelt works awesome this time of year, but when you put your spread out, try both live and dead bait as some days the fish prefer one over the other. I usally try to go 2-1 favoring live bait per three tipups and then adjust as the fish tell me what they want.

Walleye were biting great in the Dells, but you'll need the boat if you're heading up that way. A few fish are also being caught off the walls along the open water areas of the Rock River in Jefferson and Ft Atkinson. Closer to home, the nearshore areas of Lac Labelle and the shallow flats off the park on
Fowler both gave up some fish according to my sources.

Speaking of the boat, Ben Kueng is still guiding in the Milwaukee Harbor area. It sounds like the fishing has been pretty good, although I don't know how long it will be that way. If you're interested in heading out with him, there's a link to his website on the right hand column. That's fun fishing out there for sure, but I don't guide out there. He's a great guy, and make sure you tell him I sent you his way.

If the cold sticks around, expect things to get very good over the next week to 10 days. More people will be out, and better info comes in then.
Good Luck and Be Safe,

Update: Looks like Becky Smith just did an update at her report as well. You can check it out here.