Lots on the docket this weekend, including free fishing weekend. The Lunkers Annual Fisheree and Meat Raffle is on Pewaukee. The flyer/details are in my last post.
The DNR is promoting fishing for pike this weekend, but more importantly, safety. Weekly update here.
Please be safe out there.
Anglers urged to use extreme caution as ice conditions vary from location to locationEven with the colder temperatures, DNR fisheries biologists and conservation wardens are recommending extreme caution on state waters. On many lakes, unseasonable weather has created freeze and thaw cycles resulting in ice that may be several inches thick in one spot, but thin or structurally unsound in other spots.
"Always err on the side of caution and keep a close eye on the ever changing ice conditions," Heussner said. "Do not assume consistent ice throughout the waterbody and be aware that shifting ice can create open water situations."
Ice/fishing conditions are essentially early ice. Most of the shallow bays and protected shallow areas on the local lakes have between 4-6 inches of ice, and importantly, many still have some green weeds and fish (especially panfish) are relating to this.
Chasing pannies: During daylight hours focus on bluegills around green weeds or suspended just off the bottom in 5-8 or 8-12 FOW (be careful heading out deeper) Small Ice fishing jigs and light line are key (go subtle) but some days you'll be able to make solid catches with plastics, others only live bait will do. If you have electronics or a flasher, watch for subtle bites.
Crappie are biting at either end of the day, with red/white and pink/white artificials and jig/live bait combos all producing. Crappie typically like to be adjacent to water with some current in it (including springs), but again, standard warning about being on ice in areas with moving water. Deeper marshes (like Ashippun or Golden) have also had some active crappies, but if you've got a fix on some bottom wood cover, that's a solid starting point.
Pike have been coming off and on with live bait rigs fished along the first break along green weed edges. Tip: When putting out your tipups, set two of your three rigs the traditional foot above the weeds or bottom, but set the third a little higher, with conditions the way they are this winter, a trip back to the old fishing log showed that the last El Nino winter had anglers picking off some cruising pike by having the bait mid water column. I'm not sure that'll be the ticket, but give it a go and see.
Walleye have been active at night (probably as they come into the shallows to feed) and again look for green weeds or rock edges adjacent to deeper water as those seem to be giving up the most fish. Jigging seems to be outproducing live rigs, but not many people have been reporting in.
Good Luck Out There and Be Safe!