Walleye, northerns, crappies and bluegills hitting hard; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
With good ice on many central Wisconsin lakes, anglers are getting out and having great success. While a lot of attention is being focused on panfish, don’t rule out early season walleyes and northerns, as they can provide excellent action at this time of year. They both put up a hefty battle through the ice, and they make for great table fare.
For early season walleyes in the central Wisconsin area, run tip-ups baited with small walleye sized suckers or medium golden shiners. St your tip-ups in 6 to 10 feet of water (preferably with some deep water access) and run your baits about a foot off the bottom. You may catch a straggler or two throughout the day but low light periods and after dark are the best times to pick up a feeding walleye.
The action for northerns through the ice in the central Wisconsin area can be fast and furious, especially if you are set up properly and in the right area. We normally look for shallow weeds in approximately 3 to 6 feet of water; preferably an area with weeds that top out within a foot or two of the surface. Run tip-ups baited up with large golden shiners or sucker minnows and set the baits so they are right below the ice (6 inches to a foot) and get ready for the action to start. You will also want to be ready and paying attention too, because when a big northern strikes, they don’t fool around. They are off to the races and they can “spool” you in a matter of seconds.
Crappies and bluegill anglers in the central Wisconsin area are finding lots of fish in weed choked bays and downed timber in 4 to 8 feet of water. A lot of action is coming on the new tungsten jigs from Northland Tackle. Reds, yellows and greens have been very popular especially when tipped with a waxie or a couple of spikes. We have however seen better action from the larger fish when tipping our jigs with tiny plastics like wedge tails or Impulse tails and working them in a horizontal manner.
(This report based on interviews with licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and licensed guide Glenn Moberg, of Hooksetters Fishing & Hunting Guide Service, Mosinee Wisconsin).