Ice fishing starting to move forward with walleye, northern and panfish all hitting. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
The Eagle River area is now pretty much iced up. While some die-hards are still breaking the very thin ice on larger lakes, the open water season is done.
As we do every year, we must remind all of our readers that while early ice is one of the “primo” times to fish in the Eagle River area, caution — SUPER CAUTION — is needed! Yes — there are some back bays and shoreline areas (in spots) that are “OK” to get out on, but not THAT “OK” at the moment. We urge anglers not to try to get out by themselves. Hire one of the Eagle River area’s excellent guides. They’ll know where it’s safe — and where the fish are.
Every winter season without fail we hear of anglers who go out, don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going, and go through the ice. Don’t let that happen to you. We want you to come up and enjoy the bounty, thrills and fun that Eagle River offers, but only in complete safety. Be cautious, be patient, and remember the old guide axiom: “There is no such thing as totally safe ice.”
Walleye: Right now it’s tough getting out to the break edges where the walleye are holding, in the Eagle River area. But if you can get out, fish 6-20 feet off of break edges or weed edges. Use a small shiner or walleye sucker under a tip up, or a fathead on a jig. The walleyes will be tight to bottom, and the best bite will be around sunset.
Northern in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less in and around weeds. Use a medium to large shiner under a tip up. Keep the shiners high up in the water column. All day action. Bite can be good to excellent.
Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are locating in 15 feet of water or less off of break edges and in and around weeds. Use a jig and a waxie or spike. The perch will be tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending. Use a locator to find out the depth the crappies and gills are at on any given day. It’ll save you drilling a lot of holes. All day action. Bite can be strong at times.
(This report based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides “Muskie Matt” of Wild Eagle Lodge, “Ranger Rick” Krueger of Guide’s Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).