Panfish action good to excellent, with northern action fair to good, and the walleye bite fair; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Ice conditions in the Eagle River area are good, with ice thickness 22+ inches on most area lakes. However thick the ice may be, always be very cautious. There are continuous thinning, cracking, and unsafe areas. Make sure you know the lake you’re out on, or better yet, hire one of the Eagle River’s excellent and knowledgeable fishing guides. They’ll put you on fish, where you’ll have a lot of fun, and be safe. It’s still tough getting out and getting around on the ice. There’s a lot of excess snow, with considerable drifting, and a good amount of slush. Stick to traveled routes, and you should be OK — but only if you practice safety. Don’t forget that.
PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch in the Eagle River area are locating in two places: Fish mud flats on shallow lakes in 15 feet of water or less; or fish main lake basins on larger lakes in 20-50 feet of water. In both cases the perch will be tight to bottom, and the crappies and gills will be suspending quite high up in the water column. Use a flasher, and it’ll you a lot of wasted effort drilling holes. As the weather warms (if it ever does!), the crappies and gills will start migrating even higher in the water column, until they’ll be right under the ice. They’re not there yet, but the movement upward is beginning. Use a waxie, spike, wiggler or crappie minnow on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action, and the bite has been good to excellent.
NORTHERN: Northern in the Eagle River area are in 15 feet of water or less in and around remaining weeds. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a tip up. You can also use a large jigging spoon — and you don’t have to tip it with bait — as the northerns will react to the motion of the spoon rather than any scent. All day action. Bite has been fair to good.
WALLEYE: In the Eagle River area, the walleyes are off of break edges or adjacent mud flats in 30 feet of water or less. The walleyes are tight to bottom. Use a small to medium shiner or walleye sucker under a tip up. You can also use a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. All day action, with a little bit of a pick up around sunset. The walleye bite is fair.
(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).