Ice fishing still going on, with very few boats on open water at the Wisconsin fishing opener; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Interesting information this week regarding the opening of the fishing season in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. There is still lots of thick ice, particularly on the larger, clearer lakes — and ice anglers are still going out — trying to get some early season walleyes and northern.
Our sources tell us that the Eagle River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world) is too iffy to go out ice fishing, but generally not open enough for free-and-easy open water fishing, either. A few anglers are trying to open water fish some parts of the Eagle River Chain that appear open, and the Eagle River itself, as well, regardless.
The few anglers who are either ice fishing (there are more ice anglers than open water anglers right now in the Eagle River area), or moving carefully on some of the smaller lakes that are least open enough to allow boating, are all going after walleye or northern, rather than panfish.
Those who are getting out on the ice are using tip-ups with small to medium shiners for walleyes, and larger shiners and sucker minnows for the northerns. Observers report that there is a bite here and there on a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. Anglers are generally fishing in 10 feet of water or less in and around old weed beds.
Those who are trying open water are using the tried-and-true jig and minnow combination. Action on both the ice and open water is slow, with the water still very cold.
Our sources predict that if there is a spate of nice warm weather in the next week, the lakes may start to open rapidly – but no one is willing predict Mother Nature’s whims. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime make sure that your boat, tackle and gear are all up to snuff, and ready to go.
(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).