Houston's fishing report: Best action still on inland lakes
Christmas-time fishing is about the best family time. With that being said, we want to say "Merry Fishmas" to you!
Around the Twin Ports, we have many fishable opportunities. Most of the lakes in the area now have plentiful ice for walking. And, depending on the body of water, even snowmobiling or four-wheeling is safe. It is still important to take all safety precautions and not chance anything.
The reservoirs north of Duluth are seeing anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of ice. The inland lakes to the south of the Twin Ports are about the same. We are at the beginning stages of shanty towns, and I anticipate after the holidays we will be full steam ahead. Our area waters are still not suitable for vehicle traffic, but we are getting closer. Remember to check in with others for information before heading out.
The St. Louis River is seeing portable shacks popping up on the Duluth-Superior harbor and other areas of the lower section of the river. Ice conditions are still not 100 percent stable, so extreme caution should be taken. We have continuous varying ice thicknesses between 2 and 6 inches depending on where you are.
Anglers are finding mixed success on shallow flats off the Minnesota side. Jigging spoons, ripping Shads and Jigging Raps are all showing equal success. Using glow lures is providing the most action, especially in the UV color schemes. Don't forget to drop a dead stick with a live minnow under a float, too. Anglers are catching some nice pike, walleyes, perch and the occasional burbot. Remember the importance of selective harvest on our fishery for the future.
Lake Superior is still on the silent side, except for a few anglers starting to venture out of the Ashland area. With this coming forecast, we are getting closer to having fishable ice on the Wisconsin side of Lake Superior.
Inland lakes are providing great fishing. Panfish are going well, with most success coming off of vegetated areas near shallower water. Small 1/32nd- to 1/16th-ounce jigs tipped with soft plastics have been the ticket.
Some of the reservoirs north of Duluth are seeing plenty of pressure, and this is causing some of these fishy areas to slow down. It is important to try and isolate your fishing area away from the pack and to stay mobile if things slow down. Tip-ups with shiners or suckers have been turning a few nice northern pike, bass and the occasional walleye. It is important to check the tip-ups often, if for no other reason than to get the minnow back to moving and to chip away ice from holes.
Jarrid Houston of South Range is a fishing guide (houstonsguideservice.com) on Minnesota and Wisconsin inland waters, the St. Louis River and, in winter, on Lake Superior.