Houston's fishing report: Ashland area producing a variety of species
It was nice to have some mild temperatures and a better bite this past week. Now that we are in another cold snap, I expect a tougher bite. Another negative is that the ice we had building on Lake Superior is no longer gaining momentum. As a matter of fact, it is gone. So, I guess we will have to wait to see what the rest of the winter has in store for a chance at Twin Ports fishing on Lake Superior.
Elsewhere, we have plenty of safe ice-fishing opportunities. We are measuring ice anywhere from 12 to 19 inches on most inland waters. However, as always, check for yourself and don't just go by someone else's reports. Not even this one.
Lake Superior is seeing action for those who venture to the Ashland area. This ice sheet continues to grow out toward the Apostle Islands. The Madeline Island Ferry Line has closed down for the season, and the ice road to Madeline Island could be open in the near future. Some of the fish that are being caught are whitefish, pike, a few walleyes, burbot and a few brown trout and splake. Jigging and tip-up fishing are showing equal success. In the waters of Wisconsin, Automatic Fisherman and Jaw Jacker devices are legal and are a good system to use when targeting Lake Superior fish. As always, be extra careful on the waters of the big lake.
The St. Louis River has been hit-or-miss with the changes in the weather. A few fish are still being caught using a general dead-stick hole near jigging holes. We are even getting a few flags to fly on tip-ups for some decent walleyes. The best bait has been glow spoons tipped with live minnows. Depths targeted have been 4 to 15 feet. Panfishing on the back bays has been on the slow side.
Inland lakes have seen a fair-to-good bite, especially for panfish. Crappies and bluegills are coming on small forage jigs tipped with soft plastics or live spikes or waxworms. If the bite is slow, try downsizing to a mini-teardrop jig and a small, chewed-up waxworm. I like the 1/32-ounce size. Target the areas that are away from other anglers. This time of year, as community fishing holes grow, fish get pressured and their appetite for eating can slow. This is mostly because of the dozens of lines and bait that are being jigged in a "fishing village." Don't be afraid to set some tip-ups for pike, bass and the occasional walleye.
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.