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Jarrid Houston column: Wisconsin stream trout season signals spring, even if deep snow doesn't

Check out Jarrid's seminars at the Douglas County Fish & Game League Sports Show this weekend.

Jarrid Houston
Jarrid Houston

The official start of spring is on. It certainly is not easy to tell, but looking ahead, warmer temperatures will start the big melt. And with each passing day, the sun is staying out a bit longer.

At this point it is hard to say whether we have open water in time for the May fishing openers. My gut feeling says "yes," but, typical of this time of year, who knows? The next two to three weeks will give us a good hint as we get closer.

It is hard to imagine, but we have some fishing season openings happening in short order. Starting with this weekend's Wisconsin trout streams. We will try and find a couple of spots to fish, but we are going to have to plan on lots of work to get through the snow on the ground. I am ready for winter to be in the rearview mirror as much as the next guy.

Lake Superior will start to see more and more anglers taking to open waters as we climb closer to April. If you are traveling this way, you might want to check in before arriving to make sure the boat launches are free of ice and ready. The North Shore will be the spot, but we can only wait and see how the fishing will fair. It has been windy as of late, so we have not heard of many anglers getting out on the big lake as of yet.

Walleyes are hitting jigs with minnows or worms on the St. Louis River Estuary, but try crankbaits, too.
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Diehards can still find some ice in the areas near Ashland. A few trout, salmon, whitefish, burbot, perch and pike have been caught. Fishing continues to be slow, but some are finding success sitting out over near shore areas with aggressive jigging cadences. Checking in with our friends at River Rock Inn and Bait Shop and Anglers All is absolutely a good idea. We are budgeting limited days from here on out on our favorite ice fishing spots around Chequamegon Bay. Simple, smaller pink spoons tipped with shiner heads will still be our choice, but changing up baits is not a bad idea.


The "kind of, sort of" most talked about recent fishing dialogue has been from our stream anglers getting ready to tackle some very challenging conditions. Woods are still very filled with snow and getting to your favorite fishing spot will be the equivalent to running Grandma's Marathon. For the easy to get-to spots, plan on lots of traffic.

However, the chatter has not been as hot and heavy as years past. I think we can all agree we blame the weather. One thing is for certain, we are anxious and excited to kick-off the stream fishing season. We look forward to finding out what worked and what did not, so stay tuned.

Inland lakes continue to be on the silent side with little to no fishing pressure. I shouldn't have to say this, but remember the general game season for inland sport fishing is done in most places.

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For those that are stomping to panfish holes, electronics are necessary. The Vexilars have been busy marking out some decent smaller sunfish and crappie spots. Best tactic has been small — I mean, very small — tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms or spikes.

For the lake trout anglers trying hard to reach spots up north, all the best of luck. We have heard very mixed reports, but as we always say, can't catch them on the couch. Also, be prepared with the deep, deep snow and wind. Like the panfish anglers, electronics are important. Also pays to pack light as lots of work to be had if you do it the hard way.

Lastly, we are into our final weekend of "Sport Show Season," so please join us at the Douglas County Fish and Game League Sports Show at the Wessman Arena in Superior. The show runs Friday through Sunday. I will be conducting some seminars alongside some very reputable anglers. And of course, budgeting some time to find some fishing opportunities.

OK, one last thing: Wednesday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center from 5-7 p.m., we are throwing a fundraiser for Twin Ports Gymnastics. We have so many prizes to give away, so please join in the festivities. Live music, apps, drinks, raffles, etc.; $10 at the door.

All the best hooksets, friends.

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.
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