So 2020 is off to a better start! Not only are both the Vikings and the Packers in the NFL playoffs, but the fish bite seems to be picking up as well. With more consistent weather and better ice conditions, things are actually turning around for the better. Let’s hope this trend continues. Good luck to the Pack and Vikes and, of course, you anglers out there. Here is our weekly report:
Lake Superior ice continues to expand with the recent cold temperatures. There is no safe ice to report on the North Shore or South Shore. (Last year at this time Lake Superior ice coverage was about the same. So we can still hope that we will again have safe ice in the Twin Ports areas in a few weeks. Let’s cross our fingers.)
Chequamegon Bay ice continues to grow out toward Washburn and Bayfield. Ice thickness varies but we are mostly seeing 4-8 inches depending on what side of Chequamegon Bay you are on. As far as fishing goes, the bite has improved thanks to clearer water. Best tactic has been to aggressively jig pink, silver or gold spoons tipped with minnow heads in shallower waters of 10-25 feet. We are seeing some action on set-lines, but most fish are coming on jig sticks.
The St. Louis River has seen some angler success in the form of a few smaller walleyes in the harbor area and a few panfish in the back bays. Last weekend brought dangerous conditions to the river, so angling pressure did dwindle a bit. But conditions improved by mid-week. Best tactic is to seek out shallow-water fish and work a jig stick near a dead stick.
Inland lake ice conditions improved some last week as well. Most areas are still accessible only by snowmobiles or walking, but slush is starting to stiffen up and we are on our way to better conditions thanks to colder temperatures. I can foresee maybe some vehicle traffic starting to happen on some select waters in the next few weeks, but let’s not rush anything. Best bite continues to be mornings and later afternoons.
Although the walleye bite has somewhat slowed down recently, the bluegill bite seems to be picking up. Those who put in the “run and gun” effort are being rewarded. The panfish bite will continue to get better as we keep moving into longer daylight time periods.
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.