Fishing in the area has been pretty darn good this last week. From the panfish to pike to trout and whitefish, we have had some good success on different waters.
The weather has been a nice consistent pattern, and that has helped us figure out some good fish routines. We’ve even had some fish “dialed in” on time schedules. The upcoming forecast calls for more of the same weather, namely mild. That tells us we should stick to our routine.
We are still battling challenging travel on the ice. Lots of slush on many area lakes has lots of anglers sidelined. It has been so bad that some ice fishing tournaments have been canceled, not to mention lots of resort operations and retail/bait stores calling it a season and closing up. The silver lining to all the bad ice angling is that fish are getting a break. If you do have the ambition to put in the hard work and get out on the water, you will be rewarded.
Lake Superior continues to get a few anglers fishing the North Shore casting baits over open water. A few steelhead and salmon have been willing biters for the anglers putting in the time and effort.
For ice fishing, most anglers continue to flock to Chequamegon Bay. The best tactics have been to spread out. I repeat, spread out and try and avoid noise. Also, it pays to be patient and stick out a spot.
We have been finding fish in 6-30 feet of water. Unfortunately, many anglers are still fishing in the same areas, near Ashland, as ice has not grown much toward the islands. The areas north of Washburn and into the Bayfield Peninsula have lots of open water. I’m assuming we will not see an ice road to Madeline Island this year. And now, with all the warm weather, I just don't see us getting safe ice here in the Duluth/Superior area as well.
The St. Louis River has been on the low-down recently and we are still not seeing the angling pressure that came around the New Year. Some are finding a few willing biters in the flats fishing the 4-12 feet heavily contoured areas. The walleyes continue to play ball at the low light periods, but we are still seeing mostly smaller fish.
Sturgeon are still active and it’s easy to tell when one is around by looking at your graph. Usually it’s a very colorful mark that comes and goes until they bite.
Inland lakes have good bites going on but anglers need to put in effort getting to hard-to-reach spots. The trailblazers will earn the best results. Look to the back bays that hold both vegetation and basin fishing. I like to set up camp right on the outside of the weeds in the shallow to deep transitions, the same areas I often target in a boat.
Best baits of choice this last week have been soft plastics on tungsten jigs. Tip-ups continue to bring a few bass, pike and occasional walleye as well. We’re super pumped the weather has been on our side, and looking forward to more mobility type fishing.
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.