Ice fishing has begun in Southeast Wisconsin! Most of the small, shallow
lakes and wind protected bays have between 3” to 5” of ice. Do NOT
venture out over the main bodies of deep lakes! With the freezing,
thawing, refreezing, and light snow cover, bad areas may be hard to
detect. Avoid areas around springs or near current. If venturing out to
unfamiliar areas, use a spud bar to check the ice as you walk out, wear a
life jacket or floating suit and safety picks, bring a throw cushion with
a rope attached, and a friend.
Bluegills will be found near green weeds in 4’ to 8’ of water. A
spring bobber, 1#-2# test line, and a #12 to #16 sized ice jig must be
used to entice bluegills. Wax worms, mousies, red or white spikes, and ice
plastics work best for bait. Small jigging spoons have enticed aggressive
Crappies will be most active during early morning and evening hours or
just before dusk. Look for them around mid depth weeds, just a foot or two
below the ice. Tip-downs, or dead sticking with a #14 treble hook baited
with a small fathead or rosy red minnow will work best. An ice jig baited
with a wax worm, mousie, or ice plastic can also produce. Aggressive
crappies have taken small jigging spoons.
Perch will be found around sand flats with scattered weed clumps. An ice
jig or small jigging spoon baited with spikes or piece of minnow will work
well. Tip-ups or tip downs rigged with a 4# fluorocarbon leader, #14
treble hook, and baited with a large fathead or lake shiner minnow will
produce bigger perch.
Northern pike will be found around shallower weed beds. Tip-ups rigged
with a 40# fluorocarbon leader, #6 or #4 treble hook and baited with a
large golden shiner or medium sucker will produce the most action. Place
your bait just above the weeds for best results. Brined jumbo smelt on a
smelt rig can also work great especially for big pike.
Walleye fishing will be best during dark hours. Shallower weed flats or
rock bars will produce the most fish. Tip-ups rigged with a fluorocarbon
leader, #10 or #12 treble hook, and baited with a large lake shiner,
medium golden shiner, or small sucker minnow will work best. Jigging lures
or spoons will attract aggressive walleyes.
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