Happy New Year all of my fellow anglers!
I hope the New Year finds you and your family well and your holidays were full of happiness and memorable moments.
Most importantly I hope Santa brought you all of the new fishing tackle you asked for!
Please be careful leading into the next few days with the warm weather moving in.
Last night heading off the lake I put my foot through at the shoreline, which is usually the first ice to go bad on these warm ups.
It looks like a little rain is moving in with a combination of wind which will tear the ice up a bit.
Ice fishing has been good fishing the Kettle Lakes up around the Lauderdale Chain and Whitewater area catching a mix of pan fish, northern pike and bass.
The ice has been the safest around to boot on the smaller sheltered lakes being between 6-9” in thickness.
Overall the bite has been deep. I have worked hard trying to find “biters” in the shallow weeds, but keep returning to the 20-30 foot depths finding fish in numbers and of decent size.
Delavan Lake has had safe ice in the Inlet and the two shallow bays south and north of the Island.
After this warm up take extreme caution venturing out until the temps plummet again.
Reports have been good catching northern pike in the Inlet fishing large shiners or dead bait under tip-ups.
The pan fish bite has been tough with fish being very skittish under clear ice. Unfortunately it will be awhile before we have safe ice over deeper water on Delavan.
A few people ventured out around Willow Point and the Yacht Club on thin ice, thankfully no one went through.
Geneva is still wide open and I fear she may not freeze again this year.
On the bright side this opens up opportunities to troll for Big Walleyes at night.
The few trips I have run this fall/winter, we have seen huge schools of ciscoes and baitfish light up the screen of my Humminbird 998Si.
The daytime bite for big blue gills, perch and pumpkinseeds has been good too.
Geneva Bay has been producing some nice fish on calmer days using ice jigs and the smallest float you can get away with.
Fishing the 10-15 foot depths has been best looking for remaining weeds.
The northern pike bite has been good fishing Geneva Bay, Trinkes, Abbey Springs and Fontana fishing the same depth range fishing big shiners or chubs under Thill Big Fish Sliders.
Lake Trout fishing should be good also, an alternative to ice fishing, vertical jigging out of the boat on calm days in all of the winter laker haunts should produce some nice fish!
About the only ice guiding I have done so far has been up in the Kettle Lakes area this winter.
The ice has been safe and the bite has been excellent. My clients have gone home with nice gills, crappies and a few perch fishing deep water.
Tungsten jigs have really made deep water fishing easier and more productive.
Fishing small but heavy, the jigs show up on the Vexilar better increasing catch rates tenfold.
Sensitivity has also improved seeing those light bites with 20-40 feet of light line out, along with jetting that jig back down to a school before it is gone.
Many of the smaller lakes up in the Kettle Region have been safe with at least 6-9” of ice.
The shorelines were beat up pretty bad yesterday so be careful if you venture out.
Many of the permanent shelters were brought in and are sitting on shore waiting for our next cold snap.
Lake Michigan Harbors
Lake Michigan has hit record lows and continues to plummet as our dry conditions continue.
Select launches along the coast have temporarily closed due to navigational hazards and low water conditions.
Milwaukee continues to have an awesome trout bite as always in winter.
McKinley Marina was starting to ice up, but was not safe enough to fish. With our warm up chances are the marina will open up once again.
The jigging/casting bite has been fantastic fishing Gulp! and Hair Jigs in the harbor near the Milwaukee River, warm water discharge and the gaps. Many of the fish have been running 5-15 pounds with a few fish pushing near 20 pounds.
Tackling these fish with essentially light walleye and bass gear is so much fun!
I compare it to fishing red fish in Florida, with screaming reel drags and adrenalin in the boat!
The egg bite has been very good too fishing under floats or on a bottom rig.
Mixing up cured eggs and fresh eggs, the fish have their moods and will tell you what is on the menu each given day.
Every trip out I will have a wide variety of spawn sacs tied up ready to go.
My boat is ready to go 24/7 12 months a year with this World Class fishing in Milwaukee.
With our mild winter, which seems to be a trend, fishing the open water in winter for monster trout is an awesome alternative to fishing hard water.
PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION IF YOU VENTURE OUT ON THE ICE THIS WEEKEND! TAKE A BUDDY, FLOATATION WITH A LONG ROPE AND HAND SPIKES IF YOU GO……AND REMEMBER TO TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU ARE GOING AND WHEN YOU PLAN TO BE OFF THE ICE!
Good Luck to All and Great Fishing!
Ron holding a Monster Brown Trout caught within the Milwaukee Harbor
Joe shown here holding a Big Milwaukee Seaforellen Brown Trout
Brian holding a Big Domestic Brown caught jigging in the Milwaukee Harbor
Capt. John holding an average catch Domestic Brown Trout
Trace with a nice Lauderdale Chain Northern Pike
A nice Lauderdale Chain Blue Gill