We are selling shiners and they are catching pike. That would be my response if someone asked me how things were going.
The ice is getting solid in the protected areas and shallow bays. Anglers were reporting between 6-9 inches in most of the early ice areas. We don't have any good reports on the ice over the deeper water, but we have heard that some areas are better than others. If you head out deep, be sure to be aware of the possibility that the ice conditions may vary from lake to lake.
But I would point out that no-one needs to head out deep to catch fish right now. Quality pike are being caught in the protected bays. Shiners on a tip up are producing, with lots of 30+ inch fish being reported. Okauchee, Golden and the shallow areas of Fowler and Moose have all been producing some quality fish.
The wind has kept a few panfish anglers off the ice the last week, but the fish continue to bite. Bluegills can be caught jigging on a teardop or ratfinkee tipped with live bait, while crappies are being reported caught on small minnows hooked in the tail and left on still poles. Watch for them on your electronics just past half way down and keep the minnows just above them.
Need a last minute Christmas gift/ Stop by the shop for some great ideas. Rattletraps and floating rapalas are great stocking stuffers for fisherman of all ages and abilities, and if you're looking for a larger gift, consider having our staff build your loved one a new rod and reel combo. Nothing makes a fisherman's winter go faster than imagining making a cast with their new pole.
I haven't talked about it for awhile, but we still have some slots available for our fly-in fishing trip to Canada next August. If you are interested in going on a week long adventure in the bush of Northwest Ontario, contact me via email.
If you want to see what the action is like up there, consider watching Babe Winkleman's show the week of January 17th on either Versus or Fox Sports Net. Babe took his family up to one of the lakes run by the same outfitter we are using for the trip. I haven't seen the footage, but it sounds like they caught some fish while they were there.
I'll try to capture the video and post it here for you after the show runs.
Good luck out there, and stay safe!