Conditions remain stable with just a few weeks of open game fishing ahead. The warm weather that rolled through and gave us a little break has been replaced by more seasonal conditions.
Pike remain active, but they do appear to be on the move. The most likely explanation is that the fish are starting to stage for the spawn. This is good news as it means the largest fish will move into shallow areas and feed heavily over the next 10-20 days. Spread your gear out along obvious migration routes to the shallow marshy areas. Set tipups at the mouth of the bay, half way back, and if you have the gear and people, set some up in water as shallow as 6 feet. When you start to connect, move your gear to that position. The closer we get to ice out, the more you'll have to reset your gear. Its extra effort, but it can really pay off.
Panfish anglers have reported mixed results the last 10 days, but expect the bite to pick up, especially after game fish season when anglers will be targeting late ice fish. Crappies are being caught, but mostly in the late afternoon and early evening. Bluegills are being taken from water as deep as 30 feet, and they are suspending off shallow structure adjacent to deeper water.
As for open water, the latest information we have is for the Milwaukee Harbour and the Wisconsin River Dams at Petenwell and the Dells. Anglers who have been braving the cold say the bite is slow, but expect the river fishing to pick up with the next batch of warmer weather.
Stay Safe and Good Luck,