It's been a busy week, and we hope you all had a happy and safe holidays. Sub zero temperatures continue, and ice conditions on the Hayward Area Lakes and Chequamegon Bay continue to improve.
On New Years Eve, Josh guided Brody and Kelcee from Duluth, MN on a half day inland trip. Crappies up to 13", pike up to 25", and many small bluegills provided steady action and a fun day on the ice as indicated by the great smiles! The pike were caught using tip-ups with sucker minnows, and the panfish were all caught on jigs and plastics while fishing in 10' to 15' of water over weeds. Not a bad way to wrap up 2013. Way to go gang! Josh reported that inland lakes were still slushy with 12" of ice.
2014 began with another inland trip. Stu and Keith from the Twin Cities fished with Josh for walleyes in the a.m., and panfish and pike were scheduled for the p.m. The walleyes proved to be a tough bite however the panfish and pike saved the day. Several pike up to 27", crappies up to 13", perch up to 12", and many small gills kept the guys busy. Again, 10' to 15' of water with weeds was holding fish, and tip-ups along with jigs and plastics were the go to techniques. Thanks to Stu and Keith for being the official first customers of 2014! Nice job fellas! Inland ice conditions were unchanged from the day before.
After a few days down, Doug Kress and his son Paul from Eau Claire, WI showed up on Saturday to chase walleye, pike, and panfish. All were cooperative! In frigid temperatures they landed many pike up to 30", crappies up to 11", walleyes up to 20", and a lot of small gills. What a great day! The 10' to 15' pattern continued although they fished a mix of weed and wood crib structures. Jigs and plastics took the panfish, and tip-ups with sucker minnows were the answer for pike and walleyes. The the panfish and pike were active throughout the day, and the walleye bite came in the evening. With several days of cold temperatures, Josh reported that the slush was starting to firm up on inland lakes making travel a bit easier.
It was back to Chequamegon Bay on Sunday for Josh as he and buddy John Darwin headed out on a scouting mission for upcoming trips. They fished 4 hours with good success catching splake up to 18" and a 17" brown in 15' to 70' of water. Kastmaster spoons tipped with minnow heads caught all their fish and they found anywhere from 4" to 6" of ice on the Washburn side of the bay in the area they were fishing. It's important to remember that ice conditions vary greatly throughout Chequamegon Bay right now, and extreme caution is a must for anyone venturing out there. New ice is being made daily, but never take anything for granted and stay vigilant. Travel on the Ashland side continues to be difficult due to the heavy snows with the going a little smoother on the Washburn side on the newer ice. Nice work Josh and John. Those are great looking fish, and a great start to the new year!
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