We've got a little bit of everything in this report... fish biting, fish not biting, good weather, nasty weather, and even a little hockey to go with it. What can I say??? It's February, and we're making the best of it!
On Thursday, Josh guided Bryan Altendorf from Hudson, WI for a full day trip on Chequamegon Bay. The weather was perfect with warmer temps and a little low front moving through. The fish responded with steady action all day long which resulted in an impressive catch including 5 browns up to 22", 4 cohos up to 16", and 3 splake up to 14 1/2". Kastmaster jigging spoons and tip-ups with shiners in 14' to 35' of water produced all of their hook ups including several lost fish throughout the day. The fish were definitely in a feeding frenzy as Josh reported that rarely did more than a few minutes go by without some sort of action occuring.
I was called into duty on Friday to help Josh guide a group of old friends from New Lisbon, WI. Dan Dicklich, Frank Zobal, Al Sullivan, and Dann Walker all traveled north just in time for the trout on Chequamegon Bay to shut down and for the air temps to plummet back to sub zero readings. Let that be a lesson to you... Leave Jeff at home! Although it was a struggle throughout the day, we did have some action that included 3 browns up to 24" and a 12" coho all landed by Dann Walker. Needless to say, there were rumblings from the troops that this was a rigged situation with the possibility of Dann having bought the guides. My lips are sealed, but I'm sure it was an interesting ride home! It was a frigid day, and all fish were caught in 10' of water on kastmaster spoons. We also had several hits on tip-ups without a single hook up as they were dropping the bait almost immediately. Although the fishing was tough, it was an extremely fun day with a great group of guys that I was happy to spend some time with. Thanks for the laughs fellas!
On Saturday, Josh guided Dave, Chuck, Gary, and Jack for a do it yourself inland trip that produced a nice mess of crappies. They caught fish between 9' and 11" on crappie minnows and plastics in 20' to 30' of water. Most crappies this time of year will be relating to main lake basins in the 15' to 35' range. Start drilling holes and checking them with your electronics until you locate fish. Active fish with be suspended and should show up clearly on your graph or flasher. Once located, set up and get to work. That's a good looking crew of guys with some good eats to take home.
While Josh was working on Saturday, I was playing over in the Brainerd Lakes Area of Minnesota. Old friends Cory McClure, Dan Martin, Steve Berg, and Bob Berg invited me over for a guys weekend. What they didn't know when they invited me however was that I had an agenda. What did they expect??? I wasn't going to Brainerd, MN without attempting to fish! I called on my buddy and local resident Nate Berg from Babe Winkelman Productions to put us on fish. As usual he didn't disappoint, and it's really not fair to have an ace like that in your pocket. He had us on crappies all afternoon, and gave the boys an expert lesson in jigging panfish through the ice. Crappies up to 12" kept everyone busy, and all fish were caught on jigging spoons in 20' to 30' of water. Apparently Wisconsin crappies and Minnesota Crappies are on the same program! The day was completed with a highly competitive hockey game (no skates involved), and we concluded that our physical conditioning was better suited to jigging a bait than chasing a puck. At least that's what I concluded! Great friends and great times. Thanks guys!
Ice conditions on Chequamegon Bay remain relatively unchanged from previous reports with varying conditions depending on snow cover. There is a solid foot of ice or more in the bay itself and several inches around the inner islands. Snowmobile travel continues to be best although there are a few roads being plowed on the Ashland side. Travel on inland lakes continues to be difficult as well with snowmobile travel being the best option there also unless you have a plowed road. Despite our cold temps, there is still a lot of slush being reported making things difficult at times. Apparently the groundhog locked us in for another six weeks of winter, so load up that gear and head north. If you can't beat em... Have a great week!
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