More people hitting the water for ice fishing



Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – Anglers in the area have been out in force, taking full advantage of the ice on local waters.

“There’s a lot of guys going out now,” noted Don Ciochetto of the Sport Shop in Iron River. “And there are plenty of ice shacks out there.”

Patti Teske of Florence Sport and Bait said area lakes have anywhere from 6-10 inches of ice at this point. She reported an increase in fishing over the past week as well.

“There were a ton of people out there,” Teske said. “There might not be any fish left in the lake.”

The Michigan DNR reminds anglers that no ice is ever 100 percent safe.

“All ice has the propensity to be dangerous,” said Lt. Steven Burton of the DNR’s Law Enforcement Division. “Obviously, during some times of the year, some ice is much better than other ice, but no ice is ever completely safe ice.”

Panfish are still biting hard on many area lakes, with reports of good sized bluegill being caught on waxworms. Bob Kennard of Midtown Bait and Tackle in Channing has seen plenty of anglers taking advantage.

“The bluegill are going crazy,” Kennard said.

Kennard reported lakes in the area have between 5-9 inches of ice.

John Grier of Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township reported anglers catching some nice bluegill as well.

Grier also said that a 30-inch northern was caught, and a pair of good-sized walleye at 22 and 18 inches. The walleye and northern are biting on minnows and the blugill on waxworms.

Not much was reported in the way of small game hunting this week. Grier said he was pleasantly surprised to see some guys having good luck hunting snowshoe hares.

The application period for the spring turkey hunt started on Jan. 1 and continues until Feb. 1.

The 2013 spring turkey season runs from April 22 to May 31, with hunts lasting from seven to 39 days, depending on the hunt unit. Hunters may purchase a license for just one hunt. A total of 114,290 licenses are available, including 49,290 general licenses and 65,000 private-land licenses.

The Wisconsin DNR reports that Ice making conditions continue to hold steady across Wisconsin as colder temperatures have added inches of ice – improving ice fishing safety – and kept the blanket of late December snow as a much needed base.

Snow depths range widely – from very poor to good or better – across the state.

Snowmobile trail conditions also vary – from north to south. Trails remain closed in many counties where wet heavy snow fell on unfrozen ground, which caused it to compact and not build up sufficient base for groomers.

Conditions in Florence and Marinette counties are good. To check conditions to the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report.

Also according to the Wisconsin DNR, lakes in the Northwood’s generally have at least 7 to 8 inches of ice, though some conditions always vary. Lakes in the south are beginning to freeze, but still trail the northern waters.