Ever-changing weather a challenge for anglers

IRON MOUNTAIN – Ice fishing action has been a bit slow in the area, but anglers willing to bear the wind chill are still catching some nice fish.

“With the weather being so up and down it’s pretty hard to say what’s actually happening,” said Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River. “When we have rain one day, cold and snowy the next, it’s just hard to tell.”

Ciochetto reported good northern fishing when people do venture out, with some enthusiasts also doing well spearing pike.

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier said a 34-inch northern was the winner of the shop’s monthly competition. A walleye contest is next at Whispering Pines.

Anglers have also been catching panfish, according to both Grier and Ciochetto, with most of the action coming from bluegill.

In its weekly update, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said inconsistent weather has made it a challenge for many to get out on the trails or the ice this winter. A late January storm brought six to 10 inches of snow to parts of Wisconsin and strong winds likely will continue blowing the snow around, further hampering outdoor activities.

The Peshtigo DNR Service Center reported the following fishing conditions in Marinette County:

North of the Peshtigo Harbor people are fishing for northern pike using dead smelt fished on bottom or large shiners. Fishermen on the Menominee River have been concentrated below the Hattie Street Dam with their main quarry being walleye.

Michigan DNR reported the following fishing conditions across the Upper Peninsula:

Lake Gogebic: Walleye fishing was good for those jigging rapalas or using tip-ups near the weed beds in 7 to 11 feet of water.

Imp Lake: In Gogebic County had good splake fishing.

Chicagon Lake: In Iron County had fair catch rates. A few walleye were caught after dark by those using tip-ups with sucker minnows in 10 to 15 feet of water. A few keeper size perch were taken along the edge of the weed beds during the day. Lake trout were caught by those jigging spoons in 30 feet of water on the west side. No whitefish to report yet.

Iron Lake: In Iron County was producing some bluegills however many were small. Most are using small jigs tipped with wax worms. The pike action was steady but many were small. Crappie fishing was slow. Those that found them only had a small window right at dark to catch them. Small minnows worked best.

Groveland Mine Ponds: Have good ice. Island Lake, East Lake and West Lake are all producing bluegills, perch and black crappie. Anglers are using tip-ups or jigging with minnows and wax worms in 8 to 12 feet of water. The fish caught were smaller at 6 to 8 inches.

Lake Antoine: Had good ice conditions. Bluegills and yellow perch have been caught by those jigging wax worms or minnows. A few walleye were caught on the south end in 15 feet of water. Try tip-ups with large shiner minnows. A couple large and smallmouth bass were caught however bass season is closed. Those spearing have taken northern pike on the north end.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions improved however anglers still need to use extreme caution near the Escanaba ship docks and south to the Lighthouse because the area is dangerous. Snowfall has made for easier travel on the ice. Walleye anglers had fair catches in the evening with tip-ups and minnows in 20 to 30 feet of water near the Second and Third Reefs. Off the Terrace Bay Inn, anglers were jigging rapalas in 30 to 35 feet. Perch fishing was better throughout the bay. Try minnows or wigglers in 14 to 23 feet of water near Kipling, 10 to 20 feet off Garth Point, or 30 feet between Gladstone and the “Narrows”. No whitefish reports as of yet but it will not be long as ice conditions continue to get better.

Munuscong Bay: Is slower than usual with deep snow and scattered areas of slush. Ice formation east of Roach Point remains variable so extreme caution needs to be used. Walleye fishing has slowed for those fishing in 3 to 5 feet of water. For perch, most are jigging or still-fishing with minnows.

Cedarville and Hessel: Cedarville has good ice. The perch fishing in Musky Bay was good however catch rates tapered off. Anglers have been harvesting nice catches of perch averaging 9 inches in 10 feet of water. Perch fishing at Hessel was slow. Most were using mousies, minnows or wigglers in 10 feet of water.