Shanty anglers catching walleye at Antoine

IRON MOUNTAIN – A long cold snap has really put a damper on outdoor activities so far this winter. Anglers with heated ice shacks are still going out, but ice fishing pressure is down overall.

With more sub-zero temps in the forecast, the quiet is likely to continue.

At Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township, John Grier said anglers were starting to come in for the first time this week on Friday afternoon.

“It was really slow this week,” Grier said. “We’ve had a few guys in today, though. They’re buying lots of suckers and shiners (for walleye).”

Grier said Lake Antoine seems to be producing more walleye than usual. “A lot of guys in with walleye, actually. It’s a nice surprise.”

Little Badwater is producing good amounts of panfish, with anglers catching plenty of bluegill and crappie when they brave the cold.

“There really isn’t a heck of a lot to report because of the darn cold,” said Don Ciochetto at The Sport Shop in Iron River. “A couple guys caught a few panfish earlier this week and there are some northern out there. It’s just too cold, though.”

The annual Fischer Lake fishing tournament will be held today in Florence, Wis. The tourney starts at 7 a.m. and is scheduled to end at 3:30 p.m. Prizes this year include a Vexilar FL 12 Flat Screen fish locator and a Jiffy 10-inch powered ice auger.

There will be food and beverages throughout the day and cash prizes are available for first through third place in the panfish and pike divisions.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said the brief reprieve last weekend from this winter’s frigid weather brought people out in droves to enjoy winter recreation. That ended abruptly again this week with temperatures diving back down.

Temperatures are forecast to drop again next week, possibly to the coldest weather of the season.

Slush has now formed under the snow of many northern lakes making moving around much more difficult. The good weather brought out many Green Bay anglers Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, with anglers fishing off of the Door County shore having more success with whitefish this week.

Anglers also continued to have luck with brown and rainbow trout at southern Lake Michigan harbors.

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

Menominee: Bay anglers are heading out near Red Arrow Park on the Wisconsin side or Hennes Park on the Michigan side. Most are targeting whitefish and catch rates were fair to good with a jig and wax worm.

Menominee River: Walleye can still be found on the Wisconsin side near the Hattie Street Dam. Try jigging minnows and wax worms. Pike are showing up on camera near the Mystery Ship landing however they would not bite. Try tip-ups with large minnows. Those jigging near the lighthouse caught bluegill and crappie.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions remain good although travel has not been easy due to deep and drifting snow. The weight of the snow has opened up some pressure cracks. Extreme caution needs to be used when crossing them. Walleye catches were best in the southern bay between Aronson Island and Portage Point when jigging rapalas with or without a minnow in 40 to 50 feet. Some were fishing in 25 to 35 feet near the Escanaba River however this area is dangerous. Whitefish anglers did well at Gladstone when using minnows or spawn in 45 feet and off Sand Point in 75 to 85 feet. Perch anglers reported small fish near Kipling and Garth Point. A few jumbo perch were caught near Gladstone and the “Narrows.” Try minnows or wigglers in 18 to 35 feet. Pike have been speared at Kipling and northeast of Butler Island in 10 feet.

Munuscong: Has ice and a good amount of slush. Though the perch and walleye action has slowed, persistent anglers are fishing with tip-ups and minnows.

Cedarville and Hessel: Musky Bay and Hessel Bay are slow with very few perch being caught. Slushy conditions make travel a little more difficult.