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Minocqua Area Fishing Report – 2014

  • mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1454330

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-9-14:

    Early fall fishing with a twist. Heavy rains on Thursday (3 1/2″) caused lake levels to rise. Flowages, usually dropping at this time of year, have been rising by 2-3′. Another shot of rain and some colder temps (highs in the low 50’s during the week, then rising to upper 50’s for the weekend) will throw another monkey wrench into the typical early fall fishing patterns.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very good. Despite a dip in action after last Thursdays thunder/ hail storm, largemouth bass recovered nicely. Best action has been on wacky worms and pre-rigged plastics. The colder weather has made jig/pig combos necessary to pluck fish out of heavy cover on cooler mornings.

    Crappies: Good-Very good. Varying reports depending on lake type. Flowages- deep wood….getting deeper due to rising water levels. Some lakes seeing crappie action in as little as 5′ on these overcast days. Nice fish reported this week in the 10-13″ range. Casting small beetle spins, Charlie Bees and 1/32oz jigs with 1″ twister tails.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Oddly favoring shallow weeds of 5-7′. Cast Rattle Traps and Rattlin Raps or shallow running cranks over weed tops.

    Musky: Fair-Good. Not much on size reported this week so far. Best action on bucktails this week. Shallow weeds of 6-9′ best.

    Bluegills: Fair-Good. Action actually good but weather not nice to bluegill anglers. Small leeches, pieces of worm suspended below small floats producing nice catches out from deep weeds of 12-16′.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good. Casting jigs tipped with suckers / chubs or 3-4″ twister tails or paddle tailed grubs are best. Blade baits also scoring well.

    Walleye: Fair. Weather made it tough to sit on deep spots late last week. Rising water on lakes and especially flowages are throwing off early fall patterns. Chubs, fatheads, crawlers and leeches (where available) are all producing some action. It should improve with these falling lake temps.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Few reports.

    Average lake surface temps fell from an average of 71-73 deg. to 67-68 deg. After heavy rain and hail on 9-4. Cooler Temps moving in this week will probably drop temps even more. After such a cool summer, it seems cruel to start off September this way. Wild bait (Musky suckers, Redtailed and Black tailed chubs) are very hard to get due to extremely high water levels.

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1455983

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-17-14:

    A very cold first half of September has lake temps dropping quickly from averages of 71-73 degrees just two weeks ago to surface temps plummeting to the 57-59 degree average. Certain species are still active, while fishing for some others has nearly come to a complete halt.

    Crappies: Fair-Good (and improving). Big slabs of 12-14″ being caught on area flowages around deep wood. Medium fatheads have been the bait of choice, though these fish will take larger minnows also. On natural type lakes, deep coontail edges are holding nice crappies suspended 3-5′ off bottom. Minnows, mini-mites and small tubes in white, silver and pink best.

    Walleyes: Poor-Good (improving). After a bust of a couple days mid-week, action improving. Natural lakes work deep hard bottom areas of 14-24′. 1/8 to 1/4 oz jigs tipped with 1/2 crawler or large fatheads. Edges of humps best. On flowages, slowly dragging/hopping 4″ minnow over drowned wood in 14-19′. Chubs are best if you can find them, otherwise suckers are working as well.

    Musky: Fair-Improving. Best action on bucktails, big spinnerbaits. Twitch baits in the 7-8″ variety. Most fish/sightings coming from weedy areas of 6-10′. Full moon period last week may have been part of the slow daytime bite.

    Smallmouth Bass: Fair. Deeper gravel, 18-22′ usually 8-10′ higher if walleyes present at deeper levels. Lindy rigs with suckers of 3-5″, creature baits on football jigs and tubes on 3/8 oz heads.

    Northern: Fair. Surprisingly slow despite cooler water. Live chubs, suckers best with slow bite. Spinners, spinnerbaits and 4-5″ paddle tail minnow imitations also good.

    Largemouth Bass: Poor. Activity very slow, need to plunge deep into weed cover to draw any attention. Cold really had a negative affect on this species. There is a small window in the afternoon from noon to 4pm they are taking spinnerbaits, then shutting back down.

    Bluegill: Poor. A few scattered fish in 8-12′ weeds. Another species very negatively affected by sudden drop in water temps.

    Perch: Poor. No reports.

    This coming week looks to warm somewhat. Mornings of launching to air temps of 33-35 degree is very late October/early November like. Trees about 5-10% color change. Wild bait (suckers, chubs, mud minnows) very difficult to come by, high water keeping bait collectors out of rivers.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1458468

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-23-14:

    Well after enduring some brutal wind on Friday and Sunday…not too nice on Saturday either, looks like a gorgeous week of weather ahead. Lows only in the low 50’s, highs in the 70’s and lots of color to look at!

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Very good. Following an unusual absence of activity, smallies are being found in water of depths of 14-22′ taking suckers, chubs on Lindy style rigs and drop-shotting 2 1/2-3″ Gulp Alive and Jackall minnow soft plastics. Big smallies of 18-20″+ this past weekend, even with all the wind.

    Walleyes: Good. Catches improving over deep gravel humps. Verticle jigging with 1/8oz to 1/4oz jigs tipped with large fatheads. Lindy rigging suckers and chubs also producing. Even on lakes of less than 25′ walleyes are deep. Flowages, work 14-19′ depths. Deep lakes….22-34′, just past where smallies are working.

    Musky: Good. Bucktails and big spinnerbaits good over weeds. Twitchbaits and small jerk / gliders also working. With week of nice warm, calmer weather, try top-water always a good choice under the right conditions before turnover.

    Crappies: Good. Tough with the heavy wind, but returning to a better bite with calmer weather. Deep weed lines of 14-18′ holding crappies suspended 3-5′ off the bottom. Flowage crappies relating to wood. Big slabs of 13-14″ being caught daily.

    Northern Pike: Good. They like these cooler temps. Anglers casting swimbaits of 3-5″ over weed tops as well as shallow running minnowbaits finding pike of mid 20″ to low 30″ range in cabbage beds of 6-9′ of water. Chubs and suckers always a good, relaxing choice.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. Action improving. Shallow weeds and inside weed lines holding bass active on shallow, square lipped cranks in bluegill patterns. Jig and pig as well as wacky worms also doing well. Just like with musky, some top-water action in shallow warm bays.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Wind hampered perch anglers over the weekend. Flowage anglers picking up scattered jumbos using 1/2 crawlers on 1/8oz jigs over wood in 12-18′. On lakes, perch moving through warming, shallow flats feeding on small minnows.

    Bluegill: Fair. Wind not favorable for gill anglers. Watch for action to improve with mild weather this week.

    A forcast for mild weather, light to light/moderate wind and a new moon period bodes well for anglers coming to the Northwoods this week. While chubs (redtails and blacks) are hard to come by, musky suckers are becoming a bit more available. Colors are at about 25-30% and becoming better everyday. Its the big Beef-A Rama event this weekend, so get out on the water early!

    Kurt Justice
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1460320

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 9-30-14:

    The last week of September saw some beautiful, warm weather. Lake surface temps climbed, conditions were prime for several species of fish and fall colors closed in on peaking.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very good. Smallies moved in on many lakes to feed on bait fish that moved into shallows. X-Raps, Spinnerbaits- even glidebaits meant for muskys scored big bass including a 21 7/8″-6# 2oz. monster on the aforementioned musky bait.

    Crappies: Very Good. Big slabs- including a measured 16″ goliath caught and released- being caught on medium fatheads on slip-floats or 1/8 oz jigs over deep wood or along deep coontail edges. Northland Crappie Thumper jigs also effective over like cover.

    Largemouth Bass: Good. Wacky worms, pre-rigged plastic worms and 4″ tubes were hot over the weekend for nice largemouth of 16-19″. Spinnerbaits also effective over shallow weed flats of 5-8′.

    Bluegills: Good. Finally some nice weather for panfish anglers. 1/2 crawlers, Leaf worms or waxies tipped on small jigs, mini mites outside standing cabbage or coontail close to deep water. Gills active due to warm up, take advantage while temps remain north of 60 deg.

    Walleyes: Good-Fair. High pressure of weekend tough on walleye anglers. Flowages best bet with moving water helping to offset barometer. Redtails, black chubs and large fats worked slowly for tentative biters.

    Northern Pike: Good-Fair. Action slowed during the weekend. Live bait best under tough conditions.

    Yellow Perch: Fair. A few big perch caught by anglers targeting walleyes or crappies. Some reports of average catches of average size (7-8″) using 1/2 crawlers up on shallow flats with sparse weeds in 6-10′.

    Musky: Fair-Poor. Not liking high pressure and the warm up. Few reports. Smaller twitch baits and gliders. Smaller plastics also moving some lookers-but few takers.

    Despite a gorgeous weekend, by Monday(9/29), cold weather is back. The coming week looks to have colder temps, rain and some wind. Not great for LMB, Bluegills- but should improve walleye and musky action- especially for meat as surface temps are sure to drop back from highs of 66 deg. Sunday, to upper 50’s by mid week.

    Thanks,
    Kurt

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1462123

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-07-14:

    Well that gorgeous last weekend of September seems long ago… as the first weekend of October brought cold, wind and rain. Early morning temps in the low 30’s barely hit 39-40 deg. for highs, lake temps fell from upper 50’s /low 60’s to lower to mid 50’s. If there was a light to the cold weekend, its for those waiting for the musky/sucker bite to start….it’s starting!

    Musky: Fair-Good. After an off week, action is picking up as the cold snap got the “ski’s” moving. Jointed crank and twitch baits have been hot. Nearly all fish not caught on suckers in my boat have been raised and or caught on jointed baits by Savage. Similar results from other guides on jointed Smity’s and Shallow Raiders.

    Crappies: Good-Very Good. Almost all reports from flowages. Deep wood of 14-19′. Medium fatheads on 1/8oz Thumper jigs or slip-floats. Big fish this week including a 14 7/8″ slab (C&R). Lots of 11-13″ fish.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good. Most fish caught up in 6-10′ weeds. Big fish of 17-20″ and heavier preferring twitch or jerk baits such as X-Raps and Rattlin Rouges.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good. Large live bait is best. Some incidental catches on musky lures. Weeds as usual, always key. Watch for live weeds as some beds showing signs of dying back.

    Walleye: Fair. Fishing slowed and conditions tough with either high or no wind. Deep water is best. Vertical jigging is best if boat control is possible.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Most reports from flowages. Sizes very good (11-12 1/2″) but numbers are few. Feeding heavily on crayfish, so 1/2 crawlers a top choice.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Action along deep weed beds using jig/pig combos, drop shotting minnow imitations.

    Bluegill: No reports, most likely due to high wind and cold over the weekend.

    With surface temps running 52-55 deg., sucker bite ratcheting up. Supply good. Chubs still limited in supply.

    Kurt
    Island Sports

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1464534

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-14-14:

    The time is now for those fishing for Musky! Water temps have dropped into the upper 40’s to low 50’s. Most small to mid sized lakes have turned quickly thanks to overnight temps into the upper 20’s. Mid fall patterns are here.

    Musky: Very Good- Excellent Hard to believe the rating is so high but great musky action has turned on. Multi fish days, equal action on both artificials and suckers. Lots of nice fat fish over 40″, even the Luckless, Lousy Angler of Legend boated a 45″er. Smity jerks and sausage jointed twitch baits remain hot in my boat. Smity quick sets with blades (when wind allows) tops with suckers.

    Crappies: Very Good. Deep wood along river channels in flowages have been holding big crappies. 1/8oz jigs or slip-floats tipped with medium fats best.

    Walleye: Good. Deep water on big lakes (30 to as deep as 50′) using chubs or 3-5″ suckers on Lindy rigs or 1/4 – 1/2oz. jigs. Shallow lakes…. work weed edges of green cabbage with 1/16oz weedless jigs and large fats or small redtails.

    Yellow Perch: Good. Flowages seeing nice perch catches, scattered wood or weeds on medium fatheads.

    Northern Pike: Fair-Good. Action after turn-over is improving. Slow moving spinnerbaits, spoons or live chubs.

    Smallmouth Bass: Good-Fair. Last reports slowed. Big minnows are the best choice.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. Fewer reports

    Bluegill- No reports

    You can expect a continued HOT bite for musky. We’ve had 5-7 fish days over the weekend. Keep casting to draw bites to suckers.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1469694

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-21-14:

    Heavy into a typical fall pattern now. Cold mornings, mild days, some wind, some clouds. Also, fewer anglers on the water.

    Musky: Very Good- Good. Not as hot as last week, but still nice fish in the nets. While it’s typical for anglers to get the best action on suckers at this time (and they have by a 60/40 split) jerks, gliders and twitch baits have all been tagging fish. Jointed Savage (not sausage) baits, Cranes, Suicks and Smitys have been the areas best still. Don’t give up on shallow water, some of our fish have come up from depths of 7′ to as deep as 18′.

    Smallmouth Bass: Very Good. Big fish and lots of them. Not many anglers up looking for smallies, but the ones who have been, plus anglers targeting walleyes have had lots of action from fish of 17-20″+. Smallie anglers doing best on jerks and twitch baits. Walleye anglers fishing mid-depth (12-18′) being surprised with big smallies on chubs and suckers.

    Northern Pike: Good. Casting slower moving spoons, twitch baits and large chubs / suckers has produced some nice heavy pike in the upper 20″ to lower 30″ range.

    Walleye: Good-Fair. Deep fish on lakes that have turned coming on heavy jigs with 4-6″ chubs / suckers. Smaller shallow waters are seeing action on large fatheads or small chubs.

    Yellow perch: Good-Fair. Good for size (up to 13″ this week), fair for action. Feeding heavily on crayfish, use 1/2 crawler below slip float or crawler on a 1/16oz jig to entice jumbos from drowned wood.

    Crappies: Fair-Good. Action slowing down… still finding nice slabs (11-14″) over deep wood (14-19′). Medium fatheads for these nice fish. Adding a tiny spinner blade over hook on slip-float helps to entice bites.

    Largemouth Bass / Bluegills: No reports.

    Water temps seem to have leveled off despite some cold mornings. Most lakes are seeing average surface temps of 50-52 deg.. Lows of 47 deg…. highs of 54-55 deg. (large bodies). Leaves are coming down, helping hunters with targets.

    Thanks,
    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1469700

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 10-28-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report

    Lots of different weather as of late and because of these daily changes, patterns have been hard to set up.

    Musky: Very good-good. Daily action is changing with the weather. Fish are not as active for the most part (though) one group of Boulder Junction anglers did report a 5 fish day, but some nice fish have been brought to the net, including a 50”+ Musky from the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Suckers have had the most success of late, though glide baits and jerk baits are still productive.

    Pike: Good. Few anglers are targeting pike. Most catches are from musky anglers casting smaller twitch baits and glide baits.

    Smallmouth: Good-Fair. Best action deep! Drifting or vertical fishing 4-6” suckers on Lindy style rigs or 3/8oz jigs down sand/gravel slides of 30-45’ . Fight fish slowly with this style of fishing to ensure safe release. Big smallies of 17-20”+ this past week.

    Walleye: Fair. Tough fishing as of late. Best in deep water on large lakes. Work same baits and style as smallmouth bass anglers, yet try waters as deep as 65’.

    Crappies: Fair. Still a few anglers working crappies on days where the wind allows. Action slowing.

    Largemouth Bass, Bluegills, Yellow Perch: No reports.

    With most lakes having surface temps of 47-49 deg. It’s been the changing wind (amount and direction) that has had the most effect on anglers catch rates. Forecasted highs of mid 40’s over next week should see surface temps start to drop again which should bring another surge in musky activity.

    Thanks,

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1470669

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-04-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    Winters early arrival to the Northwood’s was surely a wake up call to finish-up any postponed outside chores. A snapshot of what’s to come… with 3-6″ of snow falling last Thursday and high winds (to 45mph) followed by lows of 9-13deg. to keep the snowy reminder here a while. The shallow pond saw skim ice (the pond behind our shop was 3/4 covered sat. morning) and added to the declining water temps. Most recordings of surface temps ran from 46 deg. (Lake Minocqua) to 42deg. (Rainbow flowage).

    Musky: Good-Very Good. After slowing down last weekend and early week fish are feeding again. Suckers accounting for 8 out of every 10 muskies hooked. While action (number of fish per day) is down, which is expected as season progresses, sizeable fish of mid 40″ to near 50″ers being caught. Start probing a bit deeper water (20’plus) as waters cool during daytime, shallow up on Cisco lakes at dusk and after dark.

    Walleyes: Fair+. The best action is DEEP on the large lakes! One report has fish moving from the 45-50′ range all the way down to 65′. Big chubs (5-7″) on 1/2oz.jigs. Also jigging Raps fished over deep schools on days the wind allows.

    While some good smallmouth fishing has been reported prior to the recent cold snap, nothing else has been reported on. A slight warm up (into the mid 40’s) should slow descending water temps, but overall with temps below 45deg. fishing techniques will also slow down. We Should have plenty of open water heading into November.

    Kurt
    Island Sportshop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1473323

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-04-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    And I thought last week was bad….

    At the time of this report we are at the beginning of a snowstorm that could potentially dump 16-20″ of snow here in the Lakeland area. While we’d rather have the snow before the lakes freeze, a call into guide Russ Smith reported surface temps of 37 degrees but, the top layer of the open water is getting “slushy”. Temps fell a good 4-5 degrees this past week, but with no forecast above freezing, highs next week in the teens, smaller lakes and flowages will see ice cover by the deer opener (Nov. 22) if not before.

    Musky: Very good-Good. In relation to the time of year, good reports coming from anglers soaking suckers and casting jerks and gliders (Smitty had a client boat a 28 1/2 # this past week). As the smaller lakes become unlaunchable key on the larger, warmer (39-42 deg.) lakes. Big & slow wins the race now.

    Walleye: Fair. Few reports, though on many lakes don’t be surprised to find walleyes moving back into shallower water as temps continue to drop to freezing.

    After we dig our way out of the storm, check our website as we start reporting ice conditions by weeks end.

    Kurt
    Island Bait Shop

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1473501

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-14-14:

    Ice Update

    Not much of one… Yet!
    While temps this am. (11-14) were in the low to mid teens, most lakes remain ice free.

    Early ice standards like Stach’s Bay, the Rainbow Flowage and Big Arb are not ready. Although the south bay of Big Arb is locked up, closing those two boat landings.
    Sweeney Lake & Curtis Lakes are iced over but not with thickness 2+” at least to be considered safe for walking.

    Keep checking our website for ice-updates.
    Lake Minocqua had a recorded surface temp of 34deg. on 11-13, a calm night or two and we will see lakes locking up.

    Thanks,
    Kurt

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1473583

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-04-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    And I thought last week was bad….

    At the time of this report we are at the beginning of a snowstorm that could potentially dump 16-20″ of snow here in the Lakeland area. While we’d rather have the snow before the lakes freeze, a call into guide Russ Smith reported surface temps of 37 degrees but, the top layer of the open water is getting “slushy”. Temps fell a good 4-5 degrees this past week, but with no forecast above freezing, highs next week in the teens, smaller lakes and flowages will see ice cover by the deer opener (Nov. 22) if not before.

    Musky: Very good-Good. In relation to the time of year, good reports coming

    The above report was from 11-11-14, not 11-04 as it says… My bad…

    Mark

    icefanatic11
    Participant
    Birnamwood, WI
    Posts: 554
    #1477034

    Mark any idea what the ice is like on lake minocqua? Was thinking about coming up on Saturday and get on the ice for the first time this year. I plan on calling Kurt’s regardless but thought you may have more insight to offer. Pm me if you prefer. Would appreciate a newer report if possible after the snows up north. Thanks!

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1477129

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-25-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    While a majority of sportsmen focused on the opener of deer season this past weekend, there was plenty of opportunity for ice anglers. Ice thickness ranged from 3-7+” on many smaller lakes, flowages and the bays of mid-sized lakes as of Saturday (11/22). A thaw in the form of temps in the 40’s for a day and a half ate through the existing snow, but unfortunately also ate up 1- 1 1/2″ of ice. Since Monday (11/24) colder temps and a new snow – 4+” of powder has recovered the ground and lakes. This new snow will unfortunately insulate, slowing ice production despite our return to colder temps.

    Crappies: Very Good. Moving into bays with standing weeds in 8-12′ of water. Minnows working well on these aggressive fish, though anglers also reporting good catches of 10-12″ers on plastics.

    Walleyes: Good. Shallow water bite at dusk. Typical tip-up settings with shiners. Jig anglers using #5-#7 Jigging Rapalas also catching nice eater walleyes of 15-19″. A few 22-24″ also caught and released by jig anglers.

    Northern Pike: Fair – Good. Not as much attention to pike as walleye at this stage, yet some very nice pike of 29-36″ this past week. Big suckers or chubs best.

    Not a lot of reports on bluegills (fair) Largemouth bass (fair).

    Ice traffic should be limited to foot, though plenty of opportunity as most lakes have some form of fishable ice.

    Trout lake is still open as of this report, landings are hard to use- though a few anglers still out searching for musky….season closes Nov. 30th.

    Check our website for ice update Nov. 28th.

    Kurt

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1477135

    icefanatic:

    Talked with an icefishing buddy of mine this a.m. and he was talkin’ of fishing an upper reservation lake next week unless he gets his deer this week yet. That particular lake had been froze for two weeks now and he felt even at the worst it should have 5″ of ice. Last week before school let out, one of my students had been trying to finish up with any duck hunting and trapping and was trying to find safe ice on the TFF. I know from a reliable source that Mielke Bay on B. Arb had 3+ two Sundays ago. I would suspect that there is fishable ice on Stack’s and perhaps the new Schoolhouse Bay behind the old Holiday station, but you’ll have to check it if you find anything solid out from Kurt’s. Been driving to Mercer to teach and am like you trying to finish up getting a certification in education to finish my working career. That schooling, taking care of household items with all the snow (more coming today and Friday, up to 8″ again), bartending over at Fibbers, etc. have cut in to my fishing/hunting time!!! I did bartend on Sunday and the topic of conversation was deer hunting all night, so until the gun season is over, I probably won’t get any favorable ice reports from that direction as well. Stay in touch, perhaps it won’t be so brutal this year and I can take some time to fish here and there.

    Mark

    icefanatic11
    Participant
    Birnamwood, WI
    Posts: 554
    #1477325

    Thanks a bunch, that helps tremendously, I just didn’t want to get burned If I drove all the way up and I couldn’t find any safe ice anywhere. I think on Saturday I’ll make a trip north, I plan to stop at Pelican and fish there if the ice permits. I’d imagine they will have good ice on Pelican because they should have gotten less snow than up north by Minocqua. But regardless if that doesn’t work out I’m sure Big Arb will be just fine, that lake ices up early every year especially in and around Mielke bay. Thanks a lot for the help, I will be sure to post on here if I do make the trip up and give a current ice report.

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1478325

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 11-28-14:

    Minocqua Area Ice Update:

    Despite the on and off light snows, cold temps help to continue to build ice. While its still not safe enough everywhere (i.e. middle of larger lakes, and areas with currents), most smaller lakes and protected bays now have 7-8+ inches of ice.

    Bluegills and Crappies are providing the bulk of the action fishing. Gills on waxies, spikes and plastics mostly fished on tungsten jigs with a size 12-14 hook. Crappies good on tip-downs with rosie reds or regular crappie minnows. Slow dropping plastics (red, raspberry, grape) have been productive.

    Walleye action is improving. Tip ups w/ shiners (weeds) or suckers (mud) taking their share. Jigging Raps and spoons also very good.

    Pike & Largemouth Bass: Good on tip-ups.

    Yellow Perch: Spotty. But nice fish in 6-8′ weeds with medium fats.

    Single digit nights are building ice nicely!

    Kurt

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1480824

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-02-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    While many sportsmen spent the last weekend of November chasing the mythical Northern Wisconsin Whitetail Deer, others actually set their sights on the continually improving ice conditions and the (in most cases) much easier to find fish underneath.

    Crappies: Very Good. While early ice is typically tip-up time for most anglers, it’s crappies that have been providing the best action. Tip-downs baited with small minnows/rosies have been doing very well. #8 rockers tipped with a sliver of Chena bait or plastic (maroon was hot on Friday) and slow dropped it as the wind allows, has also been hot. A measured 16″ superslab was iced this weekend. Most crappies being caught have been in the 10-12+” range.

    Bluegills: Very Good. Right along with the crappies, gills have been providing great action. Holding a little shallower than the crappies in 5-8′, but at times mixing right in. Small tungsten jigs tipped with a single waxie, spike or red, purple or black wedgee (plastic) is best.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. Not a typically targeted species, but extremely active right now. Tip-ups rigged with shiners tops, though jigging raps, spoons and even small ice jigs tipped with waxies have not been safe from Bass in weedy bays of 5-10′ of water.

    Walleye: Good-Very Good. Early A.M. or at dusk, tip-ups with medium chubs, shiners or walleye suckers good for eyes. Jigging Raps tipped with the head of a fathead on the middle hook scoring larger walleyes of 22-26″.

    Northern Pike: Good. Some areas could be better, bass seem to be beating the pike to the tip-ups! Good numbers of upper 20″ pike. Big shiners, chubs or suckers on a wire leader with a #6-#4 treble. Hold 12-18″ off bottom.

    Yellow Perch: Good-Fair. Where good (flowages) big perch to 13″ on medium fatheads are found along drowned roots. On the natural lakes the action is spotty, but typically nice perch in 6-8′ of weeds on Northland forage minnows tipped with waxies.

    Muskie season ended Sunday (11/30) with barely a whisper. A few smaller, incidental Muskie caught and released by tip-up anglers.

    Ice thickness continues to grow. Most areas reporting 7-8″ with some areas over 10″ (last nights below 0deg. temps adding to these totals).

    While a sharp cold front has hit now the forecast for the weekend looks good with temps in the 30’s.

    This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, check out our 5th annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza! Super prices on select boots, ice jigs, close outs on Clam shacks, a chance to win a Aqua Vu Micro II camera, deals and incentives on select shacks, electronics and ice augers. Meet factory reps from Ice Force, and Eskimo. A chance to start your ice season off right.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1483648

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-08-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

    Well, Its starting out to be a great ice fishing season! Enough ice to get around on… with not to much snow on the ice to worry about access or travel. Caution is still advised on some larger lakes (Trout, Fence, Big Crawling Stone) where ice thickness varies from 2-6″ but overall averages of 10-12″+ cover most of our Lakeland area lakes.

    Walleyes: Good- Very Good. Anglers fishing the dusk and just after dark bite are doing very well on tip-ups baited with chubs, suckers or shiners (depending on bottom type). Also jigging rapalas, Rippin Raps and Glassic Vibs scoring on larger walleyes. Even morning anglers finding success in weedy areas of 7-10′ using tip-ups with shiners or jigging raps. Bites lasting till 10:30-11am on some lakes.

    Crappies: Good-Very Good. Daytime anglers catching crappies in bays with weeds in 8-12′. Minnows good, but slow dropping rockers tipped with plastics, Moon jigs tipped with single spike and Ken’s jig tipped with waxies out producing minnows at times. Schools of larger crappies being found over deep water (up to 30′), these fish are best tempted with crappie fatheads or rosie reds.

    Bluegills: Good-Very Good. On some of the last weeks hot lakes, the average size has dropped, which is typical of the first ice. Big gills giving way to smaller fish- look a bit deeper to find those larger gills again. Gill Pills and Diamond jigs tipped with waxies tops for several anglers catching limits this weekend.

    Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. Big chubs, shiners or suckers on tip-ups as usual tops (one angler iced a 31″er on 4# test and an ice jig). Jigging Raps & spoons are also effective. Lots of nicer pike in the 26-30″+ range.

    Largemouth Bass: Good-Very Good. Though rarely targeted by ice anglers, largemouth bass have kept many anglers busy chasing flags as well as hammering jigs meant for other species.

    Yellow Perch: Fair- Good. Anglers finally starting to find some perch in numbers, not lots, but enough to target. Shallow weeds, perch taking Northland Forage minnow spoons tipped with waxies. Anglers also finding some perch cruising mud flats just outside weed edges in 14-18′. Wigglers or crappie minnows on Pimples, Flickers or the VMC Flash Champ spoons.

    The big question is ice travel. We are not going to recommend vehicle travel at all until there is a solid 14″ of ice, but there is on most lakes enough for ATV and snowmobile travel. Still be cautious, but with very mild weather in the forecast, conditions look great for the next week or so of ice fishing.

    Kurt
    Island Sports

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1485510

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-16-14:

    Well some very odd weather for mid-December, 40’s, rain, fog, making for melting snow and ice! The story for the weekend… don’t put tip-ups out more than 20′ away, you’ll never see the flags! Some anglers returned with tales of having a hard time finding their way off lakes due to the fog and no snow to follow their tracks back.

    Walleyes: Fair-Very Good. Mid-week the bite was off, but overall very good. Reports with lots of large walleye being caught and released. Several fish of 26, 27 1/2 (2), 28,29 and even a 31″er (C&R) on chubs, suckers and shiners, up along 8-12′ weeds at and just after dusk. Morning also producing all the way up into the 10 o’clock hour. Jigging Raps and the new Jigging Rattlin Raps as well as Slender Spoons and Tinglers tipped with a minnow head producing very well for the jigging crowd.

    Crappies: Good-Very Good. While not a consistent bite all day… when the bite is on, crappies are very vulnerable to minnows on tip-downs. Anglers report running/sliding to keep up. Mostly 10-12″ fish with a few 13″+ slabs to keep things interesting. As the bite slowed, anglers slow dropping plastics (white) on rockers and moon glo’s.

    Northern Pike: Very-Good. Mid morning is best. Big chubs & suckers on tip-ups in pockets/clearings in big weed flats. Jigging large Slender Spoons and jig Raps (use a wire leader) also effective and very fun on a rod and reel.

    Bluegills: Good-Very Good. Action a bit spotty, but when fish on – lots of bites. Sorting necessary to collect a meal. Small tungsten jigs tipped with a single spike, moussee or red plastic.

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Best action surprisingly deep (20-30′) already. Vinglas, #2 pimples, #25 Halis tipped with wiggler or a pair of waxies. Takes some searching to find the active schools. Punch bottom of lake bed to stir up mud and attract fish using heavy jig with flash.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Lots of action at times on tip-ups with medium shiner. Jigging also productive, use #5 jig Rap, tip middle hook with a couple of waxies or minnow head.

    Warm up (40-44 deg.) over weekend took snow off ice and left 1-2″ of water (some areas water is running down holes). We lost 1-2″ of ice with warm up. Since then the temps back into the 20’s and light snow (12/16) should firm things back up. Most lakes still averaging 8-10″. A few reports of ice over 12″, but not confirmed. While some people are driving cars / trucks on certain lakes, we at Island Sport Shop can’t recommend it. But we do recommend ice cleats for now as the little snow we are receiving won’t add enough traction to the ice. New moon period coming up should only improve the daytime bite.

    Kurt’s Island Sports Shop
    Kurt Justice

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1487682

    From Kurt’s Island Bait for the date 12-22-14:

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report

    A week of stable weather meant no ice loss, but little gain. A heavy fresh snow on Sunday afternoon (12/21) will mean you can leave the cleats at home. New snow accumulation was about 1.5 to 2″, forecast is for sporadic snows over the next week, but fairly mild temps in the low to mid 30’s. New moon period this week should provide daytime anglers with good action.

    Bluegills: Very Good. This species had to get top rank this week due to the goliaths being caught. A verified 11 and a 11 1/4″ plus several others in the 10″+ range. Lack of snow cover has allowed anglers to venture out on to usually unfinished waters. While the standard jig/wax combo helped catch many of the gills caught this weekend (including the 11″er caught by a (9yr. old girl), jigging Rattlin Raps tipped with waxies accounted for the 11 1/4″er. Tungsten jigs tipped with a single spike or sliver of plastic (red, white, black or purple) accounting for fish when bite slows.

    Walleyes: Very Good. The bite has shifted to earlier, just before dusk and even some good mid-day bites (typical of new moon patterns). Chubs, suckers and shiners all producing on tip-ups. Chubs and shiners for weed relating fish, suckers over gravel, sand grass or mud. Jigging Raps, Vibratos and Buck-shot spoons also producing nicer (22-28″) walleyes for anglers with the “twitch”.

    Crappies: Very Good- Good: Action a bit slower, but still productive. Seems you have to “wait’em-out”. Pockets of hot action on tip-downs with minnows followed by having to “finesse” with rockers tipped with waxies. Most anglers keeping 10-11″ fish a few 12″ being caught.

    Largemouth Bass: Very Good. If you just want to see the flags fly set some tip-ups with medium shiners out over weed flats or 6-10″. Lots of action! A few larger fish of 18″+ reported, but most in the 13-16″ range.

    Northern Pike: Good. Big chubs, suckers and shiners on tip-ups along outside of weed edges of 10-14′ for larger pike. (a couple of out of season muskies to 41″ this week- quick catch and release)

    Yellow Perch: Fair-Good. Still not up to par, but reports of good catches in some areas of shallow weeds on forage spoons tipped with waxies, deep water mud flats on Halis and #2 pimples tipped with wigglers, red spikes and some Flowage, wood relating perch on rosie reds.

    This week the nice weather continues, though by Saturday(12/27) cold will move in to remind us its winter. Not much change on ice conditions, averages of 10-12″ with a few lakes as little as 6″ so be careful. New moon period should bracket most of the best action between 6am and 6pm. this week. Late night walleye anglers have noticed a slow down to the after dark bite already.’

    Thanks Kurt

    Kurt’s Island Sportshop
    Minocqua, Wi 54548

    Mark

    mbenson
    Participant
    Minocqua, WI
    Posts: 1455
    #1489936

    The last report of the 2014 season… Got my bro up north fishing, too busy studying and working to get out with them. In spite of the cold, they did well on Schoolhouse Bay behind the old Holiday station for Pannies and LM bass…

    Minocqua Area Fishing Report

    Early last week was snowy and mild, adding over a foot of heavy wet snow to the Lakeland area. Conditions out on the ice have become slushy, the moisture from the snow plus the lack of ice thickness (still only a 10-12″ average) equals wet footing under the snow. Thankfully(?) it has gotten dry and cold (-14 deg. 12/30) since. The cold dry air has helped take moisture from snow and helped to some extent, make travel a bit easier.

    Walleye: Good-Fair. The bite has moved to early am. and from 4pm on. Usually by 8am. the morning bite is over. With the high pressure system that has moved in for now, expect the very early/late pattern to hold. Later in the week with the forecast of a couple of mild fronts and some clouds, the bite could stretch out a little. Tip-ups have been best the last couple of days. Jigging action should improve by Friday/Saturday.

    Northern Pike: Good-Fair. Slowed down as of late. Best on live bait (chubs, suckers, and shiners). As the barometer lowers later in the week, you can expect the bite to come back. A few nice pike this past week in the low 30″ range enough to make keeping a few flags out there worth it.

    Crappie: Fair. 10-12′ weed bite has been very spotty, sometimes only a 45 minute to 1 hour window of activity followed by hours of trying to pry a bite out of a few fish. Work deeper at times like this, transition edges of 14-22′ using small minnows or glow jigs tipped with waxies.

    Bluegill: Fair. The action has been fair but anglers are struggling to find keepers of late. In times like this, downsize to 1-2# test, tiny #14 jig and a single spike, mousee or sliver of Chena. Work within 6-8″ of bottom for tight lipped gills.

    Largemouth Bass: Fair. Action has slowed with the cold. Medium shiners are the best bet on tip-ups. With this species, usually its when temps are above 20 deg. that the action picks up (look towards Sat. 1/3).

    Yellow Perch: Fair. Anglers that are finding perch are sorting to find enough for small meals. Deep is best right now, work heavy spoons to drop wigglers into mud bottoms of 18-30′. The new tungsten spoon by Northland has been popular for getting bait back down to fish quickly.

    While the cold doesn’t feel so good, we do need some more ice build up so we can get better access with trucks on our lakes. While some lakes do see truck travel, we still can’t promote this form of transportation till we see a good 14-16″ of ice. Snowmobile travel is preferred. On heavy use areas, ATV’s still getting around, yet snow too deep on many lakes for most ATV’s. By this weekend forecast of highs in the low 20’s and some clouds, possible light snow should improve the bite.

    Kurt Justice
    Kurt Island Sport Shop

    Mark

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