Visit Duluth:


Fishing in Duluth

Jarrid Houston's fishing report

Ice Angling is Picking Up

The areas that are getting mass pressure from anglers are on slower bites, where the areas that have not been hit by traffic, are putting up good numbers of fish.

By: Jarrid Houston | December 26, 2019

Hope everyone had a great Christmas break and many of you were able to get out and do a little fishing. One of my family's greatest traditions is ice fishing on Christmas Eve, and this year included great fun. Catching fish was just a bonus! Now let's dive into what happening: Ice angling has picked up a tic in the Northland recently. Depending on location, of course. The areas that are getting mass pressure from anglers are on slower bites, where the areas that have not been hit by traffic, are putting up good numbers of fish. By separating yourself from a group or community hole, your success can flourish. Sometimes, not always the case, but we find it better to tap, untapped areas. Best bites this last week have come in the form of panfish angling. With the recent consistent, mild temperatures, fish seem to have a nice routine going and we have been able to pattern them. For trout and walleye fishing, well that is another story. Let's dig deeper into what we got going in this week's fishing report:


Lake Superior has fishable ice in the confines of the Ashland, WI area. However, the bite has been tough on account of cloudy, murky water. Not to mention the always changing ice conditions of that, Lake Superior. Lets talk about water clarity. It is hard to see your bait, so it is important to come up with ways to grab attention. A couple key tips I want to share: I like to clear off any snow around my holes to let any daylight penetrate through the ice. When using live bait, I like to scale off the minnows with my finger nail or hook, so scales flicker better in the light. I also choose to utilize baits that can flash and make noise. Hard to beat a Gold or Silver Buckshot Glider Spoon from Northland Fishing Tackle. Ice conditions vary greatly, so the safest bet is to always check in with the bait shops or local guides in the area. We have found ice 3" and up to 7". The farther you get away from Ashland, the more skeptical the ice can get. Be careful if you choose to head out. We are still at early ice stages, and with the long winter ahead, time is on our side.

The St. Louis River Estuary has been a popular fishery as of late. Some anglers are having success, but many are struggling to find active fish. Most have been taken to the Superior Harbor off of Minnesota and Park Point. Ice conditions have been favorable, but caution should still be used. Water clarity has cleared up a bit this last week, so hopefully a better bite picks up. Until then, the best approach is getting away from others and avoiding noise pollution. These fish can be very spooked with the recent up-tick of angler pressure. Best baits for our team have been jigging raps, puppet minnows or shiver minnows jigged aggressively in 4-7 feet of water. I always keep a live minnow under a float near by, and that has been producing a few fish. 


Select inland waters have been producing nice panfish bites as previously discussed. This time of year, it is fun to look at a map, find a lake and do some homework on it, and then fish it. We have done just that this last week and have found new bites that we are proud of. Best fishing has been over vegetation in depths of 7-12 feet of water. Slip bobbers with flirty girty panfish jigs tipped with grubs or waxies have been fun. What is more key, is you really don't need a flasher to take some nice catches (however a vexilar is more productive of course). Fish seem to be on the chew as long as you stick toward the bottom 1-3 feet, just above the weeds. Fishing these same areas can also produce a few bass and pike of course. Inland walleye angling has been hit 'n' miss, but as usual the bite window revolves around sun up or sun down. Thanks everyone for the support through 2019 and hope everyone has a great New Year, bring on 2020!

TIght Lines and GoOd FiShN,

Capt. JH


Houston's Guide Service
(218)-393-4962 or

like us on facebook "Houston's Guide Service"