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Jarrid Houston's fishing report

Rain, Mild Temps Hurt Already Tough Ice Conditions

With all the negative weather and ice conditions, we can only be optimistic that things will get better.

By: Jarrid Houston | January 1, 2020

Happy New Year, anglers! We hope 2020 is your most successful year of angling yet. We are off and running and looking forward to another stellar year on the water, and it starts with ice fishing. With all the negative weather and ice conditions, we can only be optimistic that things will get better. They can't get any worse, right? This last week of rain and mild temperatures has put a damper on our already tough ice conditions. Not to mention with all the changes in weather patterns, the fish seem to be winning. Wasn't the case during Xmas week, but that is part of fishing, things change. For example we were on a hot bite on a specific location last Friday. It was hard not to catch fish, but then came Saturday with snow and wind and guess what? The bite was gone. Any avid angler knows this can happen time to time. The future forecast is calling for more consistency and that will be a good thing, so we can once again pin down a pattern. In the mean time, here is what has been happening around the area:

Lake Superior has once again become dangerous for ice anglers in the Chequamegon Bay areas. Before the warm up and rain/snow we were fishing anywhere from 3" to 7" of ice, but true to nature for this body of water, things changed in a hurry. The best bet is to stick closer to Ashland, WI and always check in with bait shops before venturing out. Hopefully things get cold fast, so we can get back onto safer ice angling on Lake Superior. If you do head out, please, please, use best judgement and practice safety to the max! 

St. Louis River was also impacted by the adverse weather we received. This last week, we saw ice angling pressure go from very busy to no angling at all. Mostly on account of fresh cracks opening up and open water flooding the harbor areas. All areas of the St. Louis River from the harbor to up-top, are back to "dangerous" conditions and should be approached with extreme caution. Best bet if anglers want to get out, is to stick to the back bay areas on the WI side where some are trying there luck at a few panfish. Remember, these back bay areas have there own extreme hazards. Stay away from the darker slushed ice and away from any points as some have open water. Also, check as you go should be regular routine. 


Inland angling continues to have its own challenging conditions with lots of slush and very wet ice. Better bring waterproof boots and other outerwear, as you will find wet areas. Especially after drilling through. Also, some inland lakes are traps for snow machines, so use your best judgement. If you do get out on a snowmobile, best to stick to a packed trail or you could be spending all your time on the lake getting "un-stuck". Our regular fish routine has still been in play concentrating on areas near shore in shallower vegetative areas of 6-15 feet of water. Best tactic continues to be small 1/32 or 1/16 sized jigs tipped with waxies, grubs or soft plastics for a few panfish that seem to be schooling up. If you have to pick an afternoon or morning, I would side on the afternoon as the bite seems to be better during the 3 o clock hour.  

This ice season has been off to a bad start, but again, lets all be optimistic that things get better. Until then, the fish still seem to be winning, and sometimes that is okay. Further meaning, they are still there! 

Tight Lines & GoOd FiShN,

Capt. Jarrid


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