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Jarrid Houston's fishing report

Chasing Late-Ice Fish

Lake Superior angling is getting a little bit more attention, especially for shorelanders.

By: Jarrid Houston

First and foremost, let's not forget that the MN general fish season is now closed, further meaning anglers need to renew their license if they want to chase late-ice fish. For WI anglers, general season ends on March 1, but your license is good through the end of March. 

Days are getting longer, weather has been awesome and ice conditions are favorable on most waters. The only thing we struggled with this last week was getting fish to go. "Honesty" is a word that gets loosely tossed around when it comes to anglers. There's an old saying amongst fishermen that states "all fishermen lie." However, let me be perfectly honest with you, fishing was pretty subpar for our team this last week. That's no lie. With that said, we did find some bites, and of course learned not what to do, or what to try. Regardless of the bad luck we had this past week, it was surely awesome to be outside and enjoying the outdoors. And even though we struggled to have productive bites, many of our field contributors did find some success. Here is our report:

Lake Superior angling is getting a little bit more attention, especially for shorelanders. Shorelanding Lake Superior can be an extreme game of patience. Those willing to put in the effort, will out produce others. Best bet is to find areas that relate to deeper drop-offs and cast as far as you can. Weighted bobbers, sinkers, spoons and other baits, as well as a good long rod and smooth casting reel is definitely required. Rumors continue to trickle in on some catches of near shore trout and salmon. Again, time is the biggest variable when attacking shorefishing. One can also sneak out to the break walls and find some action. Look for shorelanding to be in full swing in the coming weeks. In other Lake Superior news, anglers are still taking to the cold, icy hard waters of Chequamegon Bay and select areas of the Apostle Islands. Ice conditions near Ashland are good enough for vehicle travel. Areas of Washburn and further into Bayfield, best bet for travel is snow machine, ATV, side by side or by foot. Remember, you dont have to find deep water to have success on Lake Superior. Anglers are still getting good mix bags of Smelt, Perch, Splake, Brown Trout, Pike and Bass. Spreading out is important. For those that want to try Lake Trout fishing the deeper waters in and around the Apostle Islands, please be very careful. Do not try and sneak off the beaten path to far. This ice is very dangerous. 

St. Louis River angling has seen few anglers this last week on the bigger sections. Some anglers are working the back bays for panfish but not finding too much success. We are hoping to get one more stab at a fresh migrating female walleye before closure on March 1. Concentrating efforts will be the deeper waters as they are using it as a corridor to travel. For the back bay panfish, anglers should look to spread out and stay mobile. Best bet is jigging a 1/32nd sized jig n wax worm or spikes. 

Inland waters have been busy on the weekends, especially up on the reservoirs north of Duluth. Don't be surprised to see many out enjoying snowmobile rides. Some lakes are doing good, and some, not so much. One can research bites on-line and word of mouth, but we prefer to seek out fresh not so much talked about inland waters. We have a nice-sized catalogue/journal of good producing inland panfish bites. After this coming Sunday, it will be a "pedal to the metal" attack on inland lakes. Best bites will of course be mid to late afternoons, but as the sun keeps melting snow and letting light in, fish will get more and more aggressive. Best tactic is to find soft substrate bottoms that will be producing mud bug hatches. Smaller tungsten jigs tipped with maki plastics over deeper water will be the go-to.

Tight Lines & GoOd FiShN,

Capt. Jarrid


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