Jarrid Houston column: Warmer weather is nice but we still need more ice – Duluth News Tribune
I hope everyone got what they wanted from Santa Claus. I heard he was unhappy with the cold temperatures we’ve had here and wanted to stay at the North Pole. However, work needs to be done. The same goes for us fishermen. Time to go to work.
At least the cold weather is now on hiatus as we head into the New Year with low temperatures in the forecast. It will be nice to fish out of our shelters for a little change, although we could still use a little more ice underfoot.
As we stand, we are seeing ice thickness around the twin gates of 5-12 inches, depending on the body of water you choose. Deeper and larger lakes are taking a little longer to open to safe vehicular traffic, while most of the smaller, shallower lakes are now seeing some snowmobile tracks and lots of ice marks.
Speaking of snowmobiles, right now, this is really the only way to get around safely without getting stuck. Even so, no machine is bulletproof when it comes to ice travel, so be careful. We still have pockets of slush in some bodies of water and rubber boots remain necessary.
Also, as a reminder, the weight of snow will sink into the ice and drilling fresh holes will cause flooding, so be careful. I prefer not to shovel areas down to the ice and allow the fishing areas to be snow covered to help stay dry if possible. OK, let’s dive into the latest 2022 fishing report:
Lake Superior’s Chequamegon Bay is starting to see some ice, but conditions are still very rough. We do not yet encourage ice tracking. The good news is that we will be almost in time for ice fishing opportunities on the Gitch by the new year. Most of the ice sheet is in the Ashland areas and out toward Washburn.
Some scattered ice is just starting to appear around the Apostles, but as mentioned, we still have a ways to go. Stay strong and be patient.
Estuary of the St.
Areas off Park Point are seeing some anglers trying their luck roaming. Reports have been mixed, but for the most part some fish are biting the tipped spoons. As usual, try to avoid any noise pollution as the fish can be easily spooked. We’re just starting to see a biting window take shape, so early mornings or late afternoons will hold the best production, but some fish can be had at any time.
Remember to use a dead club near your putt hole. I prefer anything within 6 feet of the living hole. The backwater fish action has been very hit and miss over the past week, but the stable weather ahead should help. Look for 5-10 feet of water over mud and, as usual, trust your electronics.
Inland lakes, reservoirs and streams have been suitable for pike, bass and occasional fishing. Placing a few tips near vegetated banks in 5-12 meters of water will be best. Although, for some larger fish, you may want to try deeper.
Both shiners and smaller minnows are taking a few fish, but don’t be afraid to put on a big jig.
For walleye anglers, focusing on the lake’s mid humps will be best. The new Northland glass spoon is certainly paying off with the new buzz frequency it offers. Otherwise, it’s hard to beat a simple Jigging Rap with the tip of the head. The best depth has been in 13-21 feet of water (shallowest in the early morning and later afternoon; deeper in the afternoon).
Inland fishing has also taken a bit of a hit but, as with the river, the coming steady weather will help.
See you on the ice and have a very happy New Year!
Jarrid Houston, of South Range, is a fishing guide (
) in the inland waters of Minnesota and Wisconsin, the St. Louis and, in the winter, on Lake Superior.