Bluegills biting; teen lands big northern through the ice

Outdoors report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Anglers were stocking up for holiday weekend ice fishing, with good reports coming in on bluegills.

“We’re selling a lot of bait,” said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. “Mostly waxworms and minnows.” A 13-year-old angler pulled a 36-inch pike through the ice on a tip-up at an undisclosed location — but it was the only flag of the day, he said.

Bluegill action has been more consistent.

“They’re biting on jigs tipped with waxworms or spikes,” said Fay Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. Suckers and shiners are the best baits for northern, she added.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said bluegills were being caught in shallow green weeds, while crappies were a little deeper over flats or near cribs. For walleyes, try tip-ups with minnows on the outside edges of weed beds.

At mid-week, Aaron McCullough, DNR wildlife technician at Wausaukee, Wis., warned that ice conditions remained poor on a number of area lakes, as some had only a couple of inches covered by snow.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing conditions:

Overall: Due to heavy snows and balmy weather, ice conditions from Marquette west were unsafe for foot travel. Pretty much all the inland lakes had a few inches of snow along with a layer of slush on top. For the eastern half, first ice anglers were out however caution needs to be used as ice conditions vary greatly across the area.

Lake Gogebic: Had a few anglers venturing out but catch rates were slow. Extreme caution needs to be used. Anglers would be wise to fish in shallow waters only.

Two Hearted River: Salmon are slowly beginning to show up.