Ice fishing gets off to quick start; Michigan muzzleloading season ahead

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Ice levels on some inland lakes have reached 3 to 5 inches and anglers are venturing out.

“They’re landing walleye, perch, northern pike and bass,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis., noting one pike measured over 30 inches.

Early season ice conditions vary greatly from waterbody to waterbody, conservation officers warned.

The Upper Peninsula’s muzzleloading deer hunt opens Friday and runs through Dec. 16. Wisconsin’s muzzleloader hunt is underway and ends Wednesday, followed by a statewide antlerless only hunt that starts Thursday and continues through the weekend.

In Florence County, the buck kill in the gun deer season was down slightly, but the overall harvest was up 5 percent, according to preliminary data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“Hunters are reminded that CWD testing is available for free by dropping off the head of their deer at one of our self-serve kiosks,” said Aaron McCullough, wildlife technician at Wausaukee. Locations can be found on the DNR website by searching “CWD Sampling.”

Wisconsin hunters are also reminded that spring turkey and 2019 bear applications are due Dec. 10.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula fishing conditions:

Little Bay De Noc: Walleye anglers reported good to excellent catches with many doing best in the “Narrows” when trolling stick baits in and around 30 feet. Some limit catches were reported. Those fishing the reefs off Kipling reported good catches in 25 to 35 feet. Boat anglers need to use caution and watch for floating ice. Most fish were between 16-22 inches. Ice season is looking to be very good this year.