Anglers will need to remove shanties

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Deadlines are looming to remove ice shacks from northern Wisconsin and Upper Peninsula waters, even though some might be locked in place in deep snow.

The deadlines are March 15 for Michigan and Wisconsin boundary waters; March 17 for Wisconsin waters north of Highway 64; and March 31 for the Upper Peninsula.

“The deadline is going to be arriving faster than we think,” said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources urges shanty owners to plan ahead. Some discretion might apply for those working to remove their structures, said Capt. April Dombrowski of the DNR’s Bureau of Law Enforcement. Anglers are encouraged to call the department’s Hotline at 1-800-847-9367 to report their situation if they are having difficulty meeting removal deadlines.

The angler’s information, to include name, water body and the shanty’s approximate location will be passed on to the local conservation warden who will use discretion in the enforcement of deadlines, Dombrowski said.

In Michigan, 2019 fishing licenses are on sale, said John Grier at Whispering Pines Outpost in Breitung Township. This gives anglers one month to purchase a new license before the 2019 license year kicks off April 1.

Grier will conduct a contest until the end of March for the biggest perch caught on Whispering Pines bait. A 21 1/2-inch walleye won February’s competition.

Fishing pressure continues to be light. “Not a rush, but a few of them going out,” Grier said.

The Michigan DNR reported the following Upper Peninsula activity:

Lake Gogebic: The slush problems are very bad. If you do not have a long track snowmobile or are willing to walk, don’t attempt to go out on the ice. If you do go out, bring a shovel and stay closer to shore so you are retrievable. The perch bite has been good. Fair catches were reported along the west shore flats with wigglers.

Keweenaw Bay: After the storm on Sunday, there is another 10 inches or more of snow on the bay which will not help the slush problem. Lake trout fishing was fair in 100 to 275 feet when jigging 1-2 oz. jigs with cut bait on the bottom. Splake fishing was fair in 15 to 40 feet with tip-ups and minnows, spoons or jigging raps. Brown trout were caught in 20 to 40 feet with jigs and minnows. Anglers have seen schools of lake herring, but none were caught. Try a spoon with a wet fly about six inches above the spoon. Smelt are abundant however the bite has been slow. Try using a spring bobber. No reports on coho or whitefish.

Little Bay De Noc: Anglers have been struggling with the snow and slush and as a result very few are participating. Travel is limited to snowmobiles although some side by sides with tracks had been out. All others did a lot of shoveling. Walleye anglers had very little to report however perch anglers were catching them. Most were undersize. Perch fishing was fair in Kipling with wigglers or minnows in and around 30 feet. Several anglers tried to rescue their shanties, but many were buried with all the blowing snow. If you have a shanty out there and have not checked it in a while, you probably should.

Munising: Another round of heavy snow added another eight to 15 inches or more in some areas. Ice thickness in bay was good however there may be some pressure cracks after the high winds. Travel on the ice was difficult. Anglers caught coho and burbot in Trout Bay however the ice may be unstable after the high winds. Good catch rates for lake trout were reported near the White Rocks and Wood Island Reef with cut bait in 120 to 160 feet.