Slush slows anglers; pike, panfish caught

Outdoors Report

IRON MOUNTAIN — Travel on area lakes is becoming difficult, thanks to heavy snow and slush.

Activity has been light during what’s typically a prime period for ice fishing, said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis. “Most of what we hear is people catching pike,” he said.

Cowboy Lake in Kingsford has deep slush, causing four-wheelers to get stuck, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

At Whispering Pines Outpost on M-95, John Grier said anglers were gearing up for today’s Tip-Up Town of the U.P. on Sawyer Lake north of Channing.

“Guys have been kind of slow getting on the ice,” he added, noting the conditions.

Grier is conducting a contest for the biggest walleye caught in February. A northern pike measuring 30 3/4 inches was leading January’s contest as of late Friday.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warned that ice thickness is highly variable, especially in areas with current.

In Oneida County, Rhinelander-area lakes were covered with about 15 inches of snow with 5 inches of slush. Although the ice is thick, the quality is poor and several trucks have dropped through over the past week.

As for fishing, tip-downs were working in the warmer weather. In Marinette County, a few northern and panfish were caught, the DNR said.

Most area snowmobile trails are rated in good to excellent condition. The Tri-County Snowmobile Club will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Waucedah Township Hall in Loretto.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula activity:

Lake Gogebic: Anglers caught a few big perch and some walleye.

Little Bay De Noc: Ice conditions worsened with additional snowfall and warm temperatures. Heavy slush made travel difficult even by foot. The better ice was found in the northern areas. Anglers were taking vehicles out, but this is NOT recommended. Anglers should avoid certain dangerous areas such as the “Narrows” between Gladstone and the Stonington Peninsula, near the mouth of any river and near any drainage ditch. Walleye catches were mostly undersize fish along with the occasional keeper. The better fishing was near Gladstone in 30 to 35 feet and near the Second and Third Reefs in 20 to 32 feet when jigging raps or using tip-ups. Perch catches remain good, although some anglers are struggling. The better catches were in the Kipling area in 20 to 30 feet with minnows or wigglers.

Manistique Lake: Perch, pike and walleye were caught mainly on sucker minnows.

St. Marys River: Ice conditions on Mosquito Bay, which is west of Sault Ste. Marie, were not ideal, but a few local anglers venturing out caught whitefish. Extreme caution needs to be used as ice thickness was not uniform.

Cedarville and Hessel: In Musky Bay, a couple anglers were perch fishing near the channel and off the point. Anglers reported some weak spots in the Middle Channel. Anglers need to use extreme caution and be aware of strong currents in the channels and around the Les Cheneaux Islands. In Hessel Bay, perch fishing was steady when jigging minnows, wax worms or spikes in 12 feet. While Hessel Bay had ice, anglers reported 6-8 inches of slush along the shoreline.

Millecoquin Lake: Was producing pike and walleye.

Brevoort Lake: Catch rates were slow, but anglers were getting a few perch.