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Free fishing in Wisconsin

Outdoors report

IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s free fishing weekend in Wisconsin, a great time to discover the fun of winter outings without needing a license.

Anglers can fish any water bodies in the state where there is an open season. All other regulations apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish that can be kept.

Consider all ice unpredictable and use a high degree of caution, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources advised.

Walleye and northern pike action has been good, with most anglers using live bait on tip-ups, said Doug Whisler at Whisler Outdoors in Florence, Wis.

“They’re catching walleye at dark or after dark, mostly on shiners,” he said.

The biggest northern of the week measured 43 inches and most of the keepers were about 24 inches.

Whisler said one group landed a fine mess of bluegills, including an 11-incher, while crappie action has been sporadic.

“Some people have been having good luck with perch,” he added. Bigger minnows are the preferred bait.

Michigan’s small game hunting seasons — including cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare, fox and gray squirrel — continue through March 31. You can discover new hunting lands in the state at Michigan.gov/MiHunt. Mi-HUNT is an interactive map showing lands open to public hunting, ground cover details, nearby recreation facilities and more.

Tri-County Snowmobile Club is still waiting for enough snow to start grooming trails. The club’s next meeting is 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, at Waucedah Township Hall in Loretto.

The Michigan DNR reported this Upper Peninsula fishing activity:

— Overall: Ice formation has been slow and was still not safe in many areas on the east side. Anglers are venturing out, but extreme caution needs to be used. The panfish action has been slow, but pike anglers were doing well.

— Indian Lake: Was starting to produce some nice fish.

— Manistique Lake: Is producing walleye and pike.

— Milakokia Lake: Was producing some nice walleye.

— Sault Ste. Marie: Ashmun Bay was producing a couple whitefish.

— Munuscong Bay: The walleye bite was slow. Anglers are catching mostly perch.

— Cedarville and Hessel: A few anglers off Cedarville caught undersized pike in Musky Bay when jigging minnows.

— Brevoort Lake: Was producing walleye and perch.

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