Fishing for the most part continues to be on the slow side in the Northland, which is pretty typical this time of year. But the good news is that moderate temperatures are speeding up the ice-out process for those lakes that are still holding a sheet. I am confident we will have soft water opportunities on all area waters by next weekend. Wind, sun and rain can melt away ice at a rapid rate, and that is the weather we have been having lately. We will soon be seeing sucker runs and smelting opportunities.
While we wait, time can be well spent continuing to organize and prepare for the upcoming open water season. Another option for those who cannot wait is to road-trip to other regions of Wisconsin or Minnesota for legal spring walleye or sturgeon spawning runs.
Lake Superior is starting to see a wave of fishing boat traffic lately. Many anglers have been launching boats on the Northshore. Most have been trolling stick baits long lined behind planer boards for coho salmon. Reports have been hit-and-miss, but some anglers are reporting some success. Chequamegon Bay is seeing more anglers come out of hibernation.
Stream fishing continues to host a few anglers. However, the streams are running high, fast and dirty with the recent rains. Good news is that fishing will get good as the rivers stage down to normal flows. A few reports with some success are seeing a few brown trout showing up in select areas. Many anglers are still holding out hope for a fresh crop of Lake Superior steelhead to move up the rivers.
The St Louis River remains nearly void of fishing boats. This will certainly change this next week as anglers will start to try some luck at spring panfish and rough fish.
Inland lakes continue to open up and, like the St. Louis River, anglers will start to search out shallow panfish this next week. I will be concentrating on old vegetative areas in depths of 1-5 feet of water. Soft plastics on small jigs or hair-jigs tipped with a wax worm are a fair recipe. It is very important to not spook fish when sneaking up into shoreline areas. It can be a huge advantage to find productive shore spots rather than a boat. The warmest parts of the day — usually late afternoons — is usually most productive.