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Northern WI (January 2nd, 2024)

This is the craziest season I’ve ever seen!  After Christmas we were literally sent back to Mid-November ice conditions by a giant warm front/rain storm that consumed about 3/4 of the little ice we did have.  We had several inland lakes completely open with guys launching boats just after Christmas, which I don’t believe has ever happened in the last week of December as far as I know.   I’ve been checking local lakes here in NW Wisconsin for several days now and the most ice I’ve seen is 3″.  We have been fishing a couple times on very select spots but there are still lakes that have just a skim of ice on them.  With that depressing news out of the way, cold weather is coming soon!  I would expect most lakes to be at least walkable by the second week of January. 

      As far as how to approach the fishing…that’s a good question! We should be well into mid-winter here but so far have only seen early ice conditions and that’s what we will continue to experience for a bit yet.  An early ice strategy will likely be my approach for the next couple weeks as we get our first “early ice” conditions I’ve ever seen in January.  That means shallow weeds, weed edges, and rock piles will continue to be the go-to for panfish, walleyes, pike and bass.  Some crappies will likely be found in the basin as well. As far as how to fish, I’d stay big, flashy and aggressive as most of the fish we have been able to get to have been fired up.  Little pressure, high oxygen, and sunlight has kept them very active.  Jigging baits like glide baits, rattle baits and larger jigging spoons have all been working for game fish as well as set lines.  Crappies and perch will chase down just about anything small and bluegills have been munching the old tungsten jig tipped with spikes or plastic very well.  Good luck and stay safe! 

Caleb Wistad – Hookedupwi
calebwistad@gmail.com
715-338-0545
hookedupwi on YouTube