When you go ice fishing on the World’s Largest Chain of 28 Lakes, you can be sure that there’s plenty of room to set up your spot. But while you’re patiently waiting for a bite, find out what our favorite spots have to offer, and reel in the kind of big catch that’ll keep you full this winter.
Before heading out, make sure you have all of the gear you need to keep warm. The freezing temperatures on the ice and the wind chill can make for a pretty tough time if you’re not prepared. You can grab a cup of joe from Eagle River Coffee Roasters Coffee House and get out on the ice.
Find your fill of bluegills and northern pike off of the chain on Lake of the Hills. This lake is known for bluegills – a local favorite when it comes to panfish. But, northern pike also run plentiful and offer plenty of flavor, as long as you remember to get all of those pesky bones out. Our favorite fisherman, Yukon Jack recommends filleting the northern pike to deal with the y-bone. Another helpful tip from Yukon Jack: if you’re ice fishing from late January to the end of the ice-fishing season, you can find the panfish in deeper water though there are also times when they move to shallow water to feed.
If you’re looking for perch, crappie or walleye, set up your spot on Scattering Rice Lake. During mid-day, the deepest water in the lake is where you’ll find the fish. Crappies can be found from three to ten feet off of the bottom, so you’ve got to move your bait slowly up and down to find these fellas. Walleye fishers can find their best bet for a catch in the early morning and later afternoon along the weed edges in the shallower water. Typically, the walleye are pretty lazy during mid-day when they are in deeper water.
During the fall fish feed heavily to put on a layer of fat to get them through the cold winter, so if you can only make it for a winter fishing trip, don’t worry, there’s still a lot of fish in our lakes. Yukon Jack recommends drilling at least 12 holes to find the fish. During the mid-winter the fish will have times when they are not very active. So just kick back, be patient and wait for the right one to bite. Good luck and remember to respect the Northwoods.