Ice Fishing Report 1-7-2017
Although the temperatures have been nearly intolerable, the fishing in and around Madison has been pretty decent for those brave enough to venture out into the cold. Despite holes freezing up and horrible wind, the panfish bite has remained consistent with most fish being taken in 8 to 10 feet of water over both sand and weed bottoms. The larger fish (particularly bluegill) have been taken right at dark on black as well as chartreuse tungsten jigs tipped with wax worms and Berkley Gulp wax worms.
With high skies and high pressure, they key to getting these fish to eat is by utilizing more subtle jigging cadences. Low and slow seems to be producing the most fish. If the action seems to slow down, drop down a small jigging spoon to generate more flash and water displacement to draw the fish back in, then drop your jig down. This technique has proven itself time and time again over the last week.
The walleye and pike action has also remained fairly steady with most fish being caught in and around the same depth as the panfish. Targeting weed edges and submerged hard structure with jigging spoons and Rapala Jigging Raps seems to be producing the most walleye, with a few being taken on tip ups baited with medium shiners.
With a lack of snow cover on the ice paired with sub zero temperatures lots of ice is being formed. That said it is important to remember that the farther you venture from shore (especially in areas known to have current such as Squaw Bay) the less consistent the ice thickness may be. Drill extra holes as you move to check ice depth and always wear a quality pair of ice picks. Also, with the lack of snow on the ice it is incredibly slippery. Take care in navigating on it!
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