Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Ice Breaker Kicks Off Open Water Season

Well Ice Breaker III must have been good karma, or good timing because the ice is out on the Wisconsin River at the Dells and the Fox River at DePere. Both are seeing boaters out and catching walleye. That’s good news to those who are ready and have the time to get out and catch some fish. From the reports I have heard, most anglers caught fish in both locations. At the Dells my friend Craig Keuler caught a few nice “keeper’s” fish along with quite a few smaller sauger and four “slot” fish, which he had to release. One of those fish was a nice size 27 inch female that struck a jig in about 16 feet of water. Gravel areas below deep water were the places Craig found the most fish that day. Using his electronics to pinpoint walleye and sauger holding on specific hunps and changes in the structure, he found the better fish tight to structure. This stretch of river is pretty much clear of ice at this time and with predicted temperatures, this will be fishable from this point forward. Other areas on the Wisconsin to the north will be open also and, as the ice flows leave, will become easier to fish in the coming weeks.

The Fox River at DePere is a popular fishing spot for both numbers and the opportunity to catch a big fish. A one fish over 28 inch size and bag limit makes this a trophy destination that many choose to try. Casting crank baits in the shallower water above the deep hole is a great way to catch fish but make sure to check your boundaries. There is a reserve that limits fishing close to the dam. Fishing above this “line” will get you a ticket for sure. I like to drift and jig the deep hole or the main river channel in from of the Fox Point boat ramp. There are good areas down river too. There are some nice casting areas near warm water discharges and also lots of bridge pilings and deep holes to jig for big walleye. Fish over 13 pounds are taken here every year, that’s what draws a good number of the anglers. Others, like myself, like the chance at a big one, but look forward to the good action provided by the male population. And when they are stacked up below the dam, you can catch 100 hard fighting walleye a day.

Spring water levels always require the need for extra caution when boating. Ice flows, trees, picnic tables, barrels and debris of all sorts is carried into the river by high water levels. Even a small chunk of wood can end your day with a bent prop shaft or create a situation that could throw you from a small boat. And cold water temperatures give you little chance if you go in. That makes wearing a life preserver a very important part of any fishing trip, especially in a small fishing boat. Never ride in a boat in a seat that put you above the gunnel and make sure to watch your wake when you are near other boats. A few simple measures will help keep you safe and that’s an important part of fishing.

A jig and minnow is all you need this time of year. I would also suggest some Berkley GULP ALIVE shiners as they work well on active fish and will help keep your hands from being wet from handling minnows. I’m not giving up on live bait, but having some of these will be a benefit on some days. The new “pail” and fluid in it makes using GULP much friendlier then the previous re-sealable packages. The leeches look great too. I’m looking forward to using those this summer as they are the BEST artificial leech I have seen.

The Wolf should open soon but right now the ice fishing is pretty good most afternoons. Access and conditions are deteriorating but so far I haven’t heard about anyone falling in. That will change quickly as the fishing improves and conditions worsen. MAXIMUM CAUTION is needed at this time of year if you want to catch some walleye through the ice.

For more information on topics such as this and the areas great fall fishing, make sure to check out Doc’s Wolf River Country.Com Joel “Doc” Kunz is a freelance outdoor writer / photographer published weekly by Outdoor Gazette. His work is also seen in many other Wisconsin and Midwest publications. He is a recent READERS CHOICE award winner and a member of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. His is a Pro Team member of Yar Craft Boats, Mercury Marine, Motorguide & Lindy Little Joe.


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