Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Midwest Outdoors February 2009

Frozen February Fishing Forecast
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

February 2009 may see some of the best ice fishing for walleye that the New London area has experienced in awhile. Here’s why. Usually fall rains bring large numbers of walleye in to the New London area just prior to freeze up. In normal years that provides for good, early ice fishing for walleye, that stack up in the deep holes to wait for food. Well, due to unusually low water levels this fall, we never saw those schools of fish. A fact corroborated by anglers who did not catch large numbers of walleye in the New London area just prior to ice up as normal, but saw excellent fishing in the lower river in areas around the Rat River and just above Lake Poygan. Basically, we didn’t have enough current to draw them up the nearly 13 feet of rise in the river between Fremont and New London. (according to sea level listings). The “barrier” between these two “pools” is a large shallow area between Fremont and New London noted by the areas of Partridge Crop Lake and Lake Cincoe. The “Cut-Off” is a part of this area where the Wolf River current is actually divided, with a portion flowing towards Partridge Crop, (the main channel) and the rest going through the now washed out “Mill Dam”, into the Cut-Off. Smaller “cuts” and flows had been all that feed this area until recently. Now, a good portion of the Wolf’s flow is split off, making water levels in the main channel lower until they converge again just above Weiland’s Landing. That puts an emphasis on the need for good water level and current to draw fish above these long shallow stretches of river. We didn’t get that this fall, but December snows have set the stage for what could be some real February fun.

First, walleye that would normally stage in the area end up far up stream once there is some run-off. So, by February they are usually long gone. Now, because they are still downstream, we should get a better “shot” at them. One main factor to that is, ice conditions are pretty good, (although we all know that’s subject to change). Normally the hot, first freeze fishing, is hampered by poor access. February’s influx of walleye should be under some pretty good ice. Second, the large amounts of snow should provide the flow we need to start drawing walleye on those beautiful February days where the temperatures reach in to the 40’s. A January thaw should start the process and bring fish out of the lower lakes and headed towards the river. That’s where the next piece of the puzzle seems to be fitting as late December and early January have been full of reports of good walleye fishing from lakes Poygan, Winneconne, Butte des morts and Winnebago. There are lots of walleye in the system with numerous year classes of adult fish. Because the low fall water levels and current flow concentrated large schools in the lower lakes, they should move up the system in bigger numbers then when they are spread throughout the deep holes on the river. That should make for some very good fishing as they move in to, and through, the New London area. We usually get a late ice bite much like what I’m thinking may happen this February. I’m just figuring the large numbers of fish downstream will be here, using the available deep water to wait for the spring rains, once we get our first big January thaw. They’ll probe the flats above the deep water and move up stream with the lengthening days and each fresh flow. Of course it’s all theory until Mother Nature unleashes what ever she has in store for us.


Wolf River Country’s 4th Annual FREE Sports Show is set to provide you the BEST fishing information available on March 13, 14 & 15, 2009 at Critters Sports in Winneconne Wisconsin. The lineup of speakers is second to none and includes such well known anglers as Keith Kavajecz, Daryl Christensen, Mike Gofron, Tommy Kemos, John Kolinski, Jim Hughes, “Axl” Ehricke and myself. Local guides, factory reps and tackle manufacturers will join attending pro’s such as Tony Puccio on panel discussions to bring you the most in-depth information available. Hundreds of years of fishing experience, tournament winning strategies and proven fish producing techniques will all be discussed. Boats will be on display from 5 area marine dealers, guides, sportsmen’s clubs, tournament organizations and tackle manufacturers will all be on display. The sports shop will be stocked to the rafters with the best deals available on rods, reels, tackle, electronics and equipment and best of all there is no charge for admission. There’s a special fish fry planned for Friday night and Karaoke for Saturday night after the show. I’ll even have some hats and stuff for some of the singers. A Techno Hunt, archery competition will be held each day of the show and there will be some sponsor provided door prizes. If you want to learn about fishing the Wolf River, Fox River and Winnebago system for walleye, ICE BREAKER 4 is the place to be. Join the others with pen and paper in hand and “get the skinny” on what it takes to catch walleye here in Wolf River Country. Local resorts are opening hotel rooms a bit early in the season to accommodate those coming from a distance who wish to join us for the evening festivities. Make plans now to join us.


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