Tip-up! Flag! Either of those words gets an immediate reaction from ice fishermen chatting up a storm in their ice shelter. Legs flying, they race to the tip-up, watch intently as line is pulled from the spool, and then reach down to set the hook on a walleye or northern pike. Modern and sophisticated electronics along with portable shelters or ice shacks, and snowmobiles make ice fishing a sport that can be enjoyed in comfort by family and friends. Fishermen oftentimes work a jig-and-minnow combo for game fish or a small jig tipped by a waxie for panfish while waiting for flags to pop up.
Perch is the top draw for winter fishermen in the county. But you may have to keep mobile to stay on top of schooling perch. Walleye can be found in numerous lakes, including Stanley, Sunset and Emily. Sunset is an “action” lake for smaller and medium size pike, although it gave up a monster 48-incher a few summers ago. Appropriately named, Ice Lake is another good lake for pike and walleyes. Golden and Ottawa lakes are good prospects for lake trout.
Check with local bait shops to see what’s hitting as well as for ice conditions. The bait shops stock all the favorite artificial bait, live bait and supplies such as chisels, buckets, scoops, ice augers and tips-ups.