While the warm weather we've been experiencing here in the Tomahawk area has made for some great fishing conditions, it has also made ice conditions on Lake Mohawksin a little "iffy" in certain areas.
Last Friday I headed out on Mohawksin in search of walleye and decided to try a stretch near the trestle located next to SARA Park and Box Island. Usually this area has little ice because of current, but I had seen someone had cut holes in the area previously, so I thought there would be enough for myself to venture out on. I parked my truck about a hundred yards away and made the short walk over near the trestle. As I got close I could see the area I wanted to fish wasn't covered in snow like the rest of the lake, but instead, looked to be crusted over with a snow and ice pack mix. Being mid February, I wasn't really concerned about there being a lack of ice, but as I drilled the first hole, my stomach dropped as the auger punched through after making only a few rotations. I didn't stick around to check the ice depth, but based on how quickly my auger cut through, I would guess that it wasn't much more than an inch or two, if that.I should point out that much of the rest of the lake still has around two feet of ice and is safe to drive a vehicle on, but just keep in mind warm weather and water current can change ice conditions quickly.
As far as fishing on Mohawksin has been concerned, a good perch bite has been had by many this winter that continues to produce. Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited's recent Kids' Ice Fishing Contest saw a good number of jumbo perch registered. A few crappie, bluegill, pike and even a nice walleye was brought in by youngsters during the day. Much more important than the fish caught and trophies handed out, the afternoon provided a great opportunity for parents to bond and make great memories with their children out on the ice. A great job and congratulations goes out to all Tomahawk Fishing Unlimited volunteers who put on another great event.
I've been targeting perch on a few lakes just north of town and have continued to experience some good success. While the fish have remained active, the bite has been much more aggressive lately during the morning and evening hours. I continue to use Polar tip-ups tipped with large fatheads on the weed edges in around 10 feet of water. Typically I can catch a few walleyes at the end of the day using this technique, but as of last week, the walleye bite for me has really dropped off considerably. Some anglers are also having success targeting mud flats with wigglers for perch. Look for the wood filled bays on area flowages to start really producing some nice perch when things start to get active in warmer, shallower water in the coming weeks.
This is the time of the year many start chasing crappies on area flowages and lakes. The few hours before dark last night produced some beautiful slabs for this angler using tip-downs and rosy red shiners on one area flowage. Look for action to only get better as we near the sprig thaw.
There's a couple of neat encounters people might come across now in the Northwoods. Last weekend a strong smell of fox scent was noticeable on a lake I was fishing. These little critters are really active as they are mating this time of year. Typically during the evening, I can hear them yipping and see them running around in the back yard. I just sit back and take it in the sight. They don't seem to mind. Eagles are also in the process of mating. Last winter a buddy and I were fortunate enough to see this astonishing ritual while we were out fishing, which involves locking talons and plummeting toward the ground in a free fall spiral. After watching the birds drop in this fashion for several hundred feet, we actually became concerned they might crash on the ice. Fortunately they didn't. There's also been some sightings of what appears to be a very rare albino deer in the Tomahawk area. If you're fortunate enough to get a view of the Lake Alice Albino, consider yourself very lucky, as the odds of seeing one in the wild are as likely as being struck and killed by lightning, or a 1 in 30,000 chance.
The Somo Fish and Game Club will be hosting its annual ice fishing contest on Somo Lake this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food and refreshments will be available and prizes will be awarded for the biggest catches in a number of fish categories. Door prizes will also be awarded and raffles will be held. They're forecasting highs in the 30s this weekend, so it looks like conditions will be great to spend a day out on the ice. The registration booth is located next to the boat landing located next to the Tomahawk Lodge and Somo View Resort located on County Road CC.
What a great time of year to take in an evening on the ice in the Tomahawk area. Good luck to everyone heading out this week and weekend. Be safe, have fun and enjoy your Northwoods ice time.