John McArdle/For Wisconsinoutdoorfun.com
Despite the cold, ice fishermen are still hitting the Winnebago System looking for walleyes with limited success. 'You should have been here yesterday,' seems to be a reoccurring theme for Lake Poygan as the fishing continues to be hit and miss.
When people are having success, the bite seems to be nice size crappie, whitebass and walleyes ranging from 13- to 18-inches. There are a few hazard areas so stop in at the bait shop on Highway B and ask for a little advice.
A few trucks went in the lake to the west of Nofkes landing a few weeks back. Lake Poygan is not a lake to be making your own tracks on unless you really know the lake. Brutal temps are on the way, so things will really shape up nicely over there.
The snow on the lake is workable for a four wheel drive with many trails packed tight making travel very easy.
Access is somewhat limited on Lake Winnebago with most of the lake traffic coming from the east shore. Brothertown has a 3 mile tree line and Pipe has a tree line out 5 miles. There have been a few holes remaining off Oshkosh and Quinney that are not freezing up at the same pace. Ducks and geese held up ice formation in two small areas in late December.
The Otter Street Fishing Club will not put bridges on the lake until there is a minimum of 12 inches of ice. It is part of the club's by-laws and the rule is in place to keep everyone safe. Paynes Point on the North end has a bridge and is reporting 12- to 14-inches of ice.
Wendt’s on the Lake has reported 10 inches of ice in areas as well which has delayed the bridging of their cracks. With the arctic blast on the way I’m sure things will change by the upcoming weekend. As always, just because there is a tree line in place, it doesn’t mean you shouldn't stop and ask about the ice. It is never safe or recommended to jump or cross an expansion crack without a bridge.
If you do encounter a bridge, enter it one vehicle at a time and keep a slow and steady pace until you cross. Please remember to buy a road pass from your local fishing club. Plow trucks are very expensive to run and this helps offset the cost of their operations.
How to cross an ice bridge
As for fishing on Lake Winnebago, white bass seems to be the hot ticket with some perch and tiny walleyes scattered in the mix. Fishermen have reported that the bluegill/perch bite has slowed dramatically in the bays with most action occurring with frontal weather changes and low light conditions.
Visit http://www.fishwinnebago.com for all your latest fishing information and navigation tips.
Until next time, tight lines!
Read more from John McArdle.
John McArdle is a life-long resident of Fond Du Lac and blogs about fishing adventures in the great state of Wisconsin. Anything from trout fishing the Driftless Area to sturgeon spearing on Lake Winnebago, John will provide stories ,tips and photos of his FINtastic adventures in Wisconsin!