Conditions are great for ice fishing around Madison this weekend. The deep freeze has moved on, yet the temperatures remain cold enough to keep any slush or safety issues. While one doesn't see the sprawling villages of ice shanties atop lakes that are a common sight farther north, anglers remain active in southern Wisconsin.
The fish are biting too. One angler recently tried his luck on Monona Bay, a body of water between the downtown and south side of Madison that turns from a weed-choked near swamp in the summer into an ice fishing hotspot in winter. While his view while fishing was the same as anybody's -- a small porthole into the murky depths beneath the lake's frozen crust -- he also caught an interesting look at the world beneath the ice.
The fisherman used an Aqua-Vu camera to shoot footage of numerous bluegills (and one muskie) swimming beneath the ice hole, some tempted by the spikes lure and a few even biting. This video clip of ice fishing on Monona Bay follows below.
Along with bluegills, it's crappies and perch that are making up most of the catch around Madison this week, as noted in a video report by Gary Engberg, who hosts the weekly show Outdoor Horizons on 1670 WTDY radio. He shares a wealth of information in a detailed report he published last December about ice fishing on Lake Mendota, including notes on some of the better locations to find various kinds of fish (perch, walleye, pike, and panfish) and tips on gear and depth. "This lake has something for everyone who likes to ice fish," he declares, "no matter what species they want to target and catch."
More information on ice fishing in Wisconsin, including regulations, season dates, and shelter requirements is available in a FAQ from the Wisconsin DNR.