We should be talking about ice fishing about now, but, like last year, we do not have much ice anywhere in the area. A few of the backwater areas of the Chain of Lakes, like Neilsen Channel, had a few inches of ice, but as the weather warmed, the ice basically disappeared. There is better ice on some of the water in central Wisconsin, but I would recommend calling ahead for ice conditions. The guys up on Lake Geneva are still launching boats in Williams Bay and have been having some unusually good fishing for walleyes the past week or two. The fishing is going to slow down for a bit as the ciscos complete their spawning. There were so many ciscos in some areas that one fishermen reported that his sonar was turning completely dark from 0 to 60 feet. With that much food available, getting anything to bite on bait is very unlikely. For shore fishermen there is still open water at the Skokie Lagoons and areas on Busse Woods Lake.

Finding a New Year’s or post-holiday gift for a favorite angler may look difficult to someone walking into the fishing department at Dick’s Sporting Goods or Bass Pro Shops. Let me try to simplify the task. Every angler needs a good pair of needle nose pliers, a line cutter, and a pouch to hold them. They come as package from Rapala, which makes shopping easy, and they will be appreciated. The two best fishing shows are coming up after the first of the year, but advanced tickets are available online and make excellent gifts. The Schaumburg Fishing & Vacation Show, a great local show, is Jan. 25-28 at the Schaumburg Convention Center. The other show is at the Indiana State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis and is worth the three-hour drive. The show runs for 10 days Feb. 16-25. With 700,000 square feet of displays, it is one of the best shows in the entire country.

Well, Happy New Year, and until next time…keep a tight line.