Ice makes for good fishing.

Ice depths have been reported between five and six inches on most area ponds and reservoirs, excluding big bodies of water such as Petenwell and Castle Rock, said Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait.

“Mauston Lake, Tomah Lake, Perch Lake in Sparta and most of the cranberry marshes and public access (locations) are reporting a good five inches of ice,” he said.

Many fishermen were catching fish this past weekend, Roscovius said. The bite was especially good Thursday, Friday and Sunday, but Saturday was a little slow, he said.

Panfish were the most active, Roscovius said.

“Guys are catching all species of panfish — perch, crappies and bluegills,” he said. “There are some stories of bass in the Tomah lake, but this weekend reported to me were at least five northerns out of the lake. The biggest I heard was around 40 inches ... and I saw a report of a 36-inch northern and reports of two others in the 30-inch range.”

Waxies and crappie minnows were working the best Roscovius said, with no particular jig or color.

“I sold every color under the rainbow,” he said. “I heard one gentleman was doing pretty good on silver and black. It seemed to be his color, and he had quite a few darker color jigs work for him, but other fishermen took every color — pink, chartreuse, light colors work pretty good for early ice.”

Fish were also biting in Necedah and Mauston, Roscovius said. It was a busy weekend.

“They were catching some walleyes in the Little Yellow in Necedah,” he said. “In Mauston, lots of panfish, but they’ve been fishing there already for over a week on six inches of ice. ... Bluegills (caught) were in the six-foot range, they were up pretty s hallow.”

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