The fish are back in action.
Don Roscovius, owner of Rosco’s Live Bait, said fishing has picked up in the Tomah area during the past week.
Fishermen are testing ice thickness at Lake Tomah and cranberry marshes, Roscovius said. The “safest” ice, he said, is in the shallow areas of Lake Tomah and by the lagoon.
“The last couple of days a few guys have been on Lake Tomah. A guy out there (Tuesday) stopped by the shop (who) caught a few,” he said. “The only safe ice is shallow and by the lagoon ... a lot of the lake is open. That being said, the next four or five days are going to be cold, so that will firm things up a little bit.”
A four-pound bass was caught this past week, and bluegills and perch were also caught this week on Lake Tomah, Roscovius said. Few crappies have been caught, and he hasn’t heard anything about northern pike.
Dennis Schnitzler, owner of Schnitzler’s Sports Store, said Perch Lake in Sparta is still all open water, but the back waters are firming up, so fishermen are beginning to venture out.
Fishermen are also venturing out to Lake Onalaska and the Mississippi River, Schnitzler reported, and they’re catching fish.
“Guys are catching some nice bluegills and crappies and a few perch,” he said. “Minnows and waxies are working well.”
Roscovius said rosy reds are working well for catching mostly perch and some bluegills on the Mississippi River. Fishermen are just starting to venture out on the river.
In Hatfield, Duane Waters of Hatfield Sports Shop said many people are fishing on Lake Arbutus.
“We’ve got anywhere from 4½ to five inches of ice, maybe up to six inches in some places right now,” he said. “Folks are catching walleyes and crappies ... they’re using a lot of shiners and suckers, they’re probably catching them on both, and we’re selling more fathead minnows too. So they’re mainly catching on minnows.”
The muzzleloader season for deer, which ended Wednesday, was quiet in the Hatfield area, Waters said.
“I haven’t heard much about it − no one brought in bucks or does or anything,” he said.
In the Tomah area, Roscovius received a few reports of hunters getting deer during the muzzleloader season, but it’s usually a pretty light hunt in the area.
The statewide doe season began Thursday and runs through Dec. 9.
Roscovius reminds hunters that just because it’s a statewide hunt doesn’t mean everybody can take part.
“It’s not an open season ... if you don’t have a legal doe tag for the area you’re hunting, it’s not legal hunting,” he said.