The fish in area reservoirs have been providing holiday cheer to fishermen.

Nancy Steinhauer of Rosco’s Live Bait said the fish were biting in time for the holiday season.

“I’ve heard the walleyes and northern have been biting good,” she said. “The bluegills and crappies are also biting. I haven’t heard anything on bass or perch, but the ice is getting thicker and thicker, and lots of people are fishing.”

Fishermen are fishing both Lake Tomah and Lake Onalaska and have been catching a lot of panfish, she said.

Ice depth on Lake Tomah is about 8 inches, and no one’s driving on it yet, Steinhauer reported. Fishermen have been driving four-wheelers on Petenwell Flowage.

Dennis Schnitzler, owner of Schnitzler Sports Store in Sparta, said area fishing has been “fair, but not spectacular.”

There’s still open water at Perch Lake, Schnitzler said.

“We’re still waiting for it to freeze up good,” he said. “We’ve still got a bit of open water, but some guys have been venturing out at their own risk.”

Duane Waters of Hatfield Sports Shop said fish are also biting on Lake Arbutus, where ice depths are around 10-11 inches. Fishermen are driving four-wheelers and side-by-sides on the lake, but it’s not recommended that they drive cars or trucks yet.

“Crappies and walleyes (have been biting), and guys have been digging up perch on tip downs,” he said. “They’re using live bait, and some guys have been using jigs and maybe tipping them with a red spike or white spike or even a waxie. It gives them a little extra flavor.”

In other news Steinhauer said a fisheree will be held at Eagle’s Nest Flowage Feb. 2, and another will be held at Lake Tomah Feb. 9.

Elsewhere in Wisconsin, the Department of Natural Resources reports that the Wolf River near New London has been very good for northern pike, and some smaller lakes in central Wisconsin have been producing bluegills and crappies.

Snowmobiling is virtually non-existent in Wisconsin. The DNR reports that Iron County is the only county in the state with any significant stretches of trails open. The Hurley area reports fair conditions with a base of 6-12 inches.

Ski conditions have also been slow to develop. The DNR says the only state owned cross-country ski trails that are skiable are the MECCA trails in Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area and the man-made snow loop at the Lapham Peak Unit of Kettle Moraine State Forest.

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Meghan Flynn can be reached at meghan.flynn@lee.net.

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