Fishing Report


Fishing Report, January 18, 2018

Anglers All, Located at 2803 E. Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Highway 2) in Ashland, is a full-service tackle and fly shop offering a huge selection of baits and tackle for year round fishing. For the most complete and up-to-date fishing report, just give them a call at 715/682-5754, and they will gladly keep you informed! Anglers all reports: Warmer temps are in the forecast along with snow coming on Monday! It makes it a little tough to predict the ice conditions. However, The Bay area in general has 12 plus inches but be sure and check your way with the ice bar. Machine travel has been the norm. Fishing has remained steady with a great mix of Browns, Splake and Whitefish being caught off the Washburn side. Reports of Perch, Walleye and Browns and Northerns are being caught on the Ashland side of the Bay. The fishing pressure has been pretty high and with a lot of pressure in one area so the fish tend to scatter. Beware of pressure cracks!!! Conditions can change around pressure cracks. Anglers are fishing as far as Bayfield but only in the shallows and using extreme caution. Bring an ice bar to check your way…Bring safety equipment, like ice picks. We have had some really, really cold temps so the ice is continuing to build. Don’t access the ice with machines on new ice unless you have checked the ice depths.

River Rock Inn & Bait Shop, Located at 1200 W. Lake Shore Drive (U.S. Highway 2), in Ashland where you can stop in and see their wide variety of live bait, fishing tackle, gear, accessories, fresh and smoked fish from Lake Superior, local meat sticks, and microbrews, and much more. Call them at 715/682-3232 for the most current fishing report.
Scott Bretting from River Rock reports: There has been good fishing out there with a lot of Browns and white Fish being caught by Long Island. The Bay on the Ashland side has 16 plus inches of ice. The Washburn side of the Bay has approximately 14 inches of ice. There is a very large pressure crack on the Washburn side so use caution when crossing it. Ice conditions change often near pressure cracks.  There are permanent ice houses and sleeper shacks and tents popping up on the Bay. Machines are appearing throughout the Bay. Beyond that, from Houghton Point toward Bayfield to Red Cliff, machines are not recommended for travel on the ice!!!
There are a lot of Smelt appearing around the Light House. Good bait has been Hali Jigs, Shuck’s, Small Sweedish Pimples with Minnowheads or Waxies. If you are looking for Browns, Walleye or Perch, move away from where the Smelt are appearing. Hot bait for catching Trout has been Acme Hyper Glide along with the Clam Flutterspoon.
There are reports on the Ashland side of the Bay of nice Walleye, Perch and White Fish being caught. Browns, Splake and Coho’s are being caught off of Bono Creek (S-Curve) with ice conditions around 14 plus inches in that area. Inlands have had some reports on some nice size crappies being caught and a few Walleye showing up. Snow cover does make it slushy on the Inlands so be aware!
Attention: Recent snow cover makes it extremely difficult to see the changes in ice conditions! Always bring your ice fishing safety equipment with you.
USE CAUTION at all times! Remember to always check your own ice conditions!!!! Bring an ice bar with you at all times!!!!! Welcome to the High School Fishing Tournament this weekend!!!! Check out the John Gillespie Show that will air this weekend featuring in part, Chequamegon Bay.

Free Wisconsin Winter Fishing Weekend
January 20-21, 2018
Pack up the family or call your friends and head
to the water for fishing fun! Fish anywhere in
Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing
Weekend, Jan. 20-21. This includes all inland waters and
Wisconsin’s side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.
Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and
size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must
release certain fish species.
For more information, go to and search for
“Free Fishing Weekend.”

Smelt information 2017

The Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce, 1-800-284-9484, reports: Fishing is always a thrilling adventure in the Ashland area! Chequamegon Bay is famous for its world-class smallmouth bass fishing. The 12-mile-long bay’s rock piles and breakwater structures make for perfect bass habitat.

  • Wisconsin residents and non-residents 16 years of age and up will need a fishing license to fish any waters in the state. An annual license costs $20.  Go online at for more details.
  • Residents born before Jan. 1, 1927, don’t need a fishing license. They do need to carry proof of their age when fishing, however.
  • State residents who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty are entitled to obtain a free license when they go on furlough or leave.

New this year

  • Motor trolling is now legal on all inland waters with one hook, bait, or lure and – depending on location – with up to three hooks, baits, or lures, according to the DNR website.
  • Most inland lakes and rivers within the Ceded Territory (which includes Ashland County) have a daily bag limit of 3 walleye.

ALSO – To see a real-time image of Chequamegon Bay, go to Northern State Bank‘s Bay Cam.
And be sure to check out River Rock Inn & Bait Shop‘s new, awesome Live Cam overlooking the area near the Xcel Energy “hot pond”!

More on fishing in the Chequamegon Bay region

Entertaining viewing:

Check out this great episode of “John Gillespie’s Waters & Woods” from Feb. 6 focusing on ice fishing near Ashland.  Josh Teigen of Josh Teigen’s Guide Service in Iron River took the amiable TV host out on Chequamegon Bay where Gillespie said he had one of his “most enjoyable ice fishing trips of the year.”

Don’t miss this episode of “Larry Smith Outdoors” as the Berlin, Wis., guide and outdoorsman teams up with Tommy Hicks of Ashland and Beyond the Catch Guide Service to tackle Chequamegon Bay. Trout are on the menu along with whitefish when Larry and Tommy head out on the ice in “one of the prettiest parts of the state.”

Highly recommended reading:

Check out this wonderful article by Andrew Ragas of about the excellent smallmouth bass fishery right here in Chequamegon Bay!  Ragas spent a day out on the water with Ashland native Nate Baron of Up North Guide Service.

A very well-written story by Tom Hazelton about a day spent fly-fishing out on Chequamegon Bay with Luke Kavajecz of Anglers All.  Hazelton calls it “Unsalted.”

Another great article on bass fishing Chequamegon Bay saltwater-style, this one by Duluth News Tribune outdoors writer Sam Cook. Read all about “Barefootin’ the bay.”

Read about Roger LaPenter’s 2014 induction into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame.

Learn more about the great fishing in Chequamegon Bay!

Chicagoans Meredith and Claire had some good fun on Chequamegon Bay this week catching smallmouth and enjoying some beach time out at Long Island. “Hard to ignore swimming when the water is 75 degrees,” said their guide, Luke Kavajecz of Ashland’s Anglers All. “It was a fun day for sure!” (Photo courtesy of Luke Kavajecz)

Chicagoans Meredith and Claire had some good fun on Chequamegon Bay last July catching smallmouth and enjoying some beach time out at Long Island. “Hard to ignore swimming when the water is 75 degrees,” said their guide, Luke Kavajecz of Ashland’s Anglers All. “It was a fun day for sure!” (Photo courtesy of Luke Kavajecz)