Not long ago ice fishing was the story on Wisconsin’s storied Lake Winnebago system. Today, ace guide and Lindy pro staffer Jason Muche says that open-water walleyes are the hottest thing going, with solid jig bites happening in both the Fox and Wolf rivers.

“We’re seeing good numbers of fish in both systems,” said Muche, who’s been tapping the action since it fired up. “On the Wolf, there’s plenty of nice males in the 16- to 19-inch range, plus some big female walleyes weighing 7 to 8 pounds. In the Fox, we’re getting 16- to 18-inch males and lots of 22- to 24-inch females.”

On the Wolf River, Muche recommends targeting 14 to 20 feet of water in deeper holes and main-channel areas from Lake Poygan to Fremont. “The water level is low and there’s very little current, due to the lack of runoff from snowmelt,” he said. “So the shallow bite isn’t happening right now.”

Muche has focused his Fox River efforts on a variety of depths around the city of De Pere, downstream from Lake Winnebago. “The dams are closed and there’s not much current here, either, so we’re seeing mostly resident fish,” he added. “Once we get some rain and they open the dams, the Green Bay fish will start moving up.”

Top tactics in both rivers include ¼-ounce Lindy Jigs and Fuzz-E-Grubs tipped with a minnow. “Chartreuse is a hot color right now,” Muche said, noting to keep your jig strokes slow and your line vertical.

South Dakota Perch Record Falls

Fans of jumbo yellow perch will appreciate the whopper Chase Jensen of Aurora, South Dakota, pulled from the ice of Bitter Lake in northeastern South Dakota recently.

Weighing in at a monstrous 2 pounds, 13 ounces, the portly perch was landed March 7 and is the largest ever recorded in the state. The previous record of 2 pounds, 12 ounces also came from Bitter Lake. That fish was caught in 2004.