Cohos on the March Ice

News & Tips: Cohos on the March Ice

What do you do when the temperature gauge reads sub zero for weeks on end? We do what any sane person would do: throw another log into the fireplace and wait for warmer weather. Right now, in the Chequamegon Bay area of Lake Superior you could hardly tell it was winter with the temps being in the mid thirties and the smell of spring in the air.

CohosMarchIce blog
The author with a Coho salmon.

This year the winter has been extremely mild with the majority of the snow coming in the last few weeks. With the weather being so favorable, now is the best time to get out of the cabin and try a little late trout and salmon fishing.

Salmon fishing in March? Yes, Coho and trout have made their way back in to the Chequamegon Bay giving the weekend angler a chance at getting one or two for the dinner table. Ice fishing for Coho salmon requires very little equipment. A hand-powered auger, ice rod, scoop, and an assortment of ice jigs is all you need. Additional accessories that make your day on the water a bit easier would include a sled to carry your gear, and a shelter to get you out of the wind.

To catch these silver bullets, the first thing you must do is find the channel or corridor that these fish use to swim in and around the bay. It's easy enough to ask some of your fishing buddies; check with a local tackle shop or simply follow the crowd of shelters camped out on the bay.

Coho fishing in the bay is usually best in 15-30 feet of water. Although most fishing is done a just few feet off the bottom, keeping an eye on your electronics is always good idea. Cohos will swim and feed at multiple depths so being able to adjust quickly will result in more bites. Another key characteristic of Cohos is that they tend to move about the bay in schools and once a group moves into the area, the action can be fast and furious. Chequamegon bay regulations allow anglers three lines (rods or tip-ups) per angler so it's best to have all your lines set as you wait for the fish to swim through.

A variety of baits and tackle are effective for Cohos as well as trout which may be present in the bay. Jigs (Swedish Pimples, Northland Buckshot Spoons and Northland Forage Spoons) tipped with a minnow probably are the most successful baits. Many times it seems like it does not matter what you are using as long as it is moving in the water to entice a strike. If you are lucky enough to get a fish on don't panic or rush to bring it in. Cohos are known for schooling and getting excited around hooked fish giving your partners a chance to catch a few fish as well.

The best part to fishing Cohos out on Chequamegon Bay this time of year is that anglers do not need to get up at the crack of dawn to fish. These fish are moving in and around the bay the entire day so even if you can only get out for a few hours, you will still have a chance at hooking up with a few quality fish.