The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Sun shines on Saxon Harbor ice anglers


March 5, 2018

Ralph Ansami/Daily Globe

A MONTH ago the open water on the Big Lake left many doubtful of any quality fishing time. Jeff Scherwinski, right, of Saxon, Wis., jigs for trout and salmon Saturday.


SAXON, Wis. - Winter doldrums evaporated with 40-degree temperatures on the Lake Superior ice at Saxon Harbor Saturday morning.

With only a faint south breeze, fishermen were heading out in snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles to fish for salmon and trout.

Kelly Thurow, of Saxon, who runs a charter boat service in the summer, said fishing had slowed down a bit in the past week, but anglers have been picking up a few coho salmon and brown trout.

The ice tents on Saturday were scattered anywhere from over 15 feet of water to out a mile or more off shore.

Thurow said when fishing gets hot, word spreads quickly and the ice fills with tents. Saturday started slowly and it appeared angling would end by noon for many.

A tent set up nearest to the boat landing had produced a coho on a fathead minnow in about 15 feet of water, but a few other near-shore anglers didn't have a fish as of 10 a.m.

The ice was from 12 to 18 inches thick, with only a few cracks.

Jeff Scherwinski, of Saxon, said some anglers were using spawn for bait. "It's been hit or miss," he said, as he tried jigging.

The trouble with such a sunny day is the fish often prefer cloudy, snow-filled weather.

John Carli, of Hurley, was heading out with a heavily loaded four-wheeler, seeking the whereabouts of Julio Zarzyki, of Montreal, and his partners, since they're usually able to locate and catch any fish that might be hungry. They were out a long way from the harbor.

Other anglers fished out from the mouth of the Montreal River.

With so many ice trails blazed across the lake ice, fancy gear, augers and tents weren't necessary in such mild temperatures. Slightly iced-over holes punctuated the ice and a chisel was about all that was necessary to re-open one.

The fact that fishermen were able to get out on the ice at all this winter was doubtful about a month ago, when open water was visible as far as the eye could see.

The ice since blew in and has formed a solid layer, although Lake Superior, even in the winter, can change in a heartbeat, as the Saxon Harbor winter tsunami of a few years ago proved.

But on this weekend, with the sun shining and holes bored, there were few concerns on the ice, other than whether or not a fish would bite.


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