Despite the rain and warmer temperatures, both Hills Creek Lake and Beechwood Lake remain in good shape. We will be checking Hamilton again tonight. On Tuesday, it still had 8", but rains brought the water levels up some and we lost the edges.
At Beechwood Lake, access was good at the boat ramp. There wa a little slush, and there is debris/mud in the ice for the first few feet. Past that, there is good clear ice. We marked just under 8" at every hole. The top layer is softer junk, but beneath is good ice. Anglers have been catching some trout and a mix of panfish. Josh Ditzler got this walleye out of there earlier in the week too!
On Hills Creek Lake, we found the edges to be in good shape at both launches. The ice is varied from one spot to the next, but overall in good shape. We marked 6-7 inches of clear ice, with the thinner ice being towards the middle of the lake. There is a little slush at the beaver huts launch, but access was no problem. Be aware that areas that hold heat like stumps sticking through the ice and the dock by the Pines launch, will be thinner. Also, be on the look out for old holes these next few days. Last night was cold enough to at least skim them over. If they didn't freeze solid, these areas are harder to spot and easy to step through. The Hills Creek Ice Fishing derby is still a go. Details and updates can be found on their facebook page here- https://www.facebook.com/events/702386969912707/ .
Early Morning has been the best bite. Some are doing well in the evening and late into the night too. Crappies are starting to show up in better numbers too. Anglers caught a few real nice ones up to 14"! Most are 8-11 inches though. Bluegills and perch have been the predominant catch. Perch vary in size with some small ones and some very large ones. Glow, green, pink, and silver have been the most popular jig choices. 5-6 fow has been productive on the stumps end.
Hamilton Lake lost its edge ice by the boat ramp and as of yesterday, nobody has been out there. We plan to check this again tonight to see how it is. As always, the area by the boat launch is in the worst shape.
Corps Lakes remain unfishable. Hopefully February will be kinder to us!
Wherever you go, remember to check conditions yourself and to use this only as a reference. You can never be too safe when it comes to ice fishing. Good luck out there.