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Cedar Lake

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Cedar Lake News

    Ice Fishing in Manitowoc County by Todd S. Bergmann 

    Reprinted with permission. Originally published in the Valders Journal on February 1, 2018.

    Recent innovations and technology make it easier to catch more fish, an expert fisherman told area sportsmen last week.  Tournament fisherman Clint Ward addressed a meeting of the Manitowoc County Lakes Association on Jan. 25, discussing everything from his favorite ice fishing equipment to how he beat his cousin using the latest technical advances.

    Ward said the best lakes in the county for catching: bluegills are Carstens, Weyers, West and Bullhead; for crappie it’s Long, Shoe and English; for perch it’s English; and for northerns it’s Wilke, Hartlaub, Schisel, and Cedar.  Additionally, Cedar, SilverEnglish and Pigeon lakes contain small populations of walleyes, he said.

    Ward, who receives no pay for recommending products, advised his audience to use a Vexilar fish finder, among other tips for getting a good catch.   “If I had to pick one tool that would be part of my pan fishing arsenal, it has to be the Vexilar,” he said. “It has changed everything in how I fish.  “Without the Vexilar, it is like fishing without glasses if you wear glasses. It helps you see everything that is underwater.”  This includes weeds, rocks, fish, hard bottoms and even small lures and bait fish, Ward said.

    Unlike most fish finders, the Vexilar does not have to be moving to find fish and is better than fish cameras, which have to be lowered into the water, do not work well in dirty water and often scare game fish, Ward explained.  In tournaments, Ward drills 30 to 35 holes in the ice and then checks with a Vexilar for weeds. Then he puts sticks in the holes without weeds to determine where the weed edge is.  Once he finds a good fishing spot he marks it with a Navionics app using the GPS on his cell phone, Ward said.  “I can put myself on the same spot I was yesterday, if I mark it on my phone,” he said. “It also shows me depth and contours.”  The app is helpful when fishing a body of water for the first time, Ward said.  “It is one of the most valuable pieces of equipment that you will ever see or use,” he said. “It is only $10. If you ever switch phones, it always carries through with you.”  Ward said he can use the fish finder and app to find basins 20 to 40 feet deep which are good for catching crappie.

    He also said ice augers have improved in the past decade for drilling holes for ice fishing. Propane and electric augers are much faster than earlier units and are cleaner than gas and oil augers, he added.  Electric augers are lighter, quieter and more energy efficient than propane augers but do not last as long, Ward added.

    For basic equipment, he buys fishing rods costing $15 to $30, rather than those with $50 to $100 price tags, Ward said.   “You look at a rod like a system,” he said, “It has a couple of moving parts.”  Rods should be 24 to 32 inches long, with fast-action tips and large eyes for the line, Ward said.   Fast-action tips pick up the sensitivity of fish bites while bigger rod eyes prevent ice from building on the rod.  “This allows the rod to move more freely,” he explained.  Ward said he uses a small reel to create excellent balance.  “That balance is a big factor when you are doing a jigging motion,” he said.  Ward recommends purchasing rods and reels separately to avoid buying too heavy of a reel and he also prefers a microspin reel.   “If you are fishing all day, your arm may get sore,” he said. “Having a great drag on a microspin is a plus. When I pull on that drag, I want it to be easy and steady.”  A new advancement is to put fly reels on ice fishing rods, Ward said.  “I went over to this style of reel and I noticed my fishing catch went up using the same lure,” he said. “It keeps my lure for the most part from spinning.”  Live bait does not spin, therefore, spinning lures will not attract fish, Ward explained.   “Once I set my rods to prevent spin, I noticed my fishing catch went up,” he said.

    When choosing line for ice fishing, Ward recommends a 2-pound test weight for bluegills and mid-size perch, three pounds for larger perch and crappie, six to eight pounds for 15- to 19-inch walleyes, 10 to 12 pounds for Great Lakes walleyes and 20 pounds for northern pike.  Ward said his favorite line is Sufix Ice Magic, which is available in a 1- to 12-pound test.  “It is tangle free,” he said. “It does resist ice.”  Most summer fishing lines will not work for ice fishing, Ward said.   “You will find out that the ice really hangs on,” he said. “You get those big gobs, those big chunks of ice on your line.”  Ice lines have chemicals to reduce ice buildup that are not on summer fishing lines.  Ward said he favors light lines to prevent coiling and braided lines for walleye ice fishing.  “It is fairly strong,” he said. “It is tangle free. I use braid on my walleye ice fishing rods. I want that hook set to go right into their mouth. Braid does not stretch.”  However, braided lines do not work well for panfish, especially below 30 degrees, Ward said.   While ice fishing for northerns, Ward used a 20-pound test model leader while his cousin used a steel leader.  “After about an hour and a half of fishing, I had 10 northerns on the ice to his one,” Ward said.   He said he mostly uses tip-less fluorocarbon leaders for fishing in clear water because fish cannot see them.

    On the line, Ward places titanium spring bobbers. They can be moved back and forth, return to being straight after being bent and are extremely sensitive to fish.   “You can’t get any more sensitive than these tiny spring bobbers,” he said.  For baits, rainbow-colored lures work best for bluegills and for perch gold jigs and spoons work best, he said.  “Hali are dynamite on mid-sized perch,” he said. “Wigglers are the best bait I have used for perch. The only thing is wigglers are very hard to keep alive.”  Another great bait is minnow tails, rather than minnow heads, Ward said.  “It tends to float to the left and right, much more than a minnow head,” he said. “A minnow head is more meaty. It stays there.”  Also using small minnows works well especially for perch or crappie, Ward said.

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Grand kids love fishing, too.
Grand kids love fishing, too.
Don Fischer, 2/1/2017
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Click on the maps to enlarge. Bathymetric Map Courtesy of and Copyright Sportsman’s Connection, based on Wisconsin DNR data. Watershed map courtesy of Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department. New! Zoom in even closer with this new interactive watershed mapping tool.  


Location/Directions: Louis Corners Road, Town of Schleswig. Take Highway 151 West from Manitowoc to CTH A, South on CTH A approximately 6.5 miles to CTH XX. Travel west on CTH XX 1.5 miles to Louis Corners Road. Turn South on Louis Corners Road and follow approximately 1 mile. Boat Landing Located to the North.

Accessibility: 43°55’31.5″N / 87°56’19.3″W

Surface Area: 141 acres

Shorelength: 3.6 mi

Depth: Max 21′, Mean 9′

Bottom: 10% sand, 45% gravel, 0% rock, 45% muck

Type of Lake: Shallow Seepage. Shallow Seepage lakes do not stratify, or form separate layers of water, during the summer months and have no inlet or outlet.

Restrictions: An ordinance to regulate water traffic, boating, and water sports upon the waters of the Town of Schleswig. Littering, Motorboat Prohibition, Noise Levels, Rafts, piers, Ski jumps, Slow-No-Wake Areas/Hours Posted, Swimming Regulations, Water Skiing Restrictions. Ordinance details | Read the Wisconsin handbook

Recreational Features:  Access road and launching area are blacktopped. A one acre parking lot was developed on land provided by the Kiel Fish and Game Association across Rockville Road, southwest of the access. This access also offers a picnic area near the parking lot, a port-a-pier for easier access to the lake and a toilet building. There is a steep slope to the water’s edge.

Manitowoc County Map and Photos: http://www.co.manitowoc.wi.us/departments/i-p/parks/lake-access/cedar-lake/

Notes: This is the largest inland lake in Manitowoc County.

Lake Associations:
Cedar Lake Improvement Association: Mike Keppler, President  920-894-3163  email
Town of Schleswig Sanitary District 1: Website


Aquatic Invasive Species Threats:

Verified: Banded Mystery Snail (2008), Curly-Leaf Pondweed (1993), Eurasian Water-Milfoil (1993), Zebra Mussel (2001).
Observed: Chinese Mystery Snail (2011), Rusty Crayfish (2010), Yellow Iris (2014).

Lake residents and sportsmen report that no curly leaf pondweed has ever been reported on Cedar Lake since the 1993 sighting.


Fishing Regulations:

  • Fish present: Northern pike, bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, yellow perch.
  • Management: Northern pike, bass, panfish.
  • View complete Cedar Lake regulations at DNR
  • Open All Year
    • Panfish: Daily bag limit 25. No min length.
    • Catfish: Daily bag limit 10. No min length.
  • Open 5/6/2017-3/4/2018:
    • Largemouth/smallmouth bass: 14″ Limit 5.
    • Northern Pike: 26″ Limit 2.
    • Walleye: 15″ Limit 5.
  • Motor Trolling is allowed with up to 3 hooks, baits, or lures, per angler.
  • Familiarize yourself with Wisconsin fishing:
    WDNR Hook & Line Guide
  • Consumption Advisory: General Manitowoc County/Mercury. Click here.
  • Wake Hours: 11-6 Mon-Sat; Sun 11-2; Counter-clockwise boating required.
  • Weed Cutting Requests?  Contact Roger Laack 894-7074

Fish Stocking:

(Source: Sportsman’s Connection):
2,000 5-6″ perch mid-March 2013
2,000 6″ walleyes in December 2013

DNR Fishing Survey Report: Most recent report 2010

 

DNR Species Summary (2011):
Number of fish caught for the following length categories (inches):
species 0-5 6-8 9-11 12-14 15-19 20-24 25-29 >29 Total
Black Crappie  1 6 1 8
Bluegill 242 40 282
Green Sunfish 2 2
Largemouth Bass 8 17 64 73 32  1 195
Northern Pike  7 7  12 29 7 56
Pumpkin Sunfish  49  43 92
Rock Bass  3  11 2 16
Yellow Perch 1 3 4

Survey Date: 04-06-2011/Gear: Electrofishing

Cedar Lake is one of the best waters around for largemouths. They can be taken with plastic worms in the shoreline weeds and around docks. You will also find some “keeper” walleyes, along with nice bluegills and occasional large perch. Fish the islands for the perch and ‘gills.

—Kiel Bait & Gun, 1148 6th St., Kiel, WI 53042, (920) 894-3836. 


Condition: EXCELLENT

  • 5-Year Average Trophic State: 43/Mesotrophic (Source: Wisconsin DNR)
  • Secchi Disk (2016): Average summer reading = 9.65 ft. SE Georegion average = 6.8 ft. Summer (July/Aug) water was reported as CLEAR and GREENGreen normally suggests a lake impacted by algae. However, since recent summer chlorophyll readings average less than 9 ug/l, this lake may have been impacted by another factor, such as suspended marl.
  • Chemistry (2016): The average summer Chlorophyll was 3.6 µg/l (compared to a Southeast Georegion summer average of 23.5 µg/l). The summer total Phosphorus average was 14.7 µg/l. Lakes that have more than 20 µg/l and impoundments that have more than 30 µg/l of total phosphorus may experience noticeable algae blooms.
  • Trophic State Index (TSI) (2016): 44/Mesotrophic. What does this mean?
    Mesotrophic lakes contain moderate amounts of nutrients, and contain healthy, diverse populations of aquatic plants, algae, and fish. Occasional algae blooms may occur. If the lake is deep enough to stratify, the hypolimnion often becomes low in oxygen by the end of summer, and may result in some phosphorus release from the sediments. Mesotrophic lakes are characterized by moderately clear water, but have a increasing chance of low dissolved oxygen in deep water during the summer. 

View this graph on the DNR website

Condition is based on Wisconsin DNR data from volunteer readings taken on 10 different days in April-August in 2016.

Click on the maps to enlarge. Bathymetric Map Courtesy of and Copyright Sportsman’s Connection, based on Wisconsin DNR data. Watershed map courtesy of Manitowoc County Soil and Water Conservation Department. New! Zoom in even closer with this new interactive watershed mapping tool.  

 Other documents of interest:

Updated: April 25, 2017 — 10:38 pm

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  1. I love this lake!

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