Ice conditions and ice fishing, something in a state of flux again, lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Jim Lukancic took this wonderfully sharp photo of ice fishing Sunday morning and noted on Facebook:
Great morning on the ice.Felt good! Even caught a few.
And that is about what you can ask for in life.
Of course, then came wind and rain on Tuesday.
The MFR for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
Click here for a list of regulations for ice fishing public sites around the Chicago area. Ice conditions will or are already sloppy and/or slick and likely to remain that way much of the week. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said there is plenty of ice, but it is time for the creepers with the water slickening up the ice.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this
Hey Dale,The recent cold snap has been building ice on area lakes. Ice is at 8 1/2 inches of good clear ice. Bass are good on jigging spoons tipped with fat heads along outside weedlines. Over cast days are better due to the clear ice. Bluegill are good in 14-16 feet using tungsten jigs tipped with Berkley Gulp maggots. A slow steady rising jigging motion pulls the aggressive gills away from the school. Late morning has been better during this cold front.TTYLKen “Husker” O’Malley
Waterworks fishing team
NOTE: The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s “Hard Water Classic’’ is Saturday on Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville. As of Tuesday, there was 8-9 inches of ice and the tournament was on. Click here for information and to preregister.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Considering the ice jams, especially on the Kankakee, the rains and some melting, might be a good time to check water levels. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Closed for the season.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said to stay away from current areas and middle of lakes, otherwise ice fishing is on; tungsten jigs are producing bluegill; white bass are most active on Fox and Pistakee, current should spike that bite; jigging Rapalas, Moonshine lures or medium roaches are taking walleye near current areas (obviously use caution there).
CHAIN ACCESS: Here are some access points. For Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, there’s Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill with $5 parking, food and drink and, generally, bait. For T-Channel, the usual procedure is to park in back at Famous Freddie’s and be out by 11:30 or come in and eat. On Channel, Chopper’s Bar takes the $5 parking is taken off if you order food. For Spring Lake, Granny’s at Spring Lake Marina has parking and takes the $5 off if you order food.
No update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site).
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
From Geneva Lake on Friday, Michael Zielinski sent this:
I just walked out of Trinkes on Geneva
There’s walkable ice to the narrows with goose holes.
DES PLAINES RIVER
POWERTON: Open to shore fishing. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens on Feb. 15. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for season.
The updates on Downstate sites below come from Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com:
– RICE LAKE – . . , will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose season..
– BANNER MARSH – Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING on Oct. 12th with last day to boat fish being Oct. 11th
AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA,
which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st– DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA – . . . remains Closed till Feb. 1st– EMIQUON PRESERVE – No boating, fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during waterfowl season.– EVERGREEN LAKE – the SOUTHERN PART OF LAKE, AROUND DEER ISLANDand ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st
to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl.YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.– SNAKEDEN HOLLOW & McMASTER LAKE – closed– SPRING LAKE (South & North) – WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area ON OCT. 15thwith Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 14th with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–
& AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north endat the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats –
and Shore Fishing is allowed in entire lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day.– SANGCHRIS LAKE – THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKEand Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic
effective Oct. 12th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 11th) through Jan. 31, 2016
(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).– PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lake is CLOSED from Nov. 1st to Jan. 15th
to Fishing until after 12:01 PM on Wednesday & Saturday.– ANDERSON LAKE – THIS AREA Will be CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake
from Oct. 15th (with last day to boat fish Oct. 14th) through Dec. 20th during waterfowl season
with bank fishing Only allowed.– CLINTON LAKE – an easterly area of Clinton Lake (The Waterfowl Refuge Area) between the DeWitt Bridge East (CH14) and the Rt. 48 Bridge
will CLOSE be on October 10th and will re-open on MARCH 31st…
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.
The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Closed for the season.
Remember that Illinois Valley Outdoors is closed. Have bait and terminal tackle before going.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Be aware of ice jams causing rapid fluctuations in spots.
Gary Bloom messaged this and the big perch photo on Sunday:
Montrose today, 1130 till230 pm. Tons of small. Kept this 11.5 incher and 5 mid sizes to eat. First perch in 2 years.
Ice, 7 inches good ice.Plenty of ice, 7-8 inches. Wear creapers. Too many small perch. Did get 1 try jumbo.
Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said conditions will likely vary at the usual lakefront perch spots after the wind and rain on Tuesday. Time for extreme caution around any harbor ice.
NAVY PIER NOTE: The fisherman’s parking special is $6, if out by 10 a.m. Find an parking attendant after you pull in to get the special. PIER PASSES: The pier passes for legal access to fish select piers at Jackson, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors in Chicago are available at Henry’s ($6 cash, one per valid fishing license). SHOP NOTE: Park Bait is closed for the winter.
LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA
Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.
Closed for season.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait said that Mendota has fishable ice, there’s some walleye on the bars, some pike in the bays, but not much yet on perch; Monona Bay remains best for panfish; a few crappie and walleye are being caught in Waubesa’s main basin.
Note reg changes because of an ad rule change. Monster at Mazonia South remains open year-round. The other South unit lakes reopen to fishing on Monday, Jan. 16. North unit reopens to ice fishing on Feb. 16, after rabbit hunting ends. Any ice fishing is at your own risk. Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.
Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:
Severe cold kept all but the hardiest (most foolish?) of anglers off the ice this past week. Nighttime lows in the minus teens to twenties hurt participation for now. Building ice though will help anglers from here on out.
Along with the cold, high pressure hung over the area, compounding what was already tough fishing conditions.
Yellow Perch: Fair – Those that braved the cold found small windows of action. Best came early mornings and late afternoons. Banging heavy spoons (Kastmasters & Halis) in gold or glow colors to attract attention, then relying on smaller, more subtle tungsten jigs tipped with wigglers or red spikes
Crappies: Fair-Poor – Best of reports came from Flowages where small rosie reds did best over channels of 14-20’.
Northern Pike: Fair-Poor – Holes froze up fast on tip-ups unless anglers covered holes to keep open. Few pike, standard tip-up fare – medium to large shiners.
Walleyes: Poor – Best just after dark. Smaller walleye suckers, large fatheads on tip-ups with negative bite.
Bluegills: Poor – Few anglers pursuing gills due to cold.
Weather is starting to break as of late Sunday night. Clouds, snow and a rise in temperatures should bring about some better bites for the coming week.
Ice thickness reports coming in have most lakes at 12-15” +. Car and truck access improving which will open up more areas for anglers. While Flowages have the most ice in many places, due to currents, they can also have the least. Use caution on any Flowages you travel.
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that Willow Slough was the destination over the weekend, with early morning and at dark bite for bluegill, but success varied greatly, more dependable and steady were bass on tip-ups; Grand Boulevard OK for panfish; on the Valpo Chain, panfish have been good Loomis and Long (40 shacks on Looms Saturday) and some pike on Long.
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
No update from Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said there was good ice (6-8 inches) Tuesday, but there are three open pockets (at each end of the deep trees, one in the northeast bay); cribs were best for crappie over the weekend.
Lakeside is open for ice fishing with all the staples for ice fishing from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. daily. Lake hours are now 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The restaurant is closed for the season. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted that tip-ups were taking some pike on the Illinois side.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN