clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chicago fishing: Ice really variable & perch really spotty

This is the first sprawling raw file of the Midwest Fishing Report on the new web site.

In terms of fishing, the best things going are spotty perch on the lakefront and ice fishing from the Chain O’Lakes north through Wisconsin.

PIER PASSES

The $6 passes from the Chicago Park District, allowing access to select docks

in Chicago harbors, will be available beginning Saturday at Henry’s Sports & Bait.

AREA LAKES

Some lakes and ponds have fishable ice; others are wide open.

ICE-FISHING REGS: CHICAGO LAGOONS: No ice fishing. COOK FP:

Ice fish at your own risk: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode

South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Flatfoot, Green,

Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east

and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FP: Ice fish at

your own risk. Spring Creek Reservoir is closed to ice fishing. Late-night

fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry, must be out by 11 p.m. KANE FP: Listed

sites for ice fishing, at your own risk, are Hampshire South FP, Lake Patterson

and the two ponds within Paul Wolff Campground. LAKE FP: Ice fishing is

permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when area is

posted as safe for fishing. MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round;

other lakes open after hunting seasons; ice fishing at your own risk. McHENRY

CCD: Sites listed for ice fishing when appropriate (4 inches of clear ice): the

Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Pleasant Valley and Rush Creek

pond. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk. Use east entrance.

WILL FP: No ice fishing.

AREA 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

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

This came from Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Walleye and panfish hitting through the ice, with late season

archery deer hunters looking to fill their tags; all in and amidst the

lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln

Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

This past week has been phenomenal for ice fishing in the central

Wisconsin area. With 5 to 10 inches of good ice and little snow on

most lakes, travel conditions are about as perfect as you could want.

In addition to the great conditions the bite has been very good

for all species.

Walleyes have been extremely active right before and after dark with

some good catches of fish in the 15 to 18 inch range. We have also

been catching a quite a few slot sized fish that are a lot of fun to catch,

but then quickly take a photo and release them.

The panfish bite has been very good with lots of nice eating sized fish

being caught all day long. Most of the action is coming from downed

timber in 10 to 12 feet of water or along weed edges in 4 to 8 feet of

water. Tiny tungsten jigs have been working well when tipped with

plastics as have small to medium sized buckshot spoons when tipped

with a minnow or at times tipped with just a minnow head.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports & Marine thought ice fishing should hold through the week in the backwaters and shallow bays, but caution is needed.

EARLY CHAIN/FOX ACCESS: For T-Channel, park at Famous Freddie’s–

(847) 587-9677.Best is to come in and eat, otherwise, park in back and

be out by 11:30 a.m. On Channel, Chopper’s Bar–(847) 838-1230–has

relatively early access. Chopper’s takes the parking off if you order food.

Granny’s–(847) 395-2328–at Spring Lake Marina has parking and takes the

parking off if you order food. Be careful, early ice is tricky there. For Nielsen’s

Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, it’s Hermann’s Lowlife

Bar & Grill–(847) 639-9644–with parking, wax worms, food and drink.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

CHICAGO RIVER

No update this week.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Closed except Monster Lake remains open year round at Mazonia South.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA

Brian Gates from Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said Como has the most ice for fishing, there’s some fishable ice on the south side of Delavan and at the inlet.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No report this week.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

The IDNR is now planning to post regular reports. Click here.

EVERGREEN: The boat rental and bait shop are done for the season.

EMIQUON: With the waterfowl seasons going, fishing opens beginning at noon through Dec. 23. Call (309) 547-2730.

LAKE OF EGYPT/REND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

SHELBYVILLE: Pete Riedesel reported watching a couple guys catch nice muskie at the spillway. Otherwise, check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

Johnny “Sunshine” Pajak continues to pick off walleye drifting minnows through the deeper holes.

GREEN BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html

ILLINOIS RIVER

Flick at Time on the Water Outdoors said sauger are best upstream in the deeper holes from the Peru flats through the 39 bridge. It is primarily vertical jigging.

INDIANA STREAMS

There’s some steelhead in the streams.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is high, but receding.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

No update.

KENTUCKY LAKE

No update this week.

LAKE ERIE

The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.

LAKEFRONT

Spotty perch action is what have I have been hearing and the way Steve Palmisano at Henry’s Sports and Bait put it. It also varies from day to day on what spot–Montrose, Diversey, Navy Pier, Burnham/Northerly Island or the slip north of 87th–are best. It is primarily a minnow bite.

Palmisano said some are trying higher minnows to pick crappie and an occasional trout.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait said Mud Lake has the most action going for bluegill and some crappie. There is also ice fishing on Squaw and Monona bays, he thought the ice would hold up. Mendota is open water.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik has updates at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Minocqua Area Fishing Report:

Well, Its starting out to be a great ice fishing season! Enough ice to get

around on… with not to much snow on the ice to worry about access

or travel. Caution is still advised on some larger lakes (Trout, Fence,

Big Crawling Stone) where ice thickness varies from 2-6″ but

overall averages of 10-12″+ cover most of our Lakeland area lakes.

Walleyes: Good- Very Good. Anglers fishing the dusk and just after

dark bite are doing very well on tip-ups baited with chubs,

suckers or shiners (depending on bottom type). Also jigging

rappalas, Rippin Raps and Glassic Vibs scoring on larger walleyes.

Even morning anglers finding success in weedy areas of 7-10′ using

tip-ups with shiners or jigging raps. Bites lasting till 10:30-11am

on some lakes.

Crappies: Good-Very Good. Daytime anglers catching crappies

in bays with weeds in 8-12′. Minnows good, but slow dropping rockers

tipped with plastics, Moon jigs tipped with single spike and Ken’s jig

tipped with waxies out producing minnows at times. Schools of larger

crappies being found over deep water (up to 30′), these fish are best

tempted with crappie fatheads or rosie reds.

Bluegills: Good-Very Good. On some of the last weeks hot lakes,

the average size has dropped, which is typical of the first ice. Big gills

giving way to smaller fish- look a bit deeper to find those larger gills

again. Gill Pills and Diamond jigs tipped with waxies tops for several

anglers catching limits this weekend.

Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. Big chubs, shiners or suckers on

tip-ups as usual tops (one angler iced a 31″er on 4# test and an ice jig).

Jigging Raps & spoons are also effective. Lots of nicer pike in the

26-30″+ range.

Largemouth Bass: Good-Very-Good. Though rarely targeted by ice anglers, largemouth

bass have kept many anglers busy chasing flags as well as

hammering jigs meant for other species.

Yellow Perch: Fair- Good. Anglers finally starting to find some perch

in numbers, not lots, but enough to target. Shallow weeds , perch

taking Northland Forage minnow spoons tipped with waxies.

Anglers also finding some perch cruising mud flats just outside

weed edges in 14-18′. Wigglers or crappie minnows on Pimples,

Flickers or the VMC Flash Champ spoons.

The big question is ice travel. We are not going to recommend vehicle

travel at all until there is a solid 14″ of ice, but there is on most lakes

enough for ATV and snowmobile travel. Still be cautious, but with

very mild weather in the forecast, conditions look great for the next

week or so of ice fishing.

Kurt

Island Sports

Minocqua, Wi 54548

EAGLE RIVER: This report from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce is based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides “Muskie Matt” of Wild Eagle Lodge, “Ranger Rick” Krueger of Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson:

(Head): Northern providing a good to excellent bite through the ice,

with walleye and panfish good, and some largemouth bass being

caught incidentally while going for walleye and northern. Excellent

X-C ski and snowshoe opportunities; all in the Eagle River,

Wisconsin area.

Ice conditions continue to improve in the Eagle River area, with ice

thickness varying from 3-6 inches, lake and area dependent. Mostly

foot travel, but some who know a specific area very well are starting

to use ATV’s or snowmobiles. Our sources tell us that they’ve even

seen a truck or two going out, which is totally out of the question at

this time. Be cautious and safe. Not sorry. Our best suggestion

continues to be that you hire one of Eagle River’s excellent guides

who will make sure you have a lot of fun while putting you on fish

in safety.

NORTHERN: Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around remaining

weeds. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a

tip-up. Position your bait a foot above the weed tops.

All day action and the bite is good to excellent.

WALLEYE: Fish break edges and weed edges in 25 feet of water or

less. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a small shiner or walleye

sucker under a tip-up. Position your bait a foot above the bottom.

All day action with peaks in the evening. The bite is good.

PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are locating in two areas.

Fish 15 feet of water or less off of break edges and weed edges. Or fish mud-flats in 15 feet of water or more. The perch are tight

to bottom, with the crappies and gills generally suspending in the

lower half of the water column. Use a crappie minnow, waxie or

spike on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action and the

bite is good.

LARGEMOUTH BASS: Some nice largemouth bass are being caught

incidentally on northern or walleye tip-ups in the Eagle River area.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch Fishing Tackle Outlet reported some jumbos on Sunday at the Hole-in-the-Wall. Weather looks conducive for guys going out looking for perch. When weather allows, lake trout are being caught on the reef and rocks.

ROCK RIVER

No report this week.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven said steelhead are good in the river from the mouth to the dam; steelhead and whitefish are good most days off the pier; and a few surf fishermen are picking up steelhead and browns.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Lakeside is closed until ice fishing in December.

For information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR report is at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.