Chicago fishing: Variable

There’s more variable ice with recent temperatures and precipitation, but ice fishing remains the lead item around Chicago fishing; though there are a smattering of reports of early coho and browns when boaters are able to get out in Indiana.

Spring? Soon?

The photo is from Ed Schmitt posting on Facebook in Chicagoland Ice Fishing.


The South South slips remain the best, either ice fishing or punching holes in the ice; North Side spots have been slow. Despite all the clutter talk, the east end of the slip north of 87th is open on park district land; go on private land and you risk being tossed. That is just the facts.

Most are using minnows and crappie rigs, but Arden Katz continues to do better with a jigging spoon when the schools are in.


Much the same was last week, ice is generally good, but there are problems around current areas, inflows and springs, so use caution. Though I suspect a couple cold nights forecast later this week will firm up some of the trickier areas and some of the slop on top.


Patrick at Henry’s Sports & Bait said there’s some nice bluegill and crappie on Papoose; bluegill on Sag Quarry.

Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent this:

Hey Dale, Area lakes continue to produce good numbers of bass and bluegill. Bass are active on tip-ups along outside weed lines adjacent to main lake basins or humps. Bluegill are active on gold tungsten jigs tipped with multiple spikes in deeper along the main basin. Ice remains good despite the warm weather. Ice is holding at 7-8 inches.— Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

ICE FISHING REGS: Here are the regulations for public waters in

and around Chicago. 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 all year, 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.


Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Hooksetter’s Guide Servicehad this:

(Head): Walleye, northern, panfish and catfish all hitting; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). This past week has been great for ice fishing in the central Wisconsin area. We had above average catches of panfish along with some nice catches of walleye and northern. The average ice thickness is anywhere from 11 to 17 inches in most areas but be careful around current areas and stream inlets, the ice is a lot thinner in those locations. The panfish are still holding on deep structure in 8 to 12 feet of water with some really nice sized bluegills and crappies hitting. The walleye bite has been very good with some nice slot sized fish and a lot of eaters being caught. The northern fishing has been good by targeting shallow water fish in 3 to 5 feet of water around submerged wood and weed lines. We are still pounding the catfish in the Wisconsin River system with the majority of them being in the 16 to 24 inch range. These are a very strong fighting fish that are providing a lot of action and excitement for anglers. We are catching a lot of the catfish while jigging, but we are also catching quite a few nice fish on tip-ups as well.


Use caution around current areas and the middles; there’s plenty of fishable areas with good ice closer to shore and in non-current areas.

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports & Marine said bluegill remain good around the Chain area, including on Deep and Loon; crappie are suspended, so he suggested you fish the whole water column until you find the feeders and focus on early morning; pike are good on tip-ups as are walleye, but with the ice conditions focus shallow evenings near main lake points for the walleye.

Arden Katzsaid they were still catching some crappie on Pistakee on Ratsos.

ACCESS NOTE:There’s been some issues with access to Petite for ice fishermen. Greg Dickson said to stop in at Triangle and they have info for contacts about year-long parking access at the old Cypress Resort.

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

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


No update this week.


Lakes at both Mazonia South and Mazonia are open for fishing. All ice fishing is at your own risk.

Schmitt, whose photo is at the top, posted this on Facebook in Chicagoland Ice Fishing:

Fun morning in Mazonia S. Unit. I gotta calculate my mileage, we had to be pushing 3+ miles today. Fish were scattered, most showing up out of nowhere in 5 to 7 fow a foot up off the bottom. Aggressive bite. Gills on jigs/waxies, bass/pike on tip-ups with roaches.


Brian Gatesfrom Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said there’s lots of pike and fair bass in middle of Como; on Geneva, better perch are in 25 feet off Trinkes, some pumpkinseeds there too, a few lakers are being caught by those walking out by the Narrows; on Delavan, lots of bluegill (take sorting) on west end and pike (some legals), crappie are spotty late afternoon off the island, some bluegill by outlet bridge. NOTE: Gates–(262) 245-6150–has shacks on Delavan.


No report this week.


CLINTON: Henry’s staff reported some decent walleye and crappie going.

REND LAKE/LAKE OF EGYPT: For more, contact Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

POWERTON:Shore fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

SHELBYVILLE: Contact Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

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

EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730.


No report this week.


No update this week.


Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning folks…I will be out tomorrow so here is the updated ice fishing report for this week The Whitefish action has been going absolutely fantastic throughout the Door County peninsula. A few of the Hot Spots include… Henderson’s Point, the deep water out in front of Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay, Larson’s Reef and from the Old Stone Quarry north to Egg Harbor along the steep rocky shorelines and deeper structure. I seems like the real active fish are hanging around the deeper water, basically all the way out past 90 feet. The jigs of choice are…Sweedish Pimples, Kastmaster spoons, Rapala Jigs, jigging Shad Raps and Forage Minnows just to name a few of the many. Tipping your jigs with minnow pieces, wax worms, spikes and gulp waxies is always a good bet. The Perch fishing can be classed as slow to fair. There are always going to be those groups that do fairly well, but they put in their time. Little Sturgeon can be good at times if you can stay away from the heavy traffic areas, the deeper water from Henderson’s point south to Chaudoir’s Dock can also be good but you have to do some searching and some of the deeper water around Riley’s Bay and Sand Bay can also be good at times. Large lake shiners, medium lakeshiners, Rosey Reds and wax worms tipped on jigs are all good live baits to use. Walleye fishing in Door County has been going pretty good with some very big fish being iced in recent weeks. The biggest fish we heard caught and released was a giant 13 ¼ pounder. There have also been numerous 10 plus pound fish caught, photo’d and released which is very good to see. There are many areas to target Walleyes which fishermen are starting to realize. Some of those areas are…The whole Henderson’s Point shoreline, Riley’s Bay area, Sand Bay including Larson’s Reef along with the shoreline and structure to the north of the Old Stone Quarry. The top jigs to have in the box are…Odd’Ball jigs, Rapala jigs, Moonshine shiver minnows, the new Hali Minnow and Forage minnows. Tipping your jigs with large lake shiners or minnow heads. Some anglers are also having some success fishing medium suckers under tip ups or dead sticks. Pike fishing is still going pretty good. Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor, downtown Sturgeon Bay, Egg Harbor and Ephraim all have produced some really nice Pike in recent weeks. Large suckers or Golden shiners suspended under tip ups and automatic fishermen is the method of choice. And there have been some spotty catches of Brown Trout being reported from the northern Harbors basically from Egg Harbor north to Sister Bay. Jigging spoons tipped with minnows and suspending large lake shiners and golden shiners under tip ups has been the best method For more information call us at Howie’s Tackle 746 9916 or listen to our weekly fishing report on the web at Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916 Fx: 920-746-9669

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report, typically updated on Tuesdays at


No update this week. Time on the Water Outdoors closed.


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


River is opening up quickly.


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


See perch report at top. I am sure there are some trout around, but I have not heard anything. PIER PASSES: The $6 passes from the Chicago Park District, allowing access to select docks in Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports & Bait.


I did not get Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait, but you can check his online report.


Mike Mladenik has updates at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.


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

Minocqua Area Fishing Report: Mild weather last week gave anglers plenty of reason to head out onto the ice. But sloppy conditions kept many from venturing out to far away from the usual haunts. While ice thickness continues to average in the 14-18″ range, some areas of heavy use or early freezes have reports of 22″+. Despite this we have gotten two reports this past week of large lakes (Minocqua and Big Muskellunge) where despite averages in the low to mid teens in terms of thickness, measurements of only 6 & 7″ were taken over main lake beds. Caution even this late in January, is still advised! Yellow Perch: Good. The typical deep water bite at this time of year is starting to show. Anglers able to get out over deep mud of 18-30′ of water using Halis, Pimples, Flickers and tumblers tipped with wigglers or red waxies are finding perch. Weed anglers in 8-12″ are also catching perch while looking for bluegills. Switching from waxies to medium fatheads help to entice the larger fish from these schools. Walleyes: Fair-Good. Night bite is improving! As we move away from the new moon period, the after dark bite has picked up. Jigging Raps, Slender Spoons and Tinglers, the later two baited with minnow heads, are producing some nice catches. Off the deep weed edges as well on off shore humps. Shiners along weed edges, suckers the best choice over humps. On size exempt lakes, the more slender lake shiners on a #12 treble has helped tip-up anglers with light biters. Glow trebles have also helped. Bluegills: Fair-Good. Action picking up, though in most cases sorting necessary to come up with enough keepers for a meal or two. Dark, tungsten jigs tipped with moussees or spikes fished close to the bottom on most days. When active, brighter colored jigs tipped with green, chartreuse or red plastics fished up higher doing the trick. Northern Pike: Fair-Good. Not a lot of flags but nice pike in the upper 20″ to lower 30″ range on big suckers and shiners. Crappies: Fair. Anglers starting to pick up some fish back up in weeds, but action is not consistant. Flowage anglers doing better over mud flats of 16-19′ on rosie reds. On natural lakes the last couple hours of light producing along transition zones of 14-22′ using minnows on tip-downs or glow jigs tipped with waxies. After dark its minnows on #14 trebles. Largemouth Bass: Poor-Fair. Despite warming trend last week was rather quiet. One angler reported wrestling a 20″er on a jig and waxie meant for gills. Most catches on tip-ups with medium shiners. A drop in temperature will hopefully firm up some of the more traveled areas. A couple inches of fresh snow (1/26) will only insulate things further. ATV’s are almost done on most lakes due to slush and snow. Snowmobiles are even having trouble with the sticky slush in some areas. Truck travel relegated to trails and plowed roads. be prepared with knee high rubber / neoprene boots, shovel, friend and tow straps…..just in case. Kurt Island Sportshop Minocqua, Wi 54548

EAGLE RIVER: This came from the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce, 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): Panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with walleye and northern good, and continuing incidental catches of largemouth bass; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice conditions in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area remain good, and continue to improve. Ice thickness ranges from 8-14 inches – -lake and location dependent. Travel on the ice is also improving. Foot travel, snowmobiles and ATV remain the preferred methods of getting out and moving on the ice, with trucks being used in small select areas (only those- – like guides – -who know a lake and area inside-out are using trucks still plenty of thin ice areas around currents and structure- – caution must be observed at all times). PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are locating in two areas: Main lake basins where the panfish are holding near structure in 30 feet of water or less. Structure includes, cribs, bush piles, rock piles, downed wood basically anything sticking out of the mud to create transition. Also fish shallow weeds in 15 feet of water or less. The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending in association with structure. Use a crappie minnow, waxie, spike, wiggler or micro-plastic on a jig or under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. WALLEYE: Fish break edges in 25 feet of water or less. Use a small to medium shiner or walleye sucker on a tip up. Place your bait in the bottom foot of the water column as the walleye are tight to bottom. You can also use a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. All day action with peaks around sunset, and the bite is good. NORTHERN: Northerns are locating off of break edges and adjacent weed edges in 15 feet of water or less. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a tip up. You can also use a large jigging spoon. Place your bait approximately halfway down in the water column. All day action and the bite is good. LARGEMOUTH BASS: Largemouth bass are continuing to be caught incidental to anglers going for walleye and northern. Best results are coming in shallower water – -15 feet or less- – in and around weeds. Mixed bag on sizes.


Staff at Mik-Lurch said largemouth are doing well on tip-ups at Willow Slough, the bluegill bite is tougher. When the weather allows, early coho and browns are being caught at Burns Ditch and from shore at East Chicago Marina.


No report this week.


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


Phil Schumanat Tackle Haven said the river is opening up, but he did not know about the launches; otherwise, it is mainly ice fishing on inland lakes.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sandsat Lakeside said crappie, including a pair of 1-pounders, are being caught in the north end or out in the trees; catfish, including an 11-pounder, are good in the barn foundations or trees. He said ice if from 6-10 inches.

Lakeside will open be for ice fisherman Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.-noon; then on Friday through Sunday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

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


The Wisconsin DNR report is at They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at


No update.


No update.

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