Ice conditions are firming up around Chicago fishing; there is the NICC derby this weekend (the photo above with catches from earlier years); others are chomping to get after the early coho on Lake Michigan in Indiana; and Powerton Lake reopens to boaters on Sunday.
This is the sprawling raw-file version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears much condensed Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
NICC ICE-FISHING DERBY
The Northern Illinois Conservation Club’s 55th Annual Ice Fishing Derby and Winter Festival is Saturday and Sunday. It is headquartered at Turtle Beach next to the Thirsty Turtle. Click here for complete information.
The weekend warm-up helped knock down some of the snow cover, then the colder air helped firm conditions up. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s pretty much summed up ice fishing on local lakes and ponds, “It is the best thing going.”
Ken “Husker” O’Malleysent this:
Hey Dale, Bass on area lakes remain good. Tip ups set up along outside weed lines produced good numbers of bass late afternoon until dark. Size ran small, but action was consistent. Ice base is good at 10 inches. Staying mobile was difficult with the heavy snow pack and the slush pocket in-between. Access to certain lakes was limited as well. The warm up this weekend will help with the snow. – 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
BigBend,BodeSouth only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south
MAZONIASFWA:MonsterLakeisopen all year, other lakes open
after huntingseasons;icefishing at your own risk.McHENRYCCD:Sites
theHollows(LakeAtwoodandWestLake), Pleasant Valleyand
Rush Creekpond.SILVER SPRINGS SFWA:Icefishatyourown
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
No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisellat Triangle Sports & Marine said that red and brown have been the hot color for jigs for bluegill, which are best fished shallow; for crappie, it is glow jigs primarily mornings and evenings; walleye are good, but use caution around the current areas; pike continue to improve as spring nears; and catfish have been steady, including a young man who weighed in a 9-pounder.
ACCESS NOTE:There’s been some issues with access to Petite for ice fishermen.Greg Dicksonsaid to stop in at Triangle and they have info for contacts about year-long parking access at the old Cypress Resort.
CHAIN/FOXACCESS:ForT-Channel,parkatFamousFreddie’s–(847) 587-9677. Bestistocomeinandeat,otherwise,parkinbackand beoutby11:30a.m. OnChannel,Chopper’sBar–(847)838-1230–hasrelatively earlyaccess. Chopper’stakestheparking offifyouorderfood.Granny’s–(847) 395-2328–atSpring Lake Marinahasparking 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, waxworms, 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.
No update this week.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
Lakes at both Mazonia South and Mazonia are open for fishing. All ice fishing is at your own risk. Reports remain variable.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA
Brian Gatesfrom Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said bassand pike are good on tip-ups on Como; on Geneva, some are trying for lakers in 95-110 feet west of Black Point; on Delavan, bluegill are intermittent: some good and bad days; Pleasant has had some decent bluegill and crappie.NOTE:Gates–(262) 245-6150–has shacks on Delavan.
DES PLAINES RIVER
No report this week.
POWERTON:Boat fishing reopens on Sunday. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Shore fishing is open right now.
REND LAKE/LAKE OF EGYPT:For more, contactJason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing.
SHELBYVILLE:ContactKen WilsonofLithia Guide Service.
EVERGREEN:The boat rental and bait shop are done for the season.
No report this week.
No update this week.
Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this over the weekend:
Good morning folks. I am sending you the updated fish report a touch early as I will be out of the office for a few days… Whitefish action has been absolutely fantastic throughout the Door County Peninsula. Basically the whole Green Bay shoreline and structure will hold a bunch of Whitefish, but a few of the well known areas are…Sugar Creek, Henderson’s Point, Riley’s Bay, Larson’s Reef and most all of the structure to the north of Sturgeon Bay. The key is to stay away from large groups and pick a spot that is relatively quiet. Whitefish will get spooky when there is a bunch of surface noise. A very wide variety of jigs are working pending how deep and the amount of current you are dealing with. Basically any type of jigging spoon or minnow bait will work and most fishermen are running 1 or 2 slider hooks above the bottom jig. Wax worms, spikes, minnow pieces and Gulp are the best baits to tip your jigs and slider hooks with. Walleye fishing can be classed as good and should continue to hold strong through February and into the pre-spawn patterns in March. Here again, there are many different areas to set up for the Walleyes which a lot of fishermen are starting to realize. Basically the whole Henderson’s Point shore line has fish on it, of course the Sandbay area is a well known spot that can be hit and miss pending on traffic and again the off shore structure and rocky shoreline to the north of the Old Stone Quarry has a bunch of fish on it. The key is to steer clear from the large, noisy groups and set up some where quiet. Nils Master’s new Hali minnow bait has been good along with Rapala jigs, Moonshine shiver minnows, Puppet minnows and of course Odd’ball jigs are a must have. Tipping your jigs with medium and large lake shiners or minnow heads is the best bet Perch action is a little better than it has been the past few weeks. We would still class it as just fair at best. But there have been a few nice catches reported in Little Sturgeon and some of the deeper water mud bottom areas from Chaudoir’s Dock north to Larson’s Reef. An assortment of jigs tipped with waxies and minnow heads are working along with just soaking medium and large lake shiners under tip up or hand lines. Pike fishing is going pretty well throughout the county. Some of the better areas have been…Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, the Sturgeon Bay area and Egg Harbor and Ephraim have also given up some big Northern Pike. Large suckers and golden shiners suspended under tip ups has been the best method. 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 http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html
No update this week, but sauger time is nearing. Time on the Water Outdoors closed.
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Both the Iroquois and Kankakee rivers are flowing generally open.
Perch fishermen are busting ice or ice fishing at the lakefront slips on the South Side with mixed results; there’s some open-water perching at 92nd and 95th in the river for smaller perch; North Side has been quiet. PIER PASSES: The $6 pass from the Chicago Park District, allowing access to select docks in Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’sSports&Bait.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Staff at D&S Bait said a few perch are being caught on Mendota; otherwise panfish action is fair.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladenikhas updates at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
MINOCQUA:Kurt JusticeofKurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Minocqua Area Fishing Report: Following a chilly week, temps got nice enough over the weekend to get anglers out on the ice. Many experienced good, though not great fishing- but after the way things were in mid-January, good is pretty darn nice. Northern Pike: Good. Action is picking up. Fish of all sizes doing well on large baits (suckers & shiners) in weeds of 6-12′, with larger (28″-34″) fish hanging along deeper edges. Yellow Perch: Good. Varying depths. Weedy bays seeing good perch action with the best sized perch (9″) hitting medium fats or large rosies. Over deep mud flats its wigglers followed by red spikes as the best bait choices. Flash Champ spoons, #2 pimples, Halis, Flickers and smelt sticks. Use fast drops to get back down to roaming schools of fish and to stir up mud to attract attention. Walleye: Good. Bite is best at dawn, dusk and again between 10-11pm. Walleyes becoming active as the sun is going down in weeds as shallow as 6′ and as deep as 14′. Shiners are a top choice in weeds. Jigging spoons, Raps and Chubby Darters are working well also. Try a slender spoon or Tumbler jig with a minnow head. Bluegills: Good. Most action in 8-12′ weeds on small dark jigs of purple, black or red. Moussees, waxies, spikes crushed on a hook to get the juices flowing are working best. Plastics users finding red, maroon the best colors this week. Some gills being caught on very clear lakes over sandgrass of 14-20′. Use #4 or #5 Tungsten jig tipped with moussee or a red spike. Crappies: Good. As with perch, two places to fish. Weedy bays (standing plants) using rockers (#8, #10), Moxy jigs and cecil jigs tipped with plastic (rockers) or waxies (moxy / cecil). For deep suspended fish use rosie reds on tip-downs / slip-floats or glow jigs loaded with waxies in 18-30′ of water. No reports of limits, but nice meal or two catches of 10-13″ fish this week. Largemouth Bass: Fair-Good. Most bass catches on tip-ups- medium shiners or incidental by anglers trying for gills. With little new snow for the past few weeks, existing snow drying up and giving way to cold in some areas. Travel conditions are improving, but not everywhere. Mostly truck and snowmobile travel. Ice averages are 16-22″. Kurt Island Sportshop Minocqua, WI 715-356-4797
EAGLE RIVER:This came fromtheEagle River Chamber of Commerce, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides“Muskie Matt”of Wild Eagle Lodge,“Ranger Rick” Kruegerof Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop,Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast,Dan Anderson.
(Head): Northern and panfish providing a good to excellent bite, with walleye good, and some largemouth bass being caught ; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice conditions in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area remain about rthe same. There is 8-14 inches of ice, with snow cover and slush – -depth of the ice and snow and slush are lake dependent. Travel can be difficult in untraveled areas. Stick to known travel routes that are being used. Anglers are getting out using foot travel, ATV’s, snowmobiles, and in some select areas, trucks. Our guides sources tell us that someone had better know the area before thinking about going out in a truck. NORTHERN: Fish 15 feet of water or less off of weed and break edges. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a tip-up. Place your bait about halfway down in the water column. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. PANFISH: Crappies, bluegill and perch are locating in two areas. Fish mudflats in 15-30 feet of water and look for changes in the bottom – such as going from mud to travel. The panfish are locating near brush piles, rock piles, humps, cribs and drowned wood. Also fish shallow weedy areas in 10 feet of water or less. The perch are tight to bottom with the crappies and gills suspending up-and-down/anywhere in the water column (day dependent). Use a crappie minnow, waxie, spike, wiggler or micro-plastic on a small jig or under a slip bobber. All day action and the bite is good to excellent. WALLEYE: Fish break edges and adjacent mud flats in 30 feet of water or less. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a small to medium shiner or walleye sucker under a tip-up, or try a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. Place your bait in the bottom foot of water. All day action with peaks around sunset. The bite is good. LARGEMOUTH BASS: Northern and panfish anglers continue to get accidental hits/catches of largemouth bass. These hits are usually in weedy areas in 10 feet of water or less.
When conditions allow, coho and brown trout are available for boaters; and for shore fishermen at Burns Ditch.
No report this week.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Phil SchumanatTackle Haven said when boaters can get out, they are catching steelhead in the river; ice is preventing pier fishing; and ice fishing on inland lakes has been pretty good for bluegill and crappie.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sandsat Lakeside said on Tuesday that crappie, averaging 10 inches, are much improved, best to work “real slow’’ in 20 feet in deep trees; catfish other good bite. He said there is about a foot of ice.
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 shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
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.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN