Ice fishing: It’s here for Chicago fishing

Ice fishing is here and the best stretch for it will be the next couple weeks and that leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

Thanks to Carl Vizzone for the photo of the lake trout flurry last week at the far South Side slips on the Chicago lakefront.

ICE FISHING

Ice fishing will be virtually area-wide this week, it looks like even on Lake Michigan harbors..

AREA LAKES

Click here for the ice fishing regulationson area public sites. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said that they are even ice skating on some suburban ponds, so there will be ice fishing on many forest preserve lakes.

Ice fishing is here, as Ken “Husker” O’Malley noted:

Waiting is the game. Area lakes are locked up and are building ice. Should be good by weekend provided we don’t see much rain on Friday. – Ken Husker O’Malley Huskeroutdoors Waterworks fishing team

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

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA/FOX RIVER BACKWATERS

Art Frisell  at Triangle Sports & Marine said ice fishing began; try bluegill in back channels and some main lake bays with tungsten jigs tipped with waxies or spikes; crappie are fair in same areas; try for walleye shallow (do not try main lake points yet) with various jigging lures or tip-ups.

Staff at Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill in Port Barrington indicated ice fishing is even underway in the front.

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

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA: Lakes begin reopening as hunting seasons end. Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round. Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. HEIDECKE: Closed for season. BRAIDWOOD:  Closed for season. LaSALLE: Closed for the season.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

Brian Gatesat Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said Delavan is iced over, more are fishing on west end, a few pike are being caught at the inlet with a few crappie before dark; Como has pike being caught on the east end, some pike and largemouth on southwest side; east end of Geneva just iced over.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

Some sites are impacted by the flooding or leftover impacts from the flooding, click here for closure updates. NEWTON: If you are looking for open-water fishing, especially for largemouth, this is your lake from numerous reports. POWERTON: Shore fishing is open. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Will reopen to fishing in 2016 with a much expanded format. Also, there should be at least one day of ice fishing this winter. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW: Closed to fishing until Feb. 1. EVERGREEN: Bait shop is closed.

Larry Dozardof larrysfishinghole.com also had these updates:

SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 17th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th – with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats – SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) through Jan. 31, 2016 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only). BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) –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 – – PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – – Lake is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturday. CLINTON LAKE – REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife… NEWTON LAKE – As written in the fishing regs booklet : ** The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be Closed daily from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season. * For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season: Nov. 14 – Jan. 31

DuPAGE RIVER

No update.

FOX RIVER

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON 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

Illinois Valley Outdoorsis open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.

INDIANA STREAMS

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said fewer steelhead are being caught, but they are better quality steelies with many in that 9-12 pound range. Voodoo flies tipped with waxies, but some are usning spawn.

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

KANKAKEE RIVER

No update this week. 

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKEFRONT

Harbors are skimming over. There will be some ice fishing in the Chicago harbors this week. Obviously it will be limited and caution is required. Until then, guys are going out on the piers and busting the skim ice to fish. Perch are in the harbors. PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to selected piers in selected Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Gene Dellingerat D&S Bait said, “We have ice coverage on the Chain. Mendota is 98 percent covered. Nobody is out yet [on Mendota], but probably by the weekend.’’ Best ice fishing is on Mud for bluegill and crappie; decent bluegill on Squaw and Monona bays; some pike on Waubesa; and guys have been able to get farther out on Kegonsa.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

No update.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 1/11/15 Finally some true cold winter like weather to help make the ice we need to be able to safely venture out. Air temps shot down into the negative degree marks, enough to expect a good inch plus of ice to be made per day over the next five plus days. Once some lakes become safe for vehicle travel by next weekend, dispersing the fishing pressure and adding new water should help reports. Walleye: Fair. Action slowed as the week went on. That big fish from last week ( 14.94lbs) was followed by a reported 31 er released the next day. Dusk has been best, but window of activity was small, giving anglers just 30-45 minutes of action. Suckers on tip –ups over 18-24’ sand grass on deep lakes best. Crappies: Fair. Anglers having to work for best bites. Tip-down action will slow with recent cold, best to try jigging Lethal Cecils tipped with waxies, plastics on rockers (white, yellow, and silver). Anglers seeing/ marking lots of crappies, very tight lipped. Northern Pike: Fair. Less active than weeks past, bite windows smaller. Big suckers, shiners on tip-ups best. Some nice fish (30 plus) but not many. Bluegills: Fair. Anglers working to keep ½ limits of 7 fish. Small pockets of biters, but lots of just lookers. The tungsten jig flys have continued to produce, tip with a single spike, moussee or waxie. Yellow Perch: Fair. A few anglers venturing out on safe ice over deeper water (18-24) finding some perch cruising sand grass. Hali jigs, Perch talkers, Flash champs and Kastmasters tipped with red spikes. In shallower areas of 6-10, small minnows working, but a bit of sorting. No reports of limits, 7-10 keepers a good catch right now. LargemouthBass: Poor. Cold put clamps on the species. Look for action to pick back up by weeks end with temps peaking in the 20’s Thursday and Friday. With morning temps hitting -16 degrees and I’m sure even lower in some parts, Ice will be thickening quickly. Caution still important, but by weeks end it will be time for power augers and quads, maybe small trucks on some lakes. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop http://www.kurtsislandsports.com

EAGLE RIVER: 

B+L, from interviews with guide Muskie Matt, provided this report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce:

Christmas might have come late this year for winter sport enthusiasts, but they’ll be thrilled to see the Eagle River weather report this week. Sub-zero temperatures will ensure that the 53rd Championship Snowmobile Derby will be plenty cold, as well as make the area’s larger lakes safe for ice fishing by the end of the week. Ice depths of 4 to 5 inches have been reported as of Monday morning. Smaller, shallower lakes are up to ice depths of up to 8 inches. Despite warmer temperatures in winter so far, the fish are gathering in their usual spots as lakes begin freezing. Panfish are biting. Snowmobile trails are in early riding condition at fair to poor, but the cold temperatures and pending snow Tuesday and Thursday should improve conditions for the weekend. For a full Eagle River area trails report, visit eagleriver.org/trailconditions/.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station said there will be ice fishing around the area, actually some has already started. Some days browns are being caught the public access at the Port of Indiana, other days none. Staff at Willow Slough said it just iced over early this week, not sure when ice fishing will go. Remember Mik-Lurch closed.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Phil Schumanat Tackle Haven said a few steelhead are being caught in the river, some continue to fish the pier; and there’s some walleye at the Berrien Springs.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said the lake is iced over, except for the patch kept open by geese. He expects they will have Lakeside open for the weekend to accommodate ice fishermen. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR posts a report 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.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.


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