Ice fishing (“The itch is scratched”): Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Ice fishing (“The itch is scratched”): Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Ice fishing or survival in brutal ice fishing weather leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ice fishing is virtually universal, largely was so already by Friday and has only greatly thickened since. I truly expect that this coming weekend, with a forecast return to more normal winter weather, could be one of the best weekends for ice fishing in recent years.

Jason Langford sent the photo at the top and this note on his son Justin Langford on Friday.

My sons first time on the ice with his first catch! Hooked for life


Or as Larry Green noted when he tweeted the photo below Friday from an outing on the Forest Preserves of Cook County:

The itch is scratched


The Midwest Fishing Report 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.


Ice is building rapidly, even on Lake Michigan. A couple quick notes. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing. And remember the Pier Passes for fishing Chicago harbors, see immediately below.


Probably important to remember this as ice begins to build, even in spots on Lake Michigan and the harbors. Pier passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers available. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.


Mudpuppies, which are sometimes caught this time of the year. As Don Ayres reminded earlier this month, they are protected and they need to be released unharmed.


Ice fishing. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. Go to to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


Closed for the year.


No update.


Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice is averaging about 10 inches, but be careful around the current areas and over deep water, even now. Best spot right now has been the south end of Channel for bluegills with some crappie. Main lake points on Marie are producing some walleye, but use caution around the current areas, tryHyper jigging lures or Jigging Rapalas and some are being caught on tip-ups on medium roaches.Pike fishing around the area has been very good on large roaches on tip-ups in shallow; some pike to 35 inches.

SOME CHAIN ACCESS: The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. For the T-Channel, ice fishermen will have to improvise, I believe this year for access and parking. For Channel, there’s Chopper’s Bar, where the $5 parking is taken off if food or drink are ordered. For Spring, there’s Granny’s, where the $5 parking is taken off if food ordered. One access point for Marie is at Barnacle Bob’s, where there is parking though it is closed for the winter.

For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.


Check withCapt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.


No update. If anyone knows somebody who can give regular winter reports, I would be indebted.


No update.


POWERTON:Shore fishing is open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check withKen WilsonofKen Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check withJason Johnsof Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN:Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season.HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

Larry Dozardof sent this update on some closing dates Downstate:

Dale,Here arethe WinterLakeClosures I havefrom IDNRfor Central IL (& couple extra). ANDERSON LAKE –– – THIS AREAWillCLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Main LakeonOct. 21stwith Last Day to Fishing beingOct.20th during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.BANNER MARSH –** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) —AND BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PMbut 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 – –CLINTON LAKE -REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridgeswillCLOSE to protect fish and wildlife FROM OCT. 10th through– typically March 31st– but with weekend, could be March 30th, 2018..?DOUBLE TS.F.&W.A.** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING Oct. 1stwithLAST DAYto Fishbeing Sept. 30thand will remain CLOSED till Feb 1st..EVERGREEN LAKE ––– – A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and 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.-McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING for the Season on Oct. 16th(last day to fish is Oct. 15th) till Feb. 1st—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.23– Jan. 31PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lakeaccessis CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15thuntil After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.RICELAKE–* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHINGon OCT. 21stwith Last Day of Fishing being OCT. 20thand Will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose Season..SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT.21stwith Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct.20th –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 launchand 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 LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat trafficeffective Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) through Jan. 31, 2018(during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).Keep up the Good Work,Enjoy the Fall& GOOD FISHINGlarrysfishinghole.comLarry


No update.


No update.


No update.If anyone knows somebody who can give regular winter reports, I would be indebted.


Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this Tuesday:

Good morning fellas Here is what I got Ice fishermen are smiling with the super cold temps that we have had for the past 2 weeks. Unlike the past 2 years, the bay of Green Bay all the way north past Chambers Island is frozen up and locked in which is an excellent sign for safe ice and a long ice season. Perch action has been going pretty good so far early this season. The better areas have been Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor up until this point, but soon those deep water spots will be full of ice shanties now that we have cold weather and good ice continues to form. The best baits have been a wide variety of jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, minnows and minnow heads and the tip-up action has been good too. Whitefish action is really starting to heat up now that we are getting good ice. Hot spots include…Henderson’s point, Riley’s Point and the Sherwood Point area up until this point, but soon fishermen will be spread out up and down the whole peninsula. You can catch Whitefish in as shallow as 5 feet of water, but a majority of the fishermen like to fish in that 20 to 65 foot range. An assortment of jigs like Rapalas and jigging spoons tipped with wax worms, spikes, minnow pieces and gulp is a very good options Pike fishing continues to provide pretty decent action in our area. A few of the better spots include Little Sturgeon, Pot Park shoreline, the Flats and right in downtown Sturgeon Bay. Large Goldens and sucker minnows suspended under tip ups or auto fishermen work the best Walleye reports are just starting to trickle in now that we have some safe ice. Better areas have been Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point and the Larson’s Reef area will start to get ventured upon with the cold temps. Jigging raps, Odd Ball jigs and rippin raps are just a few of the top jigs. There has been some Brown Trout action in some of the harbors throughout the county from Sturgeon Bay all the way up the peninsula to Sister Bay. Golden shiners suspended under tip ups and auto fishermen is always a good bet, also jigging spoons tipped with shiner minnows another good option Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

Like I said last week, I figured whitefish would be going by now and it looks like I am right on target.


Closed for the year.


Check fishing status at B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa, where hours are now in the morning.


Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found atlittlecal_saltcreek_access.

Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted:

Most parts of creek are froze so not much steelhead fishing going on


River is iced up enough to post flood warnings from ice jams. Check withNick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf for fishing updates.


Arden Katz said ice fishing was on the tough side in the harbor, but they were able to pick up a few browns on Sunday with tube jigs.


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


Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch are still being caught at Navy Pier and the Southeast Side slips by those busting ice. Otherwise, there are people using pier passes to go out and fish the Chicago harbors.  PIER PASSES: Available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers available. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.NOTE: Park Bait at Montrose is closed for the season.


Closed for the year.


Gene Dellinger atD & S Bait said there is “a lot of ice everywhere.” Perch are being caught on Kegonsa; bluegill, which take sorting, are being caught Squaw, Turville and Monona bays; some pike are being caught on Squaw; while on Mendota, there’s a bite for pike and walleye on the bars and bays, not much yet on perch on Mendota.

You can also check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Closed for the year, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round.Check withJon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Check withMike MladeikatMike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justiceof Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua sent this:

Fishing Report Despite not seeing air temps above 0 degrees for a week or more, fishing has been surprisingly good for those willing to brave the conditions! Now it hasn’t been the same for everyone, rarely is. The cold has probably kept anglers from moving around some if things aren’t going well were they are set up. But for those poised over the right spot, fishing has been good. Walleye:Good- Very Good. Evening bites is on just before dusk. Anglers need to be set up by 3pm to see flags popping about 4 – 4:30. Suckers, chubs and shiners on tip-ups. Jigging raps, slab raps as well as hyper glides and chubby darters working well despite cold. Several 25 – 29 fish reported over the weekend. Crappies: Good- Very Good. Surprisingly good considering cold limiting anglers movement. Deeper water (15-22’) best overall for nicer fish (11-13) But some weed fish in 8–12, though sorting necessary as mixed until smaller year classes (7-8 fish). Northern Pike: Good-Very Good. By getting away from crowds anglers catching some nice pike in 30-35’ range using the largest shiners and suckers possible. In other areas of less quality but more quantity late morning through midday best. Yellow Perch:Good. Anglers already probing deeper mud flats to find perch feeding on mayfly Larvie in 18-26’. Hali Jigs, VMC Champs #2 pimples tipped with wigglers on red spikes. Bluegill: Good-Fine. Warmer temps would help. Anglers using mousses on #10 moonglo jigs or #3 fish finding gills moving out a little deeper into 6-9’ of water as ice thickens. If there has been any plus to the extreme cold it’s that ice is thickening nicely. Averages of 12 over most areas mean truck travel (16 for us cautious people) likely soon. There have been reports of slush on some local lakes, mostly northern Vilas County and in areas of protected western bays where snow hasn’t blown off. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook


Capt. Rich Sleziak atSlez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Cold hasn’t stopped them from going ice fishing super bizy for a week straight groups going everywer ice 5 and a half to 8 inches everywer her in NeilHer in northwest IndianaThe cold weather has made the bite tough tho not many good catchs so far reallyMost parts of creek are froze so not much steelhead fishing going on. This coming weekend and early in week coming up I bet the bite fires up with the warm up 25 to 30 degrees will spark em up been to cold to many days in a row

WILLOW SLOUGH NOTE: Ice fishing is underway and site staff said accesses are plowed.


No update.


No update.


Staffat Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said not many out, between the ongoing snow and the brutal cold.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sandsat Lakeside said ice is pushing 10 inches; there were good crowds out Friday and Saturday with some nice walleye (to 22 inches), some nice bluegill, with some crappie (take sorting) and the surprise, quite a few perch.

Lakeside is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

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


The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the lake is icing over.


No update.

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