Ice fishing holds, but it’s variable for Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Ice fishing holds, but it’s variable for Chicago fishing: Midwest Fishing Report

Ice fishing became much trickier in the last few days, but it still leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; well, that and a couple coho reports came from Indiana.

But as of last week, ice fishing was a something, as Ed Schmitt showed in the photo above when he was on an outing at Mazonia South on Friday.

Thanks goes to Tony Boshold, the ice-fishing expert, for stepping up and contributing reports for the Chain O’Lakes, Geneva and Delavan; particularly important in an ice-fishing time such as this.

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.


The ninth annual LVVA Ice Fishing Derby, benefiting veterans, military and their families, is on Bangs Lake in Wauconda 7 a.m.-noon Saturday. Click here for more information.


Ice fishing gets tricky in some places, especially as some shorelines gave way over the last few days. Ice fishing will likely be finished in southern areas later in this week, north and west it might be sloppy but should hold. It sounds simplistic, but use caution. And Boshold, who went through the ice a year, reminded this is particularly a time to have picks and floatation.

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 below.


Pier passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers on the Chicago lakefront. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.


Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

HeyDale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing:Area Lakes- the warmup this past week really kicked in the bite. However, the downside is we have slush and water on top of 5 inches of ice. We will loose more ice with tomorrow’s rain and the week’s forecast will not build any new ice.Bass have been very good on tipups, dead sticks, and jigging kastmaster spoons along outside weed lines and shallow flats adjacent to deep water. Mid mornings have been the best time. Bluegill have also been good on tungsten jigs tipped with little atom wedgies. Weed clumps in 5-8 feet of water have been holding the aggressive fish.TTYL—Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterworks fishing team

I think that sums up conditions, especially south of the city.

Ice fishing gets trickier. Not to be simplistic, but use caution.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.


Ice-fishing expertTony Bosholdtexted this Tuesday afternoon:

Nobody out on Lake Marie set several guys out on channel and I just talked to him Usual Suspects for crappies and bluegills good fish on both ends as well as about 10 inches on the south end 8in on the North End they did get quite a bit of snow up here about 3 to 5 in so it’s real sloppy machine traffic even though they had a machine out. There is a dangerous spot where through the first warm up which it has cones that were removed that were marking spot that spot will not be safe with the next warm up so guys do need to use caution to be careful out there I’m not recommending people get out if they can avoid it I need to go to safer places but there is a North American ice fishing circuit tournament out there Super Bowl Sunday that I am going to compete in. So I will be back out there as well more checking on it later this week I’m headed to Delavan now to check that

Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice is generally solid, but current areas need caution.White bass and walleye are picking up on Kastmasters with minnow headsor minnows on Marie; yellow bass, white bass and catfish are good on Petite; crappie and bluegill continue good on the North and South ends of Channel; West Loon has been good for pike; in southern Wisconsin, pike and walleye are good on tip-ups on Silver.

SOME CHAIN ACCESS: The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. 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.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River and Lake Michigan Well to say we had some rough weather would be an understatement. There have been guys still getting Perch at Navy Pier on Ice jigs waxes and spikes. This has been a Good season for Perch. Jason a young guy that has been fishing the Chicago River for a few years was out fishing from shore and catching Crappie and Gils. I wanted to get out this past Saturday Prepped the boat made some calls and abandon the mission. There were still floating Ice chucks on the river. Not friendly to transducers, hulls, lower units and props. Going to try to get out this week if time allows. I will be at the show in Schaumburg this weekend in the Lake County Water Sports Boat Display talking fishing G3 boats and others. See you on the water, Capt. Pat — Thanks Pat

I hope to see lots of people at the Schaumburg Show.


Tony Boshold sent this Tuesday evening before heading to work:

Okay so I just passed through Geneva and Delavan. Geneva has got his out on the bay off of 50 there I believe we call it Library Bay I know they’re getting them nice bluegills there. I went over to Delavan. I stopped by Lake Lawn and there’s guys getting out in the marina there and out in front off of a road there’s guys getting out there’s some fish they’re crappies and bluegills. I went over to the South Shore the shorelines didn’t look as good but there was permanents houses out there and people out there I saw one spot where I machine when out any bus to the Shoreline of going out I’m sure it would be more of the same coming back but it is cold up there. So I’m sure guys will get out with boards if they want to get out but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it with all of us weather like it is. The snow on top is made up super sloppy and go be cold tonight probably rock it up a little bit. If guys are getting out they’re going to probably want to bring boards. Is anywhere from 8 to 10 in most places same on bangs as well I got to report there with 7 to 10 in there. Mostly small bluegills so far at things. Everything kicked in gear by Friday afternoon and Saturday bite was good. Every time we get a melted dirties up the water and it seems slow the bites down. After a few days of cold and clearing the Bites come back together as the weather stabilizes. Sorry for the voice to text but I’m driving and got to get to work. I have guide trips on Sunday on Delavan and I have a Palatine kids fishing event on Saturday that I’m emceeing and doing the seminar at. The guy over there tells me that he had seven and a half inch till this morning and that they’re going to be good to go for Saturday even if we fish off of docks


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.


Lance LaVineatHowie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this last week, much of it should hold:

Good morning guys. Here is what I have as far as the ice fishing is concerned The Whitefish action is hot and heavy right now as we have very good and relatively safe ice cover throughout the county. The good ice cover allows people to do a little more venturing and get away from those big groups making the fishing that much better. There are endless areas to fish Whitefish as they are pretty much all over along the Door County peninsula from the Chaudoirs Dock area all the way up to the tip of the peninsula. The best depths also vary pending on ice traffic…pretty much from 10 feet of water all the way out past 90 feet, it all just depends how far you want to travel. Some of the most popular jigs include…Rapala jigs, Sweedish Pimples, Buckshot spoons and forage minnows just to name a few, but the options are endless. And most fishermen run some sort of a slider hook above their main jig like a fly, small dot jig, plain single or treble hook. Perch fishing continues to provide some very nice action as of late. The better areas have been the Little Sturgeon area, Riley’s Bay, some pretty nice catches now coming from the deep water from Riley’s Bay south to Chaudoirs and some OK action in the Sturgeon Bay area depending on the traffic on the ice. Here again, staying away from the groups of people and high traffic areas is key. An assortment of jigs tipped with minnows, minnow heads, waxies and spikes work well along with tip up fishing with shiners and Rosy Reds. Walleye fishing has been like normal Walleye fishing for this time of year. Some days you get your bites and some days your just going through the motions. But there are some fish getting caught and a few big brutes too. The biggest we have seen so far this year was 12 ¾ pound slob. Rapala jigs and Oddball jigs still the most popular, but Puppet minnows, Moonshine shiver minnows and Fuzzy Grubs are always a good bet. Tip your jigs with shiners or minnow heads Pike action is going quite well as the weather is a bit more tolerable for avid Pike fishermen to run their wide spreads in search for the toothy critter. Some areas to try would be Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sturgeon Bay ship canal edges and the Sturgeon Bay Flats. Large Golden shiners and sucker minnows the main bait Brown Trout fishermen are having some success in bays from Sturgeon Bay north to Sister Bay both jigging and running tip up or auto fishermen spreads. Suspending golden shiners or large lake shiners number one method Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916


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:

Once water goes down game on for creek steelhead this will light them up


Ice is breaking up or already broken up, depending on what area of the river. Check withNick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf for fishing updates.


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


At least Luis Gonzalez was out trying for coho on Tuesday in Chicago. Might as well, a few were caught over the weekend in Indiana.

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait  said variable harbor ice and other conditions have slowed perch fishing and general effort. Probably a time to focus on pier passes.

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.


Arden Katz said there was about 20 inches of ice over the weekend with more perch than white bass caught, best was to keep moving around.


Closed for the year.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Mazonia South is open. All ice fishing is at your own risk. Ice fishing can be good at times, as shown by Ed Schmitt in the photo at the top; other days, it can be variable or flat-out tough. Mazonia North reopens Feb. 16. 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:

Warm weather plus a free fishing weekend put lots of anglers on the ice! Popular areas got covered with anglers taking advantage of the conditions. Even some less frequented areas had visitors as travelwas(get back to that later) excellent! Yellow Perch: Good-Very Good –Best over mud flats in water of 18-28’. Fast dropping spoons (Pimple, Halis, Flash Champs) tipped with wigglers, red spikes. Nice temps of 20+ degrees allowing for good tip-down use baiting with #14 or #16 trebles and small rosies. Crappie: Good-Very Good –Overall deep mud and transition degrees in 14-30’ best using tip-downs with rosies or Clam Caviar Drops tipped with waxies. In shallower water, with good cabbage in 7-12’ anglers picking up Crappies slow dropping #8 rockers of white or gold tipped with white or sliver plastic. Euro Tackles Z-Vibe also been a hit in water less than 14’. Northern Pike: Good-Very Good –Nice catches with anglers scoring well on tip-ups baited with shiners. Suckers also doing well in some areas, but reports of preference in shiners of late. Tip-up rigs with wire and small blade above hook getting best results. Bluegill: Good –Fiskas and Dudes tipped with moussies, spikes, waxies and dark plastics picking up good action. A few anglers fishing out of the way lakes finding some big Gills, up to 10+! Walleye: Fair –Action overall has slowed. But some anglers finding pockets of success using jigging Raps (#5, #7) along transition zones of gravel to mud between 4-5:30 pm. Suckers have been preferred tip-up bait. Largemouth Bass: Fair-Poor –Despite warm temps, not a lot of Bass reports. Some action on tip-ups with medium shiners, others on small to medium slender spoons targeting Perch in 8-12. Following a great weekend, 8+ of snow fell on the area Monday (1/22). This new snow will probably have anglers leaving their ATV’s at home, requiring travel from trucks and snowmobiles. It’s too early to get a report on the ice conditions. Check our website and/or Facebook page by Thursday for update on travel. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook

EAGLE RIVER:B+L, from reports fromColin Crawfordof Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce: sent this:

ICE FISHING REPORT Ice fishing season is here. For a full report on fishing trends and ice conditions, be sure to visit View the complete fishing report below. Temperatures have returned to average, leaving perfect conditions for ice fishing.Reminder: some area lakes are also marked with barrels for snowmobiles, so be sure to punch your holes away from the trail areas. Northern Pike:We are finding fish on the weed edges and in the deeper weeds. On the edges, the set up should be tip ups set a foot or so off the bottom. When fishing the deep weeds, set your tip ups so that your bait is just above the tops of the weeds. Walleye:These fish are being caught in and around weeds. Setting tip ups on the weed edges baited with walleye suckers or medium golden shiners in low light conditions seem to be best. Also, jigging in the same areas with baits (like the buckshot rattle spoon) are producing fish. The other good option is on the tops of rock humps for good spots in the early evening. Panfish:Bluegills are being found in the weeds using small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or tipped with plastic. Perch are being caught on the deep weed edge where the mud meets.


Thing to note here is a couple coho were caught over the weekend.

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

Some brown trout and a couple coho taken at portage river walk tooFew boats out got a few fish water dirty with ice and snow meltTons of people out over weekend valpo derby and Griffith izzak walton derby great turnout and some decent fish caught Potato creek gave up some decent gills and crappie too fishing near the stick upsOnce water goes down game on for creek steelhead this will light them upIce starting to fade be careful slit have stopped going already weekend warm up coming will ruin for sure most everywhere

Staff at Willow Slough said a couple were still ice fishing Tuesday, but the end is near. Mormon Hill and Trail roads are closed.


No update.


No update.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Michigan, said river opened up; there have been a few steelhead and walleye at Berrien Springs.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sandsat Lakeside said shorelines have water, but there is still 8 to 10 inches of ice in the deep trees; catfish are good, there is some crappie in the trees, a few bigger ones are being caught now; there’s been some nice bluegill on the north end; and some bass are being caught on tip-ups in the no-motor zone.

Lakeside is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. If ice fishing comes to an end, that will change. 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.


No update.


No update.

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