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Ice fishing grows as deep freeze fades: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

The weather turned back to more normal winter conditions and ice fishing builds for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus there are a couple major ice events this weekend.

“Jimmy Mac” sent this about the photo above of his son ice fishing at the Southeast Side slips:

Hello Dale , that’s My Son Bryan McDonald The perch was a beaut a smidge over 12 inch and about 2 and half inch in girth. Him and my nephew Dylan had there limit in about 3 hours that day.

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.


Two significant ice-fishing events are Saturday and both should be interesting, barring too much rain on Thursday.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County holds its Hard Water Classic ($20 in advance, $25 day-of) noon-3:30 p.m. Saturday at Silver Lake in Warrenville. Click here for information or call (630) 933-7248.

Shabbona Lake has it’s first night of ice fishing this year on Saturday. Must be off ice by 9:30 p.m., out of park by 10 p.m. Lakeside will be open until 7 p.m.


Things are and will be getting much sloppier on top this week, though it should firm up considerably this weekend unless too much snow comes Friday.

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.


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.


As noted above, ice conditions will be sloppier, but ice fishing is virtually universal and should hold virtually everywhere. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:

Hey Dale,

Here is a recap of this week’s fishing.Area lakes- ice fishing is in full swing. Average thickness of the ice has been 7 inches. Bass have been very good and will only get better as the week goes on with the warmup. Best bait has been jigging a Acme kastmaster and tip-ups with medium roaches. Work in outside weed lines adjacent to deeper water and continue to work shallower as the morning goes on. Biggest bass have been in 3-4 feet of water. Finding thick green weeds has been the key.TTYL—Ken “Husker” O’Malley

Husker Outdoors

Waterworks fishing team

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Forest preserves are slow but fish coming


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.


Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said best are bluegill and crappie is south end of Channel, but north end has better quality; white and yellow bass, and bluegill, are going on Long; same on Petite and Bluff; a few walleye on Maria. For something different, just across the Wisconsin line, Lake Mary has a good evening bite for bluegill, crappie and walleye.

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Seen lots of crappie on the chain, some eyes here and there.

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.


Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago River Report

Well with the weather so cold everyone knows the river is froze over. We have a short warm up coming this week we’ll see if I can get out for a Day. I have ice fishing twice at Busse Woods small fish but I’m wetting a line for a couple hours. Spent a day at the Chicago Muskie Expo in the Lake County Waters Sports booth talking about G3 Boats and others Saturday the crowd seemed to be good. My website is being updated with information for the 2018 season can’t wait to be back out. I will be at the Chicago Boat Show at McCormick Place throughout the weekend in the Lake County water Sports Booth talking Capt. Pat

fishing and G3 Boats stop by say Hi have a Great week. Thanks Pat


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 with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.

Larry Dozard of sent this update on some closing dates Downstate:

Dale, Here are the Winter Lake Closures I have from IDNR for Central IL (& couple extra).

ANDERSON LAKE –– – THIS AREA Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake on Oct. 21st with Last Day to Fishing being Oct. 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 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 – –CLINTON LAKE -REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges willCLOSE to protect fish and wildlife FROM OCT. 10th through – typically March 31st – but with weekend, could be March 30th, 2018..? DOUBLE T S.F.&W.A. ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING Oct. 1st with LAST DAY to Fish being Sept. 30th and 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 – Lake access is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.RICE LAKE * THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING on OCT. 21st with Last Day of Fishing being OCT. 20th and 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. 21st with 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 launch and 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 traffic effective 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.


No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.


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 at littlecal_saltcreek_access.


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


Arden Katz said ice fish was “outstanding” last week in the harbor on tube jigs and wax worms; water was so clear he was sight fishing.


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


Harbors and slips are iced in, but perch continue good for those able to cope with the ice.

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait texted:

Lots of fish coming through the ice harbors have plenty of ice. . . . . Perch coming from navy pier 87th St.

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.


Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.


Mazonia South reopens on Monday. All ice fishing is at your own risk. Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round. Mazonia North reopens Feb. 16. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.


Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:


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


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

With temps going from bitter cold thru last Saturday morning (Jan 6 = 20 below) to the twenties and even above freezing by Monday, anglers started flocking out on the ice to take advantage of the “warmth”!

Despite a few reports of localized “poor” fishing (time, place?) fishing good overall. Conditions for travel on ice near excellent with ice averages of 14-17” (though a few reports of only 9-10” in certain places)

Walleye: Good-Very Good – Best last hour of light through first hour of dark. Walleye suckers, large fatheads and large rosies over mud, sandgrass flats in 18-32’. Jigging #5 – #7 jigging Raps, Hyper Glydes producing well. On lakes with less depth chose medium river or golden shiners along cabbage edges of 9-12’.

Northern Pike: Good-Very Good – Good Pike fishing using large golden or river shiners, black chubs and larger suckers.

Yellow Perch: Good – Getting best reports from anglers following perch out to deep mud flats of 18-30’. Wigglers, red spikes on Hali jigs, with warmth tip-downs with small rosies also working. Anglers working shallow weed flats of 6-10’ finding single “roamers” from time to time, though these fish typically nice average size of 8-11”.

Bluegill: Good – With warmer temps anglers moving a bit more catching gills on Moon Glos, Fiskas and Flirty Girtys tipped with moussies or waxies. A few anglers reporting bigger Gills in deeper water using #2 pimples tipped with waxies in 16-24’ mixed with Crappies.

Crappie: Good-Fair – Anglers looking for Crappies in typical Flowages locations having tough time. On lakes, deeper better for mid-day action (18-25’) but a weed bite in 10-12’ occurring hour before dark as larger Crappies moving in for bite.

Largemouth Bass: Poor-Fair – Improving with warmth. Medium shiners, jigging Shad Raps, Rippin’ Raps and #3-#4 pimples working. Tip with a minnow head for flavor.

The good ice we have hopefully will hold dry with the coming snow. Our area is on the edge of Thursday’s storm, the amount we get will determine if ATV use will still work or if it will be all truck and snowmobile use soon.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sport Shop

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

Biziest iv ever been for ice fishing over weekend non stop people everywer fishing Bite was tough overall but some fish caught some good gills at slough wer had in back but the guys stayed sum up to sun down to get em Tip up action fair golden roaches on tip ups at slough Valpo chain long and loomis in valpo gave up some gills and crappie and a walleye here and ther some decent catchs but a lot groups only had a couple fish Monday and Tuesday but has been better than it was when it was super cold Mousies spikes and beemoth baits of choice for panfish Rosie reds and small fatheads best for crappie

Right on the button about last weekend being the busiest. I predicted that last week.


No update.


No update.


No update.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said there’s some crappie being caught in the deep trees, a few in the cribs; some catfish in deep trees; a few walleye here and there; some bluegill, best to find any green weeds. He said there’s about 10 inches of ice.

REMINDER: Saturday is one of two late nights this winter for ice fishing (off ice by 9:30 p.m. and out of park by 10 p.m.) Lakeside will be open until 7 p.m. Saturday for this event.

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, go to 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.