Even the rivers are iced: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

SHARE Even the rivers are iced: Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Clay Lund with a big crappie from a local pond.
Provided by Kyle Lund

There’s fishable ice almost everywhere for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Also, just in case you were jonesing for open-water fishing, forget Powerton, the cooling lake near Pekin, because of icing and safety concerns it is temporarily closed to fishing. See Powerton report in the Downstate report.

Kyle Lund sent the photo above along with his Kankakee River report and this note:

My son Clay did land a very nice 14.5″ crappie from a local pond.

The condensed Midwest Fishing Report appears Wednesdays on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times newspaper. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.



The Island Lake Lions Club’s Ice Fishing Derby is 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and headquartered at Eastway Park.

The inaugural Lake in the Hills Ice Fishing Tournament is 8 a.m.-noon Saturday at LaBahn Hain House.

The sixth annual Plano Molding/Frabill Ice Fishing for Foli is 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday at Foli Park in Plano.


Click here for the updated regulations on ice fishing around public sites in Chicago fishing.


Ice fishing is here, for one and all, nearly everywhere, though snow cover has made ice sketchy in spots.

Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said ice fishing is going, some of the south suburban spots with decent reports included Powderhorn and Wampum.

Nick Langton got into the panfish action on the ice Sunday.<br>Provided via Facebook

Nick Langton got into the panfish action on the ice Sunday.
Provided via Facebook

Nick Langton posted the photo above with this explanation:

Drilled a ton of holes this morning but we finally found big gills! All fish were caught on the new polka dot Widow Maker Lures jig and the dropper aswell! The ICX5 by Piscifun is a workhorse. I’ve had this reel in the coldest weather and it never seems to fail!

A chance to give it a stress test in historic cold comes this week.

Larry Green showed the catfish action on the ice in January, 2019.<br>Provided

Larry Green showed the catfish action on the ice in January, 2019.

Before the brutal cold settled in, Larry Green tweeted the photo above and this:

On thin ice but for the catfish enthusiast….and bass be biting. @BowmanOutside @AlexOquendo1 @mullady21 @FPDCC

Click here for the updated regulations on ice fishing around public sites in Chicago fishing.


Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. 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


Scheduled to reopen March 1.


No report.


Brad Irving at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said the south end of Channel has been good for bluegill and crappie; same with the south end of Pistakee over the cribs; the hot bait has been Eurotackle’s Z-Viber; but the ice is sketchy with the snow cover, varying from 6-10 inches but with nearby ice as thin as 2 1/2.

CHAIN/FOX BACKWATERS ICE-FISHING ACCESS:Most places run some version of $5 parking and usually take it off food drink orders if it applies. Hermann’s Rest-A-While (Nielsen’s Channel), Granny’s Lakeside Diner at Spring Lake Marina, Choppers Bar and Grill (Channel), Sandbar Bar & Grille (Marie), Oak Park Lounge (Pistakee Bay), Musky Tales Bait Shop (near the old Mentone’s), Famous Freddie’s Roadhouse (T-Channel), Barnacle Bob’s (Marie).

Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or (847) 587-8540 for more information.

STRATTON LOCK AND DAM:The lock is closed through April 30. Click here for more info on the lock and dam.


Tom Platt at Henry’s Sports and Bait said there was even ice floes in the river.

Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:

Chicago Fishing Report, Hope as your reading this your warm due to us having some Really Cold weather coming with it there should be safe ice soon. Good Luck this ice season. I was at the Schaumburg Show Saturday and Sunday in my boat sponsors booth Lake County Water Sports and want to Thank everyone that stopped by to talk fishing with me and those that were looking for a boat we had a Great Show. If we get this really Cold Weather they say is on the way the river is going to freeze up so the slowing Perch Season may come to an end. The River slows up when the surface temperature drops to about 40 the fish slow down. Fish can be caught but it’s a Tough bite when the surface temperature gets back to about 48degrtees they start to move and feed again. I got a few reports from some buddies about the back channels on the chain and the Fox River Folks getting some fish but having to work for them but getting them. For the upcoming open water season I am expanding a bit going to start fishing the Illinois River again and a few inland bodies of water. My Main trips will still be on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan but I want to add to what I can offer folks for trips. It’s a Great time of the year to hit the shows and stock up on tackle gear and take in a few seminars to up your odds on the water this year or get out and do some ice fishing. I know a few of the guides offer ice fishing in the area. I don’t the little bit of ice fishing I do is with a few buddies and more myself. I will be at the Tinley Show in 2 weeks with my booth book a trip at the show with a deposit and receive a 10% discount. I will also be letting folks know about the added bodies of water for the 2019 season. Thanks Capt. Pat


No update.


No update.


With goose season ending in the central, south-central and central zones on Thursday, many Downstate lakes will be reopening to regular fishing on Friday.

POWERTON LAKE:Take note of this tweet on Monday from the IDNR:

Powerton Lake SFWA is closed temporarily for fishing. Safety concerns due to ice and fall hazards prompted security and safety teams from the power plant to temporarily close the site for up to two weeks. The site will reopen when conditions improve.

Boat fishing is scheduled to reopen Feb. 15.

LAKE SHELBYVILLE:  Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceREND LAKE: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Have not yet seen the opening day for spring/summer fishing to begin.


No update.


No update.


No update.


I could use somebody to give winter reports.


Whitefish on the ice in Green Bay.<br>Provided by Jeff Norris

Whitefish on the ice in Green Bay.
Provided by Jeff Norris

Jeff Norris sent the photo above last week and said they were able to get out to about 70 feet.

Lance LaVineat Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:

Good morning fellas. Here is a quick updated on the ice fishing and conditions Safety first! As most ice fishermen should already know, but tend to quickly forget, the ice can be very unpredictable even with the extremely cold temps in recent week(s). It is essential to check the ice that you are going to be traveling on all the way out to the spot or spots you want to go to especially in Door County. We have ice breaking going on throughout the winter for ships to come into our ship yard. And we have crazy winds here, which in turn will shift the ice and open up large cracks. So, you can be standing on 12 to 18 inches of ice in one spot and a few feet away there could be a crack with less than 1 inch of ice. With that said, all ice fishermen, no matter how much experience you have out on the ice, if you come up to the county for this great fishery, make sure you do your homework prior to heading out, call us or stop in. We have had a few recent incidents, and equipment has been lost. Luckily no one has been physically hurt and the safety thing should be mentioned As for the report… Whitefish action has been very, very good now that fishermen are able to get out to some of those hot spots. A few of those spots include…Henderson’s Point, the deeper water in front Little Sturgeon and Riley’s Bay, Sherwood Point, Larsen’s Reef and the deeper shorelines and structure to the north up to Egg Harbor. A wide variety of jigs rigged with slider hooks will work great. Tip your jigs with wax worms, spikes, minnow pieces and plastics. One major key for all fishing not just Whitefish is to stay away from the big groups and other fishermen to stay away from the noise. Perch fishing still going pretty strong throughout the area up until this point. And if it is anything like the past couple of years, it should continue to stay good throughout the ice season. Areas to try…Little Sturgeon, Sawyer Harbor, Sturgeon Bay along with some of the deeper water mud out in front of Little Sturgeon and south past the Chaudoir’s Dock area. Again, a wide variety of jigs tipped with palastics, waxies, spikes and minnow pieces will work well along with soaking shiners, fatheads and rosies on hand lines or tip ups. Walleye action is starting to pick up now that fishermen can venture out a bit more and get to some different areas. Look for those secondary shoreline drop offs, rock to sand or mud drop offs along with some offshore reefs. Some areas to check out include that Henderson’s Point shoreline, Sherwood Point and Larsens Reef just to name a few. The options are endless especially when you go up north, fishermen just need to do some venturing. The best baits year in and year out include Oddball jigs, Rapala jigs, Rippin Raps, Slab Raps and Moonshine shiver minnows tipped with minnows Pike fishing also going very good up until this point throughout the county. Areas to target include…Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sawyer Harbor, Downtown Sturgeon Bay including the Sturgeon Bay Flats and the Potowatomi Park shoreline. And now with better ice cover, fishermen can start to try their luck to the north like in Egg Harbor, Fish Creek and Ephraim. Suspend large Golden Shiners, sucker minnows and frozen smelt under tip ups or auto fishermen. Brown Trout fishing seems to be getting better as the ice gets thicker now that fishermen can head up north and set up in some those northern Door County Harbors and marinas safely. For those Browns, suspend golden shiners and large lake shiners under tip ups and auto fishermen from as shallow as 5 feet of water out to that 20 foot range. Also, if you are on a nice little school of fish you can set up and jig those fish with a spoon and a minnow head Thanks; Lance LaVine Howie’s Tackle 1309 Green Bay Rd Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 Ph: 920-746-9916

Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report.


Scheduled to reopen April 1.


Check with B&B Live Bait in Ottawa at (815) 433-0432.


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.


Kyle Lund sent this:

Don’t really have much of a river update for you other than some of the backwaters have fishable ice. Haven’t had time to venture out but I would imagine pike panfish and maybe even a few walleye could be had in those areas.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It generally comes out Tuesday.


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


Weather has really limited effort and catching, but there is more serious harbor fishing beginning (I would suggest reading below on pier passes).

PASSES: PIER: Selected piers in the Chicago harbors–Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, DuSable, Burnham, Jackson–are open to fishermen with a pier pass. The $6 passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait and Northerly Island (credit card only and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday). PARKING: Passes ($10 for two months) for parking at the two small fishermen’s lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait and Northerly Island (credit card only and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday).

ACCESS/PARKING OPTIONS: Here are some parking and access notes for winter perch fishing. Information on parking passes and pier passes is below under separate headings. Several guys have said the parking app, Spot Hero, has been working well for them while trying to park downtown for fishing; otherwise find street parking or small lots. . . . Montrose Harbor has plenty of free parking within easy walking. . . . At Navy Pier, check in at the parking office in the east lot, then be out by 10 a.m. sharp for the reduced parking rate. . . . For DuSable Harbor, use the small fisherman’s lot. . . . At Burnham/Northerly Island, use the Burnham fishermen’s lot or meter parking north of the old terminal (on days with no events at Soldier Field or the music pavilion). . . . Only legal fishing at the slip north of 87th is on the east end at Steelworkers Park. Plenty of free street parking. The slip at 89th is private property.


Scheduled to reopen March 15.


D & S Baitcan be followed on Facebook.


Because of an operational change, both units are now open for fishing. Any ice fishing is at your own risk.


Click here to see the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report. It is generally out Tuesdays.


Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. emailed this:

It’s gotten plenty chilly outside. Most days not seeing temps above 0 degrees, and wind chills in the 30-50 degrees below keeping anglers off the ice (and who can blame them!). If there is a bright side to this (and you’ve got to look very hard) most of the heavy snow is south of the Northwoods. The lack of snow cover on the ice is allowing these super cold days (nights) of air temps of 25-32 degrees below zero to build more ice. Truck travel is improving all around. With ice thickness running 20-24 and building, this should help insure for some good ice into March. Crappies: Good-Very Good – Not in the shallows of 12’ or less, but out over deep water of 15-28’. Crappies being found 2-5’ off bottom. Minnows (small rosie red or Crappie size) on dead sticks or small floats (inside shacks, tip-downs don’t work well in these temps). Tungsten jigs tipped with spikes or even plastics (white, chartreuse, glow) working. Yellow Perch: Fair – Best bite deeper. Shallower water fish not eating it seems. Use Hali jigs to get spikes or wigglers to bottom in hurry. Bang the bottom to stir up mud. Chandiliers and Bombs also good for this method. Northern Pike: Fair-Poor – Some tip-up action, but tough to keep holes open without use of cover, be prepared to keep your catch under sub zero temps; eyes and fins freeze quickly. Don’t waste these fish. Walleye: Poor – A few being caught just before dark, but most anglers off ice before then. Suckers or large fatheads best. Bluegill: Poor – Most Gill anglers in shallows (less than 12’) seeing same thing – uninterested fish. Go extremely small, tiny 2.5 mm Fiska jigs and single spike or tiny plastic (J:S Icemite Jrs or Larvamites) Largemouth Bass: Poor – No reports This cold snap looks to be bottoming out this Wednesday (1/30). Back into teens come Friday, and low 30’s by Saturday. This should help angler’s attitudes, as well as the fishes. Access to lakes will be excellent for truck, ATV and snowmobile use. One word of caution: the ice below the HWY 51 bridge in Minocqua has an area of only 7-12 as of 1/26/19. Advise not to drive trucks under bridge – snowmobile and ATV are okay. Lots of derbys coming up in February Feb 2nd – United Way 14th Annual Ice Jamboree – Stacks Bay, Lake Minocqua Feb 2nd – 7th Annual Ice Derby Willow Haven Bar & Grill – Willow Flowage Feb 9th – 1st Annual KISS High School Ice Fishing Tournament (Highschool teams only) – Lake Minocqua Feb 9th – 17th Annual Plum Lake Ice Fishing Tournament – Plum Lake in Sayner Feb 16th – 3rd Annual Rob Lemmer Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament – Lake Katherine in Hazelhurst Feb 23rd – 6th Annual Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament – Carrol Lake in Woodruff Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook —



Rich Sleziak sent along a photo of a good outing on the ice for panfish.<br>Provided

Rich Sleziak sent along a photo of a good outing on the ice for panfish.

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

Ice 5 to 7 inches most places lots of people out some decent bluegill and crappie catches at loomis lake in Valpo and three rivers county park in lake station chucks icehole jigs tipped with waxworms or spikes best 7 to 12 ft of water Willow slough tip up action decent on suckers or golden roaches bluegill action best for groups that move around and hole hopWith the amount of people that go to slough catch’s vary from slow to great it is good day to dayHere is a lil batch from yesterday private pond in portage 2 hours on chucks icehole jigs and spikes first time out for me


No update.


No update.


The Wisconsin DNR’s Root River Report is usually out Tuesday or Wednesday. Click here to see it.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said it is snowing and blowing.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Clint Sands at Lakeside–(815) 824-2581–said on Tuesday that there was 8 inches of ice, even with the snow cover. On Monday 10-12 groups were out and catching crappie, including decent-sized ones on minnows or soft plastics; stripers to 17 inches; and catfish, generally 2-3 pounds on leaf worms.

Lakesideis open 8 a.m.-2 p.m. while there is ice fishing.

Park hours are 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. through Thursday, Jan. 31. Then in February, hours are 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.


For the Wisconsin DNR’s Lake Michigan Fishing Report, click here to see it. Streams flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.


Sturgeon spearing season opens Feb. 9. Click here for details.


Check with River’s Edge.


No update.


No update.


No update.

The Latest
The Bears’ second-year cornerback is in a comfort zone after learning some tough lessons in an up-and-down rookie season. “I don’t have any of the ‘Where am I?’ like I did the first year,” he said. “I feel like I know where I’m at, what’s going on and where I fit.”
“The fortunate part of it is that none of that stuff is relevant until after the season is over,” Giolito said of his impending free-agent status.
No one on the team has more confidence — or fun — than Stroman, the undersized right-hander who sometimes looks like a kid out there.
The two-time Daytona 500 champion stopped by Chicago as other drivers offered ride-alongs on the track in an SUV. Earnhardt rates each bump, crest and imperfection.
The Chicago Gospel Music Festival, ‘The Lloyd Price Musical’ and an Andy Warhol art exhibit are among the highlights of the week ahead.