Ice fishing: Finally arrived around Chicago and leads the Midwest Fishing Report

Ice fishing arrived and appears to be here for the Chicago area and this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

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Scott Woltman ice fishing in DuPage County Monday.

Provided by Steve Palmisano

Well, ice is being made and fished on around Chicago; obviously, that leads this sprawling raw-fie Midwest Fishing Report.

Steve Palmisano of Henry’s Sports and Bait was out checking ice conditions Monday and sent the photo at the top and this note:

Scott Woltman of Glen Ellyn enjoying his day off of school reeling in blue gill, bass, and crappie on hidden lake in Du Page county.


Ice fish at your own risk, unless noted. Ice fishing is not permitted at the Chicago Lagoons, FPD of Kendall County, FPD of Will County and FP of the Kankakee River Valley. FP COOK: Ice-fishing lakes are Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south, Flatfoot, Green, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee Slough, Sag Quarry, Tampier, Turtlehead, Wampum. FPD DuPAGE: Permitted most sites. No ice fishing at Spring Creek Reservoir. Late-night fishing allowed at Deep Quarry, must be out of preserve by 11 p.m. FPD KANE: Permitted only at Lake Patterson (Hampshire South FP), Oakhurst FP, two ponds within Paul Wolff Campground and Grunwald Farms FP. LAKE FP: When conditions allow, ice fishing permitted 6:30 a.m. to sunset at Banana and Independence Grove south bay; 6:30 a.m. to one hour after sunset at Sterling. McHENRY CCD: Ice fishing at The Hollows (West Lake only). SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Must use the east entrance.


Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Montrose (free parking); Navy Pier (check in parking office in east lot, be out by 10 a.m. for $8 angler parking); DuSable Harbor (fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters or fisherman’s lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th).


Pier passes ($6) for select piers in Chicago harbors and $10 parking passes (DuSable, Burnham fisherman’s lots) are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait or Northerly Island (10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, credit card only).


Ice fishing is here as shown in the Fish of the Week and as Ken “Husker” O’Malley emailed:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past week’s fishing. Area lakes- it’s time to get the short rods ready. Area lakes have locked up. Hopefully there will be some ice fishing this weekend as overnight temps will make ice. TTYL — Ken Husker O’Malley Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team


Proprietor Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said ``We’re fishing now.’’ The 4 inches of weekend snow was knocked down by the rain enough to freeze up well and build general ice of 5-6 inches. But as always approach middles of main lake areas and current areas with caution.

Hermann’s Rest-a-While, which offers parking, access, food and drink at Nielsen’s Channel, also offers to include people on text messages about ice conditions.

Absolutely! Please tell anyone who wants to opt in to this service they can text ice conditions to (847) 309-2225.


Braidwood, Heidecke and LaSalle are closed for the season.


POWERTON: Bank fishing is open daily 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

EMIQUON: Go to SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.



Tommy Skarlis at the Northern Illinois Sports Show.

Mike Norris

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above of Tommy Skarlis, who has been battling brain cancer but still came to the Northern Illinois Sports Show last week. Norris also emailed the report below:

Fishing Report – 01/19/2020 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – The shoreline areas of Big Green finally iced up following last Friday’s blast of frigid Canadian air. The ice extends out about 100 feet around the entire perimeter of the lake though the center of the lake remains open. Ice has closed all the boat ramp areas, so the open water bite is out of reach. If air temps remain below freezing, we should get a good solid ice base across the entire lake so anglers can start walking out to the deepest areas to pursuit ice fishing for ciscoes and lake trout. Little Green Lake - Ice anglers are catching northern pike and walleye. Most of the pike are being caught on tip-ups, a few jigging. Fish along the weed edges where panfish are moving out. The best bite for walleye is right after dark and throughout the evening. Little Green finally froze all the way across and anglers venturing to the middle of the lake are catching crappie. Fox Lake – As of last Thursday’s arctic blast most of Fox Lake froze over though the center of the lake still has open water areas. Bluegills are biting in the Jug and up in the Town Park area. The key to catching the bluegills is to drill several holes and keep working each one back and forth with a small jig and plastic. . . . Contact Mike Norris, Wacky Worm Guide Service, at 630-842-8199 for Big Green Lake and other south-central Wisconsin guided fishing trips.


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR weekly report.


Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.


Not much on the perch, not enough ice in the harbors to ice fish, but there are still a smattering of brown trout, steelhead and lake trouts around, as shown below.


Jeremy Preucel with a Belmont Harbor brown trout.


Jeremy Preucel messaged the photo above and this:

Here’s something to add to the report this week.... Brown was caught this Saturday at Belmont on a marabou jig . . . Thought you might appreciate it... Tight lines

I always appreciate stuff like that.

Lori Ralph at the Salmon Stop texted:

Augs been selling swim bait to guys going to the lake, bit we rarely hear back. I would bet browns on the bottom plus it’s been so damn cold!


Check the D&S Bait update at


Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop emailed:

Wind, cold and snow kept fishing pressure down this past week. With those who did venture out, fair catches were reported. Downsizing and finesse fishing were the key for getting fish on the ice. There is good news though, with temperatures rising to the 30’s and overcast, this coming week should make for improved and comfortable fishing conditions. Northern Pike: Fair – Nothing new here, tip-ups with big suckers, golden shiners or river shiners will do the trick. Just pick your flavor of choice for the toothy critters, 8-14’ of water seems to be the preferred depths. Walleye: Fair – The last hour before dusk and there on after seems to be producing fish more than morning times. Get out on a deeper weed edge and scatter some tip-ups with suckers or shiners. Jig fishermen were picking up fish using jigging spoons like pimples, flyer spoons, or slender spoons tipped with a minnow head, as well as, Slab Raps, Jigging Rapalas and Rippin Raps. No overcast the past days made for tougher fishing, but look for it to improve as the weather changes. Crappies: Fair – Those who set-up in a shack last week caught some decent Crappies. Fishing would have been better if one could set tip-downs out, but Mother Nature wouldn’t let it happen. This week’s weather will allow it so make sure you bring them. Small #14, #16 trebles tipped with rosies or small fatheads for the set-up. As for jigging, Little Cecils, Flash Champs, and Leech Flutter Spoons produced well tipped with a minnow head or 2-3 waxies. Small single hook jigs like Tubby Jigs or Pug Bugs tipped with a small plastic like a wedge and also Beavertail caught fish as well Yellow Perch: Fair As the ice improves, anglers are venturing out more finding Perch over mud flats. Mobility is the key to keeping up with the schools of Perch. Fish have also been showing up if you can find deep sparse weeds in that 10-15’ range. Wigglers, waxies, spikes have been all taking fish, but larger fatheads and rosies have been catching the larger Perch. If you don’t want to mess with live bait, K-Rips have also been taking some decent fish of late. Bluegills: Fair – Gills continue to be caught in that 8-14’ range. Small tungsten jigs, Flirty Girtys and moon jigs tipped with mousees or spikes are all producing. Plastics and beavertails are helping in catching the larger fish though Ice conditions are staying stable. We did have 5-8 of snow on Saturday, the good new is we had a lot of wind to help blow some of it off the larger lakes. ATV’s and snowmobiles are going out on some lakes. Just use caution, I did hear of some slushy spots popping up on smaller lakes. As of now, no vehicle traffic on lakes yet. Ice Fishing Events Feb 1st – 15th Annual United Way Ice Fishing Jamboree – Lake Minocqua at Stack’s Bay Feb 1st – Kids Ice Fishing Day – Big Arbor Vitae Lake at Mielke Bay Feb 15th – 4th Annual Rob Lemmer Memorial – Lake Katherine in Hazelhurst Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop Like us on FaceBook



Jeremy Preucel with a steelhead from Salt Creek.


Jeremy Preucel messaged the photo above and this report:

Here’s something to add to the report this week. . . . Steelhead was caught in salt Creek on a spawn sac under a float... Thought you might appreciate it... Tight lines

I do enjoy and appreciate the info.

Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted a report that echoed Preucel’s catch:

Some good steelhead action in area tributaries over the weekend voodoo jigs tipped with butterworms or waxworms best but some fish on spawn saks too People wanting ice that’s all I here some people venturing but ice is spotty for sure


Click here for the Wisconsin DNR’s report, usually on Tuesday or Wednesday.


Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said ice is coming down the river, otherwise not much to report.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said a couple were on the ice on Monday around the no-motor zone, around piers and the campground shoreline. But some still some open holes throughout the center.

Because of the lateness of the ice season, Lakeside will not be open for ice fishing, so have your supplies before you arrive at Shabbona.

Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.


Click here for the southern Lake Michigan reports from the Wisconsin DNR.


Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Haven’t talked to anyone this week that have been out. Looked at Partridge this morning, no one out. Winnebago has frozen over again, but I don’t think anyone is going out past the bays. Driving on Shawano. Northerns, gills, during the day,and crappie right before dark suspended in deeper water.

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