‘Bomb Cyclone’ builds ice fishing around and in Chicago
The “Bomb Cyclone” late last week built ice virtually everywhere around Chicago and led to ice fishing being nearly universal (especially when the deep freeze eased slightly), all of which leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report. Question is what the warmth and rain later this week will do to it all.
The “Bomb Cyclone” late last week built ice virtually everywhere around Chicago and led to ice fishing being nearly universally (especially when the deep freeze eased slightly), all of which leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
Question is what the warmth and rain later this week will do to it all. I think there is a good enough base that ice fishing will go on, though under sloppier conditions.
Dale Rehus messaged the photo at the top and this on Wednesday:
Tariq Khan caught this 19# 10oz laker at navy pier this afternoon perch fishing. John Lazarich on the net.
Khan is one of the great lakefront regulars.
The updated ice-fishing regulations for public sites around Chicago are posted here.
Ice fishing is widespread and included in the individual reports
NAVY PIER ANGLING
The north side of Navy Pier is open for anglers. The discounted parking for anglers is $9 daily, if out by 10 a.m.
Chicago Park District’s parking passes ($20 for two months) for the anglers’ parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at the Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit card only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday), but call (312) 745-2910 first to make sure someone is there.
My column from Nov. 30, 2022, on parking the length of the Chicago lakefront is posted at https://chicago.suntimes.com/2022/11/30/23485385/chicago-lakefront-parking-fishing
The $10 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors, may be bought at Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday), but call (312) 745-2910 first to make sure someone is there.
Dan Coleman emailed the photo above and this Wednesday from Lake County, after he sent the nomination for Fish of the Week:
A few more tonight. Ice in the smaller bays and smaller ponds is getting there. What was 2-3 inches last night is now 5. Main lake and deeper water creating the scary stuff still only 2 maybe three inches in those spots.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photo above and this:
Here is the first ice report of the season.
As of Monday, I found 6 1/2 inches of clear ice with a few bad spots due to springs. This lake locked up last Saturday and is wind protected.
The bass bite has been slow during the early morning hours. Once we get to mid morning hours the bite turned on and continued all the way until late afternoon.
The bait of choice was a Clam Outdoors pinhead mino in wonderbread jigged along the weedline break to deeper water.
The artic warrior tipups are doing a great job as well.
Bluegill have been good working weed flats during the afternoon hours with a Wiggle Your Worm custom jig tipped with a Clam maki. A few smaller crappie can be taken as well.
The upcoming forecast is an interesting one with above normal temps and rain. The solid base we have will hopefully hang in there.
Ken Husker O’Malley
Husker Outdoors Waterwerks fishing team
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said bluegill are excellent, most fishing shallow with waxies and small ice jigs, try Flirty Girty jigs, most focusing on Channel; walleye (some big ones) are fair shallow, jigging or tip-ups, stay out of the middles; crappie are mostly early mornings with glow Rat Finkees, Demons or Gill Pills.
ICE-FISHING ACCESS: Some options: Choppers Bar and Grill (Channel), $5, taken off bill if you patronize; Sandbar Bar & Grille (Marie), $10 or patronize; The Boatyard (Marie), $5, dropbox or online, call ahead for bait or snacks; Hermann’s Rest-A-While (Nielsen’s Channel), $5, food, drink; Lily Bug Acres (channel between Bluff and Spring), $5, bait shop, maybe a shuttle service later in the season; Musky Tales (Channel), $5 includes trailers, open 24 hours, bait shop currently closed during renovations; Pelican Bay Marina (Marie), $5, dropbox, plowed and lighted lot; Oak Park Lounge (Pistakee Bay), $5 ($10 with trailer), park in top or middle lots.
Heidecke, LaSalle and Braidwood are closed.
POWERTON: Bank fishing is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
EMIQUON PRESERVE: Fishing is sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are required, remember they expire on Dec. 31 and new ones are needed. They are available Tuesday to Saturday at Dickson Mounts Museum, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.
SPRING LAKE: Site superintendent Thad Cook emailed:
Bank fishing and boat fishing at Spring Lake after 1:00 during the late Canada Goose season.
HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.
Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.
Pete Lamar emailed on Friday:
I backed down on fishing at Shabbona on Wednesday. Tuesday night was 8 degrees out here and I thought I’d find a thin layer of ice if I made the drive.
I did fish a warm water discharge on the Fox on Thursday before things got bad. Good thing I mainly wanted to practice casting because that was about all I accomplished. A big tree had fallen across the warm water channel and it looked prime: it reminded me of swinging streamers across and under downed trees for steelhead in Indiana. But no one was home. Got out just as snow started to fly and temps plunged.
. . .
GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN
Guide Mike Norris texted the photo above and emailed this on Monday:
Fishing Report – 12/25/2022
Beaver Dam Lake - With the holiday season upon us and winter storm Elliot bringing three days of brutally cold and windy weather to my area late last week fishing reports were far and few between. Before the bomb cyclone hit though, ice fishing was excellent on Beaver Dam Lake. Both northern pike and walleye were being caught with medium-sized shiners hung from tip-ups.
Big Green Lake – Ice anglers will venture unto Beyer’s Cove and the T Channels for bluegill and perch as winds subside and air temperatures rise early this week. Despite this past weekend’s arctic blast of cold the main lake on Big Green remains wide open and should remain that way into January.
Little Green Lake – A good four or more inches of ice has formed in the bays and anglers are working micro jigs tipped with spikes or wax worms for bluegill. The main basin of the lake should freeze over early this week and anglers will target crappies and perch with jigs tipped with minnows.
Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.
Tim Davis ice fished at Montrose Harbor and texted this and the photos above and below Tuesday morning:
First light is the right bite.
Waxy’s on a gold Swedish pimple.
Side note, the ice laddle was my grandfather’s. I’m sure he’s smiling down
That’s the kind of touch with the laddle that makes my day.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Indaian, texted:
This warm up coming should make it fishable for perch in the slips again.
Weather obviously limited perch fishing and other fishing effort in general, otherwise. I suspect that will change quickly this week.
SALMON SNAGGING: Season ends Saturday, Dec. 31.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
Pat Hasburgh at D&S Bait, Tackle & Fly Shop said there’s good ice, all shallow bays have 4-8 inches with good bluegill; some good walleye shallow on Monona; Mendota froze over, but out deep not ready for perch anglers, yet.
Monster Lake is open all year. Other lakes reopen on Wednesday, Dec. 28th.
Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.
Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:
Minocqua Fishing Report:
The past week was a tough one for ice anglers. Unseasonably cold and very high winds kept people off the ice. Very little to report for fishing success till the winds finally dropped 12/26.
The cold and wind did help travel conditions by blowing off snow and helping build ice on some lakes. There are still reports of some lakes holding 4 to 6 inches of slush above the 5 to 10 inches of ice, yet beneath the 3 to 5 inches of snow. Overall fishing for all species was poor this past week 12/19 through 12/25. Anglers could hardly get out, let alone keep holes clean to fish, so let’s look ahead! Temps are on the increase and winds down. With the ability to get back on the ice anglers will start working the familiar easier access, easier to travel to haunts as caution is still advised traveling across lakes.
The concerns are areas that may have slush and on the largest of lakes that have small snow drifts that insulate the ice keeping it from thickening. One local angler found a pocket of 1 1/2 inches ice under slush and snow drifts surrounded by 6 inches of clear snow free ice. So while tracked vehicles are going out on some lakes please be cautious.
With forecast into the 30s this week, better opportunities and bites should be ours to end the year.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted:
Lots of groups on area lakes and ponds ice fishing. Ice thickness all over the place be careful.
Some steelhead action in lower stretches of area tributaries that are free of ice. Jigs tipped with waxworms best.
This warm up coming should make it fishable for perch in the slips again.
I know it was brutally cold for several days, but his second sentence it is one to heed.
Site winter hours—through Jan. 31—are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Boondocks is closed
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN
Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:
ATV travel is good on Poygan, most fishing near the horseshoe hole for walleye. North side of Partridge is good for some northerns and bluegills. Still heavy pressure on the area bayous