Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Ice fishing, NAIFC visits Channel/Catherine, a few Indiana coho

Ice fishing goes on around Chicago and leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; plus the North American Ice Fishing Circuit visits Channel and Catherine lakes on Sunday and there’s a few coho reported in Indiana.

SHARE Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report: Ice fishing, NAIFC visits Channel/Catherine, a few Indiana coho
Ice chunks at Navy Pier on Saturday morning being blown out on the backside of the cold front. Credit: Dale Bowman

Ice chunks at Navy Pier on Saturday morning being blown out on the backside of the cold front.

Dale Bowman

Ice fishing again leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; and, in related matters, the North American Ice Fishing Circuit comes to Channel and Catherine lakes on Sunday. Plus there is a few reports of coho in Indiana.

ICE TOURNAMENT

The North American Ice Fishing Circuit visits Channel and Catherine lakes Sunday. The tournament fishing runs through 2 p.m. It is a chance to learn how pros look at local ice fishing or for locals to enter a team to compete against pros. The access point is Musky Tales. If interested in registering a team or for more information, go to https://www.naifc.com/events/8.

ICE FISHING

As expected, cold firmed up ice conditions again. However, the forecast 50s and heavy rains Wednesday will make for sloppy conditions or worse later this week. Ice fishing is in virtually every report.

The updated ice-fishing regulations for public sites around Chicago are posted here.

Brian Olson with his 141 pound, 75.5 inch F4 female sturgeon speared on opening day—Saturday, Feb. 12—of the 2022 sturgeon spearing season. Provided by the Wisconsin DNR

Brian Olson with his 141 pound, 75.5 inch F4 female sturgeon speared on opening day—Saturday, Feb. 12—of the 2022 sturgeon spearing season.

Provided by the Wisconsin DNR

STURGEON SPEARING

In the sturgeon-spearing season on the Winnebago system, the season ended today, Feb. 15, on the Upriver Lakes, after only four days.

The season is expected to last the full 16 days on Lake Winnebago.

Click here for more information.

AUGER SHARPENING

After 22 years, Fran Connelly is still sharpening auger blades.

Find “Ice Auger Sharpening” on Facebook or drop off blades at either Lee’s Bait & Tackle (Elk Grove Village or Carol Stream).

I admire people who keep on doing something useful for fishing, well, for life in general.

Eve with a good yellow perch caught at Navy Pier on Friday. Tweeted by Quinn Wunar

Eve with a good yellow perch caught at Navy Pier on Friday.

Tweeted by Quinn Wunar

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.

Quinn Wunar texted last week that the ice was blown out by the west winds and the perch bite was on, at first by jigging tight to the wall with an ice rod (minnow heads better than minnows) on Thursday, then, on Friday, with a slow rolling retrieve.

It’s so interesting how they turn on right before a front. Friday was my best day all year.

He sent the photo to the right of Eve and this:

Eve caught one 14.5 threw it back because she’s bad ass

Waiting at Navy Pier for a perch bite Sunday. Tweeted by Quinn Wunar.

Waiting at Navy Pier for a perch bite Sunday.

Tweeted by Quinn Wunar.

Saturday morning, I gave it a shot, but on the backside of the cold front, the bite had shut down and the last chunks of ice were being blown out by the stiff northwest-west winds (photo at the top).

On Sunday morning, Wunar tweeted the photo to the left, and this:

Good times are gone.

LAKEFRONT PARKING

Chicago Park District’s parking passes for the fisherman’s parking lots at DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale (Wednesday to Sunday) at Henry’s Sports and Bait in Bridgeport and Northerly Island Visitor Center.

Readers suggest SpotHero app downtown. Otherwise, here are some basics: Foster (free street parking or pay lot); Montrose (now a mix of metered and free street parking); Belmont (pay lots on north and south sides); Diversey (pay lot or street parking); DuSable Harbor (pay lot or fisherman’s lot); Northerly Island/Burnham Harbor (meters, pay lot or fisherman’s lot); 31st/Burnham (meter parking between McCormick Place and 31st Street Harbor); Oakwood/39th (meters); 63rd Street/Casino Pier (pay lot); Steelworkers Park (free street parking at east end of 87th); Cal Park (free parking).

PIER PASSES

The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to select piers at most Jackson Park, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors, may be bought at Henry’s Sports and Bait (cash only, Wednesday-Sunday) and Northerly Island Visitor Center (credit-card only). A number of additional piers were added this year to bring the total to 31 piers.

Success during the Hard Water Classic Saturday. Provided photo

Success during the Hard Water Classic Saturday.

Provided

AREA LAKES

Atul Mallik, who caught the Illinois-record lake trout last summer, tagged me in a post from his wife with a bunch of photos, including the one left, from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County’s Hard Water Classic on Saturday, and this:

Wild day for the Malliks at the DuPage County Hard Water Ice Fishing Classic! Fish for all, prizes for Atul and Dr. Jones, brisk adventure all around.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County has made this event into a destination event.

In general, area lakes have had a good run of ice fishing.

What happens later this week will determine a lot on how long that continues.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late-season crappie.  Provided photo

Ken “Husker” O’Malley with a late-season crappie.

Provided

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Husker Outdoors emailed the photos right and below, and this:

Hey Dale, Here is a recap of this past weeks fishing. Area lakes-the afternoon bite remains the most consistent. Pay attention to the moon rise. If it occurs during the mid to late afternoon hours, get out. Crappie and bluegill are good working weed flats in 4-5 fow. Best presentation has been a gold tungsten jig with a C & N Custom plastics jester in either white or chartreuse. When plastics slow, work spikes or waxies. Let the fish dictate what they want and stay mobile with the schools. Let’s hope the weather we are expected to get mid week doesn’t deteriorate ice conditions to much. Here is the nature pic of the week [below]. Maybe a possible hole jumper? TTYL

A raccoon on the edge of the ice, the week’s nature photo. Credit: Ken “Husker” O’Malley

A raccoon on the edge of the ice, the week’s nature photo.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley

I like the thought of raccoons going hole to hole.

Kyle at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said Sterling Lake has been decent for walleye.

Rob Abouchar emailed the photo below, and this:

Hi Dale The good Ice fishing for Largemouth bass continues on Island Lake.Joe the Grasseater Schatz was out again and getting lots of flags to go on tip-ups with large and medium Golden Roach Minnows.The minnows are rigged on an aberdeen hook with a small spinner for attraction.LJoe nearly had a very large Northern Pike throughtthe hole but the fish bent the hook and slipped back into the freezing water.Keeping holes from freezing up was a constant battle in the frigid conditions.Early in the morning the blustery frosty sunny and cloudy conditions produced a Sundog rainbow spot.I was searching for a snowrainbow in the frosty yet sunny conditions but no luck. The conditions felt odd, it reminded me of going into the deep freezer refrigeratorwhen I used to work at St. Mary Of The Lake Seminary back in the day. On the music front we had a nice rehearsal onSunday with The Conscious Rockers Reggae Band in preparation for the gig at the Art Gallery Kafe in Woodale on February 25th.Te band likes the Melodica so I think I’ll break it out at the next show. Tight Lines and Good Health! Rob

As always, I enjoy Abouchar’s observations and musical update.

Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz unhooks a largemouth bass before release on Island Lake. Provided by Rob Abouchar

Joe “The Grasseater” Schatz unhooks a largemouth bass before release on Island Lake.

Provided by Rob Abouchar

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed. Reopens March 1.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

As the FOTW indicates, there’s some nice walleye to be caught on the Chain, too.

Arden Katz fished the 20-foot hole on Marie over the weekend and caught catfish, yellow bass and white bass in 20-22 feet on chartreuse Swedish Pimples and small Jigging Raps with spikes, right off the bottom.

Kyle at Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch said Petite is best for catfish, yellow bass, white bass and crappie, shallow in 6-12 feet; walleye are being caught on the north end of Channel; numbers of walleye are down on Marie but the sizes are big (to 26 inches) in4-8 feet around current with little blue Jigging Raps; on Loon Lake, pike to 41 inches continue good shallow in 8 feet.

ICE-FISHING ACCESS: Hermann’s Rest-A-While (Nielsen’s Channel), $5, food, drink; Choppers Bar and Grill (Channel), $5, taken off bill if you patronize; Sandbar Bar & Grille (Marie), $10 or patronize; Oak Park Lounge (Pistakee Bay), $5 ($10 with trailer), park in top or middle lots; The Boatyard (Marie), $5, dropbox or online; Musky Tales (Channel), $5, open 24 hours; Pelican Bay Marina (Marie), $5, dropbox, plowed lot.

COOLING LAKES

Braidwood, Heidecke and LaSalle are closed for the season.

DOWNSTATE

POWERTON: Boat and bank fishing are open. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

EMIQUON PRESERVE: Hours are sunrise to sunset. Access permits and liability waivers are required. 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.

HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Check regulations at http://www.wetlands-initiative.org/dixon-paddling-fishing.

Florida sunrise Monday. Credit: George Peters

Florida sunrise Monday.

George Peters

George Peters with a redfish caught in Florida. Provided photo

George Peters with a redfish caught in Florida.

Provided

FLORIDA

Why not a Florida report?

Seems like the right time of year for one.

George Peters, who is a regular contributor to the Kankakee River report, emailed the photo above and on the left on Monday, and this:

Hi Dale, Happy Valentine’s Day! Thought you might like todays sunrise in Fl. And two more...

He added:

Monster 28 Redfish on a suspend lure.

OK, I like stuff like that, too. And redfish are special.

Jeff Gerner, from Markesan, Wisconsin, with 34-inch Green Lake lake trout. Provided by Mike Norris

Jeff Gerner, from Markesan, Wisconsin, with 34-inch Green Lake lake trout.

Provided by Mike Norris

GREEN LAKE AREA, WISCONSIN

Guide Mike Norris texted the photo right, and emailed this:

Fishing Report – 2/14/2022 Mike Norris Big Green Lake – The entire lake is now iced over and with little snow cover this is turning into a memorable ice fishing season.The cisco bite remains particularly good on Acme Kastmaster jigging spoons snap jigged forty feet down over fifty-five feet of water.Lake trout fishing is excellent with numbers of lake trout between thirty and thirty-six inches in length caught over the last week.Try jigging for them on mid-lake humps in sixty feet of water with a 3/8 oz. VMC Moonshine jig tipped with cisco meat and a trailer hook. Big walleyes were the highlight of the Fish Tales Derby held on Fox Lake last weekend.Competitors brought three walleyes over 8 lbs. and one over 9 lbs. to the scales.Despite single digit temperatures the event had a record turnout over the weekend.Proceeds from the derby go to stocking Fox Lake.

GREEN/STURGEON BAYS, WISCONSIN

Staff at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay said guys able to move around are doing better for whitefish than those sticking to spots. Many are fishing in 70-80 feet; mostly catching on plastics. Travel is generally good, use caution around one crack.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed. Reopens April 1.

LAKE ERIE

Click here for the Ohio DNR Report.

LAKEFRONT

Navy Pier report at the top.

Gary Bloom messaged on Saturday:

10 perch 2. 11 inchers. Fished Montrose. 8 inches ice. Lots of current and big cracks today. Fished 10:00- 5:00pm.

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed. Reopens March 15.

MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN

Click here for the update from D&S Bait.

MAZONIA

Both units are open for open-water and/or ice fishing (when safe). Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset.

Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait & Tackle Shop in East Brooklyn said he was busy over the weekend; local clubs had good perch and a few crappie; ice conditions are good with 8-9 inches of ice and some frozen slush on top.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

Kurt Justice at Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua emailed:

The humdrums of winter remain as early mornings in the sub-zero temps continue to add some ice thickness and keep anglers from hitting ice until mid-mornings for the most part. Yellow Perch:Good-Fair – Best to work the mud at this time of year as most of the Perch in any given lake seem to be targeting blood worms and other small invertebrates.Not that weed options aren’t available, but the best average eaters are out over mud.Wigglers, red spikes and small rosies best! Northern Pike:Good-Fair – Mid-mornings to early afternoons best.Shiners and suckers and even the odd hotdog bite here and there.Action fair, size has been good with fish of 24-32 being reported. Crappie:Fair-Good – Best over mud in 18-28’, though a couple reports of anglers successful in 14-16’ just outside weeds.Finicky bites require down sizing with plastics on #3 tungsten jigs.Crappie and small rosie reds when fish a bit more aggressive. Bluegill:Fair – Action comes in spurts in weeds, sorting necessary.Some anglers finding larger Gills mixed in with Crappies suspending over mud flats. Largemouth Bass:Fair – Don’t like the cold mornings, but become a little more active later on.Small to medium shiners on tip-ups, jigs and spoons with minnow heads in 8-12’ weeds. Walleye:Poor – Still small windows at dusk and just after dark.Suckers over sandgrass in 20-32’, use smaller bait/large fatheads and rosies for negative biters. Will this be the final week of sup-zero mornings?Lets hope so.Looks like Thursday night/Friday morning may be the last for a while.Temps forecast for the weekend look nice, into low 30’s, so hopefully will beak our way. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop - Like us on Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

Willow slough pretty good for a lot of fisherman the last week bass few northern pike on tip ups with golden roaches Slough gills some red ears and crappie have been the norm move around you will be rewarded. Portage Riverwalk same as last week few Lakers, and a coho here and there. Slez’s bait is still fully stocked with all ice gear and bait.

SHABBONA LAKE

Bluegill on Shabbona Lake Monday. Tweeted by Larry Green

Bluegill on Shabbona Lake Monday.

Tweeted by Larry Green

Larry Green tweeted the photo above and this on Monday:

Limit of gills on Valentine’s Day With Charlie Mack at Shabbona @BowmanOutside @AlexOquendo1 @IceMonkey21 @mullady21 @n

Concessions are closed, reopening April 1. Site hours for February are 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said

A few steelhead at the front of the river at St. Joseph, but can’t launch down there; steelhead and better launching below Berrien Springs; good bluegill and crappie on inland lakes.

Paddle and Pole hosts the Berrien Springs Fish Ladder Camera.

WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN

The sturgeon-spearing season on the Upriver lakes ended today, Feb. 15, after only four days. The season is expected to last the full 16 days on Lake Winnebago. Click here for more information.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

Guide Bill Stoeger in Fremont texted:

Bluegill and northerns on Partridge and Partridge Crop. Some walleye and white bass action on Poygan. East shore of Winnebago is good for perch, white bass, andwalleye.

The Latest
Chicago police were called to the CTA station in the 400 block of South Clinton Street around 10:50 p.m. Monday.
Spouse considers leaving man who goes out boozing every week and then drives home.
Even as you see all the plot twists coming, Tom Cruise’s charms and the spectacular aerial action still take your breath away.
Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.