Midwest Fishing Report: Ice, yah

SHARE Midwest Fishing Report: Ice, yah

{opening changed] In this cold, (my Christmas-present high-low thermometer had six straight days of 0 or below) this winter is beginning to drag on like 1979, back when I was like a junior or so in college. No mistake, ice fishing leads the Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the outdoors page of the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.


Ice is safe almost universally, the only exceptions are the few current areas strong enough to fight off the cold or a few spots swam open by Canada geese determined not to move. Here’s the regulations for local public waters:

CHICAGO LAGOONS: Closed to ice fishing because of liability concerns. COOK FPD: It’s ice fish at your own risk on the designated ice-fishing lakes (4 inches is recommended): Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FPD: Unless otherwise posted, it’s ice fish at your own risk on forest preserve waters (4 inches of ice is recommended). Spring Creek Reservoir in Bloomingdale is closed to ice fishing (fluctuating levels). Late-night fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry Lake in Bartlett (fishermen must be out of the preserve by 11 p.m.) Ice holes are limited to 10 inches in diameter, and fishermen may only fish two holes. Only portable shelters are permitted, and must be removed when not in use. The Outdoor Report line is (630) 871-6422. KANE FPD: Ice fishing is permitted at Lake Patterson at Oakhurst in Aurora and the various ponds at Burnidge in Elgin. LAKE FPD: Forest preserve ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when the ice is uniformly 4.5 inches thick and the area is posted as safe for fishing. Shelters must be removed by the end of the day, only two poles allowed, and holes must be drilled 6 inches or smaller. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to sunset, except an additional hour in the evening is given at Sterling on week days. For the latest, call (847) 968-3235 or go to the ice fishing page at lcfpd.org. McHENRY CD: The McHenry County Conservation District allows ice fishing 8 a.m. to sunset at the Fel-Pro RRR, the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Pleasant Valley, Rush Creek pond and Stickney Run pond, when there is 4 inches of clear ice. Rangers check conditions daily, if necessary. Live bait is prohibited at Fel-Pro, the Hollows and Rush Creek. Updates, if needed, are made daily at (815) 338-6223. Parking lots are plowed, but other areas are not prepped by MCCD, so be prepared to make paths, etc. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk on both lakes (Loon and Beaver). The west entrance is closed in winter, the east entrance may be closed temporarily because of icing. WILL FPD: The forest preserve district does not offer ice fishing; however, Monee Reservoir and Whalon Lake allow fishing year-round, if the water is open.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site. Probably shouldn’t even include this this week. If you’re wacko enough to fishing rivers now, you don’t need any help from me.


For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to

www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Ice is good, probably heading past a foot by the weekend. The panfish bite slowed from December. Both Triangle and Mik-Lurch reported Long Lake has the steadiest panfish action. On Deep Lake, Jack & Lydia’s Resort–(847) 356-1389–reported some evening crappie, some bluegill (takes sorting) and a 42-inch pike on Sunday. Arden Katz reported good white bass in 22 feet on Marie on Thursday on Swedish Pimple and wigglers. Triangle reported white bass and walleye improving on Marie. Jim’s Bait in Fox Lake reported Spring Lake channel has the most consistent bite, and Duck Lake (if you can get on it) is good for tip-up fishing.

For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/

More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.


Joe’s Rock N Wave Diner–(847) 838-9283–has access to Spring Lake. Staff asks that ice fishermen park on the east side and come in and pay. . . . At the T Channel, staff at Famous Freddie’s–(847) 587 9677–last year asked fishermen to park in back and be out by 11:30 a.m. when they open, or come in and eat. . . . On Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, Hermann’s–(847) 639-9644–offers parking, wax worms, food and drink. . . . On Channel Lake, Choppers Bar–(847) 838-1230–and the Thirsty Turtle–(847) 395-4704–have access. Chopper’s refunds the parking voucher if you order food. . . . On Lake Marie, McKinney’s East Marina–(847) 838-8550–or the Sand Bar & Grill–(847) 395-8990–are best. With the thicker ice, Barnacle Bob’s–(847) 395-2036–is an option. . . . For Ackerman’s Channel, try Port O’Blarney–(847) 395-4122.


Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round. The lakes at Mazonia North open Saturday. All ice fishing is at your own risk.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported Delavan is frozen and people are walking out; bigger bluegill and crappie are coming from the southwest end, some perch in 30 feet and a few scattered walleye. Como is good for pike. On Geneva, there’s some shanties on Geneva Bay.


EVERGREEN: Site staffer Brad Wood sent this on ice fishing:

The last few days we have seen more people out ice fishing. The lake is frozen over with the exception of around the aerator by the pump station. Some people out today said they are locating several fish on there finders, but are having trouble catching them. Most of the activity has been in between the main launch and deer island, between the back side of the beach and white pines cove, and the coves off of White Oak Rd , and in the campground cove. Heavy rains several weeks ago left the water clarity poor.

EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open for ice fishing. Remember, new permits are needed for the new season. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. POWERTON: Shore fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m.. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.


At Kenosha, Katz reported fair action for steelhead and browns; spawn and slip-bobbers are better than tube jigs. At Racine, the Wisconsin DNR reported poor water clarity and variable ice thickness making tough ice fishing.


CHICAGO: Ice fishing is beginning in the harbors, primarily at Belmont and Montrose; action has been fair and keeper perch take sorting. Steve Palmisano reminded it is worth having a tip-up out for trout. Henry’s reported pockets at Navy Pier are open, but mostly some guys are busting holes to fish for perch there. Otherwise, Henry’s reported some open-water perch fishing in the river and slips at 92nd and 95th. CHICAGO’S FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry’s.


D&S Bait reported ice capped over everywhere as of Monday. Monona Bay remains the top spot for bluegill and crappie. There’s some pike on Monona and Warner bays. By the later this week, guys should be all over Mendota trying for perch.

For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com


Ice remains variable for this late in the year. Here’s what guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports had to say:

After a nice little spike in activity mid week, things slowed way down as artic cold temps (-16 below Sat Morn) and high skies sewed up the bite over the weekend. Morning temps in the low to mid teens and a drop in the barometer seem to be helping the fish bite a bit more. Bluegill: Fair to Good. After a hot run mid week, the bluegill bite cooled off over the weekend. Anglers were catching limits of 7-7 1/2″ gills with some 8-9″ reported. Best bite on gill pills tipped with moussee, #12 purple moon glow jigs tipped with red spikes. Perch: Fair to Good. Move out along deeper (12-14′) weed edges for better fish (8-10″). Little nibblers up in shallow weeds. Use minnows, waxies on #8 jigs to target eater perch. Pike: Fair. Action slow with the cold. Work 7-10′ weed beds, large shiners on tip-ups, #9 jigging Rapala with minnow head hanging from center hook. Crappie: Fair. Nice fish (11-12″) midweek mixed in with gills, best action hour leading to sundown. Minnows on tip-downs, slow dropping white, silver, pink plastic. Walleye: Poor. Deeper bite better with cold. Use suckers over mud, gravel. Warmer tamps should return weed edge bite this week. Don’t be discouraged, the fish are there, just not biting during recent cold. Ice still not ready for car/truck travel. thickness ranging 4-10″ with 7-8 being average. Slush still a problem, but firming up some with cold.


About the only open fishable water on Lake Michigan is the stateline power plant, where there’s been some nice browns caught, including an 18-4 taken on a roach last week, according to Mik-Lurch.. Willow Slough remains good for bluegill. Creeks are about frosted. The turning basin in Michigan City has some action.


Ice fishing is setting up. For the latest reports, click here.


The lake is building more fishable ice on both sides. Some good pike are being taken on big roaches, especially on the Illinois side.














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