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Midwest Fishing Report: Rivers and lakes around Chicago fishing

Ice fishing, early and all, is the story for this Midwest Fishing Report.

Thought about an ice fishing photo, decided on a summery shot instead.

I will usually post the sprawling, raw-file online version of the MFR, which appears condensed on the Sun-Times outdoors page, generally by Tuesday evening.

If you have suggestions, tweet @BowmanOutside or email


With harbors icing, ice fishing is beginning. DuSable and Belmont have been best; Montrose has some action. Ice goes in and out at Navy Pier and 87th, but when ice free 87th is very good. CHICAGO PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow access to select piers, are in at Henry’s, 3130 S. Canal.


CHICAGO LAGOONS: Not allowed. COOK FPD: Ice fish at your own risk: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Flatfoot, Green, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FPD: Ice fish at your own risk. Spring Creek Reservoir is closed to ice fishing (fluctuating levels). Late-night fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry Lake in Bartlett (fishermen must be out of preserve by 11 p.m.) KANE FPD: Ice fishing, at your own risk, at Lake Patterson, various ponds at Burnidge. LAKE FPD: Ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when area is posted as safe for fishing. MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing. Ice fishing at your own risk. Other lakes open after hunting. McHENRY COUNTY CD: Sites listed for ice fishing when appropriate: Fel-Pro RRR, the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Pleasant Valley, Rush Creek pond and Stickney Run pond. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk. Use east entrance. WILL FPD: No ice fishing allowed.


Ice fishing is setting up area wide. Obviously be careful around the usual danger spots: current areas, holes swam open by geese or under heavy drifts. The FOTW, golden trout, came from Axehead. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported some pike being caught out of Wampum already.


T-Channel: Famous Freddie’s. Channel: Chopper’s Bar, $5 parking taken off if food ordered. Spring: Granny’s, $5 parking taken off if food ordered. Nielsen’s Channel: Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill, $5 parking, wax worms, food, drink. Ackerman’s Channel: Try Port O’Blarney. Marie: Sand Bar and Grille, free if patronize the place; when thicker ice comes, Barnacle Bob’s is the spot. Petite: Hideout, $5 (box up soon). Pistakee: Oak Park Lounge, $4 parking. Loon: Pay launch fee. Deep: Once ice thickens, Jack & Lydia’s Resort.


From Hooksetter’s Guide Service:

(Head): Walleye, northern, crappies and bluegills all hitting; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). With recent cold temperatures ice conditions on area lakes is very good.

Most area lakes have 5 to 8 inches of good solid ice and guys are accessing their favorite locations by both foot and ATV/snowmobile travel.The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area has been very good with some nice fish being caught under the presence of night fall and during low light periods. A lot of action is in less than 5 feet of water by walleyes taking large golden shiners and medium sized sucker minnows.

Northern in the central Wisconsin area have been particular aggressive and have been showing a presence during the daytime hours. Most of the action has come from fish striking large golden shiners set directly below the ice in less than 6 feet of water associated with still green weeds.

Crappies and bluegills in the central Wisconsin area have been seeing a lot of attention and duly so. With great numbers and their willingness to strike it is no winder why most sportsman consider them the bread and butter of the ice fisherman. Most of our action is coming form deeper mud flats in 8 to 12 feet of water associated with any type of wood structure. Tiny tungsten jigs tipped with waxies or spikes is all you need but don’t hesitate to try out the new Impulse plastics by Northland. These baits stay on your hook longer and at times will out-produce live bait.


Staff at Triangle Sports & Marine reported good bluegill throughout; walleye fair around current areas, which have soft dangerous ice nearby. White bass are fair, Mineola has been popular.

Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch some walleye on south end of Pistakee in 10-13 feet on break; some good bluegill and crappie.

Arden Katz said Nielsen Channel has 4 inches of mostly good ice; outstanding bluegill. “Trick is jig the whole water column down,” he said. “I was sight fishing basically.”

NOTE: Check Chain updates at or (847) 587-8540.

For more reports, see


Go to to check area water levels and projections. Probably a good week to do this again.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to


No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.


MAZONIA: Fishing is closed, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round. BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing. HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.


Brian Gates at Lake Geneva Bait and Tackle said on Geneva, they are already walking on Geneva Bay, which is early; there’s some blugille, crappie and small pike being taken on Delavan; bluegill on Pleasant; some small pike and largemouth on north end of Como.

Gates has three shacks for rent on Delavan–(262) 245-6150.


No report this week.


Larry Dozard of sent this on Downstate closures during the fall and winter hunting seasons:



which is CLOSED TO ALL FISHING to provide a GOOSE REFUGE AREA during season till Feb. 1st– DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the season and remains Closed till APRIL 1st, 2014– EMIQUON PRESERVE during waterfowl hunting season fishing is allowed only between Noon and sunset.– EVERGREEN LAKE – A SOUTHERN PART OF Lake AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow for resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY. – Also, the ENTIRE lake and park, with the exception of the campground, is CLOSED to general use Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8 for the Deer Management Program.– RICE LAKE is CLOSED to boat fishing till end of Duck & Goose season– SNAKEDEN HOLLOW including McMASTER LAKE IS CLOSED TO FISHING for the Season till Feb. 1st– SPRING LAKE (South & North) IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Waterfowl Hunting Area

with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm– And Closed to shore fishing in hunting areas on Oct. 26th..

AREAS THAT REMAIN OPEN TO BOATS ARE NORTH OF MAPLE ISLAND with ramp at north end at the Sky Ranch Road launch and IN PIKE HOLE with carry in boats -On December 25th boat fishing and shore fishing in the waterfowl hunting area will be allowed after 1:00 p.m. through the end of Canada Goose season.– CLINTON LAKE the easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges

is CLOSED FROM OCT. 10th through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife. It will Re-OPEN April 1st..– POWERTON LAKE IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING

and CLOSES TO SHORE FISHING and ALL FISHING ON OCT. 26th (Last day for Shore fishing is Oct. 25th)

and REOPENS TO SHORE FISHING ONLY ON DEC. 23rd AND NO BOAT FISHING till FEB. 15th– SANGCHRIS LAKE THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM Are CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASONto boat traffic through Jan. 31, 2014 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).And the Entire lake will be CLOSED Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8th due to firearm deer hunting on adjacent properties.The exception will be for hunting programs with restricted usage during this time period.For more info, contact site office at 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday.


No report this week.


SS Minnows in South Elgin–(847) 289-0135–offers the opportunities of a local bait shop.

Check Fox updates near the Stratton Dam at or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennett has a getting-started guide for the Fox at


The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at


No report this week, but the river is open and barge traffic moving.


Some steelhead are in the streams, but the weather has limited effort.

Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.


Both the Kankakee and Iroquois are fairly iced up, but Norm Minas sent this:

river is below normal flow rates, a lot of ice on shore and way too much flowing out in the rest of the river. water temps low 30’s. with the air temps below freezing not much hope for any change for the better. access is tough twixt the lack of plowing by most of the responsible governmental units and all the shore line ice. If one is willing to put in the effort and the time it is possible to get to a few areas where you can still cast and not have it immediately blown down stream in a clump of ice. Unfortunately the catching part of the equation has been even less than what could be expected under these conditions. one smallmouth on a crankbait retrieved upstream next to an ice shelf.


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


See top for perch report.

SNAGGING: Here are the regs:

Snagging for chinook and coho salmon only is permitted from the following Lake Michigan shoreline areas from October 1 through December 31; however, no snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted: — Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, — Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only), — Winnetka Power Plant discharge area, — Jackson Harbor (Inner and Outer Harbors)


Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait said said bluegill were being caught on Mud; fair perch on Kegonsa and Waubesa; and Mendota just capped.


Mike Mladenik has reports and info at his Mike Mladenik Guide Service site.


MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:

Good afternoon, The Minocqua area fishing report from Kurt’s Island Sports:

More super cold held most anglers at bay last week. A break in the weather (temps over 0 degrees) brought anglers out on the ice Friday and Saturday before chilling down below 0 degrees Sunday & Monday (lows of -20degrees) kept all but the crazies off the ice.

Ice thickening. Large lakes such as Trout, Fence have 8” (safe for A.T.V.) most others in the 12-13” range. Fishing tailed off as high pressure moved in on Sunday/Monday- yet picked up considerably on Tuesday as the barometer dropped and temps were a bit warmer.

Walleye: Very Good-Fair-Good. Best reports on Friday. Best on tip-ups with suckers/chubs at dusk. Some anglers on Flowages experiencing good morning bite. Jigging raps good on top of humps after dark- yet action with super cold has been slower.

Pike: Good. Nicer pike on large suckers, chubs; shiners. Fish in upper 20-lower 30” range hanging around weeds of 8-12’. Mid mornings best. .

Crappies: Good-Fair. On warming days use meat (tip-downs with minnows, teardrops with waxies) on cold, high sky days finesse with small tungsten jigs and tiny plastics of red, purple or black. Most action weed related in 10-12’. Dusk and dawn best for larger crappies (12-14”), daytime fish have been smaller.

Bluegills: Fair. If warmer, action improves. Too cold on some days to hole hop. Small #12-#14 tungsten jigs with single spike or Moussee best. .

Perch: Fair-good. A few big fish caught by walleye anglers. Not a lot of attention here yet. Use medium fatheads in 6-8’ weeds adjacent to 10-14’ drops.

Largemouth Bass: Fair. Typically a warming water bite- yet on the Chain, good numbers taking shiners on tip-ups.

This week weather warming (if you want to call single digit/teens warming) some. Noticeable improvement with above 0 temps. Access very good and should be full on truck travel by weekend with exception of biggest lakes.

Kurt Justice

Kurt’s Island Sports


EAGLE RIVER: Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guides “Muskie Matt” of Wild Eagle Lodge, “Ranger Rick” Krueger of Guide¹s Choice Pro Shop, Mat Hegy; and Eagle River hunting enthusiast, Dan Anderson:

(Head): Walleye, northern and panfish all putting on a good to excellent bite in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice is steadily growing in the Eagle River area. We’re seeing 4 to 8 inches, depending on the lake and area, and increasing daily. There are some reports of ATV’s and snowmobiles venturing out. Use caution and discretion. Foot travel is still strongly recommended. We continue to urge visitors to always hire one of the Eagle River area’s top-flight guides. You’ll catch fish, and you’ll be safe doing so.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are off of weed and break edges in 10-25 feet of water (ice anglers are now able to get out to these areas). The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow, or a small to medium walleye sucker or shiner under a tip up. All day action, with peaks in the evening. Good to excellent bite. Northern in the Eagle Rvier area are in 10 feet of water or less in and

around dead, standing weeds. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a tip up. All day action. Bite has been good to excellent.

Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) are in 15 feet of water or less on mud flats or remaining weeds. The perch are tight to bottom. Crappies and gills are suspending up and down the water column. Use electronics to locate the fish and depth. Small jigs tipped with waxies or spikes are your best bet. Action is good to excellent.


Starcevich said action was variable on Willow Slough (Mormon Hill closed for deer season) with better catches from Patrol Road than up front. Snow dumped on Valpo Chain, but redear and bluegill are being caught on Long. Some steelhead in the streams, especially Trail.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is again being updates weekly, generally by 4 p.m. Tuesdays.


Clint Sands at Lakeside said crappie (deep trees) and catfish are being caught. There’s 4-6 inches of ice, geese are keeping one spot on north end open. Bait shop is open Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Restaurant is open Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

For information and reports from Lakeside, go to or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at

Stream flow info is at


Tyler Harmon messaged:

Got some mixed reports in on ice condition. Ive seen first hand one guy go for a dunk, and heard of others falling in as well. Some lakes are completely locked up others are not. Steelhead fishing was still decent last week, but quite a bit of ice flow on the river.


Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.


Check reports and info at River’s Edge.


Site staff reported some pike, 2-4 inches of ice in spots.