Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishing

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Ice fishing is the story, again, for this Midwest Fishing Report.

Denny Sands at Lakeside on Shabbona Lake sent this photo and explanation:

Musky Ed got some real slabs today! He wanted to shout out to Denny Duck and The Crappie Professor for showing him how to catch fish like this atShabbona Lake State Park!

I 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 straycasts@sbcglobal.net.


Ice to depths we haven’t had in years is nearly universal.

Ken “Husker” O’Malleyof Water Werks Fishing Team sent this after the weekend:

I had to stay close to home this weekend due to my mother being in the hospital. Good news is that she is going to be fine. So I hit one of my favorite ponds out here in the southern suburbs for a few hours. I can easily say we have great ice even out south. Nine inches and counting. It’s been a while since we had that much ice. On to fishing. My goal was to go after big bass. The bass did not disappoint. Jigging blade baits along deep weed lines and staying mobile were key to this pattern. If I didn’t mark any fish within 10 minutes, on to the next hole. I attached the best bass of the day. Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team

NOTE: The fifth annual LVVA Ice Fishing Derby, benefiting Wounded Heroes Foundation, is 7 a.m.-noon Saturday on Bangs Lake.


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.


Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection.

To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow


No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service.


Greg Dicksonat Triangle Sports & Marine said, “You don’t have to worry about ice.” Ice is good, bite is fair. For bluegill, try west and south Channel or Pistakee Bay; Deep Lake has been OK.

NOTE: The 45th annual Lake Shangri-La Ice Fishing Derby is Saturday and Sunday in Kenosha County, Wis.

NOTE:Check Chain updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.

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


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; with thicker ice, Barnacle Bob’s is the spot. Petite: Hideout, $5 (box up soon). Pistakee: Oak Park Lounge, $4 parking. Loon: Pay launch fee. Deep: Jack & Lydia’s Resort.


No update from Jeff Nolan of Bridgeport Bass.


MAZONIA:  Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round. I will post when the other lakes at Mazonia South and Mazonia North reopen.  BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing.  HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.


Brian Gatesat Lake Geneva Bait and Tackle reported good crappie in Lake Lawn ($5 parking) on Delavan, some bluegill and a few pike on the west end and nice perch in 40 feet out from Browns Channel; some pike on Como; lots of pike of Pell; and 37- and 34-inch lakers on Geneva in the past week.

Gates has shacks for rent–(262) 245-6150–with four on Delavan and others on Geneva and Como.


No report this week from Marcus Benesch.


Larry Dozardof larrysfishinghole.com sent this on Downstate closures during the fall and winter hunting seasons, which I try to keep updated:

– ANDERSON LAKE is CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING for the season– BANNER MARSH IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING AND AS OF OCT. 31st, BANK FISHING ONLY ALLOWED AFTER 1PM but NO FISHING ALLOWED in EAST POINT ACCESS AREA , 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.– 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 (reopening for boats on Feb. 15), but reopened to shore fishing.– 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). 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 http://foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540. For the area above the Montgomery dam, go to http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/closures/Pages/default.aspx

To join the Fox River Angler Diary Project, go to http://data.foxriverfishing.com I think it is one of the neater projects around.

Sam Bennetthas a getting-started guide for the Fox at http://www.foxriverfishing.com/tips/fox-river-getting-started-guide/


The Wisconsin DNR has a report, which is typically updated on Tuesdays, posted at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html


No report this week.


There have been some steelhead caught, not sure if this weather will make it doable or not this week.

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


Both the Kankakee and Iroquois are iced and/or flooding, but I love Norm Minas, who sent this, even though I wasn’t expecting a report:

Monday was a beautiful day to be outdoors, weather wise, wildlife wise and fishing wise. The river gauge shows to be about triple the normal flow rate, a lot of ice covered areas, other areas with too much shoreline ice to make approaching the open water safe and some places to fish. About afoot of visibility in slower areas. I started out the day walking the dog out by the river. as we approached about 60 to 80 whistler ducks took off with their distinctive sound echoing thru the area. The geese honked a bit but otherwise ignored us. There were eagles working the river, took some time to watch them. While I was doing that, the lab was playing tag with a field mouse in the snow and grasses. After that, I grabbed the rod, the rest of the gear was already packed and headed out for some fishing. I saw several types of ducks, a handful of turkeys and watched as a flight of geese circled over head. First the scouts landed and then they came in by squadrons until the entire flight was down. Noisy bit of business. Crankbaits, rattlebaits, jerkbaits and jigs were ignored . A slow rolled 3/8 oz singlespin spinnerbait tipped with a 5 inch twister tail was the lure of the day. 2 pike, 2 smallmouth and a walleye, not a bad day for this time of year. The bass were at an inflow, the pike on the shallow, shoreline edge of a slower moving area. The walleye was on the back outside corner of an eddy. Happy 80th birthday to Tom Baker, the best of the Doctors. Norm

I had to look up who Baker was, Guess who is not a Doctor Who guy?


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


Harbors have plenty of ice. Navy Pier had good perch action, but it takes up to 30-pound weights to bust holes; 87th had its ice go and come in the last week, perch action is variable.

CHICAGO PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow access to select piers, are in at Henry’s, 3130 S. Canal. 


Gene Dellingerat D&S Bait reported nice perch on Mendota in 45-70 feet, best between Governor’s Island and Four Doors, or on the west side. About 10 inches of ice. He said there were a few bluegills on Squaw Bay, Mud is good for panfish and some crappie are being caught out deep (25 on Waubesa.


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


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

More cold, so what’s new? Actually, the weekend warmed up, to 10-12 degrees Saturday and anglers took advantage. Those willing to get out before dawn or fish after dark did best. Perch: Fair-Good. Flowages producing sporadic (1 to 1 ½ fish per hour average) catches on the plus side, typical of flowage perch they were quality fish (9-12 ½). Best on large rosie reds on tip-ups, tip-downs or under floats when warm enough. For better action Gapen Flicker jigs, VMC Flash champs and #25 Hali’s tipped with wigglers or red spikes producing good catches of 8-10 fish over 18-30’ mud flats. Pike: Fair-Good. Besides perch, this seemed to be the only other species that bit with some regularity this weekend. Bid shiners, chubs and suckers on wire tip-up rigs in 8-12’ weeds best. Walleyes: Fair. Had to stay out till dusk for the most part (flowage anglers reported small fish duing day). Best bites on walleye suckers (3-5) below tip-ups over off shore humps covered with sandgrass. While warm enough (Saturday and Sunday nights) or inside shacks, angler jigging #7 and #9 jig raps catching some larger eyes in mid 20 range. Crappies: Poor. Few decent reports. Best from the anglers probind deep water breaks at dusk for a 45 minute-1 hour window of activity. Minnows under slip floats in 18-24’ also VMC Larva jigs (glow) tipped with waxies. Bluegills: Poor. Fish very finicky with the best action on small, dark tungsten jigs held inches off the bottom tipped with waxies or spikes. Gills reportedly not willing to move much for bait under these high skies. Below zero temps again this week, though nice warm up for Friday, then slowly dipping back down to teens Saturday and single digits on Sunday. Kurt Justice Kurt’s Island Sport Shop www.kurtsislandsports.com

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) : Northern bite is good to excellent, with walleye and panfish good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice conditions in the Eagle River area are good and improving. Lakes generally have 18 inches or more of ice. Travel conditions remain fair, as there is snow and slush in some areas. Trucks are going out in select areas (caution is still strongly advised), with one of our guide sources reiterating the absolute need to know the water before you venture out. Our best suggestion remains: Hire one of Eagle River’s excellent, licensed guides. You’ll catch fish, have a lot of fun and do so in safety. Northern: Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around any remaining weeds you can find. Use a medium to large shiner or northern sucker under a tip up. All day action. Bite is good to excellent. Walleye: Walleye in the Eagle River area are in 25 feet of water or less off of break edges. The walleye are tight to bottom. Use a medium shiner or walleye sucker under a tip up, or try a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head. All day action, with peaks in the evening. The bite is good. Panfish: Crappies, bluegills and perch in the Eagle River area are on mud flats in 20 feet of water or less. The perch are tight to bottom. The crappies and gills while suspending have changed their pattern a bit. Drop your line in the upper half of the water column (some days the crappies and gills are in the upper quarter of the water column). Depth is lake and day dependent. Use a flasher to locate the depth, as this will save you drilling a lot of holes that simply won’t produce. Use a waxie, spike, wiggler or crappier minnow either on a small jig, or under a slip bobber. All day action. Bite is good.


Capt. Ralph Steiger said tip-ups continue to do well for largemouth at Willow Slough, while bluegill are good.


The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report will come again when the season begins again.


Denny Sands at Lakeside reported lots of crappie and about 16 inches of ice.

Lakeside bait shop is open Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-noon, 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 shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.


The Wisconsin DNR posts a fishing report, generally updated on Tuesday at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html.

Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow


Tyler Harmon messaged:

Been finding some good panfish and multispecies action on inland lakes by keeping mobile and moving. Steelhead action on the river is slow, but some are being caught.


Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.


Check reports and info at River’s Edge.


Ray Hinton sent a photo of a buddy with a good largemouth through the ice. I have not heard of any really good pike yet this winter, but usually there is a couple during ice fishing.

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