Weekend looks to be much moderated and very ideal for ice fishing, which obviously leads this Midwest Fishing Report.
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 email@example.com.
Weekend looks far better in terms of weather for ice fishing or, as Steve Palmisano at Henry’s put it:
Get out and enjoy the winter, and quit moaning about it.
Ken “Husker” O’Malleyof Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:
Hey Dale, I had the opportunity to fish a friends lake up near Rochelle. This lake has springs, but the ice was very good at 10 inches. Parts remain open year round. Goes to show you how harsh this winter has been. Fishing was absolutely great on Saturday in-between fronts. Tip ups were on fire for 2 hours straight until the cloud cover lifted and the sun came out. Things slowed, but good numbers still prevailed. Finding the outside weed lines were key. The only downside of the day was I lost a very nice pike at the hole and the winds were brutal. I attached a few pics. Stay warm! Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team
ICE FISHING REGS CHICAGO-AREA PUBLIC SITES
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.
AREA WATER LEVELS
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
This came from Hooksetter’s Guide Service:
(Head): Walleye, crappies, bluegills, catfish and white bass all hitting; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). The walleye bite continues to be good on the lakes in the central Wisconsin area, most of the action has been during the low light periods. A lot of the fish are coming on tip-ups in shallow water. Use a walleye sucker or medium shiner. The crappie bite has been very good in the central Wisconsin area, with nice catches of crappies up to 14 inches. Most of these fish are suspended 2-4 feet off the bottom in 12-16 feet of water. Waxies, wigglers, spikes and crappie minnows are all working with a jig or slip bobber. All day bite. Ice anglers in the central Wisconsin area also have been having action from bluegill, catfish and white bass, though they are not being targeted, anglersare picking them up while fishing for other species. Great unexpected bonus!
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA/FOX RIVER BACKWATERS
Staff at Triangle Sports & Marine said to look for crappie hunkering down over deeper water, switch to smaller glow jigs tipped with fatheads or spikes; for walleye, try Marie or Channel, most taken jigging with Buckshot spoons or Swedish Pimples tipped with minnow heads, shallow early and late; bluegill are spotty; white bass (and some yellow) are good throughout; look for pike moving toward creek areas; another good catfish year on red worms or minnows.
NOTE:Check Chain updates at http://www.foxwaterway.com/ or (847) 587-8540.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
CHAIN/FOX BACKWATERS ICE-FISHING ACCESS
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.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA: MPits are open. Weekend weather looks far more promising, few tried in recent brutal weather. Panfish action has varied widely. BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing. HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
Brian Gatesat Lake Geneva Bait and Tackle said there were big pike to 40-plus inches being caught on Como; on Delavan, Assembly Grounds and the North Shore were producing some bluegill and crappie, on the west end some pike, too; on Pell, a bunch of flags on pike; on Geneva, lake trout in the Narrows and some ciscoes caught on Geneva Bay.
Gates has shacks for rent–(262) 245-6150–with four on Delavan and one each on Geneva and Como.
DES PLAINES RIVER
No report this week from Marcus Benesch.
BANNER MARSH: Should reopen Saturday, according to post by Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com. DOUBLE T STATE FISH and WILDLIFE AREA: Closed till APRIL 1, according to Dozard. EMIQUON: For more info and details on Emiquon, go to experienceemiquon.com According to Dozard, New permits are required for boating and fishing each year and are free and available at Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 N Dickson Mounds Rd, Lewistown, IL from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call The Nature Conservancy at (309) 547-2730. SNAKEDEN HOLLOW: McMaster reopens Saturday. SPRING LAKE: Everything should be open as of Saturday. POWERTON: Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. Shore fishing is open. SANGCHRIS: Everything should be open as of Saturday.
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.
Norm Minas, sent this, which pretty much sums up all fishing, other than that inside an insulated shanty:
Too much ice, too damn cold.
The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
Weekend should be prime, few tried in recent days with weather. Ice has been in and out at 87th, perch picked up over the weekend. Virtually nobody has been out in recent days.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow access to select piers, are in at Henry’s, 3130 S. Canal.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Gene Dellingerat D&S Bait said perch remain good on Mendota; most on west side, others off deep side of Dunn’s Bar, a few walleye on the bars at night. On Monona, there’s some bluegill on Squaw Bay; Mud has bluegill; Waubesa and Kegonsa have been quiet.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Mike Mladenikhas reports and info at his Mike Mladenik Guide Service site.
MINOCQUA:Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Uncle!!! We’ve had enough! Another polar vortex, schools closed, temps 20 below, wind child to 50 below. Hopefully Mother Nature will reward us with a nice February. When you could fish, catching wasn’t so bad. Good reports from the less the average amount of anglers on the ice. A few places seemed crowded if access way easy, yet overall participation has been down. Pike: Good-Very good. Flags were flying Friday and Saturday. Nice pike in the mid 20 to low30 range on big shiners. Most anglers finding pike in 8-12’ edges and slots in the weeds, but anglers reporting nice pike in as little as 5’ during warm spell on Friday. Perch: Good – Very good. Natural lakes, deeper is better in 18-30’ mud flats producing limit catches of 8-10+ perch using wigglers, red spikes. Hali jigs, Flickers, Pimples, Champs all good at drawing attention, plus getting back down quickly when the school moves in. On Flowages, rosie reds (don’t be afraid to use the large ones) are tops for perch typically running 10-12+. Don’t expect limits, just nice quality fish. Walleye: Fair-Good. Walleye suckers over sandgrass humps of 14-22’ at dusk. Jigging Raps and Rattlin Spoons tipped with minnow heads bring in nice walleyes of 18-24 also. Bluegills: Fair. Best on the warmer days (above 10 degrees). Use #10 or #12 darts, #3 Fiskas tipped with a single waxie or spike. Fish 6-10’ heavy weeds. Some lakes giving up nice gills over sandgrass flats of 16-22’ using heavy tungsten jigs to get down quickly. Crappies: Fair. Due to lack of mobility only anglers set up in good locations with shacks seeing any action, mostly spotty. Glow jigs along transition breaks tipped with waxies or small minnows. Thirty minute windows of action just before dusk. Largemouth Bass: Fair. They like it warmer. Had some reports during Friday’s heat wave. Cold looks to continue, though high windows in single digits later in the week could help. 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 and panfish putting on a good to excellent bite, with walleye good; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice conditions in the Eagle River area are good – -and with the cold snap – – continuing to increase depth. There’s probably 18+ inches of ice on most area lakes but that doesn’t mean anglers should not remain completely cautious. Ice is very tricky, and can fool the most accomplished angler. To insure that you get on fish in safety, hire on of Eagle River’s excellent, licensed guides. Travel on the ice remains fair, as there are continuing spots of snow cover and slush. NORTHERN: Northern in the Eagle River are in 10 feet of water or less in and around remaining weeds. Use a northern sucker or larger shiner under a tip up. All day action, and the bite has been good to exellent. PANFISH: Crappies, bluegills and perch are off of break edges and weed edges in 20 feet of water or less. Perch are tight to bottom, with crappies and gills suspending HIGH UP in the water column (use electronics to find the exact depth where the fish are locating on any given day or lake, as it varies). Use a waxie, spike, wiggler or crappie minnow on a jig or under a slip bobber. All day action, and the bite has been good to excellent. WALLEYE: Walleye in the Eagle River area or off of break edges or over adjacent mud flats in 30 feet of water or less. Walleyes 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 has been good.
Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch said the one good report was a few steelhead at Burns Ditch. Weekend should be much more active.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report will come again when the season begins again.
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. NOTE: Shabbona Lake Rockfest is Saturday. Meet in parking lot near Lakeside at 8:30 a.m. Contact Rich McElligott at (815) 824-2523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arden Katz reported tube jigs, minnows or spawn are picking up a few trout at Racine, but weekend weather made it tough.
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:
Roads have been locked up and people were advised not to drive or receive a ticket. Should be a good weekend of ice fishing. River fishing is pretty slow lots of ice.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.
Check reports and info at River’s Edge.
There’s been some largemouth reports, including the FOTW this week.