Ice fishing will rebound, or at least more will be trying, with the moderating weather for 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.
All you need to know, even before the weather chased all but the hardiest fishermen off the ice for several days, people were buying extensions for their augers.
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 and bluegills all hitting strong; in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin¹s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau). This past week has been very good for walleye action on central Wisconsin area lakes with some very nice size fish being caught. Most of the action is coming on tip-ups baited with large golden shiners. Along with the great walleye action we are also catching a lot of nice crappies and bluegills. Most of the fish are being caught early and late in the day but we are seeing some good action all day long when it has been overcast.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA/FOX RIVER BACKWATERS
Staff at Triangle Sports & Marine reported bluegill as good throughout, best is south end of Channel; walleye are good on Marie and Channel; some pike on large roaches shallow in bay areas and some bass in similar places; white bass are fair, try in 20 feet; look shallower for crappie.
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: Fishing is closed, other than Monster Lake at Mazonia South stays open for fishing year round. Need to check when the other lakes will be reopening. BRAIDWOOD: Closed to fishing. LaSALLE: Closed to fishing. HEIDECKE: Closed to fishing.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
Few have been out with the weather, that will change greatly with the moderation. Brian Gates at Lake Geneva Bait and Tackle said there was still one small open hole on Geneva on Monday, otherwise it is locking in.
Gates has shacks for rent–(262) 245-6150–on Delavan and soon on Geneva or Como.
DES PLAINES RIVER
I would have been stunned if there was one, but 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 just 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
Launches and river are icing.
No reports with this weather. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.
Both the Kankakee and Iroquois are iced in.
The Ohio DNR has general Lake Erie info and a fishing report.
Steve Palmisanoat Henry’s said it best, “The ice is getting thicker and the backs are getting sorer.” There is up to 12 inches in spots in the harbors. Winter perch bite is consistent. He said there is enough ice it might be worth trying the outer harbor at Jackson Park; some are even ice fishing east side of Burnham. 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 Mendota now has 5-10 inches of ice and perch fishing is beginning in 45-50 feet; with moderating weather, that will take off. There’s some bluegill and crappie on Monona bay, same on Squaw and Turbo bays; Mud has some bluegill, crappie and smaller pike.
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:
As can be imagined, not much for fishing participation this past week with either high winds through Saturday or brutal cold temps (down to -31 degrees including 2 days of school closings) through Tuesday. A few people did get out and actually caught fish, but, if you didn’t have a permanent shanty with a good heater, you stayed home. Perch: Fair-Good. The few anglers who had perch dialed in reported good catches using Flasch Champ, Kastmaster and Lindy Frostee spoons tipped with wiggler or red spikes. Depths of 22-30’ on Flowages, 10-12’ using Rosie Reds. Bluegills: Fair-Good. Surprising considering the conditions. Nice gills of 7 ½-81/2 in 10-12’ on #10 rockers tipped with waxies. Most fish presently holding close to bottom. Crappies: Fair. A few mixed in with bluegill catches over the weekend. Too cold for tip-downs. Most on jigs and waxies. A few on slip-bobbers inside a heated shanty using minnows. Walleyes: Poor-Fair. Not many risking staying out after dark in this cold – one angler did ice a 29 ½ Sunday night, unfortunately couldn’t release due to eyes and fins freezing so quickly – something to think about when tip-up fishing in extreme cold. Pike: Poor. Too cold to keep tip-ups out for long. Largemouth Bass: Poor. No reports. As cold as it has been, there is relief in sight. Weekend temps should top out above freezing, this will make fishing far more comfortable. Fish should be ready to feed after warm up. Most lakes reporting 15-17+ of ice. A few such as Fence and Trout only 11-13. Travel is very good. Some slush on east sides of lakes (where wind blown snow has insulated moisture) and sure to be some in spots still, yet overall paths and tracks have firmed up nicely. 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): Walleye, northern and panfish all putting on a good to excellent bite in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area. Ice conditions in the Eagle River area continue to improve. Ice varies from 10-14 inches – -and more in some spots. There is some snow cover and slush, but all-in-all travel isn’t bad. Anglers are using snowmobiles and ATV’s, as well as foot travel to get out. There are some trucks going out, but our guide sources are generally not doing so as yet, and advise extreme caution. Walleye: Walleye in the Eagle River area are off of break edges in 6-25 feet of water. Use a medium shiner or walleye sucker under a tip up. A jigging spoon tipped with a minnow head is working, too. The walleyes are tight to bottom. All day action, with peaks around sunset. Bite is good to excellent. Northern: Northern in the Eagle River area are in 10 feet of water or less in and around remaining weeds. Use a larger shiner or northern sucker under a tip up. Set your tip up half way up in the water column, or just under the ice. All day bite, and the action is good to excellent. Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch). Panfish are locating off of break edges and over mudflats in 15 feet of water or less. Use a waxie, spike, wiggler or crappie minnow under a small jig or under a slip bobber. Perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column (day and lake dependent – -use a flasher to determine where the crappies and gills are suspending). All day bite. Action is good to excellent.
Staff at Mik-Lurch said the snow and bitter cold limited people trying. Mormon Hill has reopened at Willow Slough FWA.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report will be reports again when the season begins again.
Ken “Husker” O’Malleyof Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:
Hey Dale, I spent the day at Shabbona yesterday. Had a few friends join me for the outing. We made breakfast burritos on the grill, caught some nice gills, and good conversation made for a great day on the ice. We focused mainly on cribs in 15 FOW. Tungsten jigs tipped with spikes or waxies caught quality gills with a few crappie mixed in. Utilizing a slow jigging motion with slight pauses triggered the bites. Ice is good at 10 inches and building. I attached a few pics from the day. Husker Outdoors Water Werks Fishing Team
With ice fishing going, Lakeside bait shop is open 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.
Arden Katzreported some browns and steelhead on 1-inch Berkeley tubes at Racine, which has been better than Kenosha.
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:
Calling for some mild winter temps in the long range forecast starting this Friday. Should be decent steelhead fishing on the many rivers in the area. I have still heard of guys doing well on the ice but I have not been out personally to check on the conditions.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click herefor reports from the Indiana DNR.
Check reports and info at River’s Edge.
Plenty of ice. With moderating weather, expect more to try.