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Chicago fishing: Ice fishing

Ice and ice fishing is here and should be nearly universal by the weekend.

This is the sprawling raw file of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in a much condensed form on the Sun-Times outdoors page. 

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The South Side slips remain the best, but it takes busting ice now at 87th; so more guys are fishing the slips in the river. Arden Katz said a few perch are caught early at Diversey; otherwise, the North Side spots have been slow. But ice is forming in the harbors, so maybe things will change. Most are using crappie rigs and minnows, but Katz said the slips are so loaded with perch that he is using a jigging spoon.

AREA LAKES

Ice fishing is here and should be nearly universal by the weekend. Regulations for local public fishing waters are below.

Ken “Husker” O’Malley of Water Werks Fishing Team sent this:

Hey Dale,

Everything out south is locked up so we hopefully will be good
to start the first ice fishing of the season by the weekend. The snow
expected tonight will slow the process down a bit, but the
overnight temps coming up will certainly help make ice.

Ken ”Husker” O’Malley
Huskeroutdoors
Waterworks fishing team

ICE FISHING REGS: Here are the regulations for public waters in

and around Chicago. CHICAGO LAGOONS: No ice fishing. COOK
FP: 
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 FP: Ice fish at your own risk.
Spring Creek Reservoir is closed to ice fishing. Late-night fishing
is allowed at Deep Quarry, must be out by 11 p.m. KANE FP: Listed
sites for ice fishing, at your own risk, are Hampshire South FP, Lake
Patterson and the two ponds within Paul Wolff Campground.
LAKE FP: 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 all year, other lakes open
after hunting seasons; ice fishing at your own risk. McHENRY CCD: Sites
listed for ice fishing when appropriate (4 inches of clear ice):
the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Pleasant Valley and
Rush Creek pond. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own
risk. Use east entrance. WILL FP: No ice fishing.

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

CENTRAL WISCONSIN

No report this week from Hooksetter’s Guide Service.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Ice fishing is back. Greg Dickson at Triangle Sports & Marine said, “By the weekend, we should have 6-7 inches plus of ice in areas we fish.”

EARLY CHAIN/FOX ACCESS: For T-Channel, park at Famous Freddie’s–(847) 587-9677. Best is to come in and eat, otherwise, park in back and be out by 11:30 a.m. On Channel, Chopper’s Bar–(847) 838-1230–has relatively early access. Chopper’s takes the parking off if you order food. Granny’s–(847) 395-2328–at Spring Lake Marina has parking and takes the parking off if you order food. Be careful, early ice is tricky there. For Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, it’s Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill–(847) 639-9644–with parking, wax worms, food and drink.

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

Check Chain updates from at the Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

CHICAGO RIVER

No update this week.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

Closed except Monster Lake remains open year round at Mazonia South.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA

Brian Gates from Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said that on Delavan, if you can find parking around Bluegill Road, there is good action on the west end, and some bluegill, crappie and some leagl pike north of the island; on Como, pike vary in size; Geneva is icing up and there might be ice fishing on Geneva Bay and part of Williams Bay by the weekend; Lauderdale has some walleye; Pleasant has bluegill and crappie action.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No report this week.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

POWERTON: Shore fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.

SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Lithia Guide Service.

REND LAKE & LAKE OF EGYPT: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing.

EVERGREEN: The boat rental and bait shop are done for the season.

EMIQUON: Call (309) 547-2730. Duck season ended.

DuPAGE RIVER

No report this week.

FOX RIVER

Johnny “Sunshine” Pajak came through with a nice muskie on New Year’s Day, maybe the first in Illinois.

GREEN BAY

No report from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay this week, but ice fishing should be far more extensive.

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

No update this week. Time on the Water Outdoors closed.

INDIANA STREAMS

Staff at Willow Slough expect ice fishing to begin this week. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

No update this week from Norm Minas.

LAKE ERIE

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

lakefrontgeneral

LAKEFRONT

For perch, see top. Harbors are beginning to ice, might even be some spotty ice fishing later this week. PIER PASSES: The $6 passes from the Chicago Park District, allowing access to select docks in Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports & Bait.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait said that Mendota is fully iced, just a few starting to poke around; on Waubesa, some quality perch and crappie in the main basin; decent bluegill on Turvilles and Squaw bays; on Kegonsa, a few perch in the main basin. 

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Mike Mladenik has updates at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Minocqua Area Fishing ReportArctic air has moved into the Lakeland area, dropping temperatures and anglers enthusiasm rather quickly. Not wanting to push their luck against temps 20deg+ below zero, there is little to report over the past couple of days.Crappie: Fair / Poor. A few brave anglers found crappies relating to wood on the flowages. Bite was fairly decent on crappie minnows. Elsewhere, little to report as temps make some of the best crappie catching techniques (tip-downs, slow dropping) all but impossible. Seems some fish will bite, but getting to them is the issue.Walleye: Fair / Poor. Nights are best. Hole covers needed to keep tip-ups from freezing in. As ice builds, walleyes (and all species for that matter) will start to move out a little deeper.Yellow Perch: Poor. High Pressure is keeping perch tight to the bottom and not very active. Those enticing bites are doing so in deep (20-30′) depth, banging the bottom with a heavy spoon, then raising it 6″ off the bottom. Tip spoon hook with minnow head, red spike.Northern Pike: Good/ Poor. Action shut down, as has participation. Prior to the cold, flags flying on tip-ups baited with shiners.Bluegills: Good/Poor. Little to report, gills not being fished, until the weather warms.

Largemouth Bass: Good/Poor. When the temps were over 20deg… the action was great. But now with the cold temps very little action.

We got hit with a similar (yet colder) front on the first Sun/Mon of 2014 last year. Just have to ride it out. Check your maps well before heading out, it’s not the kind of weather you want to be drilling a lot of holes in. Forecast towards the end of the week has temps in the single digits… not great but it beats 20 below!

Kurt

Island Sportshop
Minocqua, WI 54548

715-356-4797

EAGLE RIVER: This came from 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): Panfish providing  good to excellent bite through the ice, with

walleye and northern good, and some largemouth bass action; all in the Eagle
River, Wisconsin area.

Ice conditions in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are just fair.  There are
3 to 12 inches of ice, with large amounts of slush becoming a problem.
Tough to get out and tough to travel on the ice, with a number of dangerous
“iffy” areas.  Best travel method is with an ATV or snowmobile, but extreme
caution is advised.  Save yourself all kinds of issues by hiring one of
Eagle River’s excellent guides, who will provide a lot of fun, put you on
fish, and do it all safely.  These guides know the Eagle River better than
anyone.

PANFISH:  Crappies, bluegills and perch are locating in two areas in Eagle
River. Fish weed edges and adjacent break edges in 15 feet of water or less;
or you can try shallow lake basins in 15 feet of water or less.  Both are
producing.  The perch are tight to bottom, with the crappies and gills
suspending primarily in the lower half of the water column.  Use a spike,
waxie, wiggler or crappie minnow on a small jig or under a slip bobber.  All
day action and the bite is good to excellent.

WALLEYE:  Fish break edges and adjacent mud flats in 30 feet of water or
less.  Use a small to medium shiner or walleye sucker under a tip-up.  Place
the bait in the bottom foot of the water column as the walleye are tight to
bottom.  You can also try a jigging spoon tipped with a minnow.  All day
action with peaks in the evening, and the bite is good.

NORTHERN:  Fish 10 feet of water or less in and around remaining weeds.  Use
a medium to lage shiner or northern sucker under a tip-up.  Place your bait
just above the weed tops or remaining weeds.  All day action and the bite is
good.

LARGEMOUTH BASS:  Walleye and northern anglers are getting incidental hits
from largemouth bass in 10 feet of water or less in and around remaining
weeds.  It’s a mixed bag on sizes.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Weather limiting effort, other than perch in the river and the slips off Cal Harbor.

ROCK RIVER

No report this week.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

The Wisconsin DNR Root River Report is generally posted on Tuesday.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven said the river is iced, basically halting river and pier fishing. Inland ice fishing is about to begin.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands said the lake is iced up, other than a small hole kept open by geese. He expects 4-6 inches of ice by the weekend. Lakeside will open for ice fisherman on Friday with hours of 8 a.m.-noon Monday-Thursday; and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

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

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

Milwaukee continues to be the spot for winter fishing.

The Wisconsin DNR report is at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. They are generally posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.