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Fishing the New Year weekend: Chicago fishing

There’s at least vague hopes for more ice fishing, a bit closer to Chicago, for the long New Year’s weekend in this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The MFR appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times outdoors page.

ICE FISHING

The variable conditions for ice fishing continues up North, but there will be more ice fishing, and some of it closer to Chicago, by this weekend. So I included those possibilities within the reports below.

LAKEFRONT PERCH

The lake needs to settle after the blow, though some of the harbors have fishable perch. Steve Palmisano at Henry’s said to focus on harbors such as DuSable and Burnham, which are more protected. He said they already had a report of some being caught at Burnham Tuesday morning. Palmisano said with the cloudier water might be worth trying or using glow jigs. Staff at Mik-Lurch said they thought the slip north of 87th should have some perch in and that before the blow the boaters were doing very well in 54 feet off Gary Light and some in Cal Harbor. Whether that boat bite returns remains to be seen.

AREA LAKES

It’s nearly New Year’s Day and it’s still open-water fishing.

“Johnny Sunshine” Pajak sent this:

DuPage area lakes.

My neighbor Tom and I were able to escape for about an hour on xmas afternoon. We were rewarded with a nice mixed bag. A couple largemouth, a bluegill and a couple real nice crappie. All were caught on a tiny twister fished under a bobber.

Hope all is well.

Johnny Sunshine

AREA WATER LEVELS

Another week where it is probably a good idea to check water levels, as nearly all area rivers are in flood or near it. 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

Hooksetter’s Guide Service, via Creative Brilliance, sent this:

(Head): Warm weather and rain causing grief for both anglers and archery bow hunters; all in and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsin’s Marathon and Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).

Well it has been another crazy week here in central Wisconsin. Warm temperatures and rain are causing lot of grief with ice fishermen along with high water pretty much preventing anyone from any decent open water fishing.

Not much as of ice yet but a few brave souls are trying their luck. Some areas lakes are seeing 1 to 3 inches of ice but with the rain that we are getting the ice is not good and lakes will vary. Use extreme caution if heading out. Right now I would suggest at least another week or two of good, cold, below freezing temperatures, before trying to venture out on the ice. Along with that, if we get any amount of snow on the little ice we have it may be even longer before we can venture out.

Open water fishing is still an option now that the flood waters of last week are receding. Anglers targeting areas below dams on the Wisconsin River are still getting their boats in and picking up a few walleyes along with a few deeper down-river sections of the Wisconsin River. Jigs tipped with small to medium sized sucker minnows worked slowly on the bottom have been the best tactic for the walleyes right now.

HUNTING REPORT:

Archery hunters are also having a tough go at it right now as deer are usually starting to concentrate heavily at remaining food sources at this time of the year. But with no snow on the ground and an ample food supply in the woods the deer are still roaming freely.

If you are thinking about going out and giving the remaining archery season a try, look at typical late season food sources. The upcoming forecast is calling for snow, and if that happens it will force the deer to move towards any available remaining food during low light periods.

CHAIN O’LAKES AREA

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports & Marine said there is plenty of water for navigation, but use extreme caution on icy launches. There’s plenty of water for shore fishermen, too, he pointed out. Walleye by bridges and currents are top bite; while crappie are good in areas near deep water. As to the faint possibility of ice fishing by the weekend, he suggested calling–(847) 395-0813–first. NOTE: As of Tuesday afternoon, Zone A (lower river) was at no-wake. Check updates at Fox Waterway Agency or by calling (847) 587-8540.

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

CHICAGO RIVER

No update.

COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS

MAZONIA:  Closed for season, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South, which is open year-round. Lakes are open daily 6 a.m.-sunset. HEIDECKE: Closed for season. BRAIDWOOD:  Closed for season.  LaSALLE: Closed for the season.

DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN

Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said, “I have guys swearing they will be out on the west end of Delavan this weekend.’’ Other possible early ice spots are the west end of Turtle, the south side of Como and the Stoughton Ditches.

DES PLAINES RIVER

Most areas are in flood.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

Some sites are impacted by flooding, click here for closure updates.

POWERTON LAKE: Shore fishing is open. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season. Will reopen to fishing in 2016 with a much expanded format. Also, there should be at least one day of ice fishing this winter. EMIQUON: Because of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s shutdown, fishing and boating permits will be done at the launch. Call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide ServiceSOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW: Closed to fishing until Feb. 1.

EVERGREEN: Bait shop is closed. 

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this:

A SOUTHERN PART OF EVERGREEN LAKE – AROUND DEER ISLAND and ALL OF SIX-MILE CREEK BAY IS CLOSED TO GAS MOTORS from Oct. 15th through JAN. 1st to allow resting areas for migratory waterfowl. YOU ARE ALLOWED TO STILL RUN A TROLLING MOTOR IN THESE AREAS ONLY.

Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com also had these updates:

SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 17th with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 16th – with BANK FISHING ALLOWED ONLY AFTER 1pm–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 –

SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) through Jan. 31, 2016 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).

ANDERSON LAKE – – – THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake from Oct. 16th through Dec. 22nd during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.

BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 14th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 13th) –AND 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 – –

PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – – Lake is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturday.

CLINTON LAKE – REMEMBER an 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…

NEWTON LAKE – As written in the fishing regs booklet : ** The cold arm of Newton Lake shall be Closed daily from one-half hour before sunrise until 1:00 pm to all fishing and boat traffic except for legal waterfowl hunters during waterfowl season commencing with regular duck season through the close of the Canada goose and regular duck season.

* For here – Regular South Waterfowl Season: Nov. 14 – Jan. 31

DuPAGE RIVER

No update, some portions in flood.

FOX RIVER

No update, many areas in flood.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay.

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

ILLINOIS RIVER

The LaSalle area and areas downstream will see at least a moderate flood, unusual for this time of year.

Illinois Valley Outdoors is open in Spring Valley.  The phone is (815) 663-1000.

INDIANA STREAMS

Streams are flowing high and dirty. Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map.

KANKAKEE RIVER

River is in flood, which has Norm Minas plying spots tight to shore.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKE KOSHKONONG, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKEFRONT

See perch at the top. PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes, which allow legal access to selected piers in selected Chicago harbors, are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. SALMON SNAGGING: Season ends Dec. 31. Only legal spots for snagging Chinook or coho are Lincoln Park lagoon south of Fullerton, Waukegan Harbor north basin, Winnetka Power Plant discharge, and Jackson Park inner and outer harbors.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check reports from Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait.

MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN

Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

No update.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

There is some ice fishing and what there is is generally good.

Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this on Monday:

Minocqua Area Fishing Report 12-28-15

It’s difficult predicting what to expect for ice conditions this week when you can’t rely on weather forecast to be very reliable about snow. That said…… here goes!

Christmas Day the wind laid down long enough to put a skim on a lot of lakes. On lakes that already had some fishable ice, things got better as ice thickness is getting into the 5-6” range. Where ice allows, fishing has been very good, a few hic-ups where a super low pressure system moved in, or east winds played havoc for a while – otherwise good to very good fishing on most areas of “fishable” ice.

Walleyes: Very Good. Tip ups baited with suckers, shiners best in shallows (4-7’) after dark. On lakes/ flowages with stained water, jigging Tinglers, Slender Spoons, Jigging Raps and the new Custom Jigs: Spins Rotating power minnows all tipped with a minnow head. Nice walleyes up to 28” reported this week with lots in the protected slot (20-24”) and enough eaters (15-19”) to take home.

Bluegills: Very Good. Limits of nice gills of 7 ½ – 9”, 4-7’ of water. The new VMC and Northland Tungsten flys: larvae have been hot tipped with a waxie or spike. The slower drop of the “helium “series flys have also been very effective in the shallow water bite.

Northern Pike: Very Good. Big suckers and shiners on tip-ups as well as jigging buck-shot spoons dressed with minnow “parts”. Lots of 28-32” pike reported, plus smaller “picklers.”

Crappies: Good. Some of the best crappie spots still just out of reach of anglers, once ice thickens another couple inches should be good to go. Tip-downs with Rosies on stained water producing slabs to 14”.

Largemouth Bass: Good. Tip-ups with medium shiners best. Accidental hook ups on jig/waxie or tip-down/minnow combos meant for other fish.

Yellow Perch: Good. Best in sparse weeded, muck bottom on forage minnow spoons tipped with medium fat heads in 4-8’. Lots of numbers? move in shallower in some cases finding big perch of 10-12” in 3-4’.

If snow holds off we should see good ice build. The one positive about late “early” ice- a lot of fish have not been caught. Also, as we are starting to see ice late, it’s a very “early ice” bite, good aggressive fishing.

Visit our website (www.kurtsislandsports.com) for up to date fishing and ice changes.

 EAGLE RIVER: “Ranger Rick’’ Krueger at Guide’s Choice Pro Shop in Eagle River, Wis. said Tuesday afternoon, “There is 3- to 5-inches along shores, big lakes are open in the middle.’’ There is about four inches of snow (snowmobile trails open Wednesday). Best bites are walleye and pike.

The Eagle River Chamber of Commerce sent this report, based on Creative Brilliance interviews with Eagle River guide “Muskie Matt” and legendary George Langley of Eagle Sports Center and hunting enthusiast Dan Anderson:

(Head): Fishing conditions in a state of change; all in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

Our guide sources tell us that ice conditions in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area are beginning to change. Temperatures are dropping, and there is some snow in the forecast. We are also told some guides have heard (unverified by the guides themselves) a few local anglers who know certain areas well are ice fishing small backbays and getting some northerns on tipups using golden shiners, and jigging for panfish using smaller minnows. Weed areas in less than 10 feet of water are being targeted. Some ice up to 3-4 inches is supposedly available in a few spots, but we cannot verify that. Caution is strongly suggested, as our guide sources tell us that they will not go out until the ice is knowingly safe.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

See perch at the top.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

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

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Phil Schuman at Tackle Haven said that steelhead are being caught off the piers and some in the river. Pier fishing also producing a few coho and the occasional brown and whitefish.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Lakeside is closed until ice fishing comes. And we do assume it will come eventually. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.

SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN

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

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.