Ice fishing is back in fine form, area-wide, obviously, and leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.
How area-wide is the ice fishing? Well, even to some of the rivers. Marcus Benesch sent this rare ice-fishing catch from the Des Plaines River:
Pulled this bowfin through the ice on the Des Plaines up in Lake County using a dead roach in 4 feet of water.
I love the idea of a bowfin through the ice.
The Midwest Fishing Report for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
ICE FISHING NOTES
Ice fishing is well established again. The weekend warm-up could both spark fishing and make the surfaces sloppy again. Probably a weekend for boots and creepers.
Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing. And remember the Pier Passes for fishing Chicago harbors, see below.
WISCONSIN FREE FISHING WEEKEND
Wisconsin has a free fishing weekend this weekend. Click here for rather solid bits of family advice on ice fishing.
Pier passes are available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers on the Chicago lakefront. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license.
Once again, ice fishing is virtually universal, but use caution with the snow cover, particularly in current or spring areas. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.
Ken “Husker” O’Malley sent this:
AREA WATER LEVELS
Click here to find river closures listed by the Illinois DNR. 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
Closed for the year.
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said white and yellow bass on Petite in 8-14 feet are the top bite; there’s good crappie and bluegill on the south and north ends of Channel; on Marie, find the old river channel for catfish and white bass on Swedish Pimples or Kastmasters tipped with the minnow heads, a few walleye very late and very early, some crappie shallow; there’s some walleye on East Loon.
SOME CHAIN ACCESS: The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. For the T-Channel, ice fishermen will have to improvise, I believe this year for access and parking. For Channel, there’s Chopper’s Bar, where the $5 parking is taken off if food or drink are ordered. For Spring, there’s Granny’s, where the $5 parking is taken off if food ordered. One access point for Marie is at Barnacle Bob’s, where there is parking though it is closed for the winter.
For more info and lake updates, go to Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHICAGO RIVER/CHICAGO LAKEFRONT
Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors sent this:
Chicago River, Lake Michigan Downtown
Well with the weather not quite the best for open water I have been getting prepped for when we do get some open water. I have been doing the sport and fishing shows too. I spent a few days at McCormick Place at the Chicago Boat Show in the Lake County G3 Yamaha Boat display. Had a lot of peoples stop by to look at boats and to talk fishing Thank you all.
One of the young guys Jason that I know has been fishing the river for years from shore stopped by after getting his limit of Nice Perch at Navy Pier. He also fishing the river a bit at a couple discharges and got a few Crappie, Gills and a small Bass. The Perch fishing has been good at Navy pier and I am also glad that the DNR is out and checking licenses and limits and enforcing the rules. There have been a lot of posts and print about over harvesting and poaching.
We can help if you see it happening call it in don’t attempt to confront people on your own. I have a Dnr officer tell me if DNR cant respond call the Chicago Police non emergency line 311. They can at least come out and get the offenders information they can’t enforce the DNR Rules but can forward the information to the DNR. We have to worry about over harvest which can hurt a year class of fish.
Everyone has the right to fish as long as they have a license but they do not have the right to over harvest. A guy at the show this weekend said his buddy has been fishing 4 different locations throught out the day and taking his limits home. He will probably be one of the guys complaining in a couple years “WHERE DID THE PERCH GO” I hope his buddy tells him to check his freezer. Just my 2 pennies worh of thought on over harvest. That’s what slot limits and creel limits were created for to sustain our fisheries not just for us but our kids and their kids.
—www.patharrisonoutdoors.com Thanks Pat
No update. If anyone knows somebody who can give regular winter reports, I would be indebted.
DES PLAINES RIVER
Marcus Benesch sent this:
Been fishing a lot frozen sections of the Des Plaines in Lake County. Haven’t been doing a whole lot a catching, but been drilling a whole mess of holes. Sunday afternoon I had a muskrat pop it’s head into my shanty through the ice, hilarious. Did catch one heck of a fighter bowfin on a tip up in about 4 feet of water using a leftover dead roach from Saturdays excursion.Marcus BeneschGurnee, Ilinois
POWERTON: Shore fishing is open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15. LAKE SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for the season.
Larry Dozard of larrysfishinghole.com sent this update on some closing dates Downstate:
Dale, Here are the Winter Lake Closures I have from IDNR for Central IL (& couple extra).
ANDERSON LAKE –– – THIS AREA Will CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING in Main Lake on Oct. 21st with Last Day to Fishing being Oct. 20th during waterfowl season with bank fishing Only allowed.BANNER MARSH – ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO BOAT FISHING Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) — 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 – –CLINTON LAKE -REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges willCLOSE to protect fish and wildlife FROM OCT. 10th through – typically March 31st – but with weekend, could be March 30th, 2018..?DOUBLE T S.F.&W.A. ** THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING Oct. 1st with LAST DAY to Fish being Sept. 30th and will remain CLOSED till Feb 1st..EVERGREEN LAKE – –– – 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.-McMASTER LAKE at SNAKEDEN HOLLOW –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING for the Season on Oct. 16th(last day to fish is Oct. 15th) till Feb. 1st —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. 23 – Jan. 31PRAIRIE LAKE in Jim Edgar/ Panther Creek State F&W Area – Lake access is CLOSED to Fishing from Nov. 1st – Jan. 15th until After 12:01 PM on Wednesdays and Saturdays.RICE LAKE –* THIS AREA WILL CLOSE TO FISHING on OCT. 21st with Last Day of Fishing being OCT. 20th and Will Re-Open at end of Duck & Goose Season..SPRING LAKE (South & North) –* THIS AREA WILL BE CLOSED TO BOAT FISHING in Hunting Area ON OCT. 21st with Last Day to Boat Fish being Oct. 20th –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 –AND Shore Fishing is allowed in entire Lake after 1pm in Hunting areas or at boat ramps all day..SANGCHRIS LAKE –* THE WEST and EAST ARMS OF LAKE and Small AREA NEAR DAM ARE CLOSED DURING WATERFOWL SEASON to boat traffic effective Oct. 18th (last day to boat fish will be Oct. 17th) through Jan. 31, 2018 (during this time fishing boat traffic is permitted in the center hot arm only).Keep up the Good Work,Enjoy the Fall &
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN
No update. If anyone knows somebody who can give regular winter reports, I would be indebted.
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay sent this:
Good morning guys. Here is what I have as far as the ice fishing is concerned
The Whitefish action is hot and heavy right now as we have very good and relatively safe ice cover throughout the county. The good ice cover allows people to do a little more venturing and get away from those big groups making the fishing that much better. There are endless areas to fish Whitefish as they are pretty much all over along the Door County peninsula from the Chaudoirs Dock area all the way up to the tip of the peninsula. The best depths also vary pending on ice traffic…pretty much from 10 feet of water all the way out past 90 feet, it all just depends how far you want to travel. Some of the most popular jigs include…Rapala jigs, Sweedish Pimples, Buckshot spoons and forage minnows just to name a few, but the options are endless. And most fishermen run some sort of a slider hook above their main jig like a fly, small dot jig, plain single or treble hook.
Perch fishing continues to provide some very nice action as of late. The better areas have been the Little Sturgeon area, Riley’s Bay, some pretty nice catches now coming from the deep water from Riley’s Bay south to Chaudoirs and some OK action in the Sturgeon Bay area depending on the traffic on the ice. Here again, staying away from the groups of people and high traffic areas is key. An assortment of jigs tipped with minnows, minnow heads, waxies and spikes work well along with tip up fishing with shiners and Rosy Reds.
Walleye fishing has been like normal Walleye fishing for this time of year. Some days you get your bites and some days your just going through the motions. But there are some fish getting caught and a few big brutes too. The biggest we have seen so far this year was 12 ¾ pound slob. Rapala jigs and Oddball jigs still the most popular, but Puppet minnows, Moonshine shiver minnows and Fuzzy Grubs are always a good bet. Tip your jigs with shiners or minnow heads
Pike action is going quite well as the weather is a bit more tolerable for avid Pike fishermen to run their wide spreads in search for the toothy critter. Some areas to try would be Little Sturgeon, Riley’s Bay, Sturgeon Bay ship canal edges and the Sturgeon Bay Flats. Large Golden shiners and sucker minnows the main bait
Brown Trout fishermen are having some success in bays from Sturgeon Bay north to Sister Bay both jigging and running tip up or auto fishermen spreads. Suspending golden shiners or large lake shiners number one method
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Just the report I wanted to read. I hope to get up for whitefish next month.
Closed for the year.
Check fishing status at B & B Live Bait–(815) 433-0432–in Ottawa, where hours are now in the morning.
INDIANA STREAMS (LAKE MICHIGAN TRIBUTARIES)
Access points for Trail Creek can be found on the Trail Creek Access Map. Access points for Little Cal and Salt Creek, which are closer to Chicago than Trail Creek, may be found at littlecal_saltcreek_access.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:
Bass pro area of salt creek giving up good amount of steelhead white voodoo or purple voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms nice fish too
River is iced up enough to post flood warnings from ice jams. Check with Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf for fishing updates.
Arden Katz said the weather dirtied up the water, but other ice fishermen were catching some on fresh spawn.
Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said that the weather dirtied up the water for ice fishermen in the harbors, it should clear later in the week; ice is in and out at Navy Pier.
PIER PASSES: Available at Henry’s Sports and Bait. The passes allow for legal access to select piers available. They cost $6 cash with one per valid fishing license. NOTE: Park Bait at Montrose is closed for the season.
Closed for the year.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Mazonia South is open. All ice fishing is at your own risk. Mazonia North reopens Feb. 16. Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service sent this:
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua sent this:
Cold and clear skies met weekend anglers, slowing what had been a very good ice fishing season so far.
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Best chance for a meal is to work mud flats of 18-28′ using VMC Flash Champs, Halis and Pimples tipped with wigglers or Red Spikes. Warm forecast for weekend would allow for tip-down use with small rosies.
Walleye: Good-Fair – Definite slow down over weekend. Bite more sporadic, probably due to barometer (though Flowages not affected same as lakes). Suckers in the 2 1/2 – 3 1/2″ range best.
Crappie: Good-Fair – As with Walleyes, flowages better option on high sky days. Warmer weather this weekend should improve tip-down bite.
Northern Pike: Fair – Bite slowed, some deeper water fish over sand grass should improve with warm up.
Bluegill: Fair – Tighter lipped fish need to be finessed with smaller darker jigs tipped with dark (red, black, purple, brown) plastic and red spikes or mousses.
Largemouth Bass: Poor – Look for bass action to pick up over weekend with warm up. Use medium shiners.
A definite drop off in action over past weekend can be attributed to high pressure and cold (-28 degrees Sunday, Jan 14th) This week things should improve as temps slowly rise by weeks end, mid-week clouds should help till then.
ICE FISHING REPORT
Ice fishing season is here. For fishing trends and ice conditions, be sure to visithttp://eagleriver.org/fish/. View the complete fishing report below.
Recent cold snaps have made the ice thick enough to safely venture out on most area lakes. Make sure to check the ice depth along your pathway to make sure it is thick enough. Reminder: some area lakes are also marked with barrels for snowmobiles, so be sure to punch your holes away from the trail areas.
Northern Pike: We are finding fish on the weed edges and in the deeper weeds. On the edges, the set up should be tip ups set a foot or so off the bottom. When fishing the deep weeds, set your tip ups so that your bait is just above the tops of the weeds.
Walleye: These fish are being caught in and around weeds. Setting tip ups on the weed edges baited with walleye suckers or medium golden shiners in low light conditions seem to be best. Also, jigging in the same areas with baits (like the buckshot rattle spoon) are producing fish. The other good option is on the tops of rock humps for good spots in the early evening.
Panfish: Bluegills are being found in the weeds using small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or tipped with plastic. Perch are being caught on the deep weed edge where the mud meets.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted this explanation on Tuesday of the photo above
2 hours this morning pond in Winfield chucks tungsten jig red spikes
Slough bass good on tip ups gills hit or miss must spend the good part of day to get a mess worth the driveValpo chain loomis and long giving dome crappie up at nite in deep waterValpo chain gills hit or miss one day ok 2 days slow then decent againBass pro area of salt creek giving up good amount of steelhead white voodoo or purple voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms nice fish tooOverall lots of people out action fair
ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said there were decent smaller crappie and bluegill, bigger ones are rarer; some hybrid stripers were caught in the north cove over the weekend; a few walleye have been caught; ice is generally 10 inches (less in a few spots).
Lakeside is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Park hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Streadsm flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
Check with River’s Edge.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN