Ice fishing (“The itch is scratched”): Chicago fishing, Midwest Fishing Report

Ice fishing or survival in brutal ice fishing weather leads this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

Ice fishing is virtually universal, largely was so already by Friday and has only greatly thickened since. I truly expect that this coming weekend, with a forecast return to more normal winter weather, could be one of the best weekends for ice fishing in recent years.

Jason Langford sent the photo at the top and this note on his son Justin Langford on Friday.

My sons first time on the ice with his first catch! Hooked for life

Or as Larry Green noted when he tweeted the photo below Friday from an outing on the Forest Preserves of Cook County:

The itch is scratched

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 is building rapidly, even on Lake Michigan. A couple quick notes. 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 immediately below.

PIER PASSES

Probably important to remember this as ice begins to build, even in spots on Lake Michigan and the harbors. Pier passes are 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.

MUDPUPPIES REMINDER

Mudpuppies, which are sometimes caught this time of the year. As Don Ayres reminded earlier this month, they are protected and they need to be released unharmed.

AREA LAKES

Ice fishing.  Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.

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

BRAIDWOOD LAKE

Closed for the year.

CALUMET SYSTEM

No update.

CHAIN O’LAKES

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice is averaging about 10 inches, but be careful around the current areas and over deep water, even now. Best spot right now has been the south end of Channel for bluegills with some crappie. Main lake points on Marie are producing some walleye, but use caution around the current areas, try Hyper jigging lures or Jigging Rapalas and some are being caught on tip-ups on medium roaches. Pike fishing around the area has been very good on large roaches on tip-ups in shallow; some pike to 35 inches.

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

Check with Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.

DELAVAN, WISCONSIN

No update. If anyone knows somebody who can give regular winter reports, I would be indebted.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

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. 31
PRAIRIE 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 &
GOOD FISHING
larrysfishinghole.com
Larry

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

No update.

FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN

No update.

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 Tuesday:

Good morning fellas

Here is what I got

Ice fishermen are smiling with the super cold temps that we have had for the past 2 weeks.  Unlike the past 2 years, the bay of Green Bay all the way north past Chambers Island is frozen up and locked in which is an excellent sign for safe ice and a long ice season.

Perch action has been going pretty good so far early this season.  The better areas  have been Little Sturgeon and Sawyer Harbor up until this point, but soon those deep water spots  will be full of ice shanties now that we have cold weather and good ice continues to form.  The best baits have been a wide variety of jigs tipped with waxies, spikes, minnows and minnow heads and the tip-up action has been good too.

Whitefish action is really starting to heat up now that we are getting good ice.  Hot spots include…Henderson’s point, Riley’s Point and the Sherwood Point area up until this point, but soon fishermen will be spread out up and down the whole peninsula.  You can catch Whitefish in as shallow as 5 feet of water, but a majority of the fishermen like to fish in that 20 to 65 foot range.  An assortment of jigs like Rapalas and jigging spoons tipped with wax worms, spikes, minnow pieces and gulp is a very good options

Pike fishing continues to provide pretty decent action in our area.  A few of the better spots include Little Sturgeon, Pot Park shoreline, the Flats and right in downtown Sturgeon Bay.  Large Goldens and sucker minnows suspended under tip ups or auto fishermen work the best

Walleye reports are just starting to trickle in now that we have some safe ice. Better areas have been Henderson’s Point, Sherwood Point and the Larson’s Reef area will start to get ventured upon with the cold temps.  Jigging raps, Odd Ball jigs and rippin raps are just a few of the top jigs.

There has been some Brown Trout action in some of the harbors throughout the county from Sturgeon Bay all the way up the peninsula to Sister Bay.  Golden shiners suspended under tip ups and auto fishermen is always a good bet, also jigging spoons tipped with shiner minnows another good option

Thanks;

Lance LaVine
Howie’s Tackle
1309 Green Bay Rd
Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Ph: 920-746-9916

Like I said last week, I figured whitefish would be going by now and it looks like I am right on target.

HEIDECKE LAKE

Closed for the year.

ILLINOIS RIVER

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:

Most parts of creek are froze so not much steelhead fishing going on

KANKAKEE RIVER

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.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

Arden Katz said ice fishing was on the tough side in the harbor, but they were able to pick up a few browns on Sunday with tube jigs.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said perch are still being caught at Navy Pier and the Southeast Side slips by those busting ice. Otherwise, there are people using pier passes to go out and fish the Chicago harbors.  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.

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed for the year.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Gene Dellinger at  D & S Bait said there is “a lot of ice everywhere.” Perch are being caught on Kegonsa; bluegill, which take sorting, are being caught Squaw, Turville and Monona bays; some pike are being caught on Squaw; while on Mendota, there’s a bite for pike and walleye on the bars and bays, not much yet on perch on Mendota.

You can also check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

Closed for the year, except Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year-round. 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:

MILWAUKEE HARBOR

Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Kurt Justice
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
www.kurtsislandsports.com
Like us on FaceBook

NORTHWEST INDIANA

Capt. Rich Sleziak  at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind. texted:

Cold hasn’t stopped them from going ice fishing super bizy for a week straight groups going everywer ice 5 and a half to 8 inches everywer her in Neil Her in northwest Indiana The cold weather has made the bite tough tho not many good catchs so far really Most parts of creek are froze so not much steelhead fishing going on. This coming weekend and early in week coming up I bet the bite fires up with the warm up 25 to 30 degrees will spark em up been to cold to many days in a row

WILLOW SLOUGH NOTE: Ice fishing is underway and site staff said accesses are plowed.

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said not many out, between the ongoing snow and the brutal cold.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said ice is pushing 10 inches; there were good crowds out Friday and Saturday with some nice walleye (to 22 inches), some nice bluegill, with some crappie (take sorting) and the surprise, quite a few perch.

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.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check with River’s Edge.

WISCONSIN RIVER

No update.

WOLF LAKE

Staff at Henry’s Sports and Bait said the lake is icing over.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.