Snow cover has impacted the safety of ice fishing, sturgeon spearing is on in the Winnebago system and Powerton Lake reopens to boaters on Thursday to lead this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report.

The biggest sturgeon speared Monday on the Winnebago system weighed 153.7 pounds and was 79 inches long. It was registered at Boom Bay (Upriver Lakes) by Colton Dunham.

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 EVENT

Hermann’s Ice Fishing Derby is 6 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at Herman’s Lowlife Bar and Grill–(847) 639-9644–in Port Barrington. It’s $10 entry.

WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN

The Upriver lakes hit a cap on Tuesday, ending spearing season on those lakes after only four days. Spearing continues on Lake Winnebago. Click here for more information on spearing sturgeon.

MICHIGAN’S FREE FISHING WEEKEND

Michigan has a free fishing weekend this weekend when no licenses needed, but other regulations apply.

AREA LAKES

Heavy snow cover has made for tricky ice conditions. Know your lake or pond, if venturing out on snow-covered ice and use the usual precautions. Click here for the general regulations on ice fishing for public sites around Chicago fishing.

And remember the pier passes for fishing Chicago harbors 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.

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

Tony Boshold, click here for his guiding service, sent this:

Still getting some big slab Crappies on the Fox Chain with mixed bags of great walleyes, some catfish and perch. The hard fighting Yellow bass have made a good showing this winter with eaters available to 11″ topping off the grandslam days. Glow Fiskas in 4 and 5mm with spikes caught most eyes and the others… small spoons, Jigging Raps and #3 Rippin’ Raps have all worked as great search baits or for calling them in. Then downsize as soon as they refuse the big stuff to the Fiskas.

I like that description “hard fighting Yellow bass.”

Art Frisell at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice fishing continues very good, even this late in the year, especially for bluegill and crappie on Channel; on Marie, walleye have been good, including one to 27 inches; pike are moving toward spawning areas; there’s plenty of ice but watch connectors and current areas.

SOME CHAIN ACCESS:  Musky Tales (near old Mentone’s) is another access point for Channel. The old stand-by on Nielsen’s Channel is Hermann’s with its $5 parking, bait, food and drink. 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

No update, not that I expected one with this weather, from Capt. Pat Harrison at Pat Harrison Outdoors.

DELAVAN LAKE, WISCONSIN

Tony Boshold, click here for his guiding service, sent this:

Lake Delavan: Snow helped! Gills and Crappies in the shallow weed beds hitting Little-Atom plastics rigged Vertizontal when it’s stable… Live bait during tough, frontal days. Work up and down the water column to find the depth they are feeding at…it changes throughout the day! Pike are improving on tip-ups with roaches since the snow cover. Walleyes are good at low light periods on tipups and roaches.

DES PLAINES RIVER

No update.

DOWNSTATE NOTES

POWERTON: Shore fishing is open, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. Boat fishing reopens Thursday, 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.

FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS

No update.

FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN

No update.

GENEVA LAKE, WISCONSIN

No update.

GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY

No update from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, but my friend Jeff Norris texted a photo of a pile of whitefish on Sunday. The bite is on.

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:

Some steelhead guys out action hit or miss salt creek and trail creek voodoo jigs tipped with waxworm best

KANKAKEE RIVER

On Tuesday, parts of the river were iced up again, but I suspect that will change quickly. Check with Nick Carr at Kankakee River Trading Post in Altorf for fishing updates.

KENOSHA, WISCONSIN

No update.

LAKE ERIE

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

LAKEFRONT

Ice conditions around Chicago lakefront vary with winds and weather.And weather has limited effort, but some have been getting perch inside the harbors. With variable ice conditions in the harbors, remember 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.

LAKE WINNEGAGO, WISCONSIN

See top for more on sturgeon spearing opening on Saturday.

LaSALLE LAKE

Closed for the year.

MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN

Check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.

MAZONIA

Ice fishing is at your own risk, but the reality is that several readers messaged or texted over the weekend that conditions at Mazonia South were very dangerous with the snow. Mazonia North reopens Friday, ice fishing is not expected to be safe.

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

No update.

NORTHERN WISCONSIN

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

Not a noteworthy weekend, but it looks as though an uptick in action, as we may be starting to come out of the mid-winter blues.  Certain species are making a stronger showing and this week’s warm up could provide some better fishing conditions.

Bluegill:  Good-Very Good – Good Action and some above average size Gills reported.  Best action has been late morning through early afternoon as of late, probably due to below zero morning temps.  Skandia #14 & #12 tungsten jigs as well as Fiskas in #2.5 thru #4’s tipped with Skimpees, Duppies, Wedgees, as well as J&S Larva Mites or Ice Mites.  As for live bait, moussees, waxies working well.  Small and dark best when fish get quiet.

Northern Pike:  Good – Big shiners ruling the action, partially due to lack of larger suckers, but also due to activeness and flash of shiners.  Rigs with small blades helping to attract fish.  Standing cabbage best in 7-10’, but larger fish (30”+) coming from deeper 12-17’ edges.

Yellow Perch:  Good – Depth of 18-30’ working mud flats using heavy spoons/jigs to stir up mud.  Tip Venom Tungsten Core Rattle Spoons, Hali Sliver Spoons, Chandeliers, Flash Champs and Kastmasters with wigglers or red spikes.  With warm up, rosie reds on tip-downs should work, but once found, fast dropping jigs/spoons way to increase #’s.

Crappie:  Good – A few reports of large fish moving into shallow weedy bays towards dusk, but for the most, deeper edges and flats.  Weed edges of 12-18’ using tip-downs with rosies, gow or UV colored Flash Champs, Chandeliers, pimples, Demons.  Waxies on glow #5 Fiskas.  Use lighter colored plastics (white, pink, silver) when weed fishing.  Look for fish to suspend 4-7’ off bottom over flats, anglers finding Crappies in bays at dusk 2-4’ below ice taking gold or white rockers tipped with Chena bait.

Walleye:  Fair – Out over deep sandgrass flats, Walleye suckers, large rosie reds and large fatheads on tip-ups.  Jigging spoons with rattles or lights (Northland/Fish 13) tipped with minnow heads.  Jigging Raps, Hyper Rattles & Glides also working.  Best early AM, 1 hour before dark and again between 10 PM and midnight.

Largemouth Bass:  Poor-Fair – Expect action to pick up as temps get over 20’s this week.  Shiners on tip-ups always top choice, but jigging Euro Tackle Z-vibes in 7-10’ weeds, tipping with minnow head, also producing some nice Bass when weather allowing

Should be a good weekend with new moon period coming up, plus some warmer weather.  Reports of ice depths in the 22-26” range, with some areas to 30”.  Snow depth making ATV travel tough, but trucks and snowmobiles good.  Mid-week warm up (in the 40’s) should pack snow down to make ATV’s viable again in some areas.

We welcome the Wisconsin High School Ice Fishing Championship on Lake Minocqua and the eastern half of Lake Tomahawk.  Good luck to all the participants.  Bring your Student ID’s and show at counter for specials on tackle.

Tournaments

2/17       Bob Lemer Tournament – Lake Katherine     &     Wisconsin High School State Championship

2/24       Carroll Lake Ice Derby     &     Lake Tomahawk Fisheree

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

EAGLE RIVER: No update from B+L, from reports from Colin Crawford of Colin Crawford Guide Service, for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce.

NORTHWEST INDIANA

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

 Willow slough giving up some good action latly ice around nwi iffy not many out

Some steelhead guys out action hit or miss salt creek and trail creek voodoo jigs tipped with waxworm best
Few browns at lakefront on golden roachs and casting ko wobblers and lil Cleo
Overall not many guys out over weekend overall ice has way to much snow on it

ROCK RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.

ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN

Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor, Mich. said not much going with the weather.

ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA

Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.

SHABBONA LAKE

Clint Sands at Lakeside said some nice perch and bluegill were caught recently; as of Tuesday, the ice is 7-8 inches, but water is coming up the holes with the weight of snow. Probably best to call Lakeside first–(815) 824-2581–to check conditions.

Lakeside is open seven days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. as long as ice fishing holds. Park hours are now 8 a.m.-6 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.

WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN

See update at top. Click here for more information.

WISCONSIN DELLS

Check with River’s Edge.

WISCONSIN RIVER

No update.

WOLF LAKE

No update.

WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN

No update.