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Icy WOW of a Midwest Fishing report

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Mid-winter ice fishing events on Saturday headline this week's Midwest Fishing Report.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at

Details of the WOW benefit on Bangs Lake and the extended night of ice fishing at Shabbona Lake, both on Saturday, headline the event.


The Walk on Water ice fishing tournament to benefit families dealing with cancer is on Bangs Lake in Wauconda, beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday. The True Blue Ice team, the Wauconda mayor and assorted other outdoor sorts are expected.

Go to


Primary sources: Lakeside and guide Jay Angel

Crappie and bluegill have been picking up in time for the annual late night of ice fishing. On Saturday, the park opens at 8 a.m., but fishermen may fish into the night. They must be out of the park by 10 p.m. Allen Outboard and Bait--(815) 739-4522--just east of town should be open for bait and supplies.

For more reports, click here.


Ice fishing, some of the most consistent in years, continues on virtually all lakes and ponds. I don't know what more to say, than explore your local waters.

Here is the ice fishing information on area public waters for the winter of 2008-09:

CHICAGO LAGOONS: Closed to ice fishing because of liability concerns.

COOK: It's ice fish at your own risk on the designated ice-fishing lakes of the forest preserve: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South, Bullfrog, Busse main and south, Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum.

DuPAGE: Unless otherwise posted, it's ice fish at your own risk on forest preserve waters (4 inches of ice is recommended). Spring Creek Reservoir in Bloomingdale is closed to ice fishing (fluctuating levels). Late-night fishing is allowed at Deep Quarry Lake in Bartlett (fishermen must be out of the preserve by 11 p.m.) Ice holes are limited to 10 inches in diameter, and fishermen may only fish two holes. Only portable shelters are permitted, and must be removed when not in use. The Outdoor Report line is (630) 871-6422.

KANE: Unable as yet to confirm regs for this year.

LAKE: Forest preserve ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove (new this year) and Sterling, when the ice is uniformly 4.5 inches thick and the area is posted as safe for fishing. Shelters must be removed by the end of the day, only two poles allowed, and holes must be drilled 6 inches or smaller. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to sunset, except an additional hour in the evening is given at Sterling. For the latest, call (847) 968-3235 or go to the ice fishing page at

MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing, except during in-between periods of unsafe ice. All fishing, ice fishing is done at your own risk, open at Mazonia South after duck season (Dec. 24) and at Mazonia North Unit after upland game ends (Jan. 9).

McHENRY: The McHenry County Conservation District allows ice fishing 8 a.m. to sunset at the Fel-Pro RRR, the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Pleasant Valley, Rush Creek pond and Stickney Run pond, when there is 4 inches of clear ice. Rangers check conditions daily if necessary, and it will be posted. Shelters must be removed daily. Live bait is prohibited at Fel-Pro, the Hollows and Rush Creek. Parking lots are plowed, but other areas are not prepped by MCCD, so be prepared to make paths, etc. Updates, if needed, are made daily at (815) 338-6223.

SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk on both lakes (Loon and Beaver). The west entrance is generally closed in winter, the east entrance may be closed temporarily because of icing.

WILL: The forest preserve district does not offer ice fishing; however, Monee Reservoir and Whalon Lake (Naperville) allow fishing year-round, if the water is open.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, go to this NWS site.

There's very limited efforts in the open water below the dams or near discharges.

On the Kankakee, I know Norm Minas has picked off the occasional smallmouth between ice chunks within the past two weeks and Ed Mullady sent this from the few fishermen out:

``A few small walleye have been caught on minnows in available open water areas. Croppie fair in quiet open water locations on jig and minnow *pinkie jigs.''


Primary source: Guide Mike Norton.

Go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


Primary sources: Triangle Sports & Marine or Capt. Darrell Baker

Triangle reports the best ice fishing of the year, most lakes are producing good catches.

Look for bluegills to be shallow, grouped in large numbers; waxies and spikes are both producing. Best bluegill bite is on Channel; also some good crappie on small minnows or spikes on glow jigs there.

Great walleye bite on Marie or Petite on small roaches or large fatheads under tip-ups, or jigging with a Rapala and a minnow head; both days and nights are working. Look for fronts moving in and out to trigger the bite.

White bass are also good on spikes or small minnows; Marie, Fox and Pistakee.

Some perch on Marie on small minnows on silver jigs, waxies or spikes also work, in 8-12 feet near some weeds. Ice conditions are good, but always use caution.

Chain access points: Most charge $5 for parking, but most will also strike a deal for those who come in to eat or drink. At the T Channel, the best early-ice spot, staff at Famous Freddie's--(847) 587 9677--said fishermen could park for free in back if they leave by 11:30 a.m. Or, go in and eat. By the way, that's good advice all around to help build good will.

On Channel Lake, Chopper's Bar--(847) 838-1230--and the Thirsty Turtle--(847) 395-4704--both offer deals for fishermen.

At Spring Lake, there's Joe's Rock N Wave Diner--(847) 838-9283.

On Lake Marie, there's Barnacle Bob's--(847) 395-2036 and the Sand Bar & Grill--(847) 395-8990--where the owners asked that ice fishermen park around the back, but don't block the dumpsters and patronize the place.

More Chain info at


Ice fishing is underway at both Mazonia North and South.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle said perch are going in 20 feet on Geneva; bluegill and crappie are tough. On Friday and Saturday, lakers (up to 22 pounds) were taken being taken on Heddon Sonar, jigging Rapalas (No. 7 or 9) or white tube jigs in varied depths.

There's sporadic legal walleye on Delavan off Lake Lawn evenings; bluegill are small and slow.

Pleasant Lake is probably top bite for bluegills.



From Mike Steffa:

``A lot of ice fishermen were out over the last week. I would rate the ice fishing as fair. Bluegills and crappies are the most common being caught. A few Yellow bass and an occasional white bass are being caught as well. The mouths of coves seemed to be the ticket. Mallard, White Pines, Two Cedars, and Beaver Den coves. A few other places are the point off of the west side of Deer Island and The Hump.''

Any fishing report is posted here.


Bank fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.


Site super Rick Seibert said ice fishing has been slow.


For more, call (217) 774-2020.


Primary source: Harborside Bait & Tackle and Capt. Bob Poteshman

Both North Sider Arden Katz and Harborside reported browns and rainbows slowed for ice fishermen.


Primary source: Rickard's and Ohio DNR

For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.



Primary sources: Henry's Sports, Bait & Marine, Park Bait, Capt. Bill Kelly and Capt. Bob Poteshman

Ice fishing is best at Belmont, Montrose and the east side of Burnham, but it takes sorting for keeper perch, reported Henry's. Mik-Lurch said there's been browns at the stateline power plant.


The Chicago Park District is selling pier passes at the ice rinks at Daley Bicentennial Park, McFetridge Sports Center, Midway Plaisance Park, Mt. Greenwood Park, Riis Park, Rowan Park, Warren Park and West Lawn Park. Pier passes grant legal access to designated piers in the boating off-season.


Primary source: D&S Bait at

D&S Bait reported decent bluegill on Waubesa and Monona Bay, a few perch on Kegonsa and variable perch on Mendota. There's been catches of a few walleye and smaller pike on Mendota.


Primary sources: Eagle River Sports, Pastika's and Minocqua guide Kurt Justice

From Justice:

``Another artic blast pushed in Friday. Dropping night temps to 15 below both sat & sun mornings. Heavy winds Friday afternoon made conditions unbearable. But despite the cold lack of wind sat wasn't bad.

Walleyes--Off shore areas the best. Deep breaks on the edge of islands. Most anglers on the chain picking up eyes in 12-17 feet of water along weed edges. Suckers , River shiners seem to work better for these deeper bites. But don't pass up wild shiners if you can find them. Jigging Rapalas still scoring larger fish with a 28 incher best of the week.

Bluegills--Good. Despite cold better than average gills (8-9inch) being caught. using a #12 gill pill jigs tipped with a single moussee. The cold and wind kept guys from moving a lot but good catches still reported in 6-9 feet of weeds.

Yellow Perch--Good. While some anglers still catching fish in weeds on minnows. Better action over deep mud on Hali jigs and #2 pimples in 18-27 feet. Tipped with wigglers and red spikes.

Northern Pike--Fair-Good. Bite from last week slowed with the cold. Bigger shiners getting bigger fish. A few unhappy bluegill anglers reporting lots of bite offs in favorite bluegill spots.

Crappie-- Poor to fair. Despite low pressure and warmer temps mid week. Action slowed. Dropping small plastics best for tight lipped crappies.

Largemouth Bass--Good Not typically targeted through the ice. But very active past week on tip-ups meant for pike.

Unusual cold and changing barometer for a new moon window. Things slowly warming back up from Monday on out. Mid winter patterns building start working deeper haunts. Last weekends snow made travel from excellent to fair. High winds Friday made ATV access near impossible. Trucks ok but stay on trails snowmobile is the best right now.''


Primary sources: Mik-Lurch Tackle Outlet, Capt. Chuck Weis and Capt. Ralph Steiger

Willow Slough continues to be the top spot, especially Mormon Hill for big bluegills. There's also been some nice pike out of there, including a reported 42-incher. Mik-Lurch said the hot-water discharges (Amoco or stateline plant) are producing browns. At Amoco, worms or spawn are working better (maybe it is because it's different than the shad packed there).


Primary sources: BJ Sports and Michigan DNR

BJ reports a few boats going up to the dam from Shamrock Park. The steelhead run should go in the next week or so. Otherwise, there's decent ice fishing on area lakes, though there's some snow and slop.


Primary source: Mik-Lurch

Some bigger fish, both largemouth and pike, are being taken behind (east) of the island on the Indiana side, according to Mik-Lurch.






MICHIGAN DNR REPORT,1607,7-153-10364-34956--,00.html






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on January 28, 2009 6:53 AM.

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