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Midwest Fishing Report: UnChained access

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Ice fishing leads this Midwest Fishing Report. And we will begin with public access points for the Chain O'Lakes and Fox River backwaters area.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the outdoors page of 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


There's a couple more I would like to confirm, but here are some access points around the Chain O'Lakes area. Most charge $5 for parking, but many will strike a deal with those who come in to eat or drink.

``If they come in for coffee, I sure would appreciate it,'' said ``Knuckles'' at Joe's Rock N Wave Diner--(847) 838-9283--with access to Spring lake.

By the early-ice spot the T Channel, staff at Famous Freddie's--(847) 587 9677--last year asked fishermen to park in back and be out by 11:30 a.m. when they open, or come in and eat.

On Nielsen's Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, Hermann's--(847) 639-9644--offers parking, wax worms, food and drink.

On Channel Lake, Choppers Bar--(847) 838-1230--and the Thirsty Turtle--(847) 395-4704--have access. Chopper's refunds the parking voucher if you order food.

On Lake Marie, McKinney's East Marina--(847) 838-8550--or the Sand Bar & Grill--(847) 395-8990--are best. As the ice thickens, Barnacle Bob's--(847) 395-2036--is an option.

For Ackerman's Channel, try Port O'Blarney--(847) 395-4122.

For Deep Lake, a later lake for safe ice (maybe safe by the weekend), there's Jack & Lydia's Resort--(847) 356-1389.


LOCAL ICE FISHING UPDATES: Lakes are rapidly forming safe ice. Here are the ice fishing regulations the winter of 2009-10 on local public waters:

CHICAGO LAGOONS: Closed to ice fishing because of liability concerns. COOK FPD: It's ice fish at your own risk on the designated ice-fishing lakes (4 inches is recommended): Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Horsetail, Ida, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee, Sag Quarry east and west, Tampier, Turtlehead and Wampum. DuPAGE FPD: 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 FPD: Ice fishing is permitted at Lake Patterson at Oakhurst in Aurora and the various ponds at Burnidge in Elgin. LAKE FPD: Forest preserve ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay 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 on week days. 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. All ice fishing is done at your own risk. The Mazonia units open after various hunting seasons. McHENRY CD: 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. Live bait is prohibited at Fel-Pro, the Hollows and Rush Creek. Updates, if needed, are made daily at (815) 338-6223. Parking lots are plowed, but other areas are not prepped by MCCD, so be prepared to make paths, etc. SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Ice fish at your own risk on both lakes (Loon and Beaver). The west entrance is closed in winter, the east entrance may be closed temporarily because of icing. WILL FPD: The forest preserve district does not offer ice fishing; however, Monee Reservoir and Whalon Lake allow fishing year-round, if the water is open.


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


For guide Mike Norton's report, go to, then click on fishing, then lake report.


The beginning of ice fishing on the Chain is the big story. Both Triangle--(847) 395-0813--and Hermann's--(847) 639-9644--reported ice fishing began on Thursday on the Chain channels and Nielsen's off the Fox. Guide Darrell Baker reported catches of bluegill and crappie in the hundreds. More areas will lock in this week. For access, see top.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


We're in a changing situation here. On Delavan, Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported ice fishing is going at the boat launch for crappie and bluegill, but the main lake was open Tuesday. More areas will lock in quickly. Como has good ice and some good pike action on tip-ups. Geneva had open water.


Norm Minas sent a note last week, jabbing me a bit for not including river reports. He pointed out there were off-kilter people like him who were fishing. In fact, he popped a few good smallmouth before weather drove him in. I will note the next day ice floes made the river unfishable. Then it warmed and was wide open earlier this week, I would expect that to change rapidly again over today and tomorrow.

With that in mind, Ed Mullady sent this:

KANKAKEE RIVER REPORT DEC. 14, 2009 - from: ED MULLADY, Sportsman's Letter

INDIANA:Rt. 39 & 8 -Pike fishing fair along ditch mouths *in-water logs: Baits: *4-6" minnows *Dardevle Spoon,
Red & White *Dr. Spoons *Mepps #5 Spinner.

Rt. 55 Area: Croppie fair on *minnows *crawlers *pinkie jigs along brush piles *shoreline edges

Momence Area: Walleye fair east of Momence on *jig and minnow *jig and crawler *minnow shaped plugs *Johnson spoon and pork rind.

Kankakee Dam thru Sawmill Creek: Walleye fair in pools below dam near shore *mouth of Soldier and Sawmill Creek on *jig and minnow *jointed crankbaits *Rattlin' Rogue.

Kankakee river State Park: Smallmouth Bass fair where run off and creeks flow into river. *Mepps #2 Spinners *Rattlin' Rogue *jig and minnow *jig and double twister tails.
Catfish fair on 3 to 4"minnows *crawlers *cheesebaits on warmer days.

Wilmington Dam through Broken Dam on Island Park: *Pike fair on *minnows *spoons *spinners.
Walleye fair on *jig and minnow *jig and crawler *Rattlin' Rogue.

On warm days, much of the ice that had formed melted, but cooler temps will freeze up in quiet water areas.

Ed Mullady, Sportsman's Letter
815 932 7285


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


CHICAGO: Perch action continues to be outstanding at Montrose, Belmont and Navy Pier. But it takes major sorting for keepers. Henry's reported Navy Pier continues to be the best for percentages of keepers. WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported south rocks just reopened. There are some nice browns off Johnson pier. CHICAGO'S FISHERMAN'S PARKING: The $10 parking passes for the small fishermen's lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors are available at Henry's.


Most of the water was still open when the 18-inch blizzard hit last week, so ice formation has been relatively good. D&S Bait reported ice fishermen on Monona Bay, the Triangle, Cherokee Marsh and the south end of Waubesa for bluegill and crappie. For D&S Bait, go to


Snow limited ice formation, but by the weekend many areas will be safe. Access is by walking, right now. EAGLE RIVER: Staff at Eagle Sports Center had this suggestion with the variable conditions, ``Pop some holes as you go.'' Otherwise, people out on a few lakes, but it is sketchy with all the snow; ice fishing should be widespread by the weekend. MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports reported lakes are averaging 3-4 inches with as much as 8 inches, but some lakes like Trout and Fence are still open. Pike were especially good with fish to 30 inches. Walleye are good in the evenings on tip-ups in 6-12 feet, few reports on jig fishing so far. Some crappie in weeds in 6-12 feet; decent bluegill action. Perch are scattered in 4-6 feet.


Mik-Lurch reported good steelhead, lakers and browns at Gary Light on days when weather allows launching. WILLOW SLOUGH: Will the ice be safe when fishing reopens today? More likely by Thursday or Friday. I may test it myself. That may be the hot spot for the year, if safe ice forms.


BJ Sports reported whitefish off piers on Monday, walleye in the river and still some steelhead at the Berrien Springs.


Ice fishing will be here shortly. For reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported the lake is icing, and a bit of ice fishing is just beginning.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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Kankakee River, Indiana - During the warm-up period the smallmouth and walleye have been hitting rapalas and other minnow-type crank baits; while suckers continue to take live bait offerings off the bottom; northern pike and walleyes have been taking large minnows near the mouths of bayous and feeder ditches.

With the advent of this extreme cold front one must be careful fishing along the can become treacherous.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 16, 2009 6:21 AM.

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