Ice fishing should lead this Midwest Fishing Report, but let's hash out the opening day and other matters at LaSalle Lake.
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. I'm lagging a bit this morning.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The decision was made to open LaSalle on March 17, not on April 1 as was being considered. Staffing, not finalized, is supposed to be available to allow regular hours (6 a.m.-sunset) Wednesday through Sunday in March. I will stay on top of it.
Following up on the sores found on the Fish of the Week last week, a pike caught at Belmont harbor: Cook County biologist Frank Jakubicek looked at the photos and speculated that one mark may be related to a lamprey and the bigger one is probably a bacterial infection, most likely the most common known as Aeromonas infections.
The ice is not pretty or pristine, but plenty thick. Even areas well south of the city firmed up by Monday after the slop on top over the weekend.
LOCAL PUBLIC ICE FISHING REGS:
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 lcfpd.org. 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. I included a Fox River report, because Ken Gortowski sent one. But I bet you can count on one hand the number of guys actually fishing the Fox or just about any other river in our area.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton's report, go to
www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Current should improve fishing overall and concentrate walleye. Triangle reported many still trying for white and yellow bass, especially around Marie and Mineola, best with wigglers. Perimeter lakes--Loon, Long, Deep--are doing better for panfish. On Deep, Jack & Lydia's Resort seconded a better bite for bluegill, crappie and bass.
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
Joe's Rock N Wave Diner--(847) 838-9283--has access to Spring Lake. Staff asks that ice fishermen park on the east side and come in and pay. . . . At 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. With the thicker ice, Barnacle Bob's--(847) 395-2036--is an option. . . . For Ackerman's Channel, try Port O'Blarney--(847) 395-4122. . . . For Deep Lake, there's Jack & Lydia's Resort--(847) 356-1389
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Lakes at both units of Mazonia are open. All ice fishing is at your own risk. Braidwood reopens to fishing on March 1. HEIDECKE: Fishing reopens April 1. LaSALLE: Fishing reopens March 17. In March, the lake is open only Wednesday through Sunday. It is supposed to be open regular hours in March. We will see if staffing is there.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported decent crappie and pike on the north side of the island on Delavan, scattered perch and walleye are in 30-40 feet toward the west end and some nice catches of bluegill. Pike are taking more work on Como. Geneva has been slow, some open water in the middle, but ice fishermen are getting out. Pleasant has had some good numbers of bluegills.
EVERGREEN: Site staffer Brad Wood said there's 8-9 inches of and posted this report:
Ice fishing has been good on Evergreen the last few weeks. A lot of the ice fishing activity has been in the mouths of coves, off of points, and in the main creek channel. Wax worms have been the bait of choice among most through the ice. Most fish reported were being caught in deeper waters and mostly in the late afternoon hours. A recent report from the weekend yielded hundreds of crappies, with the majority being at least 9".
BE SAFE on the ice & Good Luck, Brad
BTW, boat stickers are in. If you're down during regular business hours, it would be a good idea to grab them. And they will be sold at the Illinois Fish & Feather Expo at the Interstate Center Friday through Sunday.
POWERTON: Jason Grider has remodeled and reopened his father's Riverside bait shop--(309) 347-3793--in Pekin. He reported big blues (a couple 30-pounders in the past week) and flatheads (a 42-pounder Monday) are the top bite in the hot water, big hybrid stripers (8-pounds-plus) are also good. Smallmouth are slow. Shore fishing is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15, 2010.
EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to ice fishing. You need a free permit. I haven't heard much. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
I can't believe I'm doing this, but Ken Gortowski sent this link to an interesting winter report:
In Kenosha, Harborside reported a few rainbows and browns by ice fisherman, more rainbows than browns, best are white tubes and waxies are top choice. There's been some nice pike caught in the marina.
The Wisconsin DNR had this report for Racine:
The Racine harbor is still iced over, with reports of 6 inches in Reefpoint Marina. There are some large open areas near the docks, though, so please use extra caution if you venture out. Anglers in the marina have been catching brown trout on spawn. The Root River is open from the Horlick dam through Colonial Park, but flows are very high.
CHICAGO: At Navy Pier on Tuesday, the ice floes had cleared out and the perch bite was better. Otherwise, ice fishermen are getting back out on Belmont, Montrose and the east side of Burnham, according to Henry's . When ice floes come in at Navy Pier, Arden Katz goes to jigging spoons, such as a Hali, to throw into the openings. Also, just a note for PR reasons, when the ice floes are in, fishermen need to take better care of throwing under-sized perch back, so they reach open water and don't land on the ice, leaving an unsightly mess. Mik-Lurch reported some perch around 92nd and 95th in the river.
WAUKEGAN: Salmon Stop reported occasional browns from shore, best on dead shiners near the bottom.
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.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
D&S Bait reported Monona Bay and upper Mud are best for bluegills. There's some perch (take sorting) on Mendota in deep water. Waubesa some finicky crappie on the east shore. For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:
Weather took a turn on us anglers, keeping many off the ice and slowing down the action we'd been experiencing through mid week. Some very nice fish were caught over the weekend, but total numbers were way down.
Perch: Fair. Best bites over deep mud of 15-22'. Wigglers, red spikes, leaf worms (broke in two) on #2 pimples, #25 Hali, Bro Bugs and Scud Bugs helping anglers to catches of eaters (8-10"). For shallow water perch in weeds (12' or less) use larger minnows (med-large fats/rosies) to target larger perch as small perch very annoying.
Walleyes: Fair. Action slowed with east wind. Some very nice walleyes to 28" this weekend by anglers fishing deep water humps using larger suckers, #7 and #9 jigging rapalas. Deep water (15-30') bite better than shallow water (as typical for mid-winter), choose suckers over shiners and set 9-15" off bottom.
Whitefish: Fair-Good. Use subtle motions to keep from spooking white fish in 70' depth. Tip spoons with waxies, Gulp Alive.
Pike: Fair. Action slowed with east wind. Some nicer fish, actually big for the area being caught. Pike of 34-37" taking big slab shiners in 10-15' along weed breaks. Eater pike of 22-26" in 5-10' weeds taking shiners fished at weed top level.
Bluegill: Fair. Gills getting picky. Fish light lines (1-2#) and #12-14 jigs tipped with a single spike on small sliver of Chena. Fish close to bottom as crappies in negative mood.
The east wind of last weekend has given way to a cold north wind which has brought in some snow (2-3") with temps for mid week hitting highs of single digits. Sunday's wet snow should firm up nicely. cold should start lifting a little by weekend, temps to hit teens to low 20's. Full moon usually (but not always) brings high pressure, evening bites best.
Mik-Lurch reported the best bite remains at Willow Slough, where we have multiple reports of nice pike; but most focus on bluegill. There was a lot of steelhead in the creeks before the melt off. FYI: In Indiana, you need name and address on your tip-ups. There's some perch in the river at 92nd and 95th.
Allen Outboard and Bait--(815) 739-4522--reported most still focusing on the road bed, rocks or deep trees for crappie, bluegill and catfish. NIGHT: The special night for fishing will be Feb. 13 and Allen will give prizes for biggest crappie, bluegill, catfish and legal walleye.
For more reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported some bass and pike on the Illinois side by the flagpole.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT