One theme ran through the fishing reports I collected the last two days--anticipation of a major weekend for ice fishing. That hope, fueled by a forecast of very reasonable winter weather, leads this Midwest Fishing Report.
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 email@example.com.
Weather limited effort last week and over the weekend, but that should and will change dramatically over the next few days. This could be the weekend for ice fishing this winter.
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.
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
Ice is in good shape, but Jim's Bait reported fishing is fair at best. Long is seeing the most effort. Though Triangle reports white and yellow bass are starting on Marie. Some walleye (good when caught) are being taken on Marie too, but it takes work. On Deep Lake, staff at Jack & Lydia's Resort reported a good bite for quality bluegill and plenty of ice.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
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.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA: All ice fishing is at your own risk. Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round, the other lakes at the South Unit reopen Monday. The Mazonia North lakes have already reopened to fishing.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported good pike on Como; decent bluegills, scattered perch and fair walleye (in 30-42 feet) on Delavan; and fair panfish on Geneva.
EMIQUON: Ice fishing is permitted. Interested parties may request a permit and list of rules between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown. There is no fee. No gas powered motors are permitted, and bank fishing is not allowed. For more, call (309) 547-2730. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: All ice-fishing is at your own risk. Because of late-winter deer hunting, only fishermen can only ice-fish campground cove or Jones' Pond, Friday through Sunday. POWERTON: Shore fishing is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
Fair ice-fishing for browns and steelhead in the harbor, according to a local angler. Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
In Chicago, the best spot remains Navy Pier, where guys keep busting holes to catch perch. Henry's reported some perch limits came from ice fishermen at Montrose on Tuesday. Mik-Lurch reported perch in the river around 92nd and 95th, but it takes lots of sorting for keepers. Ice has virtually stopped fishing at Waukegan. 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
Fishing has been fair, but warmer weather should help pick up fishing. D&S Bait reported Monona Bay is best of a tough lot, Waubesa is another fair choice. Perch fishing is underway on Mendota (good 7 inches of ice), but the bite has been fair. For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Again, fishing is expected to turn around dramatically this week. Staff at Island Sports reported fair fishing, walleye are best deeper (20-25 feet) on jigging Rapalas or fatheads. Crappie and perch were slow, warmer weather should turn around panfish, especially in shallower weedy bays. Most lakes are OK for driving, but some areas are slushy and need care. ATVs and snowmobiles are going out.
Rick LaBuda reported limit bluegill catches at Willow Slough last week in the snow; on Tuesday, Mik-Lurch seconded good bluegills continuing.
Reports on www.shabbonalake.com indicate some panfish action building. On a warmer weather matter, concerned fishermen have started a petition for a barrier at the dam to prevent fish from going over. I signed it at the Chicago Muskie Show. But it also may be signed online at PetitionOnline.com/shabbona/petition.html.
Mik-Lurch reported good ice through most areas with pike on the Illinois side as decent.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT