The Braidwood Lake opener, Navy Pier perch and ongoing ice fishing lead this Midwest Fishing Report.
The above shot was one of the nicer afternoons on opening day at Braidwood, back in 2004, I think.
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 email@example.com.
BRAIDWOOD LAKE OPENER
Braidwood, the cooling lake in southwest Will County, reopens to fishing on Monday.
In a winter like this, many of us are ready for open water. I find walking the riprap and feeling the warmth come off the water on the hot side is like taking a cure, one I need this winter more than most winters. That's where I expect to be Monday morning for at least a few hours.
For my Sun-Times column today, I talked with veteran biologist Rob Miller, especially about the rebounding bass fishery. Click here to read it. One of the key stats really stuck with me.
In last fall's survey (major surveys are done every other year), the percentage of bass of 18 inches or longer was nearly four percent. That compares to 0, as in none, during the 2007 survey.
The stocking program, now its fourth year, is beginning to pay off. That and the lake has not had a major kill now for several years.
Catfish and bluegills should be about the same, decent numbers but fair size.
For Braidwood info, click here. Hours are 6 a.m. to sunset daily.
NAVY PIER PERCH
Over the weekend was one of the great perch catches at Navy Pier. Arden Katz called them ``suicidal.'' Another veteran fisherman measured perch to 14 inches on Sunday and called it ``the best perch fishing I have ever seen at Navy Pier.'' By Tuesday, numbers were being caught, but the size dropped. The ice has been in and out.
After the weekend weather, some lakes are topped by slush and some shorelines are muddy, but the ice base is fine and will hold well into next month.
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 most individual river reports.
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
Capt. Darrell Baker of Midwest Guide Service texted Monday afternoon that they caught 300 panfish. I had a decent outing with Capt. Jeff Hahn of Chain O'Lakes Fishing Guide Service for crappie last Wednesday. Chick here for the story.
Triangle reported bluegill are good, best on Channel, look shallow. Try Marie for walleye (evenings or early morning in 8-12 feet, jigging or tip-ups) or white bass (in deeper water). Numerous pike are being caught on many lakes on large roaches or smelt. Catfish are good on red worms or medium roaches in deep water in Marie. Rock N Wave Diner staff reported good panfish over the weekend on Spring, but reminded fishermen to park on the east lot and to come in and pay.
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. . . . For Deep Lake, there's Jack & Lydia's Resort--(847) 356-1389.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
LaSALLE: Fishing reopens March 17. In March, the lake is open only Wednesday through Sunday.
MAZONIA: Bill Lanham sent an encouraging report:
Fishing pressure seems to have dropped off now, after a couple weeks of mid-western mid-winter doldrums slowing the region's bite on lakes and ponds and with sport shows turning angler's interests towards open water. This weekend though, the bite turned back on, maybe the result of last week's late week weather warm-up and snow melt entering the lakes and sparking fish activity.
The lakes, once again, produced good numbers of crappies, sunfish, largemouth bass and even a few nice sized northern pike and yellow perch. Crappies and bluegills are both, suspended in the lakes basins and inhabiting shallows wherever still green weeds are standing. Pike are roaming the shorelines, perhaps now in search of their soon to be, spawning habitat. Bass are hitting live bait offerings jigged or set under tip-ups along weed edges.
HEIDECKE: Fishing reopens April 1.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported on Geneva more lakers in ``The Narrows'' in 60-80 feet, more perch (take sorting) in Fontana in 35-38 and scattered big pike on frozen smelt. On Delavan, catching is better toward the end of the day, lots of crappie reported off Assembly Park. Como has continued pike and bass.
POWERTON: Jason Grider at Riverside reported hybrids (4-10 pounds) and blues are best. Hybrids are hitting spinners or fatheads. Cut bait or chicken breasts are taking the blues, a 37-pounder was weighed Sunday. Flatheads, a 42-pounder was weighed Friday, are decent. Bass are spotty for boaters. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
From theory to practice. Ken Gortowski sent a note about posting his theories on the DuPage River. They are posted at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=590
Then, over the weekend, Issom ``Sam'' Beituni put the theory into practice. Results are posted at http://www.wadauwant.com/wd_journal/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=601
ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported lots of sauger. Best numbers are around the Spring Valley bridge. Keepers take sorting. He said there's fewer sauger but more keepers at the 39 bridge and Hennepin. Most are using a jig and minnow, a few are pulling floaters or crankbaits.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Quite a few fishermen making their way to the river.
Indiana: Walleye at the Point area, north of English Lake on jig and minnows, jig and crawlers...fishing from shore.
Try Laramore Ditch mouth for pike on *minnows *Large spoons.
ILLINOIS: Kankakee River State Park: Small walleye on jig and minnow *Rattlin' Rogues. Try mouth of Rock Creek area,
and Tm Island Area down from Warner Bridge for smallmouth bass on *minnows *jig & twister tail *Mepps #3 Spinners.
Angelo's at Wilmington reports small walleye on jig and minnow *Rogues*crankbaits
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
CHICAGO: For Navy Pier perch, see above. Ice fishing for perch has been concentrated at Montrose and Belmont, it takes sorting for keepers, Henry's reported. Harbor ice is holding well, though some mouths have opened more. Mik-Lurch reported some browns at the stateline power plant. WAUKEGAN: The Salmon Stop reported some browns out of the south rocks last week on shiners, ice is moving around at Johnson Motors. 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
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com
Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports said, ``A lot depends on what is going on with weather.'' On high-sky days, many fish are being seen, few caught. Saturday when the pressure dropped, they started catching crappie, then Sunday when the pressure shot up, it stopped. Bluegills, crappie and perch started again Monday. Justice said, ``Either hit the weather right (dropping pressure, cloud cover or chance of snow) or fish around dawn or dusk.'' The weekend looks great, only two weekends remain for gamefish. Panfish have been better than gamefish, but there have been some good pike, including one to 34 1/2 inches over the weekend, on shiners. Walleye are mostly an evening bite, beginning about 4:30 and lasting until an hour after dark with another bite about 9:30 p.m. Access is very good on most lakes.
Mik-Lurch reported some nice browns from shore at the stateline power plant and Amoco. There's some steelhead and big browns at the ``Bass Pro Hole'' in Burns Ditch--which is public and handicapped accessible. Best have been spawn sacks. Spawn sacs or white jigs (``Kenosha killer'') are taking steelhead in the creeks. Bluegill improved on Willow Slough.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported a few steelhead from the marinas to Berrien Springs; some nice walleye being taken (a 13.99 pounder was weighed earlier this month), especially around the hospital.
Allen Outboard and Bait reported good ice, fair fishing. For more reports, click here.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT