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Midwest Fishing Report: Icy opportunities

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A slew of ice-related events lead this Midwest Fishing Report.


Included is the special annual night for ice fishermen at Shabbona Lake. That's young Anthony Robison from several years ago on the ice fishing night.

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

Might as well begin with Shabbona.


The annual extended night for ice fishing is Saturday. Fishermen must be out of the park by 10 p.m. Ice conditions look good, though weekend action for crappie and catfish was fair. In honor of the special event, Eddie Valenzuela at Allen Outboard and Bait--(815) 739-4522--will give prizes for the biggest crappie, catfish, bluegill and legal walleye with his contest closing at 10:30 p.m.


Northern Illinois Conservation Club's 50th annual Chain O'Lakes Fishing Derby & Winter Festival is this weekend. There's headquarters at the Thirsty Turtle on Channel Lake and with a satellite at the Sand Bar on Lake Marie,


The annual ice-fishing benefit, Walk on Water (WOW) Ice Fishing Derby, is on Bangs Lake in Wauconda on Saturday.


For the stir-crazy, boat fishing reopens Monday at the Pekin-area cooling lake. There will be no dock, site superintendent Stan Weimer said. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m.


The 2010 Lake Winnebago sturgeon spearing season opens Saturday. Previous permits are required for one of the great retro fishing events near Chicago.


The past week I started getting my first comments and questions from readers suggesting some shallower lakes may be having oxygen problems. That is something I need to start asking about. And the fresh snow will impact access and fishing. The most consistent spots have been smaller local and farm ponds.


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 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. Considering the weather and forecast, I did not include individual river reports. If you're going river fishing right now, well . . .


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


Triangle reported some deeper crappie and bluegill on Petite; white bass slowed on Marie while catfish are going on deeper stretches of Channel and Catherine. But the big event for the weekend is NICC's derby and festival on Channel and Marie (above).

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


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.


BRAIDWOOD/MAZONIA: Bill Lanham sent this interesting report for both units of Mazonia:

Crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike and pickerel continue to bite well even though we are now midway into our hard water season when the bite generally is expected to slow. Light penetration through clean ice areas has kept some weed beds standing and even quite green on some of the clear water lakes and these standing weed beds are holding numbers of fish. Aside from the weedy areas, crappies can found suspended over deep water. Fishing is all good.
Braidwood reopens March 1.

LaSALLE: Fishing reopens March 17. HEIDECKE: Fishing reopens April 1.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported on Delavan the pros at the weekend tournament caught good bluegill and some good crappie (deeper); others are taking some perch in 28 feet. On Geneva, several groups got into nicer perch in front of Trinke's, some lakers in front of Lynn Pier and others at the humps; spotty big bluegill in Williams Bay. Como remains steady for northern and bass.


POWERTON: Shore fishing continues strong for blues, hybrids and flatheads, according to Jason Grider at Riverside. Boat fishing reopens Monday, see above. EMIQUON: Ice fishing is permitted, haven't heard much. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: I haven't seen an updated fishing report, if there is one, it will be posted at Evergreen Lake Boat Stickers are in.


CHICAGO: As FOTW shows, even Jackson Park has been producing for ice fishermen. The steadiest ice fishing has been at Belmont and Montrose, though the perch take a lot of sorting.

On the in and out shore fishing at Navy Pier, faithful reader Mark Lange sent this:

Saturday weather was brutal, so I took a pass on fishing and headed to The Fishing Connection in Tinley Park for a few jigs, wax worms & advice.

Sunday AM was much nicer. Got there at 7 AM, behind about 2 dozen other guys.
It's been 40 years since I've been winter fishing, and it took a little practice. The bite was very faint; caught 2, missed 6. Everyone else was about as successful as me.

A great morning nonetheless. It was nice to get out, and the fellows on the Pier were a good bunch of guys just having a little fun on a Sunday morning. Definitely worth another trip.


Mik-Lurch reported browns and a few coho at the stateline power plant.

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.


D&S Bait reported ice fishermen taking steady bluegills on Monona Bay and the south end of Waubesa, and a lot of mid-sized pike on Mendota. For D&S Bait, go to


Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this: reported access is excellent with driving on nearly all lakes. Ice is averaging 16-19 inches. Fishing picked up with moderate weather, though it remains in the mid-winter doldrums. His advice is to focus deeper. Crappie and yellow perch are in the deepest part of the lakes with the warmest water (37-38 degrees). Walleye are improving some, better in 16-20 feet, almost all in the evening starting at 4 p.m., mostly on tip-ups and shiners. With warmer weather, more are jigging for walleye. Some nice pike, including a 42-inch pike last week, were taken on tip-ups with big shiners. Bluegill are fair, work in 6-10 feet and watch for them holding close to bottom. Whitefish continued good, early in 45 feet, then out to 70-80.


Rick LaBuda continued to do well for nice pike and largemouth on tip-ups at Willow Slough last week, but he said pulling panfish was tough. Mik-Lurch said creeks remain good for a steelhead run; spawn is No. 1 bait, then spinners or shrimp. Browns, coho and steelhead are being caught from mouth of the Ditch to the second bridge. There's browns and a few coho at the stateline power plant, a few steelhead at Amoco.


See top for Saturday's special night fishing. For more reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported a few pike on both sides on tip-ups, otherwise, fishing is fair.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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I was at belmont harbor, monday mornining and got a nice catch of perch with a few in the 3/4 lb range.


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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 10, 2010 8:23 AM.

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