The Braidwood opener and some Wisconsin reminders lead this Midwest Fishing Report.
That's Ken Kral of Lockport Monday morning with one of the rare, better catfish you'll see come from Braidwood. He caught it on a crawler while fishing on the south bank of the hot side.
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, reopened to fishing on Monday. By mid-morning, the south lot was full and the overflow being used. I heard from site staff that the north lot eventually filled too.
I think most of us were fishing as much to thumb our noses at winter as anything.
Catfish weren't the only fish biting. David Wright of Matteson was catching one begill after another when I left mid-morning. He was using a wad of waxies about a foot and a half below a float.
Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, I think until time changes next weekend. For Braidwood info, click here.
WISCONSIN SEASON NOTES
At midnight Sunday, fishing season for all game species closes on inland waters that do not remain open all year. . . . On Saturday, the early catch-and-release only trout season (artificial bait only) opens statewide, with exception of spring ponds and Great Lakes tributaries. . . . Ice fishing shelters must be removed from inland waters south of Highway 64 by Sunday.
This weekend is probably the transitional one, especially on southern lakes and ponds where there may be some ice-out fishing from northern shorelines. West and north, safe ice should hold into at least next week. This might be the last week for the list below.
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 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
Triangle reported fair fishing, but the warm-up may be the spark to set off good fishing by the weekend. Ice should hold well into next week or beyond, though you might want to watch current areas by the weekend. Some backwater areas are resurging for panfish, and they should keep improving with more water. As a matter of record, Kurt Richter caught an 11-7 walleye from Channel on Jan. 31.
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: I suspect this will be very much a transitional weekend for these lakes, especially the shallower ones. Use common sense. HEIDECKE: Fishing reopens April 1. BRAIDWOOD: See above.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported some bigger perch on Geneva in 35-38 feet on Fontana and Williams bays and some lakers around ``The Narrows''; still picking up some crappie around Assembly Park and some bluegill by those moving around on Delavan; decent pike action on Como. NOTE: For those wanting big-fish action, lakers remain open on Geneva until Sept. 30. An inland trout stamp is required.
POWERTON: Pete Riedesel and others report bass remain slow, though PrairieStateOutdoors.com reported a 5-pound-plus smallmouth caught late last month. Shore fishermen are concentrating on catfish, blues, flatheads and hybrids in the hot-water discharge area. Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily. SHELBYVILLE: For more, call (217) 774-2020.
Ken Gortowski sent this:
Weekend prospects.ILLINOIS RIVER: STARVED ROCK AREA
It's always open water. You just have to be willing to partake.
Thom Matejewski at Time on the Water Outdoors reported fishing slowly dramatically from last week, as water levels are being monkeyed with.
Ed Mullady sent this:
Fishing is improving on the Kankakee, with some walleye, smallmouth bass and pike being caught.
Brandon Szkopiec, caught a 12.25 lb. northern pike on a Red Devil in the Indiana part of the Kankakee.
The fishing at the Point, north of English Lake is improving with some walleye, and croppie being caught.
In Illinois: Nick [of the Trading Post] at Kankakee River State Park reported some walleye on *minnows *crankbaits. Smallmouth Bass being caught along shorelines and Warner Bridge area.
I think with the "promised" warmer weekend coming up, more fishermen will be out after the pre-spring fish!
- - - - -
[CLASS NOTE:] Sportsman's Letter's 173rd Kankakee River Fishing Class will be held on Sat., March 13, 1-4 pm at the Mokena, IL Park District,
Hosts are river guide Matt Mullady, Sportsman's Letter Editor, Mullady, and river fisherman Rex Mullady.
Class covers Indiana and Illinois parts of the Kankakee River. Pre registration is required. Fee is $30 if paid by Mar. 8, $35 after that. Young fishermen, under 12 years of age with a paying adult pay 1/2 price.
More information available at Mokena Park District or phone Sportsman's Letter at 815 932 7285..
I don't know if that fishing class is any sort of national record (it is an Illinois record), but it has to be close.
Check the latest at Harborside.
CHICAGO: A few boats have launched from Cal Park, so the first reports of spring coho and more perch reports should come this week. Navy Pier slowed down for perch from the weekend, later in the day seemed to be better. Harbors are holding good ice, but use common sense as the edges will give way first. WAUKEGAN: The Salmon Stop reported some browns off the south rocks on frozen shiners or frozen shad. Also able to fish Johnson pier again. 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 sent this:
The final week of gamefish season is upon us. Fish through Sunday till Midnight, then pack up your tip-ups till next winter. Fishing had it's ups and downs again this past week. Once again high skies brought fishing to a halt, though any threat of clouds picked things up considerably.
Walleye: Very Good to Fair. Depending on the weather, some very good catches of eaters (15 - 19") from the three flowages this weekend. The moving water (what little there is) and the dark water seemed to help these bodies produce better during times of high skies. Suckers, river shiners, and large rosies best on flowages. For natural lakes set up with medium shiners along 14-16' weed edges, gravel humps and even in 6-8' cabbage bays before dusk. #5, #7 jigging raps have been effective with the warmer evening temps.
Northern Pike: Very Good. Lots of ACTION.. Pike working the 6-10' weed beds from mid morning thru mid afternoon. Medium to large shiners on wine rigs with small spinners 8" above hook for added attraction. Larger pike biting best early in the morning on big shiners and suckers.
Yellow Perch: Very Good - Good. Deep water is where it's at. Work mud flats of 22-30'. Pimples, halis, flickers tipped with wigglers, red spikes. Also tip-downs baited with rosie reds.
Blue Gills: Good - Fair. Action picking up as long as weather in favor. Moussees, waxies on bright chartreuse, orange, white jigs on overcast days. Go small and dark with mousee or single spikes on bright days.
Crappies: Fair. Need a drop in the barometer to get this species feeding. Small evening/early a.m windows on bright days. If threat of snow, cloud cover be prepared to fish all day. Flowages better during day. Start with tip-downs and rosies, slow drop silver spoons, little cecils tipped with waxies.
If forecast hold true, this Saturdays threat of snow could be just what we need. Unlike last Saturday when weather was too "nice", in coming front should turn on bite.
With Ice thickness averaging 18-22" and very little snow on ice, expect a shorter ice season this winter. Access is still excellent and cold nights (single digits this week) balancing out warm days (30's-even 40's by weekend)
Mik-Lurch reported the best bite is in the creeks for steelhead and a few browns and coho. As the ice season ends, Willow Slough should explode in the final days. Some are launching at Cal Park, so the first coho and early perch reports should come in soon.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, MICHIGAN
BJ Sports reported some steelhead at the Berrien Springs, walleye throughout the river (try deeper turnaround basins by the marinas) and some browns off the piers.
For reports, click here.
Mik-Lurch reported some decent bass and pike on tip-ups.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT