Chicago Sun-Times
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Midwest Fishing Report: Ice on ice

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Ice fishing, obviously, leads this Midwest Fishing Report.

Even our rivers are flowing with slush, and the Chicago lakefront is just starting to lock in, which may bring lakefront ice fishing early for Chicago fishing. A buddy sent a link for the YouTube video above of a dog joining the fun of ice fishing on Channel 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.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at


Virtually all area lakes and ponds have safe ice, the exceptions and the danger spots are current areas and any spot swam open by Canada geese. Another round of snow tonight south and west of the city could impact ice conditions again. 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: As of Tuesday evening, ice fishing is open at Banana and Independence Grove south bay, but closed at Sterling. 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, click here. I included a couple river reports, but they are icing or slushing in.


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


From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:

(Lead): With good ice on many local central Wisconsin waters, ice anglers

are heading out for some multi-species action. ALL ice anglers are urged to

maintain a high sense of caution, as there are many treacherous, thin spots,

and strong currents throughout the central Wisconsin area. Hire an

experienced, licensed local guide, who knows the area, and who will put you

on fish in complete safety.

The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area is very good, with not only

numbers, but some real nice eaters, along with a few slot sized fish being

taken as well. Low light periods are the best time of the day to target the

walleyes, as they primarily feed at night; but right before or right after

dark are good times to pick up some good ones. Shiners suspended on tip-ups

about a foot off the bottom in 4 to 6 feet of water has been the best depth,

while targeting shallow wood and stump filled bays. A little added noise

and color on the line hasn¹t hurt either. Anglers have been successfully

adding a couple of colored beads and or a spinner blade their presentation

to help attract the walleyes- - and it¹s working.

Northern have been very aggressive in the central Wisconsin area, and have

been really tearing up presentations. Set up along vast weedbeds with your

bait suspended right below the ice, maybe 6 inches to a foot down. Large

golden shiners or medium suckers have been producing best, but what has

really helped is the additional color and noise that are being added to ice

anglers¹ arsenals, with colored beads and spinner blades above the

presentation attracting the northerns from a distance.

Crappies and bluegills have been very consistent, with very good catches

coming regularly in the central Wisconsin area. Fish backwater areas of the

Wisconsin River in about 10 to 14 feet of water for these feisty, plate

sized slab crappies and bull nosed gills. Tip-downs have been very good,

but jigging with small Gill Pills in orange or chartreuse have been

providing the best action. Try the Gill Pills with a grub or spike to ³taste

it up² a bit, and you will catch fish all day long. The key to finding

concentrations of these slab crappies and bull gills is to use your flasher

unit to locate wood, as panfish will associate to the structure and hold on

it throughout the day

Some perch are biting in the central Wisconsin area, and are making their

way into anglers¹ sets, and it seems as though they want a totally different

approach. The perch are hugging the bottom. The best setup has been a

purple teardrop jig tipped with a rosie red minnow set within 4 inches of

the bottom. These finicky perch are so used to sucking right off or near

the bottom that before they know it, they will gulp it up faster than you

can say ³got one.²

Bow deer hunters in the central Wisconsin area have some weeks of the season

left to try and fill their tags as the remainder of the archery season is in

full swing. Now is the time to get out and target that big buck that you

saw earlier this fall. With limited food available, any remaining food

source will be a ³deer magnet², and the savvy archer who sets up around one

of these ³hot spots,² can get a chance at the buck of a lifetime.


Triangle Sports reported good ice conditions, but stay out of middle and away from current areas. Pat Davis reported good panfish (takes sorting) around the T Channel. Triangle said bluegill are the top bite, on waxies and spikes on ice jigs (blue is hot), try Channel Lake or most channels; crappie are good evenings or mornings, suspended in 8 feet; pike are decent, try in 6 feet with tip-ups; walleye are solid around evening or morning on Marie, Fox and Pistakee.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


By the T Channel, Famous Freddie's asked fishermen to park in back and be out by 11:30 a.m. when they open, or come in and eat. . . . Granny's at Spring Lake Marina has parking and food, will refund on vouchers. . . . On Nielsen's Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, Hermann's offers parking, wax worms, food and drink. . . . On Channel, Choppers Bar--(847) 838-1230--has access and refunds the parking voucher if you order food. . . . On Marie, the Sand Bar & Grill offers access for those who patronize the place. . . . For Ackerman's Channel, try Port O'Blarney--(847) 395-4122.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported fishermen taking some legal pike on Como; on Delavan, the west end has bluegill (takes sorting), if you can find parking; some decent bluegills on Pleasant; waiting on Geneva.


SHELBYVILLE: For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


Click here for a Ramble with Gortowski from Ken Gortowski.


Ed Mullady sent this:

Bayous and river in process of forming ice. Very tough to try to fish now

Some open water fishing.

can produce fish like walleye *pike * croppie and *catfish

Fishermen fishing from shore lines should be very cautious as many banks are slick from snow, ice and frozen ground cover.

LaSalle F&W Area in Indiana, reopened that area to fishing as of today Be sure ice is safe on to check with Area Headquarters as to road and bayou ice conditions.


Check at Harborside.


For Ohio DNR report go to and or call (888) HOOKFISH.


Henry's , which is carrying the $6 pier passes this winter, reported harbors are starting to lock up, but are not safe. Ice has been in at Navy Pier, but it's breakable for those perch fishing. Weather dirtied shoreline water. Mik-Lurch reported a few browns 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 Monona Bay has nice bluegills, a few crappie and a few pike. Monona, Kegonsa and Waubesa recently iced over.


EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:

(Head): Walleyes and northern providing good action as ice continues to firm

up in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

(Lead): Guides and bait shops in the Eagle River area report that there are

4-6 inches of ice on the Eagle River Chain of 28 Lakes (largest freshwater

chain of lakes in the world), but strongly suggest that ice anglers stick to

shallow bays at this time.

Walleye in the Eagle River area are hitting well in 6-10 feet o water

outside of weed edges. Use a medium shiner or small sucker minnow under a


Northern in the Eagle River area providing solid action in 6-10 feet of

water. The northern are hanging outside of weed edges and also right in the

weeds. Use a medium to large shiner under a tip-up.

Be safe, not sorry. Be extremely cautious when going out on the ice. Best

suggestion is to go out with one of the Eagle River area's excellent guides.

You'll get fish, you¹ll have a lot of fun, and you'll be safe.

(Report for the Eagle River Chamber of Commerce based on Creative Brilliance

interviews with Eagle River guides "Muskie Matt" of Wild Eagle Lodge,

"Ranger Rick" Krueger of Guide's Choice Pro Shop, and Mat Hegy).

Contact info for Eagle River:

* Eagle River Chamber of Commerce; 800-359-6315; 715-479-6400; e-mail:; web:

* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail:

* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail:

* Guide's Choice Pro Shop, guide/owner "Ranger Rick" Krueger 715-477-2248

* George Langley, Eagle River Fishing Guides Association, 715-479-8804.


MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

What started out like the making of a great ice season got a hard hit over the weekend. Ten plus inches of snow has all but stopped ice production in the Lakeland Area.

Fishing was very good last week, but the storm, with the heavy snow fall, has kept anglers off the lakes. Ice isn't thick enough (6" average) to support the weight of the snow.

Walleye: Very good - fair. Evening bite very good on tip-ups with shiners. Anglers reporting nice catches of 15-21" fish with several 27-29" eyes being caught.

Northern Pike: Very good - Fair. Mornings best. Shallow weeds of 5-7'. Large shiners. Action has slowed with snow cover.

Bluegills: Good - Fair. Bays holding good numbers with some fish of 7-8". #8 bright colored moon glo's with waxies in 4-7'.

Crappies: Fair - Poor. Anglers targeting gills picking up crappies on waxies/moon glos in 6-10'. Nice fish of 11-12".

Largemouth Bass: Very good - Good. Lots of reports of anglers targeting gills, Walleyes and pike, catching 6-10 bass per trip. Try jigging raps in 4-8' of water.

Perch: Poor - few reports. Anglers not finding much for consistent perch bites. Should improve. Use small minnows in weed pockets.

High winds helped move some of the thick but light snow from lakes Saturday and Sunday. Cold temps (low single digits) will help to firm up slush in some areas. Call your favorite bait shop or check our website for ice up dates. ATV travel on bays ok. Across lake travel not advised.


Willow Slough should have new regs this morning; otherwise, there are decent panfish action but watch pockets of open water. Mik-Lurch reported some walking on Wolf Lake with some nice pike on the Illinois side.


From the Wisconsin DNR:

Root River Fishing Report for December 13, 2010

Water and flow conditions

Cold weather mixed with rain and snow over the weekend kept many anglers off the river limiting fishing pressure to a handful of determined fishermen. Water depth was fair on Friday but increased nicely by Sunday due to the rain received on Saturday. River flow increased from 40 cfs to100 cfs by the end of the day. This increased flow along with cloudy skies made visibility pretty poor on Sunday. Water temperatures were holding between 33-34 degrees Fahrenheit. . . .
Fishing Report
Fishing at the Horlick dam was slow for the most part with only a few successful catches made over the weekend. On Friday one angler was fishing for a long time and spread out his effort from tight to the dam to a few hundred yard down river. He was able to land one nice Coho salmon weighing about 4 pounds and one northern pike about 24 inches in length. Both were caught using a bright orange nymph fly. On Saturday a couple anglers put in some time tight to the dam and were able to hook into a couple Cohos but were unsuccessful at landing them.

Further downstream in Quarry Lake Park a few anglers were fishing in the central area of the park concentrating on the wide pools just below many of the rapids but were unsuccessful. Anglers that voyaged downstream into the Racine County Club area reported signs of brown trout and Coho salmon but were also unsuccessful in landing any fish.

In Lincoln Park most of the effort was concentrated just downstream of the refuge. Fly fishermen were able to land a couple small brown trout weighting 4-6 pounds.

In Washington Park effort was pretty low with many of the favored fishing spot covered with a thin layer of ice. However downstream of the cable bridge were some large opening in the ice and a couple anglers were fishing here on Friday. They landed one nice female brown trout that weighted 8 pounds. It was caught on a purple and orange egg sucking leach wet fly.


Click here for BJ Sports. But be careful, that area was hammered with snow.


For ice conditions reports, click here.


Mik-Lurch reported people walking out and some nice pike coming from the Illinois side.




Fishing Headquarters



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






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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 14, 2010 9:21 PM.

Ramble with Gortowski: Ice, warm water & geese was the previous entry in this blog.

Asian carp: Latest annoucement, latest plan is the next entry in this blog.

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