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Midwest Fishing Report: Icy holiday

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Bill Peak is one of my three favorite photographers of the Chicago outdoors for sending photos like this from Wolf Lake, a perfect lead for the Midwest Fishing Report.


(You'll just have to guess who my other two favorite photographers of Chicago outdoors are.) This is one of a slew of photos Peak sent from Wolf Lake a week or so ago.

As a dad of a young girl, I love that the dad had his daughter out. At least I assume it is a dad with the kid in pink and pink boots. That's the stuff that gets daughters out.

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

No surprise, ice fishing is the gist of this MFR.


There's enough ice and snow that the forecast warm-up and rain later this week shouldn't do more than make for sloppiness. While Friday could be messy, things should lock up for the weekend. Local retention and farm ponds are the best bet. A string of cloudy, warmer days could make for some good fishing.

LOCAL PUBLIC ICE FISHING REGS: CHICAGO LAGOONS: Closed to all ice fishing. COOK FPD: 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), Flatfoot (new), Green (new), 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.) KANE FPD: Ice fishing, at your own risk, is permitted at Lake Patterson at Oakhurst in Aurora and the various ponds at Burnidge in Elgin. LAKE FPD: Ice fishing is permitted at Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling. Call (847) 968-3235 or go to the ice fishing page at MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing. All ice fishing is done at your own risk. North Unit lakes open Jan. 9; South Unit on Jan. 17. McHENRY COUNTY 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, once signs are posted after 4 inches of ice are formed. Then it is at your own risk. 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. WOLF LAKE: Ice fishing is at your own risk.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. I did not included individual river reports.


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): Good ice conditions in central Wisconsin, along with open
snowmobile trails leading to many area waters, are allowing for good access
to many fishing hot spots.

The walleye bite in the central Wisconsin area has been primarily been a
night bite, and small walleye suckers have been the ticket. Run your
tip-ups in 3 to 5 feet of water, in and around submerged wood, with our bait
suspended about a foot off the bottom.

Northern in the central Wisconsin area have been very active and have been
coming on large golden shiners placed along inside weed lines in 3 to 6 feet
of water. The key to targeting the northerns is to keep your bait suspended
right below the ice. Additional color, with beads or blades a
few inches above your bait will increase your catch rate 100%.

Ice anglers in the central Wisconsin area have been enjoying a turned on
panfish bite. Dozens of nice crappies and gills are being taken in about 5
to 8 feet of water, associated with weeds. Diamond jigs and teardrop jigs
in orange and or yellow have been very consistent, with gold also producing
well. Look for open pockets in the weeds by drilling a lot of holes to find
the "good ones." Along with the nice crappies and gills, ice anglers are
picking up a few real nice jumbo perch. The perch are hanging in and around
the crappies and gills and can be caught using the same tackle.


At Nielsen's Channel on the Fox at Port Barrington, Arden Katz reported excellent suspended bluegill on No. 12 Rat Finkees, with even some largemouth and big crappie. On the Chain, Triangle Sports rates ice fishing above average and conditions are excellent, warm-up and rain shouldn't impact that much. Triangle reported some deep-water fishing on Marie and Pistakee for white and yellow bass. Bluegills are good tight to weeds shallow on the south bay of Channel and south end of Catherine. Deep Lake is producing crappie and bluegill. Walleye are best on jigging spoons and minnow heads. Shallow tip-ups are producing some bass and northern.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at

SOME ACCESS POINTS: 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. . . . For Ackerman's Channel, there's Port O'Blarney. . . . On Nielsen's Channel, Hermann's offers parking, wax worms, food and drink. . . . On Channel, Chopper's Bar 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.


Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported good perch Monday in 17-18 feet on shiners in front of Trinkes on Geneva; good crappie on Powers in 14-15 from dark on; good pike action and nice bass on Como; Delavan slowed some, but there are still good bluegill and crappie catches on the west end and some walleye and crappie at night; Pleasant has crappie at night, bluegill days.


EMIQUON: Remember new fishing/boating permits are needed as of Saturday. Otherwise, Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. 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. POWERTON: Lake is open to shore fishing from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing opens Feb. 15. SHELBYVILLE: For info from the Corps, call (217) 774-2020. EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here.


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


Henry's reported those busting ice are taking perch at Navy Pier, but it takes sorting for the favorite of Chicago fishing. The harbors are clearing up and ice conditions are good for late December; but perch take sorting. Weather could help stabilize fishing in the harbors. Mik-Lurch reported some browns at the stateline power plant. Henry's has the $6 pier passes. 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.


Dan Kotowski of Bay View Motel in Gladstone reported 8-10 inches on the north end with access by four-wheelers and snowmobiles. Perch are pretty good, walleye fair. South end is skimmed over, snow-covered, nobody ice fishing yet.


There's plenty of ice. D&S Bait said action slowed some on Monona Bay, but it remains the best spot for bluegill. Mendota has plenty of ice with some perch, a few pike and smaller walleye. For D&S Bait, go to


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

(Lead): In the Eagle River area, ice thickness is lake dependent, with 4-7
inches of ice generally, and some areas even more. Foot travel still
recommended. Try to stick to trails for safety, as well as snow cover and
slush making for difficult travel in some areas. Caution is strongly

Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating in 10-20 feet of water off
break and weed edges. Use a small shiner or a walleye sucker under a
tip-up. Best times for action are an hour before to two hours after sunset.

Northern are hitting well in the Eagle River area. Fish 15 feet of water or
less in and around weeds. Use a medium to large shiner or a northern sucker
under a tip-up.

Perch are hanging with the walleye in the Eagle River area, and are putting
on a good bite. Fish 10-20 feet of water off of break and weed edges. Use a
small minnow or waxie under a slip bobber.

Crappies in the Eagle River area are still scattered and have not "bunched
up" yet- - that will come as winter moves on. Fish flat basins on smaller
lakes in 15-17 feet of water. The crappies are suspending up and down the
water column in those depths. Use a small crappie minnow under a bobber, or
a jig and a waxie. The key to getting crappies right now is the ability to
move around. You'll get a couple in one hole, and then you're going to have
to move and drill another- - and so on, but you can and will get fish.
Later on in the season, the crappies will start hanging together more, and
you'll be able to sit on a hole and get good numbers.

(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:

Unlike the big snow of three weeks ago, which was light and blew away with all the wind. The snow of last week was a little heavier and there wasn't much wind to blow it away. This coupled with the rather warm (high 20's) temps have made slush a growing issue. Foot traffic (with tall boots) and ATV traffic recommended. Ice thickness still holding in the 6-10" range, some areas have less.

Walleye: Good. 3:30 pm till 7:00 pm best. Weed Walleyes in 8-12', use shiners on tip-ups. Jigging spoons tipped with small minnows or one medium fathead also effective. Deep sandgrass on rock hump. Eyes preferring suckers. Jigging raps in #7 or #9 at the break of dawn scoring big eyes to 28".

Northern Pike: Good. Big Shiners/suckers on tip-ups along weedy edges in 8-10' for large Pike. For action move in shallower to 6' and scale down to medium shiners. Try a small spinner blade 9" up from hook for added flash.

Bluegills: Good. Mid morning best with anglers catching near limits on #10/#8 moon glos, darts. Tip with waxies, bright plastic tails. 6-10' with weed cover.

Crappies: Fair-Good. Bite is sporadic, but when this species decides to bite, good for action and size. Slow dropping flashy thin bladed lures such as Russian hooks or Little Cecils tipped with waxie or Chena best bet for artificials. Tip-downs with minnow also working. Stick to 8-12' areas with weeds and bluegills.

Perch: Fair-Good. Surprisingly few reports but some anglers finding good-shallow perch in weeds of 6-8' feet taking Northland forage minnows with waxies.

Largemouth Bass: Fair -Good. Not as active as earlier, but still putting up a good account. Shiners on tip-ups best in 6-10' weeds.

Warm temps (over 35 degrees) with chance of rain will just continue slush by weeks end. Not cold, but a wet, messy out look to start the New Year.


Mik-Lurch reported a few getting out--at least one launch was open at Portage--and picking up some coho and browns in Burns Ditch. Willow Slough is variable, best is early, late or on cloudy days and 2-pound line is essential for panfish. Stateline power plant is producing some browns.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on December 29, 2010 6:23 AM.

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