We settle into the mid-winter doldrums--thank God for show season--with some nice exceptions being caught
As a hard-core ice fisherman, the south suburbs' own Bill Lanham, e-mailed, ``We may be into Winter's doldrums but there are still a few biters under that frozen surface to supply smiles about our cheeks. Hold on to the cold and enjoy!''
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page 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.
As Lanham noted above, there's still good catching around the area through the thickening ice around Chicago fishing. I had a bunch of good FOTW nominations for crappie from farm and retention ponds from the western suburbs to northwest Indiana. Ice conditions are good, snow cover cut down on the slickness. MAZONIA NOTE: Probably the steadiest of local waters during this mid-winter slowdown. Clear Lake has been steadiest for bluegill, reported Mik-Lurch. Both north and south units at Mazonia are open for ice fishing, at your own risk.
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. 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 lcfpd.org. 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, 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 do individual river reports. They are really locking up.
My friend Mike Norris, one of the area's great teachers of fishing and someone who spends much time in central Wisconsin, sent his weekly report: BIG GREEN LAKE: Last weekend's frigid temperatures helping to solidify Big Green. While not drivable yet, with up to six inches of ice anglers are walking out from Horner's Landing to 90 foot depth and catching lake trout on spoons and jigging Rapalas. LAKE WINNEBAGO: Anglers targeting Asylum Bay are catching perch up to 11" and white bass on jigs tipped with spikes and small spoons with minnow heads. LAKE POYGAN: Walleyes fair on spoons tipped with minnow heads at west of lake.
CHAIN O'LAKES AREA
Triangle Sports reported solid bluegill, though it takes sorting; best on Channel and Catherine. Walleye are good on tip-ups, fished in 8-12 feet, mornings and evenings. Try for suspended crappie down 8 feet in 15 with glow jigs, look for fish rising as evening comes; Marie is best. White bass are fair; try Mineola or Pistakee, start looking in 8 feet. Catfish are fair in 15-20 feet. Pike has been good throughout the year on most area lakes.
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
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. . . . For Deep Lake, there's Jack & Lydia's Resort--(847) 356-1389.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES AREA, WISCONSIN
Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported Pleasant remains the hot lake for bluegill and crappie. Over the weekend better perch were being taken deeper (24-40 feet) on Geneva, which is frozen, but not completely safe for vehicles. Como has good pike. Delavan slowed, but some perch and walleye in 44-50 feet, some crappie suspended in the same depth.
COFFEEN: Guide Ken Wilson (lithiaguideservice.com) reported good crappie in 10 feet about mid-lake, also solid bass action. NEWTON: Wilson said it continues to give up nice bass. SANGCHRIS: Wilson said plant remains down, slowing the bite. EMIQUON: Emiquon Preserve near Lewistown is open to fishing. New permits are required for 2011. Between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. get them 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. EVERGREEN: Any updated fishing report will be posted here. POWERTON: Winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing opens Feb. 15.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
From the WDNR report:
Green Bay Fishing Report: January 24, 2010
Voyageur Park fishermen are targeting walleye and perch fishing in 6 to 10 feet of water. Jigs tipped with minnows are the bait of choice. Sunset Beach is seeing the most fishing pressure with perch being the most sought after species, although the occasional pike and whitefish are also being caught. Jigs tipped with minnows or wax worms have been working well. Duck Creek is reporting a few small perch being caught in the area of the Highway Bridge.
Sturgeon Bay: Some anglers have been fishing off of Stone Quarry; most have been targeting whitefish. They have had significant success using gold Swedish Pimples tipped with a wax worm. Perch are being caught as well on the same rig. Fishermen also have been targeting perch out from the state park. A few fishermen have been fishing for northern pike at the yacht club. Little Sturgeon Bay: Anglers have seen good success on perch and whitefish over the last week. Perch have been biting on small jigging Rapalas. Whitefish, however, have been hitting small to medium sized jigging spoons depending on the current. Anglers have also had good whitefish results in Sand Bay as well. Dyckesville: There has been significant fishing pressure over the last few weeks. Most have been fishing in 15-30 feet of water. Anglers targeting perch have had good success finding them. The key to their best success has been staying away from the large crowds of people! Also anglers targeting perch and whitefish are catching some smelt. Chaudoir's Dock: The dock is now plowed and marked with Christmas trees. Anglers have been driving out and catching a mixed bag of whitefish and perch. Volk's Landing: Fishing has been slow but some perch are being caught. Most have been on the small side. A few smelt are being caught here as well.
Oconto Breakwater Park is seeing the brunt of the fishing pressure with perch, pike, and whitefish being the dominant species. Pike fishermen are keying in the shallower areas north of the breakwater all the way to Oconto Park II. Dead smelt in the round or large shiner minnows are recommended; for perch and whitefish, minnows seem to be the bait most often used.
Thompson Park, by the mouth of the Peshtigo River, is seeing some pike fishing activity in the 4 to 10 foot range of water. 6th Street Slip on the Menominee River is producing some nice perch along with walleye and whitefish. The best bite is coming in about 18 feet of water jigging with spoons or tear drops tipped with minnows.
Check the latest at Harborside.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Still some perch scattered around the harbors, but it takes sorting for keepers. There's been some scattered steelhead too, such as the FOTW from Jackson Park. There's been a few trying with roaches at the stateline power plant. CHICAGO PIER PASSES: 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.
MADISON LAKES, WISCONSIN
For D&S Bait, go to dsbait.com. Staff reported some perch on Mendota and Waubesa, otherwise panfish on Monona.
EAGLE RIVER: Creative Brilliance sent this report for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Lead): Excellent ice conditions for foot, ATV, and in SOME cases vehicle
Lakes in general in the Eagle River area seem to have 14-18 inches of ice
with 4-6 inches of powdery snow on top. Remember, be aware of ice
conditions. A full size truck on the ice ANYTIME is worthy of caution.
Eagle River, and its people want you to enjoy everything we have to offer in
total safety. Be safe- -not sorry! Best suggestion: Hire one of Eagle
River's excellent and knowledgeable guides. They will put you on fish.
You'll have lots of fun, and you'll be safe and secure.
Fishing for all species is pretty good right now in the Eagle River area.
No "jumping-in-the-pail-red-hot-bites" going on, but catching everything
from walleyes to panfish is quite consistent. Anglers are going out and
picking up walleyes for dinner every evening on waters such as the Eagle
River Chain of 28 lakes (largest freshwater chain of lakes in the world).
A sucker minnow under a tip-up is the ticket for walleyes in the Eagle
River area. Set your bait 12-18 inches off the bottom, around or just above
weeds. Depth will be lake dependent, and will vary from lake-to-lake. Be
sure to go back and check if the bait is hung in the weeds after setting up
your rigs. Give them 15-20 minutes, then gently lift your tip-ups to see if
they trip. If hung in weeds, reset a bit higher, or drill another hole.
For bluegills and crappies in the Eagle River area, the 12-17 foot water
depth range seems to be giving up the fish. Fish the edges of basin areas,
with crappie minnows or waxies. Use a tiny jig for both species. The gills
seem to be closer to the bottom than the crappies. Some real nice fish are
being caught, to go with the "sorters."
(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:
firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.eagleriver.org
* "Muskie Matt", 715-891-5980; e-mail: email@example.com
* Mat Hegy, 715-571-7544, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
* 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:
Extreme cold temps kept a lot of anglers at bay this past weekend. With the exception of watching augers, tip-ups, fingertips, and eye lashes freeze up, those that didn't venture out- didn't miss much. On ice temps of 24 below (1/21) and 25 below (1/23) made it tough to justify venturing out and while some fish were caught it wasn't an easy weekend. At least the wind was light to calm for most of it.
Perch: Fair-Good. High pressure on some days has made perch reluctant to bite. Best action this past week has been from weed fish in 5-10' on small minnows. Mud flat fish in 18-27' prefer wigglers, red spikes on Hali jigs, Gapen Flickers in red or pink glow.
Walleye: Fair. Bite got more sporadic. While some classic evening bites got later, most not starting till 7pm. Some anglers caught eyes while moon was still up after dawn. Jigging raps in same areas as weed perch (5-10') proved effective. Good fish of 18-22" with some to 26" over weekend.
Pike: Fair. Most action hampered by lack of anglers. Tip-ups with large shiners best.
Crappies: Poor. Cold has kept anglers from usual punch and go techniques and from effectively using tip-downs (holes freeze up too quickly). Some anglers catching deeper water crappies sitting in shantys using spinning reel/rods to fish 20-26' mud using rosie reds.
Bluegills: Poor. Anglers having a hard time finding gills in bays. May have something to do with ice building. Pressure booms (from ice formation) could have pushed this species out of bays.
This morning, temps back to teens above O (1/24). Milder winter temps in 20 degrees to 30 degrees (Friday) should help improve action and participation. Access still very good. Ice 17-20".
Glen Gajewski of Mik-Lurch reported fair stream action on Salt and Trail with some coho up to Valparaiso. Harbors are iced in.
ST. JOSEPH AREA, MICHIGAN
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