Chicago Sun-Times
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Midwest Fishing Report: Ice or open water

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As the YouTube video shows, three is plenty of ice fishing around Chicago fishing, but let's lead this Midwest Fishing Report with some Downstate open-water options.

That looks like fairly typical ice-fishing catches from what I believe is Belmont Harbor.

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


Central Illinois guide Ken Wilson--(217) 454-2672--who normally operates out of Lithia Marina on Lake Shelbyville, called Tuesday to talk about open-water fishing options on lakes near him. I included his and also the general note on Powerton.

Warmed my heart so to speak. COFFEEN: Wilson said it is 52-58 degrees in the hot arm, crappie are in about 10 feet, largemouth are going on spinner baits or Rogues. NEWTON: Wilson said some big largemouth are being taken. He said the best days are the coldest, nastiest ones. If you can take the weather, you'll catch fish. That reminded me that I have never fished Newton, shamefully. SANGCHRIS: Wilson said the hot crappie bite slowed when the units shut down. POWERTON: Shore fishing is open daily from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. The cooling lake near Pekin is on my agenda.


The sloppiness of Monday should be gone by today. Ice fishing remains universal, best are retention or farm ponds. MAZONIA NOTE: Mazonia South lakes reopened to ice fishing, at your own risk, on Monday. Mazonia North opened earlier this month. Regulars at Mik-Lurch report outstanding bluegill catches.


For an overview of nearby river conditions, click here. I debated including river reports, but I suspect by this weekend, nearly all spots except by some discharges will be locked 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: FOX LAKE, DODGE COUNTY.....Crappies biting in deeper water on small spoons (white) and jigs tipped with spikes or waxies. North shore and Devils Island best.

LITTLE GREEN LAKE....Perch are still the target but anglers will have to weed through a lot of smaller fish to catch keepers. Jigs and spikes best in deeper water.

BIG GREEN LAKE.....Wind and warmer then expected is preventing good ice from forming. Arctic weather this weekend should help solidify the lake and allow anglers to get out and target lake trout.

LAKE PUCKAWAY......Anglers taking bluegills on small jigs and plastic in the Fox River channels at the west end of the lake.


Triangle Sports reported bluegill still good, beside Channel and Catherine, try Marie, Petite or Loon. Crappie are a night bite, try for suspended fish in 15 feet. Walleye are steady on Marie or Petite with tip-ups or jigging in 8-10 feet, morning or evening. Pike remain one of the good bites on tip-ups shallow. White bass slowed, try Mineola or Pistakee.

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. . . . For Deep Lake, there's Jack & Lydia's Resort--(847) 356-1389.


From Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle: PLEASANT: Drivable with the best crappie and bluegill action. DELAVAN: Some bluegill and crappie, but better perch in 40-52 feet. COMO: Pike remain good, bass slower. GENEVA: About 2/3 is not safe (could change by weekend), however, nice perch in front of Lake Geneva CC in 19-26 feet.


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


Some are still busting ice and sorting through perch at Navy Pier, not sure what the cold snap will do. Henry's reported the surprise is steelhead on tip-ups the inner harbor at Jackson Park (there's nearby free street parking). Otherwise, some are sorting perch for keepers in the harbors. 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.


For D&S Bait, go to


Between the football game and the forecast brutal cold, conditions and effort will be changing by the weekend. MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports sent this:

Fishing picked up as things went along last week. From a very slow start action increased with the best catches coming Sunday (1/16) and Monday (1/17). Snow fall of 5-7" total for the week has not hampered travel and with good ice (16-20") we should be in good shape for just about anything but rain.

Walleye: Good. Surprisingly in an up swing for mid January. Walleyes active during snow (mid-day) and evenings. Most lakes seeing action along 12-14' weed edges on suckers. Anglers working jigging raps also catching eyes. (one group found #3's better than #5's) Big fish also, with 31", 10# 13oz caught at 7 pm (1/17) on tip-up and big sucker from 20' hump over 40' water.

Northern Pike: Good. Flags flying. Medium shiners on tip-ups in 6-12'. Mostly 20" fish, but fish to 32" reported.

Yellow Perch: Good. Mud flat fish providing best action. Tip #2 pimples, Northland Live Forage Fish Fry or Forage Minnows as well as Gapen Flickers with wigglers. Bang in mud to disturb bottom, hold out 8-12" from bottom. Nice catches of 8-10" fish in 18-25' flats.

Crappies: Fair - Good. While some anglers able to pluck fish from weeds using small jigs tipped with plastics, better action from deep water fish grabbing rosy red fished from tip-downs over 20-28' mud flats.

Bluegill: Fair - Good. Bays holding most gill action in 6-10' weeds. Some deeper lakes seeing gills suspending, moving off of weed edges in 14-20'. Gill Pills, darts, other small heavy jigs tipped with waxies, mousses doing well.

Largemouth Bass: Fair. Colder weather usually slows this species. A few being caught on tip-ups. Best action on warming day in late February.

As good as things have been they could slow this weekend. Thursday's forecast for lows of -15 will surely slow things. Should be the worst of it as things start to rebound some by weekends end.

*** Kurt's Island Sport Shop will close for the afternoon at 2 pm on 1/23/2011 in observance of the Bears/Packers football game.

Back open at 6 am 1/24/2011 depending....


Mik-Lurch reported some good days for bluegill at Willow Slough and some pike on tip-ups. Those getting out are finding steelhead action in the creeks.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.


Arden Katz said ice fishermen are doing better at Milwaukee harbor (with spawn) than at Kenosha (``Dead Sea''). Click here for the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report.


Mik-Lurch reported some pike on tip-ups on both sides.



Fishing Headquarters



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






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Where are the goose/duck hunting reports? Granted, I realize the central zone duck season is closed, but what about the geese? Or do you only report on Braidwood when the hunting is good? What's going on there lately? Are there no geese left? Did they migrate south?

No, that is simply my fault. My time has disappeared the last few weeks, so I didn't do the usual hunting report with deer season and other hunting seasons winding up. That is my fault. I will try get back on it for the last couple weeks here.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on January 19, 2011 5:56 AM.

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