Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Midwest Fishing Report: Expanded online version

| 3 Comments | No TrackBacks

Listen, there's one to two feet of snow drifted into something historic for Chicago fishing, so this is a different Midwest Fishing Report.

I find my interests where I can. This Bait Flare has been around since last winter, but my buddy Art Frisell said they have been selling them like crazy at Triangle.

I am not an inventive or mechanic sort of guy, so I am fascinated by people who come up with stuff like that. Apparently, it works. I have not used it or watched it in action.

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


The annual placement of rocks and trees for structure on Shabbona Lake will begin with a meeting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the park office. Go to


The third annual Racine (Wis.) Trout Ice Derby is Saturday in Racine harbor, beginning at 7 a.m. Go to


Conversations with ice fishermen and nominations indicate ice fishing on retention and farm ponds remains the best choice across the area. Obviously, access will change greatly by this morning. MAZONIA NOTE: Probably the steadiest of local public waters remains the north and south units at Mazonia, which are open for 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 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.

Conditions have drastically changed.

However, both Ed Schmitt and Ken Gortowski found quality open water for fishing on the Fox last week. Click here for Schmitt's and click here for Gortowski's.

On the Illinois, boaters were getting out of Ottawa and Hennepin, according to Time on the Water, and catching dozens of good sauger; however, plowing ramps will be far down on the list of priorities the next several days. Not sure when that will happen again.


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: Bluegills to 9" on spoons tipped with was worms in the Jug. Crappies in 14 fow west of Dead Island on rosie red minnows. Keepers averaging 10" to 12". Try tip-ups and medium shiners for pike in the Government area. With accumulating snow on lake, 4-wheel drive is a must. BIG GREEN: Lake Trout in 80 to 100 feet of water on spoons and tip-ups. Only 9" of ice in best spots, so walk on only. Avoid slushy areas with thin ice. Best access from Horner's Landing in SE corner of the lake.


Triangle Sports reported crappie are the No. 1 bite around area lakes, try spikes or small minnows on glow jigs (orange, pink or chartreuse); look for fish suspended over deeper water. Bluegill are decent throughout, better lakes have been Channel and Marie, try relatively shallow. White bass are best on Mineola, otherwise try Marie. Catfishing is good with nice 3-pounders caught regularly. For walleye, try shallower with the storm; Marie best.

For more reports, see

More Chain info at


POWERTON: Thought for a wintry day: boat fishing opens Feb. 15. Shore fishing winter hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing opens Feb. 15. COFFEEN: Guide Ken Wilson ( said crappie are best on the warm side in the coves with brush, either on jigs or minnows. He said bass fishermen are doing best on Rogues or Culprit worms. 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.


Check the latest at Harborside.


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


Waiting for the lake to recover from the blow. Before the storm, perch (take much sorting for keepers) and the occasional steelhead were being taken in the Chicago harbors. 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.


For D&S Bait, go to click here.


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

(Head): Northerns putting on a good daytime bite, with walleye picking up,
and slow action for panfish in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.

(Lead): Ice conditions and mobility are good in the Eagle River area - -but
caution is always a watchword.

Northern in the Eagle River area are hitting great during daylight hours.
Fish anywhere that has weeds. Depths range from 6-8 feet weed areas, and 12
foot or deeper weed flats. Deeper weed flats have been producing best. Use
shiners under a tip-up and you'll get northern action, AND an occasional

Walleye fishing in the Eagle River area had slowed down, but it is picking
back up again in the evening. Small sucker minnows under a tip-up is still
the best producer. Fish 12 feet or deeper weed flats on shallow lakes, or
the 15-20 foot drop-offs on deeper lakes.

Panfish have slowed down in the Eagle River area. Crappie anglers are
fishing 8-15 feet over mudflats, using a waxie (preferred) or a crappie
minnow. The crappies are suspending up and down the water column, and the
best suggestion is to start at or near the bottom and slowly work your way

There are reports of some real good perch action on South Twin Lake in the
Eagle River area, using wigglers. Fish mud flats and weed areas, at no
certain depth. The perch will be hugging the bottom.

(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:

Nicer temps then last week brought the anglers out. Fishing improved but wasn't great.

Yellow Perch: Good. On lakes with deep mud flats of 18-26' key. Bounce flickers, pimples, halis in the mud to attract attention, then work area 6-12"
off bottom tipping jigs with wigglers or red spikes. Shallow lake perch taking small minnows or waxies on #8 spoons, jigs.

Walleye: Fair - improving. Humps as shallow as 6' at dusk using shiners, suckers on tip-ups. With warmer temps anglers fishing multi holes, jigging raps, chubby darters also scoring fish. Jiggers scoring the biggest eyes including fish of 26, 27, 28 and 30-1/2" this past week.

Northern Pike: Fair - improving. Big shiners on tip-ups along weed edges of 10-12' best. Areas where bluegills are staging outside weed edges, suspending along these 10-12' cuts are producing the best pike to 34" this past week.

Crappies: Fair - improving. Warmer weather has helped. Towards evening crappies taking minnows on tip-downs. During the day hole hopping, dropping plastics producing nice catches, but requires time. One to three fish per hole, then move on.

Bluegill: Fair - improving. Once again, better conditions providing better action. Check outside edges if shallower weed fish aren't present.

The new moon phone (Thurs) is almost always a good daytime bite period for me. With majors predicted around 11 am till 1 pm over the weekend, try not to break for lunch during this time. Some surprisingly nice eyes have been getting caught between 10 am and noon the past couple weeks.

***With all the derby's this weekend we will be opening at 5 am on Saturday.


Waiting on storm recovery.


Click here for BJ Sports.


For reports, click here.


Continues to be some good pike caught on the Illinois side by ice fisherman, the latest a 40-incher by Mark Tetlak of Oak Forest on Sunday.



Fishing Headquarters



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






No TrackBacks

TrackBack URL:


You forgot the most recent one with pike on the Fox. Here you go.

I don't see where the bait flare would be of much benefit to me in a river the way I fish. It' going to drift away from you and the stuff will just disperse downstream
Maybe some benefit if you set line for cats but most of the time the bait used will send out it's own scent trail without adding chum.

Technically, my report was not from THE Fox.... Fox river water for sure, but not THE Fox. However I'll take an honorable mention anyway I can get it.

Norm, the bait flare is especially popular with the ice anglers eager to tip the odds in their favor. That is why it is selling well right now. According to Dale's sources, we are in the midst of the Winter Doldrums and the fish are getting harder to catch.... I hadn't noticed though.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on February 2, 2011 4:13 AM.

Stray Cast: Fly fishing, carp, Cutler & Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

Ramble with Storm: A hillbilly hum is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.