Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishingContinue reading.
Midwest Fishing Report: Lakes and rivers around Chicago fishing (update)
The arrival of ice fishing leads this Midwest Fishing Report.
This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears on the Sun-Times outdoors page on Wednesdays. I think until next spring I will go back to combining the rivers and lakes sections again.
Normally, I post Wednesday mornings.
If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ICE AUGER SHARPENING
Fran Connelly in Des Plaines sharpens blades for ice augers. He can reached at Ice Auger Sharpening on Facebook or by calling (847) 297-8297.
Ice fishing is just beginning, which means it is time for the posting of regulations on local public waters.
PUBLIC AREAS REGS: Ice fishing isn’t permitted on the Chicago lagoons or the lakes of the Forest Preserve District of Will County. Here are the other regulations.
COOK FPD: Ice fish at your own risk (4 inches is recommended) on the designated ice-fishing lakes, same as last winter: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South only, Bullfrog, Busse main and south (no north pool), Flatfoot, Green, 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: No sites are open yet, When ice fishing is permitted, the sites are Banana, Independence Grove south bay and Sterling, when the ice is uniformly 4.5 inches thick and the area is posted as safe for fishing. Call (847) 968-3235 or go to the ice fishing page at lcfpd.org.
MAZONIA SFWA: Monster Lake is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing. All ice fishing is done at your own risk. The other Mazonia units open after various hunting seasons.
McHENRY COUNTY CD: None are open yet for ice fishing. Ice fishing is sunrise to sunset at the Fel-Pro RRR (closed until bowhunting ends Jan. 20), the Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Pleasant Valley, Rush Creek pond and Stickney Run (closed until after bowhunting), 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). Use the east entrance.
For a general overview of nearby river conditions, click here.
To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, click here.
BIG GREEN LAKE, WISCONSIN
For guide Mike Norton’s report, go to www.nortonsfishingandhuntingadventures.com, then click on fishing, then lake report.
From licensed guide and trapper Phil Schweik and guide Glenn Moberg of Hooksetters Guide Service:
(Head): Walleye, northerns, crappies and bluegills hitting hard, with
archery deer hunters doing very well because of the new fallen snow; all in
and amidst the lakes and the Wisconsin River in Wisconsins Marathon and
Lincoln Counties (near Mosinee and Wausau).
With good ice on many central Wisconsin lakes, anglers are getting out and
having great success. While a lot of attention is being focused on panfish,
don’t rule out early season walleyes and northerns, as they can provide
excellent action at this time of year. They both put up a hefty battle
through the ice, and they make for great table fare.
For early season walleyes in the central Wisconsin area, run tip-ups baited
with small walleye sized suckers or medium golden shiners. St your tip-ups
in 6 to 10 feet of water (preferably with some deep water access) and run
your baits about a foot off the bottom. You may catch a straggler or two
throughout the day but low light periods and after dark are the best times
to pick up a feeding walleye.
The action for northerns through the ice in the central Wisconsin area can
be fast and furious, especially if you are set up properly and in the right
area. We normally look for shallow weeds in approximately 3 to 6 feet of
water; preferably an area with weeds that top out within a foot or two of
the surface. Run tip-ups baited up with large golden shiners or sucker
minnows and set the baits so they are right below the ice (6 inches to a
foot) and get ready for the action to start. You will also want to be ready
and paying attention too, because when a big northern strikes, they don’t
fool around. They are off to the races and they can “spool” you in a matter
Crappies and bluegill anglers in the central Wisconsin area are finding lots
of fish in weed choked bays and downed timber in 4 to 8 feet of water. A
lot of action is coming on the new tungsten jigs from Northland Tackle.
Reds, yellows and greens have been very popular especially when tipped with
a waxie or a couple of spikes. We have however seen better action from the
larger fish when tipping our jigs with tiny plastics like wedge tails or
Impulse tails and working them in a horizontal manner.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA/UPPER FOX RIVER
Ice fishing is underway and ice is building, Greg Dickson at Triangle said. Access is listed below. Barnacle Bob’s said Marie had several inches of ice on the shoreline, but still had some open water in the middle; however, that should lock up by the weekend. Mike Starcevich from Mik-Lurch reported on Tuesday good action on Pistakee for bluegill and crappie.
ACCESSING THE CHAIN: For the T-Channel, best first-ice spot, park at Famous Freddie’s and go in to eat or leave before the lunch crowd arrives.
For Spring Lake, Granny’s Lakeside has parking for $5, but takes the $5 off your order. Most eating places with parking access offer similar deals.
For Channel Lake, there’s Chopper’s Bar or the Thirsty Turtle.
For Petite, Greg Dickson at Triangle said there is now a drop-box behind the old Kempf’s resort.
Access Pistakee Lake from Oak Park Lounge ($4 per car, $8 with trailers).
For Ackerman’s Channel, Dickson said the best access is from Captain’s Quarters.
For Marie, the last to be safe in the middle, there’s Barnacle Bob’s ($5), McKinney’s East Marina ($5) or the Sand Bar & Grill (park in back and patronize the place).
For more reports, see http://www.foxlakefishing.com/
More Chain info at www.foxwaterway.state.il.us.
COOLING LAKES/STRIP PITS
MAZONIA/BRAIDWOOD: North Unit reopens to fishing or ice fishing, at your own risk, on Jan. 9. Only Monster Lake at Mazonia South remains open year round. The other lakes at Mazonia South reopen after bowhunting for deer.
DELAVAN/GENEVA LAKES, WISCONSIN
Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait and Tackle reported Como has 6 inches of ice, with good largemouth off the boat launch. He said Delavan has enough ice and action that he is putting a couple shanties on the west end; there’s some pike and pumpkinseeds by the launch; some action in Lake Lawn harbor. He said the only walkable ice on Geneva is in Abbey harbor.
POWERTON LAKE: Shore fishing is open. Boat fishing reopens Feb. 15.
EVERGREEN: Bait shop/boat rental is over for the year. Any updated fishing report from site staff will be posted here.
At Nielsen’s Channel at Port Barrington, Arden Katz reported a good 2 1/2-3 inches of ice on Tuesday. He was catching nice bluegill and crappie on No. 12 Rat Finkees with red spikes. Access is at Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill.
Sam Bennett has a getting started guide for the Fox posted here.
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN
Click here to check for an updated Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Fishing Report.
Not sure how the freeze is impacting access for steelheaders. Click here for the Indiana DNR’s map of Trail Creek access.
Ed Mullady sent this on Tuesday:
Not very much doing in the way of people fishingat the river at this time.
As of today, the ice is not safe to go ice fishing at around the Kankakee River. If warmer weather breaks the present thin ice, more open water fishing will be available.
Shoreline areas where current keeps water open will often find river fish. Some fish will be found at mouths of creeks, ditches, below spillways, dams in both Indiana and Illinois. Many fish from the shore
if it is not too slippery.
Open water offers catches of *walleye *northern pike *smallmouth and largemouth bass, croppie, catfish.
I suggest no one goes out on the river ice, as it can be very dangerous where current cuts away. Be sure to determine the ice you go on is thick and safe enough even on bayous, creek mouths, near in water logs and any place(even no current areas) you ice fish at. Practice all ice fishing safety.
Open water, fishing from shore, can produce fish.
NOTE: SPORTSMAN’S LETTER will represent the Kankakee River in the “Gotcha Outdoors Adventure Sports Show”, Sat., Jan. 5 (9am-4:30pm) and Sun., Jan 6 (11:30am-4:00 pm) at Kankakee First
Church, 1000 N. Entrance Ave., Kankakee,IL. More info email@example.comOR 866 872-3220.
Veteran river fisherman Rex Mullady and Sportsman’s Letter Editor Ed Mullady will be at the Kankakee River Display.
Matt Mullady, veteran fisherman will be at the Kankakee Park District Display.
Maybe see you there!
Happy New Year!
Norm Minas sent this on Tuesday:
The river was up a bit, still below normal flow, water temps low 30′s. There is a lot of icy chunks flowing down on the stretch near the house and below. I tried but after a dozen casts I gave up. The line kept getting caught up and swept away by the icy chunks. In this stretch just about every slack area was covered by at least skim ice. I did what I usually do in these conditions, head upstream toward the dam generally within a mile or so of the dam. I found fishable conditions as expected even the slack areas were more open than ice.
The sun was out, no snow or wind but judging from how much more the ice built up in the line guides it was colder than yesterday. On some of the paths down to the river snow on top of clay forced me into the weeds along side the path to keep from bouncing down to the river on my backside. I’m too old, it hurts a lot longer than it used to, doing that kind of foolishness.
The first place I hit was a creek mouth, the water out of the creek was pretty clear. I tried a jig/plastic first off on the mud line simply because it was already tied on. After searching more of the inflow/river interface with no results with that lure, I switched to a flat sided floating minnow. On the mud line I picked up a small bass on a slow steady retrieve against the current I worked the rest of the area and got an even smaller pike off some boulders where the initial lip of the creek starts dropping off.
I went to check out a well known community hole above the first major bend below the dam. I struck out there with a couple different techniques. I hit one more spot, a small slackwater area just below the first major bend and struck out there. With that I called it a day, tiring of constantly cleaning the line guides. I completed the goal of the day, catching a smallmouth to start the year even if it was smaller than the average size smallmouth for this river.
LAKE ERIE: PORT CLINTON
For Ohio DNR report go to wildohio.com and or call (888) HOOKFISH.
Some perch, mostly smaller, are being caught around Chicago, primarily at Diversey and Navy Pier. The dirty water is starting to clear, which should improve perch action.
UPDATE NOTE: Harbors are icing over or have iced over. So be prepared.
CHICAGO PIER PASSES: The $6 pier passes for Chicago harbors, except 31st, are available at Henry’s. And Burnham will be available after Bears season.
CHICAGO FISHERMAN’S PARKING: The fisherman’s parking pass–$10 for two months and available at Henry’s Sports & Bait–is needed to park south of the main building at Northerly Island. . . . That’s the same pass good for the small fishermen’s lots at Burnham and DuSable harbors.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait reported Kegonsa and Waubesa froze over with 5 inches of ice and building. Monona and Squaw bays froze over, ice is forming on other lakes.
Bill Lanham sent this:
Alan Epich and I fished the backwater areas of the Mississippi River around Thompson for our first outing of the season this past weekend. We found good ice all over and had a pretty good bite with ring perch making up the largest portion of the catch but very low water inhibits the angling space over the fishing grounds. Ice fishermen may find it tough to get away from the crowds and get on undisturbed fish with the low water level this season.
I am glad he mentioned that reminder about the extremely low water levels on the mighty Mississippi.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop sent this:
Winter has finally arrived and has been good to us here in the Northwoods.Not much snow and enough cold to build ice.Anglers are enjoying a lot of good access to lakes–though most is foot traffic.ATV’s and snowmobiles are being used, but caution is advised as reports of both types of vehicles and an ice shack have went through.
Overall, ice depths of 6-10′ are reported on most lakes, though larger lakes and those with current have to be used with caution.
Walleye:Very good.While things have slowed at times, some very good catches and large fish are being caught.Most activity is at dusk and after dark, though some big fish (25-27″) have been caught during mid-morning by anglers fishing crappies.Daytime and weed anglers using chiners having success in 8-12′ cabbage.Evening and after dark anglers using suckers and large chubs on tip-ups as well as jigging raps, the new Snap Raps, Chubby Darters and Foo Flyers to score nicer walleyes of 20-28″ from off shore humps topping at 12-22′.
Pike:Very good.Lots of pike activity for the flag chasers using shiners.Anglers opting to use large suckers and slab shiners also on deeper edges of 10-14′ being rewarded with nicer pike of 30-36″.
Crappies:Very good.After a bit of first ice slow down, action picked up nicely in weeds.
Slow dropping chena, spikes or plastics on small black or purple jigs in 8-12′ tall cabbage best.Tip-downs baited with rosies in these same areas also picking up nice slabs to 14″.Reports of limits coming from such area usually from dawn till 10 am., then picking back up towards 3pm – dusk.
Bluegills:Very good.Waxies, spikes mousees (when available) and plastics all working.Unlike the crappies, seems like the gills are preferring brighter colored jigs.Chartreuse, Orange, Gold tear-drop and mall bodied Tungsten jigs hot! Gulp Alive and Northland Impulse baits also working.
Perch:Good.Not being targeted as much as crappies, gills and pike but some very nice catches none the less.Shallow water fish making up the bulk of the reports.Fish in the 4-9′ taking crappie minnows, rosies and several waxies clumped on forage minnow spoons taking fish.
Some very nice 12+” perch on tip-ups and small shiners.
White fish:Good.Travel across traditional white fish lakes requires caution, but nice catches on Swedish Pimples and Slender Spoons tipped with waxies.
With below zero temps forecasted for the coming nights and daytime highs in the teens this week, ice should really build well.
EAGLE RIVER: On Sunday, Creative Brilliance sent this update for the Chamber of Commerce:
(Head): Ice improving, with good to excellent action for northerns and
panfish, and walleye bite good. All in the Eagle River, Wisconsin area.
Ice is improving in the Eagle River area. There is 3 yo 7 inches of ice -
-lake and area dependent. The bigger lakes are thinner. Eagle River area
anglers are just starting to get out to main basin areas on the smaller
lakes, with a very few deeper areas of the bigger lakes becoming
accessible. Only use foot travel which currently is easy, with a 2-4 inch
snow cover on most lakes. Definitely use creepers and take a spud. For
sure, don’t go out alone, and extreme caution is recommended. We still urge
you to hire an Eagle River area guide, who is familiar with Eagle River’s
multitude of lakes and can put you on fish without compromising safety.
Northern in the Eagle River area are locating in 10 feet of water or less in
and around weeds. Use a medium to large shiner under a tip-up, or a #9
Jigging Rap. All day bite. Good to excellent action.
Panfish (crappies, bluegills and perch) in the Eagle River area are locating
in 10-25 feet of water off of break edges, and adjacent mud flats, or are
scattered among the remaining weeds and vegetation. Use a waxie, spike or
crappie minnow on a small jig or slip bobber. The perch are tight to
bottom, with the crappies and gills suspending up and down the water column.
Good excellent action with an all day bite.
Walleye in the Eagle River area are locating in 8 to 22 feet of water off of
weed and break edges as well as over adjacent mud flats. Use a small to
medium sized shiner or sucker minnow under a tip-up. A minnow head on a
jigging spoon is also working well. The walleye are tight to bottom. All
day bite with peaks at sunset. Good action.
(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.
For streams, see Indiana streams.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
Click here to check if there is an updated Root River Fishing Report from the Wisconsin DNR. There hasn’t been one for weeks.
Staff at Lakeside–shabbonalake.com, (815) 824-2581–expect fishable ice by the weekend, though geese were swimming pockets open. Lakeside will be open Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Click here for the Lake Michigan Fishing Report from the Wisconsin DNR.
SOUTHWEST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
Tyler Harmon messaged:
Ice fishing is currently limited to small area lakes and channels off of main lakes. Crappie, and bluegill action has been great.
Some reports of decent walleye. Ice fishing is a bit away.
CHICAGO AREA CHAT/REPORTS
Water Dog Journal
CHICAGO AREA INFO
MICHIGAN DNR REPORT
WISCONSIN DNR REPORT
IOWA DNR REPORT
INDIANA DNR REPORT