Midwest fishing report
Area lakes :
Ice fishing notes: Some traditional early northern spots might have ice fishing by the weekend. Here are the updated rules and regulations. As the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County Web site put it: ”Using a little common sense can help you avoid a lot of problems.” Amen, and hallelujah. Cook: Ice-fish at your own risk. Four inches of solid ice is recommended. Forest preserve lakes open for ice fishing, conditions permitting: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Bode South, Busse Main, Busse South, Maple, Papoose, Powderhorn, Saganashkee Slough, Sag Quarry East and West, Tampier and Wampum. If you catch a tagged walleye at Busse, don’t eat it, and release it if possible. If not possible to release, freeze and call (708) 403-6951 for pickup. DuPage: 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. But late-night fishing (11 p.m.) is now allowed at Round Meadow and Deep Quarry. Ice holes are limited to 10 inches in diameter, and fishermen may only fish two holes. Only portable shelters are permitted, and should be removed when not in use. The winter sports line is (630) 871-6422. Kane/Will: Ice fishing is not allowed. However, Monee Reservoir in Will County allows fishing year-round, if the water is open. Lake: Forest preserve ice fishing is permitted only at Sterling and Banana lakes, and only when the ice is uniformly 4.5 inches thick and the area is posted as safe for fishing. Maintenance staff or rangers check daily. Shelters must be removed by the end of the day. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to sunset, except an additional hour in the evening is given at Sterling. Call the winter sports hotline at (847) 968-3235 or go to lcfpd.org. Mazonia: Monster Lake at Mazonia South is open year-round for open-water or ice fishing except during in-between periods of unsafe ice. Ice fishing is closed otherwise, until the formation of 4 inches of ice after the close of hunting seasons in January. Exact dates and restrictions to come later. McHenry: The McHenry County Conservation District allows ice fishing from 8 a.m. to sunset at the Hollows (Lake Atwood), Lyons Prairie & Marsh, Stickney Run pond, Rush Creek pond, Fel-Pro RRR and Dufield Pond, when there are 4 inches of clear ice. Go to mccdistrict.org or call (815) 338-6223.
Chain O’ Lakes/Fox River: Waiting: Unless it snows too much, there will be limited ice fishing by the weekend. Triangle staff suggests looking shallow for bluegill or walleye at first ice. The backwaters of the Fox should have ice fishing by the weekend or early next week, otherwise try for walleye below the dams.
Downstate: Shelbyville: Guide Mary Satterfield said crappie are doing well. She’s catching most of her keepers in 5-8 feet with a jig three feet under a float around standing timber. Lake is in the low 40s. Evergreen: The lake is closed to general use during firearm deer season Thursday through Sunday.
Illinois River: Starved Rock area: Decent: Guide Buster Culjan reported sauger are good in the deep winter holes (20-30 feet), either jigging or pulling three-way rigs. River is clean, near normal and 36 degrees. Also a bite in Ottawa at the deep hole.
Kankakee River: Fair: Ed Mullady suggests walleye at creek mouths, bridge piers or drifts. Otherwise, try pike in the ditches or below dams.
Kenosha/Racine, Wis.: Changing: A Midwest Fishing Report regular reported some ice forming at Kenosha, but plenty of steelhead and browns are still being taken. He was using small tube jigs down 3 feet at night. In areas iced over, some anglers are punching holes in the ice off the docks.
Lakefront: Variable: The biggest deterrents remain wind and waves. The dirty water has slowed shoreline perch. When it settles, perch will go again. Belmont has been the most consistent, Montrose and Navy Pier should pop again. There are scattered steelhead and browns around the harbors from Waukegan to Chicago (pipe at Burnham has been best). Note: Harbor Pier Access Passes to fish designated piers (listed on the pass) at Chicago’s Montrose, Belmont, Diversey, DuSable and Burnham harbors are on sale at Henry’s Sports & Bait or Superior Sports Store. Passes cost $5.50 each and are good for the season.
Madison Lakes, Wis.: Waiting: D&S Bait expects it will be next week before the first safe ice.
Mississippi River: Savanna: Variable: Backwaters are icing up, but they likely won’t thicken enough for ice fishing by the weekend. Those still getting out in boats are taking nice walleye and sauger on the wing dams.
Northern Wisconsin: Waiting: As staff at Eagle River Sports put it, ”Maybe by the weekend.” Temperatures look good for good ice.
Northwest Indiana: Fair: Weather has been the limiting factor. Capt. Chuck Weis reported limited perch action over the weekend.
Shabbona Lake: Waiting: The lake was open as of Tuesday, but safe ice is likely in some areas by next week.