Spring signs, including some early coho, come in fits and starts for this sprawling raw-file Midwest Fishing Report; though ice fishing hangs on to the north.
Jeff Norris texted this rather witty photo to rub my nose into both the whitefish from Green Bay last week and what that “W” symbolizes.
The MFR for Chicago fishing appears in a condensed form Wednesdays on the Sun-Times newspaper outdoors page. The sprawling raw-file report is posted here online on the Sun-Times outdoors page.
WINNEBAGO SYSTEM, WISCONSIN
Sturgeon spearing opens Saturday. As to other fishing, Arden Katz reported vehicles all over Winnebago and he found good white bass on jigging Rapalas.
WALK ON WATER NOTE
There will be no ice fishing at the Walk on Water Ice Fishing Derby, but there will be a fundraising event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at Lindy Landing in Wauconda.
Again, I am almost concerned to post this link, but because some places hold or will build fishable ice, click here for a list of regulations for ice fishing public sites around the Chicago area.
As of Tuesday, some lakes to the south were completely open, while I suspect some lakes to the north will again hold or build fishable ice.
AREA WATER LEVELS
Again a good week to check water levels, considering rains and such. Go to http://water.weather.gov//ahps2/index.php?wfo=lot to check area water levels and projection. To get to more specific gauges, even on creeks, in Illinois, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/current/?type=flow
Closed for the season.
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA
Staff at Triangle Sports and Marine said ice fishing spots include East and West Loon for bass and pike; Catherine near shore evenings for walleye; the south end of Channel for bluegill (take sorting); and Deep is OK for panfish. Jig and minnows are taking catfish and walleye below McHenry Dam for open-water fishing.
For Chain updates, check with Fox Waterway Agency or call (847) 587-8540.
CHAIN ACCESS: Here are some access points during ice season, think that still fits. For Nielsen’s Channel off the Fox River at Port Barrington, there’s Hermann’s Lowlife Bar & Grill with $5 parking, food and drink and, generally, bait. For T-Channel, the usual procedure is to park in back at Famous Freddie’s and be out by 11:30 or come in and eat. On Channel, Chopper’s Bar takes the $5 parking is taken off if you order food. For Spring Lake, Granny’s at Spring Lake Marina has parking and takes the $5 off if you order food.
No fishing update this week from Capt. Pat Harrison (click here for his site).
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN
No update this week.
DES PLAINES RIVER
POWERTON: Open to shore fishing. Hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Boat fishing reopens on Feb. 15. LAKE OF EGYPT/REND: Check with Jason Johns of Boneyard Fishing. SHELBYVILLE: Check with Ken Wilson of Ken Wilson Guide Service.EVERGREEN: Bait shop and boat rental are closed for the season. HENNEPIN-HOPPER: Closed for season.
FOX RIVER: WESTERN SUBURBS
FOX RIVER: WISCONSIN
GREEN BAY/STURGEON BAY
Whitefish are the fish of choice, as shown by the photo at the top. But no update this week from Lance LaVine at Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay. The Wisconsin DNR report is usually posted Tuesdays and includes reports from both the bay and lake sides.
Closed for the season.
Remember that Illinois Valley Outdoors is closed. Have bait and terminal tackle before going.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted: “Some good steelhead action in area tribs voodoo jigs tipped with waxworms and spawn saks best baits single glass beads in orange took fish also trail creek salt creek and burns ditch giving up good numbers of steelhead.
Norm Minas sent this:
Perch are the main story. But ice has been in and out at the South Side slips, but perch fishing continues good (takes sorting for keepers). Tom Platt at Henry’s ice moving in and out has the biggest impact for perch at South Side slips, but some jumbos being caught; a good sign is a few coho showing up for powerliners and casters in Chicago.
Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station, Ind., texted: “Still have a bunch of guys perchin at 87th and 89th small minnows and white spikes on a small jig best baits. They had to bust skim ice some over weekend to fish but alot of decent ones caught the guys with jigs and 3 or 4 white spikes on jig really had some good perch”
NAVY PIER NOTE: The fisherman’s parking special is $6, if out by 10 a.m. Find an parking attendant after you pull in to get the special. PIER PASSES: The pier passes for legal access to fish select piers at Jackson, Burnham, DuSable, Diversey, Belmont and Montrose harbors in Chicago are available at Henry’s ($6 cash, one per valid fishing license). SHOP NOTE: Park Bait is closed for the winter.
LAKE VERMILION, MINNESOTA
Check Jarek Wujkowski of Rodsbent Guide Service.
Closed for season.
MADISON CHAIN, WISCONSIN
Gene Dellinger at D & S Bait said there is plenty of ice; the best bluegill fishing is on Monona and Turville bays; Mendota is giving up some perch, bigger ones on bars to those fishing for walleye. Otherwise, check the latest from D & S Bait on Facebook.
The South unit lakes reopened to fishing. North unit reopens to fishing on Feb. 16, after rabbit hunting ends. Hours are 6 a.m.-sunset daily.
Check with Jon Meder at Jon’s Bait Shop–(815) 237-2822–in South Wilmington.
MENOMINEE RIVER, WISCONSIN
Check with Mike Mladeik at Mike Mladenik Guide Service.
Check the Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report, which generally comes out Tuesdays for updates.
MINOCQUA: Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop in Minocqua, Wis. sent this:
Unfortunately, fishing didn’t quite match the optimistic forecast of last week’s prognosticator. Most reports were of less action, though a few bright spots on the panfish front did come in.
Yellow Perch: Good-Fair – Better bites came from anglers fishing shallow lakes with healthy weeds. Jigs shaped like small bluegills or perch tipped with waxies or minnows under bobbers best. Deep mud bite spotty, wigglers on Pimples or Halis best choice
Bluegills: Good-Fair – Moussees, Waxies and Spikes on small dark colored (red, black, purple) jigs best. Some nice gills in the 9 – 9 ½” range on some smaller, out of the way lakes. A few big gills from the Flowages.
Northern Pike: Good-Fair – Several nice pike in the 31-34” range during a derby on Lake Minocqua this weekend. Big shiners and suckers on tip-ups…as usual.
Crappies: Good-Fair – Flowage bite hot mid-week slowed on weekend. Bite picking up as of late (Mon/Tue) on lakes as weather moving in. Tip-downs with rosies best. Dipping plastics, as weather warms, also producing.
Walleyes: Fair – Narrow windows early and late. Most action on tip-ups and suckers.
Some nice bass, largemouth and surprisingly smallmouth over the weekend. Warming trend for weekend should improve most bites (but that’s been said before).
UPCOMING DERBY DATES
Feb 18th – Rob Lemmer Memorial
Feb 28th -Carrol Lake Ice Fishing Tournament
Kurt’s Island Sport Shop
Northern Pike: We are finding fish on the weed edges and in the deeper weeds. On the edges, the set up should be tip ups set a foot or so off the bottom. When fishing the deep weeds, set your tip ups so that your bait is just above the tops of the weeds.
Walleye: These fish are being caught in a couple of areas, in and around weeds. Setting tip ups on the weed edges baited with walleye suckers or medium golden shiners in low light conditions seem to be best. Also, jigging in the same areas with baits like the buckshot rattle spoon are producing fish. The other good option is on the tops of rock humps for good spots in the early evening.
Panfish: Bluegills are being found in the weeds using small jigs tipped with waxies, spikes or tipped with plastic. Perch are being caught on the deep weed edge where the mud meets.
When weather allows, early coho and brown fishing begins, as we did Monday with Capt. Ralph Steiger around the usual spots around Gary/East Chicago. Capt. Rich Sleziak at Slez’s Bait in Lake Station texted: “Some coho and browns caught over the weekend at the riverwalk at the mouth of burns ditch some keepers but still alot of coho in that 12 inch range must throw back. . . . Skein spawn saks and small shrimp best for coho at riverwalk same at micigan city behind dnr station some coho but alot on smaller side” COHO NOTE: Be aware there is a bunch of small coho, as in 10 to 12 inches, around and the minimum is 14 inches.
ROOT RIVER, WISCONSIN
The Wisconsin DNR Lake Michigan Report is generally posted on Tuesday and includes a Root river section. Click here for the stream flow update, which can be really important for how good the fishing is.
ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN
Staff at Tackle Haven in Benton Harbor said boaters are taking good walleye and some steelhead at Berrien Srpings.
ST. JOSEPH RIVER, INDIANA
Click here for reports from the Indiana DNR.
Clint Sands at Lakeside said the lake was half open on Tuesday. The return of ice fishing is doubtful. Lakeside is closed until safe ice returns. Lake hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. The restaurant is closed for the season. For more information and reports from Lakeside, go to shabbonalake.com or call (815) 824-2581.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT
The Wisconsin DNR posts a report during open water at http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/lakemichigan/OutdoorReport.html. It is usually posted by Tuesday afternoon. Stream flow info is at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/wi/nwis/current?type=flow.
WOLF RIVER, WISCONSIN