Midwest fishing report
Written by Chicago Sun Times   
Wednesday, 22 December 2004 09:09
Most areas already are icing in. Those that aren't should be by Christmas morning. As always, use caution as ice forms.

?Shallower subdivision ponds already are being fished, even in the south suburbs. Cook: Ice-fish at your own risk; 4 inches of solid ice is recommended. Conditions should be favorable throughout by the weekend, but as of Tuesday, northern lakes were more fishable than southern ones. Forest preserve lakes open for ice fishing, conditions permitting are: Arrowhead, Axehead, Beck, Belleau, Big Bend, Busse Main, Busse South, Bode South, Ida, Horsetail, Maple, Powderhorn, Saganashkee Slough, Sag Quarry East and West, Tampier and Wampum. Tagged walleye should be released. If gut-hooked, call (708) 403-6951 to allow retrieval of the tracking equipment. DuPage: Unless otherwise posted, it's ice fish at your own risk on forest preserve waters. The winter sports line is (630) 871-6422. The two smaller lakes at Pratt's Wayne were being fished on Saturday. McHenry: The McHenry County Conservation District allows ice fishing 8 a.m. to sunset at select sites. As of Tuesday morning, Fel-Pro RRR, Lyons Prairie & Marsh and Rush Creek were open. The Hollows (Lake Atwood and West Lake), Stickney Run and Dufield Pond likely will open shortly. Live bait is prohibited. Shelters must be removed daily. Only two fishing devices are allowed. Go to www.mccdistrict.org or call (815) 338-6223. Mazonia: The launch at Monster is iced in, but ice fishing is doubtful this week. The other Mazonia lakes will open to ice fishing after the close of upland game season in January, if there is at least 4 inches of safe ice. Kane/Will: Forest preserves in neither county offer ice fishing. Lake: Ice fishing is permitted only at Van Patten Woods and Independence Grove when the ice is uniformly 4 inches thick; neither was open as of Tuesday. Call the winter sports hotline at (847) 968-3235 ext. 5. Chicago lagoons: Closed to ice fishing.

Area rivers: Changing: Ice floes likely will be forming with the next cold snap. Fox: Ice fishing has been under way since Thursday in backwater channels like Nielsen Channels in Port Barrington, where panfish have been hot. In the open water, most action is focused on walleye or muskie. Illinois: Sauger are in 18-22 feet on the edges of the winter holes, best on pulling three-ways. With water temperature at 34 on Tuesday, icing could start later in the week, so call first. Kankakee: There was no ice as of Tuesday, so there might be a chance to try for one of Ed Mullady's fabled Christmas Day smallmouth.

Chain O'Lakes area: Ice: Ice improving daily; but use caution around open spots, current areas, springs and channel mouths. Marie just starting to go for walleye, but almost all lakes have panfish action in the shallower areas. Here are suggested access points: Marie: Barnacle Bob's and Sand Bar; Channel: Thirsty Turtle and the old Mentone's; Catherine: North Shore Resort and Bob Marina; Bluff: Steitz's Resort; Spring: Spring Lake Marina; Ackerman's Channel: Port of Blarney; and Deep: Jack and Lydia's.

Downstate: Changing: Even Downstate lakes and ponds should be icing over. A major snow event is expected in southern Illinois today. Powerton: Shore fishing reopens on Monday with winter hours (8 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Lakefront: Changing: Some harbors had skim ice forming. The big lake was roiled by the storms. There might be some ice fishing by the weekend in the protected corners of the harbors; but it will be iffy at best. Perch at Navy Pier have improved slightly, but ice may make the Christmas morning tradition take some effort.

Little Bay de Noc, Mich.: Variable: Ice formed on the north end, however, heavy snow may have altered conditions. Should be limited ice fishing by the weekend, but call ahead.

Madison Lakes, Wis.: Icing: Anglers are already out on Monona Bay and Cherokee Marsh, and will be on Waubesa and Kegonsa within the next day or two.

Northern Wisconsin: Bitter conditions have limited fishing; but most lakes now have safe ice. Eagle River: Almost all lakes are fishable; but there is patchy slush. That all should freeze by the weekend. Some snowmobile access on smaller lakes. Variable action in the evening for walleye; pike are fair and bluegill and perch are improving. Minocqua: Cold weather has frozen almost all lakes, or will by the weekend. But use care when crossing the largest lakes. Best walleye bite is later (after 7 p.m.) Perch, bluegill and pike (a few larger pike) are fair.

Shabbona Lake: Icing: There was some open water on the main lake on Tuesday, but places such as the no-motor zone should have the first fishable ice any day now. Check with Big Jim's at (815) 824-2415.

Wolf Lake: Variable: A few walleye in the open corn channel. Maybe some scattered ice fishing by the weekend.

Wolf River, Wis.: Icing: Ice fishing is well underway on the bayous

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