For Ice Fisherman in the S.E. Wisconsin & N.E. Illinois Region It has been a roller coaster ride so far this winter in regards to safe ice, The Polar Vortex that froze lakes up to 4 solid inches in November was a short lived tease as warm month of December melted everything off,
Now we are in what looks to be a good long term cold snap that is starting to make some safe ice on smaller ponds, channels & bays, in the region. But be warned some areas over deeper water, especially on our larger lakes are anywhere from just about safe to a few open areas as of yesterday 1/5/15.
The good news is there is some safe fishing spots out there, but regardless of what kind of ice report you get here or anywhere else please be smart, before you even leave the house study a map of the lake your heading to, use overlays & look around the perimeter of the lake for creek inlets, outlets, marked springs, current funnels & any other potential hazards, have your ice picks at the ready, spud your way out carefully, know where the break lines are as deeper water tends to have less ice right now with some places only freezing over in the last 48 hours.
The Mchenry County Conservation District opened 2 sites to ice fishing today with a possible 3rd site opening tomorrow 1/7/15 The MCCD requires at least 4″ of clear ice Ice fishing is now open at the Rush Creek Pond 20501 McGuire Rd., Harvard, IL This is a small 4 acre pond that contains largemouth bass, bluegill, & green sunfish.
The 2nd MCCD pond now open is the 2 acre Pleasant Valley Pond 13315 Pleasant Valley Rd., Woodstock, IL this pond is stocked annually with largemouth Bass & Bluegill, Note this pond is subject to winter kills. Reports are that the 22 acre Lake Atwood located at the hollows could open as early as tomorrow, The Hollows is located @ 3804 Route 14, Cary,IL and is stocked with largemouth bass, rainbow trout, bluegill, channel catfish in a joint effort between the IDNR & MCCD.
Other Mchenry County Ice Reports
Crystal Lake – 3.5 – 4″ on west bay, unsafe near park access
Mccullom Lake – 3.5 to 4.5″ in shallower bays, some locals getting out & catching Bluegills a few Pike
Pistakee Lake – T Channel reports 4″ of consistent ice, Bluegills, Crappies being caught lots of sorting for keepers, The Bay still unsafe as of yesterdays reports.
Neilsons Channel – Reports of 4 to 4.5″ of clear ice, mixed bags being caught mostly panfish
Nippersink Lake – No Reports
LAKE COUNTY REPORTS
Bangs Lake – Reports up to 6″ of good ice over 10′ of water – Fishing Slow
Channel Lake – 4 tp 5″ in south bay & lake Ave Channel, Gills & some mixed in Crappie No report out of the Turtle.
Lake Marie – up to 4″ reported in the North Bay, This lake has alot of current & hazards, stay off unless you know where to avoid or your with someone who does!
Deep Lake – reports of 3.5 to 4″ over shallow bays call the # in the link for ice conditions
Lake Tranquility – 4″ to 5″ of ice, lots of small panfish with a few big perch in the mix..
All Lake County Forest Preserve Lakes Closed to Ice Fishing
Other Than people fishing Channels & or shallow bays on Camp, Paddock & Hooker Lakes Not a whole lot of people out or reports coming in. I will be out scouting & hopefully get some fishing in tomorrow & will update.. Most lakes should be in good shape by the weekend..
Lake Geneva – Lake Locked in with no safe ice
Delavan Lake – The inlet has 6″ plus of ice, Reports coming in of 4″ in the bays, No reports off Bluegill Rd & lake Lawn is not allowing parking as of now..
Waukesha, Jefferson & Dane County lakes have a little more ice on the lakes,
Wind Lake – Reports of consistent 5 to 6 ” of ice, slow fishing for the few out there
Waukesha, Milwaukee, Jefferson & Dane Counties – Pretty good ice on most lakes from here North & West!
All in all I think there will be plenty of ice by this weekend, what will the patterns be? still in a 1st early ice phase? Midwinter patterns? I’m guessing still in a early ice phase, I’ll be looking for walleye shallow on transition areas, gills & crappies in shallow weeds out to the 1st break but tight to green weeds and Perch wherever I can find them,
Hope this Helps, Stay Safe & Good Luck!