Bundle up and get out there for Wisconsin’s Winter Free Fishing Weekend, January 17 – 18, 2015. Residents and nonresidents are welcome!Fish anywhere in Wisconsin without a license or trout stamp on Free Fishing Weekend.This includes all inland waters and Wisconsin’s side of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River.Other fishing rules apply, such as limits on the number and size of fish you can keep and any seasons when you must release certain fish species. So, pack up the family or call your friends and head to the water for fishing fun!
The lake County Forest Preserve District opened two of it’s three ice fishing sites to fishing today, The district will not allow fishing on any of the designated lakes with less than 4.5″ of clear ice
The first site open is at Independence Grove, ice fishing is permitted on the south bay only. Catch-and-release fishing is mandatory at this site.
The second site open is at Lakewood Forest Preserve, ice fishing is permitted on Banana Lake only.
Sterling Lake is closed until further notice, Remember always call the lcfpd Winter Sports Hotline for latest conditions, openings & closings @ 847-968-3235
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!
We have a few lakes with fish cribs here in the WI-IL border region, this video from in-depth outdoors is spot on in regards to “all fish cribs are not created equal” and positioning yourself perfectly on the structure, Many people (including myself a few years back) think that if they get coordinates to a crib it’s easy pickings once you cut your holes, which is far from the truth! If you have ever fished a crib through the ice around here you know it’s a challenge, it’s you vs the fish, If you don’t drill countless holes, scan & pan with your camera to find the cribs perimeter, figure out where active fish are vs dormant fish are & adjust your presentation to water clarity, the target fishes mood, you will likely be disappointed. This video covers all aspects of crib fishing and all these tips & tactics will work in our local waters.. Enjoy!
The Ice machine is back in action here in the WI-IL border region! I did notice a few lakes starting to ice up in my travels today, The South bay on Powers Lake actually looked pretty good earlier today, I will get out tomorrow and scout out a few places that historically freeze up early and safe, as well as talk to the new owners of what used to be Uncle Ed’s on that South Bay of Powers Lake to find out if they will be allowing parking and lake access there this season. (I Hope) Once I get an answer I will post it here & get it in the “Ice Fishing Access Directory” I am putting together for the area,
There’s still hope to be setting up on some safe ice over productive areas by the New Year on both sides of the border..
A few reports have come in over the last week, Shore Fishing on Lake Michigan at Racine & Milwaukee have been pretty good for Brown Trout & some Steelhead, Eric Haataja has been posting his daily videos and he is catching lot’s of fish, As well as a few others. Still reports of some nice pike being caught on golden roaches in Racine Harbor.
The few die-hards out trolling Lake Geneva have picked up a few Big Walleye for their efforts including a 13# beast.
Not much else credible to report on right now.. In the meanwhile it is probably a good time to go back over all your ice gear, charge your batteries, fine tune everything and be ready for some safe ice..
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