Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967


Lake Michigan: According to fishing reporter Cory Yarmuth,
browns are starting to get active from the boats – if you can get
out through the ice. Fish the warm-water discharges with jigs or
crankbaits. Trolling body baits has been working well. Harbors are
starting to see good populations of steelhead and brown trout.
However, most have iced over so it’s time to get out the short
sticks and tip-ups and work the ice. Jigging spoons tipped with
minnow heads as well as dead sticking spawn sacks near the bottom
will produce browns. Golden roaches or spawn sacks on a tip-up have
been taking rainbows. Make sure that prior to venturing out on the
ice, it is legal in the harbor you are going to and that the ice is
safe. The ice can have bad areas due to underwater currents created
by the main lake. Perch are also starting to show up at Navy Pier.
However, the ice comes and goes as well, so if you head out, bring
a heavy anchor with a long line to drop down and break open an area
to fish. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo perch.
Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as well as ice
fishing jigs tipped with spikes are key.

Chain: Panfish action is remaining consistent with good numbers
of crappies, white bass and bluegills being taken through the ice.
Ratfinkies with spikes and jigs and plastics seem to be producing
quite well. The bite changes from day to day so be prepared to move
and change baits. Dead sticking a bait has been a productive
technique as the fish are starting to get picky. The bays seem to
be producing quite well with lots of ice. Find the weeds and the
gills will be there, but look for deeper water for the white bass
and crappies. They are opening the Straton Lock and Dam and doing a
drawdown due to the recent rains. This will cause unsafe ice
conditions as the water will be lower than the ice in areas air
pockets will be created. Be cautious out there.

Shabbona: Ice conditions are good with a solid 8 inches. The
bite is tough as there is a lot of pressure, and the water is still
very cloudy and stained. Smaller jigs with a single waxie or spike
seem to be most productive. Work the cribs and search the wood for
suspended crappies. Dead stick minnows along the creek bed for
walleyes. Conditions should improve.

Crystal Lake: This is a private lake during the summer, but
during the winter, ice fishermen can access the lake from the beach
areas. The bluegill bite is quite good in 7 to 9 feet of water,
with keepers that can be found sorting through the smaller ones.
The tip-up action for pike and bass can be very good in the
shallower water near the shorelines. Run your baits big and just
below the ice for good action. Crappies really start biting at
sundown and can be taken on minnows or small plastics fished just
below the ice. This is a two-pole restricted lake so make sure you
follow the rules and also clean up after yourself.

Willow Slough: Ice conditions are good in areas. However,
several areas can be dangerous. The north end has “iffy” ice, and
the area near Mormon Hill is very dangerous. Also watch the areas
where geese are holding as they are keeping some of the water open
or the ice thin. The bluegills are biting quite well and seem to
turn on toward the afternoon. Areas near the weeds and lily pads
are producing. Make sure that you don’t stay stationary as the
gills are moving from area to area, and hole hoping is a must
during the early hours. Once you find them you can stay on a good
area for some keeper gills. Again, small gill pill or horizontal
style jigs with a couple of spikes are producing. There are also
some pike being taken on tip-ups and minnows. Make sure to pay
attention to any site-specific regulations and watch where you are

Share on Social


Hand-Picked For You

Related Articles