Northern Illinois Fishing Report – January 22nd, 2016
Lake Michigan: Cold weather finally set in throughout the southern part of the lake, and ice was starting to form in area harbors and tributaries. DNR and local shops do not verify or guarantee the reported ice conditions, and anglers should proceed at their own risk. Please use extreme caution as conditions can change rapidly.
Meanwhile, the warm water discharges are holding fish.
Fishing with spawn sacs in a pink or chartreuse color under a float or on the bottom will offer a great opportunity for one of these tough fighters. Tinsel jigs as well as tube jigs under floats are also producing fish.
Navy Pier and the downtown harbors are slow and cold but producing some good catches of perch. The fish are ranging in size and a lot of sorting is required, but crappie rigs with fathead minnows seem to be producing the best. Also fishing in Indiana waters has been also showing some promise with the perch fishing. Fishing bottom rigs with minnows and feather tied hooks has been the top producer.
Chain: Ice fishing began in recent days, so try bluegills in back channels and some main lake bays with tungsten jigs tipped with waxies or spikes. Crappies are good with minnows or jigs. Nice walleyes found in shallows with various jigging lures or tip-ups.
White bass caught in the 15- to 20-foot range on minnows and spikes.
Check local bait shops for reports as the freeze gets more solid on all of the lakes.
Once on a frozen lake, fishing with ice jigs under a slip-float can produce some exceptional catches this time of year. Live bait for most species is key this time of year. Floating minnows off the bottom on three-way rigs or suspended from a slip float can put some fair catches of walleyes in the livewell.
McCullom Lake: Once there is solid ice, deeper water by Peterson Park usually produces good northern pike and bass on tip-ups. Some decent crappies are being caught by small jigs and plastics, and there are some small gills mixed in.
Shabbona: 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.
Lake Zurich: Make sure to test the ice as it forms. The weed edges are producing some good panfish and anglers are doing well on pike and bass.
Crystal Lake: The bluegills are small and hard to find. Bigger fish are being found closer to the points and deeper water. Pike have been doing OK, but most have found the action to be slow. Crappies really start biting at sundown and can be taken on minnows or small plastics fished shallow. This is a private lake during the summer, but during the winter, ice fishermen can access the lake from the beach areas.