Illinois ice fishing report
Ice conditions improving in the Fox Chain O’Lakes says Henry’s Bait Shop. Neilson’s Channel reports three-inch cover. Conditions and bite both very good at Mineola Bay and Lake Marie for striper, says Triangle Sports & Marine in Antioch. South bay of Pistakee and south bay of Channel Lake good for bluegill. Crappie so-so, says Triangle. T-channel and backwaters producing good bluegill and some crappie. Ice thickness in most areas between 41/2-6 inches.
Presley’s Outdoors says ice is here in central Illinois but not thick enough for safe fishing on the Illinois River or most lakes. Baitshop Bob of Riverview Marine Bait & Tackle in Spring Valley says anglers were going to the canal visiting center to fish with a 3.5-inch ice cover, but that was before rains hit. River and ramps frozen but not much action yet.
A few anglers finding success with walleye and sauger below lock and dam No. 18 in the Burlington Pool using led headed jigs with minnows or stinger hooks says Al Hayden of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg (309-342-7776). ice coverage around 31/2 inches in local ponds. Lake Storey at about 2-3 inches and still not safe says Hayden.
Anglers finishing in the shallow areas of the Mississippi River, in 3-6 feet of water, around the Lock and Dam 13 area. A 3-4 inch ice cover decent but five inches of snow above the ice making it tough says Tom Calam of Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport. Areas to look for include Mickelson’s, Potter’s, the Key Hole and Potters. Ice fisherman may have luck in the back bays of area lakes next week says Calam. Anglers using demons, darts, tetter-totters, finesse rubber tails.