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Ice fishing dominates fishing report

January 08, 2009 at 06:26 PM

ICE FISHING Northern Illinois

Tom Calam at Tom’s Bait & Tackle in Freeport (815-232-3337) says fishing is decent in his area with many anglers searching for just the right bait. Many going to a smaller jig as fish not as aggressive as they were earlier. Live bait, rubber tails, tube jigs, moon glows all being used.

Those fishing the Mississippi River are encouraged not to stay in one spot but hunt for fish. Areas such as Miller’s, Sabula or Town Lake producing good numbers but most fish are on the small side. Good bluegills, perch a few crappie coming from Miller’s says Todd at Todd’s Bait & Tackle in Thomson (815-973-2378). Mickelson’s also a good spot if you can navigate the icy roads to get back up the hill. Reports from Spring Lake finding good big bass catches. Waxies, spikes, tube jigs being used.

Apple Canyon average bite on bluegill and crappie with some few small bass being caught. Lake Summerset and Lake Carroll both producing a later evening bite for crappie and bluegill. Anglers fishing anywhere from 5-6 foot range to 8-10 feet deep. Lena Lake is hit and miss says Calam.

In Indiana, Willow Slough is now open and anglers finding pan fish using ice jigs and bee moths says Mik-Lurch (219-989-0575). Use caution as there are areas of safe ice as well as unsafe patches.

Wolf Lake is producing good crappie and bluegill on Illinois side.

Channel Lake and Lake Marie continue to be the hot spots on the Fox Chain O’ Lakes says Triangle Sports and Marine in Antioch (847-395-0813). Bluegill best on Channel Lake using waxies. Marie good for crappie, striper and walleye. Crappie taking small fathead minnows and waxies. Walleye biting on large fatheads and roaches. Catherine Lake also producing good crappie bite.

Central Illinois

Good reports on bluegill coming from anglers at Banner Marsh. A few crappie also being caught. Anglers using waxies mostly in 18-20 feet of water.

The Hennepin Canal is also a hot spot says Carbon Cliff Bait & Tackle (309-792-3460). Quite a few bluegill biting, with some crappie also being picked up.

Anglers catching crappie, bluegill and walleye at Lake Storey says Al Hayden of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg (309-342-7776). Crappie bite mostly, with late afternoon to dusk best time using minnows. Bluegill taking waxworms and mousies. Walleye biting on minnows. One report of 25 and 27-inch walleye caught.

Lake Thunderbird, Wildwood and Victoria all doing well according to Glen at River Marine Bait & Tackle in Spring Valley (815) 663-1000). Anglers using waxworms, mousies, spikes or minnows.


Powerton Lake seems to be a hot spot says Merle Keefer at Pekin Bass & Bow (309-347-3334). White bass going strong on Panther Martin’s and spoons. Channel cats also biting good on shad. Fishing hours re 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Illinois River sauger fishing may still be a few weeks away says Darrell “Buster” Culjan at Cajun’s Sporting Goods in Utica. THe Starved Rock ramp is open, but the ramp at Spring Valley will likely freeze soon and nobody is going out at Peru. The main issue is not so much access as high, dirty water and now flowing ice chunks.

Tim Presley of Presley’s Outdoors in Bartonville (309-697-1193) says we’re another week away — possibly the weekend of Jan. 16-18 — from any action on the river in the Peoria area.


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