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Winter is well under way, and ice fishing is in full swing throughout the area lakes, ponds and rivers. As I have told you all before, this is not a part of fishing that I enjoy, but many of my friends are avid ice fishermen. Further north, ice fishing is a social/community thing, with hundreds of ice shanties on the frozen lakes and towns gathering on the ice all winter. The ice shanties there are quite different from the small clamshell style we use here. There the shanties have stoves, TV, heat, wooden floors and are moved around by tractors when the schools of fish move. Most of my friends move their fishing gear and shelter with either a sled and/or a snowmobile because our ice changes too rapidly for more permanent structures. Currently most of our lakes are reporting 11″-14″ of ice, good for fishing.

Perch fishing around Navy Pier has been fairly good, but you’ll need to move around to find where the larger fish are holding. Most are being caught 6″-10″ off the bottom. Bangs Lake is reporting good catches of panfish and a few northern pike as well. Deep Lake has been giving up some real nice largemouth bass in the 3-4 lb range. Up on the Chain-o-Lakes, Pistakee Bay has been reporting the best catches — mostly bluegills and crappies. The guys up on Channel Lake say the fishing has been slow at their end. Lake Geneva has been good for perch and bluegills, though not much else has been active. As you can see, most of our area lakes are all producing catches of panfish and not much else right now. We’ll keep an eye on the reports and let you know when the walleye and northern pike get more active.

Just a quick follow-up on the Asian carp problem: A couple of weeks ago the U.S. Supreme Court refused to issue an immediate closure of the locks on the Chicago River, without comment. Four hours later, that same day, the Army Corp of Engineers released the current data showing Asian carp DNA as far north in the river as the spillway at Wilmette Harbor and in Lake Michigan. The State of Michigan again filed suit in the U.S. Supreme Court after the results were made public. We will just have to wait and see what happens. Until next time … keep a tight line.

Visi Dick at