This year is coming to a close on the calendar, but the weather is really making it hard to believe we are in the last week of December and the first week of January. Last year at this time we were 6-8 inches deep in snow, and ice fishing was the hot fishing topic of the hour. This year we’re getting reports from a number of the area bigger lakes that boats are out fishing and catching in the open water.

Lake Geneva has been reporting good catches of large northern pike from the guys trolling the deep-weed lines. There are reports of a lot of open water at Busse Woods with good catches of multiple species. The Des Plaines River has been getting good reports fishing the deeper pockets. Unfortunately, many of the lakes that were providing good ice-fishing a few weeks ago have lost a lot of their ice because of to the unseasonable warm up we have had. Some have open water pockets, which makes heading out on these lakes very problematic and possibly dangerous. We have received reports from a couple of locations that are advising against taking motorized vehicles out on the ice at this time. We don’t see any changes in the weather for the next couple of weeks for better ice.

With the New Year comes a look back on 2014. Last winter was cold and snowy, but the upside was a complete ice cap on not just Lake Michigan – something that has not occurred in many years – but the entire Great Lakes were frozen over. This prevented a lot of evaporation from occurring, and, coupled with the major snow melt-off, made for a significant gain of water in Lake Michigan.

That same water rise made for some really good fishing the whole year, with most lakes having very high water levels for a change.

Overall 2014 was a pretty good year for fishing in all the area lakes and rivers, and many anglers caught their personal best fish in 2014. The bar has been set pretty high for 2015, and let’s raise it again this year. Good fishing in 2015, until next time… keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.