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With the return of the really cold air, the ice conditions have improved on most of the area lakes. The snow has not been much help however; it works like a blanket slowing ice development underneath. There is good ice (6″+) on some of our lakes but even there it has just shown in the last few days, with areas of thin ice on the same lakes. Reports from Montrose Harbor had good ice (6″-7″) in the main traffic lanes, but only marginal ice (3″-4″) near many of the piers. Reports from Lake Geneva have thin ice forming in some of the bays, but there are reports of open water still in the Williams Bay area.

Because of the really poor ice conditions this year, fishing reports are scarce and those that we’re getting are for the most part not good. Busse Woods is reporting good solid ice in both pools, but no one is catching anything to speak of. Lake Delavan reports good ice, but the water color is reddish-brown for some reason and there have been no reports of anyone catching anything. The reports from the Mississippi River and Illinois River were unusually poor, the rivers seem to be the exception most of the time, but not this year. Bangs Lake, though, had reports of good catches of panfish along the north shore in 8’ to 15’ feet of water. The bait of choice was wigglers or small red worms and the bite was reported to be very light.

On a lighter note, I began my annual cleaning and rearranging of my tackle boxes, which will take several weeks. I need to sort through my plastic baits before the end of the month when I head for the Chicagoland Sports and Fishing Show in Schaumburg where I plan on re-stocking my supplies. I am also going to need to replace at least one of my bait casting rods that didn’t survive this past summer and I hope to find a bargain there as well. I will also be booking at least one of my summer fishing trips while I’m at the show, maybe two. Have you been thinking about your summer trip? Now is a great time to plan, and the shows are an ideal place to talk with people about your options. Until next time, keep a tight line.

Contact Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.