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The holidays have arrived, and amazingly, as of this past weekend people were still fishing open water. We have been getting reports from all over that fishermen are taking advantage of the additional days of fishing – internet reports of terrific walleye fishing on Lake Erie’s western basin, cold weather conditions but really good catches of walleye and perch in Green Bay resorts. Locally, Busse Woods has had very active bass fishing and northern pike have been caught, and Skokie Lagoons are finally producing regular catches of largemouth bass and occasional nice catches of late season crappies. It is really special to be passing on fishing reports in late December.

At this time of year we usually provide some gift-giving ideas for the fishing members of the family. For the beginning angler there are fishing packages that include a fishing rod, reel loaded with line, and often a small selection of tackle. These pre-packed kits are perfect for first-time anglers and usually sell for between $29 and $39 at most sporting goods stores and departments. If they already have a small tackle set, look to give them a new tackle box. The selection of small, inexpensive tackle boxes is terrific, and they’re selling for less than $25 in most stores.

For the more advanced anglers there are gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, and Dick’s so that they can get what they need for the coming fishing season. For all the members of the family there is the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo at the Schaumburg Convention Center, which runs from Jan. 28 to 31. It is one of the best shows in the Midwest and is still reasonably priced. Expo attendees can check out the latest in fishing gear and boats. It is also a great opportunity to look over some terrific fishing locations for the coming year.

Well, good fishing in 2016 and until next time…keep a tight line.

Visit Dick at hookedonfishing@comcast.net.