The ice fishing season is a mess this year. Winter started out with good cold weather and some good, safe ice. Then we got a warm-up after the first of the year and we lost a lot of the ice.

Since then, the temperature has been going up and down like a roller coaster, and the ice depth has been doing the same. Most of the area lakes have between 3inches and 5 inches of ice, but it is not good clear ice, it is grey ice covered with water, making its safety very questionable.

Reports from around the area indicate Beck Lake has 5 inches of ice but no fish activity; Fox Chain-Lake Catherine and Channel Lake have very thin ice (maybe 3 inches, with open water strips); Busse Woods has 3 inches to 5 inches but open water areas; on Lake Delevan the center of the lake is open water and no ATV traffic is recommended; and Lake Geneva has major ice heaves, causing very dangerous conditions.

Going north will not help much. A report from northern Minnesota said there was 16 inches to 18 inches of ice but nearly 12 inches of water and snow on top of the ice, making the ice very dangerous for walking and unusable for ATVs, snowmobiles, and trucks.

What this all means is exactly what the last few articles have said: Use extreme caution when going out on the ice; go with a partner; wear a floatation vest; when moving from one place to another, use a spud stick to check the ice; and at this time, do not use ATVs on any ice.

Those who missed the Schaumburg Fishing Show last weekend missed a really great show. There were representatives from resorts from the Canadian wilderness to bass fishing in Mexico. The tackle was amazing, with all the new stuff on display with the factory pros to explain how it all worked.

The next show is Indianapolis (that’s a three-hour drive), and it is the largest show in the Midwest. It runs from Feb.17 to 28.  I plan to head down; it is worth the drive.

Until next time…keep a tight line.