As we all are dealing with “social distancing” and the “Stay at Home” directive, we will start getting to have some feelings of cabin fever. We need to be able to get out a little, and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do than to go fishing.
I have checked with both governors (Illinois and Wisconsin) and have been assured that enjoying some time fishing, as long as we keep our distance, is perfectly legal. Most, if not all, of our area waters are now ice-free and water temperatures are rising every day. Currently, the average temperature is 39 degrees.
If you are planning to use your boat for the first time, remember that with the lockdown all the State parks, their ramps will be closed, and some of the public launches may not have their piers in just yet. Call ahead to a local bait shop to find out about launch particulars.
Of course, there is always shore fishing and this time of year it is especially good as panfish are starting to move shallow to begin their spawn when the water gets into the low 40-degree area.
I have been able to get reports on some of our area lakes and rivers. Busse Lake reports that the crappie are really biting well. Remember there is a limit on the number you can keep, and they tell me that the IDNR is really checking several times a day this spring.
Beck Lake reports a slow bite on all panfish. The Fox River south of Algonquin Dam has been hot for some nice smallmouth bass, and the crappie are holding in any current break you can find.
The Chain of Lakes is open, some piers are in, and the panfish bite is really quite good around docks and pilings.
Farther north at Lake Geneva the crappie bite has been strong in seven-to-eight feet of water on small jigs and spinners.
The piers are installed in both Williams Bay and Fontana if you want to launch there.
Hang in there, and we’ll all get through this together.
Stay well … keep a tight line.