- Again - We appreciate those who have been sending us reports - THANKS For Sharing.!
And we welcome any new reports others wish to share with other anglers and we really enjoy those photos too..
-- There are still very little or almost no new reports with this bitter Cold weather on us.
The forecast for the next 10-days (if we can trust that) shows more cold days with couple near freezing days.?
With that, it appears we will not see any melting for another 2-weeks or so as warmer temps may arrive 2nd week of March.?
Still * Be Very Careful *
- With all the variables in ice conditions, there is no such thing as 100 percent SAFE ICE
which means Ice Fishing is done at you own Risk..
There are several lakes that may have fair ice on lake but now have very thin shoreline ice..
- Ice less than 4 inches is not totally Safe which means you could have 2 inches of ice or less near you.
- Fact is that Ice seldom freezes or refreezes uniformly
- Check the Ice thickness often and Never assume the Ice is Safe
- Never go ice fishing alone, it is always best to go with a buddy, or at least fish near other ice fishermen and let others know where you will be.
- Always take a throwable safety cushion and attach about 25 feet of rope.
- Have a pair of Ice Claws or Picks on you to help one get out of a hole - and we hope you will never use them..
-- Ice fishing can be a great way to enjoy winter, just - Always Be Careful - do not rely on what others say, but verify for yourself.
- If you go out to take advantage of any ice fishing, dress warm, take extra clothes just in case, get some Hand Warmer and follow the tips above.
- With winter weather still here, we have some tips to help us
Keep Our Fishing Season Going
till that first fishing day next spring.
- - Notes Of Interest : -
* The New 2015-2016 Illinois Fishing Information guide is now available in Final PDF format
on the IDNR website where
you can read or print you a copy.
Noteworthy for Central Illinois is the change in
Saugeye limit on Evergreen Lake
& Crappie limit on Lake Bloomington & Bluegill limits on Dawson Lake
* There are several New Conservation Laws in 2015.
Review the Full list HERE
- Construction to begin at Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry County.
The $16.7 million improvement project will install new dam gates and extend lock to reduce wait times for boat traffic.
Lock construction will take place during the non-boating season, November 1 thru April 30.
Be aware to construction zones near the lock and dam and possible limited fishing access areas.
The project is expected to be completed by November 2016.
More Details and Aerial
* NOTE -- Check below in reports for the couple remaining Lake Closures for the season
and watch for Opening dates that are provided to us..
* You should contact the lake or site directly for Closure updates and/or winter hours before going.
- Check our sponsors on the right for your baits, tackle, guide options and more.
Visit their website links on the right.. ------------------------------------> >
- ILLINOIS RIVER
- NO REPORTS this week -
NOTE: we read a blog that the former Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley
may Re-Open as Illinois Valley Outdoors.
- NORFORK LAKE in Arkansas
For current reports or to set up an Awesome fishing trip (we highly recommend),
check Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters at www.stroutfitters.com
- Here is latest Report from Tom : Early March Spring Striper Tactics.
This winter was very mild until the last two weeks. We had the coldest weather of the year and that has brought the water temperature down to where we may experience a shad kill.
I do not expect it to be severe like 2014 but we will just have to see how warm it is in the next several weeks. Not to worry, a small shad kill can actually make fishing better.
We have not seen the February south winds yet this year. Until we do I do not expect much change in the fishing conditions.
When the warmer winds start the stripers will begin to move from the deep water following the shad toward the shoreline. There will be multiple opportunities to catch stripers then.
Both live bait and artificial lures will be very effective.
The night bite will begin once the winds blow from the south. You will want to fish the north banks of the bays and points. Some excellent spots are the points near the near the dam, Frog Pond, Diamond Bay, Cranfield Island, and the points north of Cranfield marina heading towards Red Bank.
The best time to night fish is a half hour before dark until 12 pm. The best lure is the 5-1/2" Rogue. The color of the Rogue varies but black/gold, nuclear clown, and blue/black in the Norfork Lake color combinations seem to work the best.
These Norfork Lake exclusive colors are available only at our local tackle shops such as 101 Grocery & Bait and Greg´s Baits at Hand Cove Resort.
I would experiment with these colors and others until you find the one that works best that night. Make long cast parallel to the bank and reel back very, very slowly so that the action of the lure works best for you. A lot of the bites will happen right next to your boat.
The reason for parallel casting is that on Norfork Lake you can be casting next to shore but your boat might be in 90 feet of water. That will not work so good for you. The best shore is a sloping bank.
But maybe you will find a time when you are in deep water throwing shallow occasionally. The parallel cast allows you to keep you bait in the strike zone for a longer period of time, right up to your boat.
Just keep a sharp eye out for boulders in the water when you are working shallow depths.
Stripers, hybrids, and walleye are all active during this time. Watch the water temperature. As it moves up into the 50 degree range and on towards 60 degrees the bite will get stronger. Legend has it that the magic water temperature number 60. There may be some truth to this but plenty of fish and nice fish are caught in the 50 degree range and even in the upper 40s.
This actually applies to all Norfork Lake species.
Until the warm weather returns the live bait bite will slow. Stripers and the other big predators are scattered all over, so moving around the many points of Norfork Lake will be the only way to find fish.
Stripers will start moving “up the creek” soon. An example would be the stripers that were caught around Blue Lady dock will move towards the Crystal Cove area but not much further until the warmer weather begins.
As the water and air temperatures warms the stripers will continue to move from the mouths of the creeks all the way up to shallow water, I have caught stripers in 1 foot of water right next to shore in stained water.
Keep watching the weather and winds. Once the water air temperature warms the stripers and hybrids will really be on the move and most likely begin their migration toward the dam and the Big Creek arm.
My long time fishing pal, Hand Cove Resort´s pro staff Larry Olson tells me he plans to start his night fishing routine about the first of March.
Larry has been fishing Norfork Lake since the late 1970's and has vast knowledge about night fishing the lake. He will be hunting the striper to top his personal best; 41 pound, 44 inch long, 28 inch girth "Lil´ Larry" currently hangs in the tackle shop at Hand Cove Resort.
Old Mr. Olson will be going after Lil´ Larry´s big brother this year.
Tom Reynolds has fished Lake Norfork for over 35 years and guides out of Tracy Ferry Marina; you can reach him at www.stroutfitters.com or 870-421-1541 or on Facebook.
** Reading these Norfork reports it is hard to know the time and work involved to get & keep bait to be able to catch these awesome fish,
but We can verify the time and how much work it is for a live bait fishing guide as we spent 2 days with Tom from start to finish of day to understand "A day as a Guide" and all the time and work involved.
Read our full STORY HERE
- Or read Tom´s Winter Striper Tactics
EMIQUON PRESERVE - Between Havana and Dickson Mounds Museum on IL Route 78
For more info and details on Emiquon, go to http://experienceemiquon.com
* New permits are required for boating and fishing each year - are free and
available at Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 N Dickson Mounds Rd, Lewistown, IL from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call The Nature Conservancy at (309) 547-2730.
- -Some of the site rules are: - No live bait except worms; - No bank fishing is allowed;
- No gas motors (not even on the boat) including ice augers.
- Minors must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older and authorized by the minor´s parent or legal guardian.
- Boating and fishing are permitted between sunrise and sunset with additional restrictions applying:
No boating, fishing or ice skating access before 12:00 pm during waterfowl hunting season. Lake users should be aware that hunting might occur on the Preserve other times as well.
- - Check their site for updated rules or go to Official Site RULES file.
EVERGREEN LAKE - North of Bloomington to Exit #8 on I-39, and West just over 1-mile and turn left (south) at sign.
* This Lake has BOATING FEES and Evergreen Lake remains a 10 hp (or less) lake.
** NEW limit Reg for 2015 is Saugeye . . 18 inch Minimum Length Limit and 3 Fish Daily Creel Limit
* * The road going over the Evergreen Lake Spillway is CLOSED for bridge replacement/repairs.
The road closure will be in effect until May 15, 2015.
HEIDECKE LAKE -
* * Lake is CLOSED for the season --
- And will Re-Open for fishing April 1st -
HENNEPIN-HOPPER LAKES - 2 miles South of Hennepin off IL Route 26, turn West on Road 810N and then next right.)
* Hennepin & Hopper Lakes continue to be Closed to all public sport fishing,
while the Wetlands Initiative and the (IDNR) monitor efforts to remove invasive common carp from the lakes. --
* LATEST NEWS
* Fishing could return to Hennepin & Hopper Lakes in spring 2015.
REND LAKE -
-- Lake is mostly covered with ice..
- Check with Todd Gessner Outdoors Guide Service on Rend Lake at 618-513-0520 for future fishing trips
and make sure to look into a stay at the new Gun Creek Fin, Fur & Feathers Sportsmens Club
The US Army Corps says "Please fish safely! Always wear your life jacket on the water! "
- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Rend Lake has partnered with
the Rend Lake Lunker Busters
and Mt. Vernon Winnelson Company,
to provide collection stations for recycling monofilament fishing line
at various locations around Lake.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers encourages all visitors to pitch in
to make Rend Lake a safer and more beautiful place to recreate.
For more info feel free to contact the Rend Lake Project Office at
11981 Rend City Road, Benton, IL 62812
or by phone at 618-724-2493.
SHABBONA LAKE -
- - This Lake has a 10-horsepower limit.
- Reports of 12-15 inches of ice ..
- Crappie were just FAIR at times and you have to keep moving around to find catchable fish
in the deep trees or around the cribs by the campground and the old roadbed with better fish around deep water 27-30+ feet.
- Few Catfish also reported
- Lakeside is open for Ice anglers on Fri - Sun 8 AM to 2 PM and Mon - Thur 8 AM to Noon 815-824-2581.
* Caution, on the ice as it varies, Make sure to check ice thickness yourself.
As always, be careful out there!!!
- - - - SOME ILLINOIS POWER PLANT LAKES - - - -
BRAIDWOOD LAKE -
** Lake is CLOSED --
but will Re-OPEN for season on March 1st
* * REMINDER: New 2015 regulations go into effect on April 1st on Bass for a Daily Creel Limit of three 15 inches Minimum Length Limit.
CLINTON LAKE - Three miles east of Clinton off Route 10 or 54 Ph 217/935-8722.
A PORTION OF LAKE FROM ABOUT IP POINT UP TO 54 BRIDGE IS CLOSED
--A NO-WAKE speed limit is in effect from a half-hour after sunset to a half-hour before sunrise at Clinton Lake.
Signs should be posted at the lake for reminders and a Violation will lead to a $75 ticket.
Ol´ Joe´s says:
"Some fish still being caught at DeWitt bridge
But only a few diehards out in this cold weather..
I have a good supply of minnows, wax worms and GLOVES .
Do not let a little cold air stop us from fishing and catching fish,
Ol' Joes open 7 days a week with winter hours of 5 am - 11:30 am. COME ON DOWN!!! Ol' Joe"
REMEMBER an easterly area of Clinton Lake between the DeWitt (CH14) and the 48 bridges
remains CLOSED through MARCH 31st to protect fish and wildlife..
It will Re-OPEN April 1st..
COFFEEN LAKE - Southeast of Hillsboro off Rt 127 or south of Coffeen off Rt 185,
site office 217-537-3351.
-- There is a 25hp motor limit.
* The Lake is CLOSED - till further notice - to boating while cleanup of a turbine oil leak
at Power Station continues. Please call site office 217-537-3351 before going to check status.
The Good News is - No direct impact on fish or wildlife has been observed.
LAKE SPRINGFIELD - At Springfield off I-55 Exit 94 and go the east.
-- Check with Trevor at Big Reds Bait and Tackle for your bait and current reports
at 2193 Stevenson Drive in Springfield 62703 just a mile west from the lake dam.
You can call them at (217) 679-1800
LaSALLE LAKE -
* * Lake is CLOSED for the season --
Typically the Re-Opening date for the season is in mid-March..? Watch for a confirmed date soon..
POWERTON LAKE - One mile south of Pekin off Route 29 along Manito Blacktop.
---- site Office 309-968-7135
- - The LAKE is OPEN TO SHORE FISHING and BOAT FISHING - WINTER HOURS (Oct. 1st - April 30th): 8am - 4pm
SANGCHRIS LAKE - South of Springfield off I-55 Exit 82 - go east on Route 104 about 10 miles.
-- Lake has a 25HP limit, Lake site office # 217/498-9208 from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
-- Check with Trevor at Big Reds Bait and Tackle for current reports
at 2193 Stevenson Drive in Springfield on your way to lake..
- LINKS or Other Lake Reports outside Central Illinois. -
- For Chicago area and southern Wisconsin Fishing Reports check out the
Chicago Sun-Times Outdoors section by Dale Bowman
- MARK TWAIN LAKE in Missouri
---Check Out The Fishing Reports from the Good people at South Fork Resort
- NORFORK LAKE in Arkansas
For current reports or to set up a fishing trip (we would recommend),
check STR Outfitters at www.stroutfitters.com
--- View STR Outfitters Facebook page click here
for real time up to date each day or read Tom´s fishing blog here at http://stroutfitters.blogspot.com
If you are thinking of Fishing or Hunting this year
Check the Reports & specials from Tom Reynolds of STR Outfitters
- Read about our Outdoor Writers/Broadcasters Visit at Kentucky Lake
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