WINTER FESTIVAL: The Northern Illinois Conservation Club’s 53rd annual Chain O’Lakes Ice Fishing Derby and Winter Festival, headquartered at the Thirsty Turtle, is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Top prize is $1,500. Call 847-395-NICC or go to lakeonline.com/nicc/event-info/fishin-derby/.
STURGEON SPEARING: Sturgeon spearing season on the Lake Winnebago systems in Wisconsin opens Saturday. Licenses needed to be purchased earlier.
AREA LAKES: Conditions vary from north (generally good) to south (iffier). Regulations on public area waters are posted at STRAY CASTS (blogs.suntimes.com/bowman/).
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA: Greg Dickson at Triangle reported a few reports of white bass on Petite, Marie and Fox; bluegill (take sorting) are steadiest, especially on Channel; Deep has been a better spot for crappie; walleye reports remain variable. Use caution around current areas or travel areas already tracked.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WISCONSIN: Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported some bluegills in front of library park in Geneva Bay and perch on eastern end of Geneva; on Delavan, doing well on the west end on bluegill, crappie (deeper) and late afternoon into evening some legal walleye on tipups and medium roaches.
LAKEFRONT: Ice conditions are variable in the Chicago harbors, but some are fishable. Henry’s said the steadiest reports of perch (take sorting) are from Montrose and Navy Pier. Ed McCain at Mik-Lurch reported small perch at 92nd and 95th in the river.
MADISON LAKES, WIS.: Gene Dellinger of D&S Bait reported perch being caught in 65 feet off Governor’s Island on Mendota. Shortest access is via Governor’s Island, about a mile.
NORTHERN WISCONSIN: MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice of Kurt’s Island Sport Shop reported cold and high pressure kept catching down, pike have been fair, best later morning through mid-day on river shiners or large golden shiners on tip-ups. Other species are poor to fair. EAGLE RIVER: Chamber of Commerce reported pike and panfish are strong with walleye good. Ice ranges 12-18 inches.
NORTHWEST INDIANA: McCain reported a few were ice fishing Tuesday at Willow Slough, where ice is 1-3 inches; on Lake Michigan, shore fishermen are catching a few coho, browns and whitefish at the Ditch and a few early coho at Michigan City.
SHABBONA LAKE: Check updates at shabbonalake.com, but ice fishing is underway with the best being crappie in the trees.
SOUTHEAST WISCONSIN LAKEFRONT: Arden Katz reported ice fishing produced some whitefish Saturday at Milwaukee, then some steelhead and browns Sunday on large fatheads on tip-ups or jigging with Berkley Gulp! smelt minnows.
SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN: Tyler Harmon messaged that ice conditions vary inland; rivers are high but falling, and steelhead and walleye are improving.