Updated: February 3, 2013 6:24AM
AREA LAKES: Ice fishing is beginning. Regs on local public waters are nearly the same as in previous years (posted at Stray Casts at blogs.suntimes.com/bowman).
CHAIN O’LAKES AREA: Ice fishing is underway and ice is building, Greg Dickson at Triangle said. Access points are in today’s column. Barnacle Bob’s said Marie still had some open water, but that should lock up by the weekend. Mike Starcevich at Mik-Lurch reported on Tuesday good action on Pistakee for bluegill and crappie.
DELAVAN/LAKE GENEVA AREA, WIS.: Brian Gates at Geneva Lake Bait & Tackle reported Como has 6 inches of ice, with good largemouth off the boat launch. He said Delavan has enough ice and action that he is putting a couple shanties on the west end; there’s pike and pumpkinseeds by the launch; some action in Lake Lawn harbor. He said the only walkable ice on Geneva is in Abbey harbor.
FOX RIVER BACKWATERS: At Nielsen’s Channel at Port Barrington, Arden Katz reported 21/2-3 inches of ice on Tuesday. He was catching nice bluegill and crappie on No. 12 Rat Finkees with red spikes.
KANKAKEE RIVER: Norm Minas was one of the few trying on New Year’s Eve. He reported river below normal flow; he caught a smallmouth and rock bass with a floating Rogue in an eddy.
LAKEFRONT: Some perch, mostly smaller, are being caught around Chicago, primarily at Diversey and Navy Pier. The dirty water is starting to clear, which should improve perch action.
MADISON LAKES, WIS.: Gene Dellinger at D&S Bait reported Kegonsa and Waubesa froze over with 5 inches of ice and building. Monona and Squaw bays froze over; ice is forming on other lakes.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER: Bill Lanhan and Alan Epich fished the backwaters around Thomson over the weekend and had good ice and good action for ring perch; however, Lanham warned others to remember the extremely low water, meaning it is hard to fish alone and find undisturbed fish.
NORTHERN WISCONSIN: EAGLE RIVER: Chamber of Commerce reported ice (3-7 inches by Sunday) improving with good to excellent bite for pike and panfish and a good walleye bite (8-22 feet off weed and break edges). MINOCQUA: Guide Kurt Justice reported some ATV and snowmobile access beginning with ice at 6-10 inches and building. Very good action for walleye (at dusk and after dark), pike (better ones on deeper edges in 10-14), crappie (in cabbage in 8-12) and bluegill (brighter jigs working best). On lakes with whitefish, action is good with Swedish Pimples and Slender Spoons tipped with waxies.
SHABBONA LAKE: Staff at Lakeside—shabbonalake.com, (815) 824-2581—expect fishable ice by the weekend, though geese were swimming pockets open. Lakeside will be open Friday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.