Fishing Reports and News

The Flats off Captiva Island Fishing Report by Don Dziedzina

Right now I'm on Captiva Island, outside of Ft. Myers Florida.  Beautiful weather, great food and just a fun destination to be at when Chicago is struggling to dig out of the snow and keep warm.

I went fishing today with Jim DaRosa, my Fishing and Outdoor Radio Show co-host partner and PJ Perea, President of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers.

We fished the flats out in front of the South Seas Island Resort with  Capt. Tom Walsh of Captain Tom's Charter Service that operates out of South Seas.

The local air temps dropped to about 65 degrees today and the winds picked up where we had to deal with gusts up to about 35 and 40 MPH.  None the less, Capt. Tom put us on fish.

No real big fish today.  The majority were ladyfish.  We also got some speckled trout, jack, lizardfish, and a couple other species that I really don't know what they were.  Doesn't really matter, we had fun, caught a bunch of fish, and enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to shovel snow.

We used spinning gear throwing jigs tipped with twister tailed grubs or Berkley Gulp Alive shrimp.  Photos will come later on a different post.  We were able to shoot a segment for Illinois Outdoors TV so you'll have to check that out in mid March.

Pond Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley

Hey Don, I had the opportunity to fish a friends lake up near Rochelle. This lake has springs, but the ice was very good at 10 inches. Parts remain open year round. Goes to show you how harsh this winter has been. Fishing was absolutely great on Saturday in-between fronts. Tip ups were on fire for 2 hours straight until the cloud cover lifted and the sun came out. Things slowed, but good numbers still prevailed. Finding the outside weed lines were key. The only downside of the day was I lost a very nice pike at the hole and the winds were brutal. I attached a few pics.  Stay warm!

Ken - Husker Outdoors, Water Werks Fishing Team

Big Crappie Tournament comes to Southern Illinois by Don Gasaway
Big money purses and national sponsors make this tournament different from crappie tournaments of the past.  Crappie USA is coming to Lake of Egypt March 14 and 15, 2014.  With a total guaranteed local purse of $10,000 plus and chances at a national purse of $100,000 plus.  This is the biggest tournament trail to visit the area.  The local sponsors are the folks at Williamson County Tourism Bureau.
Information on the event is available from the Williamson County Tourism Bureau at 1-800-GEESE-99.  It also is available at  Advance registration is required.  The weigh-in site is Pyramid Acres Marina & Campground, 12171 Marina Road, Marion, IL.
Crappie USA is a national organization formed in 1996 to establish and expand family-oriented, cost effective and competitive tournaments for amateur and semi-professional crappie anglers.  Nationally there are tournaments in more than 25 states.  Anglers compete for a place in the field for the "super bowl of crappie fishing" the $100,000 Cabela's Crappie USA Classic to be held on Lake Cumberland, KY October 16 to 18, 2014.
Teams of two anglers pay an entry fee of $100 to compete in the amateur division; semi-pro competitors pay a $200 fee.  In addition to the local purse, the top 25 teams will advance to compete in the Cabela's Crappie USA Classic.  The $10,000 purse will increase based on the number of entries.
Additionally, the top finishing Adult/Youth team will advance to the classic.  Top finishing Male/Female team will also qualify for the Classic.
Although the tournament is the main attraction it is not the entire event.  On the evening before the tournament many national sponsor field test teams and local experts will be present to answer questions in a seminar.  The seminar site, which is open to the public, will be the Williamson County Pavilion, 1601 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL.  Starting time is 7:00 p.m.
On March 15, 2014 there will be a Crappie Kids Rodeo for kids 12 and under accompanied by a adult.  Just bring your fishing pole.  There is a sign up period from 8-9 a.m. and the fishing tournament will run from 9-11 a.m.   All participants will be eligible to win one of six &1,000 scholarships to be drawn in October at the Crappie USA Classic.  The site of the Crappie Kids Rodeo is the Lake of Egypt Lodge just east of the Causeway on Lake of Egypt Road.
Free information regarding motel accommodations and points of interest is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99.  Information is also available online at, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website.  Their e-mail address is

Niagara Area (NY) Fishing Report by Bill Hilts

Lake Ontario and tributaries -- Arctic temperatures have invaded Western New York and they haven’t let up much, forcing many hunters and fishermen to stay home. That could change this weekend with the possibility of some rain on Saturday in the forecast. Wes Walker at The Slippery Sinker in Olcott reported that ice fishing action is still an option for area hard water anglers with the best places locally being Wilson Harbor and even Olcott Harbor once we get another inch or two of ice. The problem in Olcott is knowing where the main channel is. Water movement underneath the ice could pose a problem and Walker insists that they like to see at least six inches of ice there. It was at 4-5 inches at mid-week. He also reported that was some open water – but not a lot – between Burt Dam and the railroad bridge and that a few trout were being caught. The first annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo was held at the Conference and Events Center in Niagara Falls last weekend. All in all, considering the weather, the event was a good one and look for a repeat performance in 2015 around the same general timeframe. Remember that the new license fee structure will be going into effect on Feb. 1st and when you purchase an annual fishing license it starts from the day you buy it!

Lower Niagara River -- The lower Niagara River has some good water conditions and there’s plenty of open water – if you can get your boat out there. The last report we had was that the Lewiston Launch area was filled with ice, but not to worry. When the weather starts to improve, the Village of Lewiston Public Works crew will be clearing the area to allow for river access very soon – say for this weekend when temperatures could reach a balmy 32 degrees! It’s not too late to start thinking about registering for the Niagara River Anglers Association’s Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest, set for Feb. 15 on the lower river and in area tributaries. To find out more information about the event, either check out the website at or call contest organizer Steve Drabczyk at 807-6248. The awards ceremony and festivities will be at the Three-F Club in Lewiston immediately following the competition.

Upper Niagara River -- Some of the embayments around Grand Island have been producing fish through the ice. One in particular was around the Holiday Inn on the Island where Matt Wilson of North Tonawanda was doing extremely well on perch and crappie.

Bill Hilts, Jr. - Outdoor Sports Specialist
Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation

Leave a comment