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Boulder Junction Ice Report by Don Dziedzina
I just returned from a week up in Boulder Jct., Wisconsin. I stayed at the Wildcat Lodge that's located just north of town. It's a great area because there are over 190 lakes all within 10 miles of town. At Wildcat, the lodge is located on Big and Little Kitten Lakes. They are connected by a small channel to Wildcat Lake. All three are Class A Musky Lakes, however I was there to fish for panfish through the near 2 feet of ice.
Much to my surprise, we were welcomed by a snowfall of about 12 inches of the white stuff. It came overnight on the day my wife Judy and I arrived. That's okay though. The roads were well plowed and we were plenty warm in the cabin. My wife likes the fireplace.
The area had well over 100 inches of snow so far this winter and it was said that the snow on the ice and ground was at about 30 inches. I'd say it was every inch of that and probably more.
Regardless of the deep snow, I did get to fish with Tim France, owner of the Wildcat Lodge and his brother-in-law Scott. Our catch included perch, walleye, whitefish, and a couple suckers. Wigglers were the bait they wanted. They're hard to find but I did get some. I got 21 dozen of the little buggers and can say they really work well. That night Scott's wife cooked up a really nice fish fry for us with wild rice, beans and a great salad too.
Snowmobiling was at it's peak in Boulder Jct. You needed one for sure to get around on the ice. There were some areas that had a lot of slush on top of the ice. Heavy snow pushed ice down and water up. Had to be careful of where you went. It was a great trip making it hard for me to see it end to come home.
I've added a few snowy photos to the gallery.
Crappie Fishing Report by Denny Sands, Lakeside Tackle
We just had a new record limit of Crappie at Shabbona Lake. A 10 fish Crappie limit of a whoppping 9.2 pounds destroys the previous record of 6.7 pounds for a limit of 10 Crappie. Several of the Crappie were over a pound apiece!!!
We were very proud of the previous 6.7 pound record Crappie limit, as that was 2/3 pounds per fish, but the new 9.2 pound Crappie limit is simply indescribable!!!
Shabbona Lake is headed to be, not only the best Muskie Lake in Illinois, but also the best Crappie Lake in Illinois!!!
Wampum Lake Report by Ken HUSKER O'Malley
Hey Don, It's been a while since I said we need creepers to get around on the ice. Snow cover is gone. Shorelines firmed up over the weekend since we received all that rain on Thursday. Ice is still solid at 14 inches far south. I hit Wampum today. Good crappie and bluegill on tungsten jigs tipped with a single spike in 10-13 feet of water. Finding green weeds was key. I also had a bonus bass on a tip up. Not a bad day for a CCFP lake. Here's a few pics from the day.
Water Werks Fishing Team
Catchable Trout Season to Open by Chris Young, IL DNR
The 2014 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller announced today.
In addition to the 43 bodies of water that have been stocked in the past for spring trout fishing, the IDNR is announcing the opening of four new areas to rainbow trout fishing for the spring of 2014:
- Pine Lake in the Village of University Park in northeastern Illinois
- Green Lake, Forest Preserve District of Cook County, in southern Cook County
- Wolf Lake at the IDNR William W. Powers State Recreation Area in Chicago
- Lake Mendota in La Salle County
“The Spring Trout Season is always a great time for families to go fishing and catch some tasty trout, and we’re delighted to be able to add several new locations for trout fishing,” said Director Miller.
The IDNR stocks more than 60,000 rainbow trout each spring in bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted during the spring season. The Illinois catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate.
Illinois fishing licenses and inland trout stamps are available at DNR Direct license and permit locations, including many bait shops, sporting goods stores and other retail outlets. For a location near you, check the IDNR website at this link: http://dnr.illinois.gov/DNRDirectMonitor/VendorListing.aspx
Fishing licenses and trout stamps can also be purchased by using a credit card through DNR Direct online via the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov, or by calling DNR Direct toll-free at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).
To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. The annual fishing licenses for the 2014 season are valid through March 31, 2015. A license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on active military service who is home on leave).
Anglers may not take trout from any of the stocked sites from March 15 to the opening of the season on April 5 at 5 a.m. Anyone attempting to take trout before the legal opening will be issued citations. During the spring trout season the daily possession limit for trout is five fish.
While the statewide spring trout season opens at 5 a.m. on April 5, anglers are reminded to check in advance for any site-specific regulations and the opening time of their favorite trout fishing location.
For more information about the trout stocking program, contact the IDNR Division of Fisheries at 217/782-6424 or check the web site at www.ifishillinois.org.
Stocked sites (by county) for the 2014 Spring Catchable Trout Program:
- Adams County: Siloam Springs State Park Lake
- Boone County: Mill Race Ponds, Belvidere
- Bureau County: Hennepin Canal Parkway
- Cass County: Gurney Road Pond at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area
- Champaign County: Lake of the Woods
- Christian County: Manners Park Pond, Taylorville Park District
- Cook County: Axehead Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District
- Cook County: Belleau Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District
- Cook County: Sag Quarry East, Cook County Forest Preserve District
- NEW Cook County: Green Lake, Cook County Forest Preserve District
- NEW Cook County: Wolf Lake, William W. Powers State Recreation Area
- Coles County: Eastern Illinois University Campus Pond in Charleston
- DuPage County: Silver Lake, DuPage County Forest Preserve District
- Grundy County: Gebhard Woods State Park Pond
- Jefferson County: Mount Vernon Game Farm Pond
- Jo Daviess County: Apple River and tributaries
- Johnson County: Ferne Clyffe State Park Lake
- Kankakee County: Bird Park Quarry in Kankakee
- Kankakee County: Rock Creek at Kankakee River State Park
- Kendall County: Big Lake at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area
- Lake County: Banana Lake, Lake County Forest Preserve District
- Lake County: Sand Lake at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park
- LaSalle County: Illinois and Michigan Canal at Utica
- NEW LaSalle County: Lake Mendota, City of Mendota
- Macon County: Sportsman’s Club Pond, Macon County Conservation District
- Marion County: Boston Pond at Stephen A. Forbes State Park
- Massac County: Fairgrounds Pond in Fort Massac State Park, Metropolis
- McLean County: Miller Park, Bloomington Park District
- McHenry County: Lake Atwood, Hollows Conservation Area, McHenry County Conservation District
- McHenry County: Piscasaw Creek
- Moultrie County: Wyman Lake in Sullivan
- Ogle County: Pine Creek in White Pines Forest State Park
- Randolph County: Derby Lake at World Shooting and Recreational Complex, Sparta
- St. Clair County: Frank Holten State Recreation Area main lake
- St. Clair County: Jones Park Lake in East St. Louis
- Sangamon County: Southwind Park Pond in Springfield
- Sangamon County: Washington Park Pond in Springfield
- Shelby County: Forest Park Lagoon in Shelbyville
- Stephenson County: Waddams Creek (Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Park)
- Stephenson County: Yellow Creek in Krape Park, Freeport
- Vermilion County: Clear Lake at Kickapoo State Recreation Area
- Wabash County: Beall Woods Lake, Beall Woods State Park
- Wayne County: Sam Dale State Fish and Wildlife Area Trout Pond
- Whiteside County: Centennial Park Lake in Rock Falls, Coloma Park District
- Will County: Lake Milliken at Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area
- NEW Will County: Pine Lake, University Park
- Winnebago County: Four Lakes Forest Preserve, Winnebago County Forest Preserve District
Niagara New York Area Fishing Report by Bill Hilts
1. Lake Ontario and tributaries – Ice fishing action in Wilson and Olcott continues to be an option for hard water anglers, but you do have to work for them. Chris Schotz of Sanborn caught his biggest fish ever last weekend through the ice in the Wilson back bay, a big northern pike. Persistence finally paid off! Pay attention to the main channel in Olcott Harbor with the increased flow – it could create some unsafe conditions. With temperatures into the 40s this week, it should open up 18 Mile Creek at Burt Dam a bit for guys and gals looking to chase a trout or two in the open water. Both brown trout and steelhead should be available on small jigs tipped with a wax worm. White has been a good color, but if water becomes stained with the excess run off from snow melt or rain, you may have to use a brighter color. Remember that the Lake Ontario State of the Lake meeting is set for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Lockport on March 13 starting at 6:30 pm. Many small game seasons are starting to wind down with the end of February approaching, but at least one new one is starting up – the late Canada Goose season for the South Area on March 1-10.
2. Lower Niagara River – The Niagara River Anglers Association held their annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead contest last weekend, with more than 50 diehard fishermen heading out to any local trout waters that they could find. Most of them fished the Lower Niagara River and that’s where the winning fish came from this year. In the end, Jim Sayer of North Canton, OH was the top dog with a 13.6 pound steelie caught on a pink egg sac in Devil’s Hole while fishing with Capt. Jim Rores. Second place went to Bob Hubler of Niagara Falls with a 10.86 pound trout, also while fishing Devil’s Hole with an Emerald shiner. Third place was Norm Deitrick of Philadelphia, PA with a 10.64 pound trout reeled in the same way and area as Hubler, fishing alongside Sayer and Rores in the same boat. Biggest brown trout was Paul “The Hammer” Czarnecki of Erie, PA while fishing a pink egg sac along the Coast Guard drift downriver. He was fishing with Capt. Jim Taylor. Many of the boats caught double digit trout numbers, with several of the boats catching in excess of 20. They were released to fight another day except for the winning catches. That could all change with the recent warm temperatures and rain in the forecast. Run off could create turbid conditions, but you will have to wait and see what Mother Nature dishes out.
3. Upper Niagara River – Not too much to report other than some ice action around Grand Island. One thing to mark on your calendar is the Niagara River Anglers Association’s 8th Annual John Long, Sr. Memorial Raffle and Feast on March 23 at the St. Vincent DePaul Hall on Military Road in Niagara Falls. This is the main fund raiser for the club, supporting conservation camps for kids, youth fishing programs and more. Chief cook Mike George promises a great menu for all in attendance. Check out www.niagarariveranglers.com for details.